Mussolini and the Eclipse of Italian Fascism: From Dictatorship to Populism 0300232721, 9780300232721

An incisive account of how Mussolini pioneered populism in reaction to Hitler’s rise—and thereby reinforced his role as

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Mussolini and the Eclipse of Italian Fascism: From Dictatorship to Populism
 0300232721, 9780300232721

Table of contents :
Cover page
Halftitle page
Title page
Copyright page
Epigraph
Series page
CONTENTS
PLATES
ABBREVIATIONS
INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 1 MUSSOLINI AND THE GHOST OF ADOLF HITLER
CHAPTER 2 THE PECULIARITIES OF ITALIAN HISTORY AND THE MANY BIRTHDAYS OF 1932–3
CHAPTER 3 A THRIVING DICTATORSHIP FASCIST, TOTALITARIAN OR MUSSOLINIAN?
CHAPTER 4 IMAGINING LIBERAL TOTALITARIANISM?
CHAPTER 5 AN ITALIAN DICTATORSHIP, ITS DREAMS OF EMPIRE AND THE ENVELOPING SHADOW OF NAZISM
CHAPTER 6 POPULIST TOTALITARIANISM AND/OR FASCIST MYSTICISM UNDER THE DUCE
CHAPTER 7 THE FASCIST MAP OF EUROPE MOVES TO AFRICA ETHIOPIA, EMPIRE AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES
CHAPTER 8 AN AXIS OF EVIL, FASCIST RACISM AND A WANING DICTATOR 1936–40
CONCLUSION WORST OF DICTATORS? THE MEANING OF BENITO MUSSOLINI AND ITALIAN FASCISM IN THE AGE OF TRUMP AND THE POPULISTS
NOTES
FURTHER READING
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
INDEX

Citation preview

MUSSOLINI AND THE ECLIPSE OF ITALIAN FASCISM

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MUSSOLINI AND THE ECLIPSE OF ITALIAN FACISM From Dictatorship to Populism

R. J. B. BOSWORTH YALE UNIVERSIT Y PRESS NEW HAVEN AND LONDON

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Copyright © 2021 R. J. B. Bosworth All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press) without written permission from the publishers. For information about this and other Yale University Press publications, please contact: U.S. Office: [email protected]   yalebooks.com Europe Office: [email protected]   yalebooks.co.uk Set in Minion Pro by IDSUK (DataConnection) Ltd Printed in Great Britain by TJ Books, Padstow, Cornwall Library of Congress Control Number: 2020946701 ISBN 978-0-300-23272-1 A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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For Clare Alexander, agent for a splendid ventennio

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The true interest of an absolute monarch generally coincides with that of his people. Their numbers, their wealth, their order, and their security are the best and only foundations of his real greatness; and were he totally devoid of virtue, prudence might supply its place, and would dictate the same rule of conduct. Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Tobruk has been taken by the Australians, a people who mean absolutely nothing in the history of the world. Giuseppe Prezzolini, Diario, 22 January 1941 The more I think about history, ancient or modern, the more ironical all human affairs seem. Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

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CONTENTS



List of plates Abbreviations

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Introduction Mussolini and the ghost of Adolf Hitler The peculiarities of Italian history and the many birthdays of 1932–3 A thriving dictatorship: Fascist, totalitarian or Mussolinian? Imagining liberal totalitarianism? An Italian dictatorship, its dreams of empire and the enveloping shadow of Nazism Populist totalitarianism and/or Fascist mysticism under the Duce The Fascist map of Europe moves to Africa: Ethiopia, empire and their consequences An Axis of evil, Fascist racism and a waning dictator 1936–40 Conclusion Worst of dictators? The meaning of Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism in the age of Trump and the populists

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Notes Further reading Acknowledgements Index

58 89 116 148 180 212 248

263 313 314 317

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PLATES

My thanks to Dr Elisa Dannibale for assistance in collecting these images.   1. Matteotti, victim of a heinous political crime. L’Illustrazione italiana, 22 June 1924.   2. Mussolini meets peasants in Caluso outside Turin, 1925. L’Illustrazione italiana, 4 October 1925.  3. The molto chic Acquasanta golf course just outside Rome. L’Illustrazione italiana, 17 July 1927.   4. Crown Prince Umberto kneels at Nazareth, 1928. L’Illustrazione ital­ iana, 15 April 1928.   5. Prince Amedeo, Duca delle Puglie, on a white camel in Libya, 1929. Rodolfo Graziani, Verso il Fezzan (Tripoli: Editore F. Cacopardo, VIII [1929]).   6. Mussolini on the Decennale visit to Fiat, 1932. L’Illustrazione italiana, 30 October 1932.  7. White-haired Mussolini meets British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, in cutaway coat, 1933. L’Illustrazione italiana, 26 March 1933.  8. Pope Pius XI and a crowd of ‘200,000’ in Piazza San Pietro, 1933. L’Illustrazione vaticana, 1 June 1933.   9. Mussolini in jodhpurs and a beret, eating Littoria (Fascist celebratory) bread. L’Illustrazione italiana, 13 August 1933. 10. Mussolini and Hitler give different salutes in Stra near Venice, 1934. L’Illustrazione italiana, 17 June 1934. 11. Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss. L’Illustrazione italiana, 29 July 1934.

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12. Skinny Somali men give Roman salute to King Victor Emmanuel III, visiting in December 1934. L’Illustrazione italiana, 16 December 1934. 13. A cartoon of Italy made small by lack of colonies. L’Illustrazione italiana, 27 October 1935. 14. Naked and victorious Italian soldiers bathe in Lake Ashangi. L’Illustrazione italiana, 26 April 1936. 15. Ciano in uniform and Mussolini not as they welcome troops back from Africa Orientale Italiana, 17 May 1936. The Picture Art Collection/ Alamy. 16. Massive crowds welcome Mussolini back from Munich. L’Illustrazione italiana, 9 October 1938. 17. The Duke of Aosta in white uniform visiting Massawa. L’Italia coloniale, January 1939. 18. The Mussolinis as a family, late 1928. Chronicle/Alamy.

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ABBREVIATIONS

ANI AOI APMAE BMOO CAUR CP DDI DGPS DPP DGPS UCP EUR f. FO IBA INFPS IRI MI MRF

Associazione Nazionalista Italiana (Italian Nationalist Association) Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa) Affari politici Ministero degli affari esteri Benito Mussolini, Opera omnia (ed. E. and D. Susmel), 44 vols (Florence: La Fenice, 1951–62; 1978–80) Comitati d’Azione per l’Universalità di Roma Confinati politici: fascicoli personali I documenti diplomatici italiani 3rd to 8th series Direzione Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza Divisione Polizia Politica Direzione Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza, Ufficio Confinati Politici Esposizione Universale di Roma (Rome Universal Exhibition) fasciolo (issue) Foreign Office (London) Italian Bulletin of Commerce: official organ of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Australia Istituto nazionale fascista della previdenza sociale (Fascist institute for social welfare) Istituto per la ricostruzione industriale (Institute for industrial reconstruction) Ministero dell’Interno (Ministry of the Interior) Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista (Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution)

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ABBREVIATIONS

MSI MVSN ONB OND ONMI OVRA PCI PCM PNF RSI SPDCCZ SPDCO SPDCR SPEP

Movimento Sociale Italiano (Italian Social Movement, neo-Fascists) Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (Voluntary Militia for National Security) Opera Nazionale Balilla (Fascist boy scouts) Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (National After Work Group) Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia (National Agency for the Safeguarding of Mothers and Children) Fascist Secret Police (the initials had no direct meaning) Partito Comunista Italiano (pre-1943: Partito Comunista d’Italia) (Italian Communist Party) Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri (Presidency of the Council of Ministers) Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party) Repubblica Sociale Italiana (Italian Social or ‘Salò’ Republic) Segreteria particolare del Duce: Carte del cassetto del zinco Segreteria particolare del Duce: Carteggio ordinario Segreteria particolare del Duce: Carteggio riservato Situazione politica ed economica delle provincie

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INTRODUCTION

Piazza Venezia is the busiest square in the centro storico (historic centre) of contemporary Rome. At any moment, buses trundle by, cars and taxis thread past each other and motos carry their riders as swiftly as possible to their destinations. Pedestrians crowd around, some moving fast (can they be Romans bent on business?), some slowly and some not at all as they photograph the sights, take selfies or read the latest snippets of personal news on their phones. Here, then, is Piazza Venezia, Rome, jostled by its own (pre-corona) 2020 visions.1 For some men and women there, maybe memory does not stretch back before the previous selfie. But for those alert to historical sites, two places in the square throb with historical meaning from the twentieth century. Much the largest is the Vittoriano, the Victor Emmanuel monument (less respectfully called the Monumentissimo, Wedding Cake or Vespasiano di lusso – de luxe urinal, if you believe that the Emperor Vespasian, who ruled 69–79 ce, thus came to man’s help). The Vittoriano was inaugurated (unfinished) on 4 June 1911. The charging Winged Victories at the top of the structure were installed after doubtful triumph in Italy’s distinctive First World War. The gleamingly white monument commemorates King Victor Emmanuel II, the paradoxically numbered ‘first King of Italy’ (1861–78), his country united, or anyway converted into a modern-seeming nation state in the so-called Risorgimento (rising again). A statue of him sitting in military uniform on a horse stands at the front of the monument. The King presided over a regime that called itself Liberal. It was possessed of a bicameral parliament and, technically at least, accepted the rule of law, a free press and the economics of the market. Yet the monument carries an obvious other message, given its placement in ‘Eternal’ Rome. It stands athwart the Capitol of the ancient city,2 with the fora of the Republic and various Caesars lying close to its east. More strikingly even 1

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than the Albert Memorial in London (opened in 1872, with Albert’s statue added in 1876), the Vittoriano proclaims a confident or confident-seeming message of its time. Modern Italy will be imperial as well as Liberal, it shouts. The new twentieth century will be the era of the ‘Third Rome’, when the nation will match the grandeur of the classical Empire and the Renaissance. True to its word, on 29 September in the year of the monument’s inauguration, Italian troops landed at Tripoli across the Mediterranean without the bother of a government declaration of war against the territory’s ruler, Ottoman Turkey. Liberal Italy, some of its political class were inclined to boast, was ‘on the march’.3 When, as a young scholar, I published my first book, a study of Italian foreign policy culminating in national entry into the First World War on 24 May 1915,4 I chose a sepia image of the Vittoriano as my cover image. It was a good choice and may have directed much of my interpretation of twentieth-century Italian history ever since. Certainly my title, Italy, the least of the Great Powers, has become a maxim of quite a number of accounts of the lights and shadows of the national past. The Vittoriano, then, dominates Piazza Venezia and marks the Liberal conquest of Rome and the post-Risorgimento regime’s massive remaking of what, from 1870, became its national capital. Less noticed by most in the square, on its western side is situated the Palazzo Venezia. This elegant building housed a papal residence for some centuries after the 1460s. But, in 1911, it was the embassy of Austria-Hungary to the Vatican, Italy then being a partner of the Habsburg monarchy in the Triple Alliance. It was not destined to remain so. Participation in the coming global conflict was justified in official rhetoric as the ‘Fourth War of the Risorgimento’, designed to bring home Italian speakers in Trento and Trieste. The past ruler of such cities, Habsburg Austria was the nation’s first and chief enemy and during the war’s course, Palazzo Venezia was formally seized by the Italian state. Today it houses one of Rome’s numerous state-owned art collections. During the interwar period, however, the story was different, at least from 1929 when the Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, moved his office into the Palazzo’s Sala del Mappamondo (Room of the Map of the Globe). Its name roared out the message that here a Man bestrode the world. Entrance to it under the dictatorship was naturally restricted to members of the governing elite or other selected visitors. Later in this book I examine the method of 2

INTRODUCTION

administration by a ruler whose day was composed of one interview in the Sala after another. But for the tourist today, it is not that room but the small balcony that juts from the second floor of the Palazzo di Venezia that prompts prime recollection of the ‘Italian dictatorship’.5 From here Mussolini made some of his grandest and most bellicose speeches, bellowing his angry staccato phrases to what was always lauded as an ‘oceanic’ crowd (though the numbers may not have exceeded those who hailed one pope or other in Piazza San Pietro across the Tiber). Flickering Istituto Luce newsreels displaying the Duce’s sending his country into the Second World War on 10 June 1940 or proclaiming victory in an imperial war against Ethiopia on 5 and 9 May 1936 find a place in quite a few memory banks, along with the image of the dead Mussolini hanging upside down in a Milan square on 29 April 1945.6 Few foreigners have heard of Sidney Sonnino, Luigi Luzzatti, Giovanni Giolitti or Antonio Salandra, Liberal prime ministers of Italy, 1909–16. But everyone has heard of Benito Mussolini. His ‘fascism’, pundits often tell us, is with us yet. Mussolini and Fascism (my varied use of capitals in inscribing this word is deliberate) are the focus of this book, as they have been of much of my research.7 In that regard, it may be worth reflection that the Vittoriano physically dominates Piazza Venezia in the way that a small balcony cannot. Even when Mussolini declaimed from there, the Vittoriano towered above him and hammered home its message from the Capitol and the Forum. From the perspective of Piazza Venezia, the central square of what in the 1930s was often called ‘Mussolini’s Roman Empire’,8 we must ask the more moralising chroniclers of the bulldozing involved in the construction of a dictator’s city9 whether the Liberal regime did not alter Rome even more drastically, and with at least as much determination to make Italy into a Great Power. That is a typical Richard Bosworth question. I remain among those historians who continue to question the extent to which Fascism instituted revolutionary change from the Liberal past. To what degree, I am given to ruminating, did the deep structures of long-term Italian history fully yield to remaking by what the regime announced was its totalitarianism? Readers of my works will not be surprised to find that I shall comment further on the matter in the pages that follow. However, I have other emphases now that I am reviewing Mussolini’s career for one last time, committed, as I always have been, to the view that 3

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history is an unsettled, brittle argument without end. In this book, I shall spend quite a bit of time on Fascist imperialism, well aware that when it comes to the dictatorship’s body count of a million, half of its killings were inflicted on the peoples of Libya and Ethiopia, a toll still too often obscured by metropolitan-obsessed European historians. I shall ponder whether the regime’s best comparator is not its Axis partner, Nazi Germany, but rather the older European empires – Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal – and the United States. Maybe by the 1930s they no longer pursued crude aggressions like the Fascist attack in 1935–6 on that member of the League of Nations, Ethiopia. But Britain and France continued to murder in Kenya and Algeria well after 1945 and they were not alone in such behaviour. Further, I shall muse to what extent was Mussolini’s imperialism as much ‘Italian’ as ‘Fascist? The Duce travelled to Libya twice and never to Africa Orientale Italiana. By contrast, members of the royal family were as hard to keep away as their British cousins were from that country’s empire. Moreover, when Addis Ababa fell to Italian arms the great majority of the national political and cultural class exulted. Was ‘Mussolini’s Roman Empire’, readers must decide, better defined as the Third Italy’s (fragile) conquest? This book has three other provocative themes. Any historian of modern Italy is aware of the massive academic industry devoted to defining ‘Fascism’ (or ‘fascism’ as it is more sensibly termed, thereby removing the specific reference to Mussolini and his followers). Yet the words fascism or fascist are plundered by almost everyone to describe what often simply seems to be behaviour that, or to typify people who ‘we’ do not like and whose political views lurk somewhere to our right. I shall examine some of this often egregious usage, registering how far it has travelled from a serious analysis of the nature of Mussolini’s dictatorship. In this regard, I shall especially note how ‘fascists’ became the permanent enemy of Marxists in a setting that may have begun in Rome but soon extended to embrace all attempts to prolong the rule of the bourgeoisie. Stalin’s USSR fought its titanic and appallingly bloody Great Patriotic War 1941–5 against the enemy (фашист) ‘fascism’. It did so, even though everyone knew that the most formidable invader was Hitler’s Germany and its Nazism. What a pity, is my conclusion as a historian of Italy from this and other evidence that when we uncover contemporary ‘fascists’, we do not call them nazis. 4

INTRODUCTION

When it comes to the detail of the book, I shall therefore try to adjust argumentation over what F/fascism might be. With this aim, after further underlining how Hitler dominates our current memory of dictatorial evil, I shall turn to examine the Italian regime when it celebrated its 10th anniversary (Decennale) on 28 October 1932, conveniently for my analysis three months before old German elites jockeyed Hitler into power as Chancellor (with quite a bit of help from democratic German voters). Did Fascism then mean what it was destined to come to mean, I shall enquire? No doubt Mussolini and his paramilitary squadristi had always been unashamedly violent, ready to beat, maim and murder their more pertinacious opponents. No doubt Mussolini had often talked about how war and empire were good and necessary things for which the regime was readying all the people. No doubt press and other censorship limited the penetration of accurate information into Italian minds. No doubt the dictatorship was a tyranny, capricious and cruel and bringing little benefit to its citizens, with dissent suppressed by an active and capable secret police. Yet in 1932, the regime’s body count, even with the bloody supplement of what was beginning to occur in Libya (with no complaint from Britain and French empirewatchers), had not exceeded ten thousand. True, the Decennale, assisted by the world economic depression, the Nazi rise and commentary on it, had enhanced a tendency that had always existed to suggest that Fascism (like the pope’s Catholicism) might be ‘universal’, ‘the ideology of the twentieth century’. Places where a fascist spring could perhaps be identified were, however, extended well beyond Hitler’s Nazi movement. Were the New Deal in the USA, Kemal Atatürk’s regime in Turkey, perhaps Stalin’s USSR in reality accepting Mussolini as a pioneer, Italian and other observers asked. What of authoritarian Austria or Hungary or Greece or the Baltic states or Finland? None was preserving their gentleness as they tried to live with the post-1919 Wilsonian formula of liberalism combined with self-determination (and therefore nationalist ‘identity’). Were they, too, not in their own manner mimicking the greatness of (modern) Rome? Reflecting such discussion, briefly in 1933–5, the regime tried to sponsor a Fascist International and not invite the Germans. It proved a fiasco. And from the vicious attack on Ethiopia in 1935, Mussolini’s dictatorship entered a time of almost permanent war. Soon there was brutal racist legislation, too, first against the ‘non-whites’ of the empire and, from 1938, against the 5

MUSSOLINI AND THE ECLIPSE OF ITALIAN FASCISM

nation’s overwhelmingly patriotic and often Fascist Jews. Now Italy marched towards Auschwitz. Yet it always did so more for ‘booty’ (bottino), as Mussolini’s word was, for what his Liberal predecessors had called ‘sacro egoismo’ (holy egoism), the ambitions of the least of the Great Powers, than for a fanatical ideology. Machiavelli mattered more in the Duce’s knapsack than did texts about race consciousness and anticommunism. Hitler wanted to entirely liquidate Judeo-Bolshevism and, if the most recent historians are to be believed, exterminate American New World capitalism.10 Mussolini hoped for a peace treaty that could push Italy up the Great Power league. Here, then, emerges one of the more controversial themes of this book. During the late 1980s, ‘revisionist’ British historians like Corelli Barnett and John Charmley made a name for themselves by arguing that the Second World War their nation lost was the one that it fought implicitly against the USA, a battle for global supremacy in empire, economy, culture and ideology.11 What I maintain in some parallel is that well before its lack of economic, social and ideological preparation for global battle forced on Mussolini acceptance of the dismal role of being no more than Hitler’s ‘ignoble second’, he had fared badly in his implied war with his Nazi partner. Throughout the 1930s he had declined into being ‘dictator minor’, more a contemptible ‘gangster’ and less the epitome of evil. Fascism, it was plain to anyone who looked, in such an eclipse could never prove the ideology of the twentieth century. If Hell were to descend on the globe, Nazism not Fascism would preside over it. I have one final key argument in these pages. It is conjured from the debates that eddy around about the meaning of contemporary ‘populism’ and the willingness to wonder whether Trump and the rest of the populist breed are ‘fascists’. Menacing and unlikely to improve the human condition they may be. Nazis, in my upgraded definition of fascist, they are probably not. Yet in this sphere too, the story of Mussolini’s dictatorship offers better historical lessons than does that of Hitler. Maybe Mussolini was not just the first modern European dictator, the first Fascist, the first totalitarian. Maybe he was also the first populist. Certainly his regime entered its second, both murderous and failing, decade with the slogan that it intended ‘to go decisively towards the people’ (andare decisamente verso il popolo).12 Mostly such words have been read 6

INTRODUCTION

simply as a pledge for a deeper and more aggressive totalitarianism. Yet perhaps the present, always capable of revising thoughts about the past, prompts another interpretation. What occurred under Fascism Part II, it can be suggested, was, despite many clever words penned by Mussolini’s tame intellectuals and journalists, a regime that, for its version of public support, grew ever more dependent on the charisma of the dictator and ever less tied to the Fascist Party and its ideology. Now almost all Italians were convinced that the Duce ‘ha sempre ragione’ (is always right) (even though across the Tiber sat, in greater majesty and much longer history, an ‘infallible’ pope). Perhaps Mussolini, growing ever grumpier, ever more sure that the Italian people and his party comrades were letting him down, in his secret heart was less persuaded about his fate. But now the answer, curing nothing of Mussolini’s psychological pain that his hopes of being a great philosopher, the modern replacement of Dr Karl Marx, were proving futile, was war and murder. Like quite a few other dictatorships, in their latter days, ideas mattered less in Mussolini’s rule, and booty (and hanging onto ‘power’) more. This sad mixture was the hollow solution to government offered by Mussolini’s descent into populism after 1932. This dictator was cheaply ready to evoke the people, while in reality bringing them death and destruction and ensuring that, after 1945, Italy would be granted a place in the world’s hierarchy well below the rung of the least of the Great Powers.

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CHAPTER 1 MUSSOLINI AND THE GHOST OF ADOLF HITLER

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born at Dovia, a frazione (or separate hamlet) of the village of Predappio in the Romagna in northern Italy, on 29 July 1883. He died in front of the gates of the Villa Belmonte di Giulino near Lake Como in the early afternoon of 28 April 1945. His fame is based on his role as the twenty-seventh prime minister of Italy (appointed to lead a coalition government on 31 October 1922). Before 1914, he had risen quickly from his provincial origins. In 1911 when the Vittoriano opened and Italy began to murder Libyans, he wrote and edited the ponderously named La Lotta di Classe (The Class Struggle) in his home provincial capital, Forlì, and the following year became an able and combative editor of the main Socialist paper, Avanti! (Forward!). However, in October 1914, wanting to favour Italian war entry and the revolutionary opportunity that he thought it offered, he broke from his family socialism; his father Alessandro had been a self-educated socialist in his home region. With useful financial backing from the French and British secret services and from antisocialist bankers and industrialists, Mussolini immediately founded a new paper entitled Il Popolo d’Italia (The People of Italy), with Mazzinian, not Marxist implication. Mussolini served on the Alpine Front in 1915–17, was wounded in the leg and hip (behind the lines) and wrote a diary in what became his machine-gun prose. ‘It is war time. One goes to war’.1 Heavily propagandised, his record was destined to become a manual of wartime memory under his dictatorship and proof that ‘Corporal Mussolini’ was a man, the man, of the people and their war, his nation’s ‘ordinary soldier’. At a meeting held in Milan on 23 March 1919 in a hall made available by rich Jewish businessman Cesare Goldmann, Mussolini, after his return from the front and back in charge of Il Popolo d’Italia, presided over the foundation of a movement called the Fasci di combattimento.2 Initially it was largely 8

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an assembly of returned soldiers, with inchoate patriotic and socially ‘radical’ ideals. For more than a year, Mussolini had been advocating government by a ‘trincerocrazia’, an elite that had served in the trenches, ‘those who had fought’ necessarily supreme over those who had not, ‘those who had worked’ over ‘parasites’.3 On 9 November 1921, the Fasci were transformed into a reasonably disciplined modern political party to be called the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF, National Fascist Party). Mussolini secured his position over rivals to be hailed as the PNF’s Duce (Leader, Boss, Chief). It was this party he took into office after the ‘March on Rome’ in 1922. In a speech on 3 January 1925, Mussolini announced that he actually headed a ‘regime’ without a use-by date (surely he did not know that in imperial Rome that day was deemed especially appropriate for emperors who had ‘lived through illnesses, coups and shipwrecks’).4 His dictatorship was to be Fascist and, it was soon added, totalitarian, a system with massively increased state control over his people’s bodies, minds and souls. It claimed that under its aegis, Italians were to be made to ‘think Fascist’ or, anyway, become true believers in the ‘cult of the Duce’. They would remain so well into the regime’s less than scintillating performance in the Second World War and even after 1945 when some Italians would never renounce their devotion to Mussolini’s charisma.5 In most accounts Mussolini was therefore Europe’s first modern dictator, its first F/fascist – as I noted in my introduction, the use of the capital F ought to distinguish practice in Italy from that elsewhere, but often does not – and its first totalitarian. Maybe he was also the first populist. His story is well worth our pondering despite the drastic failure of his regime and his ideology in the Second World War and Mussolini’s slide well before that to be no more than Adolf Hitler’s ‘ignoble second’. This book’s major argument is that the Duce is a better instructor about the nature certainly of dictatorship, and perhaps other forms of modern politics than is the Führer. It certainly must be acknowledged initially that in current day Italy, almost a century after Mussolini took the nation’s prime ministership, his ghost retains notable appeal and authority. Two of his granddaughters, the stepsisters Alessandra and Rachele,6 are active on the far right of contemporary politics, as is a great-grandson, with the euphonious name of Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini.7 The name brand still sells in the Duce’s home country. 9

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It scarcely does abroad. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his time as a journalist writing a glib account of the Roman Empire, dismissed the Duce as ‘mad old Musso’, a man whose ‘imperial ambitions were ingloriously thwarted by Abyssinian jezails’ (in what seems a confusion of Adowa, a Liberal defeat by the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik in 1896, with later events).8 Johnson is scarcely alone in effortlessly superior dismissal of Fascist Italians’ military incompetence and, by implication, the rest of Mussolini’s dictatorship. Somewhere in their inner beings, Italians were hard to convert into iron hard legionaries of a totalitarian ideal. Rather, a common assumption remains that Italian men, whatever the bellicosity of regime propaganda, were naturally given to ogling women and wailing for their mothers; at least one memoirist did write after fighting zestlessly for Fascism that he had returned home ‘to the most beautiful thing [God] had created in the world: MAMMA’.9 Any account of vicious Italian killing (and, as will be further recorded later, the dictatorship did send a million men, women and children early to their graves) is usually qualified by another joke about one Fascist fiasco or other. Virtuous condemnation of Mussolini’s regime is therefore usually accompanied by a half-smile. What a contrast this historical assessment is in regard to Hitler and his Soviet contemporary Joseph Stalin, and indeed many other dictators! They can be read as fully embodying evil, with an allure that springs in greatest part from their expression of wickedness, their operation at the lowest circle of Hell. Readers line up to hear more about them just as once Milton and Dante sold more copy on their representations of Satan and his realm than that of the kingdom of God. One of the evident attractions of past evil is an alluring apprehension that it might return. In the contemporary world with rightist and nationalist populism ousting alternative political models in very many societies, the words dictatorship, fascism and totalitarianism have regained menace. There is much pondering whether we are ‘going back to the 1930s’, as pundits phrase it. Less attention is directed at the 1920s, when Mussolini was framing what he depicted as a quintessentially modern ruling system well before Adolf Hitler had risen to power. Yet in most accounts, the Führer’s supremacy over the Duce is taken as read. Typical is Timothy Snyder’s On tyranny: twenty lessons for the twentieth century (2017). Snyder, a professor at Yale, is best known for his extensive and moving work on the ‘Bloodlands’ of Eastern Europe, epicentre of death 10

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in the ‘long Second World War’, where he reckons 14 million perished ‘between Hitler and Stalin’.10 But Snyder’s current ‘lessons’ are directed to the people or voters of the USA being governed by President Donald J. Trump. ‘History’, Snyder claims, ‘does not repeat itself but it does instruct’; ‘democracies’ can fall as well as rise, as they did after 1918, after 1945 and after 1989. Their most foreboding enemies, he states, acknowledging his debt to German-American political theorist, Hannah Arendt’s typology of totalitarianism as involving the abolition of difference between the public and the private,11 are versions of ‘fascism and communism’. Each, Snyder says in what might involve anachronism, was and is a response to ‘globalisation [thus, it may be assumed, to universal neoliberalism]: to the real and perceived inequalities it created, and the apparent helplessness of the democracies in addressing this’. Fascists, Snyder remarks with a little more specificity, ‘rejected reason in the name of will’ and ‘ruled for a decade or two, leaving behind an intellectual legacy that grows more relevant by the day’.12 The American president is clearly the major target of such detail, although Snyder agrees that the threat of violence and murder exists in much of our contemporary world, especially where ‘fake news’ reigns and where social media has thoroughly deregulated knowledge and expertise. ‘Post-truth is pre-fascism’, Snyder maintains. ‘Like Hitler, the president [Trump] used the word lies to mean statements of fact not to his liking’.13 The comparison with that baddest of bad dictators is compulsive; the Führer’s ghost is threaded through Snyder’s text, as it is through the mass of such contemporary musing.14 But what of Mussolini, the man who instituted dictatorial rule a decade before Hitler, who was arguably the first master of modern political propaganda, and who was regularly hailed by the German Führer as his foreign model? What of the Duce? It is no surprise to find that his name appears nowhere in Snyder’s account; there is one brief mention that ‘fascist [note the lower-case f] Italy in the 1920s was a place where tyranny and censorship were such that it took a brave man to look another in the eye’.15 The interwar ‘paramilitaries’ of Hungary and Romania, as well as Germany, are deplored,16 but we are not asked to consider any detail about the Italian case where armed Fascist squads sustained Mussolini’s government from its commencement in October 1922, as well as providing the muscle that pushed King Victor Emmanuel III into inviting him to become prime minister. 11

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Snyder appears with a similar message in Michael Moore’s 2018 documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9, which stresses more crassly the alleged parallels between Trump and Hitler. Moore does not forbear to offer images of Jews going to their deaths in a segment of images from Nazi rule, backed by decidedly approximate detail. ‘Liberals’, Moore states, were being defeated (and communists arrested); he avoids mention of Social Democrats or Catholics from the Centre Party. Again there is no Mussolini, although the Duce does get a nod in another interview, this time with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a well-known historian of Fascist Italy. However, she does not refine comparison that might be thought to exist between Trump and Mussolini before hastening into alarmist musing on the revival of ‘fascism’ and ‘totalitarianism’. Less dismissive of Italian primacy is another ‘warning’, this time sketched in 2018 with apparent authority by Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State (1997–2001) under President Bill Clinton and the daughter of Czech diplomat and anticommunist academic Josef Korbel. Albright is convinced that Fascism (as she spells it) is back on the agenda in the USA (and elsewhere): ‘if we think of Fascism as a wound from the past that had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking the scab’.17 She fashions her book as spinning off from discussion at a graduate seminar at Georgetown University prompted by her asking students to list qualities that defined and define ‘Fascist’ ideology. She varies such description with a racy history of the interwar origins, then adding more recent examples, at least in her estimation. Her first full chapter is thus devoted to Mussolini and Italy as where the story began. Much of her narrative is taken from war historian Richard Collier’s popular 1971 biography Duce!, sponsored by the Readers’ Digest and where the exclamation mark in the title carries over to much of the prose.18 The image conveyed is a familiar one of a dictator who was half killer and half joke: ‘As the 1930s wore on, the new Roman empire, the Fascist empire, was beginning to fray. As a circus master, Mussolini was still without peer, but Italy lacked the resources – and he the strategic prowess – to transform the political map of Europe. Not so Adolf Hitler’.19 Again citing out of date sources, Albright depicts the Führer as much the graver evil; her book begins with her family fleeing Prague when the Nazis invaded in March 1939 and lists relatives murdered in the Holocaust. But in both cases, Albright’s real focus is on the present, with a reiterated technique 12

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of using words about past foes that plainly apply to Trump. Thus Mussolini is (falsely) stated to have campaigned to drenare la palude (‘drain the swamp’) and sack lots of bureaucrats. More ominously, Hitler, she maintains, ‘felt that his countrymen were looking for a man who spoke to their anger, understood their fears, and sought their participation in a stirring and righteous cause. He was delighted, not dismayed, by the outrage his speeches generated abroad’. We know who is like that in the present day.20 Albright rushes past variants in the story in Europe and the USA and on through the Nazi-Fascist war, although she accepts that neither Hitler nor Mussolini ‘could engineer a fully totalitarian state’.21 Instead, she suggests that Stalin, despite the ‘communism’, was the same or worse as a dealer of death and destruction, again summoning autobiography when she recounts her youthful memories of the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948. Stalin and Hitler, we therefore learn, ‘despised the Jeffersonian ideals of popular government, reasoned debate, freedom of expression, an independent judiciary, and fair electoral competition’. Just as it might seem that tyranny and not ‘Fascism’ was what she wants to warn contemporaries about she switches to the 1990s. Now Slobodan Milošević, Hugo Chávez, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán and the North Korean Kims earn condemnation in an eclectic gallery scarcely fitting her initial complaint that usage of the term ‘Fascism’ has become so loose that it now means little more than ‘anyone or anything we find annoying’.22 In chapter 15, she finally reaches ‘the President of the United States’. However, she does not provide detailed scholarly analysis to demonstrate whether or not Trump might somehow be a ‘F/fascist’, in our greatly changed neoliberal world. Instead she makes do with fearful imagining ‘of a [global] return to the inter­ national climate that prevailed in the 1920s and ’30s’, assisted by ‘the American president’s disrespect for truth, and the widening acceptance of dehumanizing insults, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism as being within the bounds of normal public debate’.23 Be warned, then, as the slogan on the back cover that she has taken from the great Italian anti-Fascist chronicler of Auschwitz, Primo Levi, further reminds us: ‘every age has its own fascism’, even if a historian might add that it is a fascism all but detached from that imagined by Benito Mussolini.24 Less academic commentary does on occasion give more serious attention to the country where Fascism began. Trump’s sometime ‘philosopher’, Steve Bannon, who has addressed meetings of populist or far right parties in 13

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a profusion of countries, does recall Mussolini positively. He may have been responsible for getting Trump, a man with a narrow, unreliable vocabulary and limited historical knowledge, to quote the Duce accurately when he suggested it would be better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep.25 Certainly Bannon told the London Spectator that Mussolini ‘was clearly loved by women. He was a guy’s guy. He has all that virility. He had amazing fashion sense, right, that whole thing with the uniforms. I’m fascinated by Mussolini’; the Duce, he concluded, was ‘one of the most important figures of the twentieth century’. Later, however, Bannon denied that his sort of contemporary populism has any special relationship with Fascism; claims in that regard, he stated characteristically, were all ‘theoretical bullshit’.26 Other commentators on the contemporary scene occasionally suggest parallels between Trump and Mussolini, with TV historian Simon Schama for one, paralleling their speechmaking in its deliberately contagious anger and its hostility to old elites.27 But a joke is never too far away, with the web carrying a number of images of Trump dressed in Fascist uniform, set sideby-side with Mussolini so that the president can be mockingly labelled Il Douche.28 For those who view Trump or Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian Lega Nord and imaginable rightist prime minister of Italy, or Marine Le Pen, President of the National Rally in France, or Viktor Orbán, Fidesz Prime Minister of Hungary or Nigel Farage, Brexiteer extraordinaire in the UK, as drastic threats to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the alleged parallels with Hitler, the ‘mad monster’, the racist nationalist determined on a war of extermination, the man who took the world to its abyss at Auschwitz, are what really matter. In such deployment of historical memory, Mussolini is rarely more than a sidekick of the Führer, his junior partner in the Axis. He is not recalled as the Marxist turned anti-Marxist theoriser of Fascism in the 1920s, the builder of a Corporate state, the forger of an anthropological revolution designed to make new men and women, the framer of the Four Power Pact, the invader of Ethiopia, or the dictator ‘going decisively to the people’ after 1933. When we seek significance, in the twenty-first century for most commentators, F/fascism means Nazism. Nor does the situation change much when dictators, rather than fascism, become the focus. In her portrait of Mussolini it was natural for Madeleine Albright to highlight two stabbing incidents in his school life, allegedly resulting from his ‘lifelong rage against injustice’ (to him).29 The matter was 14

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petty but Albright used it to signify the ease with which a violent child can grow into a violent Fascist dictator. Such cheap psychologising is an automatic part of popular depiction of bad guys and has been so since classical times, if not earlier. Thus we learn from Suetonius that the ‘mad’ Emperor Caligula, even as a boy, ‘could not control his natural brutality and viciousness. He loved watching tortures and executions’.30 In the same paradigm but 1900 years later, journalist and author Con Coughlin assured us that ‘the young Saddam Hussein had a harsh and deprived childhood’, which left him ‘pathologically incapable in later life of trusting anyone – including his immediate family’. He might have been (modishly) subjected to ‘sexual abuse’ by his stepfather, the author suggests, drawing a long bow. However, ‘as with Hitler and Stalin, those two great tyrants of the twentieth century, both of whom overcame their less than auspicious starts in life to take absolute control of their respective nations, Saddam was to rise above the disadvantages of his childhood’, we hear.31 Perhaps ‘My Struggle’ should be the title of any dictator’s memoir (if they are left alive to write it after their destined retribution, since, as one student of dictatorship has put it: ‘in the face of a tyrant rises the tyrannicide’), and citing Cicero: ‘than the tyrant no animal more hateful can be conceived or more justly detested alike by gods and by men’; killing such a man was ‘no murder’.32 Liberal democratic policy makers of our own era concur, at least when it suits them to do so. In implied justification, websites multiply with captivating detail about bloodthirsty dictators, arranged in readily digested lists. One ranking of the twenty-five ‘worst’, a curious medley including Vlad III, omits Mussolini from its tally.33 A rival numbering of the 10 ‘most brutal dictators in history’ also excludes Mussolini, while including Francisco Franco.34 But the Duce comes in at number four on a list based on ‘fame’, behind Hitler, Stalin and Mao.35 The reliability of assemblies of the top 50, 20 or 10 is muddied by the numerous dictatorships that have flourished since 1945 whether in Eastern Europe, China or South-East Asia, following Stalin’s communist model where a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ meant in practice rule by a proletarian or some socially deprived individual rising from ‘below’ or able thus to depict himself, or in quantities of ex-colonial countries finding their way in the ‘Free World’. According to Jennifer Gandhi, an American political scientist, 75 per cent of countries across the globe lay under dictatorial rule during the 1970s, a figure that fell to 50 per cent in the 1990s. Reviewing the careers of 558 such men 15

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(there are still no female dictators) in 140 countries over the period 1946–91, she concluded that ‘dictatorial rulers are quite inventive in how they organize their rule’, and ‘the nature of their administration varies greatly’.36 Somewhere behind such sensible acknowledgment of ambiguity, the usual conclusion rather is that most dictators are ‘bad guys’. Nonetheless, liberal democratic foreign policy led by the USA since the Second World War frequently tolerated or even sponsored tyrants in most parts of the globe so long as they were ‘anticommunist’.37 Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reaganite neoconservative and US Ambassador to the United Nations 1981–5, did claim that ‘totalitarian’ dictators headed regimes that ‘licensed mass murder’, their ‘bad ideas’ being foolishly utopian. But, she added pointedly, a special and criminal delusion appeared in leftist versions of such dictatorships where fatuous talk about ‘equality’ ensured that ‘less wealth is produced, fewer comforts are available, and ordinary people are less free’. When it came to judging the past, Stalin was therefore a ‘worse’ target of her condemnation than Hitler; Mussolini, enough of an ex-Marxist to talk on occasion about a regime version of equality and to institute state welfare of some kind, rated one fleeting mention in her book and was excluded from the index.38 Yet, for all but obsessive anticommunists, any modern dictator, certainly when his reputation wanes, confronts the danger of being compared with Hitler. Influential American historian Walter Laqueur put such commentary at its simplest: ‘not every modern dictatorship is Hitlerian in character and engages in genocide, but every one has the potential to do so’.39 The parallel frequently carries the message that a dictator’s appeasement by more powerful states must end now and speedy death should follow; this is the key ‘lesson’ of the 1930s. On the day of ‘9/11’ George H.W. Bush damned the terrorist attackers as ‘heirs to the Nazis and totalitarians’.40 For Tory historian Andrew Roberts writing in 2003, Osama Bin Laden had a ‘leadership style’ that was ‘essentially Hitlerian’, while, he contended, ‘George W. Bush and his advisers’ naturally looked to Churchill ‘for their inspiration’ in destroying him.41 Two decades earlier, US Deputy Secretary of State, John Whitehead, announced that Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was ‘another Hitler’, and therefore ‘the time to correct the situation is now rather than later’.42 A set of US ‘air strikes’ (to use the modern euphemism for bombing raids) on the dictator’s family compound was thereby justified. 16

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Similarly Stanley Payne, an American historian of modern Spain willing to forgive Franco his sins, was sure, following the First Gulf War, that Saddam Hussein was the nearest figure in the Third World to Hitler. Warring against him was the only choice (obscuring the years when the USA backed his Iraqi regime in its long, bloody war, 1980–8, against ‘revolutionary’ Iran).43 When, as one historian has put it, British Prime Minister Tony Blair worked himself into ‘a world-historical frenzy’ to justify invading Iraq, he was sure that Saddam was repeating the Nazi threat in the 1930s.44 Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013 compared Assad to the German Führer (and Saddam) as a dictator bestial enough to deploy poison gas on his people.45 When commenting on the business world where, as shall soon be seen, ‘leadership’ is highly prized, popular historian Robert Harris maintained that Rupert Murdoch ‘ruled his empire in a manner not dissimilar to that which Hitler employed to run the Third Reich’, but neither Harris nor anyone else found a way to check Murdoch’s cultural power.46 Yet the possibility of ‘good dictators’ is sometime admitted (and not just by the occasional perverse figure who boasts of being a fan of the Nazi dictatorship).47 The magazine Business Insider provides a table of such people headed by Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Franco, each admired for the economic growth occurring under his aegis.48 António de Oliveira Salazar in Portugal and Chiang Kai Shek (Jiang Jieshi) in nationalist China are placed in this positive category. The New York Times in 2011 ranked Gaddafi and Franco on the top of a list that it published, where the placement reflected longevity in office combined with national economic growth as key factors.49 Writing in the Observer four years earlier, the anti-imperialist Australian journalist John Pilger was predictably more critical when he stated: If you prefer the trains running on time to freedom, you may consider a dictator ‘good’. To the British establishment, foreign dictators have always been graded as good or bad, depending on their degree of usefulness or expendability. Mussolini [making a rare appearance in this literature] was both; Saddam Hussein was both; Suharto in Indonesia, a genocidist, was always a ‘good’ dictator, because he allowed Western capital to exploit his people and their resources and because he bought everything the British arms industry could sell him and because the Americans liked him.50

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Certainly, in some contradiction of the usual condemnation of dictatorship, an admiration for ‘leadership’, somehow defined and usually with a list inserted nearby, is a recurrent theme in the ample and expanding literature of business studies. For Stewart Friedman, a Wharton School professor, ‘total leadership’ should be the aim of anyone looking to become CEO of an institution in the neoliberal capitalist system, with its scarcely hidden Social Darwinism philosophy. It is also true that the reliance on open-plan workplaces where no secrets should prosper, and a hierarchy of management teams obedient to leaders of one level of seniority or another, might be viewed as owing something to the theory of how Mussolini’s Fascist Party was meant to function. Omitting this possibility, however, Friedman’s research has suggested that a business leader should be ‘Purposeful, Genuine, Grounded, Connected, Supported, Resilient, Curious, Engaged and Optimistic’ (but not totalitarian). The author’s American background may explain why, in his view, the best historical models for a businessperson are ‘great religious leaders – the likes of Buddha, Christ, Mohammad, the Dalai Lama, and Moses’.51 Lee Iacocca, an entrepreneur of southern Italian ‘heritage’ kept it simpler by promulgating a ten-point list whereby leaders had to display or be or know how to (the grammar is mixed) ‘CURIOSITY, CREATIVE, COMMUNICATE, CHARACTER, COURAGE, CONVICTION, CHARISMA, CURIOSITY, COMPETENT, COMMON SENSE’.52 Another trio of experts have maintained that ‘the primal job of leadership is emotional’, asserting that scientific ‘brain research’ has proved the point. ‘Throughout history’, they stated, ‘leaders have always played a primordial emotional role’, where the ‘fundamental task’ was ‘to prime good feeling in those they lead.’53 Rudy Giuliani, sometime mayor of New York and today Trump’s lawyer, is another who has delineated the path to great leadership. He found most inspiration when facing the disaster of 9/11 from his phalanx of good guys: Douglas MacArthur, Joe Di Maggio, John F. Kennedy and, especially, Winston Churchill (with bad guy Adolf Hitler lurking in the background). On the evening after the terrorists struck the USA, he took pains to remember: I had the Roy Jenkins’ biography of Winston Churchill on my nightstand, which I had been reading for the previous week or so. . . . I thought about the people of London enduring relentless bombing and continuing to

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lead their lives. I thought about how people in present-day Israel do the same. It reaffirmed a strong feeling that I had that America would rise to this challenge.54

Keith Grint, a British expert in the field with a trade union background, has probed deeper, sure that ‘leadership is an invention, primarily rooted in, and a product of, the imagination’. Grint is another to be fond of historical examples to press his case, slipping from businessmen Freddie Laker, Richard Branson and Henry Ford, to Florence Nightingale and Horatio Nelson. He does not revive the common view in pre-1914 and interwar England that Henry VIII, Elizabeth I (‘the Tudors’) or Oliver Cromwell were beneficent English ‘dictators’, sometimes the suggestion then being that Mussolini pursued their track in Italy because that country was as ‘backward’ as England had been in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries.55 Grint has no doubt that Adolf Hitler was ‘the political Emotionasaurus Rex’ and ‘the most evil leader of all leaders’, who yet ‘embodied the four arts of leadership and took them to levels seldom seen before or since’. Thankfully, he was at heart ‘a motivator and not an organizer’, who knew how to advance but could not comprehend ‘the importance of a controlled retreat, a compromise, and an acceptance of limited gains’. Hitler therefore was not a good model for modern business practice, despite the fact that, Grint acknowledges, all leaders have to purvey myths (the word ‘lies’ is avoided), ‘a persuasive account of past, present, and future’ that converts and motivates their staff.56 John Adair, a British colleague who worked in Europe for the United Nations, was another impressed by Winston Churchill and Nelson. The latter, he stated, ‘like all geniuses, transcends both his times and the limited military context’, while being ‘unequalled as a builder and inspirer of teams’. Hitler, by contrast, he damned as ‘the great misleader’, whose ‘ruthless Machiavellian approach and lack of moral principles’ separated him from his (English) betters.57 In the business field and among students of ‘leadership’ then, the ghost of Adolf Hitler is as actively alive as the German Führer is in other fields of memory. The 1930s and the Second World War remain undiminished as a historical topic for easy moralising and, in the English-speaking world, Winston Churchill is often evoked as an archetypal hero, the leader of leaders, the anti-Hitler, his sins and inadequacies forgiven, his long period of 19

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favourable commentary on Mussolini forgotten. Even after the installation of Hitler as Chancellor, Churchill still hailed Mussolini’s ‘incarnate genius’ (at least when it came to ruling Italians).58 Yet such vagaries exist only to be explained away since over and over again the image of the Führer obscures that of the Duce in our imaginations and in regard to the troubled interwar era, the 1930s override the 1920s. But what happens when we turn the clock back before Hitler began to bestride the world? What do we learn about the meaning of dictatorship if we take the word back before such novelties as fascism and totalitarianism and Mussolini’s March on Rome? How were dictators viewed before the First World War, in a world less of competing nations anxiously working out their place in a globalising market than of empires, emperors and empresses, if doubtless one of liberal capitalism in the making, parliaments, societies pledged to some version of the rule of law and a rising bourgeoisie – a world that, after 1918, would necessarily seek to recast itself and has gone on doing so?59 Here, at least to some extent, a different rhetoric emerges, with the Italian peninsula and its Roman empire often placed at the centre of history’s ‘teaching’. Among elites more likely to be educated in the classics than in economics, a dictator was still commonly understood as a man who assumed office during desperate crisis, to be issued with supreme authority for a constitutional limit of six months. When his time was spent, he humbly returned to his farm as the virtuous Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus had done in 458 bce when given the office of dictator in the Roman Republic. Similar was the lesson to be read from the life of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, surnamed Cunctator, twice dictator in 221 and 217 bce, patient victor over the marauding invasion of the brilliant Carthaginian general Hannibal. In the model of such austere heroes, during the Risorgimento of Italy (the Riclaimed ‘palingenetically’ that the ‘new’ nation had existed before and so had history on its side; it was therefore ready to be ‘great again’), Giuseppe Garibaldi proclaimed himself ‘dictator’ when he landed with his ‘Thousand’ followers in Sicily in 1860.60 G.M. Trevelyan, Garibaldi’s romantic pre-1914 British biographer, took pains to explain that the ‘Hero of Two Worlds’ believed that ‘an honest dictatorship was the best means of carrying out the popular will in times of supreme crisis’.61 It might be worth noting that fudging and delusion have remained easy in the recording of Republican 20

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Roman history. So, in Chile, General Augusto Pinochet, a brutal if neoliberal dictator 1973–90, compared himself to Cincinnatus after a murderous decade and a half of power and claimed to read about such Roman heroes (and Napoleon) for fifteen minutes each busy day.62 Back before 1914, as the Garibaldi case indicates, foreign attitudes to contemporary dictators could be positive. So Justin McCarthy, an Irish nationalist MP and liberal historian, penning a fictional portrait of one such man in 1893 and influenced by the ghost of Garibaldi, described meeting the former dictator of ‘Gloria’ in a London hotel: All his movements were quick, clear, and decisive, the movements of a man to whom moments are precious. . . . The face was bronzed by Southern suns . . . Any student of humanity would at once have been attracted by the face. Habitually it wore an expression of gentle gravity, and it could smile very sweetly, but it was the face of a stubborn man, of a man ambitious, a man with clear resolve, personal or otherwise, and prompt to back his resolve with all he had in life, and with life itself. . . . A marble bust of Caesar stood upon the dwarf bookcase. A copy of a famous portrait of Napoleon was on one of the walls.63

‘Gloria’, readers learned, lay somewhere in Latin America, not always deemed a zone of discipline and frugality on the Republican Roman model. Doubtless Garibaldi had learned something about dictatorship from his youthful experience there. However, the most usual reaction of outsiders to Latin American politics was negative. Dictators, it was widely credited, arose in unstable and racially inferior societies in a less than civilised part of the world and, given that they tended to stay around in the way that Cincinnatus or Fabius Maximus had not, but Lucius Cornelius Sulla (dictator 82–80 bce) and the Caesars bloodily had, they were disdained as ‘tyrants’ who murdered with a will until they faced their own doom or precipitous flight into exile.64 One such case was Porfirio Díaz, ‘for thirty-five years absolute dictator of Mexico’, 1876–1911. According to an American biographer writing in 1932 and therefore possessed of a comprehension of Mussolini’s model of then and not later, Díaz brought ‘a type of fascism’ to his country. He was a sort of ‘chieftain of the Mexican arditi’, who had actively fought against the intervention of Napoleon III’s France and now undertook ‘a conquest of the state’. 21

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‘Díaz’, we are informed, ‘controlled directly or indirectly, every government activity – the flex of his finger was supreme law. He made all appointments to Congress, to important jobs, cabinet posts, governorships’. He talked about modernisation, but drafted no real economic plan and by 1909 was left to lament cynically ‘I have calculated I am governing a madhouse’.65 Díaz was only one among many. Social scientists reckon that, in 1900, only 3 per cent of the population of Latin America lived in ‘democracies’ rather than under authoritarian rule.66 A pattern of dictatorship went back to the birth of independence from Hispanic rule. In 1813 Simon Bolivar insisted that he was a dictator (on the Roman model) as well as the ‘Liberator’ while he campaigned fiercely to be free of Spain. He again undertook the role in Peru 1824–5 but resisted the temptation to make his power permanent, pressing his ‘resignation’ against the wish of his colleagues, perhaps a Cincinnatus after all.67 By contrast, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia in Paraguay 1814–40 and Jean Manuel de Rosas in Argentina 1829–45 ruled with little restraint. According to one commentator, throughout Francia’s rule ‘massacres occurred at irregular intervals to revive the requisite terror in the people’.68 A successor in Paraguay, Francisco Solano López 1862–70, engaged in constant war with his neighbours and may have reduced his nation’s population by two-thirds. In 1868 he ordered his mother to be flogged and executed because she revealed that he had been born out of wedlock.69 Solano López dug an abyss of excess but numbers of South and Central American countries experienced long years of dictatorial rule and would continue to do so into the twentieth century. It was not for nothing that when Giacomo Matteotti, who in 1924 was to become the most celebrated victim of Fascist murder, sought a parallel to the violence and illegality that Mussolini and his followers had unleashed in Italy, it was Mexico that sprang to his mind.70 Dejected Liberals held similar fears,71 while nationalist Roberto Forges Davanzati, observing the March on Rome, muttered ‘it’s Venezuela’ to a friend.72 Within Europe, a literature did exist applying the word dictator to Napoleon,73 or to his nephew Napoleon III who ruled France from 1849 to 1870. Throughout his life, Mussolini, a trained teacher of French, regularly pondered parallels between himself and Napoleon, and co-wrote a (pessimistic) play about the emperor.74 In the 1930s, rightist French historian Jacques Bainville was certain that Napoleon was ‘the most transcendently impressive of all dictators that have ever been’, maintaining that dictatorship 22

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was often needed among sinful humankind.75 The more mordant parallel was that drawn by Lewis Namier in 1958 when he termed Napoleon III ‘the first mountebank dictator’, with a sarcasm that evoked failure and Mussolini more than fanaticism and Hitler.76 Namier may have been echoing a critique of ‘Napoleon the little’ just as the Ethiopian war ended which stated that dictatorships can only be kept alive through successive foreign victories.77 British memory of long, sanguinary warring against his uncle was summed up by the Observer’s comment after the Matteotti murder that dictatorships came naturally to Latin peoples but such rulers should never ‘forget St. Helena’.78 Similarly, when the term ‘dictator’ was used in pre-1914 Europe, the message was rarely flattering. In Germany, the briefly reigning ‘liberal’ Emperor Frederick III wanted to distance himself from his chancellor Bismarck and become the real ‘dictator’ of his country.79 The First World War inevitably encouraged an expansion of state power and the role of key individuals. In Germany, for example, by 1916 the commanding generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff were thought to ‘dictate’ national policy to civilian politicians and the emperor.80 In other countries, wartime prime ministers like Lloyd George and Clemenceau occupied higher places in the national power structure than had their prewar predecessors. Allegations about ‘dictatorship’ may have occurred most commonly in Italy, because in that country the memory of the Caesars and of Garibaldi lay all around. So Scipio Sighele, an intellectual helping to herald the birth of the Nationalist Association in 1910, damned Giovanni Giolitti, the dominant Liberal politician of the decade and five times prime minister, as a ‘type of dictator’, yet grey, bureaucratic and lacking in moral or intellectual aura.81 From a different political stance, the young socialist Antonio Gramsci wrote in May 1918 that Giolitti had led a ‘dictatorship of one man’ and thereby prevented Italy from overcoming its backwardness.82 Catholic politician Luigi Sturzo considered that Giolitti had presided over a ‘disguised dictatorship’.83 Piero Gobetti, an anti-Fascist who died in 1926 after failing to recover from a Fascist beating, similarly equated Mussolini’s regime in its early years with that of Giolitti, except that in his opinion, the Duce knew ‘more theatrical tricks’; Mussolini’s dictatorship, he concluded in a telling phrase, amounted to ‘the autobiography of the nation’. Certainly, when still merely prime minister, Mussolini had taken pains in April 1924 to organise an election, helped by prefectures and the police, which gave him a vast majority. 23

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He did so with a ruthlessness that contemporaries compared with Giolitti.84 Nor had Giolitti been the only Liberal to rule in what some saw as an arbitrary manner. When Francesco Crispi was in office in the decade leading to the disastrous defeat by the Ethiopians at Adowa (Adua) in March 1896, he maintained ‘I am Italian policy and Italian policy is myself ’,85 and rarely saw reason to refuse full powers,86 or to abstain from foreign aggression. Italy’s motto, he thought, should be ‘we must conquer and conquer at any cost’.87 There can be little doubt that glib talk about Liberal Italy being a ‘democracy’ is misplaced. In the nation state formed by the Risorgimento, one government was not voted out and replaced by another with a rival public programme. In and out of office after 1903 and on into the First World War, Giolitti did control the numbers in parliament, despite his objection to the way in which Italy entered the conflict on 24 May 1915. For journalist Mario Missiroli, who managed to retain an independence of mind under the regime and who in 1932 surveyed 70 years of national history, the able government by the Destra (moderate right) from 1860 to 1876 had been achieved ‘through a clear and confessed dictatorship by a minority, who . . . were utterly extraneous to any idea of democracy’.88 Writing immediately after Mussolini’s fall, regime historian Gioacchino Volpe was sure that Giolitti had been a ‘virtual dictator’ in 1911 when Italy decided to seize Libya from its Turkish rulers.89 It is scarcely surprising, therefore, to find widespread suggestion in Italy after 1915 that the fluctuating war effort needed a dictatorship to be fully successful. In the summer of 1917, for example, the army chief Luigi Cadorna was viewed as the natural candidate for supreme power. Cadorna talked cheerfully about solving any threat to public order by transporting thousands of dissidents to Eritrea or the Italian Somaliland in imitation of what Britain had done in Botany Bay.90 ‘Bloodstocks’, too, were now deemed to matter mightily; Italian commentators warned against the threat from mixed marriages with German barbarians.91 Echoes of classical Rome returned strongly in the view that ‘civilisation’ lay within Italy. Especially to the north and east, ‘barbarism’ needed to be repelled by a man as tough and cunning as Fabius or Julius Caesar. After the all but disastrous military defeat at Caporetto in October–November 1917, Mussolini, back as editor of Il Popolo d’Italia following his stint at the front, proclaimed that the country needed handing over to ‘a Man’ and then 24

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sketched a set of dominating qualities that hinted whom he had in mind (himself).92 By May 1918, however, briefly more modest (and global), he had decided that American President Woodrow Wilson was the ‘dictator’ the world needed. Democracies, even ‘ultrademocracies’ like the USA, Mussolini explained, searching the Classics for the lessons of history, could opt for dictatorship as a method of fighting war: ‘It is only a dictator who can take men where they are and use them in the best way possible’, he pronounced, and that is what the ‘high and noble’ Wilson was doing.93 Meanwhile, in all combatant states, the determination hardened to wage ‘total war’. Most agreed that government could only achieve victory that way and the memory of such totality lingered. In Italy, the adjective in the 1920s mutated into totalitarian when first, critics of Mussolini’s dictatorship, and then the regime itself, sought to deploy a superlative on their side. The signature of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919 scarcely meant that peace had broken out all over Europe or that ‘heroic’ leaders had lost their appeal. Killing continued in diverse places and sent thousands to premature graves, the tally of 3,000 during the Fascist rise to power being by no means the highest.94 As Liberal anti-Fascist Carlo Sforza wrote in 1931, over the past decade Europe had been ‘flooded’ with dictatorships which, in his opinion, destined to become a cliché in liberal reflections on fascism, reflected a ‘mental disease’ bred in the war.95 Certainly the division at the peace conference highlighted by American historian Arno Mayer, between ‘Wilson and Lenin’ could scarcely be ignored,96 while the Russian Empire was battered by political revolution, civil war, foreign intervention and famine, and millions died. The result was almost complete social revolution, caused not so much by Bolshevik theoretics as by the cataclysms that struck each family. Communist prophecy of an eventual utopian ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ across the globe survived, but its arrival was always delayed. In the meantime, in office, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), whose father had been promoted into the hereditary Russian nobility, looked less like a novel proletarian dictator and more like just another hero or tyrant; as early as April 1918, Mussolini lamented how ‘autocratic’ was his rule.97 On his death (22 January 1922), Lenin, replicating the destiny of a Roman emperor, was ‘turned into a god’ by his followers, a man who was always right and eternally so since he lived on in spirit, if not in body.98 25

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West of what was becoming the Soviet Union, anticommunism was soon entrenched as a major plank of most political organisations and certainly, when it took shape, of Italian Fascism. But the practical effect of Woodrow Wilson’s alternative to Lenin was problematic. In 1919 an optimist may have thought that now all civilised European nations would be governed by liberal capitalism, liberal acknowledgement of law, liberal parliamentarism and ‘self-determination’. The catch lay in this last word which so readily turned into nationalism, an exclusionary nationalism demanding that the ethnic majority in any state cede little or nothing to the minorities which existed everywhere and which, it was soon being said, needed to be curbed or eliminated. So in Italy a considerable part of the infant Fascist movement was fuelled by anti-German sentiment in the Trentino and anti-Slav attitudes in Trieste, where in an ominous metaphor Mussolini was early to speak in favour of ‘ethnic cleansing’. In these circumstances, liberty in every European country outside the continent’s north-western borderlands during the interwar period fell to some form or other of strong man. When it comes to appraising Mussolini’s career, it must be remembered that Italy was scarcely alone in its surrender to authoritarianism. No doubt Emilio Gentile and other contemporary historians of Fascist Italy are certain that their country was different, since in October 1922 the King may have made Mussolini Prime Minister of a coalition government with what looked like constitutional process, but his choice was driven by the threat of, and the murders being committed by, an armed and fanatical militia marching on Rome (and other cities).99 According to Gentile, once admitted to power, the Fascist squads were determined not to lose it and they therefore ensured that in 1922 ‘fu subito regime’ (‘at once a regime’, rule that was immediately dictatorial and even totalitarian).100 It certainly was true that in February 1923, the Voluntary Militia for National Security (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, or MVSN) were formally acknowledged, and continued to play a part in the dictatorship’s military and police activity through to 1943. Yet it is rash to assume that in 1922 there had been the quick triumph of a cultural revolution where all Italians had been at a stroke Fascistised and had their fate separated from those of their European neighbours governed by less drastic or less intellectualised authoritarians. Throughout this book, I shall explore the changing meaning, of F/fascism to Italians and the partnership and challenge eventually offered to Mussolini by 26

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Hitler’s arrival in power in 1933. But the comparison with Germany should not be allowed to obscure other parallels. Armed men charged with fanatical ideas were scarcely confined to Italy in the years after fighting in the First World War formally ended. In Eire, where parliamentary government did survive, the Irish Free State came into existence after cruel civil war (and longstanding and ruthless British foreign intervention). In the ‘bloodlands’ of Central and Eastern Europe, by 1945 many millions had died and a start to this tragedy occurred in several countries during the 1920s.101 Józef Piłsudski seized power in Poland in a coup between 12 and 14 May 1926, heading a system defined as ‘incomplete fascism’. Many Poles, though not Piłsudski, were unashamedly admiring of Italian Fascism.102 Augustinas Voldemaras led a dictatorship in Lithuania from 17 December 1926 thought to be ‘Fascist’ at least in Rome.103 In Hungary, ‘Regent’ Miklós Horthy governed with extraordinary measures from 1920 to 1944, although in 1927, Dino Grandi, who was to be a major framer of the Fascist regime’s foreign policy, suggested that Hungary remained too ‘feudal’ in its essence and with too devotedly internationalist a Jewish middle class to neatly fit the Italian political prototype.104 In Portugal, the Catholic economist António de Oliveira Salazar joined government after a rightist coup in 1926, rising to be the dominant figure by 1932, assisted by an omnipresent secret police.105 In Spain, Miguel Primo de Rivera, with military and royal backing, mounted a coup on 13 September 1923, not forgetting that day to send thanks to Mussolini and Victor Emmanuel III for being models. Two months later on an official visit to Rome, Primo de Rivera told the Duce that he was ‘the apostle of the world campaign against dissolution and anarchy’, while hailing Fascism as ‘a universal phenomenon that ought to conquer all nations, . . . a living gospel’. ‘Long live Latin Fascism’, he pronounced to a group of schoolteachers on his return.106 The Spanish general in 1923 scarcely knew how long Mussolini’s government might last. It had not yet proclaimed itself a dictatorship and the word totalitarian had not been invented. The later lineaments of the Fascist regime were scarcely clear beyond its preference for order and discipline, its fondness for talking in a soldierly fashion and its anti-Marxism. It is true no doubt that, in 1927, Primo de Rivera was still sedulously applauding, at least to Italian ears, the Duce’s ‘great work of world value’, but apart from approving its hostility to liberal parliamentarism and its anti-Marxism, he was vague about exactly what among its ‘fundamental principles’ might be imported to Spain.107 The 27

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Duce was himself somewhat opaque in reply, concentrating on the negative, not the positive. Under ‘so-called universal suffrage’, he mused, real control lay in the hands of ‘bankers of dubious origin and still more dubious morality’.108 More puzzling was another strong man, Kemal Atatürk, in power in Turkey from 1921 and thought by more than one Fascist devotee in the 1930s a figure comparable with the Duce. Although the political death toll in Turkey under his rule, largely through rigorous ‘ethnic cleansing’, was far higher than Mussolini’s in Italy, Atatürk is widely admired in the literature. An English biographer has called him ‘the greatest nation-builder in modern times’, with what a theorist of fascism might find an extreme palingenetic belief that ‘there is no nation greater or more honourable than the Turkish’ and never had been. The Ghazi (warrior chief of Islam), as he was branded in regime propaganda, was sure that ‘the [Turkish] race first gave humankind fire, bread, clothing, tools and domesticated animals’ and should be credited with teaching the Graeco-Romans, Chinese and Indians all that they knew. Proto-Turkish was ‘the first language’. Atatürk disliked being called a dictator and, despite his religious sounding title, ostentatiously preferred ‘science’ to mysticism. Moreover, at least by the 1930s, he despised Mussolini and happily joined League of Nations’ sanctions against Italy after the invasion of Ethiopia. Atatürk did, however, create ‘his own cult and was convinced that he was always right’. He agreed with Mussolini that reading Gustave Le Bon on manageable crowds rather than free individuals had taught him how to rule the people.109 It is clear, then, that plenty of strong men strode the corridors of power during the decade after the First World War. At that time, a single definition of modern dictators was hard to find, although a decade later the English eugenicist and internationalist Julian Huxley, asked by a London publisher, along with others, to imagine framing a dictatorship, maintained that any truly modern dictator above all needed a ‘philosophy’. Huxley used Mussolini as the example of one who thereby, whenever he spoke, made his people believe ‘he is the incarnate expression of their will or at least in intimate touch with their emotions and their aspirations’.110 Huxley was acute in his analysis. Certainly, Professor Mussolini liked to be seen as a reader of, and commentator on, philosophies past, present and future.111 His increasingly unsustainable efforts to meld his resultant ideology with dictatorial power in Italy, the least of the Great Powers, will be a major focus of this book. 28

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If, through the 1920s, ‘dictator’ could still mean various things, the same is true for fascio, Duce and totalitarian,112 all words that, in what E.P. Thompson discerned long ago in regard to class, with their own changing histories were ‘happenings’ and not ‘things’.113 The first had begun signifying little more than a group of some kind. One memoirist under Fascism claimed his friends at their Milan liceo in the 1880s had established a Fascio Radicale and published a fortnightly called Il Fascio, in pursuit of their adolescent intention to remake the world.114 The word won greater political prominence in 1889–94 with the Sicilian fasci, peasants and workers protesting, sometimes violently, against their social and economic deprivation and so, in what might be discerned in a leftist manner, against their betters. They were eventually savagely suppressed by their fellow islander, Francesco Crispi, who was claiming as usual to be working in the interests of a great and united nation.115 The word carried classical allusions from the bundle of sticks, bound together to be infrangible and armed with an axe. Arguably of Etruscan origin, ‘fasces’ were carried by the lictors guarding a consul or other high official during Roman times. Their survival was scarcely confined to Italy; two thrusting fasces still emerge (in green and gold) from the elevated seats of high Oxford university officials in the Sheldonian THeatre, designed by Christopher Wren in the 1660s. So ubiquitous was the classical inheritance in Europe that quite a few countries across the world, including the USA, found a place for the fasces on their escutcheons or in other public exhibition. Yet before 1914, romanità (Romanness) was not an automatic accompaniment to the use of the word. Journalist Edoardo Scarfoglio, seeking maximum Italian advantage in a war that he thought might have to be fought in Egypt, India, South Africa and the Adriatic, preached the need for a ‘fascio balcanico’ that would link the Balkan states in a pro-Italian cause; he was not thereby imagining Italy’s neighbours rejoining a Roman empire.116 After 1914, the word fascio quickly acquired a new impulse, linked to total war.117 A Fascio rivoluzionario d’azione interventista, backed by Mussolini in his new paper, Il Popolo d’Italia, campaigned from December 1914 for urgent Italian participation in battle.118 In January 1915, Mussolini suggested that the resultant ‘Fascist movement’ could be more flexible in seeking war entry than a political party.119 Once Italy entered the conflict, a Fascio parlamentare di difesa nazionale united members of the Chamber of Deputies who demanded that the country switch to a more modern, ideally ‘total’, war effort, notably 29

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after Italian forces were all but routed at Caporetto. By January 1918, Mussolini was enthusing over the influence of ‘152 Fascist members of parliament’ from that group.120 In summoning his Fasci di combattimento to their first meeting, he was therefore scarcely being original in his choice of a name for a returned servicemen’s association. He was merely announcing that it would be patriotic and determined to keep a positive memory alive of Italy’s war. As yet little else was clear about Fascist purpose, even if the movement was for the time radical-sounding, hostile to the Vatican, the monarchy and war profiteers, committed to welfare at least for worthy, that is, patriotic Italians and even ready to toy with feminism. Nor, in 1919, was Mussolini the only Duce. To be sure, a Roman newspaper in April 1904 had portrayed the emigrant Benito Mussolini’s expulsion from the Geneva canton as the fate of ‘a Romagnole who had been for some time the grand duce of the local branch of the Italian socialist party’.121 In 1912, a comrade hailed him as ‘the duce of all the revolutionary socialists in Italy’.122 Five years later, his subordinate journalists on Il Popolo d’Italia were happy to salute their editor as ‘Il Duce’, although that soubriquet faced competition from ‘The Inspirer’, ‘The Inciter’ and ‘Ours’.123 However, Mussolini did not have a monopoly on the word; before the war he used it himself about a local rival who was a republican and not a socialist.124 Gabriele D’Annunzio hailed Italy’s Chief of General Staff, Luigi Cadorna as the national Duce in a poem he published in December 1915.125 Others vaunted D’Annunzio himself as their ‘grande Duce’, notably during his ‘poetic dictatorship’ in Fiume in 1919,126 although he was more familiarly tagged ‘Il Comandante’ (The Commander).127 Later, most Fascist of the Fascists Roberto Farinacci, with the respect to his political betters of a railway worker and immigrant from the Molise to the north seeking to rise, designated Leonida Bissolati, the prowar reformist socialist who had his power base in Cremona, as his Duce until Bissolati’s death in 1920.128 Well after 1922, Farinacci did not discourage his followers in the city from calling him their ‘vero duce’ (a usage which helped to explain his removal from direct power after March 1926).129 As late as 1921, Mussolini himself was ready to praise Gino Olivetti as ‘the duce of Italian industrialists’, plainly not yet believing in the word’s unique meaning.130 Nor, after 1922, did everyone automatically use the propaganda title. Mussolini could be named Capo (del Governo), Presidente (del Consiglio)131 30

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or Professore (allegedly so by his wife Rachele, until 1927).132 Quite a few of his ministers, Costanzo Ciano, Luigi Federzoni and Italo Balbo, for example, and of course, Farinacci, addressed him as ‘tu’ (the intimate ‘you’ form).133 When in 1926 he went on an official visit to Libya, the leading military magazine’s enthusiastic description used the term ‘Il Primo Ministro’ for him; that year, the Duce, when attending manoeuvres, still dressed curiously not in the uniform either of PNF or military but in a grey suit and carrying a bowler hat, almost as though he remained timid about being the Duce in such circles. He did wear boots, however.134 As late as 1936, as a photo in this book shows, Mussolini could still appear dressed in a rather rumpled suit, even when welcoming returning airmen. His son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano, looked much more dashing at his side in officer’s uniform. Throughout the regime, when Mussolini arrived for his biweekly visits in civilian dress, King Victor Emmanuel greeted him as Cavaliere as he would have done any other prime minister. Italy, after all, until 1943 remained a country with two national anthems, the Fascists’ Giovinezza and the Marcia Reale (Royal March for the Savoy monarch). At public ceremonies both were often played; indeed, when a newsreel displayed Fascist troops taking Addis Ababa in May 1936, the Royal March provided the patriotic soundtrack. Mussolini also continued to be a ‘constitutional dictator’, especially in the first decade of his rule, holding meetings of the Cabinet (Consiglio dei Ministri) just as Liberal prime ministers had done. No doubt throughout the 1920s, the ultimate meaning of Italian Fascism remained contested at home and abroad, its rule never hardened into uniformity and in the 1930s, even as membership of its organisations became all but universal, it declined into an empty populism. Yet it is also true that even when he admitted that controlling Italians was no simple task, Mussolini did yearn to be seen as a philosopher king, head of a regime that ruled over words as well as reality. With whatever actual limits, always some sort of intellectual in a way that the fanatic Hitler could not match, Mussolini needs careful historical reckoning as a model from the 1920s and in a different vein from the 1930s. His story and that of his dictatorship can prompt discussion about our present woes and opportunities more significant than that offered by an endless fascination with the German Führer.

