Further Consolidation 1924 – 1927

Mussolini was helped by the fact that he took over power just before a period of international financial stability.  The economic success strengthened his position as Prime Minister, and although it had almost nothing to do with the fascist regime, Mussolini was more than happy to accept credit for it.

Mussolini also consolidated his power by restoring Italian national pride. He did this by achieving small but successful foreign policy gains. One of the most noticeable being the acquisition of Fiume in 1924 from Yugoslavia – an issue which had been very contentious in the run up to Mussolini’s appointment as Prime Minister.

Domestically, Mussolini began the process of slowly extending his control over the state, transforming Italy bit by bit into a totalitarian state. Some of these measures included bringing trade unions under control in the Palazzo Vidoni Pact, tighter censorship, banning other political parties and making strikes illegal. Once these various laws were in place and set in the constitution, Mussolini was in a very strong position and was able to exercise a lot more control over the country.

Despite strengthened control over the country and over the people, Mussolini also needed to assert his control over the fascist party itself. Mussolini had already experienced the dangers firsthand of what could happen if fascist radicalism were allowed to run wild from the Matteotti affair.

The new national head of the PNF was Roberto Farinacci, an extreme radical from the fascist party, and under his leadership a wave of violence against bankers, Catholics, industrialists and others. Mussolini sacked him in March 1926, and the PNF was gradually integrated into the state bureaucracy. Mussolini was now had a much stronger grip on the fascist movement with the pro-Farrinacci radicals removed.

A Fascist secret police was also established, named OVRA (Organisation for Vigilance and Repression against Anti-Fascism) which sent many political prisoners to camps on remote Mediterranean islands.

By 1927, with all these measures put into place, Mussolini had consolidated a considerable amount of power, and was on his way to creating the totalitarian state which he dreamed of.

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