Explain why the liberal regime of Italy faced considerable problems in 1914.

Essay by Tommmo February 2005

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Even in 1914, Liberal Italy was still a flawed state. There was much political unrest, with the government in a weakened state. In the South there were peasant uprisings, and in the North there were numerous strikes by the workers. These culminated into times such as 'Red Week' in 1914, when a mass series of strikes almost crippled the already feeble economy. All of these strikes had the effect of scaring the middle classes. Sometimes the government negotiate with the workers, and at other times send in troops to shoot strikers, with the objective of instantly quelling civil disobedience. This confused response from the government presents an image of a broken, disorderly administration, the actions failing to satisfy either party - workers or middle class.

Another obvious weakness in the governmental system of the time was that of Transformismo. Now becoming recognised for what it really was, many people felt worried or discontent about the way that their country was being run.

It started to be ignored by the maximalists, who treated it with contempt as a half-baked system with no clear guidelines. It also began to concern the middle classes, who were now fully aware of the level of corruption. The disparity of the system meant that Transformismo was wholly inadequate to deal with Italy's complex problems.

In addition to the appalling state of the government in Italy's problems was its economic status. The legacy of unification left Italy with severe fiscal issues, the process had not been cheap. There was a tremendous amount of debt as a result of the wars of unification. Indeed, over 60% of state income was spent on servicing debts. The government struggled to control the situation, which continued to decline, as the cost of foreign wars worsened the debt. In the areas...