Mussolini and the Fascist Italy
Causes for the Growth of Fascism in Italy
- Italy attended Paris Peace Conference with great expectations (The secret Treaty of London - signed in 1915 with the Allies gave Italy great hope)
- But US President Woodrow Wilson rejected Treaty of London.
- At Paris, Orlando presented the demands of Italy - Its claims over territories on Adriatic Sea, some Turkish provinces and Albania in the Balkan - rejected. Thus Italy gained nothing in Paris Peace Conference. "Italy had won the war but had lost peace". Italy was disappointed.
- Representatives of Italy -forced to boycott the conference. They felt that the Allies had purposely deceived Italy. This discontentment created a feeling of revolt among the middle class youth- decided to form organization and unite to avenge their national humiliation and treachery.
During war, Italy - forced to spend huge amt more than her national income. Unemployment prevailed. People believed -government was responsible - They wanted alternative government. Result of dissatisfaction-Rise of the Fascist Party
Spread of Socialism
Unemployment, poverty, inflation -helped the spread of Socialism.
Believers in Marxism had a political party called Social Democrats of Italy. In 1919 election they gained 156 seats out of 574. This party helped for the rise and development of Fascism in Italy.
Rise of Mussolini
- Mussolini - idea of Fascism- school teacher, trade unionist, journalist- imprisoned (1908) for revolutionary ideas- In 1912 started editing - Avanti, a socialist journal
- Born- 1883-Mussolini's father ironsmith-follower of Socialism- ∴ influenced by the socialistic ideology. Mussolini - When 1st WW broke- Italian Government decided not to take part in War-But Mussolini propagated otherwise to join war in favor of the Allies -Was punished- later Italy was forced to join the war on side of Allies- Result: Mussolini became popular
- Bolshevik Revolution (Great October Socialist Revolution) in Russia in 1917 ∴ People of Italy influenced by it- communists of Italy were planning for massive revolution.
- Mussolini- staunch opponent of Bolshevism, decided to start new party to fight Communism- march 1919 the Fascist Party -established under his leadership.
- Members wore black shirts - equipped with arms- disciplined and Mussolini was their chief commander.
- First party convention of Milan, Mussolini announced Programs and Charter of demands of party. They were:
- Nationalization of factories
- Confiscation of surplus money from the capitalists
- Universal Franchise
- Forfeiture of Church property
- Eight hours work in factories
- Framing of new constitution.
- Demands - achieved popularity- Members increased rapidly -17 thousand to 3 lakhs (1917 – 1922) - Fascists captured offices of Socialist and Communist parties by force.
- In October 1922- convention – Naples- Charter of Demands - passed (induction of Fascist members in the Cabinet, new election to the Legislatures and the adoption of a vigorous foreign policy).
- Government refused to concede∴ Fascists marched on to Rome-leadership of Mussolini-captured all government officers- government asked the king Victor Immanuel III to promulgate martial law. Mussolini was invited to form the ministry.
Mussolini as the Prime Minster of Italy
- Mussolini - took the following steps for - reorganization of administration.
- The dacoits living in the interiors of Naples and Sicily were crushed.
- The economic and social conditions of the laborers were improved.
- Trade Unions were abolished.
- The entire powers of the Parliament were snatched.
- Members faithful to the leader alone were appointed as Ministers and officers.
- Elections were conducted under the basis of changed law-Fascist Party - complete majority – in National Parliament- Mussolini - measures to crush opponents.
- All local bodies were suspended.
- Only Fascist lawyers were allowed to practice.
- In 1926, all political parties were banned.
- The cabinet system of government came to an end.
- Freedom of the Press was curtailed.
- Unlimited powers were given to the police department.
- Members of the opposition parties were imprisoned.
Mussolini as the Dictator
- Rule of one leader and one party (ideology of Fascism)
- He believed in supremacy of state-no faith in democracy -hated the majority individual had no right- individual - merely a means to recognize the existence of state.
NAZISM IN GERMANY
- After 1st WW- harsh peace -imposed on Germany and other defeated countries- created intense nationalist upsurge in Germany
- Economic breakdown, rise of socialist parties paved way for - Hitler and Nazism in Germany.
- Similarly such situation arose in Italy and Japan-resulted in the Axis formation.
- Aggressive foreign policy of Hitler led to 2nd WW
Germany at the End of World War I
- End of 1st WW- German King William -forced to abdicate - ∴ republic proclaimed in Germany.
- Friedrich Ebert-leader of - Social Democratic Party -formed temporary government-followed by an election to - Constituent Assembly- Social Democratic Party emerged as- largest party- session of Constituent Assembly held in Weimar- new constitution drafted-known as Weimar Constitution.
The Revolt of the Royalists
- Treaty of Versailles - harsh and humiliating to German- suffered territorial loss- policy of disarmament imposed.
- War reparation enormous-Germany held responsible- affected sentiments of Germans.
- Group of people opposed - signing of the Treaty of Versailles-March 1920, the royalists under the leadership of Dr.Kapp revolted. But he failed and surrendered before republican government.
- The second such revolt - led by Ludendorff-was assisted by Hitler. Ludendorff and Hitler were arrested and imprisoned for 5 years. It was during this jail life, Hitler wrote famous book Mein Kampfwhich later became Bible of Nazi party.
- Post war-Germany - disastrous financial crisis.
- For - payment of reparation- government -forced to take loans, Factories closed, Trade and commerce deteriorated, Heavy taxes imposed.
