Mussolini's Italy

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini

1883 - 1945

Violent child, bad relationship with father, kicked out of school.
Young Adult:
Trained as a teacher, kicked out of school, fled to Switzerland to avoid the draft, deported twice, jailed, developed political philosophy in jail
Adulthood: Dynamic speaker, rose to power through manipulation and intimidation. At first held strong socialist ideals and then rejected their ideals once WWI starts- saw this as Italy's chance to regain power and change corrupt practices.
Once he started printing ideas conflicting with the socialist cause, he was fired from Avanti! and recruited by Il Popular d'Italia.
Develops loyal, often violently disgruntled followers (former socialists, violent thugs, restless revolutionaries, some republicans), hints at the need for a dictator, offers up himself.
Three months after WWI, forms group into military organization "Fasci Di Combattimiento"
"Squadristas"= his thugs, attacked leftist organizations
Controlled many regions, used intimidation tactics

Mussolini Political Power

1921 - 1945

In 1921, Mussolini wins a parliamentary seat, though the government is still controlled by a weak liberal socialist government. He wins through corrupt means, using intimidation tactics. To further his own power, he works on building a relationship with the king, who still holds on to significant power. During 1922, there is a "March on Rome" where there is a huge general strike. Mussolini offers his thugs for the King's use to stop the strike. After 40,000 blackshirts stop the general strike, Mussolini insists he is declared Prime Minister. On Oct. 31, 1922, Mussolini marches in the "March on Rome" victory parade that he is declared prime minister, despite the cabinets urges to arrest Mussolini. He eliminates all oppositional groups and uses mass intimidation. Creates a culture of violence and cult, mob mentality. In 1925, Mussolini declares democracy is over and that there was only one party. Using a staged referendum to mimic support in 1929, 99% of people voted yes to support DUCE because of intimidation and violence. Using the church, the upper and middle class fearful of organized labor and mass propaganda, Mussolini is able to insert himself as the ultimate leader, or DUCE.

Definition and Elements of Fascism


Fascism is a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition.
"Fasci" derived from the power of a group forced together, bundle of sticks bound together, Mussolini used this as his symbol, beckoning the "New Rome" mentality.

Pre-requisites for fascism:
post-war frustration
uncertainty in most all aspects of life

"Credere (Believe), Obbedire (Obey) and Combattere (Fight)"

1.Rejected Enlightenment ideals
2. Harsh opposition to Marxist emphasis on individual
3. Contempt for parliamentary democracy
4. Belief in natural social heirarchy and rule by the elites
5. Corporatism Economic theory-- focus on whole community than the individual

Fascism in the 1930s and 40s

1930 - 1940

In the wake of the social, political and economic disruptions of WWI, there was a huge power vacuum in many areas of Europe. There was also a monopoly of the media that started from very young in schooling.

Hitler and the Rise of Nazism

Adolf Hitler

1889 - 1945

Hitler, an Austrian citizen and child of a low level civil servant, had a poor relationship with his father and was a violent child. He originally wanted to be an artist but was rejected from art school and has no goals in life. Living as an outsider in Vienna, he embarks on a confused self-education, reading political theory and philosophy, creating a veneration of blond, Germans as supreme beings of power, as well as misguided theories about Jews as trying to take over the world. He was a soldier in WWI, and saw the armistice as a stab in the back by the Jews.

Weimar Republic

1919 - 1933

The Weimar Republic signed the WWI armistice, a liberal democracy with a parliamentary system. It had a highly progressive constitution with national health care, universal suffrage and worker protections. It had a very active left wing, with a highly active Bolshevik group, and left the country vulnerable to communist revolution.

Sparticist Rebellion


During this rebellion, the liberal government loses control for a moment. To crush the rebellion, the left wing calls on right wing extremists, thinking it will maintain the liberal democracy.

National Socialist German Workers' Party

1920 - 1945

The platform of the armed National Socialist Workers' Party was elements of corporatism, elements of socialism, xenophobia, nationalism, as well as scapegoating groups like communists and Jews. The national army, which Hitler was a part of in his early years, was aware of the Nazi party, and sent Hitler to watch over and spy for the army. He attended meetings and in spying for the military, found a place for his misguided political beliefs and strong leadership.

Assassination of Walter Rathenau


The Jewish Reconstruction leader (minister), who helped Germany manage the huge reparations because of WWI. After he was assassinated by the Freikorps, a group of ex soldiers called to suppress people bu the government and as an aide to Hitler, Germany suffered hyperinflation and was reduced to a barter system.

"Beer Hall" Putsch

Nov. 1923

In November of 1923, Hitler and a group of Nazis stage a coup. Hitler was arrested and served 9 months in jail, wherein he writes his own political philosophy and becomes even more prominent and venerated by his followers. He published "Mein Kompf" in 1925, an eventual bestseller, which described his fantasies of a third reich and German Empire. He also outlined his plan for "lebensraum" or space to live, by expanding into Eastern Europe.

