Explain any five causes of Fascism.
Following are five causes for the rise of Fascism in Italy:
Discontentment after the Treaty of Versailles - Italy joined the Allies in the First World War to gain territories of Turkey and Germany. However, by the Treaty of Versailles she managed to secure only Southern Tyrol and Trentino, and the coastal regions of Dalmatia.
Economic Crisis - Italy suffered heavy losses during the First World War in terms of life and property. After the war, she faced large scale unemployment, especially among soldiers. There was also a severe shortage of food grains.
Political Instability - Democracy was introduced in Italy for the first time in the year 1919. However, the elections failed to give a clear majority to any one party. As a result, there was severe political instability in the country and between the years 1919 and 1922 Italy saw the rule of six coalition governments. The coalitions had to have several parties within their fold, which in turn resulted in fragmented policy making and execution. These coalition governments were not able to deal with crises like unemployment, strikes and riots that took place during 1921-22. This situation was exploited by the Fascists under Mussolini who promised a strong and decisive national government.
Class Conflicts - Class conflicts had intensified in Europe following the First World War. There was a clear power struggle between the aristocracy and the general masses for hold over political power and economic systems. Though during the First World War, the common population had been promised greater attention to its economic needs and aspirations, this was not done after the war. This gave rise to a lot of resentment amongst the masses.
Leadership Provided by Mussolini - Mussolini had a great sway over the collective psyche of the post First World War generation. He has a charismatic personality, his speeches glorified the real and imagined past achievements of Italy. Through such hyperbole, he slowly won over the majority of the Italian population. He was called ‘Duce’ which means the leader.
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