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  1. It has been claimed that both the Spanish and Italian civil conflicts were fundamentally struggles between the forces of reform and reaction.
  1. The Spanish Civil war has often been called ‘the last great cause’. Why were so many people, from so many different walks of life, willing to fight and die for such acause?
  1. It appears that most Italians loved Mussolini but hated Fascism. The civil war which followed his removal from power in July 1943 clearly indicates that he had been leading a divided nation all along.
  1. Why do you think Fascism appeared when it did in Italy? What were the factors, both local and international, that influencedthis?
  1. The outcome of both Spanish and Italian conflicts was decided mainly by foreign intervention and non-intervention. Discuss with reference to only oneof the two 
  1. Discuss the main reasons why the Greek Communist Party lost the Greek Civil
  1. The Greek Civil War had far-reaching effects on Greece, both politically and socially. Discuss.
  1. Discuss the role of Britain, America and the Soviet Union in the Greek Civil

The Origin and Growth of Fascist Ideology in Italy

The 20th century saw the rise of ideologies that are enslaved the masses. One such ideology was fascism. This ideology appeared for the first time in Italy. Under these circumstances, it becomes significant to consider the factors that are responsible for the rise of fascism in Italy. In the present work, the reasons behind the initiation and dissemination of fascist ideology and how the Fascist Party came to power in Italy will be considered. Benito Mussolini founded the fascist organization on March 23, 1919. The origin of the word fascism can be traced to the Italian word 'fascio' which means "bundle or the alliance". The organization that was created by Mussolini was known as 'Fasho di Kombatimento" or in other words, Union of Struggle. In the beginning, there were only a few dozen members of this organization. However, soon it started to grow mainly as a result of former soldiers, a combination of social demagogy and fierce nationalism was typical in case of all the activities of the fascists (Lyttelton, 1987).

However, it needs to be noted that there were several factors that were responsible for the rise of fascism in Italy. First of all, Italy had fought with the victorious Allies in the First World War. But after the war, Italy was a defeated nation. The country was not happy with the terms of the settlement. The reason was that the play was not given what was promised to her in the Treaty of London that was concluded during the Great War. As there was a conflict at the peace conference between the interests of Italy and Yugoslavia, the Allies favor Yugoslavia. Therefore, it was natural that Italy felt disappointed and disheartened. The self-esteem of the country was significantly wounded (Smith, 1983). The Italians felt that there have been displaced in the eyes of the world and surrendered by their own politicians. Italy had paid a huge price for the war. The country was drained of money and there was huge budget deficit of more than  twelve thousand million lire as a result of which the cost of living increased significantly.

Moreover, as a result of the war, Italy had to resort to demobilization. The result was that there was serious unemployment in the country which resulted in discontent among the people. Consequently, there were widespread strike and lockouts. A number of uprisings were upheld by the hungry mobs. There were frequent riots in the country. Even the middle classes were also impoverished. The current Democratic government was considered as too feeble to deal with the large number of problems that were the country at that time (Payne, 1995).

The Treaty of London and its Impact on Italy

There was nearly complete, political instability. During 1919 and 1922, there were six coalition government, formed in the country. People started to believe that only a strong government can take the country forward under such circumstances. This position was fully exploited by the fascists and their leader Mussolini. They gave an idea that people that they were capable of providing a strong and a truly national government.


Another reason behind the rise of fascism in Italy was that the Italian leaders were also inspired by the Russian Revolution. The socialist leaders in Italy, tried to exploit the extremely bad economic conditions that the present in the country after the First World War. They made efforts to transplant the Soviet system in the country. Consequently the organized lockouts, strikes and riots in the country. As a result, chaotic conditions were created in Italy. This situation was also exploited by Mussolini in its favor.

The fourth reason was the faulty system of franchises that was present in Italy. This was also a major reason behind the rise of fascism. According to the current system of franchise, several political parties enter the parliament. The members belonging to these parties generally just as irrelevant matters, and were not concerned with the welfare of the people. As a result of their usual differences, these parties were not in a position to take any concerted action against terrorists. Such situation also significantly contributed to the rise of Fascism.

