The involvement of the Italian state institutions in the rise to power of Fascism: the police forces in the province of Bologna, 1897-1925.
This thesis aims to demonstrate and account for the role played by the Italian state institutions in the rise of Fascism. It is based on a case-study of Bologna's police forces. While most historical accounts of Italian Fascism mention the collusion of the police and judiciary with the Fascist movement during the period 1920-22, my thesis attempts to provide a clearer definition of the part played by the prefect, Questore, Regie Guardie and Carabinieri during the years of serious and prolonged civil disturbance and to provide convincing motives for such conduct. I hope to demonstrate that there are many hypothetical explanations for the connivance of Bologna's police forces with local squadristi. These range from anti-Socialism and opportunism to numerical weakness, the physical, psychological and moral pressure of Fascism and the ambiguous attitude of the central government towards Mussolini's movement. I aim, above all, to show that the relationship of Bologna's police forces with the provincial Fascist movement may be linked back to several traditional internal and external factors inherent in Italian policing, the most crucial of which was Italy's weak and outmoded police system itself, and that from an institutional point of view Fascism may be considered a 'revelation' of Italy's past in spite of the 'revolutionary' desires of many of its exponents for an end to Liberal politics and a break with the past.