The Info List - March On Rome

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(i) (i) (i)

National Fascist Party Blackshirts


Luigi Facta Antonio Salandra
Antonio Salandra
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Emilio De Bono Italo Balbo
Italo Balbo
Cesare Maria De Vecchi Michele Bianchi


Liberal and leftist parties Military and the business class


Italian Police and Armed Forces 30,000 Militiamen

The MARCH ON ROME (Italian : Marcia su Roma) was a march by which Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
's National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista, or PNF) came to power in the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy
(Regno d'Italia). The march was a planned insurrection by fascist leaders on Oct. 24, 1922 to take place on October 28. The current prime minister, Luigi Facta ordered a state of siege for Rome, but the king refused. The next day, the king declared Mussolini the Prime Minister
Prime Minister
without any fighting on October 29, 1922.


* 1 Context * 2 March * 3 Other participants * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Notes * 7 External links


In March 1919, Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
founded the first "Italian Combat Leagues" ( Fasci Italiani di Combattimento ) at the beginning of the "two red years" (biennio rosso ). He suffered a defeat in the election of November 1919 mainly due to Mussolini’s attempt to “out-socialist the socialists” at the ballot box. But, by the election of 1921 , Mussolini entered the Parliament.

Out of his "Fascist" party the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale ("Blackshirts" or Squadristi) were formed. In August 1920, the Blackshirts
were used to break the general strike which had started at the Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo
factory in Milan
. In November 1920, after the assassination of Giordana (a right-wing municipal counsellor in Bologna
), the Blackshirts
were used as a repression tool by the state to crush the socialist movement (which included a strong anarcho-syndicalist component), especially in the Po Valley .

Trade unions were dissolved while left-wing mayors resigned. The fascists, included on Giovanni Giolitti 's "National Union" lists at the May 1921 elections, then won 35 seats. Mussolini then withdrew his support to Giolitti and attempted to work out a temporary truce with the socialists by signing a "Pacification Pact" in summer 1921. This provoked a conflict with the most fanatical part of the movement, the Squadristi and their leaders the Ras ("Dukes", from an Ethiopian term). In July 1921, Giolitti attempted without success to dissolve the squadristi. The contract with the socialists was then broken at its turn in November 1921, Mussolini adopted a nationalist program and founded the National Fascist Party , which boasted 700,000 members in July 1922. In August, an anti-fascist general strike was triggered, but failed to rally the Italian People's Party (Partito Popolare Italiano ) and was repressed by the fascists. A few days before the march, Mussolini consulted with the U.S. Ambassador Richard Washburn Child about whether the U.S. government would object to Fascist participation in a future Italian government. Child encouraged him to go ahead. When Mussolini learned that Prime Minister
Prime Minister
Luigi Facta had given Gabriele d\'Annunzio the mission to organize a large demonstration on 4 November 1922 to celebrate the national victory during the war, he decided on the March to accelerate the process and sidestep any possible competition..


Fascists travelling towards Rome. Emilio De Bono , Benito Mussolini , Italo Balbo
Italo Balbo
and Cesare Maria De Vecchi .

The quadrumvirs leading the Fascist Party, General Emilio De Bono , Italo Balbo
Italo Balbo
(one of the most famous ras), Michele Bianchi and Cesare Maria de Vecchi , organized the March, while the Duce
was waiting in Milan. He did not participate in the march, though he allowed pictures to be taken of him marching along with the Fascist marchers, and he comfortably went to Rome
the next day. Generals Gustavo Fara and Sante Ceccherini assisted to the preparations of the March of 18 October. Other organizers of the march included the Marquis Dino Perrone Compagni and Ulisse Igliori.

On 24 October 1922, Mussolini declared before 60,000 people at the Fascist Congress in Naples
: "Our program is simple: we want to rule Italy." Meanwhile, the Blackshirts, who had occupied the Po plain, took all strategic points of the country. On 26 October, former prime minister Antonio Salandra
Antonio Salandra
warned current Prime Minister
Prime Minister
Luigi Facta that Mussolini was demanding his resignation and that he was preparing to march on Rome. However, Facta did not believe Salandra and thought that Mussolini would govern quietly at his side. To meet the threat posed by the bands of fascist troops now gathering outside Rome, Luigi Facta (who had resigned but continued to hold power) ordered a state of siege for Rome. Having had previous conversations with the king about the repression of fascist violence, he was sure the king would agree. However, King Victor Emmanuel III refused to sign the military order. On 29 October, the King handed power to Mussolini, who was supported by the military, the business class, and the right-wing.

The march itself was composed of fewer than 30,000 men, but the king in part feared a civil war since the squadristi had already taken control of the Po plain and most of the country, while Fascism
was no longer seen as a threat to the establishment. Mussolini was asked to form his cabinet on 29 October 1922, while some 25,000 Blackshirts were parading in Rome. Mussolini thus legally reached power, in accordance with the Statuto Albertino
Statuto Albertino
, the Italian Constitution. The March on Rome
was not the seizure of power which Fascism
later celebrated but rather the precipitating force behind a transfer of power within the framework of the constitution. This transition was made possible by the surrender of public authorities in the face of fascist intimidation. Many business and financia