Mussolini becomes absolute dictator (Il Duce) | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

Mussolini becomes absolute dictator (Il Duce) | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy


Male: In the last video
we left off in 1922 in October where you have several hundreds of thousands of fascists march on Rome, which causes the King
to put Benito Mussolini in power and this picture
right over here is from Mussolini coming to power from the march on Rome and not
only does he get appointed as Prime Minister, but
he has dictatorial powers for one year. Those dictatorial powers
are also backed up with the Blackshirts,this
loose band, kind of a paramillitary group. So he uses his powers
and the fact that he has his own force so to
speak to continue to just secure more and more power under him over the next few years. By 1923 he makes the
Blackshirts actually become a formal national militia, essentially the volunteer militia
for national security. In Italian the acronym is the MVSN. So, the Blackshirts become formalized as the MVSN. He also gets Parliament
or gets the legislature to pass what’s known as the Acerbo Law or Acerbo Law. I’m sure I’m mispronouncing it. Acerbo Law. This is an interesting
one because this is a law that allowed whichever majority party, whatever the largest party
in the Deputy of Ministers, whatever the largest
party in Parliament is that party, as long as they
get more than 25% of the vote, they will get 2/3s of
the seats in Parliament. This is strange because traditionally in a Parliamentary system if you got … Let’s say you were the largest party and you got 26% of the
vote, you still would not have enough seats to govern properly. You would have to form a coalition with several other parties so that you could essentially form a government. But this is saying whoever
gets the plurality of votes, whoever gets the most
votes without necessarily being a majority, they will be by default become a majority. And you could imagine why the
fascists wanted this to happen. They felt that they could
get 25% of the votes, one maybe through popular support but also with the help
of the coercive tactics of the Blackshirts and
then that would give them stronger control in the legislature. Now, the big question is is why would the legislature pass this? Because at this point
the fascists were not the dominant party. They did not have a
majority in the legislature. In fact, this was why
they wanted to pass a law because they didn’t have a majority. And once again it’s one of those questions of history. Some would say that people were enamored with the fascists. They were enamored with Mussolini. They were eager to have strong leadership. They didn’t want this
government of coalitions. They wanted one government to be able to take action. On the other side when
the votes were happening you actually had Blackshirts in the room. One argument is that there was also an element of pure intimidation. But needless to say the
Acerbo Law actually passed. There is irony here
because it was unnecessary. In 1924 when you actually have elections you have the fascists
getting 2/3s of the vote. Fascists get 2/3 of the vote. Now, many today and many
in Italy at the time felt that this was a fraudulent election. They felt the reason why the fascists were able to get so many votes is because they were able to intimidate folks. They were able to commit
fraud during the election. They were able to kind
of throw other votes out, and one of the most outspoken individuals when it came to criticizing the fascists and their tactics of coming to power was Giacomo Matteotti. He wrote a book about the fascists. He gave two really strong speeches in the Deputy of Ministers
where he talks about or the Chamber of Deputies I should say, where he talks about the corruption and the violence of the fascists. A few days after giving
those speeches he gets killed by Blackshirts. So, he gets actually
quite violently murdered by Blackshirts, and this puts Mussolini at least initially in a bit of a bind. He doesn’t want to look like a thug, someone who goes out
and just murders people. It’s not clear that he
actually, Mussolini, was involved in this in any way, but his followers had committed this act. To protest against the
murder of Giacomo Matteotti you actually have the
entire socialist party boycotts Parliament. This was known as the Aventine Secession or at least the 20th
century Aventine Secession. Aventine Secession. It’s called the Aventine
Secession because if you go back to Roman times 2500 years ago you had the Plebeians
secede out of protest from harsh rule and they
go to the Aventine Hill. So, it was named after that same idea. The whole reason why the
socialists did this is they hoped that by boycotting Parliament that that would convince
the King to get rid of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, as I say, he’s also in a bind. He doesn’t know quite what to do, and on top of all of this the Blackshirts are telling him, “Look, if you don’t take control of the situation,
if you don’t become a strong ruler we’re going
to do it without you. We might even overthrow
you Mr. Mussolini.” In 1925, early 1925,
Mussolini makes his famous January speech. 1925, his famous January speech. This is normally viewed
as the formal start of his absolute dictatorship. In this Mussolini, instead
of the Aventine Secession somehow undermining Mussolini’s power because the King did not dismiss Mussolini it actually strengthened
Mussolini’s power. He used that as a pretext. He said, “Look, all of
these deputies they’ve decided not to show up at Parliament. They’ve essentially given up their seats, and he bans, he bans the
Italian Socialist party. He embraces the Blackshirts. He takes responsibility for them. He doesn’t take responsibility directly for Giacomo Matteotti’s murder, but he takes responsibility
for the Blackshirts, and he gives in kind of
classic Mussolini style a somewhat convoluted
argument about how strength and violence is going to give
stability to the Italian people. Obviously he is an amazing orator. He’s very charismatic. This essentially gives
him the control he needs, and by the end of 1925 you
have the Christmas Eve Law that’s passed by Parliament
that esentially puts no checks on Mussolini’s power, and as you go then into 1926 they more, and more, the fascists
under Mussolini take absolute control, absolute power of Italy. So in 1926 they’re banning other parties. So, other parties are banned. They’re starting to force people to become members of the fascist party if they want roles in the government or even
in any type of institution. They’re starting to take
control of the press. They’re starting to have a very strong state police architecture. If this looks familiar
based on what we studied about the Nazis it’s not a coincidence. Hitler, he admired Mussolini. In fact, Mussolini’s
march on Rome inspired Hitler to attempt his
Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. A lot of these tactics
that brought Mussolini to power you see kind of
a parallel in what brought Hitler to power only
about seven years later.

12 thoughts on “Mussolini becomes absolute dictator (Il Duce) | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

  1. the situation is very similar. but if you think about it for a moment you will di disocover that is the opposite….

  2. mussolini starts banning these other parties, but he doesn't have full power right? I mean, when he was doing this, could the king stop him?

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