History 104: Western Civilization since 1648
Lecture: World War II

Fascist Italy click here for audio

During the 1920s, Italy was a nation disappointed. Italy had hoped to gain substantial colonies and international respect from her participation in the Great War. But at the Treaty of Versailles conference, her representative was ignored as Britain, France and the U.S. designed the peace.

Benito Mussolini created the ultranationalist concept known as fascism. The image was of the fascisti, a bundle of sticks that had represented the Roman Empire: individually a stick could be broken, but together the bundle was unbreakable.

bookWorkbook document: What is Fascism?

Mussolini created a massive propaganda machine to sell his new ideas after he took power in 1922. Although clearly a dictator, Mussolini worked with the middle-class and the Catholic Church to assure his long reign. His charismatic personality held the nation together under his ruthlessly efficient system. Italians still say that despite undeniable political oppression, he "made the trains run on time".

5. Hitler's Germany ->