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CHAPTER 2 THE PECULIARITIES OF ITALIAN HISTORY AND THE MANY BIRTHDAYS OF 1932–3

It is time to contemplate Mussolini’s regime in media res, when, in 1932–3, it marked a decade in office, a period when there was as yet no looming parallel with a dictatorial regime in Germany and few efforts to find ‘totalitarian’ comparison in the USSR. In these years Mussolini’s regime reached the peak of certainly its reputation and perhaps its power and originality. By contrast, the succeeding years would see Italian Fascism and its Duce eclipsed by Nazism and the German Führer. At a time of burgeoning charisma politics, a story of birthdays is one entry point to an examination of the peculiarities of Italian history there evident. On 21 December 1929, Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, had turned 50 at a moment when, a biographer notes, ‘the decision for all-out collectivization was taking final form’. The public eulogy of his leadership marked the full commencement of his personality cult as ‘the party’s new Vozhd’ [leader or guide, with religious implications]’. Pravda ‘devoted almost its entire eight-page issue to an unprecedented celebration of his achievements (“Stalin and industrialization”, “Stalin and the Red Army”) and birthday greetings. . . . [It featured] ecstatic articles by Kalinin, Kuibyshev, Kaganovich, Ordzhonikidze, Mikoyan and others’ of the ‘Stalin team’ or leadership group.1 The next day the party paper published Stalin’s thanks to ‘the great party of the working class that bore me and reared me in its own image and likeness’. From then on, a sacred child of the revolution, Stalin pledged to devote ‘all my strength, all my ability and, if need be, all my blood, drop by drop’ to the ‘cause of the working class, the proletarian revolution and world communism’.2 A decade later on 20 April 1939, it was the turn of the German Führer, Adolf Hitler, to become 50. Ian Kershaw gives a detailed portrait of ‘the lavish outpourings of adulation and sycophancy’ then occasioned, ‘an astonishing 32

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extravaganza’ that began on the afternoon of 19 April and extended through the next day. At midnight his entourage lined up to give him presents, Albert Speer doing best with ‘a four-metre model of the gigantic triumphal arch that would crown the rebuilt Berlin of his imagination’, the new imperial Nazi capital, ‘Germania’. On the Führer’s actual birthday, a massive military parade stormed down the new East–West Axis of the city. The march began at 11a.m. and was not over until 4p.m., Hitler standing erect throughout with his arm raised in the Nazi salute; the scene, Kershaw notes, is ‘preserved on 10,000 metres of film’. As Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, the organiser of the celebrations, jotted smugly into his diary, ‘the Führer is feted as no other mortal has ever been’.3 What, then, happened in Italy on 29 July 1933, the 50th birthday of Benito Mussolini, the Duce of Fascist Italy (six months minus one day since Adolf Hitler had become German Chancellor)? In what stunning manner did people and dictatorship laud Mussolini’s 50th birthday, given that throughout the previous decade he had been the pioneer of charismatic rule? The answer is surprising. The Italian media did not make merry, or at least not directly. A scan of Mussolini’s family and regime daily paper, Il Popolo d’Italia on 29 July 1933, ‘Fondatore: Benito Mussolini’ and located at ‘Milano: Via Arnaldo Mussolini’ (this younger brother of the dictator and editor of the paper after the March on Rome had died on 21 December 1931) contains plenty of news (and a scattering of photos). They may provide a telling impression of the regime and its propaganda preoccupations, but there is no mention of a birthday. To be sure, the dictator provided a leading article on the front page, signed with a flourish ‘Mussolini’ and headed ‘Dopo Londra’ (‘After London).4 It was a philosophical disquisition on multilateral conferences, derided for what today would be called political correctness in giving too much time to talkative representatives of countries that really did not count. At such events, self-important people uselessly bandied words among themselves in a dim international version of a parliament. As the Duce put it with what might be read as savage metaphor, they contented themselves thereby with ‘burning incense to democratic egalitarianism’. In the real world, the dictator urged, now was the time to reassert that only Great Powers mattered. With studied intellectuality, he cited Gustave Le Bon, French sociologist of the ‘crowd’,5 to claim that when crisis loomed, ‘democracy’ could do no more 33

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than talk. ‘People do not ask to be propagandised, they want rather to be commanded’, was Mussolini’s key pedagogic message, still the man who began adulthood teaching elementary and middle school French. History, he noted in somewhat strained sagacity, ‘is always the best instructor but men are often negligent and error-ridden pupils’. Luckily, the Duce had explained, he could stem the tide of democratic fatuity with his ultrarealist Four Power Pact, often in Italy denominated the ‘Patto Mussolini’.6 It had been signed by the Duce and representatives of Britain, France and Germany in Rome on 15 July 1933. Without it, Europe, he pronounced, had ‘confronted a vacuum or the onset of war. With the Four Power Pact, it was possible to breathe again’. Now, whatever he did not say might be the policies of the new Nazi Germany, it might well be that the continent had found a roadmap to a decade of peace. As if in confirmation of such a happy fate, on the back page the late news added information that authoritarian rightist, Gyula Gömbös, Prime Minster October 1932–October 1936, of the small but obstreperously revisionist nation of Hungary had been visiting Rome. There he offered ‘homage to Mussolini’ as a fellow ‘realist’, Italian diplomacy and the Pact. Occupying most space on the front page was an interview with Italo Balbo, ras of Ferrara and, from 1929, Air Minister (he was to be sacked three months later). Balbo extolled his ‘air armada’ of 24 seaplanes, recently feted in New York and Chicago and presently delayed by bad weather in Newfoundland on its return flight to Rome.7 Then and at other stressful times, Balbo maintained, his men had cheerfully accepted their boss’s ‘iron discipline’ in the Fascist manner while, fraternally and affectionately uniting national and regime history, they sang songs together from the fronts of the First World War and the rise of the dictatorship. But their boss had his own boss; Balbo did not fail to tell Il Popolo d’Italia fawningly of the ‘utterly precious counsel’ that he had received from the Duce about the flight. Given the current hold-up, Balbo had decided to cancel planned stopovers in European capitals, readers were informed, so that he could hasten to Rome ‘to see the Duce again and to get the hug that he has promised me’. When he did get back (on 12 August), he was rewarded with a public kiss on each cheek, not common behaviour from the dictator who was one Italian not given to public physicality. Elsewhere on 29 July Il Popolo d’Italia provided a melange of news that was upbeat and militant but scarcely fanatically ‘fascist’. Readers discovered 34

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who and how many in recent days had visited the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista on the Via Nazionale, Rome, first opened for the 10th anniversary festivals of the regime in October 1932; on page three, a long article underlined the appeal of the Mostra to ‘italiani nel mondo’ (Italians across the world, or emigrants as they had been called before they became the object of Fascist solicitude). But the exhibition was not the only matter to deserve mention in the paper’s eclectic presentation of news. In what was sure to be another victory for Italian science, Guglielmo Marconi, a loyal if avaricious fan of the Duce, was experimenting with ‘very short rays’.8 Regime welfare had effectively assisted half a million mothers and babies over the first six months of the year. At Foggia in the south, extra funding from the state was providing major and badly needed improvements to drains and water supply, so necessary for popular ‘hygiene’ and so shamefully ignored by Liberalism before 1922. In united response, the population joined in ‘exultant demonstrations of fervent recognition’ of the dictator’s personal interventions for their cause. In the hills not far above Genoa in the north, 200 small children, members of the party youth organisations for boys and girls, were delighting in their arrival at a camp run by the Fascist Party at Savignone. In Milan, work would begin in autumn on a ‘grandiose swimming pool’ in the growing suburb of San Siro, while student accommodation, named after the ‘unforgettable’ Arnaldo Mussolini was opening for those being trained to make the patria more powerful. An officer hailed the 15th anniversary of the foundation of army ‘assault brigades’, while those seeking less arduous summer leisure could consult a long timetable of ‘popular trains’ with their discounted fares to Rome or to such events as the (expensive) spectacles in the Arena of Verona. The Milan stock exchange had followed other international bourses higher on Friday 28 July. The national programme for Sunday 30th in horse racing, cycling and athletics was headed ‘Sporting battles’, and might therefore set the pulses beating in a Fascist manner, while fans of modern machine sport could now see the list of entrants for the internationally celebrated Coppa Montenero– Ciano car race at Livorno.9 In a segment of snippets from other journals, there was one brief and hostile commentary on Germany. There, it was noted that an article in the Rome review, Il nuovo stato, written by a young lawyer, Adriano De Cutis, destined to enjoy a distinguished academic career in Italy after 1945, had 35

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argued vigorously that the ‘Rosenberg-style racism’ presently being implemented in the Nazi state was alien to Fascist belief.‘Fascism,’ De Cutis emphasised, ‘had never known racism and did not recognise such terms as “Aryan race” or “Semitic race” ,’ Nazi concepts which had been inherited from imperial German fantasising about the ‘Master Race’ and ‘Deutschland über alles’. De Cutis conceded that Jews had played a regrettably prominent role in the Russian Revolution. However odious their participation in Bolshevik slaughter, he was sure, however, that ‘blood’ had not determined it. ‘The Nation’, De Cutis declared ringingly with what he plainly thought was Fascist propriety, ‘is an ideal reality that transcends any original tie and forges the most diverse races into a spiritually living unity’. Readers may have been impressed by his argument, but there was a qualification. A presumably authoritative annotation to De Cutis’s lines agreed in part, but stressed that ‘Hitlerism is still young’ and might yet prove ‘more pragmatic’ in practice than its extreme speechifiers suggested, just as the Italian dictatorship had done. Could Hitler prove a ‘realist’, too, a ready member of a Four Power condominium seemed to be the implication? In the capital, Rome, the local paper Il Messaggero took slightly different emphases but it, too, did not acclaim the dictator’s birthday. Rather, from its pages a reader might discern lingering alternatives to Mussolini’s charisma in the 11th year of his power. The country was, after all, still a monarchy and 29 July, the paper recalled on page four, was the sad anniversary of the assassination of King Umberto I in 1900 (he was the father of the current monarch, Victor Emmanuel III). More space was devoted to preparations at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli at the top of the Via Nazionale (once the Baths of Diocletian and then and now a place of nationalist celebration) for the episcopal consecration of Monsignor Antonio Giordano, acting Inspector General of the Opera Nazionale Balilla (Fascist boy scouts, ONB). A gushing biographical portrait charted Giordano’s long record with the military, most notably during the First World War. Readers were told that he was ‘one of the most eminent of Italian clergy committed to the highest expression of patriotism and active priestly cooperation with the new spiritual life of Italy under the auspices of the Fascist Regime’. He and his helpers had ensured ‘the foundation in Italian youth of a consciousness of religious sentiments and duties that was no less alive and effective than those which youth were acquiring in every other field of civic virtue and physical fitness’.10 36

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Antonio Giordano, Il Messaggero was intimating, was the model of happy cohabitation between the Vatican and the Fascist nation. Of the numerous other journals that appeared under the dictatorship, one that bore the date 29 July was the specialist sheet L’Artigiano (The Artisan). No birthday was noticed in its pages. However, an editorial, looking forward to the imminent ‘IVth Fiera del Levante’ at Bari, an international trade fair, was sure that ‘natural Italian good taste’, whether luxury or ordinary goods were on display, would win out against competitors from lesser countries. Artisans ‘sustained by the Duce’s faith and his innate cleverness’ could stride forward with confidence, L’Artigiano declared, since business was ‘good this year and excellent in the future’.11 It is clear, then, that papers, national, local or still more specific, reported much that glorified the Italian dictatorship in the summer of 1933 and added weight to the personality cult of Benito Mussolini. But they did not tell their readers that the Duce was passing a major lifetime milestone. What can be the reason for this omission? One explanation might be Mussolini’s subjectivity; here was a man whose schoolteacher mother, Rosa Maltoni, had died when she was 46 and whose younger brother Arnaldo, ‘the only man I ever trusted’,12 had perished at the same age. In 1932 the dictator had begun his relationship with his ‘last lover’, Claretta Petacci, although they did not have sex until 1936. In her diaries that obsessively record the Duce’s every word to her (a CEO with some time for his private life, he rang her a dozen times per day), Petacci often noted Mussolinian grumbles about ageing.13 This was a man who feared that time was getting away from him. When the 1930s drew on, as will be seen later in this book, for quite a few reasons the image that Mussolini presented to the public grew more militant and militarised. One element in the change was his adoption of a shaven head; the cropping got rid of the white hair that had noticeably begun to appear by the end of his first decade in office.14 Giovinezza (Youth) was after all the Fascist anthem. The Duce was not only meant to be unerring. It was also best if he seemed ageless, a manly conquest over time that could eliminate any messy discussion of who should succeed him, in what circumstances and whether therefore his was a one-man dictatorship that would end with his will or his life, or whether rather it was the expression of an eternal new political philosophy. 37

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Maybe there was another cultural influence. Italian families do not necessarily follow northern European habits in birthday celebration. In Catholic tradition the fact of birth is not as significant as an individual’s ‘name day’. The festa that matters heralds the saint who has provided an individual’s first name and spiritual inheritance. But, in that regard, a conundrum lurked. If Fascism was genuinely totalitarian in its control of Italian thought processes, then it should have been able to define and amend that great old national institution, the family, as well as ensuring that members framed their world in a modern, ‘Fascist’ and not a Catholic fashion. But when it came to birthdays, saints’ name days were still what counted to most people as they (or their communities) passed key anniversaries of life. It is typical that a police file carries a report of a major riot in a village in Calabria in January 1937 after the local podestà (nonelected Fascist mayor) refused to subsidise the local saint’s day procession, preferring to fund a parade of soldiers back from campaigning in Ethiopia.15 Fascism may have been aspiring to be a political religion of a seamless nation as the very definition of totalitarian rule. But, where long-treasured anniversaries were concerned, it could not transgress traditional beliefs and ceremony. For Mussolini, there was a special problem in his naming. His mother was a pious Catholic, but his socialist father, Alessandro (who died at 56), was a ‘priest–eating’ anticlerical. Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini had therefore been named not after Christian saints but for Benito Juarez, the Mexican revolutionary, Amilcare Cipriani, an Italian anarchist who died in France and Andrea Costa, a Freemason and the leader of the first Italian socialist party. He was named to be, as he had become in 1912 when only 29, the editor of Avanti! In the dictatorship of 1933 this past was best hidden and none of those figures from the revolutionary left could be evoked with comfort. For the regime’s propaganda machine, neither the dictator’s name day nor his birthday licensed easy preaching. When it came to birthdays, the regime was generally parsimonious in their evocation. The press did pay respect to King Victor Emmanuel’s nativity, always accorded the pompous title ‘Genetliaco’ rather than the ordinary ‘compleanno’. It occurred on 11 November, and Mussolini, for one, until 1943 never forgot that day to transmit his humble best wishes.16 The date was complicated by the rival end points of the First World War, 11 November for Britain, France, the USA and Germany, 4 November for Italy, even if, sometimes, the Genetliaco could round off a gala fortnight that ran from 28 October through to All Saints’ 38

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and All Souls’ Day (1–2 November), 4 November (‘Vittorio Veneto’ and Armed Services Day) and on to 11 November, pleasingly uniting dictator, military and monarch, family, Church and State. But for regime rhetoricians, the most ‘Fascist’ anniversary was the ‘birth of Rome’, officially inscribed as 21 April 753 bce, a national holiday from the 1920s with the design of ousting the Marxist holy day for workers of 1 May. For a regime where the individual was meant to be an obedient servant of the state, and where romanità (Romanness) was ever more strenuously invoked, it was more appropriate to toast a collective birthday than that of the Duce. There were several reasons therefore why Mussolini’s 50th birthday did not trigger festivity of the sort that occurred in Nazi Germany in 1939 or the USSR a decade earlier, or, for that matter, in regard to the constitutional head of the UK, where the monarch’s birthday occasioned public acclaim from 1748 but where, since 1908, ruling kings or queens had to elide their actual birth with first a Thursday and then a Saturday in June, a day of hoped-for good weather.17 By contrast, 29 July 1933 was just one day in the life of a dictatorship that ruled Italy for a ventennio, 20 years that might be dated from October 1922 to the Duce’s first fall on 25–6 July 1943 or from January 1925 to his death and posthumous degradation at Piazzale Loreto, Milan, 28–29 April 1945.18 In sum, if reflection is made of different salutes given to dictators’ birthdays, in the representation of their propaganda, Hitler and Stalin had something in common despite the visceral ideological conflict between Nazism and communism. By contrast, the absent festivity on 29 July 1933 may suggest that the Fascist regime had a special and different character from the tyrannies of Germany and the USSR. Maybe it best deserves to be remembered as ‘the Italian dictatorship’ at least as much as part of the generic history of fascist and totalitarian regimes. A further reason why there were no public celebrations of the Duce’s 50th on 29 July 1933 is that another birthday was in the news, on every day, in every place, over and over again. The prompt was the Decennale, the 10th anniversary of the ‘March on Rome’, of the ‘revolution’, of Fascism and its regime, of a new era of ‘new men’ and ‘new women’, when a new time was proclaimed to have begun; 28 October 1932 marked the culmination of Anno X and 29 October 1932 the commencement of Anno XI. Even in Brisbane, Queensland, where it 39

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was hard to be further away from Italy, the Italophile local Catholic archbishop, James Duhig, held a mass reverentially to give homage to the event (although he did not do so until February 1933).19 Naturally, the Decennale was exalted more swiftly and with words and deeds all over Italy; in Venice romantics remember with some regret that the new ‘modernist’ car bridge was then being built across the lagoon. It was named the ‘Ponte del Littorio’ (Bridge of the Lictor’s Rod; changed after 1945 to the Ponte della Libertà), which debouched into the Piazzale Roma. For the anniversary, each paese in the country had been ordered to name a street or square after the national capital and so proclaim that romanità was a, or the, key to the identity of all Italians and all Fascists – synonyms, it was decreed. Actually in Venice, with a compromise that deserves reflection, the formal opening of the Ponte del Littorio was delayed until 25 April 1933, St Mark’s Day (the city of San Marco’s name day). Then the Patriarch, Pietro La Fontaine, blessed the new edifice, with a state role graciously assumed by Crown Prince Umberto (in military uniform) and his Belgian wife, Maria José. Mussolini was present, as were plenty of black-shirted officials and locals, if, on that occasion, supplying background more than focus.20 Maybe hints of Venetian complications are not what historians should highlight. After all, Rome was the epicentre of the Decennale and the place where the regime worked hardest to sell its meaning to its people and the wider world. There, on the Via Nazionale, stood the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista or MRF. It lay on the street that (almost) connected the area around the railway station to the Forum, the Capitol, the Victor Emmanuel monument and Mussolini’s grandiose office in the Sala del Mappamondo of the Palazzo Venezia. From the Palazzo balcony, he stared down on the large(ish) space of the Piazza Venezia, where ‘oceanic crowds’ rallied spontaneously or under order, could cheer their Duce and his bellicose, staccato speeches. In their account of the MRF, Dino Alfieri and Luigi Freddi, the two young organisers, noted how they had sought to bring Fascist history to the people through ‘a typically modern taste’. The Duce had ordered them to create a show that was ‘utterly modern’ (modernissima) and ‘therefore audacious, without any melancholic memories of the decorative styles of the past’. In that regard, they explained, the exhibition eschewed the ‘arid, neutral, neither here nor there’ approach customary in old-fashioned museums. A visitor to 40

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their exhibition, a revolutionary Fascist show, they insisted, must be stirred in soul and imagination, ‘conquered’ in innermost being, even while they pledged in more conventional and even contradictory language that the history taught there was completely ‘objective’.21 Theirs, then, was an assertion of totalitarianism where a museum did not merely aim to display and to teach. Instead it must occupy the minds of whoever entered its portals; it must convert fully and for ever; it must exude a religious spirit. On the outside, too, it proclaimed this intrusive new intent. The façade of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni was reworked with four high reddish concrete towers (the colour alleged to be classically ‘Roman’). Each bore a menacingly sharp Fascist axe with a bronze base and steel cladding and blade. The building, moreover, was provided with an armed guard of uniformed Fascist men and boys, although Mussolini and his Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF) Secretary, Achille Starace, each wore a suit to the inauguration, while Mussolini’s head was covered by a soft hat, another reminder that at least in October 1932, Fascist Italy was not a reliably uniformed society, as any photo of the country at that time will show.22 Moreover, the crowds who greeted the Duce and party chief were, as recorded in the Istituto Luce newsreel of the occasion, more likely to applaud the dictator by clapping their hands than snappily raising their arms in Roman salutes.23 A few days later, King Victor Emmanuel also came to the MRF. He dressed in military, not Party, uniform and officials in sober frock coats staffed his reception.24 At the building’s side, two large Xs emphasised the 10 years that onlookers were meant to understand had memorably passed. Inside, a carefully planned itinerary moved chronologically through a history that united Martyrdom and Victory in the First World War with Martyrdom and Victory in the Rise of Fascism. In room C, King Victor Emmanuel III was conceded a role and a statue; he was hailed as the Re Soldato (Soldier King) and allowed to demand ‘discipline’ from his people, but a military chepì (kepi) veiled his eyes. He had to share the war with a number of ‘ordinary soldiers’, Benito Mussolini given a natural prominence among them. Room R was the ‘Salone dell’Onore’, dominated by a brutalist statue of a gigantic, rifle-bearing, Mussolini, with legs of a thickness that outmatched any rugby player. It stood above the letters DUX and dwarfed a paradoxically representational statue of the Duce’s younger brother Arnaldo, bespectacled and bearing a polite resemblance to his elder. 41

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By room T, a visitor was able to gaze at Mussolini’s marvellous life, most of it resurrected by humble enough documents and speeches. They found completion in his notes and commentaries on past intellectuals, Niccolò Machiavelli, Giosuè Carducci and Luigi Settembrini, rendered into spiritual prophets of the Fascist nation, its ‘precursors’ led by the greatest modern philosopher, the Duce, Professor Mussolini. The itinerary ended with a final sacrament in a last room, U, that was a ‘Holy Shrine of the martyrs’, an epiphany being reached before a crucifix. Its arms met bearing the slogan: Per la Patria Immortale. The cross was defended by ‘thousands and thousands of voices’ as the official account put it, those of the martyrs in 1915–22, each crying out ‘presente’ (here I am).25 The journey through Fascist ‘civic religion’ terminated in prayer with the state thereby replicating and ideally exceeding solemn church sacramental ceremonies. By 1934 Starace announced that 3,854,927 people had visited the MRF so far, quite a few foreigners among them, it was underlined with pride. Eventually in 1937, the exhibition was reopened across town and achieved a boasted final count of more than five million visitors. Back on 9 January 1933 for example, six Chinese, sent by their Ministry of Education, toured the site. Crown Prince Umberto and Crown Princess Maria José made their formal appearance at the exhibition on 18 January.26 On 19 March, the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald was escorted there by Starace, who for this occasion donned Party uniform. On 10 April, it was the turn of a ‘delegation of Indians’ and a week later Oswald Mosley, the leader of the Italiansubsidised British Union of Fascists, arrived with 10 ‘English Blackshirts’ as company. On the morning of 23 November that year, 152 chaplains of the Fascist militia were taken around as a group, allegedly moved by the playing of the Fascist ‘anthem’ Giovinezza, as if it were a hymn directed to God. The report of their Fascist piety was qualified by the news that they were also visiting the Vatican and there engaging in ‘the spiritual exercises’ requisite in the current Anno Santo, a supernumerary Holy Year, summoned by Pope Pius XI to run from Easter 1933 to Easter 1934.27 The calling of that ‘traditional’ church festival hinted that a ‘Fascist’ and ‘totalitarian’ state had by no means conquered all Italian souls. When it came to birthdays, birth months, birth years and birth centuries, the Church’s historical resources were certainly unlimited. So perhaps was their appeal. The crowd who gave homage to Pius XI outside San Pietro when the Anno 42

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Santo had just begun was said to tally 200,000,28 and the number was equalled when he spoke from San Giovanni Laterano on Ascension Day.29 These totals were far more than could assemble outside the Palazzo Venezia or fit into the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. According to the Rome paper, Il Messaggero, 40,000 crammed inside St Peter’s for Holy Year’s opening ceremony on 2 April 1933. The paper noted that 20 gorgeously garbed cardinals accompanied the Pope. It insisted that such observance was backed by 1,900 years of history, a tally that vastly outweighed any past that Fascism could summon.30 A Jesuit spokesman took the occasion to list the Church’s opposition to ‘the false faiths of scientism, democratism, socialism, machinism, liberalism, capitalism’ (scientismo, democratismo, socialismo, macchinismo, liberalismo, capitalismo) and such other systems, thereby providing what might be read as a fuller definition of the negatives opposed by Vatican ‘totalitarianism’ (a term then still endorsed by the Church about itself).31 On Corpus Domini in June 1933, the Jesuit paper stated that not only had Piazza San Pietro been crammed with faithful waiting to hear Pius XI, but so had the nearby Piazza Rusticucci and the borghi historic district,32 soon to be ‘re-adjusted’ into the new Via della Conciliazione. The complex ‘cohabitation’ between Catholicism and Fascism over the years of the dictatorship continued, with neither numbers nor history necessarily on the side of the dictatorship. Despite the fact that much historiography remains impressed by the Mostra and its totalitarianism, allegedly imposed on the people as an ‘aura’ as much as anything else, some scepticism about the reception of its message should be retained.33 As American historian Marla Stone has wisely remarked, numbers of the visitors who poured into Rome using the up to 70 per cent discount in rail tickets offered by the regime had motives to come to the Eternal City beyond the solemnities of the MRF.34 At this most deliberate site of regime preaching of a Fascist gospel, it is possible to detect multiple meanings. Fascists might read the occasion in one way, Catholics and families in another and Catholic Fascist families as opportunity suggested. A start in the sketch of meanings flowing across this national birthday celebration can be made with the Palazzo delle Esposizioni itself, so drastically and imaginatively modernised in 1932 but still, somewhere beneath the flamboyant alterations, the same building as before. It had been erected in 1883 in a neoclassical style meant to be an outstanding architectural 43

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feature on the new Via Nazionale constructed by the Liberal and National state created in the Risorgimento, a regime which had made at least as much of Rome in its own architectural image as Fascism later did. As suggested above, it might be argued after all that the most grandiloquent building in modern Rome is not some Fascist structure but the Vittoriano or Victor Emmanuel monument, opened in 1911 and in construction since the 1880s. Nonetheless, as the guide to the MRF put it aggressively, although Via Nazionale, the Street of the Nation debouched towards the Victor Emmanuel monument, the Altar to the Patria and the Palazzo Venezia, it carried little ‘allure’ for self-styled Fascist revolutionaries. Worse, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni had been ‘a building typical of the nineteenth century, at the same time hasty and over the top, wretched and presumptuous, with a pretence of monumentality, characteristic of the times, made with a fake hauteur, lacking grandiosity and style, rich without taste’. All that its Fascist modernisers and redesigners could do was ‘violate’ it (a choice of verb with a loud Fascist ring to it), the Via Nazionale and the whole capital. Such violation could ensure that Rome would finally open architectural space to the ‘revolution’ and its ‘new era’.35 The architect of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni had been the long-lived Pio Piacentini (1846–1928), a ‘maker of Liberal Rome’ whose work stood across many parts of the city and whose career expressed much of the cultural and political history of the post-Risorgimento nation. He helped finish the Victor Emmanuel monument after the early death in 1905 of Giuseppe Sacconi, its principal designer, and was instrumental in the construction of the Ministero della Giustizia, planned from 1913 but only completed in 1932, by then being a compromise between its lavish neoclassical origins and Fascist modernism. Certainly, under Pio Piacentini’s ministration, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni was eclectic in its historical references. They mixed the classical and the Renaissance, the national and the European, with a representation of Art sustained by Peace and Study, while, it has been said, the main figure at the building’s summit, ‘whose head is crowned by black spines (meant to be the rays of Apollo), was a louche precursor of the Statue of Liberty’ (inaugurated 1886).36 Pio Piacentini had another claim to fame, a family one. As is already plain, the fate of the ‘Italian family’ under a proclaimed intrusive totalitarianism will be a recurrent object of notice in this book. Pio was the father of Marcello 44

PECULIARITIES OF ITALIAN HISTORY AND MANY BIRTHDAYS OF 1932–3

Piacentini (1881–1960), the most eminent architect of the regime, sometimes given the soubriquet ‘Mussolini’s Speer’ to illustrate his fame,37 although in the frequent story of such comparison, he had greater span and achievement in architecture and urban planning than his German colleague, whose personal friendship with Hitler diverted him to more direct political power and the eventual bloody wartime role of Minister of Armaments and War Production. Whereas Speer, born in 1905, took on the role of ‘Führer’s pet’, Piacentini, with his father’s help, had already established himself as one of Italy’s leading experts in his field before 1922; he was two years older than Mussolini. When it came to urban planning, Mussolini followed his architectural guidance as much as Piacentini bent his ideas to a dictator’s will. By the First World War Piacentini was a major enough figure to collaborate closely with Ernesto Nathan, the radical Mazzinian mayor of Rome, who was also Jewish and a Freemason. In 1915 he accompanied Nathan on a delegation to the USA and returned with a determination to bring the American capitalist version of urbanism to Italy; Rome at present seemed to him limply ‘picturesque’ compared with New York. The avenues built under Pope Sixtus V were all very good but could scarcely compare with the ‘18 kilometre’ (sic, actually less than 10 km) length of Fifth Avenue. But there was no reason why the Italian capital could not have a glorious and modern future, Piacentini reasoned, especially once its population was quadrupled to two million.38 No doubt there needed to be further demolition beyond what had already occurred. But the plan to ‘save monuments and beautiful palaces’ in such a development, Piacentini advised peremptorily, was a delusion. Instead the old city should be separated from a new. Artists, antiquarians and tourists could be allowed to keep traditional Rome alive in a fashion that they would appreciate. Their vistas need not be corrupted by tramlines or electric wires. Their old Rome could be a place of ‘meditation and ecstasy’.39 The new Rome would be different. A border might run from the foot of the Janiculum and around the Aurelian walls. ‘Beyond the old and the ancient, [should arise] the modern city, throbbing with life and movement, tramways, airlines, shops dazzling with light, industries, villas and gardens’. Paris had 12 railway stations, London 17, Piacentini calculated; Rome should match them and provide itself with an underground. The new Rome must be characterised by wide roads and vast squares.40 While such urban development proceeded, ‘the horrible mess of houses around the Colosseum’ should be demolished without regret.41 45

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In 1916 Marcello Piacentini had, in other words, gone at least as far in imagining a modernist city as the Fascists who were thrilled by the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista and who soon would earn lasting opprobrium from anti-Fascist romantics by hacking the Via dell’Impero through from the Victor Emmanuel monument to the Colosseum. That demolition was launched on 29 October 1932 and, over the next years, the regime ostentatiously began plans to build a new city for its Ventennale (20th anniversary) in 1942 that might well be thought to have an inheritance from Piacentini’s ideas in 1916. It was to be called the Esposizione Universale di Roma (the Rome Universal Exhibition) or EUR. The complications of war would mean it was unfinished in 1942 and its major construction, despite its Fascist form, was left to the post-1946 Republic and its Christian Democrat governments who finally had the area ready for the 1960 Olympics. This story of continuity in urban construction was also reflected in the life of Marcello Piacentini. Despite his prominence and high fortune under the dictatorship, he quickly resumed his university chair after 1945. Assuring a purge commission that he was a ‘mere technocrat’, Piacentini was soon as busily at work with his Catholic friends as in the past he had been with radical Freemasons and ‘revolutionary’ Fascists.42 He died in May 1960, overflowing with wealth, honours and achievement, a case study of architectural skill and adaptability and of the tensile strength of family and patron– client relations in modern Italy.43 To give but one further example of his work, any who plan to visit the ‘new town’ of Bergamo, between the railway station and the Renaissance city above and today the site of many banks, should note that they are treading streets constructed under the guidance of Marcello Piacentini and the Società Pio e Marcello Piacentini between 1907 and 1928.44 Needless to say, Piacentini endured many rivals and enemies among the architects and town planners of Fascist Italy. By 1942 Giulio Carlo Argan, from a new generation but destined for fame under the Republic in his field assisted by his then political devotion to the Italian Communist Party (PCI), sought with what he implied was Fascist purism to persuade Giuseppe Bottai, the minister in charge of EUR, that under Piacentini’s malign influence the place reflected ‘the gravest defeat imaginable’ of ‘the culture of the Revolution’.45 Not all the building completed under Fascism was designed by Marcello Piacentini. Yet the best study of architecture under the dictatorship is clear 46

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that, while the architects wrangled and bickered, and invented wordy ‘Fascist’ explanations for their differences, their conflicts, power games and achievements depended on their professional and political sensitivity and judgment rather than on their ideological consistency. Mussolini could deliver himself of the aphorism in 1936 that ‘the empire’s architecture cannot be modern[ist]’ and he did make plain to his lover, Claretta, that he thought her new family home, the Villa Camilluccia, was direly ‘Bolshevik’ in appearance (inside, however, it was the reverse of modernist).46 But he was capable of saying the opposite. It was typical that the Swiss-French Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), despite his normal placement on the left, on more than one occasion proffered his designs to a Duce inclined to be friendly. Such proposals included in 1936 a radically racist plan for conquered Addis Ababa, tempting Mussolini to give approval until he realised that Le Corbusier was a politically dubious foreigner.47 The message in regard to totalitarianism Italianstyle during a regime birthday or at other times is clear enough; for architects and urban planners, Fascist ‘revolution’ meant exploiting Mussolini’s favour, utilising adroitly crafted descriptions of their work to sound ‘Fascist’ and then proceeding as dynamically as possible with their own schemes.48 Opportunity, not ideology, dominated their careers. As shall be seen in the following pages, their story may not be different from several others. Despite such reality lurking in quite a few parts of Italian society and culture, the regime did its best to play up the revolution hailed at the MRF and in the Decennale. So, on 3 May 1934, Rome heard celebratory speeches about the progress of forestry over the Fascist decade in a regime version of environmentalism. Success in that area was always associated with Arnaldo Mussolini, who, before Fascism, had begun a career in local administration and who was thought until his death to retain an interest in the flourishing of the countryside. The leading orator was Starace, who did not fail to remark that Arnaldo had possessed ‘a sure, serene Virgilian spirit’, which translated the sentiments of the classical poet in the Georgics to Mussolini’s Italy. Arnaldo’s determination to watch over ‘a forest rebirth’ remained an ‘entrenched’ purpose of the regime, it was now said.49 Lest attention be diverted too far, it was his older brother who had the major slogan inscribed in his name. Benito Mussolini, Starace noted, had stated: ‘I love trees. Defend them. I shall help you to defend them’.50 47

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Starace had become PNF secretary in December 1931 on the claim that his natural ties to the people were more needed than his severe predecessor, Giovanni Giuriati’s intellectuality.51 In his speech to the National Forestry Committee, Starace nonetheless deferentially remembered to present apologies from the Minister of Agriculture and Forests,‘Barone Giacomo Acerbo’, who was otherwise engaged.52 What does Acerbo’s career and his title reveal about Fascism Italian-style? Acerbo was one of the secondary figures of the regime, holding a variety of offices and, in 1943, as Minister of Finance and the Treasury, present at the meeting on the evening of 24–5 July when the Fascist Grand Council, by then a sort of Council of State, demanded the Duce’s retirement and sparked his (first) fall. After Italy passed anti-Semitic legislation in 1938, Acerbo had become an open critic of the view that his country should accept the theoretics of Nazi racism. He derided suggestions that Italians were ‘Aryan’.53 His track through Fascism again marks the manner in which long-standing features of Italian life intrude into the Mussolinian version of totalitarianism. Back in 1922–4, as Under-Secretary to the Prime Minister, Acerbo had given his name to the electoral reform, the ‘Acerbo law’, bitterly contested by anti-Fascists but victorious when the PNF and its allies obtained a massive majority in the April 1924 elections. In that year Acerbo was elevated to become hereditary Baron of Aterno in his home region of the Abruzzi, where his mother had already sprung from baronial stock. Having, like plenty of party bosses, no children of his own, despite Fascist prating about the necessity of rapid population rise and its tax on bachelors, Acerbo eventually passed the title on to an adopted son. Under the Republic after 1946, he made an unsuccessful attempt to return to politics as a monarchist, and in his memoirs reflected that, as far as he was concerned, the Fascist forging of a totalitarian state and society ‘always remained in a nebulous academic limbo’. The PNF, he claimed, by the mid-1930s had been ‘fossilised into an amorphous, multicoloured and resigned congregation, ready to move at automatic command’, a dictator’s populist plaything, but scarcely an engine of revolutionary ideology.54 Here are issues and attitudes about the survival of class markers and aspirations in a regime that had supposedly eliminated class differences that will bear further reflection. But first we should pause to note Acerbo’s use of his noble title in 1934. No serious research has been done on the lingering of an 48

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aristocracy under the Italian dictatorship, the subject being complicated by the nearness of the Risorgimento and its merging of 10 states into a nation, as well as by occasional Fascist rhetoric about its own forging of a militant new ruling class, a specifically Fascist aristocracy. The construction of Italy after 1860 largely exempted Italy from what Arno Mayer called ‘the persistence of the old regime’ through a preserved nobility in older European states before 1914.55 Moreover, the ‘historic’, by definition pre-Italian, ‘black aristocracy’ of the Vatican had maintained a rigid social distinction between themselves and the upper echelons of the Liberal state while the Cold War between Church and State proceeded in Italy and did not entirely disappear in the interwar period. In a curious example of the cohabitation between pope and dictator, men of that background succeeded each other, for example, in the new nonelected Fascist hierarchy as governors of Rome after 1926, except when Bottai held the office between 1935 and 1937.56 Under Fascism, making somewhat paradoxical the talk about ‘revolution’, the monarchy persisted. King Victor Emmanuel retained and used the right to nominate worthy citizens to a hereditary Savoyard aristocracy, which grew in numbers if not always in power. The monarch’s fellow-travelling with the regime might mean that the new nobles thought of themselves as bearing Fascist reward in their titles. But it was the monarch who had dubbed them. Mussolini himself, with flaunted humility, rejected any title but his own; he wisely avoided suggestions in May 1929 after the Lateran Pacts signed between Church and State that the Duce be converted to a Duca (Duke).57 Nonetheless, in February 1925, he wore a white tie to a grand ceremony organised by the exclusive Circolo della Caccia (hunting club) at the Palazzo Borghese in Rome where assembled nobles endorsed his now open dictatorship.58 The proportion of aristocratic members of the Chamber of Deputies rose from 5.3 per cent in 1919 to 12.5 per cent in 1929.59 Within Mussolini’s own family, Galeazzo Ciano, his son-in-law, from June 1936 Foreign Minister, and, in many eyes, by then the regime’s ‘dauphin’, succeeded to the hereditary title of Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari in June 1939 on the death of his father; its motto was Memento Audere Semper (the Latin had in fact been coined by flamboyant nationalist poet, Gabriele D’Annunzio). In his gilded youth Galeazzo, although not yet ennobled, had been proud to be a member of the Circolo della Caccia.60 Costanzo Ciano, a 49

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naval ‘war hero’, nationalist and early Fascist minister, as well as a man who greedily gathered the wealth and power of his home town of Livorno into his hands, had been elevated to the nobility in 1925. From 1939, Mussolini’s elder daughter and favourite child Edda was therefore transformed into being Countess Ciano and did not fail to use the title in her social whirl. After Ciano was executed in January 1944, his elder son Fabrizio, still a boy, became third count of Cortellazzo. An irony occurred posthumously when in 1952 Fabrizio’s sister Raimonda married Alessandro Giunta, whose father, Francesco, born in 1887, had been a lawyer, cavalry officer and tough-minded, violent, Fascist squad leader from his base in Trieste. Briefly in 1923–4, he held office as secretary of the PNF before later becoming an early and convinced fan of alliance with Nazi Germany.61 Giunta backed the RSI but avoided punishment for his alleged crimes as governor of Dalmatia in 1943 when postwar Italy refused an extradition request from Yugoslavia. King Victor Emmanuel had raised him to be (hereditary) Conte di Fiume, a city where, in 1919, he had been active with D’Annunzio as a border nationalist. His wife, Zenaida Del Gallo di Roccagiovine was a descendant of the Bonapartes. Raimonda’s children therefore fused the heritage of the Napoleon and Mussolini families in a fashion that must have gratified the Duce’s ghost, given Mussolini’s frequent, if anxious, efforts to compare himself with Napoleon.62 Francesco Giunta, who lived until 1971, after the war held the post of president of Italy’s Consulta Araldica, a college instituted in 1869 to advise on titles and coats of arms, technically defunct from 1948 under the Republic. Nobles, it seemed, were not put off by Giunta’s brutal record as a Fascist. In a case with some parallels to that of Acerbo but with a Northern slant, Dino Grandi had risen from being a Fascist ras to appointment as minister of Foreign Affairs (1929–32) and then Ambassador to the Court of St James (1932–9); well before that he had been known as a faithful client of the only English tailor in Rome.63 In March 1937 Grandi accepted the title of Count of Mordano, his home paese near Bologna. His noble motto became the equivocal sounding, biblical, Violenti Rapiunt Illud.64 Again the entry into the nobility was hereditary; his son Franco Paolo, who died in 2004, married into the more established local aristocracy after the war and so, if anything, boosted his family’s noble status.65 When party members enjoyed malicious gossip, as they often did, the most laughable elevation was that of Marshal Pietro Badoglio, Chief of 50

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Army General Staff 1925–40, to be styled hereditary ‘Duke of Addis Ababa’ following the victory over Ethiopia in May 1936; under that title he briefly took on the role of Viceroy over the newly conquered territories (he had been created Marchese of Sabotino back in 1928).66 In 1937, the acerbic, independent and anticlerical Roberto Farinacci wondered in a note to the Duce whether Badoglio should not as well be urgently anointed a cardinal or canonised.67 But perhaps Badoglio thought his title was no sillier than that of Paolo Thaon di Revel, naval commander at the end of the First World War and Mussolini’s first Minister of the Navy 1922–5, who had accepted from Victor Emmanuel III the title of Duca del Mare (Duke of the Sea) in 1922; Thaon came from a Savoyard noble family. Some notables missed out of course. In November 1938 the secret police reported that the former Minister of Colonies, Alessandro Lessona, was campaigning to be made Marchese di Valmareb in Eritrea, lamenting that it was odd that he had no such elevation when such other imperial rulers as Badoglio and his fellow soldiers, Emilio De Bono and Rodolfo Graziani, did. A noble title, Lessona indicated naively, could improve his family’s parlous financial condition.68 Countess Edda may have often annoyed her father with her dashing behaviour in high society. But the drollest entry of the nobility into Mussolini’s personal life came through the family of his last lover, Claretta Petacci. Claretta’s much younger sister, Myriam married the ‘Marchese’ Armando Boggiano in a lavish ceremony that defied rulings about wartime austerity, held in the national church of Santa Maria degli Angeli on 22 June 1942. Myriam thereby elevated herself into being a Marchesa. Boggiano certainly came from a rich manufacturing family in Liguria, although his noble title is not endorsed in the Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana.69 However, for the Petacci family, zealous in their Fascism, their Catholicism and their bourgeois determination to rise socially, the marriage, despite being short-lived in practice, was a triumph in their social status. Mussolini remained the Duce or DUCE. Especially in the 1930s, any mention of him in prose had to be saluted with capital letters and so he scarcely needed titles of nobility. But the monarchy did have diverse lesser honours to distribute and even Mussolini was called Cavaliere in official reports. Any bureaucrat of note was certain to be a Commendatore, while the fine graining of the bourgeoisie was preserved in such titles as Avvocato 51

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(Avv., that is, a lawyer), Ragioniere (Rag., accountant), Geometra (Geom., surveyor), Professore (Prof., teacher at almost any level; the Duce was called Prof. Mussolini from his qualifications to teach elementary and then middle school French) and Dottore (any tertiary graduate). There were plenty of further honours available to estimable people. To give but one example, Dino Grandi, who sprang from relatively humble petit-bourgeois origins was successively elevated to be Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’Ordine della Corona d’Italia, Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’Ordine coloniale della Corona d’Italia, Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro and Cavaliere dell’Ordine Supremo della Santissima Annunziata. In sum, the detailed texture of social eminence remained scarcely touched by the Fascist ‘revolution’, where the world of titles lay well above the ambitions of those peasants and workers who constituted the majority of the population. Fascism, in its pretensions to replace Marxism, may have boasted that it had overwhelmed ‘class struggle’. But social distinctions remained alive and influential everywhere in the Italian dictatorship. In 1931 for example, only 3 per cent of the sparse number of university students came from working-class backgrounds, a fall from 5 per cent in 1911.70 When a worker or a peasant had to confront class superiors, none would be so rude or foolish to forget to call them Marchese, Commendatore or Professore if that were their rank, and sometimes even if it was not but might have been thought appropriate. In an Italy where, in the poor San Lorenzo quarter in the suburban periphery of Rome, many people still kept a pig in their humble dwelling, feeding it on scraps, getting by was for ordinary men and women the chief daily task. While regime hullabaloo echoed through the capital, bureaucrats commented on the spread of ‘pauperism’ in its suburbs through what they knew was the ‘hard winter’ of 1932–3. Talk about a militantly united nation may look fatuous where, at the edge of the Eternal City, immigrants were derided as ‘Baresi’ (people from Bari), assumed to be creatures of the Puglian PNF secretary Starace (who actually came from Lecce).71 Talk of the surpassing of class difference may be equally out of place in a country where desperately poor southerners and islanders thought that the political prisoners who, under the regime’s most extensive punishment system for political dissenters, arrived among them as confinati (confined men and women) and were banned from leaving the locals’ wretched village, were, by definition of their involvement in political issues that concerned great people, ‘nabobs with a fabulous income’.72 52

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Similarly, at the highest level, the survival of the monarchy qualified the repeated propaganda boast that Mussolini held the whole world in his hands, in a divine manner; in April 1932, perhaps the most minor official in the national consular service assured poor fishermen in Fremantle, Western Australia, that ‘the Duce can never be tired because he is not a Man but an Elect of God’.73 Such words were fine, but the tiny and repressed King Victor Emmanuel III clung stubbornly to a residual constitutional role that he would exercise on 25 July 1943.74 No doubt for the most part he stayed out of the headlines and of Mussolini’s way, despite interviewing the dictator twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays at 10.30 a.m. at the Quirinale Palace; the Duce then dressed in a suit and hat.75 By 1943, 33 years of numismatic labour had got the king to volume 20 of his Corpus Nummorum Italicorum. When not engaged in royal scholarship, Victor Emmanuel preserved a family affection for the military while cherishing a lifestyle that was Spartan except when it came to shooting birds and animals. He was heard to whinge that his stately Montenegrin Queen Elena would, through her assorted charities, render him bankrupt.76 Victor Emmanuel III may not have attempted to match Mussolini’s charisma, although in the Trentino in 1930 he was extolled on a visit there as ‘wise and valorous’ and when a local writer published a thrilling yarn about the last war, his two boy heroes were called Vittorio and Emanuele.77 He and other members of the royal family were in receipt of an abundance of grovelling letters from the people, asking for favours and not excluding religious phrasing.78 The King’s other competitors were the much older Roman monarchs, the successive popes, Pius XI (1922–39), who could be portrayed by sportive Fascist journalists as the ‘Papa alpinista’ (the Mountaineer Pope),79 and Pius XII (1939–58). When the 40th anniversary of the royal marriage arrived, the press, with a fondness for cliché not unknown in other such portraits, extolled the large, matronly Elena as ‘a heavenly apparition’, the ‘mother who runs to help a thousand sufferings and a thousand adversities’.80 Yet Victor Emmanuel and his wife were not the only Savoys in Italy. The activities of the numerous members of the royal family may have been relegated to the later pages of the newspapers, but they were rarely absent for long. In Venice for example, the successive dukes of Genoa (an ironical title given the Adriatic city’s historic rivalry with the Tyrrhenian one) Tommaso (1854–1931) and Ferdinando (1884–1963), descended from a brother of 53

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Victor Emmanuel II, each opted for a naval career that gave them presence in the city. Each graciously assumed a prominent position at major social or cultural events. More generally, in the way of royal families (the Savoys were much better at following the regime’s boasted ‘propulsive’ population policy than were PNF hierarchs), weddings and births among sons, daughters, nephews, nieces and cousins tripped after each other in the news. In the most publicised royal event of the ventennio, Victor Emmanuel III’s son, Umberto (in 1946 briefly to be King Umberto II), married Maria José of Belgium on 8 January 1930 in a glittering ceremony at the Cappella Paolina of the Quirinal Palace.81 Although there were soon rumours of marital differences and the two separated after the fall of Fascism, under its rule they produced four children, Maria Pia (September 1934),82 Vittorio Emanuele (February 1937), Maria Gabriella (February 1940) and Maria Beatrice (February 1943). Especially the birth of a prince thought destined to become Victor Emmanuel IV, King and Emperor (given the conquest of Ethiopia) was greeted with press rejoicing,83 as well as a regime amnesty extending to quite a few, but not those who were viewed as the most incorrigible, political prisoners. Baby photos of the emperor to come were assiduously spread, notably in Fascist journals directed at Italian emigrants abroad.84 Crown Prince Umberto had four sisters, the eldest of whom, Yolanda, in her turn produced five children, Mafalda four, Giovanna, alone in marrying a king, Boris III of Bulgaria, had two,85 and the youngest, Maria Francesca, four. At least as prominent was Victor Emmanuel’s cousin, General Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta, active at the front in the First World War and in 1922, thought to be a Fascist king in waiting if Victor Emmanuel refused to admit Mussolini to power.86 Emanuele Filiberto was given permanent memory in Rome with the opening in March 1939 of a modernist bridge over the Tiber in his name. It is still armed with ‘glorious’ battle scenes from the First World War and under the regime provided a curiously monarchist entry statement for the new party headquarters of the PNF, then rising there. After 1945 the building was completed in Fascist style and now houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This Duke of Aosta died in 1931 to be succeeded by his elder son, Amedeo, appointed Viceroy of Ethiopia in 1937 and military commander of the dismal attempt to defend the East African empire after June 1940. His younger 54

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brother, Aimone, Duke of Spoleto, was designated as ‘King Tomislav II’ of Croatia in 1943 but was sensible enough not to seek formal installation in Zagreb under the viciously racist regime headed by Ustaša chief, Ante Pavelić. Aimone has therefore been wittily denominated ‘the [wartime] King who never was’.87 The three younger brothers of the Duke of Genoa took their ducal titles from Pistoia, Bergamo and Ancona, while little Victor Emmanuel was made Prince of Naples, as his grandfather had once been. Male members of the royal family always engaged in military activities of some kind and were mainly photographed in uniform (not that of the Fascist militia; in the army and navy, the salute remained the traditional elbow-flexing one and not the regime’s ‘Roman’ raised arm). Like the royals of various other imperial societies, Savoy princelings were much given to touring the empire,88 where for example, Maria José and the Duchess of Aosta also made patriotic appearances.89 In 1932, as the Decennale approached, Victor Emmanuel himself undertook a well-publicised visit to Eritrea to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Italian settlement there; in April 1933 he was in Cyrenaica.90 Seven Savoys in one way or another served at the front during the Ethiopian war.91 The most idiosyncratic career in that arena was that of the Duke of Abruzzi, Luigi Amedeo, the brother of Emanuele Filiberto of Aosta who, before 1914, hit the headlines as an intrepid Arctic and mountain explorer, enjoying a leading role in the Italian Royal Geographical Society.92 Allegedly saddened by a family ban on his marrying Katherine Elkins, daughter of a wealthy Jewish US senator from West Virginia, the Duke of Abruzzi, after the First World War when he had a naval command, concentrated on creating a model agricultural estate in Somalia named after himself. He died there on 18 March 1933. The Italian press sycophantically recorded his passing but did not mention that Luigi Amedeo had lived with a Somali woman during his last years.93 Travelling could extend further. In 1928, Crown Prince Umberto toured the Holy Land and looked fetching when photographed kneeling in respect and worship at Nazareth.94 Although the dynasty could scarcely match the Vatican in long standing esteem, the Savoys could draw on a history back into a distant past. The Decennale almost coincided with the bicentenary of Vittorio Amedeo II, who ruled Piedmont from 1675 until his abdication in 1730; he died on 31 October 1732, crucially for his family being elevated to kingship, first in Sicily 1713–20 55

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and thereafter in Sardinia. Almost the entire issue of the upper-class glossy photo magazine L’Ilustrazione italiana in August 1932 was devoted to a reverential and patriotic version of his memory.95 High society may have been studded with dukes and duchesses who had not disappeared under Fascist rule, but their presence did not completely blot out talk of social revolution. Anselmo Vaccari called himself an ‘incandescent’ Fascist when he published his view of ‘a revolutionary Decennale’ in October 1932. In so doing, he won endorsement from Asvero Gravelli, a radical journalist. Blessed with his backing, Vaccari, in strident phrases, urged a continuing revolution, separating Lenin from Mussolini with the claim that in Italy change was permanent and normal, whereas in Russia everything was frozen by what had become a mindless dedication to theory. Vaccari was sure that the regime’s ‘Corporate’ system and ‘Labour Charter’ (Carta del Lavoro, 1927) had overcome the class struggle and therefore offered a future to which all young Europeans could cleave. Positive examples, he maintained with considerable vagueness and confusion, were to be found in the Brownshirts and the Steel Helmets of present-day Germany (that is, the Nazi SA and their bitter rivals, the Stahlhelm, who before 1932 received greater subsidy from Rome than did Hitler’s party), in the ‘Blueshirts’ of Britain96 and in Kemal Atatürk’s People’s Party. While thus delineating a universal fascism, without fully comprehending what it meant, Vaccari did not fail to acknowledge the way his thoughts ‘vibrate with the variety of Mussolini, with the effort of Mussolini, with the force of Mussolini, with the dream of Mussolini’.97 Vaccari may not have fully plumbed Nazism. But in the world at large, the celebration of 10 years of Fascist government took place under the double context of the economic Depression, begun in 1929 but as yet still spreading malignly across the globe and underlining for any who cared to see that whatever else Fascism had done, it was not presiding over a revolution of equality and ready prosperity, and the rise in Germany of Adolf Hitler. It had been in July 1932 that the Nazis achieved their massive electoral breakthrough, winning 13.1 million votes, 37.4 per cent of the total, a high proportion in what was a multiparty system and carrying them suddenly to the edge of power. As historian Richard Evans has noted, what was more striking that summer was the virtual ‘annihilation’ of the centrist parties, especially those that campaigned for some version or other of liberalism; only Communists, Social Democrats and Catholics of the Centre Party maintained an opposition to Hitler.98 In the 56

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second half of 1932, a German movement which was often labelled ‘fascist’ and sometimes ‘totalitarian’ if not by itself, and whose leader took pains to publicise his admiration for the Duce, needed urgently to be slotted into Europe and its future, and into Italian understanding of the world and of its own Fascist regime. The peculiarities of Italian history may be easy enough to find in the dictatorship that was celebrating its 10th anniversary. But now it would more and more need to justify itself externally in an ever more menacing world. It would try to do so, but with what we can now see was disastrous effect. It certainly should not be assumed that on 29 July 1933, when a dictatorship called itself Fascist and totalitarian, it had found an eternal and universal meaning for these adjectives. Rather, as will become evident in later chapters, as the regime darkened and, paradoxically, fractured and perhaps weakened after 1933, its F/fascism and totalitarianism grew more intrusive and simultaneously more populist, more lying and more fraudulent. During that process, Mussolini who, in quite a few eyes until then, was a good dictator at least for what commentators deemed were so chaotic a people as the Italians, became instead an enemy of decent humankind, a ‘bad dictator’.

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CHAPTER 3 A THRIVING DICTATORSHIP FASCIST, TOTALITARIAN OR MUSSOLINIAN?

