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Matteotti, Giacomo(jä`kōmō mät-tāôt`tē), 1885–1924, Italian Socialist leader; the outstanding opponent of the Fascist regime during its early days. He was a member of parliament, and his murder by Fascist hirelings precipitated a parliamentary crisis that Mussolini overcame by disavowing the murder and by tightening police control. With the crushing of the opposition aroused by Matteotti's assassination, Mussolini's dictatorship may be said to have begun. The murderers and their accomplices received only nominal sentences.
Born May 22, 1885, in Fratta Pole-sine, Rovigo Province; died June 10, 1924, in Rome. One of the leaders of the Italian Socialist Party. A lawyer by education.
During World War I, Matteotti was arrested and imprisoned for antiwar activity. In 1919 he became a parliamentary deputy. In October 1922, together with F. Turati and other reformers, he was expelled from the Italian Socialist Party and helped found the Unitary Socialist Party, which he served as political secretary. In contradistinction to the other reformers, he advocated decisive resistance to fascism. On May 30, 1924, in the newly elected Chamber of Deputies, Matteotti exposed the electoral machinations and abuses of the Fascist Party and demanded that the mandates of the Fascist deputies be annulled. While preparing new exposures of the Fascist regime, he was kidnapped and murdered by the Fascists. His murder caused an acute crisis for the Fascist regime, including the formation of the Aventine Bloc.