Hitler's disruptive presidential efforts

1928 - 1932

From 1925 to 1932, Hitler campaigned for president, but never won any majority or seat to parliament. His vote amount increasing over the 4 years, but through intimidation, disruption of the political process, and violence through creating a culture of terror and anger.

Nazi Germany

1933 - 1945

From 1871-1918, there was a reich. After the armistice there was a major power vacuum, leaving Germany vulnerable to the Nazi brand of totalitarianism.

Anti-Jewish laws of 1933


In the first year Hitler has essentially limitless power, he enacts several laws that directly targeted Jewish people and culture. In April of 1933, there was a state-supported boycott of Jewish businesses, and in May, there was a large state book burning, including all of Jewish literature.

Dachau Concentration Camp opening


The first concentration camp, Hitler opened Dachau in Munich for the political opposition.

Hitler appointed Chancellor


After years and years of creating unrelenting havoc in Germany, Hitler is appointed Chancellor (not through a democratic vote). He was the second highest recipient of votes, and was therefor appointed by Paul Hindenberg. Chancellor is in charge of the governmental side of the country.

Enabling Act


After the Reichstag Fire of Feb. 27, Hitler pushes a bill that gives the cabinet (him, as chancellor) to enact any laws/bills he chooses, stripping the Reichstag (or parliament) of any power. Hitler utilized the fear and chaos of the time to manipulate others in putting him into full power, if democratically.

Reichstag Fire

Feb. 27 1933

On February 27, 1933, soon after Hitler was appointed Chancellor, a Dutch communist was found to have set the Reichstag Building, location of the German Parliament, on fire. Hitler fought for "emergency powers", utilizing the crisis for his own gains. He passed, through the parliament,

"Night of Long Knives"


The "Night of Long Knives" was about a month during the summer of 1934, where Hitler's Germany began a purge of political killings including Ernst Rohm and SA, the former military force for the Nazi party.

Hitler combined chancellor and president to Fuhrer


Once the president of Germany died, Hitler positioned himself into full power, without any other figures threatening his supreme power as "Fuhrer" in 1934.

Nuremburg Laws


Bans intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. Strips Jewish people of rights and protecting of citizenship, classified as subjects.

Stalinism and the USSR

Leon Trotsky

1879 - 1940

One of the three aspiring leaders after Lenin's death, he was an old Bolshevik and among the radical left among leftists. He was an advocate for internationalism and the export of the revolution. He was a writer and speaker, and was persecuted for years after Stalin secured the supreme power and was eventually killed in Mexico in 1940.

Joseph Stalin

1879 - 1954

Nicknamed the "man of steel," Stalin was not as highly involved as other revolutionaries, a poor speaker, gangster, but claimed power through his masterful manipulation and scheming.
Born in Georgia under intense poverty and an abusive father. He was a violent, sickly child and was often kicked out of school for violent behavior. He was an auto-didact, teaching himself political philosophy which informed his own jumbled ideals. He joined the Bolshevik cause in 1903 to do their dirty work, running a gang in Georgia, robbing a bank for the Bolshevik cause, but rose through the ranks to become the Commissar of Nationalities and Member of the Politburo (the highest level below leader). Through years of masterful manipulation, Stalin eventually installed himself as supreme leader.

Nikolai Bukharin

1888 - 1938

Nikolai Bukharin was considered for leadership after Lenin died, and also was considered among the more moderate revolutionaries, supporting private enterprise, a focus on agriculture and a slower transition into a full Marxist economy. He was eventually killed by Stalin's thugs.

Three stages of the USSR


There were three stages seen for the USSR: Reform, Remove, Remake

Stalin as Secretary General


Death of Lenin


Before Lenin's death, he had written a testament to read to congress detailing his thoughts on Stalin. He described Stalin as dangerous, and outlined ways to remove him. However, Stalin prevents the testament from being read to congress. Stalin confronts the Left wing opposition and expels Trotsky from the party and is in exile.

Stalin's Vision Economically and Politically

1928 - 1938

Once Stalin had secured his power, he quickly lay out his plan for the country's economical and political strategy, suppressing any conflicting thought. The USSR was seen as the future for socialism, and encourage any sympathizers to contribute to the USSR cause or "socialism in one country." The economy was known as the "Centrally Planned Economy", meaning all decisions regarding the production, transport, investment the central authority decided. The state was known as "War Communism," with a centrally planned economy and outlawing all private enterprise, a theory revived under Stalin. It was failing under Lenin during his life time, provoking rebellions, but was brought back with Stalin's harsh views. Domestically, there was Agricultural Collectivization, the production of grain in farmer communes to sell internationally to support the country. This provoked massive starvation especially in the Ukraine. The Five Year Plan for industry outlined the economic goals for the country. It heavily celebrated productive industrial workers and invested in industry. This created a bubble of intense growth while the rest of the world was struggling economically. This growth was partially fueled by Gulag or slave labor camps across the continent to create Soviet infrastructure.

