New PDF release: Mussolini and Fascist Italy (Lancaster Pamphlets)

By Martin Blinkhorn

ISBN-10: 0203131215

ISBN-13: 9780203131213

ISBN-10: 020396926X

ISBN-13: 9780203969267

ISBN-10: 0415102316

ISBN-13: 9780415102315

ISBN-10: 0415262062

ISBN-13: 9780415262064

During this absolutely revised and up-to-date pamphlet, Martin Blinkhorn explains the importance of the guy, the flow and the regime which ruled Italian existence among 1922 and the second one international battle.

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Extra info for Mussolini and Fascist Italy (Lancaster Pamphlets)

Example text

5 million demobilized ex-servicemen returned home from early 1920, rapidly rising unemployment. Italy’s political system was confronted with these problems at a time when it also faced the sudden advent of an age of mass politics to which its practices and personnel were ill-attuned. In fulfilment of wartime democratic promises, proportional representation, favouring modern parties over traditional patronage politics, was introduced for the 1919 elections. The future of Italian democracy now lay largely in the hands of these two mass parties; neither was strong enough to govern alone, yet despite common ground between moderate socialists and leftwing popolari, the mutual antagonism of the socialist left and the Catholic right prevented a reformist alliance which might have guided Italy into a genuinely democratic era.

Mussolini’s determination to strengthen fascism’s position was soon evident with the passage in July 1923 of an electoral reform, the Acerbo Law, designed to give the leading party or alliance at a general election two-thirds of the seats in parliament. At the April 1924 election the official, 24 fascist-led list of candidates polled 66 per cent of the votes and won 374 out of 535 seats. In the south, where fascism had been weak before October 1922, the movement was now able to use the customary electionrigging machinery in order to ensure a triumph for the official list; in the north, on the other hand, the contest remained sufficiently free for the left to poll too well for the government’s comfort, demonstrating that even in its own strongholds fascism’s grip was not yet total.

This conclusion is reinforced by the essentially militaristic nature of Mussolini’s domestic policies, so many of which, significantly, were depicted in terms of ‘battle’. The purpose of the ‘battle for grain’ was to make Italy self-sufficient in the most important of all basic foodstuffs so that this rising population, steeped in militaristic values and quasi-military disciplines by fascist education and fascist propaganda, could be adequately fed in times of war. And fascist industrial policy, as we have seen, sacrificed export industry in favour of the heavy industry necessary to war production.

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Mussolini and Fascist Italy (Lancaster Pamphlets) by Martin Blinkhorn

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