How Economic Disarray and a Lack of Governmental Faith Led to the Rise of Totalitarianism in the 1930s and 1940s

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After World War I and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the Italian and German economies plunged into turmoil. Germany inherited all war-responsibility in the form of severe monetary reparation, while Italy found itself left out of consideration for war reparation payments. For these reasons the Treaty of Versailles had a severe weakening effect on the German and Italian States after World War I, which created the need for change in those countries. As Arthur Koestler, a former member of the communist party during the 1930s wrote, they were "Ripe for it [Change]". (Backman, 217) Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler used this to their advantage and were able to overthrow the existing governments with the backing of the common …show more content…

Like in Germany, the Italian public perceived the Treaty of Versailles as unfair since it allowed them no reparation payments for the war despite the fact that they switched sides and aided the Allies at the end of the war. In his An Encyclopedia of Pacifism Aldous Huxley, a writer living in Italy during the 1930s wrote, "The fabric of Russian society [has] been reduced to chaos by the impact of the war. [This] gave the revolutionaries their opportunity; violently, they seized it." (Backman 214) Like Russia after the war, Italy was also reduced to chaos. The government was unable to effectively solve the problem of impoverishment the Italian nation was facing. This, along with the Italian government's inability to negotiate better terms in the Treaty of Versailles, caused the Italian people to become disillusioned with their government. Benito Mussolini grasps this opportunity, like in Russia, by violence in the form of the Blackshirt march on Rome. He demanded to be made Prime Minister and was met with little resistance. The German and Italian nations faced great challenges after the war, and the governments of said nations were unable to handle the problems with any efficacy. This precipitated a weakening of faith in German and Italian governments which led to the rise of Totalitarianism in

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