In global terms, modern Italy remains the least of the historiographical powers among the European states, far less able than Germany or Britain or Russia or even France to launch a thousand undergraduate courses or postgraduate theses. Italian history is therefore in major part a preoccupation of Italians and not of outsiders. Naturally enough, given that his dictatorship ruled for a generation, Mussolini remains a subject of conflicted memory and divided history in Italy. For half a century the official line of the Republic was ‘anti-Fascist’. In this understanding, Fascism above all meant (disastrous) war, as the ally of the utterly evil Nazis; responsibility for it fell on Mussolini and that minority of his people who were convinced and active Fascists.1 When the trendy director Bernardo Bertolucci in 1976 made a film entitled Novecento (Twentieth Century), purporting to represent national history on the screen through symbolic class struggle across the century between peasants and landowners in the Po Valley, his ‘Fascist’ was called Attila (the Hun, the Scourge of God and therefore, of course, the para-Nazi). Evocatively played by Donald Sutherland, Attila was scarcely educated, a rapist unable to enjoy good sex, a child murderer, a killer of hard-working peasants, a ‘monster’ who thoroughly deserved his degradation and execution in 1945, a ‘model Fascist’ at least in anti-Fascist representation. However, with the fall of the ‘First Republic’ in the 1990s, an Italian reflex of the collapse of the USSR and what American neoliberal political theorist Francis Fukuyama boasted was ‘the end of history’, such anti-Fascism was challenged by the new interpretative line of ‘anti-anti-Fascism’. It was best summed up in the cultural politics of businessman turned politician Silvio Berlusconi, and his statement to the Spectator that Mussolini ‘never killed anyone’ and presided over a punishment system which despatched his opponents to the equivalent of a holiday camp (‘villeggiatura’).2 When Berlusconi 58

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made such remarks, he earned howls of objection from anti-Fascists.3 But his saccharine version of Italian Fascism had deep antecedents in national popular culture. There, from almost immediately after the Duce’s death, a comforting verdict spread through the photo magazines which were the most common reading matter of the majority of Italians that the dictatorship had been ‘particolare’ (special). Unlike the Nazis or Soviets it had not fanatically pursued a global ideology. Its conquests had been achieved for the nation and were not out of step with the behaviour of other imperial European powers. Ethiopia (where the regime probably was at its most murderous) could be recalled as a ‘paradise lost’ by the photo weekly Oggi in 1958, a place of exotic romance and heroism, not Fascist murder.4 With regard to the dictator, what lingered was not a complex argument about the theoretical meaning of F/fascism but a sentimental version of his private and family life. In Italian memory, his body held greater cachet than his mind. He had been survived by his widow Rachele and four of his legitimate children (daughters Edda and Anna Maria, sons Vittorio and Romano; the second boy, Bruno, died as a test pilot during the war). Mussolini’s many other relationships and his quiver full of illegitimate children, as well as the enduringly popular romance of his relationship with Claretta Petacci and her ‘sacrificial’ determination to die at his side filled countless sentimental articles and books.5 Scholars find it easy to poke fun at the superficiality and ignorance of the positive myth of the dictatorship that results from such mawkishness. Yet it does have another justification. As I noted above, the doubtless more powerladen ghosts of Hitler and Stalin still stalk a world strewn with the multimillion corpses of their victims. But as a mass murderer, Mussolini is not their equal. In my biography of the Duce I ascribe to him responsibility for a million premature deaths and, as noted in the Introduction, I do not resile from that figure. But its composition deserves notice. During the Fascists’ violent rise to power, some 3,000 Italians died, the majority socialist, communist, liberal or Catholic anti-Fascists. There can be no doubt that Fascists deliberately committed murder in this period and an undercurrent of violence and terror remained present throughout the regime.6 But the domestic death toll in interwar Italy is lower than in many countries politically disturbed following the formal end of the First World War, especially those of Snyder’s ‘Bloodlands’. 59

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Fascist Italy was scarcely an economic or financial success and did not pursue policies that allowed the growth rates achieved before 1914 in the ‘Giolittian era’ or in the ‘miracle’, as it was called, of the 1950s and early 1960s.7 The country was afflicted by the Depression in much the same fashion as were other European countries, even if the regime did its best to hide – with its boosting rhetoric and erratic, politically guided welfare – ongoing unemployment, underemployment and poverty, notably among the rural population. In retrospect, however, for most Italians the time of grievous death and disaster in the Fascist years was confined to the war, and especially the period after September 1943 when Mussolini was restored as a puppet dictator of the Germans, when the front pushed slowly north up the peninsula and when Italians contested a ‘civil war’ between supporters and opponents of the now republican Fascist state, the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (Italian Social Republic). If the horror of that time of battle, bombing and murder could be set aside, popular memory found reason to grow romantic about ‘progress’, ‘modernisation’ and the degree of ‘Americanisation’ in the pre-1940 years. Although such development was occurring everywhere in Europe, usually faster than in Italy, the achievement could easily be nationalised. In the 1980s anti-Fascists were scandalised when an exhibition, designed by the rightist Giano Accamè and held in the Colosseum, attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors cheered by the view of period triumphs in ‘Italian’ household technology or the spread of supermarkets.8 In exploring the prompts of positive post-1945 recollection of Fascism, we have moved away from that death tally of one million. About half of that total is constituted by the Italian victims of Fascist wars in Ethiopia (1,500), Spain (more than 4,000)9 and the Second World War itself. Each was a conflict entered aggressively, with bombastic talk about a Fascist man’s need to be a warrior. In the global conflict after June 1940 while Italy’s enemies expanded from France and Britain to the USSR (June 1941) and the USA (December 1941), up to 500,000 perished, about a third of them being civilians and more than half occurring in the period between September 1943 and April 1945 (this tally is about one tenth of Nazi Germany’s loss). Throughout the war and again notably in 1943–5, at least as many Italian civilians died from Allied aerial attacks as British were killed in the much-celebrated Blitz or other German bombings.10 Italy, as Germany’s ‘ignoble second’, did actively assist its partner in the Holocaust, with racist legislation begun in 1938 on the regime’s own account 60

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and steadily toughened, and with the collection and passage of more than 7,000 Italian Jews to their deaths in the east under the RSI. Nonetheless, quite a few Italian-Jewish survivors of such racist persecution and extermination were inclined after 1945, mostly in emigration to the USA or to what was becoming Israel, to preserve gilded memories of the ‘achievements’ of Fascism and to explain away their old country’s participation in the Judeocide as driven by all-powerful Nazi masters.11 In any case, numerically, the major killing fields of the regime were not in Europe. They were instead in Africa. In Libya from the late 1920s, Rodolfo Graziani and other regime soldiers imposed a ‘Roman peace’ based on fire and sword and what critical historians now call ‘genocide’,12 with a toll that may have reached 100,000. In Ethiopia, brutally attacked in October 1935 in a war that led to the fall of the capital Addis Ababa and the flight of Emperor Haile Selassie in May 1936, but where the resultant colony was never fully pacified before its swift liberation by a ragtag British imperial army in 1941,13 hundreds of thousands died (although figures in that part of the world have to be accepted as approximate). Another paradox in the history of the Italian dictatorship lies in its deployment of African troops, doubtless with much racist exploitation but in a fashion that had parallels, even in regime rhetoric, where they were praised as ‘black Arditi’,14 with Britain, France and the other liberal democratic imperial powers, as well as with Franco’s Spain. Nazi Germany might have extended membership to a wide variety of alleged ‘Aryans’ in the Waffen-SS,15 but it did not break the colour bar. A further imponderable in the history of Fascist imperialism springs from the fact that Italians expressed pride that their ‘ascari’ (the word comes from the Arabic for soldier) ‘fought well’, a statement that can be translated into the fact that under the dictatorship’s aegis, at least some of the imperial death toll resulted from ‘black on black’ killing. Although recent international scholarship has argued that it was in Africa that the regime’s totalitarianism grew most vicious, with a prospect of worse had Italy emerged victorious from the Nazi-fascist war,16 in national public memory an empire that had been small and rickety, and disappeared in a trice in 1945, did not retain the same purchase that it had in countries like France and Britain. In those empire nations, after 1945 decolonisation provoked much turmoil and quite a bit of killing, for example in Algeria and Kenya,17 not to mention during the partition of India and Pakistan. Research into the 61

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history of the Liberal and Fascist Italian empire is advancing, but it is not yet fully clear whether the best comparators are Nazi Germany, as theorists of ‘fascist totalitarianism’ maintain, or Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the United States and the other imperial states. Nonetheless, over recent decades foreign historiography about Mussolini’s regime has often deepened the negative image of this dictatorship. Most nonItalian historians do argue that it had pioneered the totalitarianism then malignly afflicting the world and was thankfully defeated in the Second World War. It did mean war and massacre. As Christopher Duggan phrased it, here was a tyranny whose ‘consequences in terms of human suffering and death were to be incalculable’.18 When it turns to its detail, this book will explore and qualify this conclusion. But first it must be noted that another set of historians are in the field contesting too speedy a damning of the Duce and his dictatorship. Surprisingly the battleground is foreign policy where, if anything, the image of Hitler as fanatically wanting world war (and the Holocaust) is stronger in present imagination than is any comprehension of Nazi domestic policy. Given the existence of the Axis and Italy’s belated but blatantly aggressive entry into the war on the German side on 10 June 1940, mainstream international scholarship is mostly agreed that Italian Fascism similarly from beginning to end meant war. London-based American historian MacGregor Knox has been confident in blending ‘the supremely violent careers of the Fascist and Nazi regimes’, while he contends that there were structural factors explaining each nation’s aggression, whether in 1914–15 or 1939–40. In Knox’s judgment, Mussolini was a ‘radical nationalist’ who ‘longed’ for war. He was a ‘revolutionary’, permanently spurred by his ‘swift conversion in summer–autumn 1914 to “that fearful and enthralling word: war” ’.19 As a more recent historian has concluded, Italian aggression in Ethiopia in 1935–6 ‘shattered the inchoate collation of states that sought to restrain Nazi revisionism’ and in wrecking ideas of collective security based on the League of Nations, led inexorably to the Second World War.20 In other words, when it came to causing that terrible conflict, Benito Mussolini bore prime responsibility. But not all scholars agree that Italian Fascism meant war. A generation ago, a lively debate was occasioned when Rosaria Quartararo, working closely with the celebrated biographer of Mussolini, Renzo De Felice, presented a 62

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‘realist’ version of Italian foreign policy during the 1930s, where as late as 1939, any agreement with the Nazis was ‘exclusively tactical and strategic’ and awaited a more sensible British reply than the blundering ‘policy of encirclement’ that was in fact pursued.21 In Quartararo’s and De Felice’s reckoning, Mussolini was less an ideologically driven fanatic and more a recognisable Italian statesman. Over the last decade such an argument has been revived and deepened by younger diplomatic historians, traditional in a neo-Rankean manner given their devotion to full and accurate official documentation, academics near to the national Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the charting of current Italian foreign policy. In the fullest of such work and tartly critical of the arguments of MacGregor Knox and his colleagues, Francesco Lefebvre D’Ovidio has compiled a scrupulously detailed account of 1920s’ diplomacy, where in his view, the regime did not behave in an outlandish manner, was ‘always aligned with the positions of the government of the United Kingdom’ and was never hell-bent on war.22 In regard to the 1930s, Lefebvre is continuing his research, but a smattering of articles by him and other colleagues in Nuova Rivista Storica, one of the Italian historical profession’s time-honoured research journals, has provided a sketch of likely interpretation. In this regard the major figure is NRS’s coeditor, Eugenio Di Rienzo, who made his name as a historian of Third Empire France but has also researched his own country. A decade ago, he published a sympathetic study of Gioacchino Volpe, the senior historian in Italy under the dictatorship and a frequent advocate of its expansionism. Di Rienzo has cheerfully accepted inheritance from De Felice.23 In regard to Fascist policy, he insists that Italy was only playing out its role as the least of the Great Powers in the lead-up to the Second World War. He discounts the boasted Fascistisation of the Foreign Ministry in its considerable intake of new officials in 1928. Then, Mussolini made much of the intake claiming that, to a man, the newcomers had been bonny fighters in the First World War and early converts to Fascism.24 Yet Di Rienzo argues that the fledgling diplomats ‘remained faithful to its traditions nor did the regime do much to change this situation’.25 The Ethiopian conflict may have been a turning point of a kind, Di Rienzo concedes. But Italian ‘aggression’ was provoked by the ‘dim obstinacy’ of Anthony Eden and British dalliers with the League of Nations. Di Rienzo has little time for what he thinks is mistaken contemporary sentiment about Haile Selassie’s Ethiopians. The African war, 63

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he argues, is best viewed as a ‘game of empires’ played out between Britain and Italy: The battles, the gratuitous massacres, the unjustified and unjustifiable horrors of the campaign in Abyssinia,26 and then the ruthless repression of the Ethiopian guerrilla resistance,27 where to the ferocity of the resisters was opposed the brutality of the forces of occupation, were by no means the responsibility of Mussolini alone. Rather they were provoked by the blind policy choices made by Eden and sectors of the English ruling class aimed at stopping the ineluctable decline of the British Empire by any path and with any means and at the cost of European ‘collective security’.28

For Di Rienzo, then, the foreign policy disputes of the 1930s still had their basis in realpolitik; except, no doubt for the Nazis (and perhaps the USSR), Machiavellian calculation mattered more than ideology. At least in some eyes, then, Fascism Italian-style did not automatically mean war and for all its imperialism, its map of Africa, like that of Bismarck, remained in Europe. With these questions in mind it is time to examine more closely the dictatorship’s character during its first decade, a time when it was loudly stating that Mussolini was building a totalitarian state. What, in this regard can be discerned about the regime’s foreign policy? Was it clear from the very beginning that ‘Fascism meant war’? It has already been noted that historians divide over this question, with the most extreme hostile view being that even before reaching power, Mussolini had charted a ‘predetermined plan for war against the Western Powers alongside Germany’.29 That is as maybe. After the March on Rome, there had been the unilateral occupation of the Adriatic island of Corfu in August–September 1923, using the excuse of the murder of an Italian general who was endeavouring to chart a precise border between Greece and Albania. Equally, Mussolini had often talked loudly about the inevitability of war and his hope that the nation could soon expand its power and territory. He had flirted with sponsoring Corsican rebels against France (had they existed), and the regime gave money and protection to Ante Pavelić, the Croatian nationalist who did not mind talking loudly about his desire to kill King Alexander of Yugoslavia.30 In 1927 Mussolini 64

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suddenly told his military to ready themselves for battle with that country, ‘without losing a minute of time’,31 but with little sign of follow-up. The dictator could be tapped for subsidies by a number of plotting rightists in relatively minor positions, among them being the National Socialists in Germany and in a more major role the Austrian Heimwehr.32 Yet other nations possessed their foreign clients or admirers, and the problem of being the least of the Great Powers meant that fans of Italy were unlikely to be of great significance or unrestrained loyalty. Mussolini did not renounce revived Italian action against Ethiopia, where his nation remained embarrassed by the military defeat at Adowa in March 1896.33 He demanded that the number of Italians in the Alto Adige (Süd Tirol) be expanded to swamp German speakers there; he could imagine friendship with the German world, he conceded, but only on the understanding that national security ‘never be even vaguely put under question’.34 More generally, in his Ascension Day speech of 1927, he demanded large-scale Italian population growth to justify and settle an empire; ‘numbers are power’ he wrote, adding in somewhat antiquated phrases that might have been coined by Kaiser Wilhelm II before 1914, the ‘white man’ had to remember that ‘blacks and yellows stand at the door’.35 He talked glibly of ruralising the country,‘even if it costs billions and takes half a century’, especially since peasant households did not need lavish modern comforts and provided all the better soldiers for iron-hard Fascist ‘legions’.36 Government cuts in tough economic times did not lessen a peasant readiness to be conscripted for war, he believed.37 On occasion, the dictator grew cross about Zionism and, however erratically, gave comfort to regime anti-Semites.38 In sector after sector of global politics, in 1930 he did not stand for a gentler, kinder world. Yet how original, how decisive and how ‘Fascist’ were these noises of war? Were the policies and attitudes of the new regime really so different from its Liberal predecessor? There is a case for a negative answer to these questions. If Italians under the Liberals scarcely lived in a fully free and equal democracy, so ‘the least of the Great Powers’ since the Risorgimento had not reliably stood for eternal peace and global fraternity. Italy had won its First World War. It did so on 4 November 1918 after the Battle of Vittorio Veneto induced Austrian surrender. But in 2018, when the war was permanently in the news for the centenary, no one outside Italy recalled Italian victory. Italy had lost its First World War. Its leaders could not make the peacemakers at Versailles listen to them but found, when they 65

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returned home in ostentatious dudgeon, no one minded and soon they had to creep apologetically back to Paris. When mandates were handed around, none went to Italy. No wonder Gabriele D’Annunzio, celebrity poet and imaginable, if bizarre, possible head of a rightist dictatorship in Italy, backed by those who had fought in and favoured the war, had popularised the term ‘vittoria mutilata’ (the wounded, truncated victory) and by New Year 1919 had received Mussolini’s enthusiastic endorsement.39 Certainly the war was entered aggressively. By its end at least seven hundred thousand Italians had died. The toll was thus a third higher than was to come in Italy’s Nazi-fascist war. By this count Liberals caused the deaths of more of their fellow citizens, the majority of them being peasants than did Fascists. On 24 May 1915 Italy’s Liberal leaders did not stumble over the brink or sleepwalk to their war. They went into battle deliberately, at whatever the cost. Their policy, Antonio Salandra, the Prime Minister, and Sidney Sonnino, the Foreign Minister, had announced was ‘sacro egoismo’, defined by ‘we two alone’, an utter determination to pursue what they thought was the national interest. It was a statement of principle far from that enunciated by American President Woodrow Wilson, with his seemingly soft favouring of the idea that the Allies were fighting a war to end war (somewhat contradicted by his own racism). For the Italian Liberal statesmen, when it came to finding a place in the world, their nation should pursue the philosophy of Niccolò Machiavelli, updated by Charles Darwin.40 To be sure, at first Italy’s attack was directed against Austria-Hungary alone, and might be viewed, as propagandists put it, as the ‘Fourth War of the Risorgimento’. This conflict could seem true to Wilson’s creed of ‘selfdetermination’. In warring for the Italian speaking peoples of the Trentino and Trieste, perhaps the Liberal leaders were standing up for the nation and even defending it? But a qualification of such virtue and single purpose did not take long to arise. On 21 August 1915 Italy added Turkey to its enemies, with war against Bulgaria begun on 19 October 1915 and finally Germany, every other Great Power’s key enemy, on 28 August 1916. Such delay may be ascribed to the problem, always evident for Italian policy makers of being materially the weakest Great Power, lacking the military, economic and social muscle of their competitors. But the attack that deserves most attention was that on Turkey. It is not because Italy made much impression in battle in the east. 66

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Their prewar gains in Libya had been won through the aggressive and brutal imperial war that they had launched without the bother of formal declaration in September 1911. At the massacre of Shiara Shat around Christmas Day that year, 4,000 indigenous people were slaughtered whether in arms or not; a large number were women or children.41 3,425 prisoners were sent to confino (internment) on the barren Tremiti islands where few survived long.42 Such a cruel method of conquest was of little immediate profit, however, and Libya was largely lost militarily by the end of 1915. Troops in North Africa retreated to coastal forts and sought to hang on until their country could afford to resume battle.43 But what war with Turkey, whether in 1911 or 1915, did announce was that Italy was not merely aiming to ‘complete’ a nation state left ‘unfinished’ in the Risorgimento. Rather it aimed at imperial gain. In the Ministry of Colonies, Liberal officials drafted ambitions that extended far into non-European territories, dreaming of ‘Arabia’ as well as Ethiopia, and of ‘Portuguese colonies’ as well as Djibouti. Nor had pre-1914 Italian plotting to take up some supervisory role in much of Asia Minor been renounced. In 1917, Leopoldo Franchetti, a distinguished Liberal senator of Jewish background, for decades a major commentator on the nation, was sure that ‘the possession of Asia Minor is . . . essential for the organic development of our country’; Italy, he wrote, alone of the Entente powers, ‘lives and breathes in the Mediterranean’.44 Others looked further afield. Maybe the Austrian concession in the Tianjin region of China should pass under Rome’s control?45 Mussolini was therefore scarcely the only Italian to dream of empire. After all, the most blatant ‘Fascist’ vaunting about its imperial Roman inheritance scarcely matched the bragging that their Liberal predecessors had engaged in by erecting the large Victor Emmanuel monument at the foot of the Capitol and athwart the Forum in the city of the Caesars. The architectural pomposity of the place still startles visitors to Rome, who have long forgotten that Italy once aspired to rule the Mediterranean and beyond in territories never reached by legionaries in classical times. An imperialism based on romanità excluded from any major role in foreign policy those ‘Italian’ emigrants (a great number as yet scarcely nationalised) who had scattered across the Americas and the still wider world during the prewar decades. It would not be too long before Mussolini would express hostility to any resumption of mass emigration and the regime worked hard to Fascistise its emigrant communities.46 But at no 67

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time did Fascist imperialism seek to unite under direct rule ‘Italians abroad’ nor bring New York or Buenos Aires ‘home’ to the ‘patria’. Vigorous campaigns to seize Djibouti or Malta or the Yemen were all very well but Italian imperialism, in striking contrast to the Nazi German version, remained in practice a mere academic exercise in so far as any popular backing was concerned, targeting African territories that were unlikely to bring much wealth to the nation and whose acquisition was largely motivated by prestige. Contradictions therefore remained unresolved in Italian foreign and colonial policies, just as they did in the meaning of Fascism at home. Certainly, for all the verbal warmongering, through the 1920s Fascist Italy did not go to war nor, except at Corfu, jostle the international system much. Its bureaucrats ably served the League of Nations and Mussolini admitted in 1928 that this organisation had been ‘useful in many circumstances and could be still’.47 With whatever mutterings, the dictator signed the Kellogg–Briand peace pact, only half laughing it off in an explanatory speech to the Chamber of Deputies as ‘sublime or, better, transcendental’.48 When it came to the framing of the Treaty of Locarno that brought Weimar Germany back into European diplomacy, he did not insist on a southern segment of the agreement. He abstained in statesmanlike manner, despite the fact that a revanchist German nation, seeking its own version of ‘self-determination’ might want as much to bring the Süd Tirol (Alto Adige) as Austria, the Sudetenland or Danzig, home to the Reich. Mussolini could not request a German guarantee of the Brenner frontier, he told the Senate, because Austria, not Germany was Italy’s neighbour there and he and all Italian diplomats maintained a total opposition to any Anschluss.49 Similarly, for all the aggressive talk towards Yugoslavia, in July 1930 Mussolini agreed with his Foreign Minister, Dino Grandi, that ‘since we cannot go to war’, ‘a stable entente’ could be developed between the two countries.50 Earlier he had dismissed Pavelić and the Ustaša as ‘useless and dangerous’, with the asylum that they had been granted in Italy meaning little.51 Despite having risen to dislodge Italy’s Marxists from power or influence, and despite the regime’s continuing anathemas against communism at home, Italy pursued a strictly realistic foreign policy towards the Soviets. In May 1925 Mussolini explained to the Senate that he had recognised the USSR because countries’ relations were decided not by ‘idealism’ but by ‘reality’,52 while having signed a treaty of commerce and navigation in February 1924, over the next years Italy bought almost all its naval fuel supplies from 68

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Moscow.53 In 1925, defeated anti-Fascist liberal democrats tried to keep their courage up in opposing dictatorial rule by suggesting that advantage could be gained by underlining to the British just how ‘philo-Bolshevik’ Mussolini’s international stance was.54 When Spain became a republic in April 1931, having ousted their dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera a year before, Grandi, perhaps without full coordination with his Duce, hastened to inform the new government that ‘Fascist Italy never allows itself to be influenced in its diplomatic relations by difference in state’s domestic systems’, as their relations with Moscow demonstrated.55 Italy joined in the preparations for what became the Disarmament conference in Geneva in 1932–3, notably in the discussions of naval disarmament held in London from January to April 1930; it made nationalist claims, for example for parity with France, sometimes noisily – Mussolini did tell Grandi to ‘explode’ the conference if the French were recalcitrant – but without, in fact, wrecking the process.56 Italy, Mussolini wrote in October, ‘is arming because everyone is arming. It will disarm if everyone disarms’.57 Then and more generally throughout the 1920s, Italy stuck to the ‘traditional friendship’ with Britain; in June 1928 Mussolini summed that relationship up as a ‘factual reality’.58 At home Fascists might talk about supplanting the British Empire in the eastern Mediterranean and beyond, but such preening did not affect policy. As the London Times noted in relief, Mussolini was doubtless given to making ‘fiery speeches in the provinces’; but that was merely because ‘Fascist audiences expect Fascist speeches’.59 Given his fondness for strikingly ‘incorrect’ phrasing, Mussolini was always ‘more news’ than any other statesman.60 In more up-to-date parlance he was a ‘celebrity’, perhaps making it all the easier to assume that his effusions were superficial and designed for temporary and not lasting effect. So at least one diplomat, Giuliano Cora, sent to what might seem the key posting of Minister to Addis Ababa in November 1926, remembered Mussolini rarely interfering in day-to-day diplomacy; Cora received no instructions on what to do following his arrival in Ethiopia.61 Despite regular angry demands for better treatment from Paris, there was even an occasion when Mussolini, still somewhere in his mind a teacher of French, talked to a journalist from Tunis about the attractions of a ‘vast Latin bloc’. He then maintained that a similarity in ‘stock’ made it easier for an Italian to understand a Frenchman than an Englishman, let alone a German. ‘Let’s not talk about Latin blood; race 69

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is such a vague matter given all the mixing that had occurred over the centuries. But [our] civilization and culture compose an admirable common patrimony,’ he concluded benignly.62 In his survey of 1 January 1932, Robert Vansittart, the Old Etonian Permanent Under-Secretary at the British Foreign Office, who took pains to be witty, suggested that latterly, ‘Signor Mussolini has entirely dropped the unprofitable bellicose note’ that had sometimes stained his diplomacy. Once it might have been feared that he was another Kaiser Wilhelm II who approached each international dispute with an open mouth.63 Now he and Grandi, ‘probably for financial, if for no other reasons’, had developed a line that might be called ‘pacifascism’, a welcome development although, Vansittart added, ‘Old Adam’ still lurked in Europe and was evidently gaining ground in Germany.64 In this Englishman’s mind the 10 years of Fascist rule had not radically altered Italy’s international role as the least of the Great Powers, always on the make but not silly enough to launch unilateral war. When by contrast it came to domestic affairs, what, it must be asked, had convinced many observers, still in 1932–3, that Mussolini had created the sort of government that Italians needed and not yet demonstrated that the term ‘totalitarian’ was synonymous with evil? It is more than half a century since liberal historian Alberto Aquarone detailed the legal processes through which the Italian Fascist state was made.65 His focus was on the months after the declaration of the dictatorship in January 1925. Then, the ‘new’ state was constructed in a fashion that was declared to be somehow both revolutionary and constitutional. In these years, Italy was allegedly given a ‘Corporate’ structure that claimed to abolish class difference, to unite all Italians, to foster an increased population and ‘ruralise’ the country, to change the meaning of citizenship and the law, to occupy Italian minds so that everyone ‘thought Fascist’, and thereby to train a fresh ruling class of ‘new’ men and women, an aristocracy of will but not of property. Under their impulse, the future would be grand and imperial, whether at home or abroad. Led by eternal Fascism and with its prestige and glory accepted by all, Italy (and Rome) would command the globe as Italians and/or Romans had already done twice in the past, certainly under the rule of the Caesars and perhaps that of the popes and later, during the Renaissance. Fascism’s ‘third way’ need not be supplanted by a fourth. Its natural primato (pre-eminence) would be 70

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welcomed and accepted by all, just as imperial Rome or Renaissance culture had once been among civilised peoples.66 Mussolini’s speech to the Chamber of Deputies on 3 January 1925 announcing dictatorship had been followed by immediate action. That very afternoon, Luigi Federzoni, the Minister of the Interior, summoned the country’s administrative system into action. The prefects across Italy were ordered to ensure the suppression of ‘subversive’ political clubs and organisations, the sequestration of weapons possessed by opponents of the regime and severe censorship of the press. By 6 January, Federzoni informed cabinet that there had been a wave of arrests and house searches.67 Four days later, the journal directed at (ideally Fascistised) emigrants emphasised that 3 January meant as much in the calendar of the ‘Fascist era’ as had 28 October 1922; it announced that the regime was determined to regenerate ‘our national soul’ and restore ‘Latin civilisation’.68 Now was to be the institution of ‘leggi fascis­ tissime’ (overwhelmingly Fascist laws), drafted by Alfredo Rocco, appointed Minister of Mercy and Justice (Grazia e Giustizia) on 12 January. Over the next two or three years, in zone after zone of national life, Fascism imposed itself on Italians with fanfare, if often also with contradiction. After all, in January 1925, the dictatorship had tried for a time not to break too fiercely with the nation’s old order. Federzoni and Mussolini himself stressed that along with the subversives who required repression were ‘undisciplined’ Fascists who needed at a minimum severe correction; the censors seized journals such as La Conquista Dello Stato (The Conquest of the State), edited by the radical Florentine intellectual, Curzio Suckert (born Kurt Erich Suckert but better known under his pseudonym Curzio Malaparte),69 and L’Impero, edited by Emilio Settimelli, another Florentine, sometime Futurist, whose pathway through the regime would combine grovelling and complaint. No doubt intellectuals talked about foreign ‘Fascist’ movements, as they would do much more amply in 1932–3, and were tempted by thoughts of a global mission.70 Anti-Fascists, after all, were automatically treating ‘fascism’ as a threat in any society and as though it ranged across the world. But for the present, Fascism was reaffirmed as a doctrine for Italian consumption, with Mussolini asserting in November 1925 that Fascism could not be copied outside its national context. Yet he too found it hard to be sternly modest for long, trained as he had been by internationalists like his Marxist father and permanently tempted by the thought that he could replace his own youthful 71

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beliefs with something that was global. His regime, he added, was being discussed across the continents. Its life-affirming features could not be denied to possess ‘universal character’.71 Federzoni had been appointed to his ministry on 17 June 1924 and would last in office until 6 November 1926. His career deserves review. His occupation of the Ministry of the Interior marked the only period during the regime when Mussolini allowed control over internal police matters to pass into hands that were not his own.72 Federzoni did then return to the Ministry of the Colonies until December 1928;73 he had already served in that congenial post in 1922–4. Thereafter, Federzoni was President of the Senate 1929–39. At one time or another he held office as President of the Accademia d’Italia (founded under the Fascist regime in 1929), the Accademia dei Lincei, the Royal Italian Geographical Society and the institute that ran the Enciclopedia italiana (the national encyclopedia designed to express the Fascist view on the world), while from 1932 to 1943 he managed Nuova Antologia, an establishment journal of ‘literature, economics, art and science’.74 It regularly published his thoughts on foreign and colonial affairs. As president of the publishing committee he launched the semiofficial Rivista d’Albania after that country’s occupation by Italy in April 1939, with the statement that it had been ‘one of the most important and fecund [recent] events for the cause of civilisation and peace’, another of the ‘great Mussolinian works, brought into existence through his longsighted wisdom and ability to act fast’.75 Although by the 1930s, no longer a star of the regime but always its collaborator, Federzoni remained a figure who intimated to the sometimes alarmed, once liberal, social and business elite that, for all its braggadocio, the Fascist ‘revolution’ would not go too far. In 1924, Federzoni’s promotion had been made in first response to the news of the disappearance of Giacomo Matteotti and was meant to indicate that the government had not passed into the hands of murderers. The new minister, born in 1878 into a respectable bourgeois family in Bologna, was five years older than the Duce and had won political prominence before 1914 as the parliamentary spokesman of the Italian Nationalist Association. An active journalist, his special field was international relations where he pressed for national advantage in the Aegean and Adriatic while first making a name when, in 1909, he condemned the excessive presence of German investment and German tourists around Lake Garda, reduced, he complained, 72

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to ‘Gardasee’.76 In office as Minister of the Interior, he was proud enough of his prewar record to sponsor collections of his speeches and writings. They showed him to have been a fan of imperial advance into Libya, an early convert to romanità, an ancient enemy of Freemasonry and a willing advocate of Fascist supremacy. He had also noted his admiration for Kemal Atatürk’s dictatorship.77 In so far as domestic affairs were concerned, the ANI (Associazione Nazionalista Italiana, Italian Nationalist Association) had wanted a tougher variety of conservatism to govern Italy and especially disliked Giolitti’s talk about ‘holding the ring’ between those who owned the means of production and their socialist foes. The nationalists were monarchists and, in the case of Federzoni, possessed of a conventional but firm Catholic faith. In October 1922, the ANI’s small but highly respectable paramilitary Sempre Pronti per la Patria e il Re militia offered King Victor Emmanuel their backing if he decided to suppress Fascism by force. However, early in 1923, the ANI accepted being merged into the PNF. In a volume of post-1945 memoirs, trying to shrug off blame for the disasters of the regime in the Second World War, Federzoni mused, perhaps honestly, that Mussolini was not a real dictator who would, on the Roman republican model, have only stayed in office until he had put the state back on its feet. Instead he had foolishly devoted himself to manufacturing a Fascist revolution and not to defending the patria.78 Federzoni attended the final meeting of the Grand Council on 24–5 July 1943 and voted against Mussolini. He avoided capture and execution by the Repubblica Sociale Italiana, as well as any serious rebuke from the purge commission in 1944–5. Federzoni had proved to be one Fascist – he was scarcely alone in that regard – who did well out of his dealings with the regime. By 1939 his salary amounted to about a hundred times that of an ordinary worker,79 appreciable reward in other words, if not at the extreme thought normal by neoliberal CEOs today. As shall be seen, among the so-called fiancheggiatori (fellow travellers of the dictatorship), the zigzags in Federzoni’s life story were scarcely unusual. Any idea that Federzoni may have nourished that he could use the Ministry of the Interior for austerely conservative social purposes, as sketched before 1914 by the ANI, was quickly checked by Mussolini, when, on 15 February 1925, he appointed Roberto Farinacci as Secretary of the PNF. With this choice, as Aquarone put it, Mussolini was crafting a legal base to Fascist illegality; 73

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at least one radical Fascist journal reacted to the appointment by hailing the triumph of party members over ‘the government’, with a hasty exclusion of Mussolini from that body. With Farinacci’s assistance, it ran on, Fascists could end the multiple ‘betrayals and obstructionism’ blocking the ‘revolution’ so far.80 The ‘fellow-travellers’, the journal implied, had had their time. In practice Farinacci did not give free rein to party radicals (nor challenge Mussolini). Rather, he dutifully acquiesced in the Duce’s order that ‘provincial squabbles and personality disputes’ were damaging Italy’s international reputation and must end.81 Fascism, Mussolini decreed, must not tolerate this or that adjective – integralist, revisionist, extremist – attached to it. Only ‘cretins’ thought that way. He would uproot every one until all Italians laboured just for ‘Fascism and the Nation’, and Farinacci’s job was to help him.82 In any case, Farinacci’s secretariat only lasted a year and he was dropped on 30 March 1926. He served no more in Fascist governments but remained the least restrained critic of Mussolini and his party, forever urging a switch to fuller revolution, notably through his Cremona-based paper, Il Regime Fascista, and just as regularly, launching attacks against Fascist chiefs whom he disliked.83 In October 1931, for example, Mussolini ordered an issue of the paper seized because Farinacci had talked about the way after October 1922, ‘everyone hastened to Rome to grab titles, money and honours’.84 In a way, therefore, Farinacci played a similar role for party radicals under the ongoing dictatorship that Federzoni had for the old Establishment. For all the talk about total mind control, each kept his fans and dependents and each version of Fascism competed with the official line.85 There was another irony in the Farinacci story. Out of office he enjoyed massive profit from a career as a high-flying lawyer, a profession for which he had qualified in 1923 by shamelessly plagiarising his thesis. Mussolini kept this work under visible lock and key in his personal office.86 Farinacci’s extensive private papers offer droves of examples of his ready willingness to act as an accommodating patron to eager or greedy clients during the Fascist years; in 1932 he was said to have earned almost 700,000 lire from his legal work.87 His ‘friends’ regularly requested his backing for an appointment or to stop an undesired transfer from one part of the country to another.88 His version of the revolution certainly did not eradicate such long-standing features of Italian public life as the deployment of the raccomandazione (the special and tendentious reference), the view that places across Italy and positions in its 74

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administration could be arranged in a hierarchy of attraction and gain, or the knowledge that friendly lawyers could be useful men of business. Each belief broke the formal Fascist line of complete national unity expressed in a new puritanism in ‘ruling class’ behaviour. While for some 12 months, Federzoni and Farinacci represented the two faces of Fascism, laws were being drafted and institutions created. Less than a fortnight after 3 January, parliament, still without most opposition deputies, piously but ineffectually gathered in the ‘Aventine Secession’ since July 1924,89 passed legislation granting the government control over all ‘associations, boards and established institutions’, thereby signalling the end of organised political anti-Fascism. Already, leading communists were being swept into prison with quite a few leftists fleeing the country, often hustled by violent beatings and the squadrist sacking of their offices and homes. The Catholic Partito Popolare Italiano drifted towards dissolution; rightist members joined Mussolini cabinets in 1922–5 and the Vatican had already pushed the party’s leader, the priest Luigi Sturzo, into resignation (May 1924) and exile (October 1924). In February 1926, any election process for local officials ended; mayors (sindaci) were replaced by nominated podestà (not a Latinism but an office that had existed in the Middle Ages).90 An assassination attempt against Mussolini during a visit to Bologna on 31 October 1926 hardened the oppression. Now all rival political parties were formally banned, while communists who were still members of parliament had their immunity withdrawn. The most celebrated victim was Antonio Gramsci, arrested on 8 November and gaoled, with the judge instructing that his mind be stopped working for 20 years. Gramsci died in a Rome clinic on 27 April 1937, a few days after being let out of prison, although the regime did not prevent him from writing his celebrated Prison Notebooks and, it might be added, a Fascist gaol saved him and his later reputation from contamination by Stalinism.91 Press censorship had been steadily toughened since 3 January, with liberal newspaper owners bowing to the new system and replacing critical staff with journalists accommodating to Fascism. One prominent sacking was that of Luigi Albertini, the editor of Il Corriere della Sera, Italy’s bestknown paper abroad, owned by the Crespi family, rich textile manufacturers from Milan. Albertini’s editorship ended in November 1925; he retired to 75

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Rome, agricultural improvement on his estate and the writing of his celebrated three-volume ‘realist’ history of the origins of the First World War.92 Further regulations introduced between January and March 1926 rendered the publication of opposition news impossible. Debate would not disappear in Fascist Italy, but from now on it was all but mandatory to cloak it in Fascist words. The Palazzo Vidoni pact of 2 October 1925 eliminated Catholic and socialist unions in favour of Fascist ‘syndicates’ and ‘corporations’. Back in May, Mussolini had already maintained that Fascist unionism would be ‘free’ and having eliminated class war, the amended unions would ‘foster capital’ for the benefit of all Italians, since Fascism stood for the whole nation.93 The so-called Confederazione nazionale delle Corporazioni sindacali (National Federation of Syndical Corporations) was headed from its foundation in January 1922 to December 1928 by Edmondo Rossoni, about the same age as Mussolini and so a senior Fascist, with a background in American-style unionism when an emigrant there. As a union chief in Italy, Rossoni proved malleable and greedy for wealth and fame,94 garnering rich sums to turn his home paese, Tresigallo, in the province of Ferrara, into a shrine to himself while purchasing luxurious residences in Rome and elsewhere.95 Nonetheless, he did on occasion continue to sound like a class worker to the annoyance of such a philosopher of Corporatism as the young Roman intellectual, Giuseppe Bottai, while Farinacci enjoyed underlining his hypocrisy.96 Rossoni therefore offers another revealing Fascist story. Despite his notorious peculations, Rossoni never quit the regime’s leadership group, if in a subordinate role. Between January 1935 and October 1939 he was Minister for Agriculture and Forestry but still vocal about European matters, writing for example that Italy, unlike capitalist or communist countries, was a nation where no one ‘consciously tried to hold the workers’ movement in check’. Fascist unions added mightily to national competence and efficiency, he maintained.97 Once Italy entered the Second World War, it did not take him long to join his fellow gerarchi (top PNF officials) in whingeing over the resultant confusion and military calamity. It was, he muttered with straining wit, not so much a country ruled by the fascio as by a sfascio (shambles, literally unfascism). In his mind the regime had achieved no anthropological revolution, nor was he a true believer adept in a political religion. As more malign critics mumbled, he was just a rich, jaundiced old man, portrayed by 76

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Bottai as ‘a grandpa struggling against his fat stomach’.98 Rossoni voted against Mussolini in July 1943, escaped the RSI, living into the postwar republic having avoided any penalty for his career as a Fascist and preserving most of his fortune for a lover, their son and a nephew. Whatever Rossoni may have hoped, in fact a disciplined Fascist workforce was locked into harness with owners, grouped since 1910 in Confind­ ustria (from late 1925 the name of this Big Business League became the Confederazione Generale Fascista dell’Industria Italiana). Any disputes over pay and conditions were settled by delegates from the two sides, with weighty implications that national interest, mostly in practice that of the bosses, should predominate. Over the years, any pretence of equal arbitration dwindled. Workers and peasants were now expected to accept their lot in society with at least formal passivity.99 Some welfare was offered in the after work clubs (Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro, OND), although they varied in spread, take-up and furnishings. By 1929, they had enrolled 1.5 million members; almost half were white-collar rather than wage workers.100 At Fiat, it was asserted space had been found for football, rugby and tennis (‘that sport especially appeals to white-collars workers, notably female ones’). A Gruppo orchestrale e mandolinistico and a Banda Fiat flourished there, as did a travel club. The company provided equipment for photography and indoor games, and a new library.101 But few businesses and few dopolavori could match this list. The right to strike was removed in April 1926. The theory was that, after the surpassing of the class struggle, Italy no longer needed ‘horizontal’ battle between proletariat and bourgeoisie. Instead the country would be arranged vertically in a number of corporations which would embrace workers, that is, ‘producers’ of any sort, and so owners too. In the symbol of the fasces, the corporations of industry or agriculture or commerce or banking or public transport or the professions and artisans (on the initial model; the list grew over time) would be the rods that stood erect and were bound together for the nation.102 The axe offered punishment (via the secret police) for any who infringed this system. According to regime propaganda, the new relationships in the world of work were given thorough legislative basis in the Carta del Lavoro (Labour Charter) promulgated on 21 April 1927 (the auspicious day marking the ‘Birth of Rome’). Its 30 statements began with the pledge that the Italian nation 77

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stood above ‘the individuals or groups who composed it’. The nation possessed ‘a moral, political and economic unity which was realised integrally in the Fascist state’. Work was a ‘social duty’ to be watched over by that state. Any union or professional organisation was free to exist, but again under supervision in what was now a ‘Corporate’ system. ‘State intervention in the means of production’, it was noted, ‘takes place only when private initiative is missing or insufficient or when the political interests of the state are in play. Such intervention can assume the form of control, encouragement or direct management’. If employees misbehaved, they could be suspended, fined or sacked out of hand, although the last clauses of the Charter did promise workers better insurance protection and some other welfare provisions.103 The Istituto nazio­ nale fascista della previdenza sociale (INFPS, the Fascist institute for social welfare) did, from March 1933, offer some social support to poor Italians, if always conditioned by political influence or choice. Augusto Turati, who had replaced Farinacci as Party secretary in 1926, wrote that the Carta was prime proof that Rome was defeating Moscow; it demonstrated that Fascism was ‘the newest active idea of the times’.104 For Bottai (from November 1926, Under Secretary of Corporations under Minister Mussolini and always to be relied on to intellectualise any aspect of the regime), its clauses were best understood as an assertion of ‘ethics in the economic order’.105 Here, then, were laid out the principles of a dictatorship which wanted all to agree that it possessed a philosophy. Under this new type of regime, as Mussolini put it more simply on 28 October 1925, ‘everything was in the state, nothing was outside the state, nothing was against the state’.106 Above all, then, Fascism stood for a strong state. But not, it was emphasised in what might seem contradiction, one that would wickedly intrude into private ownership as the enemy Marxist state did.107 It was almost as though Mussolini, still wrangling with his father, was endeavouring to build a Marxist utopia that was not Marxist. Propaganda about the power and uniqueness of the totalitarian state explains why much post-1945 commentary on F/fascism assumed that its major targets were liberalism, the free individual, the market. Neoconservative American historian Richard Pipes has claimed that ‘no prominent European socialist before World War I resembled Lenin more closely than Benito Mussolini’. Lenin, Mussolini and Hitler, he added, hated ‘bourgeois democracy first and foremost’.108 Yet Mussolini in his rise to power was sure that Lenin had 78

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betrayed anything that was positive in socialism and merely headed a pitiless ‘caste of political game-players’.109 Similarly, he greeted the New Year in 1920 with an article urging that the current fighting slogan should be ‘Return to the individual. Let’s support anything’, he added, ‘that exalts and amplifies the individual, provides greater liberty, greater wellbeing, the widest possible spread of life’.110 A year later he expatiated on the overblown state, sounding like a Thatcherite before his time when he lamented that ‘every state-run concern is an economic disaster’. Fascism wanted a strengthened state politically he admitted, but it also required ‘the gradual demobilisation of the state economically’.111 ‘We are liberals in economic issues,’ he confirmed in November 1921, ‘because we are sure that the national economy cannot be entrusted to collective or bureaucratic entities.’ The last thing that he wanted was for his country to become ‘like Russia’.112 Fascism, in sum, may have made some socialist-sounding pledges in its first programme and soon may have proclaimed its intention of offering state-policed welfare (and brutal surveillance) to the ‘people’, but, by 1920–1, it was clearly designed to destroy the peasant unionism of the Po Valley, Tuscany and Umbria, and to eliminate any political role for Italian socialist and communist parties. In the movement’s credo, it was helpful that wartime socialists had adopted the line of ‘neither support nor sabotage’ in regard to the war effort and after 1919, deepened their dislike of nationalist demands that Italian victory involve territorial gain and not be left ‘mutilated’ at any cost. Fascist anti-Marxism could thus readily be fused with ‘border nationalism’ and xenophobia. In annexed territory in the Trentino–Alto Adige and Venezia Giulia, Fascists introduced into Italy what might be called the ‘Habsburg disease’, a radical nationalism determined to overwhelm minorities in the new territories; similar movements were growing in the other new or revived states across Central and Eastern Europe, generally with a higher death rate than in Italy. But in March 1921, the still uneasily constituted Fascist movement had enrolled 14,700 members in Trieste, more than twice the next highest count in Ferrara, Milan and Bologna.113 In the Fascists’ ruling group, some notable figures, especially Mussolini, had arrived at the new ideology from prewar socialism or syndicalism. But others, including such important men as Federzoni, Bottai and Giovanni Giuriati, reforming and authoritarian Party Secretary 1930–1, reached Fascism via the elite ANI. 79

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The slogan ‘Liberal fathers and Fascist sons’ is no bad way to understand Italian history from 1900 to 1945. It is therefore no surprise to find that contemporary Marxist-influenced commentary had few doubts about the iniquity of the dictatorship; some shading could occur over time, but the Left knew that Mussolini and his regime were the enemies of the working class. What Anglo-Saxons often called ‘fassism’ bore the mark of the devil. In this regard, one event in Italian Fascist history was never to be forgotten, and that was the kidnapping and murder on 10 June 1924 of moderate socialist Giacomo Matteotti (born 1895) by an armed squad led by Amerigo Dumini (born in Saint Louis in the USA in 1894, returned to Italy in 1913 and a volunteer for Italy’s First World War). The impulse to murder Matteotti came from Mussolini and his immediate entourage, with its context being the squadristi paramilitary violence that had been an integral part of the Fascist rise to power and Mussolini’s continuing in office. Whether Dumini and his thuggish associates intended to kill rather than to beat Matteotti to a pulp may remain a matter of dispute. Certainly there was much bungling in the attack. Dumini claimed to have driven around wildly for seven hours until his car’s petrol threatened to run out.114 His feeble solution was the quick burial of the victim in a shallow grave just off the Via Cassia, 20 kilometres out of Rome. Dumini’s incompetence ensured that, since it took two months to locate the corpse, rhetoric swirled around the fate of the ‘disappeared’ member of parliament.115 Matteotti was a socialist and a gentleman, first elected in the FerraraRovigo electorate in 1919, a part of Italy where there had been violent confrontation between peasant unionists and their Fascist enemies over the previous five years (and where violent class conflict existed before 1915). Matteotti’s father had been a wealthy businessman in Fratta Polesine but had died in 1902, freeing his son’s radicalism from paternal supervision. Giacomo, who qualified as a lawyer at the University of Bologna, was exempted from war service as the only son of a widowed mother, but his open antimilitarism earned him a term in confino in far-off Sicily. By 1924 Matteotti had made himself into a very public opponent of Fascism, in April going to London to launch the translation of a book entitled The Fascisti exposed.116 A French edition quickly followed, as did a German 80

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one in 1925. There and in some powerful speeches, Matteotti castigated the violence that the regime had used and was using, notably during the April 1924 elections. Italy, he proclaimed, was no longer a civilised European state but instead had been reduced to ‘another Mexico’, if that really was a country where gunshots decided elections.117 Utilising his extensive international contacts, Matteotti collected evidence about corruption in oil deals with the United States and the sale of First World War weaponry that may have extended to Arnaldo Mussolini, if not higher. There were copious reasons why Fascists wanted to be rid of him. They never quite succeeded in doing so, since the dead Matteotti soon turned into a lay saint of anti-Fascism. Cartoons mocked his killer, the Duce; songs kept the memory of the victim alive; L’Illustrazione italiana, an elite photographic journal published in Milan by Fratelli Treves since 1873, gave space to his funeral in his family paese.118 One anarchist, with the splendid name Ribelle Fornasiero from Matteotti’s home province of Rovigo, was imprisoned in 1932 for penning a poem with the title ‘The appearance of the Martyr Matteotti to a worker’ and reading it to his friends.119 In 1943–5 leftwing socialists thought it natural to call their partisan group the ‘Matteotti brigade’. Many Italian cities after 1945 were given a Via or Piazza Matteotti, mostly to replace what had been under the regime a Fascist name. Even today, when the town is thought to be a rightist redoubt, Latina, once Littoria, the pre-eminent new town of the drained Pontine Marshes, greets a visitor with its Café Matteotti. Foreign commentators hostile to Mussolini’s dictatorship throughout the interwar period did not forget the murder; as one put it, the killing ‘showed up clearly as never before the true character of the Fascist movement’ and Mussolini’s overall guilt could ‘hardly be questioned’.120 Ernest Hemingway judged it ‘one of the most horrible murders ever committed by a government’.121 Léon Blum, French socialist Prime Minister 1936–8, revered Matteotti, while asserting his anti-Fascism in and out of office; already in 1934 Blum contended that Mussolini was ‘more dangerous than Hitler’.122 Arthur Henderson, British Labour Foreign Secretary 1929–31, always first recalled the Duce as ‘the murderer of Matteotti’.123 In leftist circles, a Women’s Inter­ national Matteotti Committee flourished with Sylvia Pankhurst as its president,124 a background which may have explained her dedication from 1935–6 until her death to an independent Ethiopia. Democratic American journalist 81

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George Seldes, when he sought to denounce the regime over its African aggression, devoted more than a chapter to a melodramatic reconstruction of the murder, representing Mussolini and Matteotti as human antitheses: ‘Matteotti the revolutionist loved irony; Mussolini the revolutionist had neither irony nor humour. Matteotti smiled; Mussolini frowned. Matteotti was irony’s gadfly, nipping the dictator, bringing up deeply felt hatred and rage in his black glowing eyes . . . Matteotti . . . has no fear of the Fascisti: the Fascisti were afraid of him. They could not answer him. They assassinated him’.125 Only a cynic might be tempted to agree with worldly wise Robert Vansittart, who remarked in his memoirs that the killing was, on a global scale, a ‘minor crime . . . magnified because nobody feared the Italians’.126 When it comes to murderous interwar tyrants, there was indeed much about the Matteotti story that reflected an Italian dictatorship. Socialists and left democrats inside Italy (where the secret police allowed them) and beyond took pains to remember Matteotti. But other Italians and many foreigners did not, or lightly forgave one murder in a wicked world. The British Foreign Secretary 1938–40, the High Anglican Lord Halifax, when sent off to Washington as ambassador during the war, suspiciously viewed ‘Italia Libera’, the international organisation of democratic anti-Fascists (and heirs of Matteotti), as ‘a bunch of rebels’.127 He was scarcely alone in such lordly dislike of Matteotti’s legacy. If a parallel is sought today it might well be that the fate of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 at the hands of the authoritarian Saudi leadership (and the reaction of the liberal democratic world to it) have more parallels with the fate of Matteotti than do the treatment of Hitler’s enemies and sometime friends in the Night of the Long Knives at the end of June 1934, let alone Stalin’s murders of his comrades in the purges. In our silver age, liberal democracies themselves sponsor ‘targeted killing’ without much second thought so long as they can depict their enemies as ‘terrorists’; often enough ‘bringing someone to justice’ means summary execution and has nothing to do with a liberal court or a legal system. Times have doubtless changed, but, to quite a degree, the Italian Fascist elimination of its immediate political foes pales by comparison. After all, Mussolini retained some sense of responsibility to Matteotti’s widow Velia and their small children.128 Equally he reacted with bafflement to the killer, Dumini, and his squad. In March 1926 they were put on trial, an event deeply coloured by Fascism but still a trial, and three of them, including 82

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Dumini, were found guilty, given a charitable sentence of five years and then quickly amnestied. Thereafter the murderer’s life followed an erratic course between liberty, further terms in gaol or confino and, from 1934, relegation to the colonies; Dumini became a heavily state-subsidised settler in Libya, protection that followed an extensive correspondence with the Duce that reads like blackmail and, with inevitable familism, could include appeals from Dumini’s wife Bianca and his mother, the American, Jessie Wilson. Dumini survived the war and another longer term in gaol before dying in 1967.129 Matteotti was a moderate or reformist socialist and not a communist. But when it came to warring on the ideology ‘fascism’, the USSR sought to lead the world.130 As Joseph Stalin, not yet elevated to full power, put it crudely in 1924: ‘Fascism is the bourgeoisie’s fighting organisation’.131 Such interpretation of F/fascism as the worst and most desperate weapon of the bourgeoisie in its war against a rising proletariat remained cemented into Marxist thought, even if, as so often in my story, complications arose where words and facts met, notably, as was noted above, in Italian–Soviet diplomatic relations through to 1941. Although Italy did then join in Operation Barbarossa and Italian soldiers cannot be exempted from blame for the appalling treatment of the peoples of all the Russias that resulted, and although in peacetime Mussolini spoke often enough about his profound anticommunism, the two regimes in practice rubbed along well enough. They traded happily in war materiel. As shall be seen later in this book, the more daring young Fascist intellectuals even wondered whether Stalin was one of them. With considerable paradox, therefore, Soviet propaganda regularly damned the ‘fascist enemy’ while often treating Italy as though it was a faroff country of which they had seldom heard. By 1928, the Comintern had pronounced (optimistically, they hoped) that, ‘in the situation of growing imperialist contradictions and sharpening of the class struggle, increasingly fascism becomes the dominant method of bourgeois rule’, while Trotsky, enemy of the people, embodied a ‘Bonapartism of Fascist origin’.132 By now communists were deciding that noncommunist leftists, especially Social Democrats, notably powerful in Germany and other important countries, were ‘social fascists’. Later in the 1930s, a radical turn caused the cancelling of that disastrous thesis, but in Spain, Franco and his aides in the military 83

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and the Church had to be fought to the death by their leftist foes because they were ‘fascists’. In the purges of 1937 Pravda flexibly urged condign punishment for ‘the Trotskyite and Zinovievite agents of fascism’.133 And when it came to the Great Patriotic War after 1941 the Red Army was given the task of liberating Europe from ‘the scourge of fascism’.134 Over and over again, then, ‘fascism’, and not Nazism, was the target, even when Hitler was the fanatical and prime foe of what he always understood to be ‘Judeo-Bolshevism’. For the Soviets, ‘fascism’ had to be ‘international’ (since everything must be international). It was therefore typical that leading Italian communists in exile such as the astute and ruthless Palmiro Togliatti were certain that fascism was not ‘a uniquely Italian phenomenon’, well before the regime decided its ideology was ‘universal’.135 Most of the time, therefore, in the Soviet mind the word paradoxically floated free of its Italian origins. As Pietro Quaroni, a youthful Italian diplomat posted to Moscow, put it in that year of Comintern denunciation, 1928, ‘among Soviet rulers, Italy is seen as a minor state . . . a country of little importance’. Now and again, the country tried to draw profit from some outbreak of international disorder. But in reality, it was ‘easily manageable, never of more than secondary significance’. That conclusion may be supported by the fact that when Fascist flyers landed at Odessa in 1929, they recalled the children of the town calling them all ‘Mussolini’; he was the only Italian of whom they had ever heard.136 Nor did Quaroni detect much change in this situation over the years. After having lived his own Fascism, much of it relegated as ambassador to Afghanistan, Quaroni, promoted to serve in the USSR in April 1944 by Mussolini’s successors, still found the Soviet government ‘staunchly uninterested in Italian issues’.137 The Soviet regime would of course achieve a tragic primacy in murdering and gaoling its own citizens. Fascist Italy was also something of a police state, but again of an idiosyncratic kind, one where tyranny was tangled with compromise. Since argument and contestation were to be discountenanced among its politically active citizens, during the building of its totalitarian state the regime quickly emphasised that now policing would grow firmer. In November 1926 a Tribunale Speciale per la difesa dello stato (Special Tribunal for the defence of the state) was created; it held its first session in Rome on 1 February 1927 and became notorious for the rigidity of its application of laws against dissent, with a slowly dawning implication that, in its practice, 84

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the term ‘Fascist law’ could mean something different from legal practice in the Liberal past (itself not necessarily a model of social fairness and transparency).138 Between 1927 and January 1929 the Special Tribunal dealt with 5,046 cases, 904 resulting in condemnation which was severe, but not a level of conviction that would be reached in the USSR, for example. Those resident in Lombardy were most likely to be punished, while no one was dragged before the judges from the Basilicata, only two from Sardinia and four from the Abruzzi.139 Among minorities, ‘Slavs’ from the eastern border were always most likely to be punished; between 1927 and 1932, 106 of them were condemned to 1,524 years in prison.140 The talk might be of totality, but under Fascist policing, one Italian region was still not the same as another. There were other paradoxes in Fascist repression. In his account of the torture and illegality involved in the practice of the Special Tribunal following the reimposition of the death penalty,141 the fine anti-Fascist historian Mimmo Franzinelli tallies the numbers: one in 1928 and 1929, four in 1930, one in 1931, two in 1932, one in 1933, one in 1939 and then fourty-five during the war to 1943, a total of fifty-six.142 These are disgraceful figures. Yet they pale away compared with the victims of Nazism or the Soviets or Franco’s Spain or the United States, with its dedication to the execution of ‘criminals’, disproportionately poor or black, or to plenty of other countries. In England and Wales, for example, 113 men and women were executed between 1927 and 1939.143 In the USA, an annual average of 167 suffered capital punishment throughout the 1930s.144 Nazi Germany formally condemned 16,500 of its citizens to death.145 The Fascist regime’s tempering its terror at home to quite a degree helps to explain why many Italians after 1943 have not recognised its body count. After the quietening of civil disputation by 1925, few Italians died for Fascism or anti-Fascism until after the regime made war its prime activity from the mid-1930s onwards. No doubt, more than 11,000 of its citizens were sent to confino, compulsory residence in the south or the islands, often for simple and even naive expressions of political opposition, while 15,000 had their freedom of movement otherwise restricted. 160,000 citizens had police files opened on their possible anti-Fascism.146 The majority of confinati, however, were amnestied at one time or another. Appeals flooded in with much emphasis on damage being done to family life. So, in December 1932, the wife of Mario Amedeo, a socialist mechanic from Rome, gaoled for 85

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five years in 1931, vividly portrayed the disaster brought upon their ‘innocent’ 15-year-old daughter, who had only known her father’s ‘goodness, honesty and hard work’ and his family devotion. She had been forced to leave school and accept a job as a seamstress being paid a derisory two lire per day. Could ‘your soul as a father give comfort to the wishes of two women annihilated by such bad fortune’, Signora Amedeo concluded in her petition? Mussolini granted amnesty a few months later.147 As this case shows, even where secret policing was involved, Italians did not give up their belief in the possibility that rules could be bent and a route to favouritism opened by able rhetoric or an adroit choice of patron. The average number of new political prisoners was around 800 in any year to 1935, more than doubling thereafter; their numbers were always exceeded by those of ‘common criminals’.148 Again there is plenty of evidence of tyranny in this story, but the numbers confined were far higher in Nazi Germany,149 Franco’s Spain,150 or the USSR, where an American historian’s implied comparison of Fascist imprisonment with the ‘archipelago’ of camps under Stalin is misplaced.151 The confino system had been in existence well before Fascism and a version of it continued afterwards. Given the regime’s frequent boast that it was uniting the nation, there was some paradox in a system which implied that residence in a paese in the backblocks of Lucania (Basilicata) or Sardinia or in an undeveloped island off the coast was more uncomfortable and punishing than living in Milan or Turin, Florence or Rome. It was equally odd that claims that punishment was to be lengthy and strict were countered by regular amnesties (often marking regime and dynastic ‘successes’). Anti-Fascists continued to protest, however ineffectually, against every aspect of the Fascist regime, with a number of distinguished figures including former Prime Minister Francesco Saverio Nitti, historian Gaetano Salvemini and such old and new generation socialist leaders as Filippo Turati and Pietro Nenni going into exile. So desperate by 1934 was Emilio Lussu, the Sardinian war hero gaoled by the regime in 1926 and then three years later the organiser of a daring escape from Lipari,152 that he suggested from abroad, perhaps despairingly, that Italy should opt for another dictatorship but one committed to ‘liberty’; the Roman model died hard.153 His comrade in fleeing Lipari was the wealthy ‘liberal socialist’, Carlo Rosselli, married to

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Marion Cave, an Englishwoman. While he was in confino and once he had taken residence in Paris, Rosselli exemplified the curious survival of class difference under Mussolini’s rule, as well as the regime’s sensitivity to foreign criticism. His brother Nello, a rather less defined anti-Fascist and a young historian of Mazzinian (and patriotic) bent,154 could rely on the patronage and therefore protection of Giovanni Gentile, the regime’s most distinguished philosopher, and the nationalist historian Gioacchino Volpe. The Rossellis’ luck and privilege would run out late in the 1930s. But, for quite a while, their ability to ‘resist’ was given at least some scope by the regime’s failure to be too hard on members of the Italian elite. Working-class and communist prisoners were treated much more harshly.155 Many other Italians retained reservations about the Mussolinian dictatorship, as well as about the evident corruption and hypocrisy of Fascists at various levels in the Party.156 However, quite a few detected that the dictatorship left space for them to pursue their ordinary lives and their self-interest without too much intrusion. They could endure and even prosper under a totalitarianism which was less than total. In sum, since 1925, a totalitarian state had been created. The majority of Italians and foreigners had accepted that a dictator led it and his regime did not have a use-by stamp. Yet, at home and abroad, despite constant talk of discipline and control, over these years discussion about the final meaning and purpose of Fascism waxed and waned. Certainly from the Duce’s point of view, the clearest and simplest statement was made in Critica fascista in June 1927: ‘Fascism is Mussolinism. . . . Without Mussolini there would be no Fascism’.157 The dictator doubtless deeply desired a philosophy (to compete with the one that had once been his father’s and now ruled in Moscow). But his party and the ideology needed the dictator rather more than he needed them. His charisma counted more than ideas. As Bottai phrased it characteristically in a piece published in 1930 entitled ‘Seeing Mussolini’, the Duce before a crowd is like a pilot who directs and manoeuvres the ship dominating the fleet. He knows the currents that snake through the soul of the crowd, he interprets them, he gives voice to them, he knows how to speak a language, which only giants and the people understand . . . The Italian people feel Mussolini as no other people have ever felt or will ever be able

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to feel a man. They adore him because they see in him the reflex of their own deepest characteristics.158

If that was already true at the end of the 1920s, during the next decade the regime would be further diverted by the choice between worship of Mussolini the dictator, the individual, the man, and their devotion to the ideology, the political religion of F/fascism.

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CHAPTER 4 IMAGINING LIBERAL TOTALITARIANISM?

At Italian society’s summit during the imposition of its totalitarian dictatorship, King Victor Emmanuel III grumbled a little in private about the infringement of the constitution after 3 January but soon decided that he could do nothing to oppose the ‘regime’ as it began almost universally to be called.1 After all, there is a case that a probable result of Mussolini’s fall would have been civil war in which the monarchy would be a victim as many other monarchies in Central and Eastern Europe had been since 1917. The Duce’s departure from office would certainly amount to a perilous leap into the dark. Therefore, the King settled into the new system, always in the background and always there, with a possible hint, for example, late in 1925, that he preferred that his Capo del Governo (Mussolini’s new title) not move too far and too fast.2 He could warm himself with the knowledge that the military officer corps remained largely traditional and monarchist in their beliefs and customs, and were never to be thoroughly Fascistised. The disappearance from the Ministry of War of General Antonio Di Giorgio (himself no radical by birth since he came from a Sicilian noble family and was married to a Whitaker of English origin; they dominated the marsala industry) in April 1925 offered immediate comfort since Di Giorgio was an eager, and even zealous, reformer. A friend of Luigi Federzoni and of nationalist expansionism, Di Giorgio wrongly assumed Fascism would create a modern and efficient mass army and seriously prepare itself for war, come what may. His enthusiasm ignited resentment and debate among his colleagues. The Duce’s dislike of argumentation, his suspicion of military zeal and what an Italian would call his occhi lunghi (deep tactical sense) led him to appoint himself as the replacement Minister of War for Di Giorgio, while, in June, he raised Pietro Badoglio to the new position of Chief of General

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Staff, an office that Badoglio would hold until after the disastrous invasion of Greece in autumn 1940. Badoglio had been serving in Brazil and so could not be immediately typified as for or against deep ‘modernisation’ of the armed services. His public objection in October 1922 to the March on Rome, helpfully from Mussolini’s point of view, made him unlikely to be a friend of Farinacci and the more ‘intransigent’ Fascists. The result was what the major historian of the Italian army has called its ‘immobilism’ and not its modernisation over the next decade.3 In this condition, it was no threat to the ever more definite and dictatorial role assumed by Mussolini and the resultant implied overriding of the past constitution to which it had sworn loyalty. This version of a Fascist army served a dictator (and its officer corps’ selfinterest) much better than it served a revolutionary ideology. Sometimes the administrative process of dictatorship was curious. By the end of 1925 Mussolini, in addition to the Ministry of the Interior, held office as Minister of Foreign Affairs (from 3 January 1925), Minister of War, Minister of the Navy (from 8 May 1925), Minister of Air (a new post from 30 August 1925); he added the Ministry of Corporations (another new post) from 2 July 1926, with all of these positions ending on 11 September 1929. At the height of this variety of individual rule, a sort of prime minister blown up into Pooh-Bah, Mussolini presided over no fewer than eight ministries out of a total of 14.4 In so far as Cabinet-style administration was concerned, that number was only one fewer than before 1914, while, despite talk of toughminded reform, the tally of bureaucrats did not fall. The sum of 519,440 in 1921 declined slightly to 499,861 in January 1926, before rising appreciably to 624,328 in 1933 and 787,862 in 1938.5 Of the service ministries the most self-consciously Fascist (or modern) was the Ministero dell’Aeronautica (Ministry of Air). Italy was the home of Giulio Douhet who, by the time of his death in February 1930, had won international fame as a major theoretician of air war. His classic, Il dominio dell’aria (The command of the air), had been published in 1921. Douhet may have retained some reservations in his own mind but he was read as urging that victory must now be achieved aggressively through massive bombing of ‘vital centres’.6 A well-deployed air force, Douhet wrote in 1926, should be in action immediately when a war began, or, better, before it was declared.7 Commanding the air was, he maintained, a tactic that was relatively cheap to engage in and so favoured a nation of Italy’s limited economic strength; future 90

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wars would be decided in the air and not on the ground or sea.8 The air force must be ready to use chemical and bacteriological weapons.9 The USSR and Germany, he was sure, were building their reserves, assisted by the continuing global leadership of the German chemical industry. Italy could not rely on the Geneva Convention signed by it and others on 17 June 1925. It must prepare, and ought to realise that such preparation could easily be kept secret.10 Douhet’s philosophy was destined largely to fail in the Second World War and, in any case, did not gain full acceptance in Italy.11 Nonetheless, it still underlies much current Western devotion to ‘aerial strikes’ against ‘terrorists’ (although a neutral observer might consider that the actions, and their inevitable collateral damage, themselves aim to terrify the enemy). Nor was Douhet the only military expert to favour experiments in the use of ‘gas and gaseous materials’. An article in the authoritative military journal, Esercito e Nazione, maintained that those temporarily put out of action by gas attack could regain their health readily enough. The writer thought that Leonardo da Vinci had been an early proponent of such warmaking, thus offering predictable palingenetic approval from past ‘civilisation’ (of a kind).12 In 1928 Italo Balbo, Under-Secretary and then Minister for Air from November 1926 to November 1933, sent Mussolini a list of the country’s stock of chemical weapons and suggested a budget increase to the air force in preparation for their more effective use (which would come in Libya and Ethiopia but not Europe).13 Fascism and terror might seem naturally to go together. But the history of the Italian air force after its inauguration in March 1923 is a curious one, closely associated with the political career of Balbo, another significant but idiosyncratic Fascist chief, born in 1896 and so ‘made in the First World War’ as a Fascist should have been. He had been one of the more brutal and murderous squadristi leaders across the Po Valley. After 1922, handsome and willing to preserve some independence, he was often viewed as ‘charismatic’. He certainly enjoyed publicity and being duchessed, whether in sponsoring Italian victories in such contests as the Schneider trophy for air speed (won in 1926 and then held in Venice in 1927) or in leading ‘squadrons’ of planes on tours to Odessa, Brazil and the USA with global press copy or in acting as the grand protector of his base in Ferrara with its considerable Jewish community.14 He did little to prepare the Regia Aeronautica for modern war, although he did agree with the army and naval 91

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chiefs that each should draft their own war plans and keep autonomous budgets in yet another case of Fascist chat about iron-hard unity proving illusory.15 In April 1932 his published farewell speech as minister spent quite a bit of time enthusing over the newly built Air Ministry in Rome (it can still be inspected just outside the Aurelian Walls, decorated with Fascist art) and the fact that the new Duke of Aosta had entered air force training. A benign boss, Balbo was pleased to allow his staff to go home at 3.45p.m. They could then ‘have the whole afternoon to devote themselves to the education of their children, extra-office business of their own taste, life in the open air or study’ (a comment that was applauded by his listeners showing how Fascist public administration functioned in a less than bleak or frugal manner). It went without saying that Balbo found time to complain that the Italian service was receiving only a fifth of the funds given to the French and that the military and naval budgets were higher than his own. Naturally he would not want to quarrel with the rival branches of the military, he added laudably, yet, echoing Douhet, he was sure that the air force would be crucial in any future war.16 If each armed service, despite the talk about totalitarianism, jealously kept its own character, being permitted ‘complete autonomy’ by the dictator and made ‘exempt from public criticism’,17 other sectors of society were little different. Italy remained a deeply Catholic country. Mussolini had his own special agent in religious matters in the elderly Jesuit Pietro Tacchi Venturi, born in 1861 and a member of his order since 1878. The Duce could joke, not entirely emptily, that his real role was to act as the Jesuit’s private secretary,18 while the wickedly anticlerical Farinacci complained that, wherever you went in the regime’s business, you ran into Tacchi Venturi.19 Certainly the diary record of Mussolini’s appointments show how remarkably often he met the Jesuit; even during the crisis of the early part of the Ethiopian war, up to once a week.20 While the regime was consolidating after 1925, talks with the Church grew more earnest, with each side willing to seek a solution to the cold war that had separated them since the Risorgimento. It must have helped when, on 30 March 1926, Farinacci was replaced as PNF Secretary by Augusto Turati, until then a secondary figure in the movement but based in Brescia, always 92

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proud to be a Catholic city.21 A local historian has noted that there, by 1926, Turati had learned ‘the advantages of collaboration and compromise’;22 he lasted in office until October 1930. As far as the Vatican was concerned, there were reasons to worry about Fascist educational programmes and especially the creation of an array of youth organisations – the boys scouts or Balilla began operation in April 1926 – with their pledge to inculcate the ideology of Fascism and so train youth to accept the pre-eminence of the belief system of the totalitarian state over Catholicism. The Duce explained to Tacchi Venturi in April 1928 that this educational issue was a major one for the regime.23 Nonetheless, with the dictator well aware of the propaganda advantages of a deal with the Church, the Lateran Pacts were duly formulated, signed on 11 February 1929 and ratified on 7 June. Those in charge of Vatican finances rejoiced in the Italian payment of US$91 million24 and Vatican City came into legal existence as a ministate in the heart of Rome, another curious situation for a totalitarian regime. The Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica spoke for the Church when it applauded ‘a Christian restoration in society’.25 Gerarchia, the regime’s most authoritative monthly since 1922, decided that the ‘exquisitely Italian’ compromise had been done under the ‘sign of Dante’, while historian Gioacchino Volpe was sure that the end of a ‘dissidence’ that had lasted since the Risorgimento could only do the nation good.26 The secret police reported almost universal joy at the signature, which was owed, people agreed, ‘to the genius of the Duce’.27 Tacchi Venturi, by contrast, used the occasion to press Mussolini for greater vigilance against moral backsliding among Italians, where, in a host of social and gender issues, the Church was more narrow and authoritarian in its attitudes than the dictatorship.28 Nonetheless, despite such public outbursts, a modus vivendi had been found and it would survive until Fascism fell, although Mussolini did minute on 1 June 1931, with what may have been an ostentatious sigh, ‘the Fascist regime wants to live in peace with all states, even including the state of Vatican City’.29 After all, as has been noted, from before 1922 the Church had found much with which it could sympathise in Fascism, a political creed for sinful humans in a world full of evil.30 The coming compromise with the state might have been detected in the solemn mass, held at Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome on 4 November 1922 to mark the fourth anniversary of 93

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victory and with the attendance of the new Prime Minister.31 At different times in 1924–5, L’Osservatore romano, the Vatican daily that would never be fully curbed by Fascist censorship, preached that any belief that socialism and Christianity could work together was ‘illusory and dangerous’,32 while labelling ‘the Jew’ as the religion’s ‘most tenacious enemy’.33 Pius XI brought the Holy Year of 1925 to a purposeful end with the publication on 11 December of his encyclical, Quas primas. It evoked ‘Christ the King’, who was to be commemorated in a feast day on the last Sunday in October (therefore sometimes coinciding with the March on Rome commemoration). This festa deliberately mingled traditional monarchy and modern authoritarianism. Not for nothing would Belgian fascists, led by Léon Degrelle and subsidised by the Italian regime, later call themselves ‘Rexists’, a movement founded on 2 November 1935. Firmly committed to its own severe model of social control, the Vatican saw few reasons to quarrel with the new Corporate state in Italy.34 It was highly arguable whether the ‘revolution’ had much shaken that other great Italian institution, the bureaucracy, with Mussolini more than once pronouncing that it had seniority over the party in any disputes that might arise in the provinces. Between 1922 and 1929, fewer than a third of those raised to prefectures had joined the party in its early days, 29 out of 86 postings.35 The most emblematic official appointment was that of Arturo Bocchini as Chief of Police on 13 September 1926. He had been born in 1880 and entered prefectural service in 1903 immediately after graduation, his mother being from the Neapolitan nobility. In 1922 Bocchini was Prefect of Brescia, where he developed good relations with Turati. He moved to Bologna from December 1923 to October 1925 and then to Genoa. His final promotion he owed to Federzoni just before he left the Ministry of the Interior. In office, Bocchini quickly ingratiated himself with the Duce. In 1927, he was soon proclaiming the ‘full establishment’ of ‘public order’, a small exception, he noted maliciously, being violent acts that still occurred between Fascists, in his opinion motivated by personal rancour and self-interest.36 Bocchini swiftly requested better funds for the police service. Its centrality to the regime was given publicity in 1928 with the establishment of 18 October as National Police Day.37 Bocchini’s indispensability was based on his cynical willingness to deal with hints of mutiny among PNF members, and to 94

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provide a daily summary of anti-Fascist activity. He was notably cunning and ruthless in sowing division among the relatively small numbers of outright opponents of the regime. The majority assembled in squabbling exile and deepening poverty in Paris.38 Bocchini enjoyed parrying their scheming all the more as a southerner dealing with, in his mind, people who were in the main stupid and pretentious northern intellectuals.39 He lasted in his position until his sudden death on 20 November 1940 from a stroke, apparently brought on by a combination of a lavish dinner and overenergetic sex. He deserved his reputation as the ‘vice duce’, although his hardboiled character and actions fit any dictatorship better than one meant to be driven by a revolutionary and all-embracing ideology.40 Bocchini found himself provided with a large secret budget, which was used to sustain almost a thousand agents and quantities of other, less directly hired, informers (although Italians proved less forward than Germans under Hitler in denouncing their neighbours). His police were banned from joining the PNF from 1925 to 1932, when membership became compulsory following the regime’s switch to a greater populism and its parallel abandonment of too tight a survey of motivations for joining.41 Bocchini continued to expand telephone tapping, begun by Giolitti in 1903, but now almost pervasive over people who counted. In January 1930 Farinacci asked that Mussolini be told that he would have to be a ‘cretin’ not to know his phone in Milan was tapped. Naturally, he therefore expressed his judgments on ‘men and things’ elsewhere, Farinacci added cheekily.42 The control extended to foreigners who were resident in Italy for one reason or another. By 1938 462 stenographers were kept busy recording such matters, about 200 of them with knowledge of languages other than Italian. A detailed study of such secret work has emphasised that Bocchini steered clear of commitment to leading Fascists apart from Mussolini, although that did not mean refusing suggested hirelings based on nepotism and raccomandazioni. When, in 1936–7, Giovanni, the head of the wealthy Agnelli family, owners of Fiat, wanted details on a relationship developing between the free-ranging intellectual Curzio Malaparte and Virginia Agnelli, born Virginia Bourbon del Monte dei principi di San Faustino, the recent widow of Giovanni’s son Edoardo, Bocchini graciously put two agents onto the job.43 When Malaparte was sent to (relatively comfortable and shortlived) confino as a result, his mother wrote to the Duce in an appeal for special consideration.44 95

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By then Bocchini’s police had earned international fame, with authoritarian governments in Portugal, Peru and Bolivia (authoritarian, but not ‘totalitarian’) requesting Italian advice on how to run their own police.45 No doubt the Nazi alliance eventually entailed regular meetings between Bocchini and Himmler, but without a full meeting of minds of the two police chiefs: ‘Himmler believed in the weirdest Nazi mysteries: Bocchini believed in nothing except a satisfying coitus and a succulent lobster’.46 Although he used the new technology of the time with aplomb,47 Bocchini as head of the Secret Police had more in common with Napoleon’s Joseph Fouché (or Puccini’s Vitellio Scarpia) than the fanatical chief of the SS. Meanwhile the regime was still working on a full revision of the national legal code, with the matter in the hands of Alfredo Rocco, who from January 1925 until July 1932 was the Minister of Justice. Rocco was another senior figure in a regime much given to boasting about its youthfulness. He had been born in Naples in 1875 and, on graduation in law, rapidly obtained professorial positions in various universities, including the prestigious Padua (1910–25), working in economics, law and philosophy. He was an early member of the Nationalist Association and, from 1920, edited its paper, L’Idea nazionale. He thus reached Fascism after 1922 along the same path that Federzoni had traversed. But he was a more authoritative and influential member of the regime than was the sometime Minister of the Interior, and a more independent one. Rocco was the artificer of most of the leggi fascistissime which culminated in 1930–1 in a new national legal code ousting the ‘Zanardelli code’ of 1889, named after the then Minister of Justice, Giuseppe Zanardelli. The Rocco code would last until 1988–9, when the Codice Pisapia-Vassalli finally replaced it. This durability might be surprising since it meant that the legal basis of a totalitarian state was retained for almost four decades by a liberal democratic one. However, a detailed study of attitudes and policy in Italy towards criminality has shown a great deal of continuity between the Liberal and Mussolinian regimes; in this understanding, the Rocco code was therefore more ‘Italian’ than ‘Fascist’,48 despite all the propaganda devoted to it by the dictatorship during its composition. In his own account, Rocco naturally noted the help he received from Mussolini’s ‘infallible intuition’, while being sure that his reforms fitted the totalitarian formula.49 96