- To meet financial crisis - government had no other option but to issue more and more paper currencies-resulted into inflation-Unemployment was rampant.
Treaty of Versailles held Germany responsible ww1- had to pay a heavy compensation - Reparation Commission fixed the amount as 660 million pounds-There was opposition against these provisions. Most of them argued that, since Germany was not responsible for WW I, there was no need to pay the heavy amount of war indemnity.
- Financial crisis in Germany forced - Weimar Republic - appeal to allies for reduction of amt of reparation.
- Result -committee of ten members formed - chairmanship of Dawes- finance specialist of U.S.A.
- It made amendments to provision of Treaty of Versailles-known as Dawes Plan-financial burden of Germany reduced to certain level.
- When problem of reparation again appeared in 1929 Young Committee made a plan to solve it.
Hitler and the Nazi Germany
- Adolph Hitler - April 1889 (Born) - Austrian village - poverty - no proper education- fond of art -went to Vienna( age of 18) -to learn - painting and architecture-witnessed behavior of Jews- felt that Jews were moral enemies of individualism, nationalism, racialism and supporters of Marxian ideology- ∴ anti-Jew ideas developed at very early age.
Hitler opposed democracy -believed in supremacy of the German race.
- During WW1 Hitler joined army, participated in the war- was honored with -award of 'Iron Cross'.
- He believed -Jews and communists - responsible for defeat of Germany ∴ program to avenge defeat.
- He began work as spy in Munich- started a new party with Cooperation of his friends- National Socialist German Labor Party
- To carry out his programs, Hitler started -National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) –with 'Swastika' as symbol
- By 1932- membership of Nazi Partyincreased to 70 lakhs. To attract young people -Hitler Young Society was formed
- Formed two military bodies- brown shirts with red armband carryingblack Swastika- and another division called as the 'Black Shirts' (body guards of Nazi party leaders)
- In 1932, Hitler contested for post of President- wasdefeated - against Hindenburg.
- In generalelection - in the same year, his party - largestparty in parliament-as a leader of the majority party in Reichstag, Hitler became Chancellor. Thus formed Nazi Government.
- He established dictatorship of Nazi Party-Communistparty was banned - its leaders were arrested. The civil rights ofpeople were suspended - Weimar Republic came to end.
- Hitler declared the establishment of the Third Reich. The flag of theNazi Party became the National flag. The Parliament was dissolved.The powers of the parliament were transferred to Hitler.
Anti- Jew Policy
In Germany- Jews enjoyed privileged position due to Wealth and education.
Hitler believed Jews as anti- nationals- made several efforts to crush the Jews. Anti- Jew Laws were passed-denied of German citizenship- adopted very harsh and repressive measures for economic and cultural boycott of the Jews.
Hitler reorganized his military on basis of German nationality. Germans alone were admitted into the military service. He established a totalitarian type of government so that he could follow an aggressive foreign policy.
Foreign Policy of Hitler
Hitler did not approve the Treaty of Versailles. It was a dictated peace. Hence a humiliating one. German people accepted the policy of Hitler and accepted him as their leader.
The important aspects of his foreign policy are given below.
- German came out of the League of Nations
Following the League of Nations Disarmament Conference on February 3, 1932 (Geneva) -announced the withdrawal from the League- started the process of rearming Germany.
after Geneva Disarmament Conference, Hitler withdrew from League of Nations. Now he was free to rearm Germany. On March 16, 1935, Hitler announced compulsory military training for all German people. He also aimed to have the air force equal to that of England and France. He announced that reason for increase in strength of the army was self-defense. But France and England had natural suspicion over these actions of Hitler. ∴ They convened a meeting at Stressa (Switzerland) and condemned behavior of Hitler. But it did not affect Hitler from rearmament.
- Militarization of Rhineland
Rhineland was to be demilitarized, according to Treaty of Versailles. On March 7, 1936, Hitler sent his army to Rhineland and started construction of fortifications. France opposed this move. But England was a silent spectator. Thus a golden opportunity to stop the aggressive behavior of Hitler was lost by both England and France.
The Spanish Civil War
Republic proclaimed in Spain in 1931. In 1936, conservatives under General Franco started a Civil War against the Republic. Germany and Italy supported Franco whereas Russia supported Republicans. Republicans were defeated and dictatorship of Franco was established. Result: It helped Italy and Germany to come closer and later their friendship was converted into a treaty.
Rome- Berlin -Tokyo Axis
In October 1936, On the basis of an agreement Germany approved Italian control over Abyssinia and Italy granted permission to Hitler to annex Austria with Germany. Hitler was antagonistic towards Russian Communism. ∴ Hitler in November 1936, signed an Anti- Comintern Pact with Japan, another enemy of Russia. In November 1937, Italy was admitted into the alliance. This Anti Comintern pact - called as Rome –Berlin- Tokyo Axis- formed against England, France and Russia. This was the beginning of Second World War. Nazism grew in Germany under Hitler. It stood for aggressive nationalism, authoritarianism and leadership principle. On becoming Germany's Chancellor in 1933, Hitler undertook rearmament program. His aggressive foreign policy led to the Second World War. Similarly, Mussolini organized Fascist movement in Italy. He believed in dictatorship, aggressive foreign policy and colonial policy. Thus, he emerged as the Il Duce or supreme commander. Emergence of dictatorship in Europe paved the way for Second World War.