Fascist flg

Mussolini and Fascist Italy

  • Formation of an Independent Italy

    Formation of an Independent Italy
    The move towards a united Italian nation was called the Risorgimento, and took place from 1848 to 1871. The unification ended with the Capture of Rome from the Papal States in 1871. The newly united nation was called the Kingdom of Italy. The photo above is an artistic depiction of the Capture of Rome by Carlo Ademollo in 1880.
  • Italy Takes Over the Papal States

    Italy Takes Over the Papal States
    While the states within Italy were unified, they were not technically part of one state. The Papal States started to be annexed by Italy in 1860 and the last of them were annexed in 1870 following plebiscite vote in October following the Capture of Rome. The photo above shows the official flag of the Papal States.
  • Failure of the First Italo-Ethiopian War with Battle of Adowa (Adwa)

    Failure of the First Italo-Ethiopian War with Battle of Adowa (Adwa)
    Italy sought to expand its colonial foothold in the Horn of Africa and underestimated the adaptability and planning of Ethiopia. The final battle of the war took place between Ethiopians and invading Italian forces near the town of Adwa. The Italians saw more casualties and captures than the Ethiopians. The picture below is a painting depicting Ethiopian emperor Emperor Negus Menelik II at the Battle of Adowa.
  • Italy Invades and Takes Over Libya

    Italy Invades and Takes Over Libya
    As part of their colonial campaigns, Italian forces invaded Libya on October 4th, 1911. They captured the capital of Libya, Tripoli, from Turkish forces on October 5th, and then formally annexed Libya on November 5th. Below is a photograph of Italian forces invading Libya.
  • Mussolini begins work as editor for the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti

    Mussolini begins work as editor for the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti
    Prior to becoming aligned with far-right fascism, Mussolini was an editor for the Italian socialist newspaper Avanti. He was expelled from the Italian socialist party in October of 1914 when he expressed support for Italian entry into WW1. Below is a picture of an Avanti front page.
  • Mussolini Kicked Out of Socialist Party

    Mussolini Kicked Out of Socialist Party
    Mussolini voiced his support for Italian entry into WW1 because he thought it would bring glory and growth to the nation. Because socialists (and many others) thought Italy should remain neutral and that all wars were imperialist, Mussolini was expelled from the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). He then went on to found his own pro-nationalism newspaper called The People of Italy. Below is a picture of a front page of the People of Italy.
  • Treaty of London is Made

    Treaty of London is Made
    The Treaty of London was a secret agreement between Britain, France, and Italy that promised territory to Italy if Italy helped Britain and France during World War 1. After WW1, Italy received much less land than they were promised. This prompted Italians to refer to the post-war negotiations as a "mutilated victory." Below is a map showing the land that Italy was promised.
  • Beginning of the Biennio Rosso

    Beginning of the Biennio Rosso
    The "Biennio Rosso" refers to the two years in which violent socialist and communist protests took place throughout Italy. Citizens joined socialist trade unions in response to food shortages. In response to these attacks, fascist groups meant to put down protesters, such as the Fascio di Combattimento were created. Below is a photograph of communist protestors during the Biennio Rosso.
  • The Fascio di Combattimento

    The Fascio di Combattimento
    On March 23, 1919, the Fascists of the First Hour reform as the Fascio di Combattimento, a paramilitary group mainly tasked with putting down socialist activities in urban areas. On June 6, they publish the Fascist Programme, promoting their agenda and encouraging others to join Below is a picture of the group's official symbol: a bundle of sticks. The Latin word for "bundle" or "strong group" is where the term "fascism" originated from.
  • D'Annuzio Takes Fiume

    D'Annuzio Takes Fiume
    Gabrielle D'Annuzio was a poet but also a nationalist who was discontent with Italy's "mutilated victory." He became a military pilot and took control of Fiume, one of the territories Italy was promised, for 15 months before his troops were forced out. Below is a photograph of D'Annuzio.
  • Mussolini Forms Alliance With Giolitti