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Since the Risorgimento, Italian legal theorists had been troubled by the criminality that made the country an object of attention for international practitioners of the growing social science of criminology.50 Between 1890 and 1911, one prominent lawyer tallied no fewer than 2,001,800 ‘violent offences’ in Italy, while there had been 14 murders across the country on the single day of 23 September 1914, numbers that should not be forgotten when rebuking Fascist violence.51 Cesare Lombroso, the Jewish analyst of what he saw as ‘racial’ deterioration from northern Italy to the south, and from the middle and working classes to the peasantry, was the most celebrated figure in national criminological circles.52 But he was scarcely alone or universally endorsed. Debates sputtered on, before and after 1922. The eventual Rocco code would bring together rival factions behind what had been labelled ‘moderate social defence’. Approved at home and abroad, it duly gave lip service to Fascism while reckoning that the dictatorship’s ideology was still ‘improvised’ and its long-term political future ‘uncertain’.53 Most expert opinion decided that the regime ‘upheld the principles of legality’. Reforms in Spain (1928), Yugoslavia (1929), Denmark (1930) and Poland (1932) acknowledged their debt to Italian legislation.54 Rocco’s nationalism could rejoice at talk of an Italian ‘primacy’ in the field regained, with that achievement having occurred under the aegis of Fascism. Only later in the 1930s did the practice of law grow more contaminated by totalitarian interference, often by then with populist overtones, although in 1928 Turati had already sketched a model of how a Fascist lawyer should behave; they must avoid lush rhetoric, silly arguments, or defending an anti-Fascist against a Fascist, he maintained.55 Yet even a communist prisoner in 1930s Italy could expect sober legal representation and a hearing of the defence case when arraigned for what the regime viewed as ideologically inspired misconduct in prison.56 It was not only in the law that as yet few foreigners, except for committed anti-Fascists, were troubled by the methods of administration in Mussolini’s dictatorship. Even then scepticism about ideological conquest survived. After all, Mussolini never ceased to be a journalist, skilled at spinning off words about a multiplicity of issues but scarcely determined to be consistent. As Gaetano Salvemini, in his exile in Anglo-Saxon lands, a historian who was capable of scholarship and who had shared much of the historical 97

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times with Mussolini but, after 1918, had come to different conclusions, advised in 1927 that the Duce should not be taken too seriously as an ideologue. He was a man of ‘instinct’ more than of ‘ideas’. ‘From day to day to hold his followers together, Mussolini was quick to pick up from one or other group some formula or scrap of a formula with which to please some without displeasing others, encourage some without disheartening the rest’. Mussolini was a ‘propagandist’, Salvemini explained, not the creator of a genuine new political philosophy.57 He was not really up to being a professor, a genuinely original intellectual. Perhaps preferring such lingering superficiality, there was every sign that international capitalism liked what it saw in Rome. During the second half of the 1920s, Italy floated on American finance, with one acerbic historian calling Mussolini a ‘client’ of JP Morgan,58 while communist leader Antonio Gramsci, for once being a vulgar Marxist, in 1926 maintained that Morgan was ‘the real head of the Italian government’.59 Between 1925 and 1928 US$316.5 million was made available to Italy (although Germany, the greater power, received more). By 1930 Italy stood fourth as a recipient of US investment behind Germany, Britain and France.60 Dino Grandi, who had become Foreign Minister in September 1929, conceded that, despite the Wall Street crash in October, the USA was ‘the richest and most powerful nation in the world’, a country with which the regime should reckon.61 At that time, despite purist Fascists’ complaint that Americans lacked ‘a race, a stock and a history’,62 quite a few party colleagues were willing to agree that they liked what they saw in the strikingly ‘modern’ USA, one advisor to the tourist industry, always a key part of the national economy, urging Italian hoteliers to bring their hospitality up to American standards.63 At the beginning of 1931, the Duce, as so often self-consciously Professor Mussolini, sent a message ‘to the American people’ where he emphasised his philosophical debt to Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James.64 Later that year, Grandi and the Republican Secretary of State Henry Stimson exchanged friendly visits,65 with Grandi, at least according to his American interlocutor, acknowledging that Fascism might well prove a transitory system. The Duce’s verbal bellicosity, he added, did not mean much. Italy, he acknowledged, did look to some eventual revision of the 1919–20 peace treaties but such change could be left to the distant future. The Nazis,

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just beginning to concern global opinion, Grandi assured his American colleague, had nothing to do with Fascism, Italian-style.66 High finance, then, liked most of what it saw in this regime and scarcely took its talk of revolution seriously. Dictatorial cruelty could easily enough be explained away. In October 1927, Clementine Churchill, the wife of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, attended March on Rome ceremonies in Florence and told her husband how impressed she had been: ‘It is wonderful how Mussolini holds not only his power but the public imagination and interest. And he never seems to play to popularity. He always does the hard cruel thing. I hope he lasts and does not get killed,’ she ended, a little troubled by what she thought were Italian habits.67 In February 1925, the Italian Bankers’ Association, by no means alienated by the institution of dictatorship, had less sentimentally endorsed Mussolini’s policies as ‘the soundest and most orthodox policies of economic reconstruction’.68 In framing his economic procedures, Mussolini mostly left authority to his successive ministers of finance, the liberal economist Alfredo De Stefani (October 1922 to July 1925), the businessman Giuseppe Volpi (July 1925 to July 1928), the former prefect Antonio Mosconi (July 1928 to July 1932) and the Sicilian Jewish banker and merchant Guido Jung (July 1932 to January 1935). In his postwar memoirs, Mosconi (born 1866) underlined the fact that he had PNF membership pressed on him only in September 1926 in his home town of Vicenza, and claimed that he had entered office with no particular political slant. At his ministry, he found Mussolini a genial boss, open to advice and rarely interfering. All in all, he concluded, the Duce had left him to pursue his ‘careful and healthy’ policies for the country.69 There was some exception to this story of following capitalist rules under Volpi, however, since in 1926–7 Mussolini insisted on the quota novanta, that is, a valuation of the lira at 92.46 to the British pound. Volpi (born 1877), an able wheeler-dealer, had been a key agent of Giolitti before 1914, being attacked by nationalists as too pro-German. In 1922 he accepted appointment by Mussolini’s liberal predecessors as Governor of Tripolitania, staying in office under Fascism until he was summoned to the Finance Ministry. He was already happy to be called the ‘new doge’ of Venice and throughout the 1930s he retained his authority there, while holding numerous other cultural and economic offices, including the ‘Fascistised’ Confindustria.70

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Here was a man flexible enough to cope with a dictator’s little ways. Mussolini was all the more committed to the elevated exchange rate from the knowledge that Farinacci had been mockingly critical of it.71 Certainly, the Duce insisted to Volpi that ‘the fate of the regime is bound up with the fate of the lira’.72 The quota novanta pitched the currency at a level that most economists believed was too high and that economic historians have concluded stunted the growth of the Italian economy. Mussolini would not back down, assuring Volpi that although he had no training in economics, his intuition was never wrong. If the astute businessman Volpi could adjust to Fascist policy, so could the rest of the financial world. When Volpi retired from office in 1928, JP Morgan wrote to congratulate him personally on his ‘signal achievements’ and the ‘successful completion of a cycle of work’.73 After all, in 1927, the budget was still in what a technocrat called ‘healthy balance’. Mussolini was happy at the news, attributing it to Volpi’s ‘absolute independence from formulas or principles’.74 Still half a fiscal liberal in some cranny of his mind, he had urged Volpi to follow the watchword: ‘a balanced budget in spite of everything and above all’.75 Nor did the regime show much sign of wanting to interfere with individual ownership. In 1931, the journal of the building industry was convinced that Mussolini was properly opposed to any government intervention in rental arrangements.76 The Duce similarly told an audience of bankers that individual and family ‘saving is a sacred thing’, in which only an enemy of the nation would interfere.77 Two years earlier, the industrialist Alberto Pirelli assured international financiers that the regime believed in ‘private initiative and a just recompense for individual merit’,78 while Giuseppe Bottai, self-consciously the studious proponent of Corporatist and, indeed, Permanent Revolution,79 agreed that Fascism worked ‘inside capitalism’, dynamically, he added, not statically.80 ‘Permanent’ could after all signify unfinished (or never to be finished) rather than something more menacing and intrusive. For all the talk about state power, when the 1920s came to an end, the Italian regime was scarcely threatening business, being a major contrast with the Marxists in the USSR. Another ambitious young Fascist, Alessandro Pavolini of Florence (born 1903) argued that Italians should accept the presence of the Rotary Club, that meeting place of global capitalism, in their country. He did not intend to applaud Rotary’s ‘democratic or pacifist or Masonic or Protestant or Jewish’ 100

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features, he explained in justification. But its Italian members were businesslike Fascists and could represent Fascism at its meetings in the same fashion that Italian officials did when they served the League of Nations.81 The economic damage of the exchange rate had been limited by wage cuts, duly accepted by the cowed Fascist unions; in 1928, Rossoni lamented to an underling that Mussolini was ‘a solitary aristocrat at heart who only felt contempt for men and did not love the masses’, a comment that deserves to be remembered when the dictator went populist during the next decade (and provides the usual qualification of the centrality of his ‘revolutionary’ ideology).82 The resultant downturn increased unemployment and left Italy facing the impact of the World Depression in 1929–32 in a less exuberant state than were most other major economies.83 That did matter much for the moment, in part because a multitude of Italians were inured to miseria (poverty). Furthermore, despite Italy’s failure to catch up with the bigger European economies,84 in 1929 it was true that industrial production had risen from an index of 100 in 1922 to 202, with steel and electricity doubling in output. The Depression soon cut into these figures and unemployment between 1929 and 1932 grew from 300,000 to more than a million.85 The stock market fell by a third over the same time.86 Yet still the distinguished international economist Paul Einzig argued that planning worked best under a Corporate system, which did not have to be dictatorial. The regime respected private property and achieved ‘an amazing mass psychological’ change in persuading all Italians to work hard, he wrote effusively, with just a touch of racial superiority. Its system would survive Mussolini and Italian Fascism should not be compared with the ‘destructive’ Nazis.87 The Duce, it seemed, was in many respectable eyes, a dictator who could be counted on and could count. In March 1930, a curious article had appeared in Critica fascista under the title ‘the duty to discuss’. It was written by a man named Guido Gamberini, destined to remain a minor journalist in the regime. In this piece Gamberini argued staunchly that there must always be ‘a deep and wide discussion of the problems and principles of Fascism’. It was out of date to think of such debate as lacking in discipline. Rather, ‘a sense of responsibility, which is the key to the totalitarian system of the Regime does not make sense or would be a pseudo-juridical and pseudo-moral fiction, if it were not made concrete in the active and well-thought-out participation of individuals and groups 101

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in the life of the state’. There was, he repeated, no clash between discipline and discussion; the latter, rather, would help all Italians to ‘live their revolution’.88 Given the frequent rival understandings of what Fascism meant, at home and abroad, among party bosses and even in the mind of Benito Mussolini, Gamberini may have been putting a charitable gloss on what the regime meant as it entered its Decennale. Yet it should be asked, was it imaginable, Gamberini seemed to be suggesting, that the dictatorship could drift in a liberal direction? Or was it trying to become ever more rigorous in its rule? Certainly, between September 1930 and December 1931, there was the curious experiment of the PNF secretaryship of Giuseppe Giuriati, who aimed to eliminate from the party its corrupt and self-serving members, its familism and fondness for patronage and clientship, and its fraudulent backdating of entry to the party; he claimed there were 23,000 such cases which he had discovered and he did slash 200,000 members from party lists.89 His aim was to hone the PNF into an elite force of genuine totalitarian discipline and control.90 How sadly weak, he mused, was the Italian party compared with the communist party in Russia. In his country the state had ‘dominated, spied on and even swallowed the Party,’ he complained.91 Giuriati was an odd choice for such a drastically reforming task. Born in 1876, he was another agent of the regime who did not embody the giovinezza enthused over in the party anthem. Rather he had made a public career before 1914 as a nationalist, just as Federzoni and Rocco had done. Still more ironically, by 1930 he was active in Rome because his home base of Venice had fallen under the control of the rich and self-serving Giuseppe Volpi (with his backdated PNF membership) and left Giuriati little room to manoeuvre there.92 Although he sought to ingratiate himself with the dictator by identifying him with ‘Il Veltro’, sketched by Dante as a mysterious spirit destined to carry Italy forward,93 Giuriati was told by an ungrateful and cynical Duce in regard to the planned purge: ‘I’ll put up a monument to you if you manage to get rid of as many as a thousand’.94 Giuriati was therefore soon frustrated and replaced by Achille Starace, with the line of ‘going to the people’. The new secretary at once demonstrated his crassness by ordering the burning of the office chairs of both Giuriati and Turati, each of whom had fallen amid rumours of pederasty.95 Starace’s time in office (he would not be sacked until October 1939 and thereafter 102

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remained bewildered at his fate) would seek to enhance but paradoxically undermine the role of the Fascist Party in the dictatorship. As has already been noticed, while the Italian regime prepared for its Decennale, momentous events were occurring in Germany, brought to world attention by the massive gains made by Hitler’s Nazi Party in the July 1932 German elections. Thereafter the meaning of Italian Fascism would become harder and harder to distinguish from what many assumed was the German version of Mussolini’s ideology and practice. The issue will preoccupy the following pages. But for the moment, it is worth noticing that between 23 March and 4 April, what began to seem the universality of fascism and its menacing spread to Germany was less fully endorsed when Mussolini granted a series of interviews to the celebrity journalist Emil Ludwig, biographer of Frederick II, Napoleon, Lincoln, Wilson, Rhodes, Bismarck and the Kaiser, Leonardo Da Vinci and Machiavelli.96 In what quite a few Europeans must have read as an introduction to the Decennale, Ludwig published his ‘Talks with Mussolini’ in a number of languages. In the preparation of Ludwig’s book, journalist and dictator, generous in making his time available, spoke ‘almost daily’ and for an hour at a time. Mussolini checked the text before publication (Ludwig recalled that he had an eagle eye for typos),97 although it would not be long before the Duce renounced his wide-ranging and often intimate discussions with the Jewish journalist. When he wrote up the interviews, Ludwig explained that he had arrived distrusting Mussolini as a dictator and fearing that it would be disastrous if Fascism were translated to Germany. Yet Ludwig accepted that ‘the fascist movement has done great things for Italy’ and needed proper analysis all the more given the ‘crumbling’ in the present, Depression-afflicted, world of ‘democracy and parliamentarism’. Moreover, despite the bellicosity of his speeches, Mussolini, Ludwig contended, was ‘far from inclined to cherish plans of war’.98 Two years later, in a further portrait of Mussolini as ‘the Italian autocrat’ (in another chapter he called Stalin ‘the Russian autocrat’ but did not yet grant Hitler a place in his gallery), Ludwig still detected much that was positive in the Duce.99 Back in the spring of 1932, Ludwig found Mussolini a master of detail, ‘in conversation . . . the most natural man in the world’, a ‘great statesman’, despite the fact that he could ‘not understand a joke and no one would ever 103

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venture to tell him what is called a funny story’.100 Although Mussolini was ‘perpetually on the alert’ when responding to his interviewer, ‘highly strung’ and ‘nervous’, ‘to about four hundred questions he replied with the same imperturbable repose’.101 The Duce insisted that he was a ‘revolutionist’, even if a leader who had been ‘born, not made’. ‘Each revolution creates new forms, new myths and new ideas’, he added pensively, ‘and the would-be revolutionist, while using old traditions, must refashion them. He must create new festivals, new gestures, new forms, which will themselves in time become traditional’. Moreover he stressed that the revolution must extend everywhere, hinting at a ‘universal’ fascism without yet using the word.102 At the same time, Mussolini’s philosophy of Fascism sounded more general than specific, while noting in passing that the presidential role in the USA (then still held by Herbert Hoover) was akin to that of a dictator. ‘When, recently, a Finnish thinker asked me to expound to him the significance of fascism in a single sentence’, he recalled in another definition that deserves to be remembered for its splendid simplicity, ‘I wrote: “Life must not be taken easily” ’. ‘Here in Italy’, he affirmed, ‘our fascism is what it is. Perhaps it contains certain elements’, he added with a caution soon to be renounced,‘which other countries might adopt’.103 Pressed further, Mussolini conceded that dictatorship might well be ‘Italian-specific’; ‘it has always been a country of outstanding individuals’, he averred and Rome had over time been ruled by ‘more than 70 dictatorships’.104 Mussolini denied racism: ‘nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today . . . National pride has no need of the delirium of race’.105 Just as firmly, he endorsed patriarchy: ‘Woman must play a passive part. She is analytical, not synthetical. During all the centuries of civilisation, has there ever been a woman architect?’ he asked, sure that he knew the answer. But he signed off in statesmanlike manner, asserting that government needed to be based 99 per cent on ‘kindliness’ and 1 per cent on ‘contempt’; human beings, he avowed, deserved ‘more sympathy, more compassion; much more compassion’.106 In general, he maintained, after 10 years in office he was tending towards moderation and, with words that might have troubled the more purist artificers of Fascist philosophy, he was sure that ‘systems are illusions and theories are fetters’.107 The trouble with the USSR was that there the party ruled the government but in Italy ‘the boot is on the other leg’, he concluded, with a phrase that defeated its translator.108 104

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In April–May 1932, then, if Ludwig’s registration of the Duce’s words and sentiments were to be believed, Mussolini had decided to be a gentler kindlier dictator over Italy, a philosopher-king no doubt but one whose ideology was more for domestic consumption than global proselytisation, even perhaps a potential artificer of a liberal totalitarianism. After all, in what was a reworking of cohabitation arrangements with the ‘universal’ Church, that is, the most obvious rival, ‘universal’ centre of spiritual power in Italy, it was now that Pope Pius XI declared that his aim was ‘Catholic totalitarianism’ (without plumbing what would soon become the evil implications of the word). Recent bickering between Church and State had produced an ostensibly firm statement of supremacy in the party journal, Critica fascista, in July 1931 that ‘The Fascist state is totalitarian. It arrogates to itself the forging [formazione] of its citizens’. However, a sentence later there was qualification: ‘the truth is that Fascism is totalitarian, just as the Church is totalitarian’. Each must be ‘coherent’ in that regard, knowing where the borders of authority lay. Fascism was for people’s material side, Catholicism for the soul.109 With this mixture of precision and ambiguity, it was not surprising that the two ‘totalitarianisms’ reached agreeable compromise on 11 February 1932, the third anniversary of the signature of their grand deal in the Lateran Pacts.110 Pius XI, locating territory that mattered to him, then expressed the hope that the friendly dictator would join him in pressing ahead with the containment of alien Protestant missionaries in Italy and the spread of the Rotary Club,111 while underlining that his church and the regime were agreed in their favouring of ‘the principle of order, authority and discipline’. Apropos of little, it was the Pope and not Mussolini who mused about the link between Jews and ‘Bolshevism’, before concluding that ‘in Italy, however, the Jews are an exception’ and so did not need containment.112 Less alert to the detail of what remained a tussle between Church and State, non-Marxist foreign commentators found much on which to congratulate Mussolini when he began to celebrate his ten years in office. In London, the Observer, an independent liberal and imperialist paper, had no doubt that Mussolini had won ‘the confidence and affection’ of his people.113 On 29 October 1932, the conservative Spectator agreed that no regime looked less ephemeral than the Italian dictatorship, adding wryly that the Duce had made Italy ‘fit for anyone but a democrat to inhabit’.114 The still further rightist National Review explained that parliamentary institutions were 105

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‘not native to Italians and they greatly mismanaged them when they had them’. A dictator was good for such a people.115 The stoutly liberal Economist did not wholly demur. Mussolini, it maintained, had ‘immeasurably strengthened Italy and made her into a steadying influence in the bedlam world of 1932’; ‘gradually but imperceptibly the demagogue has turned into a statesman’.116 Friendly long-serving British Ambassador Ronald Graham summed up acceptance of the dictatorship by stating that ‘it must be a source of genuine satisfaction to him [Mussolini] to feel that at no period has his prestige stood higher or his position been stronger in the country’ than it was when celebrating his 10 years in office.117 Over the next months, portentous events did not at first shake such praise. In March 1933, The Economist surmised that the Italian case made it probable that Nazi Germany would aim at peace, not war. Two months later, the weekly submitted that both Hitler and F.D. Roosevelt in the USA, each newly in office, demonstrated a global move towards a ‘dictatorial centralised government of industry’, suggesting that the New Deal was much like the Italian Corporate state in its purpose and nature.118 The Times, which in October 1932 had worried about the method by which one man had ‘impressed his personality upon a whole people’, while conceding that Mussolini was ‘one of the great creative statesmen of history’, now similarly hoped that Hitler, ‘like his great Italian prototype, [would show] he is capable of constructive leadership in office’.119 Such a positive stance on Italy was not confined to the British establishment. In the wider world, Mussolini had admirers, some surprising, some less so. Brazilian integralist Plinio Salgado returned from a visit to Rome in 1930 convinced that a modern Italian was ‘a complete man’ and sure that ‘the concept of fascism will be the light of the new age’, but despite such knowledge, his political career at home did not flourish.120 As late as April 1933, Sigmund Freud sent the Duce a copy of a book about avoiding war with a dedication to ‘the hero of civilisation’; ungratefully, within months, Mussolini would maintain that the Austrian Jewish psychoanalyst and his theories were a fraud.121 Mahatma Gandhi told a correspondent that his 20-minute meeting with Mussolini on 13 December 1931, conducted in English, not the Duce’s best foreign language, left him with the view that Italy’s regime was a ‘riddle’. Its enthusiasm for violence, he explained as typical of ‘the West’ as a whole and thus not specifically ‘Fascist’, a term with which Gandhi did not much 106

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reckon. In his view, Mussolini had ‘done a great deal for the peasant class . . . His care of the poor, his opposition to super-urbanisation, his efforts to bring about co-ordination between capital and labour’, all needed careful examination. Gandhi was convinced that the Duce ‘passionately loved’ his people. In return, the majority of them welcomed his ‘iron government’.122 Four years earlier, Rabindranath Tagore, another Indian philosopher but less politically committed than Gandhi, had twice met the Duce who shamelessly claimed to have read all of Tagore’s works translated into Italian, with the two agreeing on the visceral importance of art. Flattered by such a friendly reception, Tagore decided that Mussolini was ‘a great personality. There is such a massive vigour in that head, that it reminds me of Michelangelo’s chisel’.123 From a multitude of Europeans there was similar praise. The French journalist Henri Béraud recorded in 1933 that he had met Mussolini on five occasions and found him the most ‘Italian’ of men, a combination of Sulla, Bartolomeo Colleone, Savonarola, Masaniello, Garibaldi and Spartacus. Italy, the Duce had announced to him, ‘will be what we make of it, nothing more’. His followers, the Fascists, did not matter, he stated, with what might be read as another dismissal of deep theorising. Certainly Béraud then proceeded to comparisons with Miguel Primo de Rivera, Ignaz Seipel, Miklós Horthy, Józef Piłsudski and, especially, Kemal Atatürk, whom he claimed the Duce had prompted him to go and see. There was no mention of Hitler.124 Another French journalist, Emile Schreiber, visiting Italy in 1932 after a trip to the USSR, found the Italian regime much less intrusive than the Soviet. Readily earning an interview with Mussolini, he found him full of ‘sweetness and simplicity’, a man who could speak correct French, if with a ‘light accent’. Mussolini told him that he was no special partisan of state interference in the economy; it should occur, as in the draining of the Pontine Marshes outside Rome, only when there was no alternative. For Schreiber, Mussolini deserved comparison with Napoleon, but not for being a soldier. What he shared with the French emperor was ‘superlative’ administrative skill.125 American opinion varied, with left-leaning journalists objecting to the censorship that the regime rigorously imposed on them.126 Yet a recent detailed study has concluded that between 1930 and 1935, most American correspondents accepted the regime’s rules and were intrigued by the possible parallels between the New Deal, once it began to be implemented in 1933, and Italian policy.127 Before that, at least according to reports of a visit by Dino Grandi, 107

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President Hoover and the circle of leading US financiers admired Mussolini both for his domestic and his foreign policy, and gave no credence to antiFascist exiles in their country.128 At least one American classicist went further, launching in 1932 a comparison between Mussolini’s regime and that of the Antonines in the second century ce. ‘Is it possible’, this scholar wondered rhetorically, sure that he could read the lessons of history, ‘that the Duce will choose as his successor some capable and outstanding member of his party after the Stoic principle of selection which gave the Roman Empire Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius, perhaps the best government the world has ever seen’?129 In the necessarily superficial understanding of foreign commentators, the historic parallels multiplied and were not curtailed by some tight or highly intellectualised definition of universal fascism; in 1932–3, the arriving regime in Germany was not the only yardstick by which the Italian dictatorship was being judged.130 Within Italy, too, it is easy enough to find contradictions in the Fascism of the Decennale. They were rendered more glaring as the regime sought to place itself in a world being inflected by the sudden emergence of a Nazi-led government in Germany on 30 January 1933. It was to prove an administration much more rapid and thorough in turning into an all-absorbing regime than the Italian dictatorship had been. What, it should be asked, was happening where the party and the regime’s other institutions met ordinary Italians? Paul Corner, one of the wisest historians to examine Fascism, has argued that in fact by this time, scarcely arrested by the razzamatazz of the Decennale, the PNF and the people were growing further apart. After Giuriati’s failure, Starace would demand mass membership and thereby weaken the party. The people perforce obeyed the order to join it in their millions, but saw no reason to forget their families, their patrons and clients, their local loyalties, their gender values, their Catholicism or their lingering awareness of class. As Corner has further argued, in this process, with its boiling disputes not far below the surface, each party faction claimed Mussolini, a Mussolini, as their own.131 What might be the conclusion today is that, thereby, Fascism was transmuting into populism, and Professor Mussolini to merely its charismatic chief and warlord. Regime propaganda blared. But when, for example, officials investigated the state of the party in Palermo in July 1932, they reported that there were 108

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quite a few adherents but little sign of activity, be it from the younger generation or those enrolled in the dopolavoro (after-work organisation). Party membership cards were widely viewed as at their most useful when offering discounts on local cinema tickets. Further up the party’s ranks, quarrels with a decade-long origin bubbled on.132 A month later, a general summary of attitudes in the south concluded that public opinion ‘almost everywhere is orienting itself always more towards the Duce and always less towards Fascism, perceived through the lens of local squabbles and the behaviour of party bosses, which is not always or almost never exemplary’.133 From elsewhere in the country messages were similarly at best mixed. In January 1932 people were reported widely pleased that Starace had reopened membership lists to the PNF, although such expansion disgusted some of the more radical and ‘revolutionary’, purist, first Fascists. Unemployment and poverty remained big issues for many as the never-mentioned Depression bit, given that ‘modest family budgets [were] falling into famine’ and both workers and women still did not gladly attend party activities. It was known and appreciated that Mussolini handed out profuse subsidies but the furbi (smart people) asked, did they reach ‘the really needy’? Nonetheless, in Milan it was believed that life was worse in countries that could not boast ‘A Man whose orders are sacred’ or an efficient party organisation.134 In Trieste, an early jewel of the Fascist movement but a city whose economy never recovered its pre-Italian role as the port for Central Europe, the party office was ‘literally besieged by unemployed in search of work or material assistance’, just as the Decennale was being inaugurated.135 In Siena, public opinion was reported to be drifting into apolitical attitudes, although a battle royal raged among the local factions for key positions on the historic Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the prestigious local bank.136 Nor was there deep conviction among what in a less censored society would be called the chattering classes. So a telephone tap disclosed disgruntled and ambitious intellectual Emilio Settimelli contending that ‘all of the revolutionary objectives of Fascism have failed’. The recent death of Arnaldo Mussolini, he added, warned Italians about the need to think about succession to the Duce. No one, he maintained, would accept a further dictatorship if it were led by Costanzo Ciano or Farinacci; a reversion to ‘liberal monarchy’ might be best. But Mussolini trusted nobody and so it was impossible to open serious discussion of such matters.137 109

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In January 1932, Farinacci, rusticated from the regime’s power centres but never willing to be silenced, sent, with his usual temerity, a 27-page letter to the Duce painting a bleak picture of national politics. If Fascist ideology was meant to have occupied Italian souls, he found the evidence of conversion slight, especially at or near the top of the regime. No ‘strong idea’, he stated, could conquer ‘the cannibalism, envy and diffidence among men of the Regime’. Were Mussolini to leave for some reason, they would at once begin a ‘fratricidal struggle’ and it would be directed against Fascism. Rivals for power would appeal ‘to the part of the population who are not Fascist’, as well as to the army. Each member of the Grand Council would just follow his own instincts. The prefects of the state bureaucracy were dominant over the party and there was no chance that they would remain Fascist in a crisis. The police, too, could not be trusted. The blatant surveillance of every minister, party boss or Fascist ensured that each had created ‘a nucleus of informers’ to ‘use against his personal enemies’. The sad result was ‘a dishonest confusion of voices, insinuations, calumnies, suspicions and fears [which] destroy people’s energy and patience, and corrode the force of the regime’. So, too, did outright theft. The USSR, where the party really meant something, Farinacci advised, offered the solution of ‘shooting without mercy anyone who offends the honour and undermines the safety of the regime and these examples are salutary’. Perhaps, Farinacci remarked with what was his own sense of humour, his temperament was ‘vivacious’. But, his message was that after 10 years in government, something radical and swingeing needed to be done if Fascism were to mean anything.138 No doubt Farinacci exaggerated and the Ludwig interviews did hint that in spring 1932 Mussolini may have been flirting with a relatively moderate version of dictatorship. But, during the months that followed and on into 1933, such drift was arrested. Now, instead, the Duce, perhaps osmotically in thrall already to the German Führer, ever more shrilly urged that his power be reinforced by a universal ideology and a genuine totalitarianism. But, in 1932–3, the insistent message became that doubts and criticisms must be buried. In its second decade, Fascism must dominate the present and future, burying in the rubbish bin of history all those ideologies and political practices which had begun in the French Revolution. With that irony so often present in the story of this dictatorship, now was the time to draft a philosophy for Fascism or, rather, since there had been plenty of explanations of 110

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what the regime stood for already, to publish a ‘definitive statement’ of its purpose and character. In June 1932, still before the German elections, Mussolini, with the close collaboration of neo-Hegelian ‘actualist’ philosopher Giovanni Gentile, whose approval of Fascism had made him Minister of Education from October 1922 to July 1924 and who, thereafter, undertook much cultural work for the dictator, published a 30-page summary of the ‘Doctrine of Fascism’ in a first volume of the new Enciclopedia italiana.139 Its key thesis was philosophical victory. Fascism had ousted liberalism and Marxism to emerge as ‘the doctrine of the twentieth century’. Its ‘revolution’ demanded that the individual give total loyalty to the state, ‘a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values’. Fascism was fundamentally ‘spiritualist’, always an educator of its people, acting above and beyond the merely material, while remaining ‘practical’ and ‘realistic’. It transcended class struggle and ensured there was no longer a need for socialist trade unions. Its Corporate state made certain that ‘plutocratic’ greed could not get out of hand through state supervision, although private ownership, directed into working for the nation, remained the most efficient method of running an economy. Fascism rejected parliamentarism, ‘false democracy’ and egalitarianism but was an ‘organised, centralised, authoritarian democracy’, the ‘most honest’ kind. It was not ‘reactionary’, nor was it ‘a police-ridden state’, as Marxist anti-Fascists often complained. Rather it was a ‘unique and original creation’ where Italians could find themselves as never before raised to being ‘a new fact in history’.140 Fascism derided feeble pacifist ideas about perpetual peace and accepted that war ennobled those who fought it. Imperial rule was the highest ambition for the people since it demanded ‘discipline, coordination, a deep sense of duty and a spirit of self-sacrifice’. Fascism was ‘universal’, ‘Italian in its particular institutions’ but ‘universal in the spirit’ and therefore making likely the emergence of a fully ‘Fascist Europe’ at some time yet to be set. The dictatorship was ready and willing to guide others to this ideal future. But, in so doing, it did not have to seize into its own rule ‘a square kilometre of territory’.141 ‘The Doctrine of Fascism’, once launched, thus became the philosophical backdrop to the Decennale. In October 1932 Mussolini reinforced its theses in a number of speeches he made in important cities such as Turin, Milan and Rome. On 16 October, he told Romans, ‘I am your chief and am, as always, 111

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ready to assume full responsibility’; he intended to overcome the world economic crisis through his version of ‘state capitalism’, while welcoming into power the new generation of Italians.142 In the Piedmontese capital a week later, he pronounced that ‘the Fascist Party is an army or, if you prefer, a [religious] Order. You enter it only to serve and to obey’.143 In Milan on 25 October, he thundered that ‘the twentieth century will be the century of Fascism, the century of Italian power, the century during which, for the third time, Italy will return to being the director of world civilisation’. ‘Within 10 years’, he prophesied, ‘Europe will be Fascist or Fascistised’, although again he did not expand on whether war would be needed to implement this change.144 The national press deferentially seconded the dictator’s words. On 28 October, Il Popolo d’Italia spent most of its pages portraying glorious achievements across regions, different sectors of the economy – a number of businesses took the occasion to underline their recent commercial achievements – and military, and let a large front page photograph of Mussolini speak for itself.145 The monthly magazine Gerarchia plumbed deeper matters, initiated by extracts from the Duce’s speeches on ‘the universal mission of Rome’. Thereafter, a number of foreigners, of lesser or greater significance, contributed pieces on Fascist influence in their countries. A Hungarian intellectual accorded Fascism a grand place in ‘world history’ and awarded Mussolini an inheritance from Marius, Sulla, Caesar, Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, Cavour and Garibaldi. For Spain, Ernesto Giménez Caballero, who thought of himself as his country’s D’Annunzio but never found a role at its pinnacle, and dreamt of a Spanish empire returned to glory in a Latin union headed by Mussolini, wrote, with what sounded like distraction, of imagining a time when Spain again could be ‘more papist than the Pope, more Fascist than Benito Mussolini’.146 Oswald Mosley hailed Italian Fascism as promoting what could become ‘universal peace’, while underlining that ‘English fascism must differ greatly from Italian fascism’. The English, he explained were ‘very insular’ and so needed a fascism composed from ‘their own flesh and blood’.147 Finally Margherita Sarfatti, once Mussolini’s lover and mentor but a woman whose career was in decline, editorialised on Gerarchia’s determination to set up and display ‘Fascist mentalité’. What the Decennale showed, she said, was that Italy was leading the world away from liberalism and socialism and thereby opening a path whereby such opposites as the USSR and the USA could find reconciliation in the Italian-style Corporate state.148 112

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Was there a consistency in the display of sundry foreign fascisms (but not the German one) in this issue of Gerarchia, just as Fascist universality was being proclaimed? A reader might not be fully convinced. After all, only a few months earlier, Bruno Spampanato, another young intellectual from a welloff Liberal, Garibaldinian and academic family background but a self-styled radical who remained a major writer on Fascism through to 1945 and beyond, dismissed any idea of a Fascist International as a bourgeois delusion, ‘a monstrous thing, more monstrous than the [1815] Holy Alliance’. Yet he too argued that Fascism was universal, even while being Italian. The Corporate state should be understood as the final solution to ‘man’s social experience’, he maintained. Spampanato was sure that ‘accustomed formulas and fixed ideas’ belonged only to dead systems. The Fascist revolution, he pronounced, was by contrast unfinished and tremblingly alive.149 Given this situation, he had wondered whether there could be a ‘revolutionary equation’ between Bolshevism and Fascism. Doubtless there was much horror in Russian revolution, backwardness and violence exacting a terrible cost. Stalin was now dictator and not an attractive one. Yet would not the Russian Revolution inevitably settle down, he asked, as the French Revolution had into Napoleon? So ‘we dare to say that Bolshevism in Russia is the prelude to Fascism’, given that Italy now so clearly offered the most advanced form of civilisation and state, ‘a producer state, without classes’.150 Spampanato’s divagations illustrate the multiple faces of the Italian dictatorship in 1932. Loud words about universality (a word always carrying a suggestion of catholicity) and a totalitarian penetration of the people’s innermost being, their conversion into ‘new men and women’ were meant to indicate, once and for all, that Mussolini’s rule was not just another dictatorship, but rather a regime mysteriously driven by its novel ideology and so destined to match the Church in being both universal and eternal. Over the next years such themes would grow more stentorian in regime propaganda. Professor Mussolini’s philosophy must be indoctrinated into all ‘modern’ Europeans and make plain his global victory over Dr Karl Marx. But, it must be asked, how much change did the insistence on such ideas bring to the reality of Italy’s domestic and foreign policies and to the way that Italians and outsiders privately viewed the regime? Had Mussolini died before 1932, one Italian duchess reflected later, he would have been widely regarded as a ‘Great Man’.151 Contemporary sources, except 113

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among convinced anti-Fascists, most often Marxist, largely agreed. Certainly, as late as August 1933, Ronald Graham, the retiring British ambassador, did. Back in 1921 when he took up office, Graham recalled, only ‘Signor Mussolini and a few others had the “nous” and the “guts” to get up and offer the lead which sane and sensible elements of the country were asking for’ and pursue policies that ‘an unworkable parliamentary system’ had totally failed to offer. ‘Signor Mussolini had to begin by being a policeman. Without an adequate police force, properly employed, there is no order possible or progress, or reasonable happiness’. No doubt Fascism was violent, as the murder of Matteotti had shown. But, for the most part, Mussolini kept party mayhem under control. The movement’s ‘sheer nationalism’ was equally ‘perilous’. But ‘I have sufficient belief in Italian intelligence and Italian realism not to fear it greatly’. Rather, Graham wrote, Mussolini must be admired for working ‘without ceasing for an improvement in material conditions. He never forgets the worker from whose ranks he sprang’. Fascism, therefore, ‘if it has any meaning at all for Italy and for the world’ attempts to ‘bestride, and eventually to lessen, the gulf between Right and Left’. It was ‘a very serious attempt’ to ‘compose the rival claims of capital and labour’. Mussolini stood for the state and the family against the individual and class war. Doubtless on occasion he used ‘too cruel a bit’, but most people were happy to leave major decisions to him and get on with ‘gaining a livelihood and amusing themselves’. In so far as Europe was concerned, Graham’s account continued, Mussolini’s foreign policy had been ‘on the whole justified and useful’. Perhaps there were similarities with Nazism but ‘there is no false race-ism [sic] here and no anti-Semitism to speak of’, while ‘the German people are much less intelligent, much more sentimental, much more “suggestionable” than the Italians’. The question of succession was of course unresolved and the other leading figures in the regime clung to a slew of differences among them. But while Mussolini survived, Graham concluded, Italy’s growth in authority would continue and so would its gifts to the world. Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Office Robert Vansittart minuted his decision to print and distribute this report since ‘no one has, I think, better explained the country to which he is accredited’.152 Such commentary might remind historians to be careful that when they write their accounts of the Fascist regime to 1945, they know what happened in its latter years, they know of its bloody expansion, its distracted populism and its dismal decline and fall in war. Yet Mussolini, when he began his 114

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second decade in office, may well only partially have been a fascist and a totalitarian in the meaning that we now ascribe to these words. In 1932, it was still possible to imagine, along with Ambassador Graham, that Mussolini was a dictator over a restless people who had known dictatorship in their past and whose qualities were best thus disciplined. Maybe he was another Caesar, another Garibaldi, another Kemal Atatürk, another authoritarian (like Pope Pius XI, whose constant willingness to rebuke his cardinals for any hint of opposition was recorded by Mussolini’s secretariat).153 Authoritativeness was what was needed, many could believe. By 1939–40 and on into the Second World War such response to the dictatorship vanished except among the regime’s tame propagandists. Instead Benito Mussolini was widely portrayed abroad as another Adolf Hitler, in several ways worse, since more boastful and less justified. By then the Duce was perceived as neither a capable dictator and administrator nor the inventor and pioneer of fascism, but rather the mimic of Nazism on its path to Auschwitz. History should damn him without redemption. This change for the worse, certainly in image and perhaps reality, is the story of the great ‘eclipse’ that is narrated in the succeeding chapters. During its second decade, Italian dictatorship stridently claimed that it was forcefully dictatorial, ever more emphatic that it stood for total revolution and had instituted a potentially global system. Now Mussolini more and more desperately talked the philosophical talk, while walking a deeply cynical, populist walk. These were the years haunted by the profound ideological and practical challenge issuing from Nazi Germany, as well as by the bloody murders which, by 1930–1, were becoming government policy in its Libyan colony and would before long spread to Ethiopia. It was a formula that lay behind the collapse of his image among his once abundant foreign admirers from that of a good dictator (at least for Italians) to a much more deplorable person, a man whom a squeamish Englishman, already in October 1935, labelled ‘the worst of the dictators’.154

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CHAPTER 5 AN ITALIAN DICTATORSHIP, ITS DREAMS OF EMPIRE AND THE ENVELOPING SHADOW OF NAZISM

‘Sangue, sangue, sangue’, sings Otello, tormented into madness by Iago’s malicious evocation of the green-eyed god of jealousy. ‘Blood, blood, blood’ is a slogan often thought to express the inevitable cost of dictatorship, as distinct from less cruel political systems. Websites multiply, with their seemingly objective lists and their highly dubious counts: Mao 45 to 75 million deaths, Stalin 40 to 62 million, Hitler, ‘Type of Regime: Fascist’, 17 to 20 million.1 Mussolini’s responsibility for a million or so premature deaths cannot compete with such totals. Yet his regime did have a black record of murder, with the great majority of the killing occurring during its second, rather than its first, decade. Had Mussolini died in 1931 or 1932, he would bear in his log the death of Matteotti, the murder of two thousand and more political opponents between 1919 and 1925 (the socialists and communists killed hundreds of their Fascist rivals in the political struggles of that time) and the judicial execution of eight enemies of the regime at the hands of the Special Tribunal in its first years of operation (four of them ‘Slav’ opponents of Italian rule in the borderlands). Furthermore, the Duce had regularly acclaimed violence and hate as ideals for his movement, exalting a ‘party-militia’ whose soldiers must be ready to slaughter for their credo at home and abroad. Yet, as a death tally, the total for that first decade is relatively small, whether compared in our own era to quite a few liberal democracies that take on international policing duties, let alone more authoritarian regimes or, for example, to the French Revolution in the 1790s.2 It is also less than that of Liberal Italy 1905–15, with that regime’s inability to check domestic murders, its aggressive invasion of Libya in 1911–12 and its vicious punishment of its military foes and unarmed indigenous civilians there, regularly justified by the thesis that the ‘third’ Italy was resuscitating ‘our ancient civilisation’.3 116

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No doubt some commentators will exclaim that the 1920s prepared the way for the 1930s. But a critic might respond that deciding this dictatorship was bent on war and massacre from beginning to end is rather like the common but unconvincing view, noted above, that dictators are evil from their births to their deaths. As has been demonstrated in this book so far, maybe the safest conclusion over the blackness of Mussolini’s record in his first decade of power is ‘not proven’. It is telling that when it came to dealing in death during its second decade in power, Fascist Italy opened its killing fields, not at home or in Europe but in ‘Africa’, that is, imperial territory that in 1930 was as royal and national as it was Fascist. This tatterdermalion empire, as it has been termed,4 was both new and belated. Britain, France, Russia and the United States, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium and quite a few other countries had been in the field well before the Italians. The quality of such nations’ administration varied but murder was always part of it. A recent tally reckons 300,000 Europeans died in the various imperial campaigns between 1871 and 1914, as did 50 to 60 million indigenous people, 90 per cent of them civilians.5 In this sense the familiar preoccupation with the Holocaust and ‘Nazi-fascism’ may have hidden the parallels that exist between Italian history and that of the other imperialist states, Britain being a prime example of a country that, in the 1930s, was still more an empire than a nation. In the Fascist and Italian Empire, by 1930–1 General Rodolfo Graziani began to win prominence for himself, although, in Libya, where the most habitable lands lay, settlement moved slowly; a paltry 7,000 civilians had settled there in 1933, despite talk, going back to the Liberal era, of the territory being Italy’s ‘America’, the ‘promised land’.6 In Somalia, at the beginning of 1935, some 250 civilians could be tallied, including 10 women and three or four children.7 Eritrea held only a scattering more (although numbers rose rapidly thereafter). By 1945 Graziani had become the most notorious of ‘Fascist’ officers, commanding the official armies of the RSI. To be sure, under that insecure regime, there were plenty of auxiliary unofficial militias but, during these last months of Fascism, Graziani was widely seen as the Duce’s key deputy. Saved by the Americans from execution at the war’s end, he was briefly imprisoned during the merciful Italian purges, emerging to become ‘Honorary President’ of the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) in 1953, dying two years later. His ghost can still arouse controversy; 117

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in 2013 a monument in his honour was erected at Affile in the hinterland of Rome. The use of public money in the process aroused leftist criticism, as did the ongoing and credible charge that, at various times in his career, Graziani had been guilty of war crimes. Graziani was another figure in our story whose career had begun under Liberalism. He was not simply a Fascist creation. Graziani was born in the Abruzzi in 1882 to a middle-class monarchist family and schooled in Rome. In his memoirs, he claimed to have determined to serve the nation as a soldier after hearing, when a teenage boy, of the defeat at Adowa; the aim was chiselled into his life ‘to increase the prestige of the Patria in the world’.8 He soon enrolled in a military career, his first major service after officer training being in Eritrea from 1908. His final exam, he recalled, had asked him ‘to demonstrate how the Nation, although fallen into ruin, can always rise again by maintaining intact its honour and love for independence and freedom’. ‘Freedom’, in his mind and evidently that of his examiners, had a narrow definition, while his fondness for palingenesis, making Italy great again, was inscribed under Liberal rule. Graziani utterly rejected (internationalist) socialism and disparaged those who argued that class division was more important than national power. Unsurprisingly, therefore, he became a young officer of a type to be found in every European empire but, in his case, rendered hypersensitive by Italy’s position as the least of the Great Powers and annoyed by what he viewed as the superciliously patronising attitudes of British colleagues in Egypt.9 A colonialist, a racist, a soldier determined on victory and so a Social Darwinist, Graziani had been made in Liberal Italy, or at least in those circles that composed its ruling class whose new generation of authoritarian antisocialist liberals were establishing the Nationalist Association well before there was talk of Fascism. Typically Luigi Federzoni, who led the ANI into Fascist government, complained in 1923 that Italians still did not ‘love their colonies’; such lands ‘lived outside the spiritual horizon of the great majority of Italians, whether in thought or action’.10 Mussolini, it might be thought, deserved this reprimand along with the rest, despite his occasional enthusiasm for ‘imperialism’ as ‘the eternal and immutable law of life’.11 But Graziani, throughout his career, loved the empire without reservation. By 1914 Graziani had been posted to Libya but, like most of his fellow soldiers, he was quickly summoned to the Isonzo Front against Austria118

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Hungary in 1915. He served out his First World War with military distinction and in 1918 was promoted to be the youngest colonel in the army. In 1920 he briefly left the service to experiment with commerce in the East, where he made contact with Giuseppe Volpi, that businessman with friends everywhere. For a time Graziani refused invitations to join the PNF. Instead, in 1921 he resumed his career in the army. He was posted to Tripoli where he swiftly became the officer on whom new Governor Volpi relied on to savagely reimpose Italian rule which, by then, did not extend far beyond the coast.12 The liberal democratic pre-Fascist Minister of Colonies, Giovanni Amendola, soon to die after a squadristi beating, pronounced that the young officer’s ‘behaviour had been above any eulogy’ in ‘the methodical nature of his preparations and the rapidity of his actions’.13 In Graziani’s early campaigning, 6,500 Arabs were killed at an Italian cost of 620.14 Indigenous Arabs, he always knew to be ‘barbarians’, that deathdealing word left over from classical Rome, which was so often invoked to justify Italian murder.15 In 1924 Graziani accepted honorary (and backdated) membership of the PNF. He was willing to receive royal honours too, in 1938 being made (hereditary) Marquis of Neghelli, a city in southern Ethiopia, quite a reward if not at the level of the Duchy of Addis Ababa accorded to Marshal Pietro Badoglio, by then his bitter rival. Some domestic service followed his term in Libya, prompted by Volpi’s transfer to the Ministry of Finance. In 1925, the King made Volpi, to his pride and joy, hereditary Conte di Misurata, a port regained by Graziani; back in Venice, Count Volpi enjoyed entertaining wealthy international guests on his sumptuously furnished yacht, La Misurata. General Emilio De Bono, a quadruumvir in 1922, and so, at least in his own eyes, the senior Fascist military man, was appointed to succeed Volpi as Governor of Tripolitania. Graziani judged De Bono another personal enemy, despite the fact that, as shall be seen below, he was the most active figure in the dictatorship favouring forward action in Ethiopia.16 Despite such strife among the empire’s military chiefs, in 1928 Graziani assumed command in Cyrenaica, beginning to construct a personality cult by publishing a hefty volume on Italian efforts to penetrate the Fezzan. It was endorsed by his senior, General Badoglio, and carried photos of Mussolini’s trip to Tripoli in 1926, of De Bono and of royal tours around the colony, especially the military service of Amedeo, then Duca delle Puglie, the son of the Duke of Aosta. The young duke was photographed fetchingly astride a white camel. 119

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The book was dedicated, with more simple patriotism, to those (white) soldiers who had lost their lives in battle with the hope that ‘their holocaust’ could inspire the new generation to colonialism.17 In 1930 Graziani was promoted to Deputy Governor of Cyrenaica under Badoglio, who had supplanted De Bono, in December 1928 presiding over both Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. By 1932, in time for the Decennale, Graziani could boast that he had imposed peace on Cyrenaica, suppressing the resistance led by the uneasily united military-religious Senussi (Sanusiyya) order; the Italians charged them with upholding slavery as the Fascist regime would do more outspokenly in regard to Haile Selassie in Ethiopia.18 Present-day estimates say at least 100,000 locals eventually died to achieve this ‘Carthaginian’ peace, one-eighth of the population.19 As Graziani, a soldier given to publicity, put it in grandiloquent phrases that fitted his times and might be understood as yet another hackneyed appeal to palingenesis, he was making Italy great again. In a ‘pacified’ Cyrenaica, ‘the civilisation of Rome, renewed by Fascism, marches and triumphs on the soil of Libya, dear to our ancient memories and rendered holy by the utterly pure blood of so many of our [white] heroes who, in its conquest, immolated themselves not out of a greedy will to rule but from an ideal of human progress and civilisation’.20 Graziani did not explain that quite a segment of Italian forces were composed of nonwhite ascari from Eritrea, the Italian Somaliland or emigrants from over the Ethiopian border.21 There was no special emphasis on Mussolini. No doubt Arnaldo Mussolini had weighed in helpfully with the advice that temperatures in Tripolitania were ‘not African in the true sense of the word’ and went on a publicised excursion to the colony only a year before his death.22 But when in 1934 Graziani published yet another account of his victories, he dedicated it not to Mussolini but to Amedeo, who had by now succeeded his father as Duke of Aosta, ‘the Saharan Prince’ as he was flatteringly denominated. The book also offered photos of the Duke of Pistoia, a professional soldier who had held a command position and had enrolled in the PNF.23 The ‘European’ normality of Italy’s royal and nationalist empire in these years, despite its death toll, was underlined in May 1934 when the aged French Marshal Hubert Lyautey, doyen of French imperial soldiers, born in 1854, wrote to congratulate Graziani on his victories, affirming that ‘the same concepts’ lay behind his ‘great work’ in its ‘methods of occupation, pacification and policy’ as had been pursued by the French.24 120

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Graziani’s own boasted dedication to the ‘ideal of human progress and civilisation’ suggests that, for all his modishly Fascist romanità, his colonialism was not so different from that of other European officers when at their most robust in their empires. Certainly Graziani was not alone in pressing for tough policies towards indigenous opposition, with Italian forces, despite the Geneva Convention, repeatedly using ‘phosgene gases to devastating effect’.25 In December 1930 Rivista Aeronautica waxed enthusiastic over the ‘grand police operation’ in Cyrenaica. As this air force journal, with its bourgeois and technocratic readership, had often heard Douhet predict, now they were sure that aerial bombing had proven notably effective, as had the strafing from a low altitude of those fleeing attack. The happy slogan of imperial victory, they pronounced, had been ‘war without truce or quarter’.26 The most notorious policy of the campaign was the further use of weapons of mass destruction – mustard gas was dropped over civilians at Tazerbo (Tazirbu) near Kufra in July 1930, this time on Badoglio’s orders;27 he stated that it did not matter if every indigene ‘perished’, so long as challenge to Italian rule ended.28 Crueller was the penning of the nomadic peoples of the interior into poorly equipped camps near the coast;29 Volpi had begun experiments of that kind in 1923.30 Now, 90 per cent of the indigenes’ animal stock was reckoned to have died.31 A recent historian sums it up as ‘tantamount to genocide’.32 Most remembered among Fascist perpetrations was the public hanging of the wounded resistance leader ‘Umar al-Mukhtar on 16 September 1931 at a prison camp at Suluq, 50 kilometres south-east of Benghazi, before an assembly of an alleged 20,000 ‘Bedouin’.33 ‘Umar al-Mukhtar was insultingly described as a ‘bandit’, meeting the death that a bandit must.34 For Graziani, he was simply a ‘barbarian chief, cruel and despotic, fanatical and obstinate’.35 When his story was (romantically) represented on film in 1981 with Anthony Quinn playing the Libyan ‘hero’,36 it was soon banned by Italian Christian Democrat Prime Minister, Giulio Andreotti, as ‘damaging to the honour of the army’. This censorship was not withdrawn until 2009. In a work published under the auspices of the army in 2012, it was still asserted that ‘to fight in an effective way a warlike and courageous enemy like the Libyan, it was necessary to use every instrument available’, including, its author implies, poison gas.37 121

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Andreotti’s response may reflect better than ‘anti-Fascist’ historiography the fact that the cruel colonial repression in Libya during these years of which Graziani became the figurehead was at least as traditional as it was Fascist. If Mussolini made a clamorously publicised trip to Libya in 1926, he was followed by Crown Prince Umberto who processed through Eritrea and Somalia in 1928 and Libya in 1932, accompanied by his wife (from that Belgian royal family with the highest African murder count on its record in the Congo). Victor Emmanuel III journeyed to Tripolitania in 1928, Eritrea in 1932 (Federzoni effusively hailed the trip, when ascari survivors from the Battle of Adowa were brought together to salute the king),38 Cyrenaica (just after the brutal ‘victory’) in 1933 and Somalia in 1934.39 He also travelled to Alexandria in March 1933 to give monarchical, national and regime backing to Italian culture there, in a process which, it has recently been noted, ironically foreshadowed the end of centuries of ‘Italian’ presence in Egypt.40 Fascists did, from time to time, weave Fascist words around the empire. In March 1932, for example, Giuseppe Bottai claimed, dubiously, that Fascism had propagated a new ‘linfa vitale’ (lifeblood) that in turn meant a ‘colonial soul’ had been implanted into Italians.41 Vincenzo Fani Ciotti, a Futurist and poet who died from tuberculosis in 1927, had urged still more grandiloquently that Empire was ‘the most widespread manifestation of the desire for hierarchy and organisation’ that led primitive tribes to seek out a ‘Duce’. There was no such thing, he added, as commercial empire; imperialism was a matter of the spirit or nothing. Marxists could not be more wrong about its motivation.42 In the imperialist journal L’Oltremare another Fascist writer dismissed criticism of ‘atrocities’. War had its needs and ‘Panslavic [Marxist] libellers’ could scarcely pretend to virtue. After they accepted Fascist Italian discipline, local peoples would gradually resume their lives, which would improve without nomadism. But they would have to accept that ‘our race’ is more fecund than theirs, he added pitilessly, and Italian settlers must grow in number.43 Yet, as the Decennale approached, the brutal pacification of Libya was relegated to the background in most minds. Overall government expenditure on imperial dealings remained low. Certainly the scanty Italian empire was ignored in the international press; in June 1932, the journal of the British imperialist organisation the Round Table (with its own palingenetic evocation of Arthurian legend), congratulated Italy on its ‘clear and brave’ foreign policy, arguing that under its dictator the country had pursued with 122

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‘Latin thoroughness the doctrine of enlightened self-interest’; no mention of blood-spattered victory or poison gas there. Moreover, Italians, in great majority, were as detached from its empire as they always had been.44 Nor was the Duce visibly pushing imperial power; the constant evocation of romanità was overwhelmingly for domestic consumption (although it did not cure other Italians’ suspicion and dislike of the national capital). The military figures are telling. In 1931 Eritrea was defended by a modest force of 107 officers, 84 NCOs, 89 ordinary soldiers, 3,000 ascari and 755 horses, Somalia by 68 officers, 33 NCOs and 2,557 ‘African’ troops.45 Equally it was still unclear what the purpose of the empire was (and the regime never discovered the oil that lay not far below the Libyan sands). As one academic expert (with French connections) wrote in 1933, with somewhat surprising span and sentiment, conquest was a ‘fatal law’ and assimilation had not worked in countries such as the USA or Australia, where all agreed that the indigenous were destined for extinction. Yet Italy, he argued, expressing his debt both to the ANI and to the regime, should look for a way to improve the indigenous lot. Italy was now ‘a great Muslim power’ and it should not opt merely for a ‘sterile policy of oppression and domination’. Fellow European nations and Pope Pius XI, ‘with his acute scientific spirit’ and his continued interest in ‘African studies’, he added, could be precious collaborators and so assist the evolution of a ‘new civilisation’, presumably a Catholic, Italian and Fascist one, throughout Africa.46 Libya was all very well, and later in the 1930s became the focus of a radical totalitarianism of a kind. But for Italian imperialists the key to their past history and future ambition was the vast empire of Ethiopia. As Federzoni, returning to the Ministry of Colonies in 1926 told Mussolini, Eritrea and Somalia had as their most obvious purpose to be a ‘springboard’ to Ethiopia and to worlds beyond. Spurred on from there or from Libya, he did not forbear to dream, the nation could cut a passage to the Atlantic Ocean, debouching in Portuguese Guinea, paving the way of a sort of ‘Cape to Cairo’ Italian-style,47 and he was soon lamenting that Volpi, in charge of national finances, might rejoice in being Count of Misurata but remained sternly parsimonious when it came to funding imperial ventures.48 Anti-Fascist historians are inclined to assume that it was Mussolini himself who, from as early as 1925, was already aiming to drive his nation 123

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to Ethiopia a decade later.49 Yet there was plenty of continuity in the Italian approach to Ethiopia during the dictatorship’s first decade and Mussolini rarely stood out for his commentary on policy there, unless prompted by the reiterated memory of Adowa, cleaved to by scores of Italians in patriotic virtue, whether Liberal or Fascist.50 Back in 1906, Ferdinando Martini, the elegant Tuscan landowner and bellelettrist Governor of Eritrea 1897–1907, who became Minister of Colonies 1914–16, advised that the Ethiopian state was ‘incurable’; it simply could not last. Certainly its history over the next two decades was troubled, with the young Emperor Lij Iyasu, who in 1913 had succeeded his grandfather, Menelik, the victor at Adowa, turning Muslim and looking to be Turkey’s ally in the First World War. He was dethroned in 1916 and was succeeded by Empress Zewditu, his aunt. Female rule did not prosper amid bitter factional and regional infighting. Soon her cousin Ras Tafari Makonnen became regent, and from 1928 negus or emperor (crowned in 1930), assuming the title Haile Selassie. In 1923, Ethiopia was admitted as the only independent indigenous African member of the League of Nations apart from the founder member, Liberia, being backed in that elevation by Italy and France, despite British doubts.51 Over the next years, despite much talk of ‘reform’ and an extensive visit by Ras Tafari to various European countries including Italy between May and July 1924, international writers still readily accused Ethiopia of ‘savagery’.52 The survival of slavery was an object of general opprobrium. In 1929, Lady Kathleen, the wife of Sir John Simon, the British Liberal politician who was to become Foreign Secretary (1931–5), published a major denunciation. ‘Abyssinia’, ‘this remote and little known country in North East Africa’, she charged, was an epicentre of ancient evil. ‘Young’ Haile Selassie (born 1892) was trying to eliminate slavery but he was not helped by the hard-bitten and greedy attitude of European powers ready to divide the country into ‘spheres of influence’, nor by the instability of native government. ‘Civilised powers’, she urged, must not ‘close their eyes’ to dire cruelty there.53 In December 1925, Mussolini and British ambassador Sir Ronald Graham had exchanged notes over Anglo-Italian policy towards Ethiopia, reconfirming a 1906 tripartite agreement between Britain, Italy and France. It dealt with the flow of the Blue Nile north, a matter of major interest to imperial Britain but, as far as the Italians were concerned, the deal appeared to concede them 124

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a ‘sphere of influence’ over much of the rest of the Ethiopia, despite French quibbles.54 No serious action followed in the short term, with an army mission that had counselled a full-scale war plan against Ethiopia being ignored by Mussolini.55 Over the next years the clearest voice favouring aggression was Emilio De Bono, yet another senior colonialist soldier, born in 1866 of Lombard noble descent, a man who had entered military college at the age of 12. The Liberal Army, he remembered, was alienated from the political world but anxious to fight when the monarch ordered.56 In July 1914, he added, officers were ready to go to war for the Triple Alliance, but their real fear was the frustration that would be caused by continuing neutrality.57 De Bono’s nationalism, authoritarianism and ambition made him into an early member of the PNF, during the March on Rome the quadruumvir who symbolised the Fascist ambition to get on well with army chiefs. After the creation of the dictatorship he received appropriate reward in the empire, serving as Governor of Tripolitania from July 1925 to January 1929 and then Minister of Colonies from September 1929 to January 1935. In that office, he assured Grandi that there was nothing serious about allegations of Italian atrocities in Cyrenaica and, in any case, anything was better than to have to live as a nomad, even a harrowing death, it seemed.58 Similarly, it did not take De Bono long to suggest that Italy should oppose Haile Selassie’s reforms in Ethiopia and sow dissension among the rival chiefs where it could. It must remember that it should always seek to be ‘respected and feared’ across the vaguely defined borders of its small, weakly garrisoned, East African colonies.59 In that regard, De Bono petitioned Mussolini for a major cash injection for Eritrea where, he complained, ‘very little had been done also under the Fascist regime’.60 His activism was greeted with caution by Foreign Minister Dino Grandi who stuck to the traditional line that, no doubt, an eye should be kept on Ethiopia, which was a ‘precarious’ state at best. But Grandi preferred not to alienate Haile Selassie at present,61 although he, too, disliked the prospect of a ‘consolidated’ central power in that country.62 Mussolini did not demur. Meanwhile, Italians’ scarcely latent hopes received titivation from abroad. In July 1931, Grandi told Mussolini that on a visit to Paris to discuss the debt moratorium, Pierre Laval, then French prime minister, had commiserated with him about the poor treatment that mandateless Italy had received at the 125

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Versailles Peace Conference. Might advance into Ethiopia offer some compensation, the Frenchman asked less than innocently?63 It was just as Italy was preparing for the Decennale amid the growingly fervent emphasis that Fascism was universal and had drafted the ideology of the twentieth century that officials began serious planning for a more forward policy directed against Ethiopia. The key expert on the situation was Raffaele Guariglia, born in 1889 to a noble Bourbon family – he was Barone di Vituso – and welcomed into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1909. Guariglia was destined to be Foreign Minister in the government of Marshal Badoglio that succeeded Mussolini in July 1943. He served as a ‘monarchist’ until February 1944.64 At that time, Guariglia liked to claim, he embodied the continuity of Italian foreign policy. He may well have done. Yet his memoranda of 26–7 August 1932 sounded a new note when they urged a ‘more dynamic and active policy’ against Ethiopia, while picking up De Bono’s earlier arguments in favour of fomenting opposition to Haile Selassie. Any continuation of the existing nebulous policy of friendship, he warned, could ‘definitively compromise our traditional aspirations towards a region which can constitute the outlet for our excess population and the source of numerous and, for us, important primary materials’. No one should forget, he added, the real and present threat Ethiopia offered to undermanned Eritrea and Somalia. An accord with Britain and France in regard to a more vigorous Italian line was desirable. But for the moment, he conceded, the old empires were not being helpful. Therefore, if we wish our country to expand its colonies and, to use a big word, create an Italian Colonial Empire, we cannot look for action beyond Ethiopia [no room in his mind for luxuriant fantasies about romanità]. Places in the sun and especially in the African sun (which are the ones that most interest us) have all been seized. . . . When it comes to colonies, it is necessary to conquer them and not wait until they fall from the sky like manna.

