There was nothing inevitable about the arrival of either Mussolini and Hitler in office. Looking closely at how fascist leaders became head of government is an exercise in antideterminism. It may well be that a number of factors—the shallowness of liberal traditions, late industrialization, the survival of predemocratic elites, the strength of revolutionary surges, a spasm of revolt against national humiliation—all contributed to the magnitude of the crisis and narrowed the choices available in Italy and Germany. But the conservative leaders rejected other possibilities— governing in coalition with the moderate Left, for instance.
I would highly recommend everyone read at least chapter 4: Getting Power. That chapter analyzes how the fascists came to power through the means of the conservatives working with fascism in the face of dwindling support and a rising Left. They chose the fascist option. The fascist leaders, for their part, accomplished the “normalization” necessary for sharing power. It did not have to turn out that way.
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