The economy of the country flourished when Italy entered the First World War. However, even if the industry flourished, they were only a few industrialists who did well under these circumstances. . In reality, the production was related with the war. However after the war, there were a number of problems faced by the factories. It was obvious that production needs to be changed into peace industry. But it required much time and effort as well as large amount of money. At the same time there was also a significant problem with the workers. The workers had worked hard and for long hours during the War. However, after the War, the wartime discipline was flagged. The workers did not favor longer working hours. At the same time, the wages fell by 25 percent during 1915 in 1918. The result was that it became very difficult for the workers to keep up with rising prices. This fact was a cause of frustration among the workers as they were inspired by Communism and Marxism. Both these ideologies will popular among the workers at the time. There was a big enterprise in the membership of trade unions and the work is starting to go on sites. The trade unions provided financial support to the workers during these strikes, as there will not be during the strike. The workers asked for higher wages and less working hours. The result was that the production in factories stagnated (Bosworth, 1998).

Economic Conditions and Unemployment in Italy after the War

At the same time, the situation in case of agriculture was also not any better. The prices were falling significantly. Agriculture was the main occupation in south of Italy. But this part of the country was rather poor. As compared to it, the northern part of the country has been developed as a large industrial center and had become quite rich. Similarly, the political situation in the country was also not good. Italy had to face political struggles before it had entered the First World War. Significant political debate was going on regarding the country joining the War. The Prime Minister and the foreign secretary had made secret alliances regarding the entry of Italy in the War. The result was that the Pope, and as a result, the Catholic Church did not support the War. It was termed as the useless slaughter by the Pope.

The soldiers who were returning from the war had to face the worsening economic conditions. A large number of soldiers were disappointed by the poor reward that they have received for their sacrifices. They felt that they were not care for and their places in factories or wherever they were working earlier had been taken by the persons. The industry was not in a position to take any more new workers. The result was that there were more than 2 million unemployed people when the demobilization started in 1919. However, it was not possible for all the soldiers will return directly. Some of the soldiers had to wait four years before they were allowed to return back to civilian life.

Under these circumstances, Mussolini offered a solution for all these problems. At the same time, he also made a promise that he would rescue the country from a "feeble government". Mussolini made a promise to the people that we will create a public delivery person will have the right to vote. He also assured that the government will be decentralized, and conscription would be abolished. This is particularly significant for the families that had suffered the loss of their relatives.

Similarly, Fascism also took the shape of an Anti-Communist and Anti-Socialist movement. According to the Fascist point of view, Communism was considered as the main source of disunity in the country due to its never-ending class conflicts and as a result the division of the people. Another big factor that can be described as responsible for the rise of Fascism in Italy was the support given by the Catholic Church.

Mussolini was of the opinion that continued to be governed by those who had fought the war. Mussolini had also taken part in the war. This idea was enthusiastically approved by the ex-soldiers. Mussolini propagated these views through his newspaper, II Popolo d'Italia (The People of Italy). In the beginning, it was a newspaper for the veterans, but later on, it became the organ piece of the Fascists.

The factory owners were also support of Mussolini. The reason was that he had made a promise that he will end workers strikes as these strikes caused the loss to the economy and caused a lot of money. The result was that the Fascist had much more money as compared to other parties. The peasants also extended their support to Mussolini, as they were unsatisfied with the present political situation. On the other end, Mussolini had made a promise that he will work for the betterment of the economy. The military also supported Mussolini on account of the issue of law and order. It always included the use of military and police. As a result, they expected financial betterment, and also better technology. Mussolini had promised to reestablish law and order in the country and end the civil war like circumstances that were present in Italy at the time.

Therefore, these were the lead because there were responsible for the rise of Fascism after the First World War.

References

Bosworth, J. B. R. 1998, The Italian Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives in the Interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism. London

Corner, P., 1975, Fascism in Ferrara, 1915–1925. London and New York

Lyttelton, A., 1987, The Seizure of Power: Fascism in Italy 1919–1929. Princeton, N.J.

Payne, S. G. 1995, A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. Madison, Wis.

Smith, M. D., 1983, Mussolini. New York

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