To what extent, the fear of communism was responsible for rise of Mussolini in Italy in 1922? Discuss
Communism emerged in Russia in 1917 which started spreading to Western Europe. By 1922, Socialist and communist supporters in Italy agitated for nationalisation of property and they wanted government to control the means of production. This demand created fear among capitalists and landlords. Mussolini and his fascists opposed communism and they promised security of wealth which earned Mussolini backing from the wealthy class of Italians which became the reason for their rise of power. However to attribute communism as the sole reason for the rise of Mussolini would be undermining various important factors that became the rise of Mussolini. Factor such as
Disillusionment at Paris Peace conference
When Italy joined WW-1, it was promised a number of gains as per the provision of ‘Treaty of London’ but the peacemaker of Paris failed to keep up its promise. This national humiliation gave to the rise of radical nationalist forces such as Mussolini.
The democratic regime in Italy failed to satisfy the aspiration of people and these circumstances enhanced the mass appeal of Mussolini
The world war had left Italy in ruins and the policy of protectionism adopted by other European nation further worsened the economic situation of Italy. Now Italy who was looking for a strong regime and Mussolini was seen as a messiah to address this problem.
Appeasement policy of Britain and France
Appeasement policy pursued by Britain and France also contributed to the rise of Mussolini because Britain and France saw Italy as buffer against the spread of communism.
Hence Communism to a certain extent was the rise of Mussolini which itself was a by-product of political instability and economic crisis.
Topics: GS-I: Cold War and Other Major Events of 20th Century
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