An Italian air force could bring speedy victory, he counselled under influence from Douhet. An Italy that ruled all of East Africa, he added as an afterthought, not as purely racist as a Nazi might approve, could enrol a ‘black army’ that must enhance its power.65 This hope, much nearer to the behaviour 126

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of the French or British or Spanish empires than to what became the Nazi race-state, was destined to linger throughout the Fascist years. Three months after Guariglia’s memorandum, De Bono and the Ministry of Colonies reviewed the situation, again noting the need to break up Haile Selassie’s state. Under-Secretary Alessandro Lessona, from a military background and an early Fascist, an official soon sedulously garnering imperial profits from the empire for his various greedy family members,66 hoped that Italy could still win collaboration from Britain and France behind a more interventionist programme. But De Bono replied subtly that Italy should move one step at a time, with Pompeo Aloisi, the new Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs (he sprang from the papal nobility), urging in Machiavellian manner, ‘today no one in Europe wants to make war and so it is necessary on our part to exploit the fear of war that others have’. De Bono promised to forward the issue to Mussolini, with the implication that now the dictator should take empire seriously,67 and soon he was pleased to be granted half a million lire ‘to favour brigandage on the Ethiopian periphery’. But, he told his chief, he would have preferred 3.5 million and real preparation of ‘an eventual offensive expedition’.68 By the end of 1932, then, a half-plan had come into existence for African aggression, pushed more by the traditions of the foreign policy of the least of the Great Powers than by Mussolini or by Fascist ideology. In 1911–12, Giolitti’s Liberal government had taken a year to savagely seize Libya from its Turkish owners and so had briefly set the map of Italian diplomacy at a time of rising international tension in Africa and not in Europe. Was Fascist Italy to try to do the same, now that the Nazis were at the gates? At home, events in Germany gave a stronger prompt towards radical and ostensibly ideologically driven policies. There, the story is familiar. In the elections of September 1930, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP), under its Führer Adolf Hitler, suddenly rose from a trifling 12 seats in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic to hold 107 and become the second largest party. A further, greater electoral victory followed in July 1932 when the Nazis won 230 seats, with a slight drop from a further election in November to 196. On 30 January 1933, after elite jockeying, aged President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor.69 Further brutally managed elections in March 1933, when 127

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the Nazi total rose to 288 and the almost immediate passing of the Enabling Act, led rapidly to the banning of rival parties and the creation of a dictatorship. It became absolute in August 1934 with the death of Hindenburg. How were these circumstances read in Italy, since Marxists and others were certain that Hitler was another, more terrible, ‘fascist’ dictator and the Führer did take pains to advertise that his office in Munich found room for a bust of Benito Mussolini, while extolling the Duce in his ‘second book’ in 1928 as a ‘brilliant statesman’?70 Christian Goeschel, in his recent culturalist study of the relationship between Duce and Führer, has underlined rightly that ‘the ideological impact of Fascism on Nazism was really quite minor’ during the 1920s, although the Mussolinian regime had ‘widespread appeal’ to the German right as a whole.71 Goeschel states that ‘the two leaders shared many similarities’,72 a comment that may or may not be true in regard to their deep personalities but scarcely reflects what might well be termed Mussolini’s brilliant career as he moved towards his 50th birthday (he was 6 years older than Hitler) compared with the lacklustre Führer. The Duce had after all proved a fine and effective journalist and press manager both at Avanti! and Il Popolo d’Italia, as well as a voluminous writer on a great variety of themes. Originally stimulated by his early education in Marxism, he worked hard to craft a credible (anti-Marxist) philosophy for his dictatorship. Yet he retained a cynicism about the human condition that separated him from Adolf Hitler with his fanatical hatred of ‘Judeo-Bolshevism’ and his deep belief that ‘modern’ racial science could infallibly identify his Jewish foes and justify their extermination. If a single meaning for Italian Fascism had not been carved into stone in 1932–3, it is not surprising to find Italian divisions over what the new and evidently fearsome regime in Germany meant and just what its existence might imply about the meaning of Fascism. What, after all, if racist nationalism was its driving force, would be Germany’s policy towards Austria and an Anschluss, that, if accepted in Rome, meant the loss of Italy’s major strategic gain in the First World War and Mussolini’s relegation to the rank of dictator minor? A scattering of contacts between Italian Fascists and the Nazi movement had occurred throughout the 1920s. In February 1926 a report in Critica fascista about ‘Bavarian fascism’ decided that the ‘Austrian’ Hitler’s movement was on the wane, a situation described chucklingly as proof that Germans and 128

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Anglo-Saxons were not as organised as sometimes thought.73 A year later, a consul in Munich noted that Hitler had defended Italy against insulting attacks from the German Right, always unwilling to forgive the ‘betrayal’ of the Triple Alliance in 1914 and convinced from racial theory of Italian inferiority.74 In December 1927 the press attaché to the Italian embassy in Berlin met ‘the wellknown Adolf Hitler’ at the house of his patroness, Helene Bechstein, to be told that Italy and Germany could pursue mutually satisfactory lines by attacking Freemasons and Jews. In Germany, Hitler predicted, for a time wrongly, a grave coming crisis would allow the NSDAP soon to bestride the stage.75 But from an Italian perspective, Hitler did not yet carry sufficient weight to be taken too seriously. Might matters be changing? In May 1929, Giuseppe Morreale, the press attaché in Vienna, met Hitler, who declared his aim to spur among Germans ‘a sympathy for Mussolini and Italy’, while contending that Italy should not oppose an Anschluss if given a guarantee of its own territory in the Alto Adige (Süd Tirol). Hitler came over ‘as anything but the fool that his adversaries depicted’, Morreale reported. He was tenacious and could speak as though ‘inspired’. He was ‘a man adapted to drag the masses’ to his side and teach them his views. His ‘socialist-nationalist’ movement might well grow, was the prediction back to Rome.76 After the 1930 electoral ‘triumph’ by the ‘partially fascist’ Hitler, described thus in Gerarchia with a warning not to forget the danger of an Anschluss,77 Morreale again saw Hitler. The Führer was happy about the NSDAP’s gains but assured his interviewer that he did not intend to mount a putsch. Questioned further, Hitler explained that he thought Mussolini’s phrase about Fascism not being for export was ‘applicable only in regard to Fascist technique. Instead its general concept has international value’. Hitler, Morreale related, therefore showed himself ‘undoubtedly obsequious towards the priority of Fascism’ and did foresee ‘the fascistisation of all European nations’. However, such a line could not be assumed about his advisers such as Alfred Rosenberg, who had damned ‘the Judeo-Fascist regime’; the cruder Julius Streicher did not hesitate to write off the ‘Jewish lackey’, Mussolini.78 Hitler himself preferred almost always to talk about nationalist socialism rather than fascism, totalitarianism or Corporatism.79 It was a tricky world was the implication, all the more since the Heimwehr, so long Italy’s preferred and best financially rewarded clients in Austria, were 129

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perpetually weathered by internal strife. Given that the issue of the Anschluss would not go away, Italy had to remain on the alert about developments in Germany, where in May 1931 Grandi deplored the creation of an AustroGerman customs union, insisting the Germans were always ‘big beasts with flat feet’. The French were doubtless likely to be annoying. But, Grandi declared, in what was to become one of the continuing definitions of Italian foreign policy (with much tradition behind it), the Fascist regime should seek always to act as ‘the deciding element’ (peso determinante) in European diplomacy.80 An Anschluss, he conceded, ‘one day will come. Unity is the law of many races but especially the law of the German race. Italy’s job is to delay as long as possible the destined process. If that could be for a generation, Italy would gain the indispensable time to resolve the problem of the Alto Adige,’ by implication fully Italianising it. It could form a system of alliances along the Danube, which might have to include Yugoslavia, to block any German moves east. What Italy needed, he counselled, was a ‘wary, coldly rational and timely’ policy of the sort it had been pursuing, with advantage to ‘the Regime and the Country’.81 But would domestic changes in Germany allow such Machiavellianism to prosper? How would Hitler fit into the functioning of international life? By now the key intermediary between Mussolini and the German right was Giuseppe Renzetti, a returned soldier (with a Polish Jewish wife), who had taken up residence in Germany and made a living from business and political connections.82 By 1931–2 Renzetti’s attention was switching from the Stahlhelm and the German Nationalist Party (Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) to Hitler and the Nazis. So, in October 1931, he met Hitler and then wrote to Mussolini to report the Führer’s desire for friendly relations with Italy and his personal admiration for the Duce.83 In March 1932, Renzetti was granted space in Gerarchia to predict that the NSDAP was advancing fast from its 1930 gains. Again he had spoken to Hitler who tried to tell him that Italians did not comprehend anti-Semitism because they could not imagine how many Jews there were in Germany and what damage they had done. Renzetti opted for realism in his own explanation, suggesting that if the Nazis obtained power, they would have plenty of more important issues to deal with in Depression-struck Germany than the Jews.84 A few months later, Renzetti was reporting on the July 1932 election, which followed almost immediately the sacking of the ostensibly ‘realist’ 130

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Grandi as Italian Foreign Minister. Mussolini himself again took that post and sent Grandi to be ambassador in London.85 Hitler, Renzetti now advised, avoiding that difficult word ‘fascist’, was a ‘populist condottiere’. His movement had doubtless made some mistakes and contained in its ranks ‘hotheads, demagogues, dreamers and scatterbrains’. Yet they did possess a ‘spiritual power with the masses’ that old politicians did not. They must be taken seriously.86 In due course, Renzetti was rewarded for his labours with a prime position to watch the Nazi victory parade in Berlin on 31 January 1933,87 when Hitler suggested portentously that ‘you cannot export ideas or systems but it is true that ideas expand on their own account like the rays of the sun or the waves of the sea’.88 Renzetti may have been duchessed by the Nazis but he had failed in hinting that Hitler would appreciate an invitation to the Decennale.89 Mussolini continued to resist overtures from Hitler for a meeting, although he did send a signed photograph of himself via Göring (thousands went out monthly). Italian reticence had not stopped Hitler from declaring that, once he took office, ‘Nationalsocialist [sic] Germany and Fascist Italy will be friends for decades and decades or at least so long as I live’.90 Other contacts between the Fascist regime and Hitler were growing. In August 1932, the journalist Francesco Ciarlantini, a former socialist who had followed a parallel course to Mussolini into Fascism in its first days, admitted that the Nazis did not call themselves Fascists. However, he added, almost everyone else did. There was no doubt that Hitler deeply admired the Duce and was offering a ‘loyal’ and ‘precise’ policy towards Italy. His movement doubtless possessed different factions and tolerated some irrationality. But so had Fascism in its origins. Nazi racism might be troubling but it did not amount to a foolish return to pre-1914 pan-Germanism. Naturally realistic Italians, who had fought the First World War against Germanic racists, had never been worried by ‘citizens of foreign origin’ nor by the ‘tiny minority’ in the country who were Jews. But, if he took office, Hitler was unlikely to allow absolutist attitudes to reign. He was a Catholic and could scarcely endorse the crazy views of an Alfred Rosenberg;91 Ciarlantini damned his sort of German racism as ‘pagan, antireligious and antipolitical’, simplistic, ingenuous and anti-Italian.92 But perhaps such false prophets could be controlled? Like the Fascists, the Nazis would not make off with private property but might place it under state tutelage and so adopt a Corporate order. 131

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In 1933, Ciarlantini dealt with the topic more fully in a book where he devoted himself to explaining away Mussolini’s earlier certainty that Fascism was not for export. ‘Woe to any who do not interpret Mussolini’s thought intelligently’, he enjoined. Foreign movements like Nazism would keep their foreign side. Yet Hitler’s accession to power, he pronounced in March 1933, demonstrated that, ‘since Mussolini remade Italy, the world thinks differently’. Old regimes did not work and Fascism was now necessary for the life of a nation. Maybe Roosevelt was heading in the same direction in the USA?93 In Ciarlantini’s comforting view, now most foreigners were necessarily learning from the Italian model.94 He followed up these lucubrations on the external situation with an account of ‘the imaginary Mussolini’, thereby tracing how the Duce was rooted into Italian minds and souls, although he did admit, incautiously, that Lenin’s name could arouse ‘equal passion’. Mussolini, he wrote, in what was to become a pervasive theme in the regime’s second decade, ‘in the hearts of humble people, is thought of as a being with human form but divine attributes’. Everyone hoped one day to attract the dictator’s eye.95 Mussolinism and not Fascism, he might be read as saying, was the future. Nonetheless, doubts about Hitlerian Nazism lingered in Rome. In November 1932, Hungarian strongman Gyula Gömbös advised Mussolini that Hitler had ‘genuine qualities as a tribune but not as a statesman’, as Mussolini was by implication. The flattered Duce did not disagree.96 Farinacci, by the end of the decade to be the most pro-Nazi of Fascists but always conscious of being an old soldier from the First World War, had not yet been beguiled by the Germans. He joked that the NSDAP losses in the November 1932 elections demonstrated he had been right to counsel against those who thought it easy to mount a revolution.97 In Critica fascista, a regime journalist tended to meander in his assessment of what he called ‘social-nationalism’ in Germany. Hitler did want to follow the Fascist example in bringing ‘efficiency into national and state life’ but still could prove more reactionary than Fascist, as Miguel Primo De Rivera had done. Fascism was both universal and difficult to transplant. Italy must necessarily ready itself lest Nazism in office move against Italian interests.98 No doubt it was good that a secret police report in February 1933 advised that, ‘outside the borders of our country’, Hitler’s advent had been seen as ‘a triumph of Fascism’, offering ‘happy days’ for the regime and the weakening of its anti-Fascist external foes. It was viewed as a positive for the Italian 132

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dictatorship by the working class (agents still used the term) of Milan.99 Gioventù fascista, the PNF journal edited by Starace for ‘youth’, was sure that ‘Germany is fascist’; Hitler, it stated in slightly equivocal words, had ‘assimilated the doctrine and practice of Fascism’.100 Mussolini, an avid reader of the foreign press, may have been cheered to find reiterated comments comparing the Duce’s ‘wise statesmanship’ with the imponderable Nazis. As a rightist English daily put it in the summer of 1933, Mussolini was ‘one of the most approachable dictators the world has ever known’, whereas the Nazis were already alienating their best potential friends.101 Mussolini’s respectability in some sectors of best society had not been dented as was demonstrated in April 1933 when Reverend Francis Lys, an ordained Latinist and ViceChancellor of Oxford University, wondered if the Duce should be accorded an honorary degree at the annual Encaenia ceremony.102 Yet there is evidence, too, that the rise of the Nazis worried the Italian dictator, as reported by ambassador Graham to the Foreign Office in October 1932.103 Nor did concern end after the Nazis reached office, with Mussolini sending a personal message to the Führer through his ambassador in Berlin, Vittorio Cerruti (who had a Jewish wife), warning that egregious antiSemitism could only hamper the chance of ‘revolution’ (and therefore Fascism, Italian-style) in Berlin.104 Equally he minuted after a meeting with Austrian leader Engelbert Dollfuss that he was determined to preserve his friendly neighbour’s independence and he liked the Austrian chancellor’s ‘ingenuity and will’.105 A few months later he told Bottai exasperatedly that he had invented the new order for the world, not the Germans.106 Meditating on his own dictatorship in September 1933, he decided that ‘a politician must be a psychologist’. Lacking the skill to read other’s minds and by implication being too fanatically or literally ideological – can he still have been puzzling what really drove the German Führer? – meant omitting ‘the fundamental element’. This ability should be confirmed by some life contact with the masses. The experience of Napoleon, so often his desired model, he suggested, by contrast with the Austrian generals whom the French emperor routed time and again, was the ideal.107 Hitler, it might be concluded, still had not earned a positive place in his list of world chiefs. The arrival of a second, arguably fascist regime, which could be as much rival as friend and drew on a much bigger economy in a country with a fearsome 133

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military record, lay behind the ‘unspoken assumptions’ of the Italian regime as it entered its second decade in office, first proclaimed the universality of its ideology and then opted for a radical populism under Starace. These not always openly stated concerns deepened while Hitler’s regime confronted the Depression with greater élan and success than in Italy, where the cowed press rarely mentioned socioeconomic difficulties, but where the secret police were recording widespread popular muttering. As Nazism moved from triumph to triumph, was the regime in Italy tiring? How should its dictator react to that unwanted flaccidity? In Rome, the regime’s cherished capital, ordinary people had been reported in August 1932 wondering whether they could feed their children properly over the coming winter. Tax payments devoted to prettifying PNF offices were particularly disliked as wastefully superficial when more deep-rooted issues needed redress.108 Six months later ordinary Romans were thought to admire Mussolini but were also convinced that the dictatorship was not doing enough to control corruption, believed to be endemic among the lesser party chieftains.109 Baracche (temporary huts) still disfigured poorer parts of the suburbs and teachers had to cope with schoolchildren ‘fainting from lack of nourishment’. Some housing in Rome looked like ‘Ethiopian villages’.110 Sicilians were crowding into the expanding city and hoping that their native ‘treacherous servility’ could extract advantages from Starace, the southerner from Lecce.111 Despite Fascist talk, class and region evidently remained identifying factors among Romans and all Italians. For a visit to Venice by the dictator in 1937, the regime deemed it astute to move southern-born police officials out of town and replace them with ‘northerners’, so that they would be less easy for the locals to detect.112 Nor was there happiness in other parts of the country. In Siena, the news was that the populace did not attend Fascist parades with enthusiasm. They respected Fascism but did not really ‘feel it’ (in the fashion that the Germans were already committed to Nazism, the report added with unwelcome comparison).113 Florentines, naturally ‘given to squabbling and arrogance’, did not warm to chat about alien romanità.114 In Trieste, just after Hitler took power, boys in the main square started to stone local pigeons, saying that they were hungry. Soon they were defended by obstreperous city women, ‘with workers’ aspect’, who agreed. In the circumstances the police had decided not to make arrests or otherwise intervene.115 Somewhere in Depression Italy, as 134

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it was never called, social differences had not been cured by Fascist rule. If the dictatorship was to continue into its second decade in power, something might have to be done. Would the ‘revolution’ need to be made ‘revolutionary’, the totalitarian state totalitarian, or would a crass populism be hauled into disguising Fascism’s actual hollowness? When it came to external policy, Mussolini typically pursued a double line, partly ‘revolutionary’ and ideological and partly traditional or old-fashioned. In regard to the new grand claims of Fascism to universality, a plan developed of establishing an International. It was not a new idea. The young ‘Professor’ Mussolini knew about the Socialist International, founded in 1864, beset by divisions and refounded in 1889 as the ‘Second International’, but disappointing in 1914 in its promise to avoid war through an international general strike. A Labour and Socialist International replaced it in 1923 without gaining a major profile. Its more significant successor was the Comintern or ‘Third International’ launched in Moscow in 1919 and thereafter tightly linked to Soviet foreign policy. By the mid-1930s, Trotskyites looked to a ‘Fourth International’ in their own cause, with C.L.R. James, a Trinidadian journalist, although sure Fascism served the bosses, showing a certain weakness for Mussolini when he ran over the failings of the Comintern. James characterised the Duce as ‘an ex-Socialist of great organising ability, gifts for demagogy and yet utterly unlike Stalin in that he has exceptional political intelligence and judgment’.116 As Arno Mayer detected 50 years ago,117 there was also the League of Nations, a liberal democratic International, at times uneasily managing conflicts between the liberal imperialism of the elites of its key members, Britain and France, less traditional liberal capitalism, rising anticolonialism in India and other parts of the world, and entrenching social democracy in Scandinavia and beyond.118 It is therefore not surprising that the Italian regime sought, or half sought, an International of its own, fitting the self-image of a dictator who liked to think of himself as a philosopher (and the new decade would see ‘Fascist philosophy’ or the ‘thought of Duce’ become compulsory university fare in Italy). True the nationalism, let alone the racism, of movements that could be brought under a Fascist umbrella were a major discouragement. But in 1932 obedient party intellectuals, making space for Mussolini’s revised stance on Fascism’s appeal outside Italy since they knew that their Fascism had always to 135

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be conditioned by their Mussolinism, began to explore the issue. One leading example was the diminutive Asvero Gravelli, whom some rumoured, wrongly, to be Mussolini’s son. He had been born in Brescia in 1902 to a wealthy business family but became a Fascist from the first days of the movement. He soon found a place in the regime as a journalist, editing from 1929 a monthly, AntiEuropa, with the initial blessing of Arnaldo Mussolini. In 1932 Gravelli published Verso l’internazionale fascista (Towards the Fascist International). Sure that Fascism stood for a ‘new civilisation’, he thought its brighter members like himself could ‘act as the encyclopedists of a future European revolution’ and ensure that ‘we are in a state of permanent revolution’, successfully opening the ‘minds of Europe to a superior world’. To enlarge his point, he then ran through a list of potential members: the Lapua movement in Finland, which he paradoxically began with might now look like a promiscuous definition of fascism. He moved on to either Hitler’s National Socialism or the ‘Sthalhelm’ (sic, Gravelli made frequent mistakes in inscribing foreign names) in Germany and Locker-Lampson’s Blue Shirts in the UK, helped by Harold ‘Eoad’ (Goad, the director of the British Cultural Institute in Florence). Quite a number of experts, he averred, esteemed Locker-Lampson as ‘England’s Hitler’, ‘one of the most interesting figures in English politics’. Diverse other groups could join, too, ranging from Spain or Brazil. Gravelli was certain that Kemal Atatürk had a lot in common with Fascism, while, in his view, the USA was also ready for its Fascist moment.119 It quickly became plain that Nazi racism was not for him, as he maintained ‘we are the Protestants of the racist religion’.120 By 1938, with the adoption of anti-Semitism in Italy, he was left to expostulate that ‘Nordic philosophies relate to Mussolini as a disordered mess relates to a Roman edifice of impeccable architecture. . . . Who is like Mussolini? No one. If you compare Mussolini with statesmen of other races you diminish him’. ‘Mussolini does not err. Others err’.121 Gravelli’s story underlines the confusions and contradictions in Fascist internationalism. Between 16 and 20 November 1932, further development continued at a meeting of the Alexander Volta Foundation.122 A large and distinguished band assembled in Rome under the auspices of the new Italian Academy, planned by the regime from 1926 but opened in Rome three years later (in nervous imitation of, and competition with, the French). Guglielmo Marconi became its president from 1930 to his death in 1937. Delegates 136

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arrived from several countries and from within Italy: Göring and Rosenberg, Hjalmar Schacht, Stefan Zweig, Jerôme Carcopino, James Rennell Rodd, Federzoni, Grandi, Gioacchino Volpe and numerous others. Amid much praise of Mussolini there was talk of setting up a ‘Young Europe’ movement of the type sketched by Gravelli, with verbal inheritance from what Mazzini had done a century earlier. It could include the aspirant Swiss fascist, Arthur Fonjallaz (there were at least 11 local parties rivalling his tiny, but Italiansubsidised, group) and Simon Ooms from the equally unsuccessful Dutch Fascist League (no major competitor to Anton Mussert’s pro-German NSB) and various others, not great names then or later. The grander Nazis were set to one side.123 Further Italian planning of an International was vitiated both by Mussolini’s admission that such a body was not top of his agenda and by the fissiparous nature of right-wing movements in most countries, although Rome did applaud when António de Oliveira Salazar, who had become ‘National Dictator’ in 1928 in Portugal, had his power cemented in July 1932, backed by a revised constitution of a ‘New state’ with a Corporatist social structure. They also favoured the less triumphant Colonel Eoin O’Duffy and his Blueshirts in Eire, who would head a highly unsuccessful National Corporate Party in his country and offer volunteers for Italy’s cause in Ethiopia. In 1933 O’Duffy had already imposed the Roman salute on his followers and declared that ‘the present parliamentary system is English’ and therefore alien to the Irish soul.124 The peak of the International was the Montreux conference on 16–17 December 1934 and organised by the Comitati d’Azione per l’Universalità di Roma (Action Committee for the Universality of Rome, CAUR). The Florentine lawyer and former associate of D’Annunzio, Eugenio Coselschi (born 1888), who had pushed Gravelli aside, led CAUR. Delegates from 13 European countries attended, including O’Duffy, Vidkun Quisling from Norway, Fonjallaz, Ooms, Ernesto Giménez Caballero from Spain, Marcel Bucard from the French Movement Franciste and Romanians from the ‘Legion of the Archangel Michael’, but no Germans. Debate eddied around the themes of Catholicism and racism, ‘scientific’ or ‘spiritual’ anti-Semitism, Corporatism, national independence and difference. Discussions soon ran aground, while divisions deepened at a couple of subsequent meetings.125 By April 1935 the Italian version of a Fascist International had withered away and Germany was plainly the main attractive force (and the richest) on the 137

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Far right.126 Italians might still loudly evoke the ‘universality’ of Rome but almost everyone, even ‘Professor’ Mussolini, knew that Berlin mattered more, threatened more and had more money. When it came to universality during the 1930s, with the Germans ever more in the lead, Italians would have to find a way to make do. As a contemporary Italian historian has phrased it firmly: the dictatorship failed to establish ‘a sort of Fascist Comintern backed by an organised or rigidly hierarchical structure with a monocratic decision-making centre’.127 After all, in a fashion typical of Mussolini’s dictatorship, the Duce, despite the ideologically driven babble about a Fascist International, had reacted more directly to Hitler’s arrival in power with a diplomatic arrangement that could have been applauded by Bismarck, or more likely by Metternich, who also had to work for a state that was not the greatest of the powers.128 On 19 March 1933, four days before the passage of the Enabling Act gave the Führer all but complete domination over Germany with a speed and depth unimagined in the bumpy history of Fascist rule, Mussolini announced his intention to frame a ‘Four Power Pact’ between Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Its aim was to set Germany into a controlling arrangement with the other European Great Powers, regarding the USSR as self-excluded, although it was in these months that Italy strengthened its trade and military ties with the Soviets, signing a treaty of friendship on 2 September in muted critique of Nazi Germany and its raging hostility to Judeo-Bolshevism. In 1934, Italy and the USSR exchanged information about military and naval chemical warfare.129 In Il Popolo d’Italia, the Duce wrote piously that it would be best if the Soviets came in from the cold and stated that no one would deny its right to be accepted as a Great Power.130 More generally, Mussolini encouraged worthy public statements that he did not want to be remembered as ‘the founder of an empire’ but rather as ‘the saviour of Italy and the saviour of Europe’, ‘practical and realistic’ in his devotion to ‘peace’. Despite the permanent need to talk about revolution, Mussolini had returned to his early view that foreign policy could not be original.131 Certainly he was sure that idea of the pact had saved Europe from ‘emptiness or imminent war’.132 This old-style Mussolini was therefore all the more disappointed when the initial appeal of the pact was soon blighted, most notably by French opposition, as well as by a lukewarm response in Britain and Germany. The Four Power Pact was eventually initialled by the parties on 7 June and signed 138

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on 15 July, but never ratified by the French parliament. In diplomatic histories of the period, it is readily dismissed. But Mussolini did not forget it and, for years afterwards, with war (and disaster) approaching, spoke nostalgically of the arrangement as the great opportunity lost. He would have been pleased to hear that Georges Bonnet, French Foreign Minister at Munich, recalled a colleague saying that, had the Four Power Pact survived, Europe would have been ‘saved’.133 The Duce did not forbear to mention the Pact when Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax, Anthony Eden’s successor as Foreign Secretary, came to Rome in January 1939 on a half-hearted mission of appeasement, saying temptingly that he could not take the initiative to revive it but did not disapprove of its revival ‘in principle’.134 However, the Duce’s image was being frayed by the arrival of Hitler on the international stage. In the British Foreign Office, Robert Vansittart warned loudly about ‘the present Fascist [sic] regime in Germany’. ‘Nothing’, he wrote, ‘would suit us worse than that Italy should throw in her lot with the wild, violent and unbalanced gang now in control of Germany’. Until then, Vansittart had generally endorsed the British elite’s view that Mussolini’s warmongering was for domestic consumption and did not need stern hostile action to stem it. But once there was a German dictator, Mussolini quickly transmogrified into a ‘fascist’, viewed almost in acceptance of the established view on the Marxist left as, by definition, an international danger.135 As Vansittart explained at length in a meandering memorandum in July 1933: We cannot take the same detached and highbrow view of Hitlerism [not ‘fascism’ this time] as we can of Bolshevism or Fascism, precisely because these are not really and vitally dangerous to us as Hitlerism is exceedingly dangerous. Fascism has never represented the least danger to this country, and Russia has been too incompetent a country to be really dangerous even under Bolshevism. But Germany is an exceedingly competent country!136

Despite its rapid dissolution, the Four Power Pact deserves notice for what it demonstrates about the dictatorship’s less than passionately ideological foreign policy now that Nazism was in office. If the Great Powers behaved the way Great Powers had in the nineteenth century, then, through an agreement between the four leaders, none driven by ideology, all by realpolitik, 139

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peace could follow, along with some revision of Versailles, a treaty that had after all granted much, perhaps too much, to Britain and France. Well-crafted change might appease Germany and calm its Nazi fanaticism. It could happily be extended to Italy, the ‘honorary defeated’ state of 1919. Who knew what payments could be extracted for a nation that was the natural peso determinante in such a combination? Such modern developments as the League of Nations or the various small successor states of the prewar empires could be ignored or left to preoccupy themselves with their own little affairs, while a renewed concert of the Great Powers ruled. Here was Italy’s understanding of the Four Power Pact, by no means one determined by a rampant revolutionary modernism or a love of war. It was a comprehension not destined to work well after 1933. But it would drift in and out of Mussolini’s thoughts about external affairs across the years approaching the Second World War. With the departure of Grandi to London, much of the day-to-day work of Italian diplomacy fell to Fulvio Suvich, the new Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He had been born in Trieste in 1887 and was possessed of a Hungarian noble title that went back to the seventeenth century. He was another nationalist and irredentist, much of whose politics had been formed under Liberalism. By 1931, he was in charge of one of the (rival) bureaucratic bodies trying to foster tourism in Fascist Italy.137 In his cautious memoirs, Suvich recalled that, once moved to the Foreign Ministry, he saw Mussolini at some time most mornings and on occasion in the afternoon. Mussolini’s diary in fact shows that from 1933, a discussion of foreign affairs was given space daily, although at first only for 15 minutes, with another 15 added for the colonies.138 ‘My activity was naturally subordinated to the general directives of foreign policy to which Mussolini gave the tone’, Suvich noted, ‘but at the same time earned me a certain degree of autonomy given that he was also involved in other ministries’. The dictator was readily accessible, Suvich added, and a wise official would try to see him as often as possible. One matter worth underlining was Mussolini’s failure to measure policy by invoking Fascism, although he did say, on occasion, ‘this [line] won’t please the Fascists’. He also muttered that German racial politics were ‘a colossal bad joke’.139 Suvich reflected on the idiosyncratic way that Mussolini ruled as a dictator, a matter that, curiously, has little preoccupied historians, who have mostly 140

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assumed that Mussolini dictated and that is the end of the story. Sometimes, it seems from such accounts, he did nothing except make warmongering speeches in Rome and the provinces. In reality, he toured to Italy’s many ‘historic’ cities infrequently and, once arrived, was inclined to talk ingratiatingly about how privileged he was to be there and they were to receive him, and how much he admired their glorious pasts. His major speeches were few and were more often given to one or other house of parliament than to a cheering crowd in Rome. Mussolini was quite a hardworking dictator, notably when compared with the bohemian Hitler, but with less attention to detail than was the habit of the bureaucrat of bureaucrats, Stalin. Mussolini’s active and complex sex life took up quite a bit of time.140 So, too, did his legitimate family, with his wife Rachele, and five children, the eldest, Edda, born in 1910 and the youngest, Anna Maria, in 1929. His sons Vittorio (born September 1916) and Bruno (April 1918) went through their teenage years in the 1930s, married and had to be found employment. Given that there were illegitimate children, most of whom Mussolini did not just abandon, the Duce dealt with family issues in a fashion that he certainly did not share with Hitler, nor with Stalin, although plenty of other dictators have had to integrate their families into their tyranny (and Donald Trump unapologetically seeks to do the same in the current USA). Mussolini, as a former journalist, liked to keep abreast of newspapers, whether as heavily censored, boring and predictable in Italy, or from abroad. He has been pictured flicking through their pages, his eye arrested either by commentary, especially in French papers, that riled him or by typographical errors.141 He also read government papers, if again usually hastily. He was given to scrawling in blue pencil a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ onto them and leaving his subordinates and the bureaucracy to work out the details. He did like to talk about ‘the mathematical certainty’ of his approach to this or that matter but he had not been good at maths as a boy and often his certainties were proved wrong. His most common method of administration was, as Suvich narrated, the interview, almost always filling his mornings and, often enough, much of his afternoons. Police chief Arturo Bocchini was top of most days’ agenda, with his report on any opposition or dissent that had (or had not) surfaced, an obsession with the possibility of attack, increased by the four major 141

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attempts to assassinate the dictator (November 1925, April, September and October 1926), with two other possible plans in 1931. By the 1930s Bocchini and the secret police had any plotting or indeed any criticism of the dictator from within his party well under control. Nonetheless, Mussolini demanded constant reassurance, still compulsively worrying that anti-Fascist ideology would prove more convincing than Fascist. Claims of his administrative virtue could be extravagant. In an Italian edition of Samuel Smiles’s Victorian classic on ‘Character’, it was alleged that, in 1929 alone, Mussolini had conceded 60,000 audiences and reviewed 1,887,112 pieces of correspondence from his people,142 figures that might be read as putting Stakhanov and even Superman in the shade. Nonetheless, the dictator’s appointment books indicate that he usually worked a six-day week and often from 8.30 or 9.00 in the morning to 8.00 at night, with a couple of hours off for lunch and siesta. Through 1932, for example, his mornings were occupied by talk with the Carabinieri, officials of his prime ministerial office and then with Bocchini, who provided the latest report on ‘public order’. His successor, Carmine Senise, claimed that on such occasions, the Duce particularly liked hearing negative stories about the PNF.143 Next into his office came the head of the Press Office (from August 1933, Galeazzo Ciano) and Starace, before a set of afternoon interviews with individuals or groups. They could be such regulars as Volpi, Tacchi Venturi and, when by 1935 the country’s finances were stressed by war, Felice Guarneri, in charge of monetary value and exchange and, from January 1936 to October 1939, first undersecretary, then minister of such matters. Grandi, Bottai, Giuriati, Suvich, Renzetti, Acerbo, Federzoni, Farinacci, Balbo, De Bono, Marconi and others were fitted in from time to time, as might be expected. Almost as much space was granted to visiting journalists, intellectuals both Italian and foreign, businessmen (especially American ones) and celebrities. With what might be viewed as his secretariat’s finesse, on most days Mussolini’s last interview was with a woman, who might range from the stately Rome representative of the Daughters of the American Revolution to a comely young Dutch or English or French journalist, a female German flyer, the daughter of Pyotr Stolypin or a member of the Italian aristocracy. Sometimes the meetings were multiple: on 20 January 1932 the Crown Prince of Ethiopia came with an entourage of nine, on 25 May 1933 Mussolini 142

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conversed with 20 Argentinian students, on 27 April 1933 he entertained 20 English pupils of the Istituto Maria Ausiliatrice and their Italian sponsor, on 10 January 1934 10 child members of the Heimwehr. So dictatorial rule went, by 1935 with the meetings becoming more numerous and the focus on regime leaders greater.144 As De Felice remarked censoriously, this Italian version of charisma politics entailed little proper preparation and instead hasty and, he does not add, often contradictory ‘decision making’.145 It scarcely entailed a rigorous putting of Fascist philosophy into action. Typical of so much of the rest of the dictatorship, the formality of such meetings had steadily tightened, with Mussolini installed in the grandiose Sala del Mappamondo in the Palazzo Venezia from 1929, after previously using the old prime ministerial office in the Palazzo Viminale. By the mid-1930s, the ceremony grew more baroque, with his underlings remembering lengthy bickering in the anteroom since Mussolini’s bookings, unlike the nation’s trains,146 did not run on time. Unsurprisingly, Mussolini’s mood could vary. However, most of his visitors, some simply starstruck but others natively mistrustful newsmen and women, generally agreed about his range in discussion and, more often in the 1920s than the 1930s, his courtesy.147 One notable success came in 1933 when he easily delighted Ezra Pound with the claim to have read his (taxing) A Draft of XXX Cantos (1930) and found them ‘divertente’ (amusing); in (doubtful) proof, the dictator ostentatiously held a copy of the book in his hands.148 Like shock jocks of current radio broadcast, Mussolini must have been swift to assimilate information provided by an alert secretariat about many diverse matters. Whether that entailed deep understanding and resultant competence in the administrative results is more debatable. One visitor on quite a few occasions was Herbert Moran, an Australian Catholic doctor (and sometime member of his country’s first rugby team to tour England in 1908–9). Since I am a historian of Australian origin, I shall end this chapter with his story as a small case study of a dictator in action. Moran was no narrow medico; his restless mind found much to admire in the Italian Renaissance and, in 1930, he donated £1,000 to establish a lectureship in Italian at the University of Sydney and so confirm the teaching of the country’s language and culture there. Two years later he showed up in Rome where, with the blessing of the Consul General in Sydney, he was 143

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swiftly granted a meeting with Mussolini on Saturday 6 February at 7.30 p.m. in ‘the great room of the Map of the World’.149 Mussolini was still then working at an hour when a British equivalent, Moran commented critically, would have retired for a ‘long weekend’.150 Moran found the Duce unshaven with red-edged eyelids. He had the air of a pensive statesman brooding over the troubles of his little world. No one could have been more simple or natural in his behaviour. His courtesy had been such as to make an unimportant visitor from the Antipodes feel at once perfectly at home. The antics of the showman, the melodrama of the demagogue, the pose of the uncrowned king, were all completely absent.

Well briefed, the dictator fully engaged in a lively discussion on cancer research and its possible progress in Italy. ‘I carried away from that interview the impression of a tired, worn-out, simple, intelligent man’, Moran reflected a few years later.151 In September 1935, Moran returned to Rome to find a more hostile atmosphere. The crisis over Ethiopia neared its height. Now Moran was kept waiting for 90 minutes and entered the Sala del Mappamondo to find a Duce, with lined and agitated face, was standing, his feet wide apart, dressed in the uniform of the militia. I had scarcely made two steps into the room when he shouted at me in Italian (I never heard him speak a word of English and I think his proclaimed proficiency in foreign languages was greatly over-rated): ‘Why have you come to Italy in the present moment?’

According to Moran, Mussolini assumed his guest intended to act as an advocate for the British cause but Moran switched topic to how the traditional ties between the two states could be restored. ‘I am positive’, he later commented, ‘that at this stage Mussolini wanted friendship with our country, but he wanted also to acquire possessions and he thought our attitude was that of a dog in the manger’.152 Moran now became a leading member of the Peritalia society, a body that knit together upper-class British expatriates and Italian Anglophiles hoping to restore happy ties between Italy and the UK. Early in 1936 Moran had yet 144

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another meeting with the dictator who, this time, he found ‘brooding, pensive’. Mussolini emphasised in words palpably designed to appeal to his listener’s views, ‘I shall be a pacifist myself when I have all that is necessary for the Italian people. Our only national asset is the industry of a prolific people. Italian labourers have built the bridges, tunnels and causeways of the world. The rich nations want to keep us perpetually in this position of servitude’.153 After this meeting, Moran was suddenly permitted to travel to Africa Orientale with all government assistance possible. His report was mixed. ‘Massawa seemed the most horrible town I had ever visited and even allowing for its situation and climate, was not a possession to be proud of ’. Engineering works in the Eritrean Highlands did impress him. But Italian medical and nursing methods he dismissed as ‘Latin’ and therefore well below ‘the standard of British and German countries’. Such complaint did not mean that he had any sympathy for the peoples being invaded. ‘I thought Abyssinia a vile country and the Abyssinians the most unpleasant native race that I ever had the misfortune to meet’, raddled by numerous diseases, leprosy, syphilis, cholera, dysentery, smallpox and sprue. On his return to Rome, in another meeting, Moran formally suggested to Mussolini the urgent establishment at Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, of a ‘great Tropical Diseases Institute’. But ‘Mussolini did not seem to be interested’, he reported sadly, after what had this time been a brief encounter.154 Moran now wandered off to Germany, then back to Australia but he was again in Rome in May 1938 for Hitler’s visit, when ‘the roistering Roman crowd was cynical but loved a circus’. Until 1939, he and his circle, dwindling among foreigners in their continuing admiration for the Duce, remained convinced ‘that Mussolini himself had never been a party to any brutal treatment of his fellow-citizens [echoes of Matteotti thereby being suppressed]. They knew his faults were many, but they did not believe that the grave excesses committed at times by some of his party could be charged to his personal account’.155 Moran met the Duce one last time early that year when Moran ‘escorted into his presence some forty British and American ladies’. The Duce, now well into middle age, ‘was bulging through his too tight morning coat’ but was extremely affable, spoke quietly and affectionately of the achievements of Italian workmen, and claimed that all his efforts were directed

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towards getting for them better conditions and a share in the enjoyments of life. I think he was sincere, but I left the Venetian Palace that day knowing that as far as we were concerned the game was lost.156

In reflection Moran thought that Mussolini had reached his summit of popularity after the Munich crisis because the Italian people, themselves never imperialists, had been convinced until then that he stood for peace. So he may have done, Moran reckoned. But his restlessness could not be restrained and the Duce ineffectually ‘posed and he strutted, he exhorted and he bullied’, without any serious chance of making his ‘ill-fed people into a great military power’.157 He was, in sum, ‘first and above all an opportunist; an opportunist without ethics and without morality’. ‘Flamboyant talk about the Mystic of Fascism’ could not conceal his inability to institute radical change. In fact, he ‘saw the Germans as the enemies of Europe’ but could not lure other nations to block German révanche (and grant Italy booty). He did become a megalomaniac. ‘After his first successful adventure into Abyssinia he was like a predatory animal which having once tasted blood was prowling on the look-out for more victims’. ‘But let it not be supposed that even in its worst period the tyranny against individuals ever approached that of either Germany or Russia’.158 The curious story of the relationship between the Italian dictator and a meddling Australian doctor shows something more general about the dictatorship. Interviews are of some utility. But observers have often reported that Mussolini agreed with the views expressed by the last person to whom he spoke, despite the fact that such ‘knowledge’ contradicted those of the second last. Certainly there is evidence, both memoir and archival, of Mussolini mugging up the next topic that he had to deal with and being adroit in winning over intellectuals, for example, with the claim to have read and enjoyed their latest works. It must have been a rather tiring life and not one where Mussolini’s expertise was regulated by knowledgeable bureaucrats in the way that is meant to happen in more democratic and better structured systems of rule. The interviewees, too, brought their own assumptions to the meetings and most often wanted them confirmed, therefore carrying into the Sala del Mappamondo their version of Fascism, or of Mussolini as dictator, rather than some simple, single, totalitarian version of these matters.

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As far as the interview method of administration went, then, for Mussolini, in the beginning was the word and, quite often, only that. It was a recipe that, to 1939 and beyond, curiously preserved the image of the dictator among Italians, if not abroad. It did not, however, mean that Fascism was flourishing as a philosophy of state. As the country lurched towards a brutal and disastrous war and the final crumbling of its ambitions to be a genuine Great Power, Fascism was ever more loudly propagandised and ever less effective in countering or ‘modernising’ the great traditions of Italian history, the family, patron–client ties, the region and the paese, gender, class and the Church. It was also unable to keep up with its German friend or rival. Under this form of dictatorship throughout the 1930s, national divisions, not national unity, became more evident and Fascism began to kill in aggressive, first imperial and then European, wars, but without its savagery promoting it into a serious Great Power.

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CHAPTER 6 POPULIST TOTALITARIANISM AND/OR FASCIST MYSTICISM UNDER THE DUCE

Anno XII of Fascist rule began on 29 October 1933. As if on cue for the new times that were to mark the second decade of the regime’s command over Italy, in the respectable pages of L’Illustrazione italiana Mussolini was portrayed in a freshly militant and aggressive fashion.1 Wearing MVSN uniform and a steel helmet that bore at its centre an eagle clutching fasces in its claws, his eyes shaded, his chin jutting, Mussolini thrust his presence into the face of onlookers. Here was a dictator who was always right and for whom war, if still in theory rather than practice, was the natural male activity. Quite often in the 1920s Mussolini had been a beaming leader. Seldom now did a smile, and that most often a mocking one, cross his countenance.2 In so far as public expression was concerned, the dictator’s image was being transmogrified to that of a monument, made of granite, frozen, inhuman, totalitarian. At the same time, the regime was going populist, with its methods and attitudes bearing intriguing parallels with the current outbreak of populism in a number of countries, including Italy. As has been noted, on 12 December 1931 Achille Starace replaced the austere Venetian nationalist Giovanni Giuriati who, as Party Secretary, had dismally failed to forge the PNF into a sleek agent of revolution. Starace quickly became the manager of the regime’s new policy of ‘going to the people’. Rather than excising the corrupt and the lukewarm, the PNF now pressed vast numbers into the party and its associated organisations. The resultant flood was meant to be proof that, as a regime philosopher put it when victory became evident in Ethiopia, the positive and totalitarian ‘tyranny’ of Mussolini was ‘a product of the people, not imposed on the people’, a people’s government (and, it was added with period sentiment, bore better comparison with Stalin’s USSR than Hitler’s Germany).3 By the time Starace was sacked on 7 November 1939, almost half the population had acquired a party card of one sort or other. Just what 148

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Fascist meaning came with such membership grew steadily more opaque, especially since remunerated employment and serene family life depended on its possession. Starace had been born in 1889 into a wealthy Neapolitan family, transferred for business reasons to Gallipoli in the province of Lecce. His mother had noble blood.4 Moving north before the First World War, as did multitudes of southern Italians, he flirted with accountancy as a living but located a more inspiring cause in nationalism and war service. By 1920 he had founded the Fascist movement in Trento and adopted the party’s cause of exacerbated border nationalism. Back home in Lecce, his younger brothers secured the family fortune through dubious dealing in tobacco.5 A loyal follower of Mussolini, Starace became Deputy Secretary of the newly formed PNF from 1921 to 1923, an office to which he returned in 1926, still an accountant of some kind earning a reputation for businesslike skills. It was from that position that he replaced Giuriati in command of the party. Given the regime’s ostensible devotion to stern hierarchy and the replication in society of Spartan militancy, Fascist populism, still more totalitarian populism, might seem a contradiction in terms. If Italians were meant merely to ‘believe, obey and fight’ (credere, obbedire, combattere) under the orders of Mussolini at the top of the pile, what might talk about popular involvement in the regime mean? In this regard, the boasted intention became mind control, whereby the attitudes and actions of the masses must be rendered ‘Fascist’ and nothing else. Fascism was to offer a totalitarian ‘equality’, viewed by antiFascists as a slavery where there could be no dissent, no individual or class or family or gender or regional or age freedom and based on the suppression of truthful information through pervasive propaganda. Fascist intellectuals, by contrast, dubbed it a ‘democracy’ of ‘new men and new women’, purged of all the troublesome thoughts about social division that had flooded across the world since the French Revolution. With each succeeding year of the 1930s, one Italian was meant to be more like another, one part of the country identical with another, locked in a mystical union that would render all but unnecessary the axe that guarded the bound sticks of the fasces. However, even more than in the 1920s, theory was one issue, reality another. Thinking Fascist drifted into not thinking or, at least, not visibly thinking about high politics. Within the regime’s highest circles and in Mussolini’s own mind, an ambition to control overmastered an aim to convert. 149

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As we are reminded in our own times, populism is easy enough to proclaim but more difficult to render consistent, let alone ‘total’. Its simplest solution is to focus on celebrity individuals, ‘leaders’, whose image and charisma and not their thought or their planning are what matters. With the regime’s strident and ubiquitous propaganda, the Fascist version of ‘fake news’, Italians were persuaded to concentrate their devotion on Benito Mussolini and sullenly, or better silently, direct their doubts and fears onto the party and its ideology. In the 1920s Starace may have been a methodical party bureaucrat. Now, as PNF secretary, he became the impresario of gesture, whose press copy and visual displays may have been vivid but were also ever more false. When he went downmarket intellectually in a speech in Venice, one sober police report informed his Duce that Starace had ‘sounded like a circus clown’, provoking ‘hilarity and commiseration’ from the (respectable and educated) ‘Venetian public’.6 Under Starace’s guidance, Italy was becoming a dictatorship that did not have a philosophy, except to exalt the Duce, Duce, Duce, himself ever more cynical both about his regime and human nature. It was a process that has been replicated in quite a few other dictatorships, for example those of Francisco Franco, Robert Mugabe, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and the Assads, father and son, the communist chiefs of the Warsaw Pact nations, even Joseph Stalin, despite his efforts to dress the behaviour of a bandit from the Caucasus in ‘vulgar Marxism’. A drift of ideology – Spanish fascism, anticolonialist or proletarian egalitarianism, Gaddafi’s ‘Green Book’ explicating the ‘Third Universal Theory’, ‘Baathism’, Iraq or Syria-style – into personal tyranny may be the norm for dictatorships when time passes and events do not readily fit a verbally lavish and desperately sham philosophy. The great majority of tyrants end as hollow men. The exception to this rule is always Adolf Hitler, fanatically committed to the extirpation of ‘Judeo-Bolshevism’ through the ‘certainties’ of racial science, and, after 1933, ever more clearly Mussolini’s victorious rival as a maker of rightist ideology. Starace’s version of populism combined a deeper ostensible zest for totalitarianism, a towering flood of publications proclaiming genuine revolution, an avowed puritanism – party bosses were instructed, unavailingly, to avoid being seen in brothels or the best restaurants and never to leave their offices during working hours – and what even contemporaries could decry as a silly determination to interfere in the most everyday matters.7 In May 1932, for example, youth were forbidden to roll up the sleeves of their uniforms, no matter how 150

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hot the day was.8 Back in October 1931, just before Giuriati left office, the regime had demanded that university professors throughout the country promise ‘fidelity to the King, to his Royal successors and to the Fascist regime’, with the oath continuing ‘I swear to respect the [PNF] constitution and the other laws of the state, and to fulfil my teacher’s and all academics’ duties with the aim of preparing industrious and righteous citizens, patriotic and devoted to the Fascist regime’.9 It may well be, as Renzo De Felice has argued, that the pledge made little difference to the relationship of intellectuals with the dictatorship.10 However, the oath of allegiance did signal the new determination to press on with a Fascistisation of the education system. As Starace told the press, a party thrust in all forms of teaching was now compulsory.11 By 1933 Mussolini’s speeches had been added to the school syllabus and, in 1936, study of the ‘Doctrine of Fascism’ was made compulsory at university.12 Just how many students attended, and how many listened to and absorbed, each lecture on the subject remains a disputed matter in memory. At a less solemn level, typical, too, was the message that went out to youth in November 1933 that ‘the Roman salute must now become our habitual method of greeting; the handshake must be definitively abolished’. The Fascist form of address, Starace explained, expressed a natural dignity. It must replace the soft and ‘bourgeois’ traditional salutation. This change, he added, in populist mode, had not been resolved at the work table but had arisen ‘spontaneously’ through the bursting out across Italy of squadrist ‘passion’, alive during the second decade as much as the first.13 Practical complexity in the matter was illustrated photographically in June 1934 when Hitler met Mussolini in Venice. The two first greeted each other with what looked like abrasively different versions of the raised arm salute, while at the Führer’s departure, the dictators shook hands.14 A few months before, readers of the London Times must have laughed when an eminent colonial governor maintained that he had discovered in Uganda that chimpanzees acknowledged those in authority in their male-dominated hierarchical groups with a ‘Fascist salute’.15 Words were one thing, reality another. The young intellectual Vito Pannunzio, introduced to what he discerned as a bored, bleak Mussolini in February 1939, felt defrauded when the Duce, who was wearing a rumpled blue suit and glasses, shook his hand.16 With Mussolini angrily regretting the ‘embourgeoisement’ of his regime,17 Starace led the expansion of sport in Italy, with emphasis, for example, on the 151

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opening of a number of modernist new stadia in time for the football World Cup, held in Italy in 1934 and won by the host nation. As usual it was necessary to have history on side, with the explanation that modern football (calcio) had been invented in Renaissance comuni.18 Messages could get mixed. In December 1933, the magazine Gioventù fascista advised boys to pursue the game of rugby, with the claim, in an automatic evocation of palingenesis, however erroneous, that under the name of Narpastum, it had originally been spread in Gaul by Roman legionaries. Now it should be known as ‘palla ovale’ and so fit Starace’s strenuous efforts to remove foreign words from the Italian vocabulary, to the sometime consternation of the tourist industry.19 Few Italian boys were actually persuaded to favour rugby over calcio, the appeal of which was further enhanced by another World Cup triumph in Paris in 1938 and by the long series of victories won by the national squad. Italy was unbeaten in 1933 and between 1936 and late 1939,20 although perhaps symbolically it was thrashed 5–2 by Germany in November that year. Mussolini in his trysts with Claretta Petacci, just another fan, found time for the two to listen to descriptions of some of these matches. On 29 June 1938 he formally received the victorious national team and duly exploited the ‘photo opportunity’21 before joining Claretta at their familiar seaside hideaway for their own sportive pleasure.22 Calcio beat off an attempt to spread into the Italian sporting curriculum a new game called volata, bearing some resemblance to Gaelic football. Augusto Turati had sponsored it in 1928 and Starace also endorsed it with priggish talk of getting Italian men out of ‘smoky, dirty pubs’ and ensuring they had mens sana in corpore sano.23 But this novel sport had largely failed by 1933. Cycling was a more serious competitor to football, especially in northern Italy, although the Giro d’Italia (first undertaken in 1909), and so a Liberal invention, was designed to maintain national unity as it crossed most parts of the country (in the backwoods of the south, roads could be nonexistent), despite always starting or finishing in Milan. Under Starace’s aegis, party bosses were persuaded to strip off their formal clothes in annual PNF games, which had their more athletic members photographed jumping through fiery hoops, or more riskily over upended bayonets. In the summer of 1939, Il Popolo d’Italia enthused about ‘tough hierarch games’ conducted over four days in Rome in order to display ‘the sporting readiness and physical efficiency’ of each party official, adding that the contests had ‘now 152

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assumed a decidedly warlike character fitting the heroic climate of a revolutionary regime’.24 Mussolini graced such activity with his presence,25 hiding what might have been a middle-age paunch and assuring a journalist from United Press that he took pains to engage in exercise from 30 to 45 minutes daily. That was why his mind ran like a dynamic motor and he got through mountains of work, he divulged sententiously.26 A propagandist maintained that Mussolini could leap onto a horse like ‘a magnificent cowboy’,27 and he did allow himself to be photographed in the saddle or vigorously playing tennis, cap slightly askew. The culmination of publicity against the sedentary habits of the bourgeoisie (despite the exquisitely bourgeois habits of the Duce’s daughter and son-in-law Edda and Galeazzo Ciano and many another Fascist boss) came in February 1938. Then it was announced that all military parades would use the ‘passo romano’ or goose-step, and impose a new militancy on the Fascist body, eliminating thereby ‘those with fat tummies, the stupid and the so called shorties’ (a blatant attempt to score off diminutive King Victor Emmanuel III). Most foreign observers and quite a few Italians remained unconvinced, however, that this ‘most genuine expression of the militarist spirit’, as Mussolini called it, was well suited to local parade habits.28 The party youth organisations, as well as the dopolavoro clubs that were meant to be established in every factory or office, if of doubtful relevance to peasant work, kept up the idea that Italians had, to a man and a woman, adopted the sporting life. However, more sober analyses show, unsurprisingly, that the country, especially in its south, was poorly equipped with gymnasia and sports equipment. In 1932, the city of Messina boasted three fields for 800,000 people. In Matera in 1934 it was reported that ‘nothing, absolutely nothing, had been done to give the local people a tangible sign of the Fascist era’.29 Nor could many Italians listen to matches on the radio. By 1939 there were only a million radio sets throughout the country, and they were mainly confined to bourgeois or upper-class houses. In 1937 fewer than half the dopolavoro clubs possessed a radio.30 Of similarly patchy success was the attempt towards the end of the decade to stop Italians using the ‘polite’ third person ‘Lei’ form to express the pronoun ‘you’. It was to be replaced with the second person plural ‘voi’, which, a linguistic expert claimed with more inevitability than scholarship, had 153

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Roman antecedents (in reality, it was nearer to English, German and French practice in declension). Somewhat oddly, given that the regime was by then struggling to help the traditional Spain of Army and Church under Franco to impose its rule, the need for linguistic change was explained because of the ‘centuries’ of Spanish domination of the peninsula. ‘Lei’ and the plural ‘Loro’ were, tame intellectuals urged, a ‘monstrosity’ sprung from a grovelling fondness for courtly behaviour.31 Not content with interfering in speech patterns, Starace demanded that Italians end their letters, not with their established courtly circumlocutions (which were, indeed, often disconcertingly lengthy), but with a hailing of the Duce. Quite a few of his fellowcitizens, out in paesi of the south and islands, illiterate or unsure of their writing skills, stuck to the ancient habit of using a letter-writer if they did need such composition. Nor was the voi usage universal. In his memoirs, Suvich claimed that he and Mussolini always addressed each other using the Lei form, with voi only deployed on the Duce’s ‘adepts’.32 Throughout the 1930s the regime continued to stiffen its censorship of the press, if bureaucratic developments in that regard tended to follow the example that Goebbels was making his own in Nazi Germany, rather than leading the way. Typically of the Italian regime, the most public agent of press control until his promotion to become Minister of Foreign Affairs was Mussolini’s son-in-law Ciano, in a sort of national replication of the control of Il Popolo d’Italia by Arnaldo Mussolini, and then, at least in theory, by his son Vito. In August 1933 Ciano, born in 1903, was appointed the chief of the Ufficio Stampa (Press Office) under the Capo del Governo. Ciano took the post from Gaetano Polverelli, a sometime socialist journalist like Mussolini, who had been an early convert to Fascism and ras of Camerino in the Marche. At the Ufficio Stampa, Polverelli had endeavoured to curb the papers’ fondness for ‘cronaca nera’, that is, sensational accounts of murder and other crimes, in February 1933 setting a limit of 30 lines per day on such stories. He was also a major voice in a campaign that peaked in 1931–3 against the ‘donna crisi’ (neurotic woman), a willowy fan of foreign fashion who an unkind onlooker might have confused with Edda Ciano.33 Polverelli’s controls were not popular with journalists,34 but Jesuit Tacchi Venturi continued to complain that the regime’s moral censorship was not tough enough.35 With his own charisma, some borrowed from his father-in-law, and an enhanced budget, Ciano was soon further tightening censorship while 154

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assiduously building a clientele through subsidies and rewards.36 He watched what Goebbels was doing and, on 6 September 1934, was further elevated to become Under-Secretary of Press and Propaganda, a post destined to become a full-scale Ministry of Popular Culture (widely known as Minculpop) on 24 June 1935.37 More severe curbs on news and information, meanwhile, had the usual effect of limiting international contacts and knowledge, although quite a few global bodies continued to hold their meetings in Rome or Italy’s other cities, as they had done during the regime’s first decade in office. One celebrated example was the International Congress on Nuclear Physics, which met in Rome for a week in October 1931; it numbered seven Nobel Prize winners among its speakers and was addressed by Mussolini, allegedly with ‘enormous international resonance’.38 Similarly, Rotary convened in Venice in September 1935, just as the attack on Ethiopia was about to occur; 1,500 delegates arrived from 30 different countries.39 One arena brought under Ciano’s control was cinema. There, too, dictatorship was not fully removed from family interest since, as he came to manhood, Mussolini’s eldest son Vittorio sought to position himself in the rackety but moneyed film industry. He wrote scripts, edited a critical magazine entitled Cinema and developed his own ‘friends’ in the industry, including the young Roberto Rossellini, destined to become the most famous ‘neorealist’ director when Fascism fell. For a time, Vittorio eagerly sought commercial deals with Hollywood, the global leaders, and still the producers of the films that Italians preferred to watch; in 1938 three-quarters of ticket sales went to American imports.40 Two years earlier, Vittorio had expressed his preference for the ‘technical virtuosity and fluid narrative styles’ of American film which he contrasted with ‘heavy-handed German trauma’ or French ‘trite farce and double entendre’.41 With considerable irony, the first Italian ‘popular’ car, the Fiat 500 Topolino, was given the translated name of Mickey Mouse, the Disney cartoon character who was delighting Italians of all ages, including the Mussolini children.42 ‘Popular’ did not mean too much, with fewer than 1 per cent of Italians owning a car in 1938, far below the figures in Germany or Britain, let alone the USA.43 Vittorio’s visit to the USA in September 1937 ended in failure at a time when the mood of the regime about its international contacts was changing. By the next year, the Duce’s son was expatiating on ‘Jewish’ control of the business in America and simultaneously damning ‘communist penetration’ 155

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of Hollywood.44 In parallel the regime belatedly moved to greater protection of its cinema, as well as heavily funding the opening of Cinecittà (CinemaCity, inaugurated 28 April 1937) on the outskirts of Rome. Even so, Fascists remained curiously suspicious of too overt an ideological preaching in its films; back in 1928 a leading regime director declared state-run cinema to be an ‘industrial and artistic crime’.45 The repeated theme of Fascist films was empire, whether as married to romanità in Scipione Africano (1937) or more modern bravado in Lo Squadrone bianco (1936), where, despite some directorial panache, the morality was not very different from films with similar focus being produced in other imperial countries.46 Nor was the attempt at a Fascist hegemony nearly as successful as that being achieved by the (Darwinian and consumerist) liberal democratic individualism preached by Hollywood. Starace and Ciano worked hard to propagandise the social benefits allegedly being organised by the regime and spread through society. So in September 1933 Il Messaggero reported that 348,435 children had enjoyed holiday camps that summer, organised in 1,781 different places.47 Each new year there were greater attempts to encourage Italians to see their own country and rejoice in its numberless beauties. Summer camps were one arena, subsidised train trips another. There was talk of major tourist development in Libya, with its ‘really lovely cities and its archaeological sites of exceptional interest’.48 Rome, however, was meant to be the holy sanctuary of the regime and its ideology, although it was shared with the Vatican, while its rapidly growing population meant that more and more Italians had family reasons for a visit. International tourism remained a major concern for the national budget and a watchful eye was kept on the ups and downs of border crossings, which went into steep decline during the Ethiopian war and then again in 1938–9. When ‘tourism’ became part of Minculpop’s agenda, rival agencies and rival interests did not cease their squabbles.49 Starace tried to be a bonny fighter in the ‘beghismo’ (wrangling), which afflicted each sector of the PNF. So in May 1933 he launched an attack on Leandro Arpinati, the ras of Bologna and a Fascist who, from humble social origins and anarchist beliefs, had made himself a major figure in the regime, taking up the post of Under-Secretary of the Interior from 1929, by implication being something like a deputy Duce. Berating him for corruption and nepotism, Starace told Mussolini that Arpinati had become ‘Il Pontefice Nero’ 156

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(the rival pope, the common usage was about the head of the Jesuit order as distinct from the actual pope) of the movement or the potential ‘stalin [sic] of Fascism’.50 Mussolini heeded the warning and, soon after, Arpinati was sacked. In 1934, he was arrested and sent to confino on Lipari, where he stayed until June 1940. His henchmen fell with him.51 In September 1934 Starace was still explaining to his master that the cleansing of Bologna of Arpinati’s followers was incomplete.52 Starace moved against another of the more radical local chiefs, Carlo Scorza in Lucca. Scorza, born at Paola in Calabria in 1897, had moved with his elder brother Giuseppe to the elegant and historic Tuscan city in 1912. After heroic war service, where he won promotion into the officer class, Scorza became the chief of murderous local squadrism in a region where violence was unrestrained during Fascism’s rise. In July 1925 Scorza and his squad viciously beat liberal democrat Giovanni Amendola, an attack that provoked the anti-Fascist’s death a year later.53 By then Carlo and Giuseppe had taken over Lucca and its province in a fashion paralleled by a recent historian to the Neapolitan Camorra or Sicilian Mafia.54 The Scorza boys treated the holdings of the Banca della Lucchesia as their own, while putting their men into well-rewarded local jobs and expelling critics from the PNF. In so doing, Carlo Scorza deeply offended the old rich of the city and they did their best to dislodge him. Somewhat surprisingly, in 1930 he won the support of the ostensibly puritanical Giuriati and seemed to have triumphed. Victory under one party secretary could easily turn to defeat under another, as the ancient rules of battle between patron–client networks had long shown. Starace’s links to Lucca were with the anti-Scorza faction who demanded a full review of local finances (and received Mussolini’s support for this check). By December 1932, Scorza suffered the rebuke of an official ‘deplorazione’, made public in the local paper. He did not, however, follow Arpinati into confino. Instead he had to switch his power and influence to Rome, not Lucca. In April 1943, at a time of desperation, he was promoted to become a (gloomy) secretary of the PNF. He did not die until 1988, having taken refuge in 1944 in Calabria with a cousin, Alighiero, who was a Franciscan priest. It was all very well, therefore, for Mussolini to boast in a letter to party members that, under the impulse of the new populism, ‘the Fascist revolution, unlike others, continues to grow and spread and becomes ever tougher, more 157

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compact, unbreakable in its spirit and institutions’. This claim meshed poorly with secret police reports early in 1934 that members of the Gruppi Universitari Fascisti, the regime’s organisation for university students, about to be rewarded with annual ‘Littoriali’ games, intellectual and sportive, were ‘more Mussolinian than Fascist’. Elite Italian youth, the police contended, held a deep belief that the Duce’s corrupt and self-interested colleagues ensured that ‘many things were systematically hidden or presented under a false light’, and systematically betrayed their chief.55 Such sentiments badly fitted Bottai’s naive claim in Critica fascista that never had the PNF been more at the ‘centre of national life’ than it was now.56 Even if, in March 1934, the regime ran a plebiscitary election, which gave a 99.85 per cent positive vote to the PNF and its members of the Chamber of Deputies, the party’s decay grew, while the supremacy of the dictator was less and less challenged.57 By 1937, an article in Gerarchia, cutting through reams of hyperbole about the nature of the regime’s ideology, maintained that ‘the fount, the only, the unique fount of [our] mysticism is in fact Mussolini, exclusively Mussolini’.58 A dictator’s charisma, Italians readily learned, was the beginning and end of Fascist ‘revolution’. The regime’s most novel policy in the troubled months of 1933–4 was its switch to ‘autarchy’ or protectionism, although historians emphasise that, contrary to regime propaganda, Italy did not lead Europe in that direction.59 On 14 November 1933 Mussolini made a major speech with a theme that thereafter became an index of Fascism, however much it belied national economic policy during the previous decade. ‘Today’, the Duce proclaimed, ‘we can affirm that the method of capitalist production is finished and with it the theory of economic liberalism which . . . had provided its apologia’. Corporatism was the new way for all. It had surpassed both socialism and liberalism and was creating ‘a new synthesis’. No doubt Italy did not have an absolute state and wanted to preserve a mixed economy. Yet, Mussolini reiterated, ‘we are burying economic liberalism,’ and autarchy marked ‘a decisive step forward in the path of the revolution’. If they had any sense, other countries should follow. But in a typical attempt to formularise Fascism, Italianstyle, they would need ‘a single party and a totalitarian state’ and the commitment to live in a mindset of ‘the highest ideal tension’.60 The Duce may not have convinced every businessman in the nation nor did the Nazis give great weight to Corporatism, despite its apparently central 158

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place in the Italian version of Fascist economy and society. Two telephone taps, which the Duce duly passed on to Guido Jung, his orthodox Minister of Finance, July 1932 to January 1935,61 showed Giovanni Agnelli, the director of Fiat, as no dutiful servant of a regime. In a phone call, Agnelli discountenanced the idea of purchasing shares in the regime’s new holding body Istituto per la Ricostruzione italiana (the Institute for National Reconstruction, IRI), maintaining that governments provided credit for business and not the other way round. In a second tap in March 1934, Agnelli stated that he was saving as many US dollars as possible since he could not trust the lira to retain its value, an attitude soon shared by the Vatican;62 in 1936 the currency was devalued by 40 per cent.63 Another secret report had two leading businessmen agreeing that Alberto Beneduce, in charge of IRI, was now ‘the boss of everything’.64 Nonetheless, Mussolini was seconded by regime philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who greeted 1934 with the claim that ‘the intermission between the old liberal civilisation and the new Fascist one is over’. A Corporatism devoted to the people was now in operation, meaning that the Fascist ‘idea’ had triumphed over all competitors.65 Bottai agreed, urging that Fascism was ‘above all a revolution of the human spirit’, which engrained into every man an automatic consciousness of, and devotion to, the needs of the community.66 A more critical commentator, the liberal economist Luigi Einaudi, looking back in 1945 at the national accounts over the previous decade, declared sardonically that Corporatism had been no more than ‘an abracadabra of slogans’, invented by ‘the whim of the dictator’.67 Certainly, with or without Corporatism, under its Fascist rulers Italy showed few signs of catching up with the GDP of the greater powers and, despite Marconi’s fame, its scientists remained poorly funded and lagged well behind competitors in Germany and the USA in discipline after discipline.68 One feature of the 1930s was the continued expansion of the bureaucracy, a curious site of the Fascist version of welfare. Starace demanded by 1938 that its members wear uniform every day. But that order did not mean that the party had spiritual control of this sector of national life. Guido Melis, a historian of the ‘imperfect’ totalitarianism involved, has argued neatly that Italy did not so much house a ‘Fascist bureaucracy’ as a ‘bureaucracy’s fascism’.69 Typical was the spread of ‘enti’ or quangos, 352 of them by the regime’s end.70 They were frequently overstaffed by officials, who enjoyed 159

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their overpaid and scarcely arduous posts, gained through nepotism or patron–client ties. Jobs in the insurance agency INFPS offered a case study of favouritism and lack of proper qualifications; half of its payments went to the canny south, where locals knew a thing or two about organising charity to themselves.71 Over the centuries, all Italians had been used to receiving alms from the Church in a process that was not necessarily seamless; the Fascist state seemed little different from its predecessors.72 Certainly class difference lingered. Until late in the regime braccianti (day labourers), that is, the poorest peasants whose union membership had been the target of vicious Fascist attack before 1922, were excluded from social welfare altogether. Clerks from that petit bourgeoisie that had swung early behind Fascism received twice as much benefit as did factory workers.73 All in all, Fascist governance, Melis has demonstrated, encouraged ‘conformism, a failure to criticise when criticism was needed and petty corruption’.74 Italian officials could now ‘speak Fascism’ in the approved Starace manner but their world views and habitual behaviour had barely changed.75 Artisans may have been assured that they worked patriotically as ‘soldiers of the revolution’ who, with the familiar eclectic reference, were thereby following a pattern by now dominant in Germany, the USSR, Turkey and any country that had opted for ‘new life’.76 Yet tradition and scepticism lingered. Emblematic in that regard was the creation in 1934 of an Ente nazi­ onale della moda, aiming to nationalise female fashion, end the rule of Paris,77 and, with it, what was condemned as the feeble national love of ‘things from abroad’.78 Nonetheless, Edda Ciano, Claretta Petacci and most hierarchs’ wives and lovers continued to look to the French capital for their purchase of clothes and perfume. The special symbol of the new economic policy was IRI, which was set up in 1933, expanded thereafter and was destined to last into the 1990s. By the end of 1933 it was the source of more than a fifth of national capital, an accumulation that helped rescue Italian banks, severely troubled by the global Depression. Five years later it controlled 77 per cent of cast iron production, 45 per cent of steel and 82 per cent of shipyards, with a workforce that had reached 210,000.79 Its chief through these years was Alberto Beneduce, born in 1877, an economist who had been a follower of Francesco Saverio Nitti, liberal Prime Minister 1919–20 and a Freemason. Beneduce, who saw himself as a competent functionary and not an ideologue, did not 160

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take out a PNF ticket until 1939 when he became a senator.80 Then, he politely told the dictator that he was happy to ‘intensify my work following your intentions’ and help to make ‘that Italian civilisation which you [Voi] have conceived’,81 although by then the regime’s finances were decidedly rocky. Businessmen, like sundry other Italians, still believed in the Duce’s star, despite the fact that they had not opted for a literal understanding of Fascism (and kept hoping that Nazism, fearsomely aggressive in its foreign and domestic policies, was not a natural or permanent regime partner). The most obvious lacunae in any review of the success or otherwise an ideologising of ‘going to the people’ are the peasantry, the largest block of the population. In 1940, almost 30 per cent of national income was drawn from the land (down from 38 per cent in 1921).82 It is all very well for a recent historian, who takes Mussolini’s promise to ‘ruralise Italy’ almost literally, to argue that the ‘combination of mass mobilisation, charismatic leadership, state power and the ideology of the land was characteristically fascist’. In his view, the ‘scientific’ development of a new strain of wheat called Ardito, portrayed as a guarantee of ‘national survival’ and the rural equivalent of Arditi in the military, was a case study in that regard.83 But the question becomes: did propaganda reflect what was actually happening to the nation’s peasants? Did it really seize their minds and actions? Maybe lessons on this subject can be drawn from Sheila Fitzpatrick’s brilliant accounts of ‘Stalin’s peasants’. She demonstrates how they found ‘subaltern strategies’ to divert and resist communist collectivisation, a policy far more genuinely totalitarian and violent than anything attempted on the land under Mussolini’s aegis. A study of Soviet peasants, Fitzpatrick states, uncovers ‘the ways in which a person who is supposed to take orders rather than give them tries to get what he wants’.84 There was no question that ‘Soviet rule in the countryside was coercive, arbitrary, and often brutal’. But that did not mean total subjection of the mind, with peasants instead nourishing ‘malice, anger and bitterness’ towards communists, officials and even Stalin himself. After 60 years of state policing in a regime which far outlasted Mussolini’s, Fitzpatrick relates, they were ‘for the most part contemptuous of any notion of public good, suspicious of energetic or successful neighbours, endlessly aggrieved at what “they”, the bosses, were doing’.85 Such deep cynicism was not confined to peasants. ‘Homo Sovieticus’, Fitzpatrick concludes, 161

