Essay on None Provided13

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None Provided13




Mussolini and the intervention crisis
Benito Mussolini was born in Predappio, near Forli, in Romagna, on July 29, 1883. Like his
father, Benito became a fervent socialist. He qualified as an elementary schoolmaster in
1901. In 1902 he emigrated to Switzerland. Unable to find a permanent job there and
arrested for vagrancy, he was expelled and returned to Italy to do his military service.
After further trouble with the police, he joined the staff of a newspaper in the Austrian
town of Trento in 1908. Expelled by the Austrians, he became the editor at Forli of a
socialist newspaper, La Lotta di Classe (The Class Struggle). His early enthusiasm for
Karl Marx was modified by a mixture of ideas from the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche,
the revolutionary doctrines of Auguste Blanqui, and the syndicalism of Georges Sorel. In
1910, Mussolini became secretary of the local Socialist party at Forli.When Italy declared
war on Turkey in 1911, he was imprisoned for his anti-war propaganda . Appointed editor of
the official Socialist newspaper Avanti, he moved to Milan, where he established himself
as the most forceful of all the leaders of Italian socialism. At this stage in his life,
his political views were anti-militarist and anti-war however throughout the intervention
crisis his views altered dramatically and became opposite of what they were before.

On June 28 the Archduke of Austria Franze Ferdinand, Hapsburg heir to the throne of
Austria-Hungary, was assassinated in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The death of the
heir was greeted with relief and joy because he once stated publicly that he wanted to
declare war on Italy, but also because Italy’s relations with Austria had became
increasingly tensed since the war in Tripoli. As the war began to take shape on the
horizon, Italy found itself in an undesirable position. Under the leadership of Antonio di
San Giuliano, the Foreign Minister, the nation had become increasingly tied to the Triple
Alliance, the defensive union of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.

However, on July 28 hostilities broke out between Austria-Hungary and Serbia and since the
provisions of the Alliance stipulated that Italy would be informed before any military
moves by Austria, San Giuliano announced to the world that Italy would remain neutral
because Austria violated the agreement . Under these circumstances Mussolini insisted on
absolute neutrality. It is clear that in Mussolini’s view Italy had absolutely
nothing to gain by aiding Austria’s’ policy of expansion in the Balkans.
Furthermore, one could understand his position because he had long opposed Austria-Hungary
as the manifestation of militarism and the oppressor of nationalities, and the idea of
helping the enemy could only have been repugnant to him. Therefore, it was in
Italy’s best interest not to join the Triple Alliance, not only because it had
nothing to gain but also because its armed forces had been seriously weakened by the war
in Tripoli and could not stand the test.

Also it was obvious that Mussolini from the beginning of the conflict sympathized with the
Triple Entente between France, England and Russia. Moreover, when Germany violated Belgian
neutrality, Mussolini published his outrage in the pages of Avanti! Therefore, at the
outbreak of the war The Socialist party and the syndicalist Unione Sindicalista Italiano
(USI) were all opting for neutrality . However, after the announcement of Italian
neutrality, the first defections in the revolutionary movements were clearly visible.
Alceste De Ambris and Filippo Corridoni, Italian syndicalists called on revolutionary
forces against feudal, monarchical and military systems found under Kaiserism. Therefore,
people like Cesare Battisti who insisted to be admitted as a soldier in the armed forces
in the event of a war, and Ottavio Dinale one of Mussolini’s oldest friends
persisted Italians to take up arms against Austrian oppressor of national aspirations of
subject peoples .

Under these circumstances the USI split its opinion towards Italian neutrality. During
that time, Mussolini was convicted that the absolute neutrality of the Socialist party
would probably collapse. However, Mussolini could not declare himself because of his
official responsibilities to the Party, which was against the intervention. Mussolini was
aware of the possibility that if he called for intervention, he would lose his leadership
position- and eventually that did in fact come about. However, he also acknowledge the
fact that a war on the side of the Central Powers, would mobilize all socialists against
the government and a war against Austria and Germany might well complete the unification
of Italy, restoring Italia Irredenta . Also, he was opposed to the feudal political
system of the Central Powers. However, he held the same reasons at the time of the war in
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