Rise of Dictatorship in Italy

Colton Siebert


Pictured: Italy, 1920

During WWI, Italy spent millions of dollars, and didn't get as much land or money as they expected to receive from the Treaty of Versailles. As a result, between 1919 and 1922, Italy suffered from huge economic struggles, and went through five different governments. Communist group sought to take control of the government, so Benito Mussolini, the leader of the new Fascist Party, sent his militia to stop these communist groups. The Fascist militia was called the Blackshirts.


Pictured: Propaganda warning against Fascism

Fascist Believed In:

1. Nationalism (their nation is better than others)

2. Totalitarian government (control over lives to promote state over self)

3. One-Party state (One, undisputed leader)

4. Self-sufficiency (government directs economy)

5. Military strength and the use of violence


Pictured: Mussolini's Blackshirts

The Blackshirts marched to Rome and intimidated the government into allowing Mussolini and the Fascists to create a new government. Mussolini had the Blackshirts kill or threaten leaders of opposing parties, which caused many opposing party members to flee Italy. Mussolini then formed Italy into a dictatorship, with himself at the helm.

Once in power, Mussolini ran Italy following his Fascist ideas. He got rid of other parties and controlled mass media so his government would be undisputed. He even changed the education system so children would learn Fascist ideas. Mussolini banned strikes and riots, and made sure workers and business owners worked together to help the economy. He also made deals with the Pope so his government would win favor with the Catholic church.


Pictured: Mussolini addressing the people of Italy

Mussolini saw war and violence as necessary, and trained boys, beginning in elementary school, to be soldiers. Children were taught that Fascism was the only way of life. He encouraged women to have many children in order to increase Italy's population, which he thought was necessary to have a strong military. He even met with nearly 100 women and considered them heroes because they had, on average, 13 children each. His goal failed, though, as the birth rate actually dropped following his campaign to increase the population.

Mussolini's main goal was to return Italy to the power it had with the Roman Empire. As a leader, he was successful in reducing riots and turmoil in the country, but had little success otherwise. He considerably overstated Italy's military power, and Italy had little economic success with Mussolini as dictator. Benito Mussolini was considered a hero in the Fascist party, as the first Fascist leader to take over as dictator of a country. He was looked up on by Fascists such as Adolph Hitler, who would later take over Germany in a similar fashion.


Pictured: Benito Mussolini, Dictator of Italy

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