The Crisis of Liberal Italy

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In this major interpretation of the crisis of democracy in Italy after World War I, Douglas Forsyth uses unpublished documents in Italy's central state archives, as well as private papers, diplomatic and bank archives in Italy, France, Britain and the United States, to analyse monetary and financial policy in Italy from the outbreak of war until the march on Rome. The study focuses on real and perceived conflicts and often painful choices between great power politics, economic growth, macroeconomic stabilisation and the preservation or strengthening of democratic consensus. The key issue explored is why governments in Italy after World War I, although headed by left-liberal reformers, were unable to press ahead with the democratic reformism which had characterised the so-called 'Giolittian era', 1901-1914. Their failure paved the way for parliamentary deadlock and Mussolini's seizure of power.