Account for Mussolini’s rise and fall to power.
Through his reputation as having potential as a strong political leader to improve aspects of Italian society, Benito Mussolini came into power as the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922, following the March on Rome. He was a steadfast dictator that was able to continuously increase his level of power and influence by implementing many furtive tactics to ensure that his position remained in place and unchallenged in Italy. However Italy’s involvement in World War Two became a key factor in the downfall of Mussolini, and in 1943 he was replaced as Prime Minister.
Mussolini’s rise to prominence in European society was achieved through deep involvement in political journalism, working for several political newspapers. He quickly gained a reputation as a key Socialist in Italian society and through his journalism was able to greatly increase the number of supporters of socialism in Italy. However during the First World War his views began to differ from that of orthodox socialists and the advertisement of these views lead to his expulsion from the Italian Socialist Party. It was at this point that the creation of Fascism in Italy begun, which eventually became an important factor in the maintenance of Mussolini’s position of power.
With the creation of Fascism in Italy, Mussolini gained support from several areas of Italian society, which assisted him in gaining a prospective reputation during his rise to power. After being expelled from the Italian Socialist Party, Mussolini denounced socialism and in 1914 formed the newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia and the political movement Fasci Rivoluzionari d'Azione Internazionalista, which called themselves Fascists. In 1917, with funding from the British Security Service, Mussolini began to propel Fascism as a political movement and it gained popularity amongst war veterans and the middle class as it claimed to oppose all forms of class war and discrimination based on social class. Instead it claimed to support aspects of nationalism such as a unity, despite class differences, in the hope of improving Italy to meet the standards of Roman society. Mussolini manipulated the government’s fears of communism and unrest evident at the time by allowing fascist war veterans to form the “Blackshirts” or “squadristi,” an armed squad that aimed to restore order in Italy with aggression if need be. This marked the beginning of his implementation of furtive tactics to increase his power.
The March on Rome from the 27th to the 29th of October, 1922 was a key event as it marked the beginning of Mussolini’s coming into power. By now the Fascists in Italy had formed themselves into the National Fascist Party which contained 700,000 members, and in the previous year Mussolini had been elected as the Chamber of Deputies. During the time of a weak government, Mussolini called for a leader that was "ruthless and energetic enough to make a clean sweep" and that was able to solve the problems of Italy. With this statement, aswell as the position in parliament that he already held, it was clear that Mussolini intended to be that leader. He gained support of this when he later declared to the fascists "Our program is simple: we want to rule Italy" and many joined the March on Rome. It was a march that was celebrating Italy’s involvement in the war; however the fascists used it as an opportunity to declare that the current Prime Minister, Luigi Facta, should resign. The Prime Minister responded by ordering a state of emergency, however King Victor Emmanuel III, who assisted in the governing of Italy, refused to sign the military order and instead instated Mussolini as the Prime Minister of Italy. This specifically displays the power of influence that Mussolini had gained by 1922, as it is argued that the king’s refusal of the military order was done out of fear of sparking a civil conflict, possibly due to the threats that Mussolini and the...
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