Italian Fascism: Economic Success or Social Failure Italian Fascism: Economic Success or Social Failure Benito Mussolini’s development of the National Fascist Party in 1919 (H, 2010) provided great hope for a suffering nation of Italian people. Although Fascism grew quickly with an optimism of ending great economic and social turmoil, Mussolini’s Fascist ideologies eventually lead to an isolated nation.
By further exploring the history of Benito Mussolini and his radical Fascist ideologies, it is easy to comprehend the attraction of such a concept, especially during times of immense suffrage.
One factor not taken into consideration is an inherent fundamental human principle; a person’s aspiration for individual freedom and rights. Following World War I the European nations who were accustom to great prosperity found their economic, social, and international infrastructures in shambles.
As a result of a war that saw millions of lives lost and mass destruction resulted in widespread depression across Europe. (Bentley, Ziegler, & Streets-Alter, 2010) The Central powers experienced severe consequence that resulted in extensive labor strikes, food riots, mutinies, and the epidemic spread of disease triggered by years of all out warfare.
In turn, people associated with the Central power’s European nations became embittered by the harsh post war conditions.
Due to these conditions faced by many Europeans and the prevalence of social unrest, there were ample opportunities for new ideologies to be pioneered. Benito Mussolini recognized the disenchantment among the people of Italy and appeared to have the answers to remedy the countries social and financial unrest. Mussolini, also discontent with the Socialist and Leftist philosophies, which were predominant during that era, formed the National Fascist Party on March 23, 1919. H, 2010) Mussolini’s Fascist party grew in popularity over a very short period of time amid the Italian people who had grown tired of the grave conditions they faced; so, Italian Fascism was born. With the ongoing discord amongst the Italian people during this period, one must come to understand the ideology of Fascism, and envision why it may adopted so freely by the people. In part, Fascism can be characterized by their promotion of an economy.
In theory, a Fascist economy is represented by both the business and labor interest groups working together in separate corporations to create both harmonious labor relations and maximization of production that would serve the national interests. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2009) With years of labor strikes and economic depression, it is understandable the appeal of a system that encourages cooperative agreements amongst businesses and workers. In short, the adoption of a Fascist economic structure was successful in turning around the Italian economy.
This was proved to only be a short term solution because in the long term the Fascist style of economic growth is sustainable only by government run and subsidized corporations. Because of the inherent fear based methodology of fascism any individual who questions the state has no right to an opinion on how business in operated. If workers feel they are being mistreated or have the desire to advance within a corporation, they find themselves with no claim to individual freedoms.
The workers’ rights are absent secondary to the fact that the government controls the business entity and the rights of the workers to leave or strike as necessary. Over time workers become disillusioned by their powerlessness and as individuals they all search for greater self fulfillment, but fascist regimes thwart this basic human need, thus making the enduring prosperity of a Fascist economic structure a futile ideology. The fundamental desire for self fulfillment also substantiates the failure of Fascism as it relates to societal rule by government.
Mussolini, in a section defining the Fascist State, describes; “The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone…” (Mussolini, 1932) Mussolini states very clearly that the rights of an individual is less important than that of the state and can actually be more harmful to allow a person to make decisions based on self and not upon the best of their country.
This belief attempts to have the individual understand that as a group they are more stalwart than that of an individual person. The philosophy may ring true when one takes into account the individuals rights of self. But, as history has shown, Mussolini’s ideal of Fascism relates, that a state cannot be ruled by the consultation of a majority of individuals as there is a basic inequality amongst mankind. (Mussolini, 1932) In contrast, the Fascist State is the majority, believing that they alone retain the best interests of their nation’s success and prosperity.
The dogmas represented within the Fascist convictions are essentially erroneous! Without the say so of the people, a government has a totalitarian reign over the people. It goes back to the concept that as human’s we desire the right for self fulfillment and self rule. When an individual is not allowed to contribute to the determinations within their own government they become estranged and less willing to fight for the ideals being enforced upon them. In combination with their international isolationism and a lack of individual rights created by fascism, the country is forced to rule by fear.
As a result, the people’s discontentment becomes prevalent, as evidence by a revolt in 1943 instigated by Mussolini’s own Fascist Grand Council after Italy’s humiliating loss in World War II. (H, 2010) Mussolini was arrested but escaped with help from his German Nazi’s allies. Later he was arrested and killed and then his body was strung up side down for everyone to see. In conclusion, Italian Fascism had a rapid assent to popularity because of the horrendous conditions as a result of World War I.
Based upon the Fascist ideologies of Benito Mussolini, he was able to extract Italy from economic turmoil, but this recovery was merely a surface recovery. In reality, because of these ideologies Italy became isolated and deplored as a nation. Italian Fascism is based on fear and the diminished rights and freedoms of individuals. This resulted in a vast disenchantment amongst the people they claimed to protect. In the face of arduous times some ideologies may appear to be the ultimate answer for the problems being tackled.
On the contrary, there must be an in depth examination of any ideology that rigorously looks beyond the surface of immediate solace and consider the long term consequences. On a whole, we are obliged to consider the inherent fundamental human principle that every person aspires for basic individual rights and freedoms. With that basic human desire considered it becomes obvious that empowered constituents’ can, in the long term, overcome any hardship facing them. References: http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/2WWmussolini. htm http://comandosupremo. com/mussolini. html http://www. fordham. du/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism. html http://www. euronet. nl/users/wilfried/ww2/mussolin. htm http://www. historymole. com/cgi-bin/main/results. pl? type=theme&theme=10025525 Works Cited: Bentley, J. S. , Ziegler, H. F. , & Streets-Alter, H. E. (2010). Traditions & Encounters: A Brief Global History. New York: Mcgraw-Hill . H, J. (2010, 2 15). Benito Mussolini. Retrieved 10 6, 2010, from spartacus schoolnet: http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/2WWmussolini. htm Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2009). Mussolini, B. (1932). Benito Mussolini: What is Fascism, 1932. Modern History Sourcebook .
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