Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Agrarian Elites and Italian Fascism

Agrarian Elites and Italian Fascism: The Province of Bologna, 1901-1926

ANTHONY L. CARDOZA
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvr05
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Agrarian Elites and Italian Fascism
    Book Description:

    Treating the tumultuous period from 1901 to the late 1920s, this book describes social and political conflict in the cradle of agrarian fascism

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5344-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-12)

    Political commentators and scholars alike have long recognized the central importance of the countryside in the rise of fascist movements throughout Europe. Indeed, both electoral analyses and studies of party membership have underscored the massive involvement of rural folk in these movements, while the most cursory glance at fascist ideology reveals a striking emphasis on the values and virtues of the country life.¹ Italian fascism is certainly no exception. Although Mussolini originally claimed that his movement could not spread beyond the towns, it was the sudden expansion of rural-based fascism in the winter of 1920–21 that saved his urban...

  2. I. THE PROVINCE OF BOLOGNA IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
    (pp. 13-67)

    A benign conspiracy of geography, climate, soil, and cultural heritage had elevated the province of Bologna and its major city to the rank of acknowledged, if unofficial, capital of agricultural Italy by the beginning of the twentieth century. Nestling at the foot of the Apennine Mountains in the southeastern zone of the fertile Po Valley, the city of Bologna commanded the main route to Florence and the south, linked the Adriatic with the Mediterranean, and provided a point of convergence for both the railroad lines and highways of northern Italy. The soil and climate of the province, as local boosters...

  3. II. POLITICAL LIBERALIZATION AND AGRARIAN REACTION, 1901–1909
    (pp. 68-122)

    By the spring of 1901, the Italian peninsula had already entered a period of unparalleled industrial growth and social progress. With the chemical, metallurgical, and engineering sectors leading the way, manufacturing production more than doubled, the annual rate of growth reached record highs, and capital investments in plant and equipment rose by 114 percent As the older textile firms completed their conquest of the domestic market and enlarged their export activities, modern steel, hydroelectric, and automotive industries were born Indeed, in a highly favorable international economic climate, the state, capable entrepreneurs, and new commercial banks helped stimulate the greatest relative...

  4. III. THE NEW AGRARIAN BOURGEOISIE AND THE STRATEGY OF MILITANT RESISTANCE, 1908–1911
    (pp. 123-170)

    Not all factions of the Bolognese agrarian elite shared Count Francesco Cavazzaʹs acceptance of the new status quo or his optimistic appraisal of labor relations in the province. Despite the general trend toward collective bargaining and negotiated settlements in the countryside, a number of large commercial farmers in the low plains remained steadfastly opposed to any compromise with organized labor. During the winter of 1907–1908, for instance, a royal commissioner wrote from Molinella that some of the biggest leaseholders continued to be ʺno less tenacious in their opposition to every aspiration of the day laborers,ʺ engaging in what he...

  5. IV. THE POLITICS OF CONFRONTATION, 1912–1914
    (pp. 171-208)

    If the organizational triumph of agrarian militants in 1911 seemed to foreshadow an era of renewed reaction in the Italian countryside, political developments in Rome the same year suggested a quite different trend. Indeed events in the first half of 1911 appeared to mark a major advance for mass-party democracy and organized labor. In March Giolitti formed his fourth prewar government. Overlooking the foremost political figures of the constitutional right, the Piedmontese statesman turned to the moderate left for the personnel to staff his cabinet. Despite the refusal of the Socialist Bissolati to accept a ministerial post, the composition of...

  6. V. POLITICS AND SOCIETY IN WARTIME BOLOGNA
    (pp. 209-244)

    The Bolognese Socialists had little time to luxuriate in their victories or the propertied classes to lament their political setbacks after the municipal elections of 1914. Indeed, even as the balloting was taking place in late June, momentous events beyond Italyʹs borders began to overshadow provincial issues and conflicts. After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28 and the subsequent ultimatum, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia on July 28; within a week this local conflict mushroomed into a general European war as Germany, Russia, France, and Great Britain rushed to the aid of their respective allies....

  7. VI. AN ELITE BESIEGED: THE POSTWAR CRISIS IN BOLOGNA
    (pp. 245-289)

    After three and a half years of enormous material and human destruction, World War I came to an end in the late fall of 1918. On November 3, the Italian and Austrian military delegations signed an armistice at Villa Giusti near the city of Padua; the following day hostilities officially ceased. The sudden return to peace had immediate domestic repercussions in Italy, for in no other victorious country were the expectations of radical change in the postwar period so pronounced and widespread. In the spring of 1919,Il Corriere della Seracaptured the climate of euphoria and utopian hopes that...

  8. VII. THE RISE OF AGRARIAN FASCISM IN BOLOGNA, 1920–1921
    (pp. 290-339)

    During the first nine months of 1920, the Italian peninsula appeared to be in the throes of a revolutionary crisis. With the Chamber of Deputies paralyzed by bitter political divisions and the economy plagued by soaring inflation, the governmentʹs authority seemed to collapse in the face of the most prolonged and intense period of social upheaval since 1898.¹ Beginning with railroad and postal strikes in January, a record number of over two million industrial, agricultural, and public service workers engaged in more than two thousand strikes and countless political demonstrations. Growing labor militancy led to violence: between April 1919 and...

  9. VIII. THE AGRARIAN FASCIST CONQUEST OF THE COUNTRYSIDE
    (pp. 340-386)

    Beginning in the spring of 1921, Bologna was shaken by an explosion of violence and destruction without precedent in the modern history of the province. The mountains of police and prefectoral reports from this period eloquently testified to both the dimensions and brutality of what soon emerged as a unilateral civil war against the institutions and personnel of the Socialist labor movement. Scarcely a day would pass without new reports of Fascist violence: punitive expeditions, beatings, shootings, arson, devastated union halls and party headquarters. Between March and May alone, squads of blackshirts ravaged over thirty-five newspaper offices, chambers of labor,...

  10. IX. FROM MOVEMENT TO REGIME: BOLOGNESE FASCISM, 1921–1926
    (pp. 387-436)

    Most historians, in studying the rapid growth of agrarian fascism, have focused primarily on its dramatic initial phase of terroristic reaction. Comparatively little attention has been given to the more prosaic but perhaps equally important second phase of Fascist institutional consolidation in the countryside.¹ The transition from movement to regime proved to be a prolonged and arduous process that required the resolution or repression of bitter political rivalries and profound social conflicts within fascism. For agrarian interests in particular, the creation of a stable new power structure in the former red provinces involved four separate but interrelated tasks: the establishment...

  11. EPILOGUE: THE RELATIVE REWARDS OF DICTATORSHIP
    (pp. 437-454)

    Although the basic framework of agrarian economic power and political influence had been largely institutionalized by the end of 1926, the advantages commercial farmers derived from it must be located in the context of developments after 1926. Indeed, the most important structural changes in relations between the agricultural sector, industry, and the Fascist regime took place in the late 1920s and the ensuing decade. On the whole these changes were decidedly unfavorable to agriculture, which suffered a severe and prolonged depression and saw its interests subordinated to those of heavy industry. Clearly 1927 marked the crucial turning point. The drastic...