The Great Purge

1934 - 1938

Under Stalin's orders, there was a huge purge of political opposition. This included political opponents as well as past police force who did the dirty work for the USSR/Stalin. This continued into 1938 where Stalin took out old Bolsheviks, including Bukharin in the Show Trial of 1938. They were all forced to confess through torture and then killed.

The Spanish Civil War

The Second Republic

1931 - 1939

After the abdication of King Alfonso XII, the Second Republic was formed. It had a very progressive constitution, with a separation of church and state, large estates broken among workers and universal suffrage. However, it had no ways to enforce the new ideals and laws. It built thousands of schools, with a new coalition government struggling to stay in tact. From 1933 to 1934, there was a split in the left, and a deep polarization allowing a swing to the right. The weak democracy allowed the right wing military to crush the bubbling labor strikes, headed by Francisco Franco. In 1936, there was a success for the popular front, as seen through Dolores Ibarruri.

End of Monarchy in Spain

14 April 1931

After centuries of Monarchy, Spain was declared a republic in April of 1931. After the coup of Miguel Primo de Rivera in 1923, he was in power until 1930, and was traditional monarch with a strong belief in "country, religion, monarchy."

After his death, his son, King Alfonso XII had power, and was a strong supporter of dictatorship, though was pressured into elements of democracy. After overwhelming support, the King fled to Rome and Spain was declared a republic.

Spanish Civil War + Background

1936 - 1939

Local Context: Separate culturally and geographically of 4 distinct nationalities. Lasting struggle between republicans, who supported the fragile democracy, made up of a left wing coalition, and nationalists, who wished to restore monarchy, made up of a right wing coalition. Spain had a feudalistic system, with 1/2 of the population illiterate, and the church as the largest landowner and had exclusive control over education. There were pockets of modernity in different places.

Rising Violence


With both extremes committing violence in the streets, the origins of the civil war was in the revolt in the army. Nationalist Jose Calvo Sotelo was killed by the police and it was sparked. During this rebellion, Franco is sent to the Canary Islands as a military commander. With help from British MI-6 agents, he is able to get back into Spain. Officers kill their own commanders in loyalty to Franco and Mussolini provides aide to Franco.
International response: Liberal western democracies were supposedly neutral and were prohibiting help to either side, though only enforced when wanting to help republicans. Italian and German aide was sent to the nationalists and two major corporations sold fuel and equipment to the nationalists. (Ford and Texaco)
The USSR sent military advisers to the republicans, Mexico sold oil and international brigades comprised of 40,000 people went to Spain to fight.

Course of War

1936 - 1939

Franco held a policy of attrition to wear down the republicans until 1939 to separate republicans' control of Madrid and Barcelona. Also, along with bombing Madrid, Barcelona and Guernika. Guernika is the heart of Basque homeland and Basque parliament. He wanted to crush Basque separatists. Hitler utilized his new technology on Guernika, and was the first civilian destruction from the air using machine guns. The USSR instructed leftists to kill other leftists. 500,000 Spanish civilians and soldiers were trapped in France when Hitler invaded France, receiving help from Franco through troops and negotiator. Spain became a progressive monarchy.

Causes of WWII

Countries post-WWI and relationships


A depleted country, France was relying on reparations too big for Germany to give. France occupied Germany's coal mines.
England experienced a period of extreme separationism from mainland Europe. It was consumed with the Irish war for independence (1919-1921) and labor/economic woes (General Strike= 1926).
The United States returned to Isolationism and a "return to normalcy", experiencing great economic woes and the dust bowl.
Italy was experiencing a rising feeling of nationalism and irredentism, wanting to "reclaim" the Mediterranean. Germany also held anger surrounding the Treaty of Versailles and Hitler saw the Third Reich as Poland and East Europe to extend their agricultural empire. Appeasement (yielding to belligerent demands at the expense of justice or other principals) and brinksmanship (manipulating dangerous situations to secure advantage.)

