Why did Mussolini's power survive the Matteotti crisis?

Essay by Tommmo February 2005

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There was a range of factors contributing to Mussolini's prevailing power throughout the Matteotti affair. Whilst there was an initial public furore surrounding the murder of the Anti-Fascist politician, a range of groups and support from these parties meant that Mussolini was to triumph. The King, the Army and the Elite of Italian society were the main factors in Mussolini's continued support.

King Victor Emmanuel III was a great advocate of Mussolini. Although he had ultimate power, the ability to remove the Prime Minister from his office at any time, he had no intention of exercising this right at that moment in time, even with many voices of dissent emerging. He stated that he was 'blind and deaf' to such pressure until such a time as Mussolini no longer held a parliamentary majority, more or less ignoring the Aventines completely - labelling them as 'unconstitutional'. The King had his own reasons for rejecting the Aventines too, in that they possessed republican tendencies.

He also noted in his diary that support for Mussolini would still be found from Salandra - almost as though attempting to justify his position. You could argue that the King was a weak man and lacked the stomach for a tough decision like imposing his authority in such a way, but such apparent devout support would suggest a certain sympathy to Mussolini's beliefs and approval of the very real action the Prime Minister was taking to secure the state's supremacy. Of course a predominant factor in the King's decision to support Mussolini, and indeed in many others, was the fear of the 'Red Tide' of Socialism and Communist ideologies in general.

Also influenced by the fear of a Socialist revolution were the Elites of Italian political and civil society, Industrialists whose natural alliance was with the right...