To What Extent Was the Weakness of the Liberal State the Most Important Reason for the Emergence of Fascism in Italy?

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In 1922, Benito Mussolini became the first ever Fascist leader to form a government. Italy became a unified nation in 1870 in what was called the Italian ‘Risorgimento’, making Italy a Liberal state. The Liberal State was born into a troubled Italian nation full of corruption and a split in Italian society making it very weak. The Liberal state’s weakness is often blamed for the rise of Fascism in Italy. In this essay I will be exploring other factors that could be attributable to the rise of Fascism as well as the weakness of the Liberal state including, Italy in the First World War, the weakness of all other political parties and Benito Mussolini. The weakness of the Liberal state is one factor that explains the emergence of Fascism in Italy. A central feature of the Italian Liberal state was the sharp contrast between northern and southern Italy. South of Rome, Italy was poverty stricken and alienated whereas the northern parts of Italy were far more prosperous and affluent. The new state did not satisfy the lower classes in Italy, it accommodated for societies elite, but repressed the masses. This made it difficult for any party to get votes because there were two sectors of society who wanted totally different things, The north/south divide meant that no party could satisfy everybody in Italy and win over the majority of the nation creating a gateway for the emergence of Fascism. Furthermore, the vast majority of the Italian population were Roman Catholics and followed the Pope. The papacy was opposed to the Liberal state which had eroded the Papal States until the Vatican City was all that was left. In 1874, Pope Pius IX openly encouraged Italian Catholics not to vote in the election of that year. The Catholic Church’s open hatred for the Liberal state influenced how Italians viewed the new system and this made it very difficult for the state to manage the
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