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‘was a string-puller, an operator, a time-server, a freeloader, a mouther of slogans, and much more. But above all, he was a survivor’.86 The peoples of the USSR, therefore, were not stunned by their totalitarianism into obedient and mindless machines. While parroting Soviet slogans, they kept a will and a world view of their own, however much contaminated in their commitment to human goodness by their experience of Soviet-style ‘democracy’. In regard to possible comparisons with Italy, Fitzpatrick’s findings are strikingly similar to the ‘amoral familism’ discerned among peasants in the Basilicata by an American visitor, Edward Banfield, in 1955. In his view, the men and women from an agrotown, Chiaromonte, rejected any idea of ‘public spirit’, setting family interest high above the alternatives. They had minimal contact with any world beyond their paese. There, no one, be they peasants or officials, acted except for ‘private advantage’. Bureaucrats only worked, or were seen to work, for promotion and family gain. Things had been better in the past, and so under the dictatorship the locals reported with some vagueness: ‘I do not remember what it was the Fascists wanted. I only remember that in those days one made out better than today’.87 Banfield concluded, ‘in a society of amoral familists, the weak will favour a regime which will maintain order with a strong hand’.88 But, he implied, their souls had not been revolutionised by the happy time of dictatorship. Nor had other forms of class distinction been wiped out. ‘I am a socialist,’ one petit bourgeois told Banfield, ‘and I know better, but I can’t help feeling above the peasants. I would resent it even if the person who asked her [a daughter] to dance were the son of a peasant . . . even if he were better educated than I. To us he is still a peasant.’89 Banfield’s findings were controversial, not helped by the fact that he had conducted his research with little knowledge of the Italian language or by his final statement that, if only they were allowed in, ‘Protestant missionaries’, US-style, could overcome the disenchanted fixation with family.90 Yet, through the first two decades after the fall of Fascism, scholars’ research on peasant life enlarged this image of paesani who nurtured their identity in the village and the family and not in the nation or any modern ideology, and did so in an age-old fashion. Most such reports were from anthropologists engaged in then fashionable ‘participant observation’, a practice that by definition, treated Italian peasants as existing outside modern, literate civilisation. Ironically, such a crude sense of superiority matched the core belief of urban Italians’ view about those who lived outside the city walls, or in the 162

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south of the country. Northern urban Italians, whether in 1935 or 1955, still often thought that southern peasants were ‘part of Africa’. So, in September 1933, the Special Tribunal dealt with a worker from the north who chided a Calabrian comrade with the fact that he came from ‘the hometown of Musolino’ (a celebrated pre-1914 bandit), running on, to his peril, ‘between Musolino and Mussolini there is only one difference and that is that the first risked his life. But Mussolini does not risk anything, unless there happens to be a change of regime’. For such mutinous thoughts, the worker earned three years in a paese in Calabria, in what his judge may have thought an example of Fascist irony.91 Among the distinguished postwar international researchers the focus was on what was called ‘the southern problem’, sometimes connected with the need to explain the longstanding role of the Mafia in Sicily, the ’Ndrangheta in Calabria and the Camorra in and around Naples. Such criminal organisations operating outside the state may have been challenged by Fascism but reemerged little changed after 1945. The approach to the past in this research was therefore of the longue durée. The English historian Percy Allum dismissed the Fascist takeover of the south as ‘a farcical repetition of the Risorgimento’ for the peasantry and other poor, little more than a time when ‘things changed to remain the same’.92 Such interpretation was vividly confirmed by peasant sayings about life expectation, which anthropologists sedulously collected. Again, ‘amoral familism’ was its key. ‘The rich man has a father in hell [for a violent crime] who prays for him’.93 ‘A man who plays alone never loses’.94 ‘From the houses of the signori not even smoke comes out’.95 ‘If you’ve got money and friends, you keep the law up your own arse’.96 ‘Anyone who is discontented, if he can, goes to America; if not, he resigns himself to suffering’.97 In the next paese, the one that is not ‘ours’, ‘they plant broccoli and grow thieves’.98 ‘You can add as many fancy ingredients as you like but squash remains squash’. ‘Pity the house that is in need of others’.99 ‘If you want to eat bread, stay far from the Church bells’.100 ‘Yes, of course, a Venetian will steal, but with remorse. A Buranello [like the speaker] would only be filled with remorse if he missed an opportunity to steal’.101 ‘Be patient. You forget, nobody looks for people like us unless there’s trouble’.102 Only one such study exists from the Fascist period, the American Charlotte Chapman’s Milocca, based on a University of Chicago thesis on 163

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‘the supernatural patron in Sicilian life’, approved in 1928 but not published as a book until the 1970s. Chapman did participant observation at Milocca, a small town in the province of Caltanisseta, for 18 months. There she found much poverty but a paese with its own world view and method of operation. Gender relations were traditional. ‘A man of straw is worth a woman of gold’, while ‘he who marries for love suffers all his life’, she learned. All men and quite a few older women recommended wife beating as a helpful part of family life. Politics did exist. It adjusted to the arrival of Fascism with the usual groupings of ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, each seeking to seize the highly useful title of supporting the regime, since they knew ‘the world is always the world’. Patron–client relations, good and bad, automatically threaded Fascism as once they had liberalism. History was long-term, not immediate. Following national unification, town streets had been awarded national names – ‘Via IV Novembre’, ‘Via Silvio Pellico’ – but no one used them and few could comprehend their references, although there was some hope that they might be ‘prophetic of great things to come’. Eggs were often used as currency, while any non-Catholic was deemed a ‘Turk’. The nineteenth century might be called ‘Quarant’ott’ (1848), but Garibaldi, by no means a flawless hero in local eyes, was thought to have offered either ‘cholera or conscription’. War was the worst of times, while laws were superfluous matters imported into the village from outside. Murder, theft, adultery were each best coped with through the omnipresent family. To be sure, one peasant told Chapman that Mussolini was a ‘saint out of paradise’ and the villages voted unanimously for the regime in the 1929 referendum, marched to the polling place by the town band. Nonetheless, they were uncertain about the meaning of the word ‘Italy’ and, more generally, optimism was in thin supply in regard to their age-old poverty.103 Chapman sensibly failed to quiz the villagers on their comprehension of the complex theory of totalitarian Fascism. Two British historians, who, for differing reasons and with different political stances after Fascism’s fall, investigated opinion in northern rather than southern Italy, reached conclusions about the reach of Fascism into peasants’ minds that were remarkably similar to each other and to what anthropologists reported about the south. For the left-leaning Roger Absalom, studying relations between Allied escapers from 8 September 1943 to April 1945 and peasant households, paesani viewed all modern ideologies, whether Fascist 164

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or anti-Fascist, as alien. Their dilemma remained what it had always been, that is, survival, first as a family and second as a local community. In a ‘crowded, over-populated, varied and complex countryside’, Absalom stated, ‘America’ stood as the ‘promised land’. Failing some transition there, ‘common sense’ suggested welcoming male soldiers who entered the village. They had left their armies elsewhere and might be Allied or German, each useful as manual labour or as a sort of ‘pair’ with their own sons, conscripted into the Fascist forces, abducted from them and presently living or dead who knew where. Absalom concluded that peasants’ knowing protection of escapers reflected ‘a long history of exploitation and more or less successful passive resistance to it’, based on ‘concealment and displacement’.104 It combined self-interest and humanity in a fashion that had underpinned the peasant world in what was a longue durée. Roy MacGregor-Hastie, a journalist-historian of rightist sentiment,105 reached the hinterland of Asti and Alessandria in the 1950s for personal reasons and described what he found. Among the Monferrini, too, peasants stuck firmly to their traditional way of work, as well as to their families and the gender relations within them. As one assured him, when MacGregorHastie mentioned the practices of modern science in agriculture, ‘the less you know, the better you are’.106 Nonetheless there were political divisions, in a northern version of ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ given some ideological clothing. The local comune of Odalengo was split into three, a situation that reflected what had happened under the dictatorship. One village, Vicinato, where in the 1930s the local party secretary had been stationed, remained ‘Fascistissimo’. Its rivals objected to such views, although their current loyalties and their memory were conditioned by relative wealth on the one hand and grinding poverty on the other. One old man from Vicinato, a stiffly soldierly figure, disclosed to MacGregor-Hastie that ‘he had Faith – not in the democratic present, but in the possibility of a miracle which would bring the Duce back to earth’. He abidingly hated all Italian anti-Fascists, Americans and ‘Englishmen’. Under the regime he had felt, as he could no more, that he had participated ‘in the affairs of the state’, ‘an illusion but a very agreeable illusion’, and not one shared by the paesani of the other two villages.107 There were few signs, then, that Fascism had done anything much to alter the lifestyle of local peasants but some among them had briefly accepted their belonging to an Italian nation state, although people in the comune held the 165

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usual northern prejudices about the ‘African’ criminality of Neapolitans and Romans and the untrustworthiness of everyone outside their village or family. The reports of scholars from across the humanities and social sciences are confirmed by the accounts of anti-Fascist intellectuals of their meetings with locals, usually peasants, when they were sent to confino. The most celebrated of these is the Piedmontese painter, Carlo Levi, punished in 1934 for belonging to the Rosselli-led Giustizia e Libertà organisation. In his Christ stopped at Eboli (1945), Levi recounted his experience when confined for a year at Aliano in the province of Matera in the Basilicata. There he found enduring class difference. The gentry were all PNF members since ‘the Party stood for Power, as vested in the Government and the state, and they felt entitled to a share of it’. The peasants did not join them. ‘They were not Fascists, just as they would never have been Conservatives, Socialists or anything else. . . . There are hailstorms, landslides, droughts, malaria and . . . the state. These are inescapable evils; such there have always been and always will be’.108 Others relegated to the south, again in contradiction of the florid rhetoric about a nation united by Fascism, could report more humdrum absences. Man about town Giovanni Ansaldo, sent to Lipari in 1926–7 but later a tame journalist for the Ciano family, was shocked to find neither trat­ toria nor osteria (restaurant or pub) on the island where a gentleman could eat satisfactorily. ‘These Sicilians don’t know what cooking is,’ he whinged in contradiction to the common modern romance of ‘foodies’ about ‘peasant cuisine’; even milk was nowhere to be found.109 Ansaldo noticed the apolitical understanding of the world of the junior carabiniere who escorted him south. His world was confined to the wishes of his commanding offices and his barrack life. He knew nothing about politics and would happily have arrested Mussolini if told to do so.110 In a further indication of lingering class identity, Ansaldo felt nothing in common with ordinary worker prisoners, who, he maintained, rarely wanted to escape and were contented enough to be fed and clothed in their prison world.111 However distant from Ansaldo politically, a female communist prisoner shocked her prison staff, nuns with a lifetime commitment to their service, by asking for a book. No ordinary prisoner did that, they told her. When she proceeded to confino successively in two different mountain villages in the 166

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Basilicata, where wolves roamed the fields beyond the village, news was announced by a town crier with a trumpet and local officials urged her to teach Italian to village boys so that when conscripted to the army they could write to their mothers.112 On the Tremiti islands, the locals deferentially addressed arriving antiFascists as ‘professò, cavaliè, dottò, commendatò’, while cunningly seeking ways to extract money from them.113 A prisoner on Ponza recorded fishermen’s traditions there at the annual feast of San Silverio, 20 June (a pope deposed in 537ce and confined until his death shortly afterwards on a smaller island off Ponza). Then there was feasting and religious celebration, with US dollars pinned to the saint’s statue when it was carried in procession (with a deep belief in the American currency that we have noticed was shared by Agnelli and the Vatican). The local priest afterwards collected the dollars for the Church’s use. In return the saint blessed the fishermen’s boats.114 Fascism might never have existed. Stories of such radical class and regional division can be found in the military, too. A telling moment came at the concentration camp of Ferramonti di Tarsia in Calabria, a wartime place of internment for foreign Jews. There the commanding officer grew so irritated at the slow and error-ridden pronunciation of Eastern European names by his ordinary soldiers during roll-call that he soon cut the official requirement of three times daily, to two, to one and then to every second day.115 In more general terms, the regime was far less successful in ending illiteracy than was the Soviet one, with 27 per cent in 1921 reduced to 13 per cent after 1945;116 17 per cent of soldiers enrolled to fight in Ethiopia were judged illiterate.117 Such statistics are complicated by the survival of local languages or dialects in most of the peninsula. One English anthropologist in the early 1960s claimed that the villagers of Pisticci in the Basilicata, a paese once used for confino, thought his speech must relate to what they called ‘Florentine’, that is, Italian, in much the same way as theirs did.118 An Italian analyst has added the information that prisoners there were worked in the financial interests of Eugenio Parrini, an entrepreneur ‘well connected to the Ministry of the Interior’ and a personal friend of Ciano.119 One of the few peasants to emerge into a leadership role under the regime was Tullio Cianetti, rising through the ranks of the Fascist unions to become Under-Secretary of Corporations from July 1939 and, briefly, minister from April to July 1943. Cianetti, with some reluctance given what he had called 167

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his limitless ‘faith’ in the Duce,120 voted against Mussolini at the Grand Council meeting on the night of 24–5 July 1943. Under the RSI, he was sent to trial at Verona in 1944 but gaoled, not executed. He survived the war and wrote an important memoir, allegedly compiled while he was imprisoned. In it he explains his family background in a poorish sharecropper family in Umbria which knew that there was a bigger gap between middling peasants like themselves and landless labourers than there was between sharecroppers and landowners.121 Cianetti, born in 1899, was just old enough to serve in the First World War and on return became the founder of a fascio at Assisi, rejecting socialism as demeaning of his family’s status and his and his comrades’ war service. Cianetti, who had thought about joining the priesthood, claimed to have dedicated his life to Fascism, not because of ‘blind discipline’ or ‘cold formality’ but because of the ‘free election by my soul of a man recognised as the chief ’. It was ‘impossible not to believe’ in the Duce, he reflected, as once he might have said about God.122 Cianetti therefore became a peasant Fascist. He continued to hope that the regime would grant more favours to the rural population, while accepting that Mussolini was a ‘northerner’ who never quite understood the south, which was not his home region either. By the late 1930s, Cianetti did aver that Corporatism had begun to achieve a greater social and economic mobilisation of the people in what was, and he wanted to be, a ‘continuing revolution’. In that regard, he was willing to work with Nazi ‘partners’ (while claiming to reject their obsessive anti-Semitism). He especially applauded the Ribbentrop–Molotov pact in August 1939 since, he recalled, he had always felt closer to the Soviets than the ‘plutocracies’. When he grew puzzled about regime inconsistencies or failures, he remembered Mussolini’s divine charisma and his command to ‘work in silence’.123 In sum, Cianetti was a Fascist and a Mussolinian whose medley of ideas served him well under the regime but, an analyst might conclude, scarcely amounted to a coherent theory of Fascism. The word that best summed up the regime’s policy towards its landed population throughout the 1930s was ‘bonifica’, reclamation. In hailing its ‘pioneers’, Mussolini proclaimed that ‘History’ taught that ‘any people who abandon the land become the slaves of other people’.124 In the specific meaning of draining the often malarial swamps of rural Italy, the regime used a term which has somehow trickled through to Trump’s USA. There, however, the President’s 168

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enemies are the bureaucracy, experts and the best people, not the object of consistent Fascist attack, although occasionally in receipt of populist vituperation late in the 1930s. So automatic was the use of the term bonifica that, when Dino Grandi returned from his embassy in London to become Minister of Justice (1939–43), he composed a portentous study of the previous decade’s penal reforms under the title ‘Human reclamation’.125 The regime took pains to advertise the fact that, between 1922 and 1934, it annually spent more than 15 times what the Liberal regime had done on land improvement. It ignored the countering detail of accompanying peculation, revealed for example, by a recent historian of bonifica in Tuscany, where ‘guile and corruption lurked not far below the surface, as did the foot-dragging of landowners, well-versed in the manipulation of public policy’.126 The jewel of the regime’s efforts to improve rural life and increase its productivity lay in the Pontine Marshes, just outside Rome. Mussolini, who spent most of his working life in the national capital, took pains to visit Pontine towns often: once in 1932, once in 1933, three times in 1934, once in 1935, twice in 1936 and once in 1937. In that six-year period he went to Milan four times, Turin twice, Florence twice, Naples three times and Venice twice.127 Still today, a visitor to Latina, until 1944 known as Littoria, the major new town in the bonifica project, can read a plaque attached to the Town Hall which promises peasants scattered in the lands beyond that, when trouble threatens, they can always rely on Mussolini for ‘support and justice’. The other new towns, Sabaudia, Pontinia, Guidonia and Aprilia, lie not far away, while similar places can be found in Sicily (one was called Mussolinia, now, in an ambiguous change, Santo Pietro), Sardinia (which boasts the more mellifluous Arborea, Fertilia and Carbonia) and other parts of the country.128 Today commentators are inclined to use a visit to such places for moralising about residual ‘Fascism’.129 But a sceptic might note that the rationalist, but by now earnestly multicultural, cathedral in Latina, begun in 1932, is called San Marco, therefore celebrating the patron saint of Venice. Why? The answer is obvious and displays yet again how regional a country Italy remained despite all the propaganda about national unity. The poor peasants who were brought to settle the Pontine Marshes, with what historian Oscar Gasparri has shown to have been their erratic benefit, given that the expenditure of state funds more surely benefited rich, absent private owners, came in large part from Friuli-Veneto. Transferred to another world so far south, immigrants 169

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found themselves ‘uprooted, isolated and intimidated by their new environment’.130 Speaking their own dialect and clinging to their own patriarchal ways, which often nonetheless could seem radically ‘modern’ to the locals, the newcomers found going to an osteria, a dance or mass a problematic action. They preferred not to mix with the old inhabitants. No wonder they needed comfort from San Marco (and the Venetan version of Catholicism, duly abetted by priests from the region, transferred there in a happy deal between Church and State).131 One of the more lasting images of the regime is of Mussolini, stripped to the waist, joining peasants in each year’s grain harvest and thereby ensuring that Italy would win the ‘battle’ to be self-sufficient in food. No doubt the message meant something to its recipients. Yet it was hard to view Mussolini as a peasant Duce, despite frequent propaganda efforts in that direction. He did come from the small town of Predappio, in the less than celebrated province of Forlì. Yet his activist socialist father and clerical elementary school teacher mother were petty provincial intellectuals, appropriate parents for the ambitious Professor Mussolini. He did not spring from the land. In his bed chat with Claretta Petacci, Mussolini did on one occasion philosophise on his reaction to seeing a bull mating. ‘Isn’t nature marvellous?’ he told the wide-eyed Claretta naively, a sentiment illustrating that each of them was a city slicker, not a country person.132 Nor did the Mussolini children, be they Countess Edda, Vittorio, the aspirant film magnate, or Bruno, the test pilot, opt for rurality. The only peasant in the family was Mussolini’s wife Rachele. She did spend quite a bit of time at the estate of the Villa Carpena in the province of Forlì (today converted into a pilgrimage site for Mussolini fans), where she enjoyed a rural prosperity that had not reached her Guidi family before 1914; one of her sisters was illiterate and two died in their thirties, one after producing seven children, the other in childbirth after bearing fourteen children.133 In any case, Rachele’s peasant image was more influential after 1945 than before, although recently she has been charged with canny or corrupt practice in expanding the family holdings at Carpena and at Riccione on the Adriatic.134 If peasants, despite their continuing poverty (in 1935 in the Veneto, their chief nourishment came from polenta, and bread rarely reached their tables),135 were by no means brainwashed subjects of a totalitarian state, the relationship 170

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of women to the regime is equally complex. At the founding meeting of the Fasci di combattimento in March 1919, only eight women out of the 216 traced as attending (two with their husbands) had their presence recorded,136 a percentage that might be thought to reflect the political role to be granted to women under the regime. Mussolini was given to avowing, as he did to Ludwig, that females were by definition incapable of political thought and action. His legitimate wife, Rachele, stayed in the background during his years in office. The Mussolini marriage seemed a perfect example of patriarchy, Italian-style. Closer examination of the Duce’s relationships with other women offers a counter to this conclusion. His sometime lover, early biographer and frequent advisor, the rich and confident Venetian Margherita Sarfatti, assumed a leading role in the crafting of a Fascist culture throughout the 1920s. Nonetheless, as late as December 1933, she was still being published dutifully expressing the official view that Italian women ‘must give everything and ask for herself nothing’, since the ‘female joys are above all altruistic joys, reflected in the altruism of love, marriage and maternity’.137 Sarfatti’s Jewish heritage meant that she would be pushed into exile after the imposition of racial laws in 1938.138 Other women could also assert themselves when dealing with the Duce. During the last months of Mussolini’s life in 1944–5, when he had been reduced to the humiliating role of puppet dictator, he did little to end the war that had broken out between Rachele and his legitimate family on the one hand, and the mother and little sister of Claretta Petacci on the other. It was Myriam Petacci, born in May 1923, who then had the effrontery to tell him that her sister ‘ha avuto sempre ragione’ (has always been right), reversing in her family interest the longstanding regime claim of infallibility,‘Mussolini ha sempre ragione’.139 Of the women who were at Piazza San Sepolcro in 1919, Regina Terruzzi, born in 1862, already a feminist activist before 1914, did manage to carve out a career under the regime, even after Mussolini confirmed that he would reject any introduction of female suffrage. Rather the regime repeatedly stressed that the first patriotic purpose of women was to bear children for the Fascist patria. In the early 1930s, defining herself awkwardly as ‘the mother-in-law of the fascists’,140 Terruzzi took an initial leading role in what became in 1934 the Sezione Massaie Rurali dei Fasci Femminili (Female Fascist Branch for Peasants). This organisation, dedicated to spreading information and welfare in the 171

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countryside, soon boasted a membership of three million (Terruzzi had resigned in 1933). In her detailed study of the uneasy Fascist attempt to spread greater scientific knowledge and other modernisation among the peasantry, historian Perry Willson is clear that, despite the rhetoric about national unity, class difference survived virtually unimpaired. Peasant women remained ‘passive’ by contrast with schoolteacher or upper-class Lady Bountiful seniors in the movement. Such slogans as ‘when a Massaia rurale raises rabbits she is helping both her own family and the nation’ did little to break peasant women from their subservience to their husbands or, ironically, to their mothersin-law in rural families that remained localist and Catholic more than they were discernibly Fascist.141 Poverty still decided much, given that real peasant income declined by 26 per cent between 1921 and 1938. Half of a typical family budget went on food, whose household preparation remained overwhelmingly a woman’s responsibility.142 Terruzzi may have enthused naively that Fascist organisations brought together ‘primary school teachers, ladies in hats and furs and village women surrounded by their joyful offspring, little helpers who are already useful’.143 But a more sober study of the functioning of the regime’s most celebrated welfare organisation for mothers and infants, the Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia (ONMI), has concluded it provided ‘virtually no prenatal care in the countryside’ (although it was not dissolved until 1975).144 Similarly, despite reiterated demands to increase the population, births under Fascism trended down, again following a global pattern more than an Italian one, falling from just under 30 per thousand between 1921 and 1925 to 23.1 (1936–40).145 As far as all women were concerned, then, the regime could on occasion, especially in the towns, offer a ‘disconcerting’ mixture of ‘new opportunities and new repressions’.146 Many of the former sprang from developments in gender relations across Europe, and many of the latter added only minor changes to the scarcely feminist attitudes and behaviour endorsed by the Church. Women still provided much of the early education of Italians (they constituted more than 70 per cent of the elementary school workforce).147 However, they were scarcely elevated by the advice of Minister of Education Cesare Maria De Vecchi Di Val Cismon in 1935, that they must refrain from using make-up, wear black dresses and conduct ‘austere’ social lives.148 On occasion the wearing of party uniform and attendance at the meetings were 172

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all but obligatory with the institution in June 1935 of the ‘Sabato Fascista’ (Fascist Saturday afternoon), which gave young women the chance to escape rigid family rules about female behaviour and dress. One female participant in the Littoriali contests among university students remembered being told by her father at 16 or 17 that she should always follow the lead of her 3-year-older brother in any discussion; ‘Fascism, for me’, she added, ‘meant a way to get out of our house’.149 Yet male supremacy faced little challenge. As Starace phrased it with typical crudity in September 1933: ‘I’m very pleased when young men engage in a bestial sport. To break a leg or a rib, and to be cured without any help from a doctor. It is also indispensable that the young fuck, fuck all the time. Any young men who do not fuck, don’t please me. Do you get it?’150 Sociologists’ investigation of gender attitudes and actions well after the fall of Fascism151 confirm Paul Ginsborg’s finding that, in the Italian case, ‘totalitarianism’ did little to alter the longue durée structures of gender life and the pre-eminence of patriarchy across the classes and regions.152 What, then, about Italy’s foreign relations? With its newly loud, if superficial and contradiction-ridden populism at home, was the Fascist regime actively readying itself for war, having found its needed ‘mighty ally’ in its ideological twin, Nazi Germany, as some historians maintain?153 Certainly the dictatorship did for a while keep up the rhetoric about the universality of Fascism.154 It was ready to be the generous backer of friendly movements and regimes, although they might be of varying nature, some subversive, some authoritarian. Egged on by Balbo, Mussolini provided weapons and money to Spanish officers plotting against the Republic. Wishing their rebellion well, he explained that the Left, ‘not only in France but throughout the world’ were a century out of date.155 He did not directly patronise the ‘fascist’ Falange, which was, by 1934, beginning to grow in Spain; its leader, José Antonio Primo De Rivera, although he claimed to have treasured a meeting in Rome with a ‘serene’ Mussolini in October 1933,156 increasingly looked for advice and support to Germany, not Italy.157 Fascist funds, around £5,000 per month, sometimes in unmarked notes were similarly passed to Oswald Mosley between 1932 and 1937 until the leader of the British Union of Fascists became too blatant in his preference for anti-Semitism and the German model.158 Even Eric Campbell, the leader of the small ‘New Guard’ in New 173

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South Wales, found himself welcome in Rome (with an introduction from Mosley).159 Relations with Germany were more fraught, with Eric Drummond, the new British ambassador in Rome, informing London in February 1934 that Italians actually nourished a ‘terror’ of Germany.160 After Hitler’s accession to power, Italy had taken in 20,000 refugees, quite a few of them Jewish, given the rapid implementation of Nazi racial ideas.161 Commentators led by Roberto Farinacci, remained anxious to suggest that the nation’s enemy in the last war was by no means a certain friend in the current world. In September 1934, Italy’s most vocal anti-Semite, Giovanni Preziosi, expressed his gratitude for Farinacci’s foresight (but then he was a longstanding and generous patron),162 while concluding that ‘Germany today is what it was yesterday, with the aggravation of being ever more unable to comprehend’ others now.163 The epicentre of dispute between the two dictatorships was Austria. Engelbert Dollfuss had become Chancellor in May 1932 and soon moved to establish a more authoritarian, if also piously Catholic, regime, with applause and counsel from Mussolini. When the supernumerary Anno Santo opened at Easter 1933, Dollfuss turned up in Rome on Good Friday, joining the ‘solemn penitential procession’ that wound through the city from Santa Croce in Gerusalemme to St Peter’s.164 In July 1933, Mussolini advised Dollfuss to move further to the right with ‘effective and basic domestic reforms in a decisively Fascist sense’, while firmly repressing ‘criminal’ attacks on his government whether launched ‘by socialists or National Socialists’.165 Early in the next year, Dollfuss dealt with the former by sending his army to shell his leftist opponents holed up in their tenement buildings in the suburbs of Vienna. The Duce cheered him on, to the disgust of anti-Fascists in Paris and elsewhere, who predictably used the occasion again to remember Matteotti. With what might now be viewed as paradox, commentary in Italy, through to early 1935, was as likely to find common ground with Fascism in the USA as in Germany. In March 1933, the official youth journal, Gioventù fascista, was sure that ‘Germany is Fascist’ (with ideas ‘assimilated’ from Mussolini), but then added that Roosevelt had started on the same path to a ‘new civilisation’.166 Three months later, Mussolini himself wrote in Il Popolo d’Italia about the implementation of the New Deal under the heading ‘Ecco 174

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un dittatore’ (Look at the Dictator), stating that Roosevelt now held greater power than ‘any absolute monarch in any part of the world’. It was, he added, proof, doubtless still ‘embryonic’, that ‘Fascist tendencies’ were emerging in America. The moral, the dictator advised, was that,‘whenever Demos reaches an impasse, it softens its principles and votes for dictatorship’.167 He was endorsed by journalist Luigi Barzini (junior), a young man who enjoyed assorted family and business contacts across the globe. Barzini declared in Gerarchia that events in the USA demonstrated that ‘L’Italia ha ragione’ (Italy is [always] right). Americans were learning from the Mussolini model as Roosevelt proceeded on ‘the path of dictatorial reforms’. The USA, after Germany, was, Barzini concluded, the country most evidently adopting the social and political changes already in place in Italy.168 A year later, a journalist writing in La Vita Italiana was similarly sure that Roosevelt was following ‘Mussolini’s system’, being more of a dictator than either the Duce or Stalin.169 As late as July 1935, Bottai maintained to an American audience that the Corporate state and Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration had much in common, each being piloted by a ‘great leader’.170 Perhaps, Bottai admitted, Italy had proceeded further down the ideal track whereby ‘an equilibrium has been established, without a complete fusion or a loss of individuality, between capital and labour, between labour and the state, and between the state and capital’.171 But that settlement was also the aim of the New Deal. In quite a few Italian minds, still in 1934–5 ‘universal fascism’ and Corporatism might assist understanding of the political process in Washington (and especially Vienna) as it did in Berlin. After all, a largely unstated menace from Germany lay within Italy itself, given that the Brenner border with Austria, drawn in the postwar treaties, meant that Italy ruled over thousands of German-speaking peasants in the province of Bolzano. In that region, bonifica meant pressuring local children to go to Italian-language schools and the institution of other measures to uproot the locals’ identity, abetted by efforts to plant Italian settlers there. In March 1934 an expert commentator congratulated the regime on its alleged successes so far, but warned that more needed to be done. Should not the linguistic ratio become one Italian to two German-speakers or better still one to one? The Alto Adige, he warned, was in fact the key to any future expansion in the Mediterranean. Italy must resist the renewed advance of ‘Germanism’ there, in the Swiss Ticino and in the Balkans.172 Whatever 175

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mimicry Nazism might attempt of the Duce’s wisdom, Germany was as likely a foe as any other nation. In May 1934 Mussolini echoed such complaint in an article in Il Popolo d’Italia, sarcastically entitled ‘Teutonica’. A few days before he had exchanged views with De Vecchi, by now ambassador to the Vatican, about what he called the ‘fesserie’ (utter stupidity) of Nazi religious policy and wondered what the Pope would like him to say to Hitler.173 Now he lambasted the Germans’ ‘hundred per cent racism. Against everything and everyone. Yesterday against Christian civilisation. Today against Latin civilisation. Tomorrow, who knows, against the civilisation of the whole world’. Such exclusivity, he ran on, such ‘chauvinist and imperialist policy’ did not fit the world of the twentieth century’.174 Hitler’s first trip outside Germany as Führer was to Venice on 14 June.175 Unsurprisingly it was not a success. It was admitted to have been conducted in an ‘excruciating atmosphere’ with Hitler blindly rattling on about Austria. Faced with a formal lunch at the clubhouse of Venice Golf Club, where the mondaine wives of the city patriciate were assembled, the socially inept Hitler was left to witter about his need to get back home.176 While the Führer was in Venice, readers of Vita italiana were reminded that the ‘perverse’ Rosenberg was ‘the anti-Christ’ and ‘the official philosopher’ of Germany.177 Having failed in these meetings to find a compromise over an Anschluss, Mussolini was soon writing to warn the Germans off the Ticino, too.178 For once, the London Times possessed insight when it had editorialised sententiously that it could not see ‘the author of the Four Power Pact’ substituting it with a ‘Two Power Pact’.179 Mussolini’s wariness about Germany was soon justified. Once Hitler was in his own country, the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ (30 June to 2 July) followed, with the murder of an official 85 people (and with much higher estimates possible), mainly rivals within the National Socialist Party or members of the elite, an act that might be thought to have put the Matteotti murder in the shade. Nor were these acts of vengeance the end of killing. On the evening of 25 July Austrian Nazis stormed into the Chancellery in Vienna where they shot Dollfuss and allowed him to bleed to death, refusing any intervention from a doctor or priest or his request to send a message to his wife and children, who were staying with the Mussolinis in their beach house on the Adriatic at Riccione. From there, on 26 July, Mussolini wrote to Vienna of 176

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his ‘profound sorrow’ at events, underlining his personal friendship with Dollfuss and their shared ‘political views’.180 The Vatican, too, joined the mourning for one they lauded as a ‘Christian statesman’, made ‘martyr’ to current ‘barbarism’ and its revival of ‘political banditry’.181 No wonder that regime journalists, recalling their Duce’s own word use but with varied spelling, now condemned ‘Theutonica’ root and branch. It was just like 1914, they argued, with the Germans showing their habitual ‘incomprehension of the rights of others’ and ‘crude perfidy’, demonstrating that ‘they had learned nothing from history and could learn nothing’; their ‘inferior civilisation’ always preferred violence to thought. Mussolini was their chief opponent in Europe and the Nazis simply must understand ‘L’Austria non si tocca’ (Austria must not be touched).182 As another journalist added hopefully in September 1934, ‘when the Teutonic people lose their head, other peoples find theirs’.183 Yet another warned that the Nazis wanted to grab each member of what they deemed ‘the German race’ (including those who lived in the Alto Adige).184 To back up such words, illustrated magazines published graphic images of how Dollfuss had been ‘murdered in a cowardly fashion’.185 In his own speeches, Mussolini, on more than one occasion, again ridiculed the idea that any country was inhabited by a single, pure race.186 When news of the attempted Nazi coup in Vienna reached Italy, Mussolini rushed troops to the Brenner (to the applause of Pius XI)187 and he continued to urge further reprisals and reparations, with few signs of support from the other Great Powers, especially Britain. There, Foreign Secretary John Simon’s first reaction to the murder of Dollfuss was ‘we must keep out of trouble in Central Europe at all costs. July twenty years ago stands as an awful warning’.188 A week later, his complacent attitude was: ‘one of the few good things to come out of the horrid Austrian mess is that Italy is nearer to us and further away from Germany than for a long time’.189 In so far as international relations were concerned, in Autumn 1934 Mussolini’s dictatorship stood at a crossroads. From the Duce’s Hungarian friends and clients190 there came the suggestion that Mussolini was worthy of the next Nobel Peace Prize.191 On 9 October 1934, the London Times was not quite so effusive but it did editorialise that Mussolini ‘had acquired a right of free speech in international affairs after the manner of Lord Palmerston. His advocacy of “si vis pacem, para bellum” should be seen as realism, not a thirst for war’.192 177

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Later that day Europe was shaken by the assassination at Marseille of King Alexander of Yugoslavia, a country whose relations with Italy were delicate at best. French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou, thought to be on good terms with Mussolini,193 died at the king’s side. The assassin was in fact a Bulgarian. But many thought the real agents were the fanatically Croatian separatist and racist Ustaše, whose leadership had long been given sanctuary in Italy, although Mussolini had shown them few signs of admiration and, after the murder despatched most of them to Lipari.194 French anti-Fascists were sure that Mussolini, the murderer of Matteotti, was again guilty, but they could never prove this case.195 On 9 October 1934, it was as yet unclear whether Mussolini was a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ dictator. When, three weeks later, the regime went through its anniversary rituals on 28 October 1934, Anno XII turned into Anno XIII. Someone should have noticed the bad omen of the number thirteen. In October 1934, Mussolini may have been struggling with an economy slow to recover from the Depression and with a population growing more disdainful of Fascists, if not of their dictator. His effort to make a coherent ideology out of Fascism may have been drifting into failure. But he did retain a mostly positive international reputation as a ‘statesman’, who successfully mixed aggressive bluster with sensible and realistic policy. Hitlerian Nazism was a worry but it was not yet certain that Fascism was its ideological twin or that the Italian dictatorship was its natural ally. After all, within Italy, talk about the universal appeal of Mussolinian ideas could invoke ‘Austro-fascism’ or other authoritarian regimes in Europe or FDR’s New Deal in the USA or the administrative system of the Catholic Church as readily as it could what to many were the perilously racist Nazis. In the 13th year of the regime most of its possible virtues changed into evident vices. Italy opted for war and murder, though it did so in Africa, not Europe. For all the talk about romanità, open and unalloyed aggression was to be directed at a territory well beyond an erstwhile Roman Empire. It entailed an imperialism of the sort that had underlain the French, British and other European empires and might be viewed as traditional and dated, despite the vicious violence that would accompany its warmaking as a result of modern technology, Italian-style, accompanied by a media blare of Fascist justification. Anno XIII opened a path of disaster for the dictatorship that was illuminated by the regime’s ideology but also reflected the complications 178

1. A society magazine image published on 22 June 1924, of the then still ‘disappeared’ moderate socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti, as ‘vittime di un efferato delitto politico’ (victim of a heinous political crime). He was kidnapped on 10 June and his body was found in a shallow grave outside Rome on 24 August.

2. Nine months after assuming the dictatorship, Mussolini, wearing civilian clothes, meets poor peasant children in the village of Caluso outside Turin. He is accompanied by the elected mayor (to become a nominated podestà a year later), a priest and some officers from the military. The Roman saluting is erratic; the Duce merely waves.

3. A rare period image from summer 1927 of the super chic Acquasanta golf course in Rome, to be the favoured place of relaxation for elite young Fascists such as Ciano and Bottai. It has the aqueduct of Emperor Claudius providing romanità in the background. An uncomprehending Mussolini thought there were 22 holes in such a place.

4. Handsome and elegant Crown Prince Umberto kneels at Nazareth on an Easter visit to the Holy Land in 1928. A year before the signing of the Lateran pacts, he indicates that the Savoy dynasty are as ready as Mussolini for a ‘historic compromise’ with the Church.

5. This image from a book by Rodolfo Graziani, the later most Fascist of Fascist generals but in 1929 a deferential monarchist, here allows us to admire Prince Amedeo, Duca delle Puglie, son of the Duke of Aosta, on a white camel in Libya during a royal visit that year.

6. Two days after the Decennale, Mussolini (left) visits the Fiat factory in Turin. He is greeted by the rich and influential founder of the business, Giovanni Agnelli, in bourgeois dress. Perhaps symbolically, the two do not look at each other and Mussolini seems to have taken a step back.

7. The Duce with evidently whitening hair, an indication of arriving old age soon suppressed in Fascist imagery, photographed in March 1933, just after Hitler has been jockeyed into power. Mussolini is meeting British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald as part of the talks over a Four Power Pact. Each is in civilian dress.

8. During the Church’s supernumerary Holy Year, Pope Pius XI, arms outstretched in welcome and charity, greets a Catholic and not a Fascist ‘oceanic crowd’ in Piazza San Pietro. The Vatican journal L’Illustrazione vaticana claimed that they numbered 200,000.

9. Mussolini, with an odd combination of beret, jodhpurs and double-breasted coat, tasting bread in Littoria, in the drained Pontine marshes. The raggedly saluting peasants are wearing black Fascist shirts but are not in uniform below their waists. A well-groomed secret policeman may be watching them.

10. Mussolini and Hitler meet on the balcony of the Napoleonic villa in Stra, June 1934. Each is wearing civilian clothes and they have certainly different and perhaps competing versions of the ‘Fascist salute’. It was said that the mosquitoes that summer in Stra were ‘as big as quails’.

11. L’Illustrazione italiana records for its wealthy readers the killing of Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss by Austrian National Socialists on 25 July 1934. His wife and children were staying with the Mussolinis at their Adriatic beach house. The journal describes Dollfuss as having been ‘vilmente assassinato . . . da una banda di rivoltosi’ (murdered in a cowardly fashion . . . by a riotous crew).

12. Skinny Somali men give the Roman salute with seeming but rehearsed enthusiasm to visiting King Victor Emmanuel III. Some were enrolled as ascari (black troops) and would very likely soon assist Italian soldiers in invading and brutally occupying neighbouring Ethiopia.

13. A cartoon published on 27 October 1935, just after the invasion of Ethiopia. It displays the tiny size of the Italian Empire compared with England, France, Holland, Belgium and Portugal, with a slogan from Mussolini promising to reverse the ‘blackest of injustices’ and give Italy a small ‘place in the sun’.

14. Naked and victorious Italian soldiers bathe in Lake Ashangi (Hashenge) in northern Ethiopia, late April 1936. As Indro Montanelli would state, they look like schoolboys on holiday. There is no indication that a battle had been won nearby earlier that month, assisted by brutal bombing with poison gas. Addis Ababa would fall some 10 days later.

15. Mussolini in civilian dress and his son-in-law and ‘dauphin’ Ciano in airforce uniform (saluting in the traditional and not the Fascist Roman manner) before an honour guard in Naples. Ciano told his wife Edda that he found bombing unarmed Ethiopians an orgasmic experience.

16. Massive crowds cheer Mussolini on his return from the Munich conference (28–9 September 1938). Their placards read ‘Duce, you are humanity’s father’; not a welcome message to the Duce who was by then really hoping he was a warlord, destined to deliver ‘booty’ to his country.

17. Amedeo, from 1931 Duke of Aosta and from 1937 Viceroy of Africa Orientale Italiana. He was destined to die in March 1942 as a POW in Kenya. Here he is visiting the Eritrean port of Massawa (Mitsiwa) in January 1939, his white uniform looking very like that of other European imperial governors.

18. Benito and Rachele with their (legitimate) children Edda, Vittorio, Bruno and baby Romano, born in September 1927. After 1945 Romano became a distinguished jazz pianist, an odd career for a fascist. The youngest sister, Anna Maria, to be born in September 1929, was a victim of poliomyelitis in the summer of 1936. 

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of the international ambitions of the least of the Great Powers. In the process, the dictator, Mussolini, was making himself and was being made into a common enemy of decent humankind. The wild and whirling days that were to ensue meant that what we now commonly think of as the era of fascism, but needs more properly to be called the era of Nazism, was about to commence.

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CHAPTER 7 THE FASCIST MAP OF EUROPE MOVES TO AFRICA ETHIOPIA, EMPIRE AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES

Since Raffaele Guariglia’s memorandum on Ethiopia in August 1932,1 nothing much had been done to ready Italy for an empire there. Despite mutterings from Emilio De Bono, the Minister of Colonies, who spoke up for his ministry’s longstanding colonialist enthusiasm, Mussolini showed meagre interest in East Africa. In May 1934, for example, he told his ambassador in Ethiopia, Count Luigi Vinci Gigliucci, to favour the peaceful resolution of border disputes with Eritrea and Somalia, while acknowledging that such troubles might be endemic.2 At the same time, military chief Pietro Badoglio warned De Bono that ‘war with Abyssinia’ would be ‘a very heavy burden’ for the country. Colonies, he added sagely, were always an expense. Given the ‘instability’ in Europe, would the game in Ethiopia be worth the candle, he asked.3 A few months later, just after meeting Hitler in Venice, Mussolini himself instructed De Bono, who was spending time in the customary Fascist manner in bitter personal bickering with rival colonialists Italo Balbo and Alessandro Lessona,4 to avoid any ‘provocation’ of Haile Selassie’s empire.5 The Dollfuss murder stimulated further backpedalling with the Duce instructing his minister, his army, navy and air force chiefs and his diplomats across the world that, in the current circumstances, Italy must concentrate on the German threat. According to one British admirer, Nazi expansionism had convinced the Duce that the Germans were pursuing ‘Frankenstein fascism’, quite unlike their own.6 It was crucial for the Ethiopians to be persuaded that Italy was pursuing a friendly policy in their regard. In Europe, Mussolini decreed, ‘there must be no dangerous diminution of our potential for war’ through African escapades.7 Europe, after all, was ever more unstable. Between 5 and 18 October, a worker revolt in the Asturias was bloodily suppressed by a tough-minded Catholic Republican Spanish government, led by José Maria Gil Robles, in 180

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something of a rerun of what Dollfuss had done in Vienna in February, but without active advice from Mussolini; 2,000 civilians died.8 In November, the Duce met, first, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös, and then replacement Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg, in an attempted rallying of European rightists under Italian leadership.9 They might not be ‘universal fascists’ but they could be regarded as loyal, authoritarian clients. In fact, Schuschnigg would soon prove grudging in that role,10 if, for the moment, young Fascists were assured that Austria had ideology, history and Catholicism on its side armed against the German threat.11 With the Italian economy stagnating, Starace’s stunts looking increasingly pointless and Fascist populism scarcely hardening Italians into more enthusiastic ‘revolutionaries’, Mussolini’s mind turned to Africa as offering a chance to reignite the spirit of the regime and refurbish his own charisma. According to Acerbo, he even contemplated dissolving the PNF.12 To avoid such grave retreat, there was to be an African adventure, after all. An incident was easy to summon. On 5 December at an oasis called Walwal (Welwel) inhabited by Somalis, in a border area still not delimited in clear fashion, there was an exchange of fire between Italian colonial forces and Ethiopians. On 14 December, Haile Selassie, rightly sensing that Italian attitudes towards him were hardening, used his right as an equal member of the League of Nations to appeal for its adjudication on the matter. A crisis had begun. On 30 December 1934, Mussolini produced a lengthy ‘directive’, not about Fascist irredentist claims on Dalmatia, Corsica or Malta, which could easily be larded with romanità, but instead about an African empire long craved by Liberal and national Italy; alea jacta est, as a Caesar might put it, although Roman legions had not marched so far south. Mussolini’s message was nothing if not plain, with his underlining stressing his anger and commitment. ‘Time is working against us’, he now decided. Ethiopia, from a ‘diplomatic problem’ had become ‘a problem of force’, and it must be resolved ‘as soon as possible’. Italy’s objective must be ‘the destruction of the Ethiopian armed forces and the total conquest’ of the country. During the previous decade, ‘democratic and Masonic France’ had dealt with Abd el-Krim in Morocco through open war, ‘profiting from a moment when Germany was inert or almost so’ (his jealous fear of Nazism never far below the surface). Surely Fascist Italy could do the same or better in East Africa? For the next 181

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three years, Mussolini predicted bullishly, Europe would be ‘tranquil’ enough for the dictatorship to resolve the Ethiopian issue, which had dogged Italy since the defeat at Adowa. France and Italy had just worked together to restrain Germany in Austria, while relations with Yugoslavia had improved since the assassinations at Marseille. Japan had shown the way in Mongolia by not formally declaring war on China but forcefully seizing the territory it needed and the League of Nations had done nothing. Italy must act in a similar radical manner, while maintaining that its motives were defensive. ‘Fascists and the young,’ he concluded, again looking to spark his regime, would happily back action.13 In his directive, Mussolini made no mention of the most obvious historical parallel to this determination to crush Ethiopia, which was the attack by Liberal Italy on Ottoman-ruled Libya in September 1911. Then, Liberal Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti had insisted on ‘total conquest’ of the territory (to the dismay of his more cautious associates). Giolitti had remained unmoved by criticism from the Greater Powers and their moralising press commentators about his action and determined on full-scale subjugation of the territory.14 But, as would again prove true in 1939 when the dictatorship, confronted by their frightening ally Hitler’s utter determination on war, opted for what they called ‘nonbelligerency’ in order to avoid the ‘neutrality’ of 1914–15,15 Mussolini was compelled to hide comparison with his predecessors. At least for propaganda purposes, in this dictatorship Fascism must always be Fascist, never Liberal, and so act with a violence and aggression that was its own. Yet a more orthodox diplomacy continued, with the Duce failing to notice that Giolitti had acted rapidly in 1911 without a long lead-in where complaint about Italy might mount. A week after he had issued the directive, Mussolini welcomed another visitor to Rome, this time the French Foreign Minister, Pierre Laval, a politician who had begun as a socialist but presently served a rightist coalition government. It was Laval who, a few years earlier, had asked enticingly when Italy might want to move against Haile Selassie’s turbulent empire.16 Laval and Mussolini found reasons to agree on the urgent need to keep Germany down; war might prove necessary, they agreed, although Mussolini was optimistic that, for the present, Reichswehr officers would restrain ideologically driven Nazi extremists. Italy and France could readily settle their old disputes in Tunisia, Djibouti or the eastern Mediterranean, he 182

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added comfortingly. ‘The Head of Government made plain that the principal question for him was a free hand in Ethiopia’, the report of the meeting ran. Laval saw no bone of contention there. Doubtless remembering that Fascist propaganda always preferred to be stentorian rather than sinuous, he did warn cagily that care must be taken when the French position was reported in the next day’s news.17 A week later, military talks between the two chiefs of staff began; by summer 1935 they were reported to be near a ‘definitive’ arrangement for ‘collaboration’ against the Germans, it had to be assumed, until overtaken by the worsening crisis with the League of Nations over Italian plans for Ethiopia.18 When Pietro Quaroni, a diplomat who worked for the regime throughout its history without losing his independence of thought, and then moved on to serve the Republic, rising to be ambassador in Paris, wrote a history of Fascist foreign policy, he underlined the perpetual importance of France for Mussolini, the sometime teacher of French. The Duce, he said, viewed relations with Paris as ‘more crucial than with any other country’. Mussolini nourished a ‘kind of loving pique’ towards the French.19 Whatever the case, Quaroni argued that the dictatorship was still, in 1935, pursuing a foreign policy based on realpolitik and not ideology, and it is no surprise to find his work republished by current historians who hold similar views. Mussolini, Quaroni added, was behaving as the nation’s Liberal leaders had in 1911–12 until he was confronted by the ‘inexplicable’ fact of the ‘suddenly and decisively hostile attitude’ of the archcolonialist UK to his colonial venture.20 Given the way that, during its first decade in office, the dictatorship had seldom rejected the policy habits of a nation dependent on its ‘traditional friendship’, it is a little surprising that Mussolini did not seek British backing with the same energy as he did French. To be sure, three weeks after his talks with Laval, Mussolini asked his ambassador Dino Grandi to convey to the Foreign Secretary, John Simon, his determination to deal with ‘the Ethiopian problem in a radical fashion’, whether that meant a direct takeover or ‘some other arrangement’.21 Grandi, in reply, noted British circumspection, as nebulous, he remarked feelingly, as a London fog over the prospect of Italian action. It was a greater pleasure to meet Laval at a dinner in the Savoy Hotel, when the Frenchman, he claimed, greeted him winningly with a Roman salute.22 Ignoring British haziness and seemingly of the view that France mattered more, in early March Mussolini instructed De Bono, who had been 183

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given overall charge of Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa) as it was coming to be called, to be ready in October to lead a massive and overwhelming invasion force of 300,000 men.23 Mussolini tried to make it clear to the diplomatic world that he remained determined to prevent an Anschluss and was no admirer of Nazi rule. In early April he wrote that, by its recent unilateral adoption of conscription contrary to promises made at Versailles, Germany had displayed what it was, not a beneficent nation. France, he added, was now a firm friend of Italy, and the British, he hoped, were beginning to comprehend European affairs in their current complexity.24 In what might have been a major occasion to cement a sort of Three Power Pact, between 11 and 14 April Mussolini, Laval, the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and Foreign Secretary, John Simon and their key officials met in a plush setting at Stresa on Lago Maggiore. There Mussolini made a major effort to present himself and his regime as the utterly realistic opponent of Nazi schemes,25 and of turbulence wherever it might surface. In Civiltà Fascista, a young historian wrote in what must have been approved vein that the Great British Empire, which was surely not in decadence, must accept that newcomers in the field, like Italy and Japan, had on occasion to be ‘dynamic’ in their actions; perhaps there should be another ‘Patto Mussolini’ (Four Power Pact) to operate across the Pacific Ocean?26 Regime publicists were still loudly voicing their dislike of Nazi Germany, with such hard-line Fascists as Farinacci and Preziosi adamant that the German leopard could not change its spots; the Germans, they wrote, composed a nation which, since Frederick Barbarossa, had constantly violated every treaty they made.27 An editorialist in Il Mare Nostro wrote eloquently of ‘the superior rights of civilisation’ that were taking Italy ‘back to Africa’, while damning the ‘German mentality’ as always what it ‘was and is, crude, loutish and ungrateful’.28 Giovanissima warned that the Germans were trying to sow disorder in Europe, in order to advance their perpetual plots for hegemony. Mussolini was their most resolute opponent, while he was also readying to deal with ‘the barbaric and ill-disciplined regime’ in Addis Ababa.29 In the summer of 1935, Italy’s military manoeuvres were meaningfully held in the Alto Adige, near the Brenner border with Austria and the Germanic world in what was to be read as further proof of Italian determination to oppose treaty revision for Germany, which might extend to the Italian borderlands themselves.30 184

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Steadily the propaganda focus was moving directly onto Ethiopia, with Il Popolo d’Italia on 22 May publishing a detailed account of the alleged sale of virgins and castrated boys in the ‘savage empire’ and claiming to count 10,000 slaves in the Harar area alone.31 At Stresa Italian imperial bellicosity, now obvious to most given the armaments that were pouring into Eritrea and Somalia, was curiously omitted from discussion at the highest level. Junior officials did talk over the matter, with Italy warned that Britain took Ethiopia’s membership of the League of Nations seriously and so could not endorse Fascist aggression in East Africa. In response, after the meeting finished, Mussolini did ask Grandi firmly to tell Simon, in order to avoid ‘misunderstandings and equivocations’, that Italy would not accept Geneva arbitration. Come what may, the Fascist regime intended to ‘resolve’ the border question between its colonies and Ethiopia.32 Sounding as implacable as possible, the Duce instructed De Bono to press on with military preparations, ‘at the cost of a break with England, even in the extreme hypothesis of a war with England’.33 On the other track of policy in Europe, he now informed the Chamber of Deputies that ‘the problem of Austrian independence is an Austrian and European problem. In regard to Europe, it particularly involves Italy, but not only Italy’.34 Italy was not going to stand up to Nazi Germany alone, he implied, unless it got its wishes in Africa. While Mussolini’s hectoring of what had been deemed friendly powers continued, at home secret police reports may have acted as a further spur against any U-turn. In Trieste in March the Duce had been told that a rash of wall posters had appeared in the city, hailing Hitler and a ‘German Trieste’, with workers being surreptitiously informed that the economic woes of the city could only be cured by it being returned to a ‘Great Germany’.35 From Gorizia in May there was news of pro-German ‘chattering and lies’ about Italian ‘institutions, customs and national life’.36 In Parma, party members were loyal and full of fervent faith. Yet they were troubled by the rise of unemployment over the last couple of months, ‘owing to an absolute lack of government, provincial or communal work’.37 In Trento, old quarrels were resurfacing between ‘intransigent Fascists’ and moderates, all oppressed by the ‘material difficulties of life’. In the Trentino, schoolteaching was still controlled by Catholics more than by committed Fascists, and ‘good’ children were presented with saints’ images, not pictures of Mussolini and other national heroes.38 185

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The late spring of 1935 was therefore a curious moment in the history of the regime, with those historians who see Mussolini bent on war detecting a sinister renewed warming of Nazi–Fascist relations, on scanty evidence,39 although Renzettti had re-emerged to report that Hitler pledged never to annex Austria and was therefore ready for a revival of the friendship of 1933.40 Italian scholars who agree with Quaroni that realism was the basis of Italian policy see instead a conflict commencing between the ‘declining’ Britain and the ‘rising’ Italy, whose complex play would work itself out over the next years, disastrously for both.41 Certainly it might be agreed that events in Germany had been casting doubt on Mussolini’s complacent view in December that the continent would remain quiet enough in the mid term for Italy to win a colonial war and then come back to Europe reinforced against whatever danger might surface, as Giolitti (wrongly) thought he had done in 1912. Contrary to Mussolini’s optimistic surmise, the functioning of the edgy international system of 1935–6 was replicating the most ominous features of 1911–12. As the crisis over Ethiopia deepened, one evident problem was that of image. Throughout its history, Fascism had portrayed itself both as the child of the First World War and as leading a regime that would carry on the procedures of total war in peacetime. Mussolini himself, over and over again, had roared that war was inevitable and necessary. No doubt, during his 13 years in office, he had not taken Italy into armed conflict with another power. Yet a Fascist militarisation of the people, with however flimsy results, was to be seen everywhere. Each political campaign – for grain, for the lira, for births, against the Mafia – was piercingly called a battle. Each Fascist institution had its own uniform and ranks with military names, and the institution of the Sabato fascista was about to ensure that many Italians now paraded once a week in uniform, dressed, at least superficially, as soldiers of the nation and regime. Fascist Italy was represented at home and abroad as an armed camp.42 Violence, at least of the disciplined kind, was portrayed as a positive. It had given squadrism its mystical sense of brotherhood and commitment. It was the essence of manhood. If the brutality of the early days had calmed and murder rates were not exceptional, indeed they were lower than under the Liberal regime, an undercurrent of threatening violence ran deep in society and could produce beatings and worse for anyone who openly criticised the 186

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dictatorship.43 At least in its propaganda, its ever more populist, louder and less accurate propaganda, Fascist Italy was primed for war. With his directive of 30 December, Mussolini had committed himself to no longer being what so many foreign commentators had assumed him to be, that is, a warrior for domestic consumption only. Now it sounded as though he had opted for war, could contemplate no retreat and was aggressively committed to implementing ‘universal fascism’. But which war, it should be asked? There is a double reply to this question. On the one hand, the Ethiopian campaign must be sold as a populist war, a battle in which all Italians engaged themselves spiritually for the Fascist nation and empire. As Mussolini was to put it grandiloquently on 18 December 1935, just after the failure of the compromise Hoare–Laval Pact, drafted by the French and British foreign ministries, and while inaugurating the new town of Pontinia in the marshes outside Rome: ‘It is a war of civilisation and liberation. It is a People’s War. The Italian People feel it as their own thing. It is a war of the poor, of the disinherited, of proletarians. Against us is arrayed a front of conservatism, egoism and hypocrisy’. It must be fought ‘to the bitter end’.44 As if in demonstration that there were now no limits to Fascistised warfare, while preparation proceeded back in May, Mussolini, Starace, Federzoni, Bottai, Badoglio and others from the regime elite attended ‘Chemical Arms Day’ at Centocelle, just outside Rome. It was reported that the Duce had been especially interested in the display of such weaponry and tried his hand at throwing bombs to the applause of all around.45 Yet the attack on Ethiopia was an imperial war, to be conducted in remote East Africa, against a country which may have been assigned membership of the League of Nations, but which, in the previous century, would have automatically been viewed by Europeans as little more than an aggregate of tribes, almost demanding to be conquered and ruled by its white ‘superiors’, certainly not a serious power. When Italy launched what, somewhere beneath the rhetoric, could be viewed as an old-fashioned war, was the regime in fact demonstrating that, as one canny diplomatic historian has mooted, it had failed to keep pace with a rapidly changing world despite Fascist chat about modernity?46 Was the Ethiopian campaign therefore an artificial war, revealing, somewhere beneath the noisy propaganda, how populism rarely maintains a genuine connection with the wellsprings of a people’s emotions (and soon the secret police were recording frequent mutterings among the masses, with 187

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peasant questioning the justice or the good sense of invading faraway lands owned by others)?47 Did it have to be the war that it became? Despite his bellicose speeches and the blatantly massive passage of arms through the Suez Canal to Massawa and Italy’s other colonial ports, was there still a chance that Mussolini could accept something short of war, a deal setting Italian influence over Ethiopia in a style that Britain possessed in Egypt or in the various mandates that had been distributed at Versailles (but not to Italy)? Revisionist Italian historians have for a generation maintained that the answer to this query is yes, and still do.48 For such analysts, at least as much to blame for the eventual attack on 3 October and for the failure to find a compromise after that were British and French policy makers, especially the young new British Minister for the League of Nations, Anthony Eden (born 1897). One propagandist in 1936 was convinced that Eden bore the ‘evil eye’, so stupid was his policy to Italy.49 Today, Eugenio Di Rienzo considers that Eden’s disastrous policy towards Nasser over Suez in 1956 was given a trial run in his ‘blindly obstinate’ hostility to Mussolini’s regime in 1935–6, an invasion that may have been brutal, Di Rienzo admits, but was, in contemporary parlance, after all directed against a ‘failed state’.50 Eden’s ministry was a new post split off from the Foreign Office where Samuel Hoare, who, in the First World War, had transmitted secret British finance to help sustain Il Popolo d’Italia’s enthusiasm for battle,51 became Foreign Secretary. It was an odd division whose ambiguities were revealed when Eden, who before his appointment had been sure that ‘the Abyssinian adventure’ was the choice of Mussolini alone,52 almost immediately visited Rome, this time to run into a dictator anything but friendly and bent on battle.53 If his memoirs are to be believed, in any case from 1933 Eden already feared Mussolini was playing a ‘double game’ with bloody war as his real aim. It might be that, at a meeting in Rome in February 1934, Eden had thought Mussolini ‘lively, friendly, vigorous and entertaining’, with ‘a journalist’s inquisitiveness for news’, but, he had added suspiciously, the Duce was too vigorous to be believed in his sarcasm towards the German dictatorship and its policies. Eden remembered his embarrassment at what he saw as the braggadocio and baleful ferocity of the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista.54 Adopting the line of Mussolini’s anti-Fascist enemies with a twist fitting the world view of a gentlemanly British conservative, Eden decided that the Duce was a ‘bully’ or blackguard, a cad with whom no ‘personal chemistry’ could exist in negotiation. The dictator’s ‘mad 188

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adventure’ in Ethiopia, he therefore quickly concluded, must receive neither sympathy nor support.55 Over the next few years, his attitude did not change. Rather, Eden became convinced that Mussolini was ‘the complete gangster’, a leader whose ‘pledged word means nothing’. Could the dictator be ‘the antiChrist’, Eden asked himself?56 For this influential British politician, Mussolini’s regime and country were the most undeserving poor, not to be appeased, if virtue (British-style) were to reign. When it came to unspoken assumptions, the image of the dictator as an Al Capone moved from Chicago to Europe readily surfaced in other politicians’ minds. So as late as April 1939, French Foreign Minister Edouard Daladier urged his British friends not to deal too readily with ‘the Italian gangsters’ and their policy of entrapment.57 Without necessarily wholly accepting those Italian historians who depict the Duce as just another realist statesman playing his cards as well as he could, it is reasonable to be critical of the vagaries of the foreign policy of the British government. Throughout 1935–6, it wobbled between its own traditional and imperialist realpolitik and an uneasy populist defence of the League of Nations, with that organisation’s novel, and still largely untested, pledge to solve international disputes by negotiation, not war (thereby shoring up the global hegemony of imperialist liberal democracy). What was to be made of excited talk about ‘public opinion’ now charting the path of diplomacy, some Tories asked? Hoare, a more cautious and traditional conservative than Eden, remarked somewhat fearfully that he was confronting a domestic reaction among League of Nations fans in Britain like that raised by Gladstone over the ‘Bulgarian horrors’ in 1876.58 Nor had ‘realism’ been wholly given up as was demonstrated when Britain moved unilaterally to sign on 18 June a naval pact with Nazi Germany (on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo).59 Such a partnership shattered any illusion of the Three Power condominium of Stresa and was the worst possible background for Eden’s visit to Rome between 23 and 26 June.60 Equally annoying from an Italian viewpoint was the report of a commission, headed by Sir John Maffey, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, into British imperial interests in East Africa, which was also delivered on 18 June (with a copy rapidly put into Mussolini’s hands by a spy installed in the British Embassy in Rome). Maffey argued again in realistic vein that there was no need to fight to stop an alteration to the status quo in East Africa that might result from successful Italian penetration of Ethiopia.61 189

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Within Britain, the determination that there were new rules about imperialism centred in the League of Nations looked hypocritical, even when managed by the ‘exquisite hands of Anthony Eden’, to those numerous Tories who remembered that ‘most of our far flung empire has been won by conquest’.62 In the House of Lords, Charles Hardinge, Permanent UnderSecretary at the Foreign Office 1906–10, 1916–20 and Viceroy of India 1910– 16, could not understand how Britain, whatever might be thought of Italy’s ‘most unjustifiable . . . aggression’, had decided to ‘prop up not only an incomplete League of Nations but also a savage and uncivilised state [Ethiopia]’.63 There was a hint of royal dissent when King George V expressed his concern lest Eden was ‘taking the lead to too great an extent’ and thereby pushing Mussolini into a possible ‘rash and foolish act’ (open war with Britain), ‘the last thing that anyone wants’.64 Such voices were in the minority while, through the summer of 1935 and on into autumn, Italian military preparations ostentatiously continued and efforts in the League of Nations to restrain the regime, notably through diverse discussions in September, failed. As another old imperial administrator told Hoare pessimistically, ‘it’s the old Adowa complex, plus the inevitable need of dictators in trouble at home for military success abroad’; nothing much could stop it but such aggression had destroyed Napoleon III; all power corrupted and absolute power did so absolutely.65 Would Mussolini, Hoare worried, with a metaphor destined to last, prove a ‘mad dog’?66 Churchill, readily switching from his past admiration for the Duce, was only one among many who underlined that the dictator, Mussolini, might now behave in an irrational manner as dictators did, and so naval preparation must be enhanced.67 In reaction to such fussy rebuke, the dictatorship’s propaganda grew less restrained with Bottai urging characteristically (and obscurely) that wealth was not the motive for a venture into Ethiopia (although, he added hopefully, the empire was rich). What mattered was the proof success there would give of ‘the modern revolution, which is Fascism-Corporatism’, as he put it, with emphasis on his own priority.68 From berating the Nazis, Farinacci switched to vituperative attacks on ‘decadent’ Britain and its foolish negotiator, Eden.69 War it was to be. On 29 September, Mussolini ordered De Bono to cross the Ethiopian border on the night of of 2–3 October, acting without any formal 190

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declaration of war in what was meant to be Fascist effrontery in the face of diplomatic rules, although, as had been noted, it was scarcely an original step for Italy.70 It did not matter much given that, on 2 October, Mussolini bellowed from his balcony on the Palazzo Venezia that ‘a whole people of 44 million souls’ were on the march.71 By 7 October, Adowa had fallen to Italian arms. From London, Grandi wrote ingratiatingly to his chief that the glory of this national revenge for the 1896 defeat was ‘all down to you [Voi]’.72 The attack was certainly staggering in extent. By the end of the war, the five ‘classes’ of those born between 1911 and 1915 had been mobilised, more than half a million soldiers, being further backed by 50,000 volunteers (35,000 of them from the MVSN), while the navy, in its transport duties from the Mediterranean, employed as many as did the army. The Italians had 450 modern planes to use for bombing and strafing against a virtually nonexistent Ethiopian air force (11 slow and unarmed planes, three of which could not get off the ground).73 Utterly careless of the cost (the Bank of Italy’s gold reserves fell from 5,297 to 3,027 million lire in the year of 1935),74 the Italians acted as though they had been pent up for all the earlier years of the dictatorship and now had naturally ejaculated into violent and brutal war. It might be read as a symbol that Mussolini, after four years of dallying, finally had sex with Claretta Petacci soon after the Ethiopian conflict was won.75 Party Secretary Starace, who showed that he was scarcely needed in Italy, disappeared to Ethiopia for months. There he appalled Bottai and Ciano in the crudity of his efforts to be a Fascist man by shooting indigenous prisoners of war in the genitals.76 Opposition from the League of Nations, which culminated in the implementation of sanctions on 18 November (they would never be expanded crucially to include oil),77 was damned in Italy as an attack by ‘50’ national foes, led by Britain, against the heroic nation. In reaction, the regime announced that it was collecting gold from the wedding rings of all classes and faiths, with 18 December set down as the ‘Giornata della Fede’ when the people of Italy would march to make their collective sacrifice. Bottai wrote that the offer had become truly ‘totalitarian’.78 The Queen, Rachele Mussolini, Edda Ciano, several other notable women and eminent men, including Liberal philosopher Benedetto Croce, who gave his senator’s medal to the nation, were photographed making their sacrifice. Ordinary priests and more senior Church figures endorsed the collection, as did the nation’s rabbis. No doubt there 191

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were cases of refusal and manipulation, where something cheaper replaced the actual gold,79 but the main historian of these events has estimated that the overall score from the sanctions-busting campaign amounted to 50 per cent of privately owned gold rings and other jewels, a people’s sacrifice for a people’s war.80 Before the Giornata could be organised, Britain and France had tried to reach a compromise with the Italians in the so-called Hoare–Laval Pact, leaked to the press on 9 December. Again historians divide over whether Mussolini would have been ready to negotiate a settlement, which did not involve Ethiopia’s complete destruction. MacGregor Knox disdainfully dismisses ‘a pseudo-compromise that delivered Ethiopia by slices’ and is sure that ‘highly secret contacts with Hitler’ meant that the Axis was already half-formed.81 Certainty in that regard may be dubious; a senior British diplomat at the time maintained that Hitler much disliked the idea that there might be ‘any undue increase of Mussolini’s prestige’,82 and there is quite a bit of evidence that tensions in Italo-German relations had not yet been fully overcome. Eugenio Di Rienzo is predictably doubtful of seeing an Italy ideologically bent on global war. Certainly on 4 December Mussolini had advised Grandi that he could look at a settlement which only gave Italy the non-Amharic parts of the Ethiopian Empire.83 Whatever the arguments about what did not happen, Di Rienzo does acknowledge the international opprobrium that was immediately heaped on the terms of the Hoare–Laval Pact from across the world.84 The widespread condemnation of any compromise was proof of the facility with which opinion, at the highest level, had switched to the view that Mussolini was a ‘bad dictator’ and his ‘Fascism’ the worst of ideologies. In what pro-League opinion was certain was a battle between vice and virtue, the Italian dictatorship was more readily depicted as an utterly undeserving complainant against the postwar world order than any other past or future transgressor. In such circumstances it was only appropriate that Eden now replaced Hoare as British Foreign Secretary, an office he retained until February 1938. In France, Laval, who had been serving as prime minister since June 1935, fell in January and the country moved towards installing in May 1936 an ‘anti-Fascist’ Popular Front government headed by Léon Blum. Certainly, from the failure of the Hoare–Laval Pact onwards, the Fascist regime abandoned what may have been its initial ‘limited warmaking’,85 and 192

