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The 1922 Turin Massacre ( Strage di Torino ): Working class resistance and conflicts within fascism

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This article explores the reasons why Turin's Fascists launched a violent offensive against the local labour movement two months after the Fascist seizure of power. The article demonstrates that the residual resistance of the working class to Fascism was the major reason behind the Turin massacre. However, it also investigates other decisive factors for the violence of December 1922: the conflict between the national Fascist leadership and Turin Fascism and within the Turin fascio itself. The article challenges the interpretation, best exemplified by Renzo De Felice, that the Fascist violence was spontaneous, carried out by undisciplined squadristi without the approval of Mussolini and the Fascist leadership. Rather, it argues that there existed significant levels of planning and a high degree of toleration by the Turinese and national Fascist leaderships and the local authorities. Using Turin as a case study, the article provides a clearer view of the tensions existing within the Fascist movement in the months after the seizure of power. It analyses how Turin Fascism was riddled by factional disputes and how its attempts to gain control of the major political and economic institutions of the city were frustrated by the opposition of the local authorities and industrialists, backed by Mussolini's government. The events of the months preceding and following the strage also afford insights into the conflicts within Fascism over the future role squadrism and violence was to play in the Fascist movement now Mussolini was head of government.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: History Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK

Publication date: 01 November 2005

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