We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

For What Reasons Did Liberal Italy Collapse in 1922? Essay Sample

essay
  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 1,038
  • Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
  • Category: italy

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Introduction of TOPIC

There are many reasons for the collapse of Liberal Italy in 1922. The Rise of Fascism can be directly related to the collapse of Liberal Italy as factors that contributed to the Rise of Fascism only made liberal Italy weaker.

After the war, Italy was in a state of turmoil. Politically, economically and militarily, she was devastated. The financial cost of keeping the soldiers armed and fed had placed a heavy burden on the Italian treasury. Borrowings had proved inadequate to pay for the war and the government had resorted to printing money. This had a dramatic effect. Inflation spiralled as ever greater quantities of paper money chased ever scarcer goods.

Inflation hit everyone in Italy, middle classes in particular. This brewed discontent and caused many Italians to change in their political views.

The end of the war led to a wave of labour militancy. Wartime discipline in the factories, enforced by the military, was relaxed. Workers who had resented the longer hours, the fall in real wages caused by inflation and the ban on industrial action vented their frustration. During 1919 over a million workers took part in strikes and the membership of Socialist trade unions shot up. As the economy worsened political divisions widened. The industrial workers flocked to the Socialist Party, whose membership rose from about 50,000 in 1914 to about 200,000 by 1919. The party had long abandoned the commitment to gradual reform that Giolitti had tried to encourage during the pre-war years. It now advocated revolution. Inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917, socialists called for the overthrow of the liberal state.

Many middle classes were terrified. In this state of fear, many conservative Italians were disgusted that the government appeared to be doing nothing to meet the threat. Instead of using the power of the state to crush strikes and to harass Socialists, the Liberal government of Francesco Nitti was urging industrialist to make concessions to workers. Shopkeepers had been alienated in June 1919, by what they saw as government surrender to rioters who were protesting against the spiralling price of food. To government had set up food committees that had requisitioned supplies and set prices. The continuing inflation that had provoked the foot riots was taken to be proof of government incompetence.

In addition, landowners were appalled by the government’s failure to halt the

Sorry, but full essay samples are available only for registered users

Choose a Membership Plan
spread of revolution to the countryside. Here many peasants were occupying uncultivated land and farming it for themselves.

It was not only over the issue of the supposed ‘Socialist threat’ that the right condemned the government. Nationalists, who had always considered the Liberals weak and incompetent at running the war, were now convinced that the government would fail to defend Italian interests at the peace conference. The Treaty of St Germain did cede Austrian land in the south Tyrol and the Trentino, but when Britain and the USA refused to had over Fiume, the Nationalists blamed Liberal weakness. When, in addition, it became apparent that Italy would be denied Dalmatia because so few Italians lived there, and would not share in the division of German colonies in Africa, Nationalists were outraged. To them Italy had been cheated. Her sacrifices had won only a ‘mutilated peace’, and Liberalism was the culprit!

Demobilised soldiers, struggling to adjust to civilian society and with work difficult to find, saw the peace settlement as a further humiliation. Many ex-officers, in particular, feared that the vibrant, expansionist Italy they had fought for was being undermined by a weak government. Their Italy was falling into the hands of Socialist revolutionaries who had opposed the war from the start and who had done their best to sabotage the war effort. For such men, Liberalism and the parliamentary system had proved abject failures. A powerful, dynamic Italy would have to be achieved by other methods…

Benito Mussolini made political capital out of this disorder. His Popolo d’Italia took every opportunity to exaggerate the socialist threat and to depict Fascists not as violent thugs but as selfless individuals devoted to creating their vision of Italy.

Mussolini’s Political skills were astute. He avoided committing himself to any clear policy and altered his message according to the audience he was addressing. His ability to reassure Liberals proved vital in securing his appointment as PM in October 1922.

The church played a huge role also. The Popolari had withdrawn its support for the Liberals when Giolitti proposed to introduce a tax which would have had the side-effect of hitting the Vatican’s financial investments. Without the tacit support of this Catholic party, with its 107 deputies in parliament, it was now virtually impossible for any government to survive, yet the Popolari were suspicious of the anti-clerical traditions of Liberalism and was willing to destroy any government that offended it.

There was an underlying problem with the system of government itself; Proportional Representation had led to a plethora of disparate parties, and ensured that there was a series of ineffectual coalition governments. Proportional Representation gave disproportionate power to small, special-interest parties. To make matters worse, the Liberals were divided among themselves. Liberalism was still plagued by factions centred on prominent politicians, notably Giolitti, Salandra, Facta and Orlando, and these leaders actively disliked one another. In such circumstances it was not surprising that the three Italian governments between May 1921 and October 1922 were fragile and unable to introduce the decisive measures needed to cope with the industrial disruption and the collapse of law and order.

Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy had a huge role in the collapse of Liberal Italy in 1922. The King, who had little love for the existing liberal politicians, thought that politically (bearing in mind the chaos Italy was in), Fascism was not a unattractive option. His decision, during the March on Rome, to withdraw orders for Martial Law, led to the resignation of Facta and Mussolini’s appointment as chancellor.

We can write a custom essay on

For What Reasons Did Liberal Italy Collapse in 192 ...
According to Your Specific Requirements.

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Should Italys Government Develop Policies in Order...

Contrary to the logical perception that people have of Italy as having large families, and a very ‘full’ population in general, Italy in fact has one of the lowest ‘average number of children’ per woman in Europe. Italy’s situation is quite unique in the sense that as many countries are worrying about very high birth rates, and low death rates which are leading to an increase in population, Italy is worrying about very low birth rates, which is leading to quite a low 0-19 population cohort and a un proportional 20-64 (middle aged) cohort. The 20-64 cohort is far to large in comparison to the 0-19 cohort meaning that there is now enough amount of children being born to support the generation above them in the future. Several other countries in Europe are in the same situation as Italy, such as Germany. As the population ages, there are certain structural...

How Successful Were Italian Leaders at Dealing...

Between 1871 and 1914, Italian leaders experienced many different problems, both nationally and internationally. These included the divided country, the poor state of the economy, a flawed political system and a foreign policy which resulted in the loss of thousands of Italian lives. Although Italian leaders did manage to deal with some issues during this period, many of them were left unresolved or got worse. For that reason they were largely unsuccessful at dealing with the nation’s problems. After the unification of Italy in 1861, there were divisions between the North and South of the country. Southern Italy had always been more agricultural with many people working on farms, whilst the North of the country was more industrialised. This led to issues, because those in the South often experienced poverty, but individuals in the North had better living standards because of industrialisation creating jobs. There were social differences between the...

To What Extent Was Fascist Control of...

After 1925 Mussolini’s power grew exponentially and as a result he had a firm grasp on his country. Propaganda was imperative to Mussolini’s regime but in terms of the power he held over Italy, nothing was more important than the support of Italy’s Elite. Propaganda was instrumental in consolidating power for Mussolini; he created several news and radio stations that would do wonders in pumping out pro-Mussolini information. Another company that was created for this purpose was LUCE. The advertising agency was focused towards making videos to put before cinema viewings that document the successes and achievements of Mussolini and his regime. This became a legal requirement for these documentaries to be shown before a showing and due to the fact cinema was a relatively new to Italy; The Italian people flocked to see it and absorbed a lot of the propaganda messages. Despite the fact that it did have...

Popular Essays

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?