Seizure of Power
11 Pages
2659 Words

On the 23 March 1919 after a series of Communist

demonstrations, the almost forgotten Mussolini decided to attempt to

revive his Fasci movement. A meeting was held in a hall in a Milan and

was attended by some fifty malcontents. From this seemingly small and

insignificant event the Fascio di Combattimento' (Combat Group) was

born. Initially, it would seem that the Fasci were destined for

failure with none of their candidates (including Mussolini) winning a

single seat in the 1919 elections. How was it that a party with no

clear programme, save a belief in action of some sort, became a ruling

dictatorship little more than ten years later? By the end of 1919,

Mussolini possessed hardly more than 2% of the vote in Milan, less

than 5000 votes against 170,000 for the Socialists. Was this a

complete disaster? At the time it seemed so; the Socialists were so

confident of their success that they staged a mock funeral in Milan

stopping outside Mussolini's house to invite him to attend the burial

of his party. Incredibly, by 1921 the membership of this previously

tiny group was to rival the size of the Socialists. How was this

achieved? It was certainly by no easy means; Mussolini's skill and

luck played a vital role, but he was also helped by the seemingly

blind incompetence of his opponents. Mussolini's path towards the top

of Italian Government was hindered by many forms of opposition.

However, most of his opposition came from the Government and the rival

Socialist (PSI) party. Soon after the summer of 1920 the Fascists and

their opposition inevitably clashed. The fact that Gioletti's

government was faced with - million workers sitting in in factories

showed that Italy was a far from stable country in 1920. Did an

opportunity present itself for Mussolini to gain ground over the

Socialist opposition? If it did, Mussolini certainly ...

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