Mussolini’s appointment as Prime Minister in 1922

Timeline of Mussolini's Early Life

Mussolini’s Early Life.pdf

Mussolini's career before his appointment as Prime Minister

SOCIALISM

In 1909, Mussolini moved to Austria-Hungary where he became the editor of a socialist newspaper. However, he was deported back to Italy for violating laws that restricted press freedom.

In 1910, Mussolini became the editor of another socialist newspaper but was jailed for six months for inciting violence. While he was imprisoned, he began writing his autobiography.

He became the editor of another newspaper, Avanti! in 1912.

In 1914, Mussolini became the leader of the City Council of Milan.

ESTABLISHMENT OF FASCISM

Mussolini began l Popolo d'Italia on 15 November 1914. It was a pro-war newspaper during World War I that became the foundation for the Fascist movement until it ceased publication on 24 July 1943.

On 11 December 1914, Mussolini formed the Fasces of Revolutionary Action after being expelled by the PSI.

On 23 March 1919, he renamed it to form the Italian Fasces of Combat. Their support increased, sparked by resentment of the Treaty of St. Germain. Their policies were especially attractive to War Veterans.

By the end of 1919, Mussolini entered the general election as the Fascist candidate but lost following a Socialist landslide victory.

RISE TO POLITICAL POWER

By 1921, he was elected into Italian parliament as one of the 35 Fascists, but briefly resigned as Fascist leader and was forced to end the pacification act with the Socialists.

In November 1921, he transformed the Fascists into the Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF (National Fascist Party) and was able to hold more control with an extremist right-wing party. They also dropped anti-clericalism, thus increasing the support of the church and catholics.

The March on Rome

On 16th October 1922, the Fascist leaders began to plan a revolt.

At the Fascist Congress in Naples on the 24th of October, Mussolini brazenly declared that the Fascists would either be appointed or seize power themselves. All the while, the authorities took no notice.

The takeover began on October 27. Overnight, the fascists seized control of key buildings around Italy, such as telephone exchanges, police stations, government offices, etc. While they were mostly successful, in some places they were temporarily successful and in others they failed.

In an attempt to halt the further crisis, Mussolini was offered a ministerial post. However, other Fascists persuaded him to reject the offer and wait as the Government had taken limited action against them so far. They believed that they could achieve a more satisfactory outcome.

While Fascists gathered in three main areas around Rome, the Blackshirts (a volunteer-based paramilitary of the Fascist party) were under strict orders not to clash with the army.

With no end in sight, Prime Minister Luigi Facta asked King Emmanuel III to agree to military action against the Fascists.

On October 28th, after a long period of reflection, the King agreed to impose martial law and order the arrest of Mussolini. However, he quickly reconsidered and reversed his decision.

Former Prime Minister Antonio Salandra attempted to form a new Government including Mussolini, however, he refused to participate in Salandra's government.

On the 29th, Salandra advised the King to appoint Mussolini as Prime Minister, and the King agreed. He sent a telegram to Mussolini inviting him to Rome, and he leaves by train to Rome (he did not participate in the march on Rome.)

Officially, Facta resigned on the 31st of October, with Mussolini officially appointed as Prime Minister by the King on that day.

Quite ironically, Mussolini did not participate in the March on Rome. However, he took photographs with those who did, as if he was actually a participant! (see right)

“The appeal of fascism was the main reason for Mussolini becoming Prime Minister in 1922.”

How far do you agree?

🎧 Listen to my podcast 🎤 (episode linked below) for my take on the statement.