The Importance of the Leadership of Mussolini in the Rise of the Fascists?

The Importance of the Leadership of Mussolini in the Rise of the Fascists?

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The leadership of Mussolini could be argued to be a highly important reason in the rise of the Fascists but other influences which could be cited, like the system of proportional representation, the tensions in Italy over what had been gained for the role they had played in WWI and also the fear of Communism and of Socialism, should not be overlooked. After WWI, Italy was left with severe economic problems; all war-related industry ceased causing mass unemployment and trade union membership soared leaving in its wake two troubled years, known as Biennio Rosso. Coalition governments became commonplace after the introduction of proportional representation (the percentage of votes is equal to the number of seats won) as it allowed many smaller parties to gain power. This fairer voting system ensured that it was nearly impossible to gain complete control to form a strong government and so was unsuccessful in solving the problems Italy faced after WWI. Socialism was became the leading ideology after the war as the Partito Socialista Italiano (PSI) developed into Italy’s largest political party. This caused the middle and upper classes extreme anxiety as they feared revolts by the working class as had been seen in Russia in the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, a bloody affair in which the Winter Palace was captured and destroyed by the working class citizens. Fear of a similar massacre, which the Socialists were striving for, and of Communism led the middle and upper classes to find the solution through another political party: the Fascists.
Benito Mussolini was born in 1883 in Predappio in Romagna. His father, although usually unemployed, engaged heavily in the left-wing politics commonly associated with this area. which infl...


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...e the Fascists an opportunity to utilise the anger which had swept through Italy to their advantage to ensnare voters to enable them to gain a place in power. The fears, of the middle and upper classes in particular, meant that any problems with Fascism were overlooked as they were overshadowed by worries over loss of land and money through Socialism and Communism. The rise of the Fascists to power cannot be solely attributed to one cause as each was beneficial; Mussolini’s leadership enabled them to stay in power once they had got there, the after effects of WWI had created anger and resentment that could be argued to fuel Fascism, the system of proportional representation meant that Fascists easily gained a foothold in the government and fears over different ideologies meant that issues with Fascism went unnoticed and were therefore not seen as a potential threat.

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