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Flashcards in Primary Sources Deck (22)
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1

What are the three legacies of Italian Unification?

1. A fragmented society and the North/South divide
2. Structural flaws - a) the slow move towards democracy (1913): male universal suffrage); b) the failure to reconcile the Catholic Church to the new Italian state ("Roman Question")
3. Italy's international position: "Least of the "Great Powers" (defeated by Ethiopia at Adwa in 1896) - first time a European power defeated

2

Explain Liberal Italy (9)

• Differences between North and South - the "Southern Question"
• Political practice of transformismo (=individual co-optation of single parliamentarians, accompanied by manipulation of the electoral process by negotiating with political opponents)
• Gap between "legal" and "real" Italy (separation between law-making classes and the masses)
• Very limited franchise (suffrage restricted by gender, age, literacy, tax and property qualifications)
• National state often perceived as invasive: high taxation, conscription, etc. (particularly felt by those in the South who felt conquered and got nothing in return from being Italian citizens)
• Alliance between the Northern ruling class and its Southern counterpart to maintain the status quo - just interested in keeping power, thus restricted suffrage
• Increasing dissatisfaction of the masses toward the Italian state - protests, strikes, agitation
• Harsh response of authorities and police forces to protest (1894, 1898, 1900)

3

What marked Giolitti's first excursion as PM?

Giovanni Giolitti (1901-1914) - Liberal politican- happy to compromise
• The period 1901-7 was marked by reform and optimism
○ Expanding economy
○ Growth in agricultural production
○ Social legislation (recognised discomfort of the masses)
○ Legalization of strike
• Political Strategy
○ Attempt to co-opt Socialist and Catholics into the government (otherwise a danger)
○ Enlargement of the suffrage in 1912
Agreement with the Catholics for the 1913 elections - despite them invited by the Pope to disdain, lots of Catholics were willing to be active as they did not want the Socialists to represent the masses and so alliance is good

4

Explain the instability of "transformismo"

Instability of Italy - "transformismo"
Many different Prime Ministers from Nov.1903 - Oct.1922 (10, some twice)
Giolitti PM 4 times during this period - he knew how to move and how to make alliances, compromises (giving something in return but not too much)

5

What is Red Week

1914
Red Week: insurrection in large areas of North and Central Italy. General strike and widespread protests sparked off by some police killings during a demonstration (June)

6

Who was Mussolini

• Benito Mussolini: an active member of the Socialist Party and editor of the Socialist newspaper Avanti! Deviated from the party line about neutrality. Expelled from the Socialist Party, he founded the "interventionist" daily Il Popolo d'italia in November thanks to foreign funds and industrialists' support (French (interested in having Italy involved in the war somehow, industrialists saw the war as a good way to make money)
○ Thought war could be a good opportunity to change the political structures of Italy and instigate a revolution of some description
○ Italian Socialists differed in their neutrality to the war
○ Despite being expelled, Mussolini still stemmed from the Socialist tradition
His views and ideas change throughout the war

7

Italian government opted for what in 1914?

Italian government decided for neutrality at the outbreak of WWI - evidence that many of the masses were against the conflict

8

Why did Italy enter the war?

1. In spite of lack of public enthusiasm for conflict, Italy entered WWI in May 1915 against Central Powers despite their alliance since the 19th century but the allies promised Italy territory (Treaty of London); a) opportunist decision of the Salandra government in search of territorial expansion; b) agitation by diverse "interventionist" groups (small) who wanted to complete national unification, renewal of political institutions, war could bring revolution (Social Democrats)
a. Some of these territories very important for Italians - eg., the "unredeemed lands"
Some German colonies in Africa

9

Conduct of Italy in WWI?

Conduct of the war: shortcomings of the Italian state and military machine exposed. Defeat at Caporetto (Oct. 1917, invaded by Central Powers) was hardly compensated by the final victory of Vittorio Veneto (Nov. 1918) - "re-mobilization" in 1918 put blame on "defeatists", pacifists, "internal enemies" as it weakened morale of the Italian army and the population

10

How did WWI transform economy and society?

3. Transformation of economy and society: heavy industry expands, especially in "triangle" Genoa-Turin-Milan; food riots in 1917; militarization of society (the moment the army was also controlling society- related to later in the fascist regime?
Seen as a result of the difficulties of unification and the difficulties caused by WWI

11

What were the effects of WWI? (3)

Effects of War:
1. 1919 Paris Peace Conference underlined Italy's weakness in the international arena, since could not get all promised territories (eg., Fiume)
2. Nationalists were outraged by the outcome at Paris - myth of the "mutilated victory" - most Italians were unconcerned, BUT this affair highlighted the inability of the liberal state to pursue Italy's interests
Economic crisis - eroded faith in the liberal post-war government - inflation hit those with savings or professionals with salaries

12

What happened 23 March 1919?

• Rally organised by Mussolini in Milan on 23 March 1919 - establishment of the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (combat leagues) - less than 100 men
• Ex-combatants (eg., arditi (assault troops) from whom the fascists borrowed the black shirt)
• National syndicalists
• Futurists (leader of the movement Filippo Tommaso Marinetti) - saw war as something positive as it brings change - demonstrates a diverse group of people in Italy looking for change
• Focus on violence - 15 April 1919: assault on the editorial office of the Socialist daily Avanti! In Milan - seen as a powerful tool of "negotiation"
○ Clear definition of the Socialists as the enemy because they did not support the war - considered defeatists and thus to blame for Italy's weakness
○ Definition of sides begins here

13

What was the platform of the Fasci di Combattimento?

