Italy and MussoliniI - Why did the fascists come to power in 1922?

Essay by SubmitterUniversity, Master'sA-, April 2006

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The question regarding why fascists came to power in Italy during 1922 is a complex one. There are many contributing factors to consider before a clear answer can be provided, but is it submitted that the role of the Italian King is the most significant. It can be argued that to provide an accurate response to this question, one must generate two answers. The first answer must clarify which single event resulted in the fascists achieving power and the second answer must discuss the actions which contributed towards the rise of fascism. The following essay shall generate these answers and additionally argue the relative importance of the role of the King, the failure of liberal parliamentary government to deal with the problems and disillusion of post-war Italy, the appeal of fascism to wide sections of the Italian people, Mussolini's opportunism and flexibility, and the fear of revolution coupled with the apparent security offered by fascism.

As mentioned, it can be submitted that the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, was the final barrier the fascists had to confront in their rise to power and subsequently the most significant factor in how the fascists came to power in 1922. It was his failure to declare martial law in the face of Mussolini's March on Rome in which Mussolini stated he would seize government that led to a succession of events which resulted in Mussolini achieving the title of prime minister and the fascists controlling government. It is noted that the King had stated that the army would be unable to stop Mussolini's camice nere, black shirts, and so he had decided to try and compromise with Mussolini. However, this claim was challenged by military leaders at that time and furthermore in later years by surviving military records. These claims demonstrate...