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How did Mussolini consolidate the power?

Fascist Italy 1922-1924 Important dates 1922: October: coalition cabinet led by Mussolini November: vote of confidence December: creation of Fascist Grand Council 1923: January: creation of Fascist Militia February: concessions to Pope July: Acerbo Law 1924: January: Italy gaines port of Fiume April: election: Fascists win 66% of vote 1922 In October 1922, in the face of the March on Rome, Mussolini was appointed a Prime Minister. He headed a coalition cabinet in which only four ministers (out of 12) were fascists. His first steps towards greater power were therefore quite limited and cautious. Fortunately for Mussolini, a power-increasing opportunity soon appeared. The threat of communists - which Mussolini smartly exaggerated in order to take advantage of it, put the king Victor Emmanuel III in difficult position. Choosing between Fascists and communists, the king opted for the first option. The Parliament passed vote of confidence which granted Mussolini with emergency power for one year. Together with the king giving him a dictatorial power to restore order and introduce reforms, it marked the beginning of Mussolinis way towards dictatorship and a single-party state. In order to support his newly-gained power, Mussolini created a Fascist Grand Council (an institution which held and applied great power to control the institutions of government). 1923 The next step in securing the power was creating a new militia: National State Voluntary Militia (MVSN) paid by the state and recruited from the Fascist squads. Any signs of opposition could be then quickly suppressed. Mussolini made also some concessions to the Church - understanding its great influence on Italy. Historians argue about the factual power of Mussolini of that time. Many are inclined to think that the Fascist Great Council and the MVSN were securing Mussolinis power inside the Fascist movement, rather than consolidating his power as a Prime Minister as it was still potentially uncertain the king could still dismiss Mussolini at any time and the Parliament consisted of the Fascist minority. Mussolini understood his weak position and found a solution for it: the Acerbo Law. In July 1923, in the presence of the Blackshirts (a fascist paramilitary group), the Parliament was forced to vote in favour of the proportional representation which in practice meant that any party which got most votes in general election would be given two-thirds of the seats in parliament. This idea was supported not only because of the presence of the Blackshirts. It appealed some Parlametarians as they perceived it as an end to the weak coalition governments that had been for so long weakening Italian position. 1924 The election of 1924 officially confirmed Fascist power. The opponents of Mussolini not able to find consent, weak and divided were not able to threaten Mussolinis growing support. The result of the election: 66% of vote to the Fascist Party meant a huge majority in the Parliament. The election,

although punctuated with the signs of forgery, e.g. multiple votes of the Fastist supporters, finally ended Mussolinis steps consolidating power. The efficient propaganda, censorship, banning opponent movements and meetings started the period of the dictatorship in Italy.