The Birth of Fascism
At the end of the Great War Italy’s liberal political system was sickly; as a matter of fact, it had never been robust. After all, the country had been unified for only half a century, and the newly established state had been confronted by gargantuan problems—parliamentary inexperience, intense regional jealousies, hostility from the papacy, widespread illiteracy (especially in the south), economic underdevelopment, a high birth rate, and a tightly stratified social structure. Until 1912 the right to vote was restricted to a small proportion of the population; thereafter a democratic franchise was put into effect for all male literates over the age of twenty-one and for illiterates over the age of thirty if they had seen military service. In the years just before the war Catholics began to participate at last in national politics, now that the Church was worried by the growth of Marxism.
KeywordsForeign Policy Military Service Socialist Party Extreme Left Religious Congregation
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