    Mussolini Forms Alliance With Giolitti
    Mussolini makes a deal with centrist liberal Giovanni Giolitti to gain more seats for fascists in the next Italian election. The Fascio di Combattimento is not as influential as he believes, and they win no seats in the November 1919 elections. Below is a photograph of Giolitti.
  • Mussolini Forms the PNF and is Made Leader

    Mussolini Forms the PNF and is Made Leader
    On November 9th, 1921, Mussolini forms the Partito Nazionale Fascista so that they can participate in elections as a more organized party. This group is much more successful in procuring seats and wins 35 seats in the 1921 elections, giving Mussolini the courage to retract his support and cooperation with Giolitti. The photo below is the logo of the PNF party, which uses the same bundle symbol as the Fascio di Combattimento.
  • March on Rome + Mussolini Becomes Prime Minister

    March on Rome + Mussolini Becomes Prime Minister
    In response to violent fascists demanding that Mussolini become Prime Minister of Italy, both the Ras and fascists action squads march to Rome on the evening of October 27th, 1922. The then-current prime minister, Antonio Salandra, encourages the king to make Mussolini prime minister after Mussolini refuses 4 fascist cabinet posts instead. He is made prime minister of Italy on October 29th. Below is a photograph of action squads marching toward Rome.
  • Corfu Incident

    Corfu Incident
    On August 31st, 1923, an Italian general was murdered in Greece while trying to resolve a border dispute between Greece and Albania. Mussolini sent Italian forces to bombard and occupy Corfu, Greece until September 27th. Below is a picture of Italian troops while occupying Corfu.
  • Acerbo Law Passed

    Acerbo Law Passed
    Proposed by Baron Giacomo Acerbo, the Acerbo law made it so that the party with more than 25% of the popular vote would receive 2/3 of the seats in parliament. Mussolini used his actions squads to intimidate officials into signing the law and then won the majority of seats in the house in the 1923 elections. Below is a photograph of Acerbo.
  • Matteotti Crisis

    Matteotti Crisis
    Giacomo Matteotti was an Italian socialist who was also a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. He was assassinated by fascists on June 10th, 1924 after declaring voting fraud in the April elections. In order to resolve the bad press associated with the fascist party, Mussolini asserted responsibility for his death, though it's unknown if he actually had a hand in it. Below is a photograph of Matteotti.
  • Aventine Succession

    Aventine Succession
    In reaction to Mussolini's growing power, about 150 socialist and liberal members of the Chamber of Deputies succeed in an attempt to remove Mussolini from power. This fails, giving Mussolini the opportunity to take over the government with the fascist party. The photograph below shows members of the Chamber outside after having walked out.
  • Battle for Grain

    Battle for Grain
    The Battle for Grain was one of Mussolini's political campaigns to improve living conditions for Italians. The Battle for Grain specifically aimed to improve agricultural production in both the northern and southern regions by giving rewards to productive farmers and imposing restrictions on imported food items. Cereal production doubled by 1939, but Italy still had to import fruit, wine, and olive oil due to most of its land being used for grain. The photo below shows Italian farmers.
  • Lorcano Treaty Signed

    Lorcano Treaty Signed
    The Lorcano treaty guaranteed the borders of Germany's western frontier. More importantly, it obliged Britain and Italy to help settle any aggression or disputes that happened across the new border. Historians generally agree that these treaties were a failure to prevent further European conflict. The photograph below show negotiations for the Lorcano Treaties.
  • Battle for Land and Battle for the Lira

    Battle for Land and Battle for the Lira
    The Battle for Land aimed to drain marshlands and swamps, namely the Pontine Marshes near Rome, in order to make room for farmland and create jobs. The Battle for the Lira manually increased the value of the Lira currency in order to raise its value abroad and curb inflation. The Battle of the Lira only caused more inflation and unemployment. The photo below shows the Lira currency.
  • Battle for Births

