Benito Mussolini, Founding Father of Fascism
Mussolini once stated that “It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. It matters little who wins. To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I shall do.” As you would expect words like these from the mouth of Mussolini himself had been the inspirational backing to this dictator’s rain as sole leader of Italy in the Fascist party for nearly 24 years. Before the war, Mussolini formed the Fascist Party of Italy, by gathering the roaring support of many unemployed WWI veterans, like him. He proved to be the founder of Fascism and he had united Italy as one. During the war, Mussolini became power hungry, after joining forces with Hitler and the country of Japan. Hitler had influenced Mussolini to make many poor choices which would ultimately lead to the deaths of the both of them and the slaughtering of Fascism itself. After Mussolini’s fall from power, which occurred in the midst of WWII, Italy was thrown into chaos as the remaining Fascists fought against the partisans and the Italian army was left with no orders as to what they must do. As one may expect, this was just a temporary setback, and Italy once again formed its democracy. This essay will look at Benito Mussolini’s effect on Fascism and Italy before and during the war and after his fall from power.
After WWI, Mussolini developed distaste for Socialism and had declared it to be a failure, he called for a new system to be formed, one that would revive the nation of Italy to its former Roman glory. Mussolini utilized a number of books and ideals to form the Fascist system. When discussing the Ideology behind Fascism, Mussolini affirmed that “Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity, quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.” In 1922, Mussolini had gained the support of a number of Italian war veterans, at this same time Italy was in complete political anarchy, with no real party in power. He had used this as leverage to gain power and eventually make himself the leader of Italy. The King handed over power to Mussolini by inviting him to form his own government. Soon, Mussolini’s Fascist movement had formed into the National Fascist Party. The Fascist party had gradually disassembled the democratic government and gained full support of the military, business class, and the liberals. By 1925, Mussolini’s Fascist party had taken control of Italy and he had given himself the title of 'II Duce'. With such a title, he holds no responsibility to parliament and can only be removed by the king. He now set out to re-establish Italy as a major European power. In the years to come, Mussolini faced many assassination attempts, one being from an Archaist, this lead to Mussolini outlawing all other parties, in 1926. He coordinated many illegal activities in order to keep himself in power, one such being cooperating with the Mafia to reduce violence in order to make it seem as if the Mafia was defeated. With Mussolini in power, surrounded by greed, and no opposition left standing, the living standard for the average Italian fell greatly. Mussolini knew he needed to do something to prevent uproar from the Italian people. In 1930, an economic depression hit Italy and Mussolini had to find some way to help recover the economy. By 1935, Mussolini had control over three quarters of all business in Italy. He made an attempt at creating government initiatives to combat the economic setbacks and unemployment levels. Most of these failed because they used up valuable resources. Mussolini made it seem as if all was well and these initiatives were working by the means of propaganda. To gain further control of the economy, he issued price and wage controls in...
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