American/Italian Club news

Frank L. Nechvatal

Now that we have again passed through the holidays and are moving forward into a new year, we find ourselves moving into the Lenten season in preparation for Easter. We had a great January meeting with a movie, La Dolce Vita. How did you like the subtitles? February’s meeting is scheduled to be game night along with goodies to munch on.

Our Italian history continues with the Rise of Fascism in Italy. Following WW I, Italy suffered through two years of economic decline. Industry was in a state of chaos. Out of this depression rose the Fascist Party headed by Benito Mussolini, a journalist. In October 1922, Mussolini took advantage of a general workers’ strike to demand the government give his party power or face a coup. King Victor Emanuel III was faced with the dilemma of choosing who would form the new government, the Mussolini Fascists or the Marxist Socialist Party. He chose Fascists. In two years’ time the Fascists, through violence and intimidation, gained enough votes to take control of the Italian Parliament. Over the next four years Mussolini removed all checks and balance against his power, making him the sole person in charge of the Parliament. Following, he aligned Italy with Germany and Austria in order to extend his influence into the Balkans and North Africa. His ultimate aim was to restore the power that was once that of Rome. During the Spanish Civil War Mussolini sent troops and arms to support the nationalist faction in Spain in order to gain navel access to Spanish ports and increase Italian influence in the Mediterranean.

Next will be the final alliance with Nazi Germany and WW II.