The Making of Fascism

Class, State, and Counter-Revolution, Italy 1919-1922

by Dahlia S. Elazar


This is a sociohistorical analysis of the crucial political struggles, historical contingencies, and the inner contradictions in the making of fascism in Italy.

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August 2001


Pages 184
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics World History/Politics and Government

Elazar examines the social and political processes that determined the character of Fascist organization in Italy and its seizure of state power first in the provinces and then in the nation. She argues that the Fascists' modus operandi shaped the political struggles they engaged in and reflexively determined their own political significance. Employing both primary and secondary historical sources, Elazar reveals the crucial internal political struggles and inner contradictions through which Fascism was invented.

The political strategy of paramilitary organization and assault on labor and the Socialists carried out by the Fascist Action Squads in collusion with men of property was crucial in determining their seizure of power. But this also determined the ideological and organizational contours of Fascism itself. The Fascist Squads' alliances with men of property made them a formidable faction within the Fascist organization that could and did challenge Mussolini's authority. The making of Fascism is thus marked by the irony of the relationship between Mussolini and his political power base--the Squads. The very element of paramilitary organization that was decisive in the Fascists' seizure of power in the provinces had to be submerged by Mussolini if he was to preserve his power. Historical and comparative sociologists, political sociologists, and students of Italian Fascism and Italian history will find this new explanation of the making of Fascism both provacative and fascinating.

Table of Contents

IntroductionThe Making of Fascism: An OverviewThe Sociological Paradigm: The Neglected Historical Sequence of Fascism's AscendancyThe First Antagonists: Landlords and WorkersThe Political Feudalism of the Liberal StateThe Rise of the Labor MovementCounter-Revolution: The Struggle Against SocialismThe Fascist Militarization of PoliticsProvincial Fascism: The Assault of SquadrismoThe March on Rome: Fascism's Provincial Road to National PowerThe State's Alliance with the FascistsThe "March on Rome": The Seizure of PowerThe Internal Contradictions of Fascist Rule: Provincial vs. National FascismEpilogueIndex



This is a fresh, thoughtful, and sometimes provocative explanation of a well-known problem of historical interpretation. Undergraduate collections and above.—Choice

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