Platform of the Fasci di combattimento, published 6 June 1919
- Minimum age for voters lowered to 18 from 25
- A foreign policy aimed at expanding Italy's will and power
- A state law sanctioning a legal workday of 8 hours
- Minimum wage
- Reform of state bureaucracy
- The creation of an armed nation
- A large progressive tax on capital
Still we see aspects of Socialist tradition
Links to the difficulty of defining fascism as we see the developing ideas (Socialists, syndicalists, veterans)

14

What happened in Fiume 1919?

1919-20 Fiume / Rijeka
• Gabriele D'Annunzio led a motley crew of ex-servicemen and others to occupy the city of Fiume in September 1919 as it had not been given to Italy following victory - a demonstration of what Italy SHOULD obtain (part of the Italian disappointment)
• Italian Regency of Carnaro (self-proclaimed state with its own constitution)
• Treaty of Rapallo (Nov. 1920): Fiume is a "free city" - not part of a kingdom
• Intervention of the Italian army in December 1920 to eject D'Annunzio and his followers - "bloody Christmas"
• This experience became a sort of model for Mussolini (parades, action) and D'Annunzio a sort of competitor for Mussolini
During this period Mussolini observed and planned his move

15

When were elections?

Elections on 16 November 1919:
• Total registered voters 10,235,874. Turnout: 56.6%
• Result: Mass parties, not registered to elites, successful - suffrage
○ Socialists - 156 seats (32%)
○ Popolari 0 199 seats (21%)
○ Liberals 96 seats (16%)
Plus smaller parties, Fascists stood only in Milan where they received 4,795 votes

16

What are the Red Two Years?

The Red Two Years (19-20) - Revolution in the air
• Intense social conflict - unrest overlapped with/was caused by the postwar economic crisis (inflation: rising prices for food and raw materials)
• Land occupation (Apulia, Po Valley and Tuscany) - requests: higher salaries, shorter working days, peasants' co-management of farms, realising wartime promises of land
○ Federterra = union of rural labourers - became good at negotiation
Occupation of industries - organisation of factory councils, workers asking for higher wages; ownership and managerial authority in factories

17

What are examples of Fascist Reaction and Violence?

Fascist Reaction and Violence:
• Agrarian unrest, strikes and factory occupation highlighted to the propertied classes the incapacity of the liberal government to keep order
• Formation of militarised units in the Fasci - alliances with local socio-economic establishment - front against Bolshevism
• Ras = local / provincial fascist leaders as heads of paramilitary squads
○ Attacks on socialists, strikers etc
○ Founding of fascist syndicates / unions, acting as mediators between labourers and entrepreneurs
• Squads were financed and equipped by local farmers and business associations
○ Intimidation of day labourers who were forced to join the new unions
The "integral syndicate" = a single organisation for farmers and land works "a community of producers"

18

What happened in 1921?

• Creation of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in January; among its founders were Amedeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci
• Pact of Pacification between fascists and socialists - disagreement among fascists
• Elections in May - National Blocs: a coalition of political parties (liberals led by Giolitti, nationalists led by Corradini, fascists led by Mussolini) - Mussolini and other 34 fascists were elected to the Chamber of Deputies - trying to make others less dangerous / Giolitti's attempt to control Fascists
Birth of the National Fascist Party (PNF) in November - squads and then those playing the political game - dual aspect of fascism

19

Describe the PNF

PNF:
• The Party acknowledged the leadership of Mussolini ( a way for him to establish this was the formation of the Party)
• Creation of a Central Committee
○ Regional / provincial and local federations
• Ras continued to have full powers at local level
○ Italo Balbo in Ferrara
○ Roberto Farinacci in Cremona
○ Dino Grandi in Bologna
○ Augusto Turati in Brescia
§ They also challenged state authorities (prefects) at local level through the use of violence and intimidation to pursue "national" / "public" interests
• Rejection of the Pact of Pacification with socialists
• Members: ex-servicemen (war service had played a role), middle-class men, students (fascinated by violence and its use)
Fascism turned into a mass movement

20

Programme of the PNF?

Programme of the PNF,
Fundamental Elements 1921
Fascisms constituted itself as a political party in order to strengthen its discipline and to individuate its beliefs
A nation is not reducible to a sum of total of living beings nor it is a total that political parties may use for their own ends (...)

21

What was the March on Rome?

The March on Rome (24-29 Oct. 1922)
• To gain power, Mussolini followed two strategies :
1. Negotiations with leading liberals and the king
2. The threat of a coup
• On 24 October at the PNF conference in Naples, Mussolini stressed his readiness for government and reiterated his acceptance of the monarchy - until now we thought it was Republican but for him to renounce this, enables his legal gain of power
• Mussolini organized columns of armed Fascists to converge on Rome. Fascists took over smaller towns and cities in northern and central Italy
• 28 October: PM Facta asked the king to impose martial law. Vittorio Emanuele III refused, as he feared plunging Italy into civil war, triggering a leftist backlash, and was suspicious of army loyalty
• Here we see Mussolini trying to decide whether to gain power legitimately or violently

22

Events at the end

March on Rome: seizure of power OR negotiated surrender?
PM Facta resigned
Salandra refuses to form a government
Vittorio Emanuele III asks Mussolini to form a new government
Mussolini was granted a royal audience and invited to form a government, while some 50,000 Blackshirts paraded around Rome - no reaction from the army or police
Was it a coup? Or legitimate?