History 102: Totalitarianism of the Right and Left:
 Interwar Europe, 1918-1939


Rise of Fascism in Italy

·       WWI spoils disappointed many Italians

·       Russian Revolution inspired many workers and socialists

·       Pope allowed Catholics to go into politics

·       “Two Red Years,” 1919-1920

·       Great instability

·       Workers took over some factories

Benito Mussolini, 1883-1945

·       Il Duce (The Leader)

·       Black Shirts


·       extreme militaristic nationalism

·       contempt for electoral democracy and liberalism

·       natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites

·       individual interests subordinated to the good of the nation

Mussolini’s rise to power

·       Two Red Years

·       Mussolini portrayed himself as the ‘man of order’

·       March on Rome (October 1922)

·       King Victor Emmanuel III (r. 1900-46) forced to make Mussolini PM

Consolidation of Power

·       Giacomo Matteotti (socialist leader killed in 1924)

·       Mussolini used it to crack down:

o      changed election law

o      curbed Parliament’s powers

o      censored press and academic publications

o      assumed dual role as PM and ‘Il Duce’

Mussolini’s policies

·       Lateran Agreement (1929):

o      Gave Vatican City independence

o      Financial support

o      Roman Catholicism as official religion

o      Pope agreed to urge Italians to support Mussolini and fascists

·       Corporatism

o      between socialism and capitalism

·       Sexism: women as mothers and sexual objects


·       “Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” (1926)

·       State to pervade all aspects of society

·       The nation mobilized but obedient to THE LEADER

·       BUT: Fascist Italy was not very totalitarian, compared to USSR and Nazi Germany


Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (interwar period, 1921-1939)

·       Multinational USSR

How was the USSR ruled?

·       Officially, a Federation, widely dispersed powers

·       In fact, highly centralized through the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)

·       All leading government officials were communists

Who ruled?

·       Lenin’s creation

·       Lenin died in 1924

·       Led to power struggle:

o      Josef Stalin

o      Leon Trotsky

o      Nikolai Bukharin

Stalin won (by 1928)

·       Why?

o      Not brilliant

o      Ruthless

o      Patronage

o      Will to win

o      Used extreme measures

o      Appealed to non-intellectuals

New Economic Policy (NEP), 1921-28

·       Private small and medium-sized businesses

·       Some free trade

·       Peasants left alone to feed cities (N. Bukharin)

·       Tax-in-kind

·       Little use of violence

·       NEPmen

The Great Turn, 1928->

·       Move to Planned Economy

·       First Five-Year Plan, 1928-1934

·       Focus on Heavy Industry

·       Sacrificed consumer goods

·       Quotas

·       Quantity over quality

·       Stakhanovites

Collectivization, 1929-1935

·       1927: voluntary

·       1929: forced

·       Main goal: control of food

·       Requisitions

·       Peasants resisted (1600 large-scale revolts)

·       “Kulaks”

·       De-kulakization (1.5 million ‘removed’)

The Great Famine, 1932-33

·       Causes:

o      Requisitions for cities and export

o      De-kulakization

o      Poor collective farm management

o      Livestock slaughtered

o      Bad weather

·       6-10 million starved to death

·       Mostly in Ukraine

The Terror, 1934-39

·       Sergei Kirov, 1886-1934

·       Leader of CPSU in Leningrad

·       December 1, 1934: assassinated by a communist

·       Sparked Terror

·       Show Trials, 1936-38

Evgeniia Ginzburg

·       Journey into the Whirlwind

·       Loyal, dedicated communist

·       1937: arrested

·       “Trotskyist”

·       Conveyor belt

·       GULAG

·       Magadan

·       1955: released


·       Eight million arrested

·       How many killed?

·       681,692 people were executed during 1937–38

·       Memorial society released list of 1,345,796 victims

·       Gradually, greatly undermined CPSU’s authority and legitimacy