Rise of Fascism: Reasons
The economic condition of Italy was not good. Still, it decided to take part in World War-I. The decision of a backward country to fight a war proved harmful. Italy was too hit by the Economic Depression of 1929. Italy was facing financial crisis.
There was also the political crisis. Democracy was not in the mature stage. This led to unstable political order. Due to improper administration law and order was not good. There was all spread unemployment. The youth was in anger and became rebellious.
When the Nazism was spreading all over the Germany, In Italy the same extreme nationalism rose under the banner of Fascism. Fascism did not emphasise on racial superiority, like Nazism. Otherwise, Fascism was an extreme nationalistic ideology. As Nazism was led by the Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benedetto Mussolini led Fascism in the Italy.
Emergence of Benedetto Mussolini
Mussolini started his career as a school teacher. In the initial phase of his life, he was a socialist. He propagated his ideas through his newspaper Avanti. With the beginning of World War-I, being a socialist he opposed the entry of Italy into the war. But later on, he saw the war as an opportunity for his career. He once said,
War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.
He changed the side and now supported Italy’s entry in World War-I. In spite of Italy’s victory, Italy had no big achievement and the problem of Italy increased after the World War-I. Mussolini took the advantage of situation and formed Fascist Party. In 1920, he gave dreams to the people. So, he succeeded in getting good number of seats in the election of 1921.
Along with this, he got the support of capitalist class and also the youth of Italy. He formed an organisation ‘Black Shirts‘ for the youngsters of Italy. Soon, he came with the slogan of ‘towards Rome‘. Frightened King Victor Emmanual accepted him as Prime Minister of Italy in 1923.
Reforms of Mussolini
He ended human and civil rights. As he was of the opinion that,
Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice, it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day.
He also concluded the treaty of Lateran, 1929. In which Mussolini ended a dispute between Italy and Rome which was started in 1870. He gave autonomous status to Pope. This was just like State within State. According to this treaty, Pope got autonomous status in Vatican City.
Education became the victim of Fascism. He also did stratification of society on the basis of age groups. A specific duty assigned to the every group. It became compulsory to have military training for Youth of Italy. Though he gave a respectable position to women but did not give equal position. They were not given voting rights and educational rights.
In this, he firstly emphasised to reform the primary sector of the economy. He took steps to improve agricultural production especially the production of Wheat. To bring down the economic burden of the state he reduced the bureaucracy. Also, he promoted public works and revived the tourism industry of Italy.
All these steps of Mussolini, changed the situation in Italy and peace and prosperity became visible in the nation. Mussolini also gave the slogan of Shinning Italy. But the destiny had decided other fate for the Italy and, put the Italy into the era of darkness.
After 1929 Mussolini was again in trouble and the only option for him to distract the mind of people was war. He gave slogan “Old Glory of Rome” and from here Italy started the policy of aggression in which Greece, Ethiopia etc. was captured by the Italy.
This brought Mussolini closer to Adolf Hitler. The formed Berlin-Rome axis. Japan later joined this axis. This played important role in World War-II.
We will discuss World War-II in next coming post. Till then, have a wonderful day.
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