Definition: loyal to Benito Mussolini, the Duce (leader)

Definition: The blackshirts were a fascist military group in Italy during World War Two. They were lead by the country’s fascist leader, Benito Mussolini. The groups purpose was to serve the nations security and lead fights against socialists.

Background: in Italy in 1999, the squadristi, a group of disgruntled former soldiers, was created. The groups task was to lead fights against their bitter enemies, the socialists. By 1922, when Mussolini took a march in Rome, the group had grown to 200,000. In 1922 the group was reorganized to militia, and then on February first, 1923, the group became known as the MVSN(Militia VOlontaria Perla Sicurezza), the group lasted until September 8th, 1943, with the armistice of cassibile.Military: The black shirts also known as the Milizia Volontara Perla Sicurezza Nazionale(MVSN), or the squadristi. This was a volunteer militia for the national security. It was originally the paramilitary wing for the national fascist party.

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After 1923 they were the all-volunteer militia of Italy. They were known for their black uniforms, which were inspired by Arditi; the Italian elite troops from World War One. This group was loyal to Benito Mussolini, the Duce (leader) of fascism in Italy. The founders of this group were nationalist intellectual, former army officers, and young land owners opposing peasants and country labour unions. The group became harsher as Mussolini rose in power. They used violence and intimidation.

In 1943 the group became a part of the Italian armed forces.Economic: the economy of Italy was weakened from the First World War. Italy suffered from post-war inflation, massive debts, and extended depression. By 1920 Italy’s economy was in massive convulsion, mass unemployment, food shortages, and strikes. Mussolini came to power I 1922 under parliamentary coalition until fascist party was made a dictatorship in 1925. Before 1925 Mussolini tried to transform the countries economy through a fascist ideology. He was not an economic radical.

During the coalition period Mussolini appointed a classic liberal economist, Alberto Stefani. Stefani simplified tax code, cuts taxes, curved spending, liberalized trade restrictions, and abolished rent controls. Italy’s economy grew more than 25% under his influence. Mussolini showed Italy he had a clear economic agenda both short and long term.

Mussolini’s administration capitalist ideas by pushing to crate collaboration between industrialists, workers, and the state. So in short term, government reformed the abused tax system, disposed inefficient state owned industry, cut government costs, and introduced tariffs to protect industries. Due to these changes Italy unfortunately suffered from lack of industrial resources so they had to sign with Stalin’s soviets. As a result this pushed fascism in Italy.Political: In 1935, Mussolini wanted to expand Italy like Germany had been doing in the war(ww2). He wanted to invade Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia. One reason for invading Abyssinia was to boost Italian prestige, which has been damaged from their loss to Ethiopia in the battle of Adwa in 1896. This victory saved Ethiopia from Italian colonization.

Mussolini was also upset with the conflict that had had happened with Italian and Abyssinian troops at the Wal-Wal oasis, between Abyssinia Somaliad, where 200 soldiers lost their lives. Mussolini’s final reason for the attack was to provide land to unemployed Italians and to acquire mineral resources to fight the Great Depression effecting Italy.Social: Italy had widespread civil unrest, and political strife in the country as a result of the First World War, Because if this there was a rise of fascism. The fascists started to fight the communists. They were competing to gain power in Italy.

This eventually escalated into major civil unrest. On April 15th, 1919, fascists attacked officers of an Italian news paper. Violence grew in 1922, officers assisted fascists against the communists and socialists. All the antifascist groups remaining combined in the Araitidel Popolo. The threat of antifascists launched a coup against the Italian government in 1922.

Under pressure from the fascists, Luigi Facta resigned, Mussolini became the new Prime Minister. Mussolini and the fascists killer the local labour movement, this was known as the Turin Massacre. Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti was assassinated by fascist in 1924, and this lead to multiple assassination attempts on Mussolini until 1926. On November 9th, 1926 all the antifascists were arrested and fascism was no longer opposed in Italy.


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