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marched towards Addis Ababa, which fell on the morning of 5 May in chaos, given that Haile Selassie had fled three days earlier.86 Before long, diplomats were moving to end League of Nations sanctions against the Italian aggressor, a step formally enacted on 15 July, with even Eden in agreement.87 An African victory had been won but at what would prove disastrous middle- and longterm costs for Mussolini and his regime in Europe. The immediate pain was being borne by the peoples of Ethiopia, given Fascist warmaking and the ruthlessly deployed total air supremacy. Fascism was not necessarily the only explanation for the atrocities inflicted. Badoglio, already accustomed to ignoring the Geneva convention of 1925, utilised gas and the terror it spread before Mussolini ordered him to do so, while such action was approved by the upper-class diplomat, Fulvio Suvich, and other members of the Fascist elite.88 Between 1935 and 1939 Italy used up 500 tonnes of chemical weapons either in waging war or, after May 1936, in trying to impose its rule over a never pacified territory. On the Northern Front, between December 1935 and March 1936 it dropped 972 bombs that contained 272 tonnes of mustard gas. During the battle of Amba Aradam (11 to 15 February) 1,367 cannonades of arsine (arsenic trihydride) were launched against the enemy, while 41 kg phosphorus bombs were a favoured weapon in the south (325 were dropped there).89 The deployment of such chemical weapons was denied in Italy into the twenty-first century and is still downplayed. However, contemporary reports, in a war which held the headlines in many countries for many months, did a great deal to ensure that Mussolini could not recover the largely positive foreign view of him that had been common before 1935. As one British observer graphically reported the effect of a mustard gas attack: The first [person] I examined, an old man, sat moaning on the ground, rocking himself to and fro, completely wrapped in a cloth. When I approached he slowly rose and drew aside his cloak. He looked as if someone had tried to skin him, clumsily; he had been horribly burned by ‘mustard gas’, all over the face, the back, and the arms. There were many others like him, some more, some less severely affected; some newly burned, others older, their sores already caked with thick brown scabs. Men and women alike, all horribly disfigured, and little children, too. And

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many blinded by the stuff, with blurred crimson apologies for eyes. . . . [They were] stunned by the effects of ‘gas’. It was something outside experience, a mysterious devilish thing.90

In the British House of Lords, in March 1936, the grand old man of the pro-League of Nations cause, Robert Cecil, with what today might sound like hyperbole, damned the bombing as ‘perhaps as horrible and shameless a thing as has ever been done before in the bloody annals of warfare’.91 More succinctly, the Spectator editorialised that, by his use of gas, Mussolini had ‘outlawed’ himself.92 That year saw the publication of a flood of books both about the war and, more generally, about Fascism, most taking deeply critical stances. The one with the catchiest (and most influential) title was American anti-Fascist journalist George Seldes’s Sawdust Caesar (first published in January 1936).93 French socialist Prime Minister Blum, arriving in office just as Addis Ababa fell, maintained: ‘I shall refuse to have any dealings with Matteotti’s murderer’.94 He told Eden that Mussolini and Hitler were sure to converge.95 The role of the League of Nations in the conflict ensured that the castigation of Fascist behaviour was global. Already back in June 1935 when AfricanAmerican Joe Louis beat (Fascist) Italian heavyweight Primo Carnera in New York, black youths ran through Harlem afterwards chanting ‘let’s get Mussolini next’.96 The regime banned newspapers from publishing photos of the boxer lying on the canvas but could scarcely repress the story of his loss.97 More seriously, South African politicians advised that an attack on Ethiopia could spark a race war across every empire.98 Rastafarianism, named in honour of Haile Selassie through his heroic and pure image, became a global religious movement, while Black Americans, through watching the months of crisis, grew more internationally minded than they had been in the past.99 As The Economist summed up the situation in October 1935, Italy had ‘flouted’ all its commitments and ‘outraged’ world opinion.100 Plenty of Italian officers were, and remained, extraordinarily insouciant about their warring, with journalist Indro Montanelli saying unrepentantly in his old age that it had been like being on school holidays. His Fascist youth had enjoyed ‘a mixture of the Wild West and 1968’, sweetened by sex with a very young teenage girl, remembered in Montanelli’s old age as ‘14 years old’ although she may in fact have been younger. He added in implied justification that, in AIO, a woman of 20 was already ‘old’.101 His penetration of her 194

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(he recalled that she did not move during coition) did not stop him from pontificating about how Italians must keep their ‘racial dignity’ in Ethiopia –‘with blacks you do not fraternise’, he stated, although he remained sardonic about the more obsessive racism of ‘the blond-hairs from over the Alps’.102 He tried to be funny in depicting one of his ascari who, he said, had gone through eighteen wives and eighteen divorces, a rapidity of change that was easier to achieve in AOI than in the USA.103 Bottai agreed with him that warmaking was the equivalent of puberty for a Fascist boy.104 Mussolini’s eldest sons, Vittorio and Bruno, aged 19 and 17, gave literal proof of this claim by joining the bombing from the air, Vittorio complaining lightly that fragile Ethiopian huts did not give sufficient pleasure to a bomber by crumpling with little sound or show.105 In typical reaction, a leading British journalist decided that Vittorio’s bombing of the Red Cross showed that ‘a criminal strain must run in the family’.106 The regime, fearful that Italians did not carry the white man’s burden in befitting manner, in December 1937 made interracial sex ‘of the conjugal kind’ an act punishable by five years imprisonment, pioneering in the empire the racial legislation soon to extend at home to Jews.107 Doubtless partially encouraged by the paucity of Italian females of any status in the territory, madamismo (living with an indigenous woman) was endemic in colonial society. In Eritrea, according to one assessment, by 1940 15,000 Italians had taken up with a local partner,108 10,000 children being allegedly born of such ties across the AOI.109 The highly dubious official figure for 1938, by contrast, had admitted just over 300.110 One estimate suggests that there was only one Italian woman for every fifteen males in the country.111 Nonetheless, Mussolini’s command in May 1936 that no unmarried male could stay in the colony for more than six months was ignored.112 Imperial war did raise doubts among such significant people as Volpi,113 Balbo,114 Acerbo,115 Federzoni and Giuriati, each worried from time to time about Mussolini’s pushing on regardless.116 But Italians, just like other Europeans, in vast majority accepted the idea that ‘inferior’ Africans needed their guidance and rule. King Victor Emmanuel III, if he murmured that Mussolini was not ‘a little impetuous’,117 allegedly told De Bono in November that ‘we have lost 40 years’, regretting in other words, as his father King Umberto had done at the time, that Italy had not quickly avenged Adowa 195

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and taken Ethiopia for its own long ago.118 Young historian Federico Chabod, later to be an anti-Fascist in his home Val d’Aosta and a prominent post1945 liberal democrat intellectual, spoke for the majority when he celebrated ‘the victorious, triumphal affirmation of a new and great Italy’.119 Philosopher Giovanni Gentile gave all credit to ‘The Man’, Mussolini, who had taught Italians their ‘new style’, their ‘new faith’ expressing the ‘totality of life’. For this Fascist thinker, Ethiopia ensured that the totalitarian project at home was and would be a full success.120 Yet, for the country, it was, in multifarious ways, the softest, in reality the least Fascist, of wars. Battle cost the Italians fewer than 6,000 casualties, three-quarters of them ascari, or indigenous troops from other parts of the empire.121 The Italians lost more to venereal disease than to Ethiopian weaponry.122 As time passed, the garrisoning of territory that was never fully subdued saw ascari outnumber Italians (by January 1938 there were 92,370 white troops stationed in Ethiopia, supplemented by 2,972 MVSN, plus 120,900 ascari).123 There were at least 6,500 bureaucrats who had found jobs in Ethiopia, as one historian has commented wryly, an ‘elephantine number’ compared with the 1,223 state officials employed in all British Africa.124 Another telling detail in one autobiographical account is the statements that the indigenous mysteriously always knew where an official was going before he went, a ‘knowledge’ that had long been noted among peasants of the Italian south confronted by ‘alien’ Italian officialdom.125 Quite a few Italians did move into Ethiopia, believing briefly that the people were to gain from a populist war. Some were doubtless drawn by Starace’s lyrical image of the highlands as a place of ‘a springtime idyll . . . intense [natural] life, magnificent in its bursting vegetation’. Peasant immigrants, the PNF Secretary maintained, would have ‘no need to use chemical fertilisers for many generations’.126 Alas for such a prediction. By 1941, under either the fear of guerrilla attack or the reality of farming in the highlands, there were only 3,000 such settlers left in 40 agricultural ‘colonies’ being administered with ruthless racial apartheid. As occupation continued, race legislation grew steadily harsher, if not necessarily more strictly obeyed. By September 1938, Italians were banned from entering an indigenous dwelling place or riding in a vehicle with a black driver.127 Bottai, the party intellectual, led the way in suggesting that ‘native’ education should be restricted to the ‘practical’ and so reinforce a 196

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rigid planned ‘separate development’.128 Nonetheless there was some attempt to establish a Gioventù indigena littorio (Fascist indigenous youth organisation), whose members a propagandist could portray fetchingly as ‘ebony legs, bright eyes, erect body, the little ascari of the New Empire of Rome march to the roll of the drum’.129 In contrast with the countryside and the massive number of immigrants who were thought likely to settle there – La Vita Italiana had envisaged three million, backed by 15 million ‘natives’,130 although the state cut the metropolitan tally to 625,000, at least for the middle term – where Italians did congregate were the cities and especially the ‘imperial capital’.131 Addis Ababa drew 25,000 Italians, setting off a housing crisis that was never solved. Despite the anathema against local barbarism, quite a few immigrants were housed in huts that had been used by Ethiopians, who were pitilessly expelled.132 The situation was not much helped by Marcello Piacentini, pushing himself forward to architectural command with his usual temerity to remark that the capital and the rest of the country were ‘in a completely virgin state, deprived of any previous efforts at civilisation’.133 Half of the immigrants enrolled in one PNF organisation or other,134 and so the rituals of the regime proceeded in a way that might have occurred in a city back in Italy. In Addis Ababa, such celebrations did not lessen regular whingeing about inefficiency, nepotism and corruption, notably directed against the indeed corrupt ministers of colonies, Lessona and Attilio Teruzzi, again just as in Italy.135 Nor did Italians behave like new men and women, Roman-style soldiersettlers, when it came to employment. Rather they sought to open bars, cinemas, restaurants and hotels in what they hoped could become a colonial dolce vita.136 Truck driving offered greater scope, as did typing and office work for female immigrants. Along with the bureaucrats were men (and women) on the make.137 There were 1,436 heavily subsidised commercial and 1,225 industrial firms that sought their imperial fortune with stark examples of inefficiency and peculation.138 In 1938 Italy took 2 per cent of its imports from its empire as a whole, while 10 times as much was spent on administration, with the military absorbing 60 per cent of expenditure. In terms of what might be thought intended significance, between 1937 and 1942 Italy spent 68 billion lire on Ethiopia, 1.5 billion on Libya.139 Nonetheless, Ethiopia, a country traditionally vulnerable to famine, needed food imports to get by.140 No wonder Felice Guarneri, the regime’s clearest-eyed financial specialist, 197

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complained that ‘the empire is swallowing Italy’,141 while he cocooned himself against taking criticism too far in his belief that, in the final analysis, Mussolini was ‘a superior spirit, free of prejudices, a man who discounted formulae and conventional schemes’.142 In December 1938 Farinacci toured AOI and sent a frank 10-page report to the dictator. Although composed on Christmas Day it was not a happy present. His summation of what was happening to ‘imperial pretensions’ was that Italy’s empire lay in ‘a profound abyss’. Local Fascist bosses, Farinacci noted, ‘acted in disrespect for each other and bitterly criticised the others’, creating a state of ‘absolute discord in governance’. Despite the much-touted ‘Roman’ campaigns to improve communications, the road surfaces outside the cities were so bumpy as to bring on hernia or varicose veins. There was no sense of proportion in ‘planning’, although that word was misplaced when it came to reality. ‘Every big cheese [pezzo grosso] is at once committed to spending millions [of state money] to improve his office or to have a luxurious apartment’. Ordinary families lived in promiscuous squalor with the natives. No one in authority kept to a budget, rather expecting ‘manna to come from the skies’ of Italy. Remembering to kowtow at the end, not always his habit, Farinacci concluded that that what rule in Ethiopia best embodied was, ‘in regard to you [te] and your tireless work, the grossest of betrayals’.143 During the fighting and to a lesser extent thereafter, the Italians had pressed ahead with road building, some 3,000 kilometres of it, initially importing 60,000 Italian labourers for the task (at 10 times wages back home),144 but eventually replacing them with much cheaper indigenous workers. But, as Farinacci remarked, the results were imponderable,145 and not merely because guerrilla attacks were never suppressed. Few Italians found Ethiopia the emigrant paradise of peasant dreams. As one such worker tried to tell his family in a message seized and censured by the secret police in August 1936: ‘To come to Africa is an act of madness and you should not believe that you will become rich. In Africa a person is subjected to so many diseases. Very many who come here fit and healthy have already been repatriated ill. You must not believe that Africa is America. What you actually find here is nothing of convenience’.146 And, although colonists stuck to the cliché of dictatorships and other authoritarian governments, ‘if only the Duce knew’, and went grumblingly on with their lives, Mussolini did not arrive in Addis Ababa.147 Only once did the fate of the colony produce comment from the dictator, recorded 198

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in his lover’s ample diary when, in April 1938, he briefly mentioned Graziani’s ‘preoccupation’ with what was happening there and motioned vaguely to a ‘map of Africa’ on his desk. He then went on with his lovemaking.148 As for Ethiopians, they suffered and resisted. The two worst atrocities following the end of the war were the violent and unrestrained reaction following an assassination attempt on Viceroy Graziani on 19 February 1937, and the liquidation of the Debre Libanos monastery and destruction of its ancient manuscript holdings on Ethiopian history from 20 to 29 May that year; an estimated 2,000 monks and others were killed, including children. Other, less formal, indigenous ‘historians’ – wizards, story tellers and fortune tellers – were pursued to their deaths.149 A recent account by old Ethiopian hand Ian Campbell of the sacking in Addis Ababa and other parts of the country in February has used suppressed diplomatic reports from British, American and French diplomatic officials to reckon a tally of 30,000 were killed over a 3-day period. Campbell describes in detail how Blackshirts, under the aspirant intellectual and self-interested true believer Guido Cortese, the local party leader, were given ‘carte blanche’ to burn, torture, rape and murder, their victims being young and old, men, women and children. Less critical Italian historians are not sure of Campbell’s total but there can be no doubt that there was a massacre of a horrific kind, that it was not confined to the capital city and that it should be added to the black record of European intrusion into Africa. When Graziani had recovered sufficiently from his wounds to resume control, he was still an advocate of ‘a Carthaginian peace’, as he had been in Libya. On 1 March he ordered ‘the complete elimination of chiefs and other notable Abyssinians’, although not all such Ethiopians lost their lives.150 Of those sent to a concentration camp at Nocra off the coast of Eritrea between 1936 and 1941, the Ethiopians claim that 3,175 out of 6,000 perished.151 Nonetheless, there were contradictions in the story, as was so often true of Fascist Italy. Hundreds of local chiefs were imprisoned and sent to confino in poverty-stricken southern Italian villages, where the Ethiopians were frequently richer than the local Italians and respectfully serviced by them. Ethiopian women were pent up in convents, with the perhaps merciful collaboration of the Catholic Church.152 Italian rule as a whole from 1935 to 1941 caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, with the Ethiopians claiming 750,000 victims,153 and Del Boca suggesting that 300,000 to 400,000 is a more accurate figure.154 In June 1936 Mussolini 199

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ordered brutally that any captured ‘rebels’ should be shot out of hand, and such often was the policy that was pursued across Ethiopia in nonurban areas.155 It must be accepted that complete accuracy is impossible in territory that was not sufficiently controlled for administrators to provide tidy detail. Furthermore, quite a few of the deaths must have been black-on-black killings, given the role that the regime gave to ascari in its recurrent rastrellamenti (punitive raids) on Ethiopian villages. According to Ian Campbell, during the massacres in February 1937, Libyan ascari were the cruellest of perpetrators, disembowelling some of their victims.156 In what remained an unstable world, some must also have been murdered by Ethiopians of one political sympathy or another,157 given that Haile Selassie’s regime was Amharic in essence and the various other peoples of the empire did not always welcome Amharic dominance. It may be that when Amedeo Duke of Aosta became viceroy on 21 December 1937, Italian rule tended to draw closer to a model of imperial rule common in other African states controlled by Europeans, despite Mussolini’s initial instruction that those ‘chiefs’ who continued to resist should be ‘destroyed’. The people, he stated less viciously, should be ‘disarmed but saved’. The Duce added peremptory orders that the Savoy prince should make sure that each Italian resident did nothing to infringe Italians’ ‘racial dignity’; the national ‘failure to prepare racially’, Mussolini maintained, was the reason why Ethiopian opposition was so hard to end.158 Certainly Aosta looked the part of a European gentleman when he was photographed in a white uniform visiting Massawa in early 1939, and he did express an admiration for British imperial governance.159 Propagandists puffed him as fluent in Italian, French, English, Spanish and Arabic (but neither Amharic nor German).160 They added that he was steeled by a ‘frank Fascist faith and a profoundly affectionate admiration . . . for the Duce’.161 Despite what might have been thought to be his instructions inexorably to keep on with murder, Aosta was soon talking about pacifying the country by compromise collaboration with local ‘chiefs’, who had formally submitted to Italian rule;162 Graziani on occasion had the same idea. But killing did continue, as did squabbling between the Viceroy and local PNF chiefs or with the Minister of Colonies back in Rome.163 In February 1937, Mussolini took the somewhat desperate step of setting up a PNF ‘Court of Honour’ to settle the long-running wrangle between De Bono and Lessona, based on mutual charges of gross corruption.164 Mustard gas was again used in a raid 200

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on a cave at Zeret in April 1939, where 2,500 men, women and children perished.165 Despite such acts, Aosta failed to win his budgetary claims and there was meagre preparation for global war in 1940. Nonetheless, it is remarkable that the Italian defence of AOI against a ragtag British imperial army in 1941–2 was so feeble. It gives glaring proof that any Italian attachment, Fascist or otherwise, to Ethiopia was flimsy indeed.166 It is striking that Ethiopian revenge killings of their brief masters apparently then only numbered 56.167 Such a demonstration of indigenous mercy does not alter the fact that Fascist rule was always murderous, if the barbarity should probably be as much ascribed to Italian (and European) imperial traditions as to the ideology of Fascism or to the personality of Benito Mussolini (for all his fondness for loud and angry words). In the brief years of Italian rule, Ethiopia had been administered less with totalitarian planning and power and more with a ramshackle populism, not unfamiliar in quite a few aspects of Italian life back home as the 1930s wore on. Racism tightened. But there was no move towards a ‘final solution’ and, certainly in Ethiopia, Italy did not provide a template for its German ally in what were to become its own colonies in Eastern Europe. In the 1970s Renzo De Felice provoked controversy by calling the prosecution of the Ethiopian victory in 1936 ‘Mussolini’s political masterpiece’.168 That is as maybe. But what is clear is that Italian rule over Africa Orientale underlined every weakness, contradiction and corruption in the dictatorship. By 1941–2, it was therefore the Duce’s deepest debacle. Mussolini’s optimism in December 1934 that Europe would remain peaceable for the next three years had meanwhile proved utterly false. On 7 March 1936, Nazi Germany remilitarised the Rhineland. In Spain, three weeks earlier, the Left had narrowly won elections and formed the most radical government so far in the Republic there. By 8 March generals were urgently preparing a coup against it and violence spread, with hundreds killed in an array of civil disturbances. The mayhem culminated on 13 July with the murder of a rightist leader, José Calvo Sotelo, an act which the army and its associates used to launch their assault on the Republic. Soon there was civil war, which quickly became an ideological international battle between Right and Left, with the insurgents given military aid by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany and the Republic by the USSR. If the Balkan wars had followed Italy’s victory in Libya in 1912, now there were significant reasons to think 201

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that, as the anti-Fascist historian and exile Gaetano Salvemini would put it after the regime’s fall, Ethiopia was proving the ‘prelude to World War II’.169 In what still seems an inevitable slide into war, given Hitler’s obsessive determination to achieve his final solutions to what he viewed as the JudeoBolshevik menace, Mussolini and his regime were soon to play the part of ignoble seconds. As Robert Vansittart was warning on 17 May, ‘the two dictators will tend to be brought together not only by the similarity of their systems but by the similarity of their appetites’.170 He did caution that Mussolini had not really won a Roman Empire in the style of Julius Caesar but rather ‘a colonial war against an uncivilised and unorganised adversary’. Mussolini was not yet fully on ‘the high road to Berlin’.171 If not necessarily fully agreeing with such British analysis, I shall recount the story of the last years of Fascist peace in the next chapter. But it should be repeated that, from 1935–6 and as a direct result of the nature of Italian warmaking in Ethiopia, Mussolini was now regarded by many as the worst of the dictators and Italy as the revisionist state least deserving of appeasement; it was the first home of ‘bad’ fascism. It is typical that The Economist, journal of British liberal capitalism (with global ties), was in an understanding mood about German infraction of the peace treaties when the news of the remilitarisation of the Rhineland came through. Hitler, it argued, might well be in the wrong. But his policy could not be condemned morally in the way that Mussolini’s could. ‘While Herr Hitler has not occupied one square yard of foreign territory or caused the death of a single French or Belgian national, Signor Mussolini is engaged as actively as ever in murdering with bombs and poison gas the civilian population of a wantonly invaded foreign country’, the weekly editorialised. It would be a ‘travesty of justice’ to allow such a ‘criminal’ to win in Africa when Hitler’s foreign policy so far was ‘innocent of material devastation and bloodshed’.172 The imperial venture in Ethiopia, although the liberal democratic powers clung with little repentance to their own empires, acquired bloodily through the previous century, left a stain on Italy’s image and confirmed that (Italian) ‘Fascism meant war’. Meanwhile, what about the rest of the Italian Empire? In this regard Libya provides an intriguing case study, with aspects that are different from the muzzy activities in Ethiopia. A further case that deserves notice occurred in Albania, suddenly seized on Good Friday 1939, a European country (of a 202

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kind) and so not a usual venue for Great Power imperialism. It thereafter entered a ‘personal union’ with the Italian Crown. Albania was, Ciano had assured his Duce in May 1938, ‘rich, really rich’, although villages there under local misrule reminded him of the squalid life of peasants in China, which he had seen when Italian consul there. Italy’s annexation could easily overcome such backwardness, he predicted cosily.173 Some sort of model for what went on in Albania was set in the Dodecanese islands, seized by Giolitti’s government from Turkey in 1912, and despite promises, Liberal and Fascist, to do so, never handed on to Greece despite the evident Greek ethnicity of the islanders.174 In 1913, Federzoni was already indicating that, for Italy, possession and romanità were nine-tenths of the law, saying that acquiring Rhodes was like ‘getting back an antique family jewel’. He was disingenuously sure that the islanders were delighted to accept ‘Italian civilisation’.175 Nick Doumanis, the main historian of the Italian occupation, has noted that there were some cases of violence and oppression. Cesare De Vecchi, when governor from December 1936 to December 1939, earned secret police criticisms of his arrogance and unpopularity,176 the latter prompted by his aggressive assimilationism.177 However, Doumanis adds, most of the time the Italians were ‘anxious imperialists’. There was no Nazistyle thought about genocide and replacement, but rather a desire to prove effective rulers, in the eyes of Italians at home (should anyone there be interested), of international opinion and of the islanders. After 1945, a number of these last conserved positive memories of the Italians as building ‘beautiful things’. All but the nationalised Greek intellectual classes found Italians more similar to themselves – ‘una faccia, una razza’ (one face, one race) – than the Germans or British who had successive military control during the war, the Turks who had governed them in the past or the Athens-based administrators who finally took over in 1947.178 In so far as Albania was concerned the country had already been Italy’s most obvious, if not always most reliable, client in the Balkans, when first brought into existence before the First World War. In the interwar period it fell into the hands of Ahmet Zogu, president 1925–8, and then self-promoted to become ‘King of the Albanians’ until ousted by the Italian invasion. As his biographer has put it, ‘it was easy to buy Zog but he would not stay bought’.179 Italian protectorate was exemplified in the two main streets of Tirana, being named the Boulevard Zog and the Boulevard Mussolini, although an Italian 203

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diplomatic agent maintained that, in 1926, only 5,000 people lived in this modest capital.180 Zog mimicked Fascist propaganda by instituting a ‘Zog salute’ and having himself described as the ‘Michelangelo’ of local politics; like a number of other dictators, he was meant to have compellingly shining (grey-blue) eyes, which were the basis of his charisma.181 He sought to govern by interview, almost as if he knew Mussolini’s habits in that regard, and claimed it provided a helpful ‘uncertainty principle’ over what had actually been determined.182 When it came to the most serious matters, while Zog ruled, the Italians controlled Albanian banking and much of the military, while promising defence against threat from Yugoslavia. Kosovo remained an Albanian irredentist ambition, as did the Northern Epirus in Greece (eventual gains were implied in Zog’s regal title). Ciano had flirted with seizing the country from as early as March 1938, viewing annexation as providing a valuable barrier against complete Nazi German domination of the Balkans, a policy line that he reiterated in November 1938 after Munich.183 It was the German takeover of the rump of the Czech state in March 1939 which finally persuaded Mussolini to approve his son-in-law’s ambition and send in the troops (who met virtually no opposition). Although more research is needed on Fascist governance, once Italy ruled in Tirana little change resulted; even more than was true in Ethiopia, no real Fascist ‘revolution’ was exported across the Adriatic. Doubtless, the outward shows of Corporatism, dopolavoro and other state welfare, backed by a local version of the Fascist Party (founded in June 1939), were automatically introduced, quite a few public works were begun, with ‘bonifica’ and road-building to the fore, and there was talk of immigration. However, only 3,000 came and, yet again, Italy endured heavy financial loss from its imperial venture.184 By 1943 the Albanian budget depended on Italy for a third of its income.185 Corruption was endemic, for example among those Albanians who collaborated eagerly enough with the Italians and were led by Shefqet Vërlaci, the Albanian promoted to be ‘Prime Minister’. Vërlaci, who had already held office in 1924, retained his post until May 1941. Equally hungry were the clients of Francesco Jacomoni di San Savino, from April 1939 to March 1943 the ‘Lieutenant-General’ in charge of the Kingdom of Albania as it was now known. Jacomoni, a Calabrian of noble blood, had married the daughter of 204

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Ugo Cavallero, perhaps the greediest of Italian generals, whose career moved rewardingly from the military to private enterprise and back.186 Jacomoni was a dutiful follower of Ciano, who, in 1940, did get a major port renamed Porto Edda, in honour of his wife (it is now called Saranda). In his apologia Jacomoni discounted the Albanian Fascist Party, which, he complained, was stained by the superficial populism of Starace. When in office, he had therefore done his best to ignore it, a little Mussolini in the empire.187 Ciano visited Albania almost immediately after its seizure and retained a watchful (and avaricious) eye on his financial interests there. Mussolini visited once, so more than was true in Ethiopia, but it was an ill-omened occasion in spring 1941, when victory against the Greeks was hoped for but did not happen.188 Although there was quite a bit of propaganda about progress (for example a claim that more books in Albanian were published under the occupation than had been for the previous two decades),189 Fascist Italy did little to ‘modernise’ its new territories. Rather, according to a historian of Albania at war, ‘Italian occupation in many ways enhanced Albania’s feudal-tribal traditions’, given the replication there of some of the policies already familiar in Ethiopia, that is, of backing regional ‘chiefs’ and leaving the social structure intact.190 Local bosses, for example, took up positions in the Italian Senate, one, Mustafa Merlika-Kruja, being Vërlaci’s successor, 1941–3. When Italy attacked Greece from Albania with dismal effect in October 1940, the locals gave few indications of wanting to join the battle even when it was for lands in Greece where ethnic Albanians had long been misruled. From all the evidence, Italian Albania is another case of debacle and not of the implementation of rigorous Fascist totalitarianism. The Albanian story is replicated to a lesser degree and in more embattled circumstances in Italy’s role as a military invader of Greece or other Balkan states, and of the USSR when acting as Nazi Germany’s nervous auxiliary in the world war. Again, past suggestions that Italian soldiery were merely brava gente (nice people) can be set aside. Pillage and murder were common.191 But so, too, were infighting between the high military officers and party officials and a resilient localism and familism among ordinary soldiers. In other words, Italians fought the war, in conquest and defeat, more as Italians than as totalitarian Fascists. As the brilliant oral historian Nuto Revelli explained, Italian ‘ordinary men’, Alpini despatched to all the Russias, ‘knew nothing of 205

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fascism. . . . They didn’t even have black shirts: at most they could come up with a few set phrases, Mussolini’s miracles and nothing else’.192 What then of Libya, placed from November 1933 under the glamorous if somewhat devilish, urbane, ambitious and, in his youth violent, governor, Italo Balbo, until he was accidentally shot down by his own men on 28 June 1940. The Fascist boss reluctantly made his way there after Mussolini feared rumours that, cashing in on the publicity earned from his air ‘raids’, he was plotting to become Chief of General Staff, Minister of Defence or even the new dictator.193 Equipped with a young film star lover and a multitude of contacts (and clients) in the press, Balbo was the patron and friend of Renzo Ravenna, the Jewish podestà of Balbo’s power-base, Ferrara, until the enveloping anti-Semitic campaign triggered Ravenna’s resignation in March 1938.194 In Tripoli, Balbo pressed on with road-building campaigns and sought to make the Roman ruins at Leptis Magna and Sabratha into a North African Pompeii or Herculaneum, designed to allure an elite cosmopolitan tourist clientele.195 He certainly appealed to the visiting Durack sisters from one of western Australia’s leading families. Their tourist days and chat with local Arab fans of Balbo led them to report ‘we are absolutely won round to their [Italian] conquest of Abyssinia and feel sure they will make a wonderful job of it and be extremely good rulers to the Abyssinian people’.196 To be sure, sometimes the Roman inheritance was complicated, with Lessona in May 1935 expatiating on the Caesars’ tolerance of local ‘beliefs, traditions, customs and laws’, unless they threatened Roman ‘civilisation’.197 It was only when racism became entrenched in legislation that Fascists got around to damning Caracalla, son of the ‘African emperor’, Septimius Severus, for granting citizenship to all the peoples of the empire. In March 1937 Balbo welcomed the Duce on a 10-day tour of the colony, full of opportunity for photography and propaganda. At a ceremony on the 20th, Mussolini waved aloft the gold ‘Sword of Islam’, forged by skilled Florentine artisans but presented to him by a Berber chief (and to be stolen from the Mussolinis’ fake castle, the Rocca delle Carminate in 1945). The dictator took the occasion to proclaim that Italy would defend Muslim culture in Libya and its other colonies, and to imply that it was ready to become the Great Power patron of the Muslim cause throughout the non-European world. De Felice claimed that the Duce did so with some realism. But he admits that 206

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any genuine success over the next years and into the war in pushing forward in the Middle East, despite tempting suggestions from local muftis that British troops in Palestine were few and ‘extreme violence’ could be launched against them by the Arab population,198 or Indian subcontinent, was thin.199 At least where positive image was concerned, the time of murderous ‘reconquest’ of Libya was over (under Balbo’s rule there were ‘only’ three public executions),200 and the colony was now to take its place as the ‘fourth shore’ of Italy, where, as Martin Moore, an English journalist, noted, there seemed truth in the slogan ‘Mussolini redeems the land and founds cities’.201 A mass immigration campaign of the Ventimila (20,000, the actual number was nearer 16,000) was heralded in May 1938 and in October peasant families sailed from Genoa and Naples for Tripoli in a glare of publicity heightened by the celebration of the 16th anniversary of the March on Rome. With predictable Fascist vocabulary Balbo saluted them as ‘an army of rural infantry’. Another such band arrived in 1939, even though, when Italy entered the Second World War, there were still more ‘Italians’ in Tunisia than in the national colony.202 By 1941 111,000 Italians lived in Libya, not all of them peasant farmers; some found cushier employment in the tourist industry or, naturally enough, in administration.203 Once moved into the colony, the majority of immigrants were sent to government planned and controlled settlements, a majority on the Cyrenaica plateau, thought once to have been one of the most productive territories owned by Rome.204 Martin Moore described the planned settlement with envy.‘No greater contrast could be imagined than between the sturdy, Spartan bareness of these mass-produced Libyan homes’, he wrote, ‘and the cheaply portentous mass-produced dwellings, crammed with fragile amenities, which fringe an English city’.205 Historian Roberta Pergher has recently found reason to question positive assessments of Balbo’s government. She draws comparison of Libya with Fascist policy in the Alto Adige, where, at least in the province of Bolzano, the majority of the population were German-speaking (Ladin, a Romance language of its own, was used by a number of mountain villagers). Both Libya and the Alto Adige, she argues, saw a massive regime attempt to construct a ‘nation-empire’ through rigorous words and deeds.206 Already sketched in the bonifica of the Pontine Marshes, the settlement programme was totalitarian in full degree, a state effort at planned immigration and Italianisation, where 207

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Fascist ideals were meant automatically to frame the world view and actions of the ‘serious, unpretentious, hard-working, thrifty, self-reliant and, most important, obedient’ settlers.207 With such policy, Mussolini’s dictatorship would stem the ‘haemorrhage’ of Italian blood which had deeply worried patriots before 1914 when almost a million citizens left the country each year, droves of them for far-off North or South America, never to return, and unable to retain their nationality (or have it invented for them).208 To be sure, emigration had dwindled in the 1920s, mainly because (racist) host countries no longer welcomed Italian immigrants. But unemployment and land hunger remained. Now it would be satisfied, in a way that was not proving true in Africa Orientale. And Pergher does find settlers in Libya suggesting that, ‘if things continue like this, we have America’.209 In sum, she concludes that, ‘with its demographic justification, intrusive state control, and national rather than imperial objective, Fascist Italy’s settlement policy is in fact more reminiscent of Japanese expansionism in Manchuria and Nazi settlement policy in the East rather than the classic settler colonialism of the French, British or Dutch’.210 For the regime, the ‘Fourth Shore’ was to become another part of the Italian nation where immigrants would before too long outnumber the indigenous inhabitants, destined for eternal inferiority (but not genocide). ‘Perhaps,’ might be the reply. Certainly, along with planned settlement almost automatically came deepened racism, with Lessona pushing Balbo against any idea that such Fascist institutions as the Gioventù araba del littorio (Fascist Arab Youth), introduced for the locals (as later in Albania), could lead to assimilation and eventual equality.211 In fact, Balbo, despite his flaunted geniality, instructed immigrants that they should not fraternise with Arabs but maintain ‘dignified self-control and separation’, and do nothing to infringe Italians’ superior ‘racial prestige’.212 Nazi officials, as the Axis took shape, paid some attention to Italy’s experiments in Libya and may have dreamed of their own ‘Africa in the East’,213 although it is unlikely that there was a merging of their ‘scientifically racist’, genocidal, Lebensraum project with what, for all the rhetoric, remained in large part a traditional empire beyond Europe’s shores, even at its most extreme not so different from British settlement in Australia or South Africa. A.J.P. Taylor long ago argued that Hitler, impressed by reading the German Cowboys and Indians novels of Karl May, saw himself as repeating the derring-do of the American frontier in the nineteenth century;214 the Führer 208

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did tell Albert Speer that he found in May ‘proof for everything imaginable’.215 When it came to the Italian Empire, more typical of German interest in Libya was Hermann Göring’s visit to the colony in April 1939, when, according to his biographer, Balbo enjoyed tricking his heavyweight guest (but Balbo, too, had grown chubby with age and high living) by presenting him with a fake Roman statuette, actually carved by an Italian Jew. Nazi visitors to Fascist Italy were always in some part tourists, enjoying the sun and the soft living of the south while retaining a deep racial sense of superiority towards all Italians. Although Pergher has not contemplated the difference between planned settlement in Libya and the chaos that was more normal in Ethiopia, she does admit the vast gap between rhetoric and reality in North Africa. She finds the same situation in the Alto Adige, a territory being prepared for the ‘Option’ granted in October 1939 to people there to be transferred from Italian to German rule,216 the initial example of an ethnic cleansing that would turn into the multiple Nazi genocides of the war.217 There, too, ‘common people’ knew how to play off one Fascist institution against another, while Trentini, transferred not too far north to take over once German lands, remained deeply suspicious of ‘Italian’ immigrants from further south, and Mussolini, as a former soldier of the First World War, knew that some Trentini had then fought for Austria-Hungary and not Italy, and so should still not be trusted.218 Pergher’s research into the response of the immigrants to their fate, rather than merely into what Fascist officials said about them, illustrates that the immigrants preserved identities and world views that were by no means strenuously Fascist. Many in fact did not think that they were moulding a permanent (Fascist) Italian nation on the ‘Fourth Shore’. Rather, like other emigrants, sprung from the ‘Italies’ rather than Italy,219 they hoped to make a quick fortune and then return ‘home’ to their familiar and loved paesi and those of their extended families who remained there.220 Even the planners, Pergher notes, lacked a shared or ‘coherent racial ideology’, while oscillations in policy and speech left it unclear just what was meant to be the long-term future of local Arabs, Berbers and Jews in Libya.221 The much touted reform of October 1938 which split Libya into four ‘provinces’ just like in Italy, with the locals defined as ‘special Italian Libyan citizens’, did not end the confusion.222 What, then, is to be made of Fascist Italy’s leap into imperialism in the Ethiopian war of 1935–6 and thereafter? Cliché has always talked about 209

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‘Mussolini’s Roman Empire’,223 ascribing the event and the killing fields that inflicted death on half a million men, women and children, almost all indigenous people (murder had already begun from the beginning of the regime in Libya and was scarcely unknown before 1914), to the Duce personally and his alleged obsession with forging a ‘Third Rome’. From the Fascist empire, the dead cry out for memory and justice, and are by no means always heard by metropolis-fixated ‘European’ historians or by ordinary Italians who have long forgotten their imperial ventures; with no apology to the ghost of his Ethiopian child sexual partner, city authorities in Milan, following long-lived, sometime Fascist, journalist Montanelli’s death in 2001, named a central park in his honour, equipping it with a flattering statue of him. Yet should the dictatorship’s imperialism be simply ascribed to the wickedness of a single dictator or of the ideology of totalitarian F/fascism? There were some crossovers to the Nazi regime as it prepared itself for Auschwitz. Yet imperial Italy was, belatedly, following a course paved through the previous century by Britain, France and the other European empires with a ruthlessness and violence still viewed with charity and approval in some circles. In condemning Fascist murder, it is as well not to forget what the British did in post-1945 Kenya (where the Daily Telegraph inevitably reckoned in justification that the indigenous leader was ‘a small-scale African Adolf Hitler’),224 what the Iberian dictatorships did in their empires until their authoritarian leaders died, or what neoliberal imperialists have done in more recent times in Iraq and other places. Nor are local people ever entirely virtuous; there is truth in the saying ‘all weakness corrupts and absolute weakness corrupts absolutely’. Totalitarianism was pledged to simple single answers, a single and clear ideology. Populism is not, much preferring the shoddy lie, ‘post-truth’, the promise and not the reality. Mussolini’s regime by the mid-1930s is best viewed as pursuing a populist ‘Fascism’ that had heavily compromised the idea of eliminating class, regional and gender difference among Italians and cancelling the fondness for (corrupt) patron–client deals or the deep dedication to the family. More and more the regime tried to get by on Mussolini’s image and charisma, another common element of populism as revived in our own days. At the same time, the empire had much that was traditional about it and had not amended patterns of behaviour and concepts that had originated in the pre-1914 Liberal era. After 1945, Benedetto Croce, the worthiest of liberals, with a striking choice of words, had no doubt that, in 210

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depriving Italy of its empire (Ethiopia excepted), the other powers were imposing a ‘Diktat’ and ‘devouring a piece of Italy’s body’.225 Under the dictatorship, Savoy princes and dukes mattered quite a bit in this empire as they still did in other monarchies’ extra-European rule. There had, of course, been plenty of talk about romanità well before it became a Fascist obsession. Whatever might have been true about Libya, or Rhodes, or Albania, Ethiopia had no Roman ruins to philosophise over. When the Italian forces took Adowa, they were reversing a Liberal failure in a fashion that many Liberals had long desired; they were not being the new Caesars. Yet escapades in Africa were to prove decisive in the fate of the Italian dictatorship in Europe. The regime’s outrage at the sentimental liberalism that had shaped the League of Nations, along with its own perhaps surprised and certainly short-lived discovery that it could make (merciless) war successfully (at least once), pushed it into an ever less escapable partnership with the devoutly scientific revisionist Germans, about whose Nazi regime Mussolini and other party members had retained deep doubts still at the end of 1934. The result was the growing eclipse of Benito Mussolini, Fascist ideologue and Italian dictator. Other European countries would be pushed into severe political dilemmas when confronted with the task of decolonisation after 1945. ‘Europe’s last empire’, Italy, per force avoided such problems. Yet, in quite a few ways, the Fascist regime had destroyed itself in Africa through its muddled attempt at imperialist colonisation there.

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Anti-Fascists during the interwar period and anti-Fascist historians after 1945 have been convinced that Fascism meant war. As Paul Corner has recently put it, war provided a ‘rhetoric which expressed the raison d’être of Fascism’. The question was not if, but when.1 Perhaps the regime was bent on aggression, non-Fascist observers of the regime were replying at the end of 1934, perhaps not. But from the attack on Ethiopia onwards, the dictatorship was almost always at war. In July 1936 Italy intervened in the Spanish Civil War, which did not end until the commanding insurgent general, Francisco Franco, proclaimed victory on 1 April 1939. A week later, Italy invaded and occupied Albania. By September the Second World War had begun, with Italy opting for a fidgety ‘nonbelligerency’, a word meant to imply that, unlike in 1914–15, it was engaged in everything except the battle. On 10 June 1940, the Fascist regime entered global conflict on the German side and thereafter fought for ‘Nazi-fascism’ until the bitter end, joining the attack on the USSR in June 1941 and backing Japanese aggression in Asia and the Pacific after 7 December and Pearl Harbour. To be sure, the king did sack Mussolini on 25 July 1943, heralding the ‘45 days’ until 8 September, when military Prime Minister Marshal Badoglio tried to decamp from the conflict. The result of the muddle and cowardice of these weeks, however, meant that the Germans were able to reoccupy Italy south of Salerno and draft Mussolini back into business as the puppet dictator of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana. That republic survived as the Nazis’ conscript partner until partisans executed the Duce on 28 April 1945.2 Ethiopia had been a colonial war fought like a world war, with a massive mobilisation of men, material and propaganda, demonstrating a ‘totality’ in purpose and action that fitted a totalitarian regime. With emphatic populism, between October 1935 and May 1936, 110 out of 140 cinegiornali, the 212

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dictatorship’s cinema news service, included scenes of ‘glorious’ success in the field.3 A sceptic might wonder about the low number of dead and wounded among Italian soldiery, tallies more appropriate to a colonial skirmish than a global combat. But, when Addis Ababa fell, it was not the time for unpatriotic questioning. In a speech from his balcony at Palazzo Venezia on 9 May 1936, Mussolini roared that empire had returned to the ‘destiny-impelled hills of Rome’. Now Victor Emmanuel III became emperor as well as king. Romanità and Africanist imperialism mingled to light up the nation.4 At least in appearance, and forgetting the vast swathes of the Ethiopian Empire that remained contested by local forces (in December 1936 Mussolini announced, falsely, that the whole empire had been occupied),5 victory had been won. Victory, that rarest event in the military history of modern Italy, scoured by the humiliating defeats at Lissa in 1866, Adowa in 1896 and Caporetto in 1917 (and soon to be repeated at Guadalajara in 1937 or in the attack on Greece in 1940); victory in face of the widespread racist assumption abroad that ‘Italians cannot fight’; victory. Under Fascist rule, it seemed, the Italian nation had achieved unexampled mastery (Mussolini did not forbear to announce to his diplomatic service on 10 May ‘the total cessation of the Ethiopian state’).6 He could boast, not altogether cheeringly to his people, that in Africa, ‘Italians had finally been properly measured’ and had ‘magnificently’ surmounted this test of their national being.7 No wonder that, from the summer of 1936, Mussolini was garbed in empyrean glory, a triumphant Caesar or Mars (but not so much a professor now). Colonialists rejoiced at triumph in the first ‘extra-European war felt by the whole nation’, a people’s triumph. It marked a ‘genuine creation of a national colonial consciousness’, they crowed. This great leap forward was owed to just one thing, the ‘political genius and firm will of Benito Mussolini’.8 From far-off Australia a humble immigrant wrote to disclose how, until now, the locals had disparaged Italians as ‘dagoes, like so many non-white canaille’. Now, by contrast, he could stand ‘proud’ as a ‘brave admirer of the unconquered Duce of the Italian Nation, summoned from on high to be the whole world’s captain’.9 Within Italy, over the next years, journalists fell over themselves in similar hyperbole. Mussolini had been the Duce from his birth, one wrote; he alone was ‘always the same’ and could never change.10 For another, Mussolini was ‘an infallible anticipator’ whose guidance was eternal; he was the ‘living incarnation of the Italian people’.11 For a third, echoing those who 213

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were artlessly transcribing Catholic rhetoric into Fascism, he was ‘Mussolini, by the will of God’, the ‘Lighthouse of Salvation’.12 The racist journalist Telesio Interlandi went one step further in such bombast by declaiming that ‘every day the Nation received from its Chief [Capo] the viaticum [spiritual sustenance] necessary for its daily tasks’.13 Another commentator, Armando Lodolini, a former nationalist and archivist,14 more daring than others, presented a less simple image. Lodolini put a positive spin on what, in these pages, has often seemed true of the complexity of the dictatorship. Mussolini’s ‘every thought was called Italy’, he wrote in 1939. The Duce embodied ‘our racial stock’, which was ‘egocentric and universal, municipal and cosmopolitan, seeking primacy, yet open to the experience of the world, expansionist but springing from the domestic hearth, factious, tumultuous, undisciplined, but at the same time, legionary and colonising, looking to the sky but with our feet well planted in the earth’.15 Could it be that Mussolini and his soon to prove waning dictatorship were not steely or unchangeable or ‘total’ after all? Was the loud populist chat, its marketing of charisma, hiding the fact that the ever more ‘solitary and misanthropic’ dictator,16 who was said to be losing his command of English,17 and was perhaps bruised by his failure to craft or impose a convincing ideology, was all that was left of the Fascist ‘revolution’? After all, somewhere between the lines paradoxes lurked in the Ethiopian victory. Mussolini had triumphed not merely over Haile Selassie and his international (fair-weather) backers but also over doubters and critics about the conflict within Italy. Soon Starace’s propaganda machine was mocking the feeble relics of bourgeois culture and behaviour, elements across society who could not accept that life meant war, the fiancheggiatori (fellow-travellers), upbraided with greater malevolence than in the past, if with considerable inconsistency. Fascist Italy, it was now aggressively proclaimed, was beset by enemies at home as well as abroad among malign liberal democrats and old imperialists or professional anti-Fascist fuorusciti (exiles). Gradually the emphasis on ‘universal fascism’, which had blossomed between 1932 and 1934, switched to a refrain about ‘permanent revolution’, people’s revolution, where a major object of attack was the soft ‘slipper-wearing’ bourgeoisie, who did not carry Fascist militancy into their private lives. By July 1937 Mussolini told Ciano (of all people) that, with the backing of ‘the masses, workers and peasants’, he would pen opponents of a ‘third 214

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wave’ of the revolution in toughened new ‘concentration camps’ and convert Italians to being ‘hard, implacable, and hateful – in fact, masters’.18 Soon he was inveighing against the bourgeoisie as the ‘enemy of sport’ ‘pacifists . . . stupidly pious, mawkish, always humanitarian, sterile’ people who hated the passo romano, the abolition of Lei and the Axis.19 Shortly after a lovemaking session with Claretta Petacci, he bellowed that, if they ever raised their heads, he would ‘destroy every one of them’. They were the descendants of slave bastards from the time of the Caesars and their degeneracy had lasted ‘50 generations’, Mussolini shouted in a wild racist excursion into history, and, it goes without saying, without any serious planning of such murder.20 Furiously urging revolution was all very well. But what did it mean? If wealth and privilege were to submit to the people’s cause, as populist Fascism maintained, what about those who had done well since 1922 and what about Fascism’s flourishing compromise arrangements with the Church, monarchy, business, the bureaucracy, the little amended social, economic and constitutional infrastructure of Liberal Italy and, above all, the family? Take the genero (son-in-law), for example, thought in the second half of the 1930s by quite a few and especially by himself to be Mussolini’s destined successor.21 The Cianos scarcely mixed with workers or peasants. Galeazzo was said to wear a hairnet during each afternoon’s siesta, to enjoy being rubbed with costly lotion imported from China and to spend much of his time with willing aristocratic sexual partners at the salon of Princess Isabella Colonna.22 At other times, Ciano and Bottai could be found flirting, chatting and sipping at Rome’s elite Acquasanta golf clubhouse, its windows framing the aqueduct of Emperor Claudius in a fashion that did not entail the deployment of romanità with Fascist severity. Were the two young gentlemen cheered by (unconvincing) advice in 1939 that ‘golf is, in a certain sense, a totalitarian sport’ or by the Staracean niggling requirement from 1934 that, if golfers joined a party sports parade, they must wear ‘grey pants, brown sweaters and yellow shoes’ and carry their own clubs?23 In 1942 Ciano bitterly opposed suggestions from unsophisticated new party secretary Aldo Vidussoni that golf courses be closed for the war effort.24 The more purist Heinrich Himmler was said, by contrast, to have been disconcerted when visiting Rome in spring 1940 to have been dragged off to the golf club.25 Edda Ciano and other bosses’ wives or partners could still be pleased to learn that the fashion highlight for the summer of 1937 was the silk suit, but 215

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may not have been fully won over by the suggestion that Naples could oust Paris as the centre of the perfume industry.26 Mussolini, risen from the backwoods of Predappio, never did comprehend what went on at a golf course and muttered angrily about his daughter’s dallying with high society.27 Il Popolo d’Italia fiercely denounced women who were ‘elegant, worldly wise, capable of drinking a lot and fine players of bridge’, despite the words being almost a definition of the dictator’s daughter.28 The Duce had also resisted the doubters in the PNF about his African war. Did he really need ‘the Fascists’, as he was inclined to call them, especially when, say, the Florentines caused trouble, as Florentines did. Whatever propaganda might claim, the Duce had not abandoned the habit of thinking that region defined behaviour better than did the nation or ‘race’.29 In December 1936, he expostulated to a young fan that ‘the trouble is, once the Revolution has been made, the revolutionaries stay around’.30 He now added that when it came to a ‘decisive battle’, it was not ideology that counted, but rather ‘men, the facts, courage and a devotion to a programme for the day’.31 In such circumstances, it might be asked, was Professor Mussolini, the ‘postMarxist’ philosopher of universal Fascism, transmuting into a simpler if more savage being, a (briefly) victorious warlord? Certainly, from 1936, the dictatorship became more personal, with the populace worshipping their leader and openly mistrusting or disdaining ‘the Fascists’. The Duce himself grew more embittered about the human condition and, by implication, more doubtful that a Fascist religion was now rooted in Italian souls. Meetings of the Grand Council, the party’s senior body, dwindled: there were 160 between 1922 and December 1935, then four in 1936, six in 1937, eight in 1938 and six in 1939, none after December that year until the dramatic assembly on the evening of 24–5 July 1943. Italy’s path into the Second World War is often seen as predestined by its evil political philosophy. But the more credible case is that, by 1939–40, Fascism as a total and universal ideology was falling apart. The only replacement, beyond a craven bowing to the Nazi German masters, was a mixture of charisma, a further personalisation of power and a soft populism, a recipe not unknown to tyrants through the ages as their regimes began to stagger and their purpose grew blind. It was therefore Mussolini who would take Italy into its disastrous world war, a conflict driven by Nazism and not Fascism, and in 216

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many ways contrary to Italian interest. He would not do so with much originality, however. War entry in June 1940 was prompted by crass opportunism given impulse by Germany’s overrunning of France and apparent invincibility. The decision on battle was therefore explained by realpolitik and Italy’s national traditions since the Risorgimento more than by ‘universal fascism’. As Admiral Miklós Horthy, the aged and authoritarian regent of Hungary, discerned wisely at the end of the Ethiopian dispute, it was all but certain that Italy would become the ally of Germany. The country’s motivation would not be ideological, Horthy added, but rather ‘sacro egoismo’, the perennial restlessness and ambition of the least of the Great Powers.32 From every spotlight playing on Mussolini as a unique leader in May 1936, over the next four years not further heroics but rather a deepening eclipse was to be the Duce’s actual destiny (and that of his ideology, party and nation), as he and they lost their agency and drifted into becoming the camp followers of Adolf Hitler. Italians soon forgot their patriotic joy in May 1936. Despite a grandiose ceremony in Rome on 28 October 1937, when the Axum Obelisk, Ethiopia’s most cherished historical monument stolen as war booty, was installed in Rome, with the claim that the Caesars had behaved in the same fashion in purloining the history of those they had defeated,33 few applauded returning troops from AOI. The distant African lands were scarcely cherished in popular hearts, leaving a pervasive doubt about what the bosses said had been achieved and would be achieved there.34 Paul Corner has underlined the difference between Italian popular uneasiness at international crises and wars, and unstinted German applause for Hitler’s triumphs.35 What he and other historians focused on the European metropolis do not see is that belated African empire might have brought the foreign policy of Italy to unusual triumph. At the same time, Ethiopia ignored and contradicted the foreign policy of the ‘Italies’, that is, of a less than fully nationalised peasant world, where the family, the paese and (popular) Catholicism nourished identity in a fashion that the nation could not. Over the previous half century, the Italies had sent millions of subjects of the Italian crown to the USA and Argentina and made New York, Chicago and Buenos Aires ‘Italian cities’. According to one reckoning, as Mussolini came to power, there were 7.5 million Italians resident in the Americas, 1.3 million in Europe outside the national borders, 189,000 in Africa, 21,000 in Australia and 9,000 in the Far East.36 But Fascism could scarcely be irredentist in its emigrants’ regard, 217

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although it did enhance its propaganda in emigrant communities and won numerous converts (of a kind) there. Nazi foreign policy, even when it penetrated deep into all the Russias, was always in some sense irredentist, aimed at bringing Germans ‘home to the Reich’. By contrast, Fascist ardour for Nice or Corsica,37 Malta, Dalmatia or Tunisia or some further dallying in Africa Orientale Italiana always rang hollow when Italians knew that hundreds of thousands of their cousins lived and prospered in the Americas. The first site of continuing aggression was in Spain, nearby but not a country with which Italians much reckoned, where the dictatorship committed a basic error of statesmanship by heavily involving itself in a foreign civil war. No sooner had a republic been created there in April 1931, with the flight of King Alfonso XIII to Rome, than Mussolini, rather contradicting Grandi’s tolerance, had damned it. Then full of enthusiasm about ‘universal Fascism’, he derided Spaniards’ choice as hopelessly out of date.38 As was noted above, thereafter, with the Spanish Republic never fully curbing its domestic enemies, he and Balbo cemented ties with recalcitrant officers looking to mount a coup in Madrid. Events in Spain during the first half of 1936 were not top of Italian priorities, given their commitment in Africa, and Mussolini (and other Italians) had not abandoned their assumption that backward peoples lived in the Iberian Peninsula. One of the clichés of national history since the Risorgimento had been that Italy reached its nadir during the centuries of ‘Spanish dominance’ from the end of the Renaissance until the first hints of nationalist ‘revival’. Such talk was publicised in the campaign to cancel ‘Lei’ from Italian vocabularies and mindsets. When engaged in fighting for Franco, the general who emerged to be Caudillo (leader) of the insurgent forces,39 Mussolini told Claretta Petacci dismissively that Spaniards were ‘like Arabs’ in their fatalism and lack of military élan. Franco was an ‘idiot’ who did not understand the modern world, while a typically Spanish act was a murder he ascribed to the communist Dolores Ibárurri, who had bitten a man to death and sucked his life blood into her stomach.40 The dictator, in his private mind, was just another believer in the ‘dark legend’ of ‘inquisitorial’ Spain.41 When the insurgents rose in Spain, the first appeal for Italian help came, on a ‘personal basis’, from Alfonso XIII.42 Orazio Pedrazzi, who had replaced Guariglia as ambassador in Madrid in April 1935,43 had been a nationalist, then Fascist journalist and had accompanied Gabriele D’Annunzio to Fiume 218

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in 1919 before joining the consular and diplomatic service. He therefore possessed a less orthodox background than his predecessor and he knew where he stood in the Fascist order.44 On the day of the rising, he told the callow new Foreign Minister, Ciano (this figlio di papa had taken office on 9 June, after ‘heroic’, ‘orgasmic’ – as he told Edda – service as a bomber in Ethiopia) that the united Right intended to institute ‘a provisional military and dictatorial government with a decidedly Corporate character’.45 But the most significant plea for help came from General Franco himself (not yet without rivals among other insurgent officers), who, on reaching Las Palmas, swiftly put himself in contact with the Italian military attaché in Tangiers, requesting air transport for himself and the men of the army of Africa to the mainland. At first the Italians stalled, with Ciano plaintively asking his agents what chance the rising had of success. But a combination of the characteristic fondness of the least of the Great Powers for meddling abroad in search of advantage from ideally grateful clients, fuelled by the arrival in Rome on 25 July of monarchist agents and their ingratiating talk about their debt to Italian Fascism and its ‘universal appeal’, enhanced by the recent military triumph in Ethiopia and by Ciano’s inexperience, brought approval on 27 July. It was assisted by Franco’s seductive insistence that he and his friends would install a ‘government of the Fascist type’, with the whispered qualification that it would be ‘adapted to the Spanish people’. Cannily, Franco added that if ‘political myopia’ drove Italy to refuse, then (that menacing rival) Berlin would gain greater influence in Spain than Rome.46 Before the Civil War had properly begun, Franco knew the words to choose in order to deal with the Italian regime, gain most benefit and surrender the least. By 1937 he was happy to head a ‘totalitarian’ regime (the word was still approved by the Vatican), but denied that it mimicked either Fascism or Nazism.47 Italy was sliding into the ‘quicksand’ of a foreign civil war, as its own General Mario Roatta, head of the Servizio Informazioni Militari (SIM, the army’s secret service), warned on 21 July, with what might be read as the traditional caution of the Italian officer corps, in this case presciently so.48 It was entering a conflict where it would try, as in the early stages of its Second World War, to manage a ‘parallel war’ alongside the Nazis, who were soon sending bombers to the insurgents’ aid (and gaining rich mineral export rights). The motivation was initially competitive with, or hostile to, the Germans.49 It remained so, with Ciano emphasising in July 1938 the need 219

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to inform the Germans that Italian interests in Spain outweighed theirs.50 Whatever the impact of such protestations, the regime’s characteristic combination of gratuitous ‘Fascist’ brutality and military incompetence soon ensured that the country drew little advantage from warring. Rather Spain further lessened the regime’s freedom of manoeuvre in a darkening Europe and further blunted any point to its Fascist ideology. Another spur to the initial intervention in Spain had been the news that the French Republic intended to permit the private export of arms and planes to their comrades in Spain, with Mussolini displaying his usual love–hate response to France, magnified by the fact that an ‘anti-Fascist’ Popular Front headed by Blum governed in Paris. In fact, while the decision to give aid to Franco was being made, the Duce was preoccupied with a family crisis. In June it had become clear that his younger daughter, Anna Maria, was afflicted by polio, for a time, it was feared, fatally. Not until well into the next month did the family learn that she would live (although suffering permanent physical damage from the disease).51 Mussolini was badly battered by her illness.52 His wife, Rachele, was pressing him to retire (and searching for homeopathic remedies for Anna Maria).53 Only on 5 August, therefore, did Mussolini endorse his son-in-law’s ‘first war’ (as Ciano’s army of critics call it).54 Then the Duce expatiated more on French perfidy in preaching ‘nonintervention’ than on what tame intellectuals were hailing as twin Mediterranean fascisms in the making. A few months later, the Duce did suggest that the insurgents should accept that ‘an authoritarian government must in practice be popular and social’ and so, by implication, Fascist in the Italian (and not the German racist) manner.55 In these weeks, Mussolini gave almost identical counsel to the ever more obviously doubtful Kurt Von Schuschnigg in Vienna and General Ioannis Metaxas in Athens (the latter had seized power in a coup against his own government on 4 August and imposed the Roman salute on his faithful, while declaring it to be ‘Greek’).56 Despite the Duce’s advice, none of these intended clients, not even Franco, despite the fact that in 1947 he kept a signed photo of Mussolini on his desk, at least so displayed when friendly journalist Indro Montanelli visited,57 created a state that can now be accepted by scholars as tightly fitting the ‘model of (Italian-style) Fascism’. In 1936, it might have seemed that the Church was more enthusiastic about Franco than was the Italian regime. No doubt Pius XI hoped to work with such 220

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(doubtfully) ‘moderate government elements’ as Gil Robles,58 but anathema directed at socialists, communists, anarchists, republicans and secular liberals were common in the Vatican hierarchy. Among young Catholic laymen, Guido Gonella, later a major figure in the formation of post-1945 Christian Democrat rule in Italy, was already appalled in spring 1936 by the deeds of the ‘revolutionary monster’ in Spain and dated the outbreak of civil war to the election of the broadened leftist coalition in February. Such enemies of God were, he surmised with what sounded like an overlay of anti-Semitism, scarcely novel in Catholic ranks, ‘directed from afar by a criminal revolutionary internationalism’.59 By September, a Jesuit journal, verbally fusing Church and State, was lambasting the ‘devilish fury’ of Republicans’ persecution of the ‘Divine Falange of God’s ministers’.60 Despite the kudos Fascism was earning among Catholics, the regime’s participation in the war brought more loss than gain, all the more since, as historian Paul Preston has wittily put it, Mussolini–Franco relations boiled down to ‘one of give and take, in which the Duce had given and the Caudillo had taken’.61 Soon 80,000 Italians were fighting for the insurgents. Of these, by 1939 Italy had lost, on official figures, 3,819 dead to the Francoist cause (2,042 were from the armed services, 1,777 from the MVSN) and 12,000 wounded. Since the fallen were not ascari as so often in Ethiopia, the national casualties in Spain were higher than in the colonial war. In regard to materiel, 759 planes, 157 light tanks, 6,791 trucks, 1,801 canon, 1,426 mortars and 3,436 machine guns had been destroyed. The bill was 8.5 billion lire, a cost that was worsened by the lavish military aid that Italy granted their ally.62 So parlous was the national economy, afflicted by the twin costs of Spain and empire-building in Africa, (and by the growing habit of PNF bosses engaging in expensive trips abroad, more and more of them to Nazi Germany),63 that, by the end of 1938, real coffee was disappearing from bars in Rome and Milan. Twelve months later the imposition of a ration of 50 grams per month, naturally ignored at Acquasanta golf club, caused further mutinous doubts about the dictatorship among the urban bourgeoisie.64 Nor did Italy impress as a military force, despite the bragging of tame propagandists. A tapped phone call from an Italian general conceded that his soldiers were anything but genuine ‘volunteers’; in no sense were they sacrificing themselves as true believers in the ‘religion’ of universal Fascism. Moreover, they were hated by the local population. ‘I can’t tell you what they 221

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have been doing with women’, he expostulated. ‘The Germans [by contrast] are irreproachable by any standard’; their uniforms impeccable, their arms modern, they were ‘real soldiers’, he added in depressingly predictable parallel.65 In response to such rumours, the dictator savagely ordered the killing out of hand of Italian anti-Fascist prisoners, although, equally in character, he did not follow his outburst up and made no effort to ensure that mass executions followed.66 When it came to volunteering, a police file about a case in Ravenna is revealing. There, a party member called Omero Pinzi was sent to the Special Tribunal for objecting after a MVSN Seniore volunteered him and his fellows. When Pinzi and others protested that their families needed them at home, a brawl resulted and Pinzi was arrested. In his summary trial he was given two years in confino, although he was amnestied only a few days later.67 Anti-Fascists had seen the war as the first opportunity for years to actively contest the dictatorship, with the wealthy liberal democrat Carlo Rosselli, who had fought patriotically in Italy’s World War I but rejected the Fascist takeover of its history, coining the slogan ‘Today in Spain, Tomorrow in Italy’.68 4,109 Italians joined Republican brigades of one political persuasion or another. The most numerous and best organised were the communists who took their title from Garibaldi, again branded the ‘hero of two worlds’, and began to learn that Stalin was keeping an eye on any leftist infractions of Soviet purpose in backing the Republic.69 To Mussolini’s disgust, such genuine ideological volunteers played a considerable part in the defeat of their conationals fighting for Franco at the Battle of Guadalajara over a bitter fortnight in March 1937, a loss which coincided with, and detracted from, the dictator’s heavily publicised trip to Libya. Mussolini demanded daily reports on the situation and, at its end, swore feebly to the Germans that any military fault had been entirely that of the Francoists, while pledging that his men would soon return to the attack.70 He equally pressed Ciano to tell the British that their press insults and ‘fabrications’ about the ‘defeat’ would not be forgotten when negotiating ‘ephemeral accords’.71 Such warnings did not stop foreigners joking about how the Fascist forces had ‘run like hares’, conduct to be expected by a people who could be written off (with British racism) as ‘ice-creamers’.72 On 9 June 1937 Carlo Rosselli, who had returned from active fighting in Spain where his ‘liberal socialism’ did not fit his Stalinist comrades’ view of 222

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the world, and his scholarly brother, Nello, a precarious client of leading Fascist historian Gioacchino Volpe, were on a permitted visit to Normandy from Italy, and were murdered by French rightist thugs. Although various conspiracy theories about the event linger, the killers had probably been hired by clients of Ciano. Certainly a year earlier the secret police had labelled Rosselli the ‘most dangerous’ of the fuorusciti, armed and ready ‘to use any means’ against the regime.73 After the killing outside Bagnoles-del’Orne, anti-Fascists were sure that the murderer of Matteotti was back at his old tricks; an estimated crowd of 150,000 leftists saluted Carlo’s body as it was carried to the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.74 At least in this segment of the Left, Mussolini was confirmed as the worst of the dictators, a bloody enemy of the ‘rights of man’, a serial killer. In Spain, the insurgents were neither impressed by nor grateful to their Italian friends. Franco complained that ‘these people think that Spain is Abyssinia. They just do not understand our war’.75 A secret agreement signed on 28 November 1936 seemed to grant Italy major concessions in Spain and, on various occasions during the Civil War, grand hopes were expressed in Rome that the dictatorship might annex one or more of the Balearic Islands, thereby breaking the ‘bars’ which locked it in the Mediterranean,76 or become the suzerain over an autonomous Basque state.77 But on all such occasions words did not convert into action. Time and again, the dictatorship went out of its way to assume the villain’s role in Spain. At the abundance of meetings of the Non-Intervention Committee on the Civil War, summoned under the leadership of Britain and France from August 1936 and winning the eventual support of 27 countries, Italy was often more recalcitrant than its German colleague or its Soviet opponent. In a campaign on the Balearic Islands, the Bolognese squadrist, Arconovaldo Bonacorsi, calling himself ‘General Count Aldo Rossi’, bombed and burned his way to victory over Republican defenders with exultant brutality. Prisoners were shot out of hand and there was more foolish talk of Italian forces staying in the islands forever, with Bonacorsi himself maximising his kill as positive propaganda. His wild actions eventually drove Franco to order his expulsion, in December 1937, an action accepted by Ciano.78 Earlier that year, Bonacorsi’s behaviour had been attacked by Balbo in a conversation that the police recorded with Vittorio Cini, the wealthy Venetian entrepreneur, Fascist minister (and gentleman). Murdering prisoners, Balbo stated, was ‘an utterly disgraceful 223

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affair’; ‘but I was expecting it’, he added abrasively. Such actions demonstrated that the whole apparatus of the Corporate state was an illusion. Rather than the Fascist hierarchical structure of appointment from above, Balbo now claimed to prefer the liberal system of elections, which, he believed, acted as ‘a thermometer to measure the temperature of the people’ in the way that Fascism could not. And, he crowed, Mussolini knew that he felt that way.79 Balbo was scarcely plotting a coup. But Spain had not united Fascist chiefs around a coherent and convincing ideology. It has already been noted how critical Farinacci was when he inspected Italian rule in Ethiopia. His stance was similar in Spain, where he travelled just as the Battle of Guadalajara loomed. The Caudillo did not impress. ‘He is a rather timid man’, Farinacci judged, ‘and his face is certainly not that of a condottiero’. It was therefore absurd for his entourage ‘to post up propaganda statements on walls that he is the greatest strategist known to man and is struggling to save “el mundo” ’. In fact, Farinacci continued with Fascist gusto and little sense that his Duce might not be so different, Franco ‘had so far no precise idea of the Spain of tomorrow, except that he intended to be its dictator’. When quizzed, Franco might make positive noises about the Corporate system but he did not want either the Falange or the Carlist Requetés to implement it. When Farinacci pressed the insurgent chief to establish a Partito Nazionale Spagnolo and switch ‘decisively towards the working classes’, Franco did not assent. Therefore, Farinacci concluded, the Caudillo was ‘null and void politically’; whatever propaganda might say, he was not crusading for an idea. He might be ready perfidiously to frame an accord with Britain. General Emilio Mola Vidal, who was to die in a controversial air crash in June 1937, was, in Farinacci’s estimation, much ‘the more astute and intelligent’ of the insurgent generals. So much was little more than Fascist cliché, with its gloating belief that Italian Fascism was strong in its ideological system and genuine popular base, neither of which was matched by the authoritarian Spanish military who were too mulish fully to discern Italian merit – counter-revolutionaries, not revolutionaries like Farinacci and his Duce. Equally predictable were allegations then and later that leading Italian officers and officials in Spain were blatantly corrupt (like Farinacci) and so all the more disdained by the Francoists.80 But Farinacci had another, more surprising, theme: an Italian horror over how civil war proceeded in Spain. When he contemplated the 224