Appeasement and Brinksmanship between the world wars

1933 - 1939

Starting when Hitler withdrew from the League of Nations in 1933 when they threatened arms control and openly re-arming in 1935, against the Treaty of Versailles, Appeasement and brinksmanship played a huge part of the lead up to WWII. In 1936, Rhineland was re-militarized, next to Belgium and France, a show of military strength, prohibited in the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler was met with little resistance. In 1936, there was a concealment of anti-Jew laws and practices during the Berlin Olympics. Once Mussolini declares victory in Ethiopia, Mussolini withdraws Italy from the League of Nations, while show trials commence in Stalin's USSR. Under the Versailles pretext of self-determination, Germany initiates an illegal annexation of Austria, but it is crushed by Mussolini. Through manipulation and intimidation Hitler is able to get 99.7% of the Austrian vote in his favor. International supplies are brought into the Spanish Civil War, creating the Rome-Berlin Axis of Hitler and Mussolini, providing support of each other with troops. Japan joins the Axis with the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936 to "fight communism". In the 1938 Czechoslovakia Crisis and Munich Conference, though the country had treaties with England and France, along with a strong president, Hitler threatens to invade at the conference. The three leaders (France, England and Italy) agree to give Germany Czechoslovakia. In March of 1939, some of the rest of East Europe is secured by Germany.

End of Appeasement and Western Alignment


On September 1, 1939, Germans marched into Poland under the condition that their self-determination was being violated. This sparked the end of appeasement for the UK and France and the official start of WWII on September 2, 1939. The United States was slower to act, as the country was deeply embedded in American Isolationism and neutrality. FDR and Churchill established the Atlantic Charter, the forerunner to the UN, which outlined principals for working with one another. 1941-1945, there was a significant shift in US policy, entering the war, shifting from free trade to lending materials to the ally efforts.

The Road to War in Asia

Japanese Exceptionalism

1879 - 1941

Japanese Exceptionalism was founded in realms: Culture and nationalism, and the quest for resources to sustain its growing population. Despite many myths, the Japanese are closely related to many other Asian cultures and peoples, as well as owing their cultivation of rice to the Chinese. This nationalistic justification was a driving force behind their involvement internationally. Until 1867, Japan held a society based upon xenophobia and seclusion, with an embedded caste system and without any contact with the outside world besides one port with Holland and China. After Commodore Perry and the Black Ships, under the Meiji from 1852-1912, there was a rapid modernization and then industrialization, utilizing the samurai values to push competition and superiority of Japanese culture in the economy.

Japanese Expansionism in Asia and the Pacific

1895 - 1941

Taiwan was taken in 1895, and Korea in 1910 was formally annexed, forcing the Koreans to speak Japanese and the denial of civil liberties. The Sino-Japanese War was heavily connected to the Japanese quest for resources. And in 1931, Manchuria was annexed (renamed Manchuko) to obtain resources, when the League of Nations forced Japan out. In 1936, Japan joins Germany and Italy in the Anit-Comintern Pact and assassinates political officials, continuing their imperialism Southward. In 1935, they surrounded Beijing and beginning the second Sino-Japanese War at marco Polo. Taking Nanjing and the Rape of Nanjing, along with the beginning of the second Sino-Japanese War has long been considered the true beginning of World War II, in 1937. In 1940, Vietnam was a colony of France, and then secured by the Nazis and giving to Japan, cutting supply lines to China from SE Asia. The Tri-Partite Pact in 1940 secured this relationship with Italy and Germany, considered "honorary aryans".

Justifications for expansion and rising militarism

1910 - 1941

Starting in 1910, Japan realized it could not feed itself and began a quest for resources. It became the Hegemon of Asia and started a propaganda campaign to dispel Westerners from East Asia, called the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" with Japan at the top. This in fact created a clique of nationalistic fascist military leaders in the effort to justify Japan's efforts in Asia. Because of unequal treaties, racist immigration policies and the League of Nations refusal to adopt racial equality provision, Japan used this to justify more aggression against Westerners. This, along with a merging of Confusciansim and extreme nationalistic sentiment, Japan issued a pamphlet about Japan's volksgeist and describe the fundamentals of Japanese essence: veneration of ancestors, conformity, loyalty, devotion, described as a racial and political entity. This was as well as exemplified in Bushido, or the way of the warrior, as a way of life in Japan. This militarization extended into all of society, including civil government. The military had veto power over all the government, and was as powerful in the formation of policy. In 1930, emperor Hirohito created a military forced dedicated to impose militarily controlled social structure in Japan. The prime minister was scape goated for all the atrocities, while the emperor remained in the good graces of the west.

Japan and the US

1931 - 1941

When Japan started becoming more and more aggressive in China and in Vietnam, the United States was dealing with the Great Depression and FDR was more oriented towards totalitarianism in Europe. The United States provided Japan with oil and other resources, but eventually creates embargoes more and more devastating for Japan's military. In 1941, the US created an embargo of all oil and freezes all Japanese assets in the US. US leaders were expecting an attack from Japan, but thought it would be in the Dutch East Indies or the Philippines. In Dec 1941, Japan destroys a US fleet in Pearl Harbor, thinking it would buy them enough time to get to the Dutch East Indies to secure oil. However, once the US formally enters the war, a system of alliances is enacted and Japan is not able.