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Matthew Bergh

Abstract

The notorious dictator, Bentio Mussolini, became Prime Minister of Italy in 1922- 3 years after the Treaty of Versailles concluded the settlements for World War I in the summer of 1919. Shortly thereafter, Mussolini established his formidable dictatorship that would last 23 years. Post-war Italy experienced economic stagnation, high unemployment, inflation, frequent labor strikes, and stalled production and output among other problems. Many Italians were also frustrated that their country did not recieve more recognition in the Versailles Treaty for its contribution to the Allied Cause in the Great War. Interestingly, though, the sitution in Italy was very similar to other countries at the same time that did not witness their own Fascist revolution. Especially, when compared to Germany at the same time, Italy offers a compelling case, as the Nazis in Germany, despite far worse circumstances in their country, did not come to power until around ten years after Mussolini in Italy. In this essay, I offer an explanation to the many perplexing questions surrounding Mussolini's sudden and aboslute rise in circumstances probably inconsisistent with expectations for a setting preceding a revolution. In sum, Mussolini used a variety of tactics and methods combined with the powerful attraction of his personality to seize power and vindicate his creation of a totalitarian autocracy. I finish with a statement on the future for democracy and what democracy must do to survive going forward.

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Articles