    Battle for Births
    Mussolini wanted to increase Italy's population of 40 million in 1927 to 60 million by 1950. He also wanted to get women out of the workforce. He did this by banning contraceptives, restricting access to abortions and divorce, and making taxes higher for bachelors and zero for large families. By 1933, women still held a third of jobs and most kept their jobs during WW2 thanks to men being conscripted. The picture below shows Mussolini's own family which represents how he valued large families.
  • Lateran Treaties

    Lateran Treaties
    In 1929, Mussolini manages to make a deal with Cardinal Gasparri, a senior Vatican official. The result were a series of treaties that recognized Vatican City and Italy as separate states, gave Italy the city of Rome in return for 1750 Lira, and made Roman Catholicism the official religion of Italy. The photo below shows Italian and Vatican delegations prior to negotiations.
  • Kellogg-Briand Treaty Signed

    Kellogg-Briand Treaty Signed
    Also known as the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, this treaty sought to have European countries (but also the U.S. and Japan) refrain from using war as a means to solve international disputes. This failed significantly. The photo below shows the signatures of the countries involved.
  • Stresa Front

    Stresa Front
    An agreement between Britain, Italy, and France that re-enforced the Locarno Treaties and prohibited Germany from making any more changes to the Treaty of Versailles. This became ineffective about 2-3 years later after the Italian invasion of Abyssinia. The photo below shows officials arriving to the Stresa meetings.
  • Abyssinian Crisis

    Abyssinian Crisis
    The Abyssinian Crisis was a period of prolonged fighting between the Kingdom of Italy and the Ethiopian Empire caused by repeated invasions by Italy to claim Ethiopia as Italian territory. Italy ultimately annexed Ethiopia while ignoring economic sanctions by the League of Nations. The political cartoon below implies that Italy saw the Ethiopians as "barbaric" even though they had done nothing wrong and regarded conquest and destruction as "civilized."
  • Italian Involvement With the Spanish Civil War

    Italian Involvement With the Spanish Civil War
    Italy joined the side of the Spanish Nationalists and sent military pilots and soldiers to their aid. Additionally, they also supplied weapons and technology such as tanks, machine guns, and bombers. The photo below shows both male and female soldiers participating during the war.
  • Rome-Berlin Axis Treaty Signed

    Rome-Berlin Axis Treaty Signed
    Hitler, who currently presided over Nazi Germany, and Mussolini made a deal to protect each other, which informally linked the two countries and laid the groundwork for their alliance (along with Japan) in WW2. The photo below shows Mussolini and Hitler standing together.
  • Munich Conference

    Munich Conference
    An agreement between Britain, France, Italy, and Germany gave Sudetenland, in western Czechoslovakia to Germany, partly due to its large German population. This temporarily appeased Germany and is regarded as a successful war preventative. The photo below shows the four leaders negotiating at the conference.
  • Italy Invades Albania

    Italy Invades Albania
    Italy invaded Albania in another attempt to expand Italy's borders. Albania was quickly overtaken and became a protectorate within the Italian Crown. The photo below shows Italian forces entering Albania.
  • Italy Enters WW2 on Germany's Side

    Italy Enters WW2 on Germany's Side
    Despite not having a formal military alliance, Mussolini declares that Italy will join WW2 on the side of the Axis Powers. After Mussolini is captured and killed, the Republic of Italy switches sides to the Allies. Their goal was to target British forces in Africa and the Middle East, which was a tactic known as "parallel war." The picture below depicts the Axis Powers: Italy, Japan, and Germany.
  • Mussolini Brough Down by Coup During WW2

    Mussolini Brough Down by Coup During WW2
    Mussolini was voted out of the Fascist Grand Council after many Italian military losses at the start of WW2. He was arrested after meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, but not before he and his mistress tried to flee to neutral Switzerland. General Pietro Badoglio would assume the powers of prime minister. The photo below shows Mussolini being arrested.
  • Mussolini Killed

    Mussolini Killed
    Mussolini and his mistress are shot by a group of Communist-led partisans. They were hung two days before Adolf Hitler committed suicide. The photo below shows Mussolini and his then-current mistress, Claretta Paticci being hung.