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conflict, Farinacci’s mind slipped readily back to the horrors of the ‘Black Legend’ of unspeakable Spanish cruelty. No Spaniard, he reported, was in a hurry to finish the slaughter; indeed they were indifferent to it. Mola, for example, had talked cheerfully of eliminating ‘a million’ Reds on victory but had not bothered to explain how such victims would be determined. Nor did anyone else in the insurgent leadership find such ‘plans’ cruel or silly, Farinacci noted with consternation.81 The curious message of this most savage of Fascists may have been that Italian intervention in such an unnaturally savage country was unlikely to be rewarding. Franco’s Spain might not have been ‘Fascist’ in the Italian understanding of the word but it did reek with blood. Paul Preston counts a tally of victims in what he calls a ‘Holocaust’ of well over half a million, the probable majority civilians. Nor did killing cease with military success. ‘After the final victory of the Insurgents, approximately 20,000 Republicans were executed. Many more died of disease and malnutrition in overcrowded, unhygienic prisons and concentration camps’.82 They were not the last. It is well to note that, when it came to liquidating its own people, Franco’s authoritarian regime of Army and Church eliminated far more than the ‘totalitarian’ Italian dictatorship did. By the end of 1939, Franco stood second behind Stalin in such obscenity. All in all, then, Italian intervention in Spain was even less successful than Ethiopia as a populist venture meant to ginger the masses with a revived spirit of ‘revolution’ and ideological dedication. The secret police did not take long to register dissidence among ordinary people about meddling there. One critic was Secondo Soprani, born in Ravenna but resident in Milan. There his neighbours were saluting a parade of volunteers off to fight on Franco’s side. But Soprani did not join the applause. Instead he expostulated loud enough for bystanders to hear that ‘it would be better if the Duce gave his attention to Italy, where there are so many unemployed, rather than sending people to Spain’ to who knew what end. Mussolini, he muttered incautiously, was a reprobate (‘birichino’), a turncoat, who had originally been a republican and a socialist. He had betrayed his friends of such beliefs, whether in the past in Italy or now in Spain. Except in the Mussolini family province of Forlì, Soprani continued, where lots of government money had been spent, the dictator was widely despised because ‘he betrayed his ideals’. Romagnoles like himself, he added with the usual pronounced sense of 225

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regional identity, could never forget that. Soprani’s file in the Italian archives does not reveal whether he was overheard in his outburst by police agents or denounced by neighbours. But his opinions about past history and present politics earned him a two-year sentence of confino at the paese of Pescopagano in the province of Potenza in the deep south of the country (although he was amnestied after six months).83 But such punishment did not alter the situation that the ‘volunteers’, sent off with fanfare to Spain, were likely to be poor, unemployed and compelled, rather than making a free choice to crusade for universal Fascism.84 Neither in their going nor their return were they viewed as national heroes or knightly warriors for an ideal. The battles in Spain between ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ reminded Italians of the ‘socialism’ that had once flourished in (northern) Italy in a history that had been suppressed by Fascist censorship. In Venice, for example, the secret police reported that the population had split over Spain, with some cheering one side and some the other, while spurring worrying comments, drawn from who knows what source, about the better quality of life available to workers in France. The murder of priests boosted a perhaps salacious popular attention from women of the people but not necessarily with deep resultant hostility towards the ‘Reds’, agents worryingly added.85 What, then, was the regime meant to do when ‘going to the people’ merely exposed discontent or indifference about Fascist rule and philosophy? After all, despite the boasting and propaganda, and despite Mussolini’s swelling divine aura, it could scarcely be concealed that times were not good. Between 1934 and 1940, the nation spent 51 per cent of its income on armaments or empire (quite a bit wasted on corruption), with disastrous effects on its reserves and on welfare payments.86 With every passing year it had become plainer that the Fascist economy was not driving Italy to catch up with the greater powers. Through the interwar period, in contrast to what happened before 1914 and after 1945, Italy lost ground, with an overall growth rate of 1.9 per cent against Sweden’s 4.1, Germany’s 3.8 and Britain’s 2.2 per cent.87 Neither Corporatism nor autarchy brought benefit to the masses. A wage freeze, which was explained in 1936 as a patriotic defence against sanctions, was soon abandoned, with the feeble excuse for a totalitarian state of ‘too many exceptions’ in its application. Instead there were four official wage rises over the next four years, the only problem being that inflation rose faster. Attempts 226

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to control rents scarcely functioned, while a housing crisis deepened.88 The cost of living went up by 56 per cent between 1936 and 1940, wages by 40 per cent.89 For the most deprived social groups, especially day labourers in the countryside, the reality was worse. In Cremona, Farinacci scoffed at the suggestion of a tax rise for landowner employers, saying that such men had obediently contributed ‘voluntarily’ to new PNF buildings in the province and to ‘various extra public demonstrations’. The poor, he thought, could make do with charity collected on a ‘Solidarity Day’ for winter relief.90 Little, it might be surmised, trickled down to the most deprived peasants. Whatever may have been true in Farinacci’s small empire in Cremona, ‘miseria’, a word whose meaning combined poverty and hunger, still stalked the south and islands and, across the country, remained in the vocabulary of the poor, nourishing their stubborn sense of class resentment against the rich (and high-living Fascist bosses). Ordinary people spent more than half their income on feeding themselves and their families.91 One peasant mother wrote a dramatic, and presumably credible, appeal for funds to the Duce, reporting that she had just been delivered of her 25th child after 19 hours of labour (and patriotically named her Vittoria Romana). But she did not own sheets, a mattress or clothes for her latest offspring.92 Even in Rome, the poor who lived around San Lorenzo, not so far from the Mussolini family’s imposing (if architecturally fake) Villa Torlonia,93 seldom received running water or reliable electricity supplies and, in the summer of 1935, there were 6,000 cases of typhus in the city with 500 dead.94 Noisier in their complaint at their fate were ‘intellectuals’, employed below what they thought should be their status; Ruggero Zangrandi, a school friend of Vittorio Mussolini (and later a notable anti-Fascist), urged in Gerarchia that ‘extraordinary and surgical measures’ be introduced to give youths like him more exciting jobs.95 According to Peter Rodd, the son of a British ex-ambassador to Rome, visiting Italy in August 1937 for the first time since the Ethiopian imbroglio, ‘now they [Italians] do not eat meat any more’, while clothes were prohibitively expensive. In sum, he told Eden, ‘the first and most obviously noticeable thing [about Italy] is the remarkable recession in the standard of living of the working class’.96 Worse, Fascism could be an irritant in various parts of ordinary life. One example was that the increased price of copper imports after sanctions made the manufacture of bronze bells prohibitively expensive for a number of 227

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new churches, one case being in provincial Abruzzi and others in suburban Milan. Such parishes opted instead for loudspeaker systems, despite the reluctance of priests to welcome such ‘modernity’. As an inevitable result of technology, parishioners were forced to listen to Giovinezza (and the Marcia Reale) booming out over their dwellings and not just the traditional, comforting, call to worship.97 Whether such intrusion improved the public mood may be doubted. Perhaps Italians laughed less under late Fascism. In 1937 Minculpop promulgated a detailed list of topics to avoid in making jokes, and satire that extended beyond crude racist images of Ethiopians and, after 1938, Jews was unwelcome. The number of comic papers published in the country fell from 98 in 1925 to 13 in 1940 as part of that process whereby the Fascist press became greyer and greyer, while sanctions cut papers’ length. Il Popolo d’Italia sold most during the Ethiopian war but never as many as 100,000 copies to what was always a limited reading public.98 Mussolini himself no longer laughed in company, implying that the Fascist revolution was no laughing matter. Back at the Villa Torlonia, he may still have been watching (imported) Laurel and Hardy movies with hearty pleasure, but in public and to his close associates, he was a stone god.99 With Spain bringing more harm than good to the dictatorship, it was not difficult to see that another policy had to be tried to energise the people. The most obvious in the Europe of the late 1930s was race. The issue had been nervously evoked in Ethiopia, with mixed results in a campaign to prove that Italians could carry the white man’s burden with the same aplomb as the British. To the north, Hitler’s unapologetically racist dictatorship moved from triumph to triumph domestically and internationally. Now ‘fascists’, such as Mosley or José Antonio Primo De Rivera and his successors in the Falange,100 found more to admire in the German than the Italian model. Even the authoritarian governments in Poland, Hungary or Romania were dabbling in anti-Jewish measures and gaining public backing for their actions, while the Francoists in Spain gave place to wilder racists than were found in Italy.101 Was race or, to be more precise, anti-Semitism, to be the factor that made fascism really popular?102 By early 1936, with the conflict in Ethiopia still uncertain in result, La Vita Italiana abandoned its criticism over the past two years of Germany. 228

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A writer instead expatiated on the ‘mixed racial stock’ of the sanctionmongering British and their business-oriented Puritanism from the days of ‘Cromwel [sic]’. But the real root of their wicked blocking of Italy’s advance in Africa, the argument became, was the sanctionists’ ‘Judaic thought and sense of ethics’. Preziosi added the historical reference that, in 1911 too, Italy’s venture in Libya had been attacked by ‘the Jewish international’. Eden and the Daily Telegraph (his ‘personal organ’, Preziosi maintained), embodied ‘the Judaic spirit’, while the League of Nations was based on ‘an essentially Jewish idea’.103 A month later, the journal went global with the suggestion that Franklin Roosevelt, not so long before viewed in La Vita Italiana as pursuing a proto-Fascist path and still being hailed in Gerarchia as a Great Man backed by ‘a totalitarian-style fascio’ of supporters,104 led a ‘Jewish-dominated administration’. If re-elected, Roosevelt would be bound to make war on Japan in the interests of the Jewish communists in Moscow, La Vita Italiana prophesised, with an implied reversal of what had been Italy’s previous backing of nationalist China in Asian disputes.105 Zionist leader Nahum Goldmann may have tried to limit the damage that Preziosi and the more rabid Italian anti-Semites were doing, by reiterating publicly that Italy was the sole totalitarian state where Jews retained full rights as citizens. But would that situation survive?106 If the Nazis in Germany were so visibly mobilising their masses through racist fanaticism, could Mussolini resist the temptation to follow the same route, even if it meant drastic qualification of what had once been the meaning of universal fascism?107 By 1936 it was thus evident that Mussolini was reversing his previous derision of ideas about racial purity, although the fine detail of racial belonging was never the Duce’s forte. Despite the switch to anti-Semitic legislation, which grew in severity from its initial application on 17 November 1938, neither Mussolini nor his regime were ever fully clear whether race was defined ‘scientifically’, as the Germans stated, by blood and physiology, or ‘spiritually’, by belief and commitment.108 As one postwar historian argued: ‘Italian anti-Semitism had no ideological base but was the product of mindless and cynical opportunism’.109 Other authorities question such cosy dismissal, particularly of Mussolini’s own role. He did, after all, bawl to Claretta Petacci in October 1938 that he would ‘kill them all [the Jews in Italy], every one’. He would find a small island, send them there and ‘destroy them’.110 The context of such anger was 229

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his recent return from the Munich crisis and his rapid discovery that it had not been the personal triumph that he had first thought it to have been; he had briefly boasted to Claretta that Hitler was always his ‘teddy bear when it came down to it’.111 The immediate trigger for his savagery was reading French newspapers mocking his grandeur. He went on to imagine the extermination of ‘30 million’ French, ‘a people left in tatters by alcohol and syphilis’.112 It was almost as though he was trying ostentatiously to tear to pieces the relieved reaction of many Italians after Munich who were photographed hailing him as a great peacemaker, ‘the father of humankind’.113 Naturally the dictatorship developed no bureaucratic plans for the massacre of Italian Jews, for any sort of Final Solution or for killing 30 million French. A recent history of Jews under the regime claims that those who successfully migrated to Israel looked back on their life under the dictatorship with nostalgia and found in the kibbutz system a harsher interference in their lives, a more visceral construction of ‘new men’, for example by enforced name change and language use, than had been true in ‘totalitarian’ Italy.114 Assessing the nature of Mussolini’s racism and that of his regime is thus a complex matter. If only because he had been a journalist with a comment available about most things, Mussolini had at times sounded anti-Semitic and, by 1937–8, such statements were given publicity by a regime anxious to deny that race legislation was out of kilter with Italian, Fascist (and Catholic) traditions.115 The government’s official note about the adoption of racism in August 1938 asserted that Fascism had been race-inspired since its foundation in 1919, while conceding that the acquisition of an African empire had enhanced the ‘problem’ of preserving racial purity.116 At around the same time, Starace with his usual absurd intrusion, decreed that fried artichokes, carciofi alla giudea, an elegant dish served in the best restaurants, must now be called carciofi all’ariana.117 Historians anxious to give anti-Semitism primacy in their models of fascism have portrayed the Duce as a lifetime racist, sometimes thereby endorsing yet again the trite argument that a tyrant’s evil is entrenched in his soul from birth. More persuasive in his regard is the evidence presented by Giorgio Fabre that glimmerings of change in the dictator’s mind about racial matters dated to 1933, that is, when bold boasts about universal fascism began to have to fit the Nazi regime into their picture. Certainly, Mussolini offered the Nazis an electoral subsidy in favouring a generous contract for a translation of 230

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Mein Kampf and flirted with finding instruction in ‘that brick of a book’ as he labelled it in 1934 when, back in anti-German mood and pouring money into Austrian hands to resist Nazi attack, he confessed his reading had not got far.118 Fabre may well be right in suggesting, nonetheless, that, from the arrival of the Nazis on the European scene, racism became an issue from which the Duce could imagine drawing popular benefit to his regime, so long as its ‘own concrete racism [could be] “Italian” or better Mussolinian’.119 Giacomo Acerbo, in his memoirs trying to be a respectable Fascist and denying having been a ‘scientific’ racist in the German style, is probably right to claim that Mussolini’s invocations of ‘razza’ before 1938 meant a strong word for national belonging and nothing more.120 Certainly in 1936–7 anti-Semitism had a flickering presence in Italy. For a while there was talk of a Fascist association with Zionism suggesting, for example, that the Italian state would back large-scale Jewish immigration into the Gojjam region of conquered Ethiopia.121 There were fewer than 60,000 Italian Jews, who were in the main prosperous and patriotic, equipped with a history that linked the Risorgimento and the invention of the nation to their liberation from the ghetto and Catholic persecution. By class, patriotism and economic interest, they were in great majority natural supporters of Mussolini’s dictatorship. They are on record applauding ‘salutary’ executions in Ethiopia, while airmen of Jewish heritage joined the bombing of Republican urban centres in Spain.122 In October 1937, the regime still saw no problem in issuing a medal to the Jewish ‘volunteer’, Alberto Liuzzi, recently fallen there,123 although, a few weeks later, Mussolini justified Italy’s departure from the League of Nations as an escape from the ‘Geneva Sanhedrin’.124 After 1933, quite a few Jews entered Italy as refugees from Nazism, some to stay, some to pass through. Even in 1938, after the Anschluss tallying 20,000, they were not yet banned. From September that year, they were meant to be expelled, and 11,000 left. But there were still 9,000 ‘foreign’ Jews in Italy in 1943.125 Italians reacted to the racial legislation with some equivocation. Among the party bosses quite a few, with an immediate assumption that laws could be bent, thought ‘their own’ Jews should find exemption. Farinacci, who mocked racial science but admired Nazism, felt his private secretary should be one.126 Ciano recorded an effort in his diary to help out an ‘old school friend’ whose case saddened him.127 The Duce claimed to admire the personal honesty and scientific skill of atomic scientist, Enrico Fermi, who had been 231

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a member of the Fascist Accademia since its foundation in 1929. However, Fermi had a Jewish wife, and, after winning the Nobel Prize in 1938 for research on neutrons, decided to stay in the USA. In reaction Mussolini, with what sounds like perplexity, told an interviewer what a shame that was.128 During the war Fermi became an important member of the team that produced the atom bomb, while Italian research achievement in physics languished (in 1938, 7 per cent of university professors were dismissed on racial grounds).129 After 1943, Georg Zachariae, the Nazi doctor sent by Hitler to monitor the restored Duce’s health was sure that Mussolini was no anti-Semite, still denying that there had ever been a ‘Jewish problem’ in Italy.130 More ordinary Italians reacted to the persecution with a predictable mixture of self-serving indifference and individual pity. As one teacher’s wife told a Jewish mother: ‘I’m really sad for you, who are so dear to us, but, as for the rest of the Jews, nothing’.131 In a regime where special cases were not news and corruption was always possible, there were plenty of efforts to fudge the rules.132 Yet the dictator grew more and more restless about the evident limitations in Italians’ commitment to revolution, racial or otherwise. As he told party bosses in a speech shortly after Guadalajara and when he had returned from Libya, the trouble with his countrymen was that they did not know how ‘to hate. We lack what might be called the technique of hatred’, something which, he added bitterly, the Church knew ‘in the most refined and profound manner’.133 Mussolini had reacted badly to Pius XI’s encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge (17 March 1937), which diverted attention from his waving of the Sword of Islam by strongly attacking Nazi racism and state interference in education and other areas best left to the Church.134 Anxious to be brutal and pitiless, the Duce declared himself happy to hear that Pius was old and ill, amused to be told that ‘not only the Vatican but the whole Church is terrified by the totalitarian regimes’.135 Adventurous young Fascist intellectuals were still wondering if Stalin’s USSR was evolving towards Fascism,136 which they dutifully remembered was the ‘doctrine of the twentieth century’, suggestions that ill accorded with the tirades against Bolshevik cruelty in Spain that were the main propaganda justification for intervention on Franco’s side. Mussolini himself on one occasion, with a curiously vague use of the word ‘fascism’, declared that Stalin 232

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had ‘secretly become a fascist’, but of a barbarous Georgian kind, which meant he did not punish with castor oil but total elimination, ‘the methods of Genghis Khan’.137 Mussolini (and Ciano) could talk about ‘totalitarian’ solutions to such matters as their relations with Britain but without much clarity about their meaning.138 That word was never taken up by the Nazis in their own definitions, although, for the Italians, the real comparator for Mussolini and his regime in almost every instance was now Hitler’s Germany. It is no surprise to find that the story of Italo-German relations during the approach of the Second World War is a contested one. For Robert Mallett, by August 1935, the Italian dictatorship had ‘finally and irrevocably identified the British Empire as its mortal and intractable enemy’.139 An Axis alliance between the two ‘fascist powers’ was therefore natural and inevitable. As MacGregor Knox has contended, each was a fundamentally antiliberal regime, therefore committed to fomenting great wars as a consummation of their ‘revolutions’. The ‘fanatic’ Mussolini had wanted a German alliance from the beginning of his career.140 ‘Realist’ Italian historians disagree. When it came to providing the first full account of the regime, Renzo De Felice rejected the claim that ideology played a major part in Italian foreign policy, sure instead that the Pact of Steel, signed between the two dictatorships on 22 May 1939, rather than being a military alliance for imminent war was, at least on the Italian side, a ‘spur of the moment’, opportunist act.141 Rosaria Quartararo asserted that Mussolini preserved major continuity in national policy and dealt with the Nazis only to try to win over the recalcitrant British, among whom Eden played a malignly anti-Italian role.142 In more recent times, Eugenio Di Rienzo, Francesco Lefebvre d’Ovidio and scholars linked to Nuova Rivista Storica have reinstated such theses, whether about parallels from the past, Eden or a nonideological Mussolini.143 In an important essay, Lefebvre argued that the policy that led to the Pact of Steel owed nothing to a ‘common ideology, the solidarity between two authoritarian regimes or to a common imperialist drive’. Rather it was decided by ‘pure Realpolitik’, despite the fact that Italy’s opportunist choice turned out to be mistaken for the national interest.144 According to this analysis, Italy genuinely sought to block Germany’s first step towards drastic treaty revision in 1934. But neither France nor, especially, Britain offered backing. Worse, in 1935, the British signed their Naval Pact with Germany and then, with whatever 233

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reluctance among some Tories, moved to be the leading supporter of the liberal democratic League of Nations in treating Italy and Ethiopia as equals and so imposing sanctions, however incomplete, to block Mussolini’s aggression. The natural result was the initiation of discussions, first among the private agents of the two dictators rather than at a foreign ministry level, to warm Italo-German relations. By January 1936, Suvich and the aristocratic German ambassador, Ulrich von Hassell (he was married to a daughter of Admiral von Tirpitz),145 were engaged in talks, the key issue now being compromise over Austria.146 Suvich, with his own background in Trieste, was cautious about too close a deal with the Germans and too glaring a break from the League of Nations.147 However, he too, in February, assured von Hassell that, following an Italian victory in Africa, there could be no return to Stresa or an antiGerman tripartite alliance of the Western European Great Powers.148 By June, Mussolini was instructing Count Bernardo Attolico, his ambassador in Berlin, that Italy could accept an ‘Austro-German modus vivendi’,149 which, according to Lefebvre, still meant not annexation but a ‘One People, Two State solution’,150 with some echo of the existence of Imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary before 1914. On 11 July 1936, Germany and Austria signed an agreement meant to end tension between the two. But it became clear that the Austrian population retained their First World War hatred and disdain for Italian ‘betrayers’ of the Triple Alliance.151 Moreover, Schuschnigg did not want to restore the close personal, cultural (and family) ties that Dollfuss had enjoyed with Mussolini (which, contrary to legend, were warmer than Mussolini’s ambiguous relationship with Hitler),152 and had sacked the Italian client Prince Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg from his position as deputy chancellor and suppressed the Italian-financed Heimwehr.153 The London Times welcomed Schuschnigg’s removal of ‘Mussolini’s toady’.154 All in all, the path was open to Mussolini’s proclamation on 1 November 1936 of the Axis around which he foresaw the smaller European powers rotating. A few months later Ciano was ready to imagine a ‘Rome–London Axis’, too,155 despite the fact that when framing the friendship with Germany, Mussolini aggressively demanded that the ‘British Empire’ must accept that ‘for others the Mediterranean is a pathway. For us it is life’.156 For Italy and Mussolini a road had opened that would lead to the Second World War. But was it inevitable that the Fascist dictatorship would bind 234

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itself lastingly to the Nazis and irredeemably cut its ties with Britain and France? Certainly, the British leadership, for most of the intervening period from the League withdrawal of sanctions in July 1936 until the outbreak of ‘war for Danzig’ in September 1939, were more hopeful about finding a settlement with Germany than appeasing Italy. As Eric Drummond, Seventh Earl of Perth, the Secretary-General of the League of Nations 1920–33, inappropriately promoted to be ambassador in Rome until 1939, argued: ‘Italy has always sold itself to the highest bidder and always will’. ‘Compared with Germany’, he ran on, (both in militant organisation and in crime) ‘Italy is only a poor provincial amateur’, a comment that prompted an intervening note from Eden. For him, ‘Italy’s recent record is worse [than Germany], though she matters less’.157 The country’s ‘menace to us’, he wrote a few months later, ‘is limited only by her material weakness and not by her temper’. British rearmament, he added contemptuously, ‘may gradually bring about a more respectful tone’.158 His Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, increasingly unhappy with the Eden line on Mussolini, had his own recipe, and a naive one: ‘It is very necessary to remember that these Dictators are men of moods. Catch them in the right mood and they will give you anything you ask for. But, if the mood changes, they may shut up like an oyster’.159 Chamberlain did not detect a genuine difference in the revisionism of the two Axis states. Yet focus specifically on Italy should qualify the disputes between historians who see Mussolini as a furious aggressor and those who find the dictator a variant on a traditional Italian statesman. Hitler’s foreign policy was always ideological, driven by a mixture of race and nation, with a cleansing, and thus, extermination of those who did not belong. It merged longstanding German racial thought with a variety of Wilsonian self-determination, irredentist in its pledge to bring the Germans of Austria, the Sudetenland, Danzig, places further east, and the German-speaking peasants of the Alto Adige, ‘home to the Reich’. Fascist Italy was not the same. The role of irredentism under Mussolini was less than it had been when scarcely decisive under his Liberal predecessors. To be sure from time to time there was blather about Malta (often pushed more enthusiastically by the Church than the State), Nice, the Ticino, Dalmatia and Tunisia (where maybe immigrants from the Italies did outnumber French settlers). Yet planning for such conquests remained more verbal than real, more populist than actual. 235

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It is telling that when, in 1940, it came to war, with its possibilities still untrimmed, Mussolini and his advisers compiled an extraordinary list of potential ‘booty’, as he liked to call it. Fitting Italian propaganda under the dictatorship and its predecessors, some of the potential acquisitions had been ruled by classical Rome. However, at least as many were to be transferred from the empires of France and Britain after their expected defeat. So Italy thought it could rule Nice, Malta, Corsica, Dalmatia and Tunisia but also part of Algeria, Djibouti, Chad, Niger, Sudan, British Somaliland, Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Nigeria, Cyprus, Perin, Socotra, Aden, Kuwait, Bahrain, Transjordania and Hadramaut, while controlling Egypt.160 It is a wish list replete with the delusions of Benito Mussolini and his Fascist dictatorship. But it also sums up the aspirations of that Italy which, for 80 years, had been the least of the Great Powers and the pursuer of sacro egoismo. It is thus in copious ways an old-fashioned set of ambitions. European statesmen in the nineteenth century might have found it normal enough, if outrageous for a power of Italy’s actual strength. But it was unlikely to rally minds and souls in what was meant to be a populist modernising regime. The dictator and his advisers could jot down one territory after the next, but what did ordinary Italians care about Bahrain or Nigeria? How many of them knew where Socotra or Hadramaut were? In a world which was meant to have drawn the masses into full political participation in the state and nation, Italy had drafted an academic list by contrast with Germany’s ‘real’ one. There was little sign of cultural revolution in Fascist foreign policy. The rest of the story of Italy’s fall into world war is familiar and easily told. An independent Austria, with a border on the Brenner above the Alto Adige, had been Italy’s prime strategic gain in the First World War. In the 1920s, at the signing of the Locarno Treaties, which readmitted Germany to a place in the international order, Mussolini emphasised that he and all Italians viewed an Anschluss, the absorption of Austria following the principle of national self-determination into Germany, as his country’s ‘problem of problems’.161 But, from the moment Italy decided to move against Ethiopia and leave Europe to its own devices, there was an inevitability about accepting a German takeover of Austria, Hitler’s homeland. To be sure, such acceptance was never made public in Italy until Hitler summoned Schuschnigg to his presence on 12 February 1938 and proffered 236

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an ultimatum that led to German invasion a month later. Only a few days before then, Mussolini was still thinking that some sort of Austrian independence could be preserved and that it was still in Italy’s interest, although not if it meant an armed confrontation over the Alpine border. Such behaviour would only unite all Germans and Austrians against Italy, the Duce grumbled, and bring the ‘Germanic mass to weigh on the Brenner pass’.162 As Ciano scribbled into his diary on 13 February, ‘The Anschluss is inevitable. But as far as possible [we should] delay it’. In a plainly difficult world, such thoughts provoked Mussolini to angrily suggest invading Switzerland (on the Belgian model for Germany in 1914) and so bursting into France as conquerors (although, as usual, no serious military planning followed for this off-the-cuff pronouncement).163 There was no time to register the perhaps happy fact that, on 21 February, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had sacked Eden (a man described by Grandi, seeking to echo his master’s voice, as an ‘unremitting enemy of Fascism and Italy’).164 Italy simply had to accept that hereafter, German armies would be based on the Brenner with all resultant hazard. Contrary to the spirit of ‘Nazi-fascist’ alliance, early in 1940 Italy was still spending more on its frontier defence against the German world than on safeguarding its borders with France and Yugoslavia combined, with Ciano remarking cynically to the Soviet chargé, ‘even in the case of neighbouring brothers, it was as well to be able to close the doors should the need arise’.165 The German move into Austria prompted Hitler to send the Duce his pledge never to forget him. However, the Anschluss marked a major turning point in the world order and in the fanatical Nazi desire for conquest. The sometime aspirant painter Hitler was an unusual German in his avoidance, even in his early writings in Mein Kampf and the Secret Book, of the common German insistence that Italians were of hopeless racial inferiority, the nation which betrayed the Triple Alliance in 1914–15 and then fought a coward’s war. Instead the Führer long nourished, almost deferentially, the hope to be the Duce’s ‘friend’. In 1938, he preserved a more positive image of ‘revolutionary’ Fascism than most Italians, and Mussolini, did. Certainly he was only partially aware that the German dictatorship had outdistanced the Italian and would pull further into the lead as the revisionist state bent on upsetting the world order. What was in fact his triumph over Italy in March 1938 may have been the unspoken assumption that unleashed him to move without fear or reluctance towards global war. 237

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Mussolini had already appeared in Germany in September 1937, accompanied by loud, but not necessarily credible, propaganda about the closeness of the two dictatorships. In his speech in Berlin, the Duce claimed the two regimes were not so much dictatorships as places where ‘organisations and force serve the people’; they were therefore ‘the most authentic democracies in the present world’.166 On return home, he did not clarify his regime’s ideological stance much better when he wrote that, in the coming century, ‘each nation will have its own fascism. . . . There will never be a standardised version of fascism that can be exported’.167 In May 1938, it was Hitler’s turn to travel to Rome, Naples and Florence and there spend some of his time ingenuously admiring Italian artistic heritage.168 It is doubtful whether these summit meetings were the key to eventual comradeship in war after June 1940, or that Mussolini was becoming sentimentally attached to the Führer. At the time of the Anschluss, Mussolini recalled to Claretta Petacci the terrible death of his friend Dollfuss, and the two cried together in sad memory while, perhaps inappropriately, listening to a recording of Lohengrin. Furthermore, the Duce meditated about the terror of the German war machine and the way that Germans united in an infrangible mass in war and, with typical desire to avoid any personal blame, charged the disobliging Schuschnigg and the French for letting the Anschluss occur.169 Nine months later, Mussolini was still mourning Dollfuss and expressing shock and awe at German power and the ease with which they had walked into Austria.170 A frightened realism thus drove Italian participation in the Axis just as much as ideology did. There were few signs after all of Nazism instituting a ‘Corporate state’, further evidence that the Germans were not simply applying the Italian model of fascism in their country. In April 1937 Mussolini admitted in a talk with Schuschnigg that, both in religious policy (where ‘we are Catholic, proud and respectful of our religion’) and in economics, the two dictatorships ‘pursued diverse systems’.171 But what did such difference imply about the Italian promise of a modernising revolution? When, in 1939, British intelligence got around to detailed study of the Italian economy, they advised that ‘Italy is a third rate power pretending to be first class. . . . The standard of living is very low’. The country was ‘very vulnerable to economic pressure in war’, where its petrol supplies were notably deficient.172 The ‘people’ were deeply discontented with 238

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their fate and their ‘economic situation’.173 Among the Italian business elite, Felice Guarneri in June was doubtful whether Italy could avoid national bankruptcy by the end of the year, if the lavish spending on arms and empire continued.174 No doubt Mussolini proclaimed heatedly that Italy had no need to be curbed by the ‘ridiculous measurements’ of professional economists, while maintaining that ‘in Fascist Italy, capital follows the state’s orders’. All that was needed, he added, was for everyone to adopt ‘an autarchic mentality’,175 with his rhetoric reaching a shrill silliness when he added: ‘we must live intensely in the mystique of autarchy’.176 In practice, the country’s leading industrialists enjoyed the subsidies that arrived via IRI and other state agencies, but remained a caste in attitude and practice. They had no reason to quarrel with a regime that regularly favoured them against small business and kept workers on a tight leash. In 1934–5 and 1938, Alberto Pirelli, who had waited until 1932 to join the PNF, taught management courses at the Milan Politecnico that exalted ‘the leader’ in business, a habit we saw above that has not disappeared from this field today, although now without admiring reference to Mussolini.177 But formal sycophancy to the Duce did not change the business mindset. What producers did notice was that Italian trade with Germany spiralled up during the sanctions crisis, leaving the Reich in 1938 as easily Italy’s leading trading partner, with imports and exports tallying more than three times what was exchanged with Britain and France.178 One further factor discouraging Italy from flirting too hard with breaking from the Axis was the emigration programme to Germany, which had begun in 1938 with 37,095 Italians transferred north in a process that did little to lessen German racial contempt for their ally. By 1942, there were almost half a million Italian guest workers in the Reich, of whom more than 50 per cent had some skills as industrial workers. They were graphic testimony to Italy’s subordinate role in the Axis war effort; in January 1941, German experts reckoned that Italian industry was functioning at a quarter of what should have been its effective capacity had there been modern management.179 In the meantime, Fascist ‘guest-workers’ were potential hostages should Italy flirt with changing sides in the war. The military officer corps followed a similar line towards the regime to that of business, with one historian contending ‘Fascist policy to the Army [leadership] was in substance not very different to preceding regimes’.180 239

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Party membership was obligatory for technologically expert and bourgeois air force officers but this requirement did not extend to the army or navy.181 On what was claimed to be the positive model of the Corporate state, each service developed its own war plans, while the army officer corps remained convinced that it was the last bulwark of the nation and so stood above ordinary politics, by implication a final guarantee of the monarchy and the social order.182 Despite costly rearmament after 1935, some artillery in 1940 was still that captured from the Austrians in 1918, while, in 1941, failing more modern mechanisation, 20,000 mules were ready for the invasion of the USSR. Lacking a full or detailed war plan beyond Mussolini’s occasional expostulations, a military readiness for war if anything lost ground during the late 1930s, with much equipment used up in Ethiopia and Spain.183 What was worse, leading generals spent more time on personal disputes than on planning, with Badoglio a target of constant rumour and innuendo. His wife, it was whispered to a secret police informer, boasted that all the furniture in their lavishly equipped villa near Rome had been paid for by the Ministry of War.184 If true, it was a case of rearmament Italian-style. Meanwhile, the international situation lurched from one crisis to the next under Nazi pressure that constantly ratcheted up. In the first issue of Critica fascista after the Anschluss, a commentator noted the emergence onto the agenda of the Sudeten question, foreshadowing an ‘extremely delicate’ time for Czech–German relations.185 In June 1938, SIM alerted the Duce to the way Germany was pushing its industrial and commercial interests ahead, paying little attention to Italian wants or needs in Spain, Albania or Yugoslavia, for example.186 Mussolini watched uneasily, assuring his Hungarian friends that Italy could always mobilise beside Germany over the Sudeten issue and such action would dissuade the French from war.187 Come the Munich crisis, and Mussolini did play a major public role in securing the agreement, which is often seen as the nadir of liberal democratic appeasement of Hitler. The Duce may well have thought that he was presiding over a revived Four Power Pact in the triumph of Italian policy of ‘armed peace’, after which he asserted, the ‘democracies will have to yield to the dictatorships’. Briefly his angry disdain for the world could be set aside. Following the making of, in her judgment, ‘perfect’ coitus (twice), Claretta Petacci heard her man’s account of his triumph in Germany. There the Führer’s artistic soul was forever murmuring ‘Ah, Italy, Italy, how beautiful it 240

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is’ (Mussolini did not forget to make malicious note of his German colleague’s lack of a ‘wife’). He, Mussolini, always tumescent, had prepared everything, Claretta was informed, and so took complete control of the meeting since only he had ‘ideas’ and a mastery of other languages. It had been great when Daladier and Chamberlain repeated ‘Duce, Duce’, when they sought his attention. Hitler, he added, ‘really adores me’. It had been a complete (personal) ‘victory’.188 It did not take long for this euphoria about a refreshed European order to dissipate, however. Too many Italians celebrated the preservation of peace, while the Germans, despite Hitler’s artistic sensibilities, did little to cherish Italian interests. Reports of Kristallnacht on 9–10 November, the pogrom when 267 synagogues were destroyed, hundreds of Jews killed and 30,000 incarcerated, were received badly in Milan, the secret police reported. The locals might have accepted some Jews being beaten and their shops wrecked, the agent added, but regime-endorsed fire and murder were going too far, with awkward comparison made between the Nazis and what the ‘Red barbarians’ had been reported to be doing in Spain.189 In Rome, early in the new year of 1939, men and women complained about too close an imitation of Germans in the anti-Semitic campaign (although they agreed that there were ‘quantities of canaille’ among the city’s Jews). Ordinary people were disgusted that the Germans were getting all the advantages out of the friendship between the two dictatorships and Italians nothing but trouble, the police declared.190 Precisely what Mussolini thought of the world that year as the great crisis approached is difficult to elucidate. When Chamberlain and Halifax came to Rome in January, the Duce made a positive impression on the (gullible) British prime minister, ‘very favourably impressed with Sig. Mussolini’s demeanour and attitude throughout the visit. The Duce had appeared quite straightforward and sincere in everything he had said, and never at any time . . . had he made any statement, which was in the least embarrassing to his visitors. Physically the Duce looked fit and well.’ To be sure, Mussolini had remained throughout ‘absolutely loyal to Herr Hitler’, perhaps disappointingly so, but ‘on reflection he [Chamberlain] thought that it reflected well on Sig. Mussolini’s character’.191 Bruno Spampanato, a less credulous local visitor, instead found the dictator no longer the tireless activist he had once been, but rather a man who 241

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had surrendered himself to destiny. When they talked, Mussolini recalled that, in 1933, he had thought the Four Power Pact was the ideal formula. But then came Dollfuss, and here Spampanato thought the Duce’s lips trembled. ‘I did not invent the Axis. It was the systematic obtuseness of some Powers, their lack of comprehension, their hostility to Italy, which carried us into the Axis’, he told his visitor with what might be read as resignation.192 Now came the Nazi assault on the rump of Czechoslovakia, and the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia, provinces that had few claims to be ethnically German, on 15 March. Ciano reported public opinion was ‘preoccupied and humiliated’ by this latest German aggression, with Mussolini repeating his vacuous comments about invading France alone and unassisted one day and, in the meantime, being ‘sullen’ at the state of the world and Italy.193 There was no escape from the Axis and, on 26 March, Mussolini bellowed out to ‘the old guard’ his determination that his Italy could not engage in ‘giri di waltzer’ (partner-swapping at a dance) as Liberal Italy had done in 1914–15 when it left the Triple Alliance.194 With some trepidation and no advantage Italy could seize Albania. It could accept a military alliance, the ‘Pact of Steel’, on 22 May. But what was Fascist policy meant to be on ‘Danzig’ and the war looming over Poland, which, after March, was guaranteed by Britain and France? A week following the Pact of Steel signature, Mussolini wrote at some length personally to Hitler, with cheap populist talk about how a war between the rich plutocratic nations and the poor and overpopulated ones was ‘inevitable’. The takeover of what had been left of Czechoslovakia and Albania was a good start. But now Italy needed a breathing space to 1942 or 1943, given the need to systematise Libya and Albania and pacify Ethiopia. From the empire, Italy, he boasted in a way that might not have appealed to his racist fellow dictator, 500,000 black troops could be enrolled into the nation’s armies. There were a few other little matters: building six battleships, renewing the artillery, making autarchy work, and moving industries from the Po Valley, vulnerable to air attack, to the south. Church–State relations should be improved and, he was bold to add, the Nazis should themselves do something in that regard. It might be best if, by then, their Japanese friends in the AntiComintern Pact (joined by Italy in November 1937) had completed their victory in China. The Italian dictatorship would like to be given time to hold the planned great Rome Exhibition of 1942, 20th anniversary of the March 242

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on Rome (and ironically being propagandised as a celebration of ‘universal’ Fascist ‘peace and civilisation’).195 The Axis states should enhance efforts to destabilise their foes, through funds promiscuously distributed to antiSemitic, pacifist and regionalist movements or those among colonial peoples. Mussolini, until well into 1940 a believer that the Maginot Line would never break, predicted that a war in the west would be bound to block (as it had after 1914). Only in the east and south-east could there be rapid movement, although he concluded with a final limp slogan: ‘Italy – war planning – will give more men than means; Germany more means than men’.196 In sum, Mussolini, in an epistle replete with a curious medley of vanity and inadequacy, half-truths and partially hidden lies, was trying to persuade perhaps Hitler and certainly himself that ‘1943’ actually meant some time in a fairly distant future when who knew what might have happened in between. Hitler reacted with what Italians read as approval but Rome rejected the Führer’s suggestion that the two dictators should meet a fourth time on the emblematic Brenner (Mussolini implausibly tried to discount the idea as engaging too much world media attention).197 Meanwhile, Germany moved forcefully ahead on the Danzig issue, leaving Mussolini to his love affair with the often argumentative Claretta Petacci, and Italians to digest the news announced in Il Popolo d’Italia that ‘national television’ was about to arrive.198 Occasional Italian requests to be fully informed about German–Polish relations got nowhere.199 From Spain came the news that Franco believed that his war-torn country would need a long period of ‘reconstruction’ and ‘could not confront a European war’.200 In such circumstances little was meant by a personal Mussolini letter to Franco assuring him that, when he came to Rome (he never did), he would ‘feel the soul of Fascist Italy’ and, for the moment, the Spaniards, in words the Duce had begun to parrot in every circumstance, should ‘go decisively towards the people’.201 From Lisbon, an Italian diplomat reported with predictable Fascist snobbery that Portugal was too weak to be relied on; Salazar was an ‘involuntary dictator’, who ran an ‘authoritarian country that does not dare to be totalitarian’.202 To Percy Loraine, the unconvinced new British ambassador in Rome, Mussolini, still half dreaming of a Four Power Pact, tried to believe that the powers must accept the German gain of Danzig but thereafter there could be a ‘new Locarno’.203 Might television divert the people? After all the secret police reported from Siena that the locals could find no sense in a war with France, but rather 243

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viewed it as ‘an act of Fascist madness’, while they continued to doubt the value of the German alliance.204 In the Vatican, the police registered that Catholic circles were noting Italy’s gravely deteriorating economy.205 Venetians were reported to ignore what the Fascist press and radio said, refusing to do anything positive about the country’s interests.206 By August, they were hoping above all not to see a rerun of the First World War. Could technology and mechanisation spare a mass of infantry deaths, they asked? Could the conflict occur a long way from the lagoon, they added anxiously? Perhaps all would be clarified in the Duce’s next speech.207 Radically diverse was a prefectural report from Lecce, the province where Starace, whose career was wobbling, was the big man. Here, presumably incredulous readers in Rome were assured that the population, rich and poor, stood four-square behind the party and the revolution, ‘in regard to international matters, [possessing] a serene and absolute faith in the Duce’. Moreover, the prefect swore that, ‘in this province there are no clientalist situations and no attempts to create them’.208 Starace must have nodded his pleasure, but could news from a place under his control be believed? Through the summer, Italian diplomats tried ineffectually to read policy in Berlin, London and Moscow. When, at the beginning of August, Hitler went off to Bayreuth to ‘listen to the clangour of Wagnerian trumpets’, Count Massimo Magistrati, Ciano’s brother-in-law, urged from Berlin that the Italians keep reminding him not to force the pace beyond what had been agreed in May. ‘1943’ should mean 1943. Meanwhile, Magistrati was not the only Italian diplomat to be baffled by the state of German–Soviet relations.209 On 11–12 August, Ciano was scheduled to meet his German counterpart, Joachim von Ribbentrop, at his ritzy villa outside Salzburg, and then Hitler at his summer resort of Berchtesgaden. In his diary, Ciano recorded that Mussolini had told him beforehand that ‘a general war would be disastrous for everybody’,210 and on the lengthy train journey north the genero tried to psych himself up to be strong enough to divert the Germans. He got nowhere, jotting ‘I return to Rome completely disgusted with the Germans, with their leader, with their way of doing things. They have betrayed us and lied to us. Now they are dragging us into an adventure which we have not wanted and which may compromise the regime and the country as a whole’. At his news, he predicted, ‘the Italian people will shudder with horror’.211

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According to Ciano, Mussolini, when told about Nazi determination on war, turned and turned about. ‘At first he agrees with me. Then he says that honour compels him to march with Germany. Finally, he states that he wants his share of the spoils in Croatia and Dalmatia’. That greedy realism revived when the shocking news came through on 22 August of the Ribbentrop– Molotov Pact, about which the Italians had not been informed and which reduced Italy from Germany’s ‘ignoble second’ to its ‘ignoble third’.212 Only on 25 August did Hitler bother to send the excuse that Mussolini had not been forewarned because the full details of the Nazi–Soviet Pact were complex.213 For both Ciano and his father-in-law, after that ‘coup de théâtre’, ‘if possible, we must be ready to gain something’ along the Adriatic, in a sort of replay of the annexation of Albania in April.214 But, as Mussolini had actually informed Hitler in a lengthy and roundabout note on the day before, Italy was not ready to fight (and, he implied, could not join in outright aggression).215 Now he had to tell Hitler ingratiatingly that ‘I approve completely’ of the Ribbentrop–Molotov accord and, after 1941–2, the Italian dictator would on a number of occasions try, ineffectually, to steer his ally into a compromise deal in the east. Lacking the mindset of a true believer, still hoping to be a Fascist and not a Nazi, he was unable to comprehend the ideological drive behind German genocide there. However, he tried to add, Italy was not ready for war given that ‘1942’ (not 1943) had been the agreed date. His regime accepted the humiliation of sending the Germans a long list of their urgent military requirements, including for example antiaircraft batteries; Italy, he admitted, perhaps with a shudder from the ghost of Giulio Douhet, was totally unprepared for air attack. But the Führer gave few signs of sympathy when Mussolini’s tone became pitiable: ‘I’ll leave it to you to understand my state of mind in finding myself forced, by forces superior to my will, not to give you my positive solidarity at this moment’.216 Nor did Hitler evince interest when Mussolini foreshadowed a replay of the Munich conference where, ‘as a real friend of yours and the German people’, he could foresee ‘a favourable solution for Germany in every problem that interests her’.217 Here was a weak dictator of the least of the Great Powers, and failing grand philosopher of what he had boasted was to be the ideology of the twentieth century, refusing to opt for ‘neutrality’, but pursuing a policy that was not so different from that of the Liberals in 1914. As Ciano recorded on

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28 August, his father-in-law ‘is now quite calm, as he always is after he has made a decision. He does not want to utter the word “neutrality”, but this is the frame of mind he has finally accepted’.218 Mussolini, the all-powerful dictator, the theorist of universal fascism, the chief of a cultural revolution that boasted it had forged new Italian men and women at their anthropological base, was in full eclipse. Yet Italy’s nine-month wait before entering war was not to be the same in 1939–40 as it was in 1914–15, in the sense that, this time, Italy would stick with its German ally and not switch to the Anglo-French side. Some historians argue that ideology was the final determinant. MacGregor Knox has Mussolini hurrying to make his ‘final decision’ on three different occasions.219 Yet, if Fascist verbiage is treated with the scepticism that is so frequently justified, Mussolini and his regime, with the probable support of the majority of elite opinion in the special circumstances of late May–June 1940, waited to join their Axis ally until German troops had burst through French and British defences in a series of shattering victories that began on 10 May. Paris fell undefended on 14 June and on the 22nd the French military and Hitler signed the armistice of Compiègne, with rightist general Philippe Pétain, by then head of the (collaborationist) Vichy regime, replacing the Third Republic. In those days the British Expeditionary Force were evacuated from Dunkirk, with little apparent future. Italy was joining the winning side, it seemed, almost after the last bullet had been fired. It could plausibly hope that its Machiavellian diplomatic skills could bring it ‘booty’ at the peacemaking that seemed sure to come. It is hard to imagine any government of the Italian nation constituted in the Risorgimento not behaving as Mussolini and Ciano did in such circumstances. Although a critical onlooker (if there were one), might have thought that he looked a little puffy from middle-age spread and his once vivid delivery had become solemn and ‘granitic’,220 Mussolini did his best to provide personal and Fascist justification in his speech of 10 June from his balcony on Palazzo Venezia (with Claretta Petacci waiting expectantly for him inside). ‘This gigantic struggle’, he shouted, ‘is only a development in the logic of our revolution’. It is ‘the struggle of poor and numerous working peoples against those who make them go hungry, those who ferociously hold on to the monopoly of all the riches and all the gold of the earth’.221 His was in other words a populist message; in entering a world conflict he was going to the Italian people 246

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and aiming to conquer land that would be their utopia. Of course it was all a lie. The regime had talked about war, and fought it in Ethiopia and Spain, but it had not harnessed the national economy or the attitudes of its officer corps to modern battle. It could not rely on the Italian family or the Catholic Church to fight without mercy and reserve. For all its proclaimed totalitarianism, it was soon shown to be unable to fully mobilise its civilians or its ordinary soldiers, numbers of whom were unconvinced that their identities sprang from Italian nationality rather than from their parents, siblings and cousins, their paesi, their regions, their gender and their class. In June 1940, despite nine extra months to become ready, it was less prepared to fight than such a class-bound, empire-obsessed society as the UK. When it came to a ‘people’s war’, Fascist Italy could not compare with Nazi Germany, the USSR, Imperial Japan or the USA. On every front, Mussolini had lost his ideological battle with Adolf Hitler and could no longer be viewed as Europe’s senior dictator. Like quite a few other tyrants confronted by desperate crisis, Mussolini was quickly proven to possess no magic formula. His Italy was still no more than the least of the Great Powers that it had been under the Liberals.

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Benito Mussolini was Europe’s first totalitarian dictator. Totalitarian regimes do not have a good press, even if the President of the United States thinks that the third-generation dynastic ruler of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, is a suitable subject of ‘the art of the deal’. Historians and other commentators, however, are perpetually eager to claim that such leaders run prison states, where independent and individual thought or any version of freedom is impossible. There murder runs free. Change in the regime’s functioning is impossible. The conflict between the totalitarians and liberal democracies is therefore disputed between virtue and vice.1 When opportunity comes for their elimination, totalitarian chiefs should, indeed must, be opposed by force since their regimes are imbricated with violence and war. Dictators similarly are easy to damn as ‘bad guys’. When the moment is right, they fully deserve overthrow and death from people like us. Adolf Hitler is the familiar model, a fanatic, a murderer of millions, an unappeasable warmonger, and an odd, perhaps perverse, certainly silly little man when it came to his private life. Outside Italy, Benito Mussolini is readily damned, too, with the addition of an effortless racist superiority that knows ‘Italians can’t fight’, ensuring that the Duce was a warlord who ‘always lost’. Yet, while the Italian dictatorship existed, it may well be true, as claimed by journalist, Luigi Barzini (junior), in what is still the most widely circulated introduction to the nature of ‘Italians’, that Mussolini was more popular in his country than ‘anybody had ever been and probably ever will be’.2 Certainly, since 1945, there has been a segment of national opinion ready to approve most of Mussolini’s acts and opinions. Assorted Italians are capable of saluting a Duce who, as Silvio Berlusconi stated, had no blood on his hands, scarcely a conclusion that can be made about most dictators; the Mussolini name brand remains a positive for neonationalist causes in Italy today. 248

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On this Right, a slew of groups compete for recognition and influence, the most coherent and ideologically sophisticated being CasaPound,3 which claims thousands of members and has achieved some success in local elections,4 but in June 2019 announced that it was abandoning electoral effort.5 Like many rightist organisations in contemporary Europe, CasaPound exploits anti-immigrant sentiment among those sectors of society resentful at the way that hegemonic neoliberal promises of economic gain for all in their fine print have instead fostered a massive rise in inequality, the removal of hard-won social safeguards to work, pay and conditions and family life, and the arrival of many newcomers, often fleeing failed states that have tried neoliberalism in the Third World. Adjusting to becoming a country of immigration is all the more difficult given Italy’s many decades as a country of emigration, with a familiar and even automatic rhetoric of the persecution of Italians. CasaPound’s programme pledges an end to immigration and the expulsion of already established new settlers, deemed unassimilable aliens in a ‘spiritual nation’. All preference in employment and welfare must go to Italians. CasaPound does not specify which immigrants it especially dislikes. However, there can be no doubt that, again scarcely alone in Europe, its propaganda is deeply anti-Muslim, with a hint of anti-Semitism never quite abandoned. Citing such authorities as Fascist neo-Hegelian philosopher, Giovanni Gentile, CasaPound is scarcely original. Rather it is an heir to that ‘neo-fascism’ which framed itself during the Repubblica Sociale Italiana after September 1943. Following the choice of a democratic Republic in 1946, it survived among the terrorist grouplets that circled around the Movimento Sociale Italiano, for two generations Italy’s major ‘neo-fascist’ party. The name of the MSI evoked the RSI, although some said it also signified the (tautologous) ‘Mussolini always immortal’ (Mussolini sempre immortale). The version of fascism which still eddies through CasaPound and its associates is thus that of a social state, where nation matters more than the individual but where ‘good’ Italians will receive welfare according to their needs and virtues. There is even deluded chat about Italy showing itself as the ‘lighthouse’ of human civilisation and so, by implication, reversing its calamitous defeat in the Second World War to compete with the USA, China, India or Germany as a world power. CasaPound does not, however, want to invade Ethiopia or Libya and increase the country’s population mix. Rather the reverse. 249

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The ‘first Fascist’, Mussolini is therefore loudly applauded as a positive historical myth. He is represented as a great statesman, unlucky in his Second World War, where the real blame for Italian failure should be borne by the various regime fellow-travellers, the surviving former liberal elites, or by the Germans. Yet, among most contemporary rightist movements across the globe, a greater admiration lingers for Hitler and such preference often surfaces among Italian rightists. Extremist nostalgics for dictatorship know that they are isolated when they brandish their images of the Duce if they engage, as they do, with fellow extremists from other European countries. Militants from France, Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Romania and Greece, one (sympathetic) participant anthropologist has reported, bear Hitler tattoos on their bodies but ignore Mussolini.6 Doubtless CasaPound and their associates and rivals on the Far Right deserve notice. But fears and alarms about their arrival into government should not be taken too far. However noisy their propaganda, they remain confined to the extremes of the political world, and they should not automatically be pushed into the same category as the populist movements which are winning so much support in our contemporary world. In fact, it takes a particularly loose definition of fascism to agree with a British journalist’s statement that, when in office, Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, Secretary of the Lega Nord since 2013, was converting Italy back into a ‘fascist state’, part of a deplorable government that ‘makes the buffoonish Mussolini [as ever, more a joke than the epitome of evil] look the very model of statesmanship’.7 This all but automatic deprecation of the Duce is a reminder that, among Italians in general, the stronger memory since 1945 has been of his body rather than his ideas.8 The ‘romance’ of his life and death and the images from propaganda newsreels showing a political chief mixing with his people have not been forgotten. They are regularly harnessed into catchy TV programmes, scarcely designed to tax the intellect with tough analysis of the meaning of Fascism. Such homey versions of past dictatorship are reinforced by the fact that, for most Italians, only a minority of whom were then genuinely politicised (anti-Fascist historian, Gaetano Salvemini, reckoned that 39,900,000 out of 40 million Italians neither cared about politics nor knew what ‘freedom’ meant),9 suffering was much, much, worse once Italy became involved in the 250

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Second World War. Rumination on the 1920s and 1930s is insulated against that catastrophe and its outbreak can be attributed primarily to the ‘madness’ of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germans, and not to Mussolini. Doubtless, Fascist Italy was a police state and its tyranny was certainly visited on those tens of thousands of its opponents sent to confino or put under surveillance. Yet it is fair to acknowledge that Liberal Italy had deployed a similar, if less pervasive, system of social control (in 1894, 5,000 Italians were confined on various islands in the most primitive conditions).10 Moreover, as was noted earlier in this book, the Fascist regime, despite its revival of capital punishment, executed few Italians by comparison with citizens’ death toll in the USSR or Nazi Germany, or the criminals executed in liberal democratic Britain or the USA. It is therefore a little perverse of American historian, Michael Ebner, to claim that ‘reclamatory violence’ was more central to Fascism than to Nazi Germany, the USSR or Franco’s Spain. The regime, he adds not incorrectly given its fondness for bellicose and masculinist rhetoric, emphasised that it had a permanent right to ‘beat, torture and kill’.11 Brutal, bullying Fascist bosses there certainly were, although they almost always spent as much time brawling and squabbling with each other as with nonpolitical citizens. Yet social violence in Italy had existed before 1922 and would not disappear after 1945, while far more Americans in the interwar lost their lives violently than did Italians, with a US homicide rate of 9.7 per 100,000 deaths peaking in 1933. In Fascist Italy, the figure, which had fallen steeply since the Liberal era, was less than two.12 What might be viewed as cheap foreign moralising about the nature of the Fascist dictatorship in turn encourages nonacademic Italian historians to complain about ‘victors’ history’ and to imply that only their nation’s failure in war has persuaded historians from such former enemy countries as the UK and USA to judge the dictatorship (and other aspects of Italian history) so harshly.13 Such commentators readily argue that ‘history has lied to us’,14 with one adding sarcastically that ‘British historians, as every one knows, are excellent and authoritative above all when they write the history of other countries’ and temporarily forget the slogan ‘my country right or wrong’.15 Well before Trump’s use of the term ‘fake news’ to typify anything that doubts his glory and genius, quite a few Italians had decided that anti-Fascist 251

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historiography, especially when written by foreigners, was guilty of traducing the nation. After all, the cynical and misanthropic Mussolini of December 1938 had already expostulated: ‘it’s all rubbish, this talk of objective histories’. ‘Poets,’ he added in portentous vein, were by contrast ‘the most faithful’ recorders of the human past.16 In the current denial of objectivity and the associated rejection of foreign criticism, the idea persists that Italy continues unjustly to pay a high price for being allied with the vile Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust. By contrast, it is frequently maintained, its own record of racism was no worse than that of other states and perhaps better, given that Italians were, and are, by definition, ‘brava gente’ (nice people). The swift and complete loss of its empire in 1945 cancelled the need for much guilt about its imperial record and few notice the fact that the major killing fields of the regime were in Libya and Ethiopia. Italian commentators pay even less attention to the fact that the murder there owed as much to the belated national ambitions of an uneasy Great Power and its monarchy (and available technology) as they did to Fascism. During my career as an ‘anti-Fascist’ critical historian of Italy’s twentieth century, especially aware of its limitations as the ‘least of the Great Powers’, for five decades I have been an onlooker and participant in such debates. But in this book of my old age, my last to focus on Mussolini, I have made a case that adopts a fresh stance on sundry issues about the Italian dictatorship. Political scientist Dante Germino, working in the 1950s American school that crafted mightily influential definitions of totalitarianism, concluded that Mussolini’s regime over time became more totalitarian in the imposition of its ‘political religion’. As he put it in a last purple phrase: ‘the twilight shadows of late Italian Fascism were inexorably deepening into the totalitarian right’.17 In this book, I have largely rebutted Germino, although my purpose remains not to forgive Fascism. I merely want to understand how Mussolini’s rule worked in Italy and, in passing, reflect on lessons that may be drawn about the history of other dictators and about contemporary populists. To my mind, there is plenty of evidence that the young and ambitious ‘Professor’ Mussolini was fascinated by ideas,18 if often with a superficiality of understanding that reflected his provincial origins and partial education. James Gregor, an American who takes Mussolini’s thought seriously, has argued that his Fascism was a ‘variant of classical Marxism’.19 It is more 252

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accurate to see Mussolini as a renegade socialist, expelled by his first party (and that of his father), who strove for years to produce a doctrine that would surpass Marxism to become ‘the ideology of the twentieth century’. In this forging of a Duce’s philosophy, its content, consistency and exactitude mattered less than its political achievement. Mussolini’s thought was not so much meant to forge Italians into new men and women as to provide a credible intellectual justification for what had happened. Power and dictatorship came first, philosophy (or propaganda or ‘fake news’) second. It should be easy to agree therefore that, beneath the veneer of impressive words, in reality, as an American journalist resident in 1920s Italy discerned, Mussolini bore a ‘hodge podge’ of intellectual baggage.20 Soon given a prime place in the explanation of Fascist rule was the neologism ‘totalitarian’, first used by Mussolini’s opponents but quickly taken over by the dictator. Neither they nor he knew precisely what the word meant, even after the explanation in 1925 that, in this regime, ‘everything was in the state, nothing outside the state and nothing against the state’.21 The vulgar Marxists of Stalin’s USSR similarly set the state above the individual, while various social democrats, and F.D. Roosevelt in his New Deal, also promised to bring state welfare to the people. But Mussolinian Fascism pledged that it merged state and nation as the symbol of the fasces indicated, thereby surpassing the class struggles that had spread into every country since the French Revolution. In its imposition of a powerful state, the regime therefore censored or gaoled its critics and extended paramilitary organisations into all households as part of the education and control of youth. It drastically curtailed the liberal system of parliamentary government, however partially developed in ‘Liberal Italy’, where personalist factions, not clear class-based, programmes, had framed such ‘democracy’ as existed, by abolishing all parties that might compete with the PNF. By 1939 it had changed the name of the Chamber of Deputies to the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations (but preserved the Senate). It harnessed unions into what it called a Corporate system, asserting that those who owned the means of production and the workforce were best dedicated to the state, the dictator and the nation. Given that, following nationalist philosopher Enrico Corradini, Mussolini believed that Italy was best viewed as a ‘proletarian nation’, locked in necessary struggle with the greater imperial powers, the regime claimed to have become the fount of a new faith. In converting the people to an understanding that their essence 253

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was mystically fused from the specific features of Fascism and the eternal belonging, perhaps the eternal bloodstocks, of the nation, it was completing an anthropological revolution. Its adepts would hereafter be unable to think in non-Fascist ways. Above this new state stood the Duce who, as one of the chief propaganda slogans claimed, was ‘always right’, infallible as he drove Italy on to international greatness. So much was grandiose indeed. Yet, in almost every aspect, a gap yawned between what the regime’s vivid and inventive propaganda said that it had achieved and what was, somewhere beneath the surface, true. ‘Propaganda’ is a word of ancient origin – think, for example, of the Vatican’s Collegio Urbano de Propaganda Fide, instituted in 1627. But it is especially associated with dictatorships, given that it is often agreed that they shamelessly lie to their people. Mussolini is assumed to have been a prime example of such behaviour, although, from the interwar period, modern advertising as spreading from Madison Avenue was offering a consumerist capitalist parallel in bending the truth to enthuse the people (and suit the powerful). Such complications aside, Mussolini’s infallibility had to make room for that of Pope Pius XI, himself a rugged authoritarian in his administration of the Church, and, as has been noted earlier, ready to brand its system totalitarian. Less influentially, but still with some significance, Fascist Italy remained a monarchy. King Victor Emmanuel III may have been a case study of reticence but there were several other Savoys who were often in the news. The king presided over a nobility that was open to Fascist talent and social aspiration, while scores of other class signifiers were treasured or hated by Italians of one level or another. Any claim that, under the dictatorship, Italians had been persuaded to abandon the knowledge that they belonged to a specific faction of the bourgeoisie or were peasant or working class is simply ridiculous. The PNF may have become the country’s sole party. Yet it remained riven by factions, personal rivalries and the ancient habits of patron–client ties, with the personalism that had characterised the parliament of Liberal Italy now clothed in a black shirt. The precise role of the PNF in the exercise of power remained disputed, with Mussolini regularly favouring the bureaucracy in quarrels between party members and officialdom. Arturo Bocchini, the police chief and the dictator’s favourite official, spied as ruthlessly on Fascists as he did on anti-Fascists. In his own conversations, the dictator was

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given to talking about ‘the Fascists’ as a group by no means identical with himself (or with the nation’s best interests). Corporatism was meant to sum up the infrangible alliance between capital and labour under Fascist rule. The intellectualist minister Giuseppe Bottai wrote effusively about the ‘revolution’ that, he thought, was thereby being brought to the nature of work and welfare under this dictatorship. Even after 1945, he continued to argue that Corporatism possessed a ‘vital pluralism’ and positive capacity for development and change, while admitting sadly that it had been utterly lost under governance by the ‘formalistically totalitarian’ PNF. Bottai lamented that he had not been able to save what was good and revolutionary in Fascist ideology from the regime’s crass ‘Mussolinism’.22 Whether he should be believed is another question. Debate can continue about the originality and fairness of Corporatism as practised in the dictatorship or as was theoretically possible. After all, it might well be maintained that post-1945 Germany, leader of the European Union, has developed a corporatist economy with much benefit to its people. But no one would see its system as ‘Fascist’. Nor can an anthropological revolution be confirmed among Italians. Here a useful historiographical device can be borrowed from the French Annales school, whose long-term boss, Fernand Braudel, was trying to explain away France’s ‘strange defeat’ in the Second World War. He suggested that time should be divided into three types: the short-term (événementielle), middleterm (moyenne durée) and long-term (longue durée).23 By this reckoning, Fascism in most ways had a short-term, ‘political’, effect on Italians, leaving all but unaffected their middle-term or long-term social character. Their Catholicism, whether the formal variety preached by the Vatican or the more localist devotion to ‘saints and fireworks’, their regionalism or still narrower campanilismo (identity drawn from the nearest church bell tower in their village), their gender comprehension, their fondness for occupying some place or other in structures of patron–client relations, none was drastically altered by the experience of dictatorship. Each flowed on into the Republic after 1946 in forms that had existed before 1922. Each belonged to Italians’ histories in the longue durée and not merely to the événementielle story of Fascism. Most striking in this regard was the survival of the family under Fascism. In Germany, Hitler maintained that ‘I am a completely nonfamily man’ with

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‘no sense of the clan spirit’,24 and the Nazi regime viciously attacked the families of its political or racial foes. In regard to more ordinary German families, the effect of Nazism has provoked debate, with social historian Detlev Peukert remarking weakly that, if ‘everyday’ history of ordinary Germans is attempted, the stereotypes of ‘utterly evil fascist and the wholly good anti-fascist dissolve’.25 Historian of the family Paul Ginsborg has noted more sternly that the effect of the cohabitation between the German family and the German dictatorship was to make the great majority of its citizens believers to the bitter end in the Volksgemeinschaft, which was the Nazi version of complete unity in the nation.26 But in Italy the dictatorship’s intrusion was far less definite, and deep belief far less secure. Despite his own decidedly bohemian or patriarchal lifestyle, Mussolini could rhapsodise to a young fan that the family was ‘the most sacred’ aspect of social life (and, with typical longstanding regionalism, add that it was best exemplified in his home territory of the Romagna).27 Its ‘sacredness’ implied that it had no need of revolutionary alteration. It is therefore telling that there was no entry about family in Enciclopedia italiana, where the dictatorship might have been expected to chart a programme of revolutionary change in the home. In practice, Mussolini continued to view the family as a given rather than something in need of tough Fascistisation. Ginsborg has concluded that, despite the uniforms and the mass parades, ‘a profound division separated the imperial and expansionist ambitions of the regime from the pacific, inward-looking and self-interested nature of Italian family strategies and culture’.28 Dealing mostly on its own terms with the irruption of Fascism, the Italian family retained a character that had grown over the centuries or millennia. The Duce, unlike Hitler, often displayed an attachment to members of his family: his brother Arnaldo and his son-in-law Ciano being prime examples. In such behaviour Mussolini was tracing a path that many later dictators would pursue. Most dictatorships have a familist side. The Italian version certainly did, if with the idiosyncratic addition of Mussolini’s complex set of relationships, his multiple ‘families’ resulting from his fathering at least nine illegitimate children from eight different women. His behaviour in this regard culminated in 1944–5 during the last stages of the war, when Mussolini, in the garb of a Neville Chamberlain operating in the private rather than the public sphere, forlornly sought peace, or at least a ceasefire, of the war raging 256

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between members of his legitimate family and the Petaccis, men and women who were forcefully Catholic, Roman, bourgeois, aspirational and Fascist. The Italian dictatorship reached its pomp around the time of its Decennale in 1932. That anniversary coincided with Mussolini’s decision, contrary to what had mainly been his earlier line, to announce that his ideology and its dictatorial system were ‘universal’. That year, Giovanni Gentile obligingly penned a summary of the overall philosophy of Fascism meant to act as a blueprint for other movements across Europe, in Latin America or, for example, in nationalist China and its rival, imperial Japan. In the assertion of the superlative universality, as with its claim to totality, again Fascist Italy was not alone. Evident competition came from the ‘universal’ Catholic Church or the international communist movement or, less stridently, from the liberal democratic international League of Nations. It is therefore no surprise to find that, when the regime attempted to assemble an Italian-inspired Fascist International, it failed. In a similar failure, the massive scholarly attempts over the decades that have followed to come to an agreed definition of Fascism have created more heat than light. Typical of such lack of clarity is the continuing readiness to use ‘Fascism’ or, more often, ‘fascism’ as a ‘boo word’. With its evil echoes from Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust, it can easily be deployed against people to be disliked, often people of diverse types. Thus in June 2019, London Mayor Sadiq Khan was scarcely being original when he welcomed Trump to his city with the warning that the American president was acting like a twentieth-century fascist, a quality he shared with Nigel Farage, Viktor Orbán, Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen.29 Similarly superficial was a warning that President Obama was, in 2020, reported to have made four years earlier to Hilary Clinton about Trump as a ‘fascist’ (Clinton more cautiously added a suffix to label him ‘fascistic’).30 Such commentary draws attention to Trump’s nationalism and racism, but was scarcely ascribing to him the more complex aspects of Mussolinian Fascism, with its fondness for welfare (of a kind) and regulation. Once the Decennale was over, when Mussolini was again pressed to define what his regime stood for, he was capable of a more succinct statement than that provided by Giovanni Gentile. So in August 1936 he told authoritarian Greek general Ioannis Metaxas that his new dictatorial regime should make sure to create a single party of government, a single youth organisation and a 257

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single body that would combine employers and workers and come to collective legal agreements about pay and conditions. Finally, he advised, Metaxas should ‘create an after-work [welfare] organisation on the Italian model’.31 Now emphasis on a revolutionary spiritual unity or totalitarian re-engineering of human souls to render them into new men and women or advocacy of imperial triumphs slipped away. Mussolini was left to counsel the adaptation of the parliamentary system to a single party, national rule, the education of disciplined youth, Corporatism and a welfare state of some description, plus, he had