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Rise of Fascism in Turkey and Italy

Turkish Revolution : 1923

▬ Turkey was called ‘Sickman of Europe’.

▬ The disintegration of Ottoman empire began in the 19th century and was completed after Turkey’s defeat in the First World War.

▬ The Allies wanted to establish their domination over Turkey itself and to give away parts of Turkey to Greece and Italy.

▬ The treatment meted out to Turkey by the Allies had led to a mass upsurge in India directed against Britain. This upsurge is known a Khilafat Movement.

▬ The nationalist movement in Turkey was organised to prevent the domination of the country by the Allied Powers and the annexation of parts of Turkey agreed to the terms dictated by the Allied Powers.

▬ However, even before the treaty was signed by the Sultan, a national government had been established under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Pasha with its headquarter in Ankara.

▬ Following the treaty with the Sultan, Turkey had been invaded by Greece.

▬ The turks under Kemal’s leadership were able to repel the invasion and the allies were forced to repudiate the earlier treaty. The Allied troops were withdrawn from Turkish territory and the areas which were to be Annexed by European countries remained in Turkey. Thus, Turkey was able to win her complete independence.

▬ The success of the Turks in winning the complete independence of their country was followed by a programme to modernize Turkey and to end the influence of backward-looking feudal elements.

▬ Turkey was proclaimed a republic in Oct. 29, 1923 and Kemal became first President of Turkey. He ruled the new republic for 15 years (1923-38). The Turkish Sultan had carried the title of Caliph (Khalifa); The new government abolished the institution of Caliph (Khalifa) in 1924. Education was taken out of the hands of the religious leaders. Religion was separated from the State.

▬ Mustafa Kemal Pasha is known as the ‘founder of modern Turkey’ and Ataturk’ (the father of the Turks).

Economic Depression of the World : 1929-34

▬ In Economic terms, a decline in trade and general prosperity is called Depression.

▬ The Great Depression of 1929-34 was worldwide, starting with an agricultural recession followed by financial panic and collapse, known as the Wall Street Crash (Oct., 1929) in the USA.

▬ The effects on the USA were catastrophic : by 1933 almost 14 million people were out of work and American President Hoover’s efforts failed to make any impression on crisis.
Nobody was surprised when the Republicans lost the presidential election of Nov., 1932. The new Democrat President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, introduced policies known as the New Deal to try and put the country on the road to recovery.

▬ The Great Depression is turn affected financial institutions and money markets in other parts of the world and caused a run on the pound in the UK. The result was a decline in internal consumption and exports in industrialized countries, factory closures and massive unemployment.

Fascism in Italy
Fascism: The ideology and political system of Benito Mussolini which encouraged militarism and extreme nationalism organizing Italy along right wing hierarchical authoritarian lines fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism. The term is also applied to any ideology or movement inspired by such principles, e.g., German National Socialism.

▬ The unification of Italy was only completed in 1870, however, the new State suffered from economic and political weaknesses.

▬ The First World War (1914-18) was a great strain on her economy, and there was bitter disappointment at her treatment by the Versailles settlement.

▬ Between 1919 and 1922 there were five different governments, all of were incapable of taking the decisive action that the situation demanded.

▬ In 1919 Benito Mussolini founded the Italian Fascist Party, which won 35 seats in the 1921 elections.

▬ At the same time there seemed to be a real danger of a left-wing revolution; in an atmosphere of strikes and riots, the fascists staged a ‘March on Rome’ which culminated in King Victor Emmanuel inviting Mussolini to form a government (Oct., 1922); he remained in power until July 1943.

▬ Gradually Mussolini took on the powers of a dictator and attempted to control the entire way of life of the Italian people.

▬ At first it seemed as though his authoritarian regime might bring lasting benefits to Italy, and he won popularity with his adventurous and successful foreign policy.
Later he made the fatal mistake of entering the Second World War on the side of Germany (June, 1940) even though he knew Italy could not afford involvement in another war.

▬ After the Italians suffered defeats by the British, who captured her African possessions and occupied Sicily, they turned against Mussolini. He was deposed and ‘arrested (July, 1943), but was rescued by the German (Sep., 1943) and set up as ruler in northern Italy, backed by German troops.

▬ In April, 1945, as British and American troops advanced northwards through Italy towards Milan. Mussolini tried to escape to Switzerland but was captured and shot dead by his Italian enemies (known as partisans).