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March On Rome – Everything You Should Know

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Benito Mussolini had a huge impact on world history, both as a leader of European fascism and as an inspiration for Adolph Hitler. Mussolini was strongly influenced by Hitler, he launched anti-Jewish legislation in Italy and he declared war to France and Britain. His reign officially started with his March on Rome.

Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini went a long way from being a part of a middle-class family to ruling Italy with a firm hand and strict directions. He is also known as ‘no-nonsense dictator of Italy’. After World War I Italians felt that they didn’t get enough justice for their participation in WWI.

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The middle class was scared because the future of Italy was uncertain, plus Italy was already hurting economically. Interestingly, the middle class was hit hardest after the WWI and communists and socialists started losing their reputation. Also, during that period individuals wanted to see a big and significant change in Italy and this is where Benito Mussolini fit perfectly.

The Rise Of Mussolini

Mussolini was a socialist. However, that was in 1912 while he was the editor of the socialist newspaper ‘Avanti’. Even then he was against Italy joining the WWI, but once the anti-militarist protesters were killed he started strongly supporting Italy’s desire to join the WWI. Two years later, he started his movement. In the meantime, he served on the Italian front in 1915 and he was severely injured in 1917 and was forced to leave the war and the army.

Mussolini returned to politics in 1917 and started promoting militarism, restoration of the bourgeois and nationalism. He didn’t like where Italy was heading and he didn’t like how the domestic economy was progressing.

He had the vision for Italy and moreover he wanted to be modern-day Julius Caesar and bring back Italy it’s glory from the Roman empire. Simple said, he didn’t want to just sit around while Italy falls further into a recession, or be pushed by foreign powers. Therefore, he started promoting his ideas and beliefs in his newspaper, named Il Popolo d’Italia. Soon after he started surrounding himself with similar minds, like Italo Balbo, Michele Bianchi, and General Emilio De Bono.

Mussolini And Blackshirt

His ideas were accepted more and more by each passing day, so his organization growed as well rapidly. Interestingly, his supporters started wearing black shirts.

Officially, Blackshirts were created on 23rd of March in 1923. With time, Blackshirts perform specific tasks for Mussolini, including breaking up strikes, destroying trade union headquarters and even taking socialist and Communist officials from office. Their activities culminated in the famous March on Rome.

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In 1922, Mussolini found his way into national politics. At the same time, his volunteers in black shirts crushed a strike called for by trade unions, which lead to massive support from the middle class. Furthermore, many Italians who found Mussolini’s nationalism appealing. Besides, he was strongly supported by bankers, veterans, and industrials. So, Mussolini started his party, the Fascists and he stated that either his party would be given power, or they would take it themselves by force.

March On Rome

Mussolini urged his supporters to march to Rome with him and he began taking action. He placed Bianchi in charge of political matters and set an objective for Blackshirts to seize the towns around Rome. Once those towns were seized, they were ready to turn to Rome. The march officially began in October 1922, at a rally in Napoli.

Luigi Facta, at the time Italy’s Prime Minister became worried about his position, so in the last attempt to protect his position, he ordered a proposal of martial law. However, the order had to be signed by King Victor Emmanuel III. But, after some serious consideration, the king decided not to sign the order on October 29. The result? Facta out was forced and Mussolini became the new Prime Minister of Italy.

Mussolini arrived in Rome in a sleeping car with 30,000 Blackshirts following him, on October 30. During his first meeting with the king, Mussolini said, “Majesty, I come from the battlefield—fortunately bloodless.”

From that moment on he held all the power in Italy as the country’s Prime Minister from 1922 until 1943.

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