|The Rise of Fascism in Italy
M. AAMIR SULTAN
Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination, physical education, and family policy including eugenics.
Fascists believe that a nation requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the state.
Fascists promote violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality. Fascists exalt militarism as providing positive transformation in society, in providing spiritual renovation, education, instilling of a will to dominate in people's character, and creating national comradeship through military service.
Fascism was founded by Italian national syndicalists in World War I. Since the unification of Italy Italy's governments had proved themselves weak. During the first twenty years of the twentieth century, there were frequent riots and strikes during which Italian workers had occupied the factories where they worked. The Italian government of the time was unable to maintain order and contro. The state of affairs gave Benito Mussolini the opportunity to rise to power in Italy.
Teacher, journalist and soldier, Mussolini advocated extreme right-wing policies. Mussolini's followers carried out a campaign of violence against opposing political parties and against all those who did not share their ideals. By 1922 Mussolini demanded representation in the government of the country. When this demand was turned down, Mussolini and his followers decided to make the challenge of force. On 28th October 1922 supporters of Mussolini converged on the city of Rome from various parts of the country, in what was to be called "La Marcia su Roma" (The March on Rome). King Victor Emanuel III and the army refused to resist them, and they enetered Rome unopposed. The King then asked Mussolini to form a government and assume the post of prime minister. This famous march on Rome heralded the rise of Fascism in Italy.
The fascist Party was formed in Milan by Mussolini in 1919 and its members were known as "camicie nere" (the Black Shirts), because of the black shirts they wore as uniforms. The word fascism is derived from the Latin "fasces", a bundle of rods round an axe which was carried before a magistrate in Ancient Rome, denoting authority, power and discipline. The term "fascio" was the Italian form of the word meaning a group or squad.
However, on the other hand, the Fascist Regime was turning Italy into an authoritarian state with Mussolini as "Il-Duce" (the absolute leader). Mussolini based his patriotism on pride, glory and honour. Militarism was put high in the Fascists' agenda. Italy had suffered a humiliating defeat by the Abyssinians at the Battle of Adowa in 1896. Mussolini wanted to restore the prestige Italy had lost through that defeat. In 1935 Italian troops led by General De Bono invaded Abyssinia but were held back. In May 1936 Addis Ababa, the capital of Abyssinia was captured by Italian.
Italy was one of the principal members of the League of Nations. Only economic sanctions were imposed against Italywhich had little or no effect on Italy because many items were excluded. Neither France nor England was prepared to take military action against Italy.
The Abyssinian Adventure proved to be a resounding victory for Mussolini and the Fascists, and a severe blow to the credibility of the League of Nations. Ultimately it helped to underline one of the Fascists' important creeds that "Mussolini is always right".