Essay on Mussolini: Working Class and Long Term Factors

Submitted By lord5835
Words: 1216
Pages: 5

Assess the reasons why Mussolini was appointed Prime Minister in 1922

There was a huge change in Mussolini’s political fortune from 1919 – 22. He basically went from being a political zero to a national hero, with four main factors playing a role; Mussolini and his talents, the appeal, support and actions from fascists, political issues in regards to failings and economic issues. These factors can be short term, relating to the march of Rome and the days leading up to his appointment on the 30th October, to long term factors spanning back to the First World War. These reasons are very much intertwined, with factors in one area often contributing to other areas, often causing a chain reaction of events.
Mussolini had many strategies in regards to gaining power. An obvious example of this is his political change from left to right. This shows that his only interest is to gain power. In this situation, Mussolini realised that there was much more support if he changed, with other parties already having he support of the people he was trying to win over. He realised that a change in political views would allow him to gain the support of groups that were, at the time, not really catered for. He also used several other methods. Firstly, there was clear use of violence with the squadristi playing a role as to create fear and to win support that way. The movement from left to right shows his flexibility. He was willing to cooperate with others as long as he saw political gain for himself. This shows his personality, which was a large contrast with the Liberals. This contrast highlighted his strength when compared to the liberals. The liberals are associated with failure, with events of the First World War and failed strategies which showed there political weakness. This is an early sign of the political issues of the nation, which progressed as time went on, and will be explored in a later paragraph. These factors are all long term factors. It was clear that it would take a long time for Mussolini to win the people over. A key factor in doing this is his conversion to Catholicism, and his decision not to abolish the monarchy. This is more of a short term factor. Mussolini needed to do this as the only way for him to get appointed without the use of any force. Especially with the march of Rome being almost an empty threat, with the Squadristi inadequately armed, Mussolini needed to do this. He realised that the king needed to appoint him, as well as being open to religion helped him gain the remaining necessary support he needed to gain power.
The fascists had support from a large number of groups; industrialists, large landowners, urban middle class, petty Bourgeoisie, rural lower middle class, students. Industrialists were won over after the general strike. The government were inactive which displeased many factory owners, with the majority fearing a revolution and see the government as weak and inactive. Where the squadristi succeeded in ending the strike quickly as well as maintaining public services. This meant that groups saw the fascists as strong, while demeaning other parties. Large landowners were fearful that they would be forced to pay higher wages and employ more people. This was especially potent if a socialist government came to power, with them losing large amounts of profit. Landowners felt abandoned by the government, as well as socially inferior people were taking over. They felt that fascists were able to resist socialism and would be able to protect their property. The urban middle class were worried in regards to the socialist control over local government. This, along with the fear they will be heavily taxed by the socialists, swayed them to support other parties, with fascists having the best solutions to their problems. The Petty Bourgeoisie were afraid of falling back into the working class and losing the gains they had made since the war. With many of this group being made of ex-soldiers, they already…