March on Rome

From Academic Kids

Template:Fascism The March on Rome was the name given to the coup d'état by which Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy in late October 1922.

Conventionally the March marks the beginning of fascist rule and the end of the preceding parliamentary regime. But paradoxically the way in which Mussolini became head of government was in accordance with the Statuto Albertino (Italian Constitution of the time). The dictatorship happened later, with the assassination of Giacomo Matteotti and the banning of opposition parties.

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Background

Widespread social discontent, aggravated by middle-class fear of a socialist revolution and by disappointment over Italy's meagre gains from the peace settlement after World War I, created an atmosphere favourable for Mussolini's rise to power. On October 24, 1922, the fascist party leaders planned an insurrection to take place on October 28, consisting of a march on Rome by the fascist armed squads known as Blackshirts and the capture of strategic local places throughout Italy. Waiting in Milan for the outcome of events, Mussolini left the work of organization to his subordinates.

The King

To meet the threat posed by the bands of fascist troops now gathering outside Rome, the government of Prime Minister Luigi Facta (which had resigned but continued to hold power) ordered a state of siege for Rome. King Victor Emmanuel III, however, refused to sign the order. This meant that the army, which might have stopped Mussolini, was not called on to oppose the fascists. (The reasons for the monarch's refusal have been debated; it has been suggested that he feared he would lose his throne if he refused to cooperate with the fascists, that he wanted to avoid civil war, and that he hoped to neutralize the fascists by associating them with the national government.)

The March

Mussolini, now confident of his control over events, was determined to accept nothing less than control of the government, and on October 29 the king asked him to become prime minister and form a cabinet. Traveling from Milan by train, Mussolini arrived in Rome where he formed a government on October 30. Some 25,000 Blackshirts were transported to the city, where they marched in a ceremonial triumphant parade on 31 October. ,

The March on Rome was not the conquest of power that Mussolini later called it but rather a transfer of power within the framework of the constitution, a transfer made possible by the surrender of public authorities in the face of fascist intimidation.

External links

fr:Marche sur Rome it:Marcia su Roma sv:Marschen mot Rom

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