-Early Ministries
-Risorgimento (the unification of Italy) was completed in 1870 when French troops left Rome and it became part of the New Kingdom. There were several problems:
Many Italians lived outside the borders of new Italy, in regions that belonged to the Hasburg empire. This complicated Austro-Hungarian relations.
  • Italians disliked the new state. There was a strong division between the poor south and the rich north.
  • The Pope did not recognize the new state and discouraged Catholics from taking political action.
  • Italy was poor, which spawned violence.
  • The next several Italian governments were brief and unstable.

-Francesco Crispi was the prime minister from 1887-91 and from 1893-6.
  • He introduced some reforms - for example, he reduced the role of the Church in education.
  • His primary concern was foreign policy - Italy was geographically vulnerable.
  • He formed the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882.
  • 1896: Abyssinian forces defeated the Italians humiliatingly. Crispi resigned shortly after this.

-Giovanni Giolitti was the prime minister from 1903-1914.
  • Industrial production and trade went up, while violence went down.
  • The Pope announced toleration of voting in elections to keep the Socialists out of power.
  • Red Week of June 1914: several Italian areas declared themselves independent communes or republics.

-Italy in WWI
  • Italy remained neutral until May 1915
  • Treaty of London: Allies received Italian military assistance, Italy received help in their fight against Austria, as well as various pieces of land.
  • There were many nationalist demonstrations to get war support in Italy.
  • The Italian army was less than impressive, and suffered several major defeats.
  • In the end, the Italians got land from the Treaty of St. Germain, but it was not as much as they'd wanted. They also had huge war debts and an increased cost of living, as well as having lost 600,000 men.

-1921-1922: The Fascists Take Power
  • Economic problems encouraged Fascist support
  1. War debt/reconstruction caused inflation
  2. The working class supported left-wing parties, insinuating strikes, riots, etc. This raised fears of socialism. The Fascists offered an alternative to Bolshevism.
  • Fascist violence and unstable government continued
  1. Giolitti resigned because of Fascist opposition in Parliament, leaving Luigi Facta to take over.
  2. The government did little to suppress Fascism.
  3. Fascists promised they'd end strikes and fears of socialism if the current government failed to do so.

-Obstacles to Fascist Takeover:
  • The King and his army - the king's role was decisive.
  • Loyalties of the army were uncertain
  • D'Annunzio resented Mussolini's support

-By mid-September, much of North Italy was Fascist because of the domination of the local government.
-Mussolini said that the Fascists would only join the government if they were given five cabinet posts, including foreign ministry. He made plans for the March on Rome on October 28.
-On October 30, Mussolini became the prime minister.

-Mussolini was given power to restore order and introduce reforms
-January 1924: Fascist squads became MVSN. This was a volunteer militia that took their oath to the state, not the king. It was a private army for Mussolini.
-Many liberal and right-wing politicians joined the Fascists, adding respectability (and power) to the movement.
-The fear of Socialism provided the main fuel for the support of Fascism.
-Punishments for opposing Mussolini were severe.
-Fascist propaganda was based on the strength and power for the party and the leader.
-Mussolini and Hitler hugely influenced each other.

-The Lateran Treaties were a success for the Fascist government.
  • Ended long hostility between the government and the papacy
  • Gave the Pope the right to rule over Vatican City.
  • Defined the role of the Church in the Fascist state
  • Catholicism was made the official state religion; church marriages and religious instruction in schools were legal
  • Fascism was admired for this - it was the first government to solve the sixty-year dispute.
-Mussolini made many educational and cultural reforms.
  • "Fascist culture" became a school subject
  • Textbooks were censored and/or banned at the Fascists' scrutiny.
  • Youth organization, Balilla, was formed for young Fascists
  • The Dopolavora was an organization for adults. It gave Fascist control to basically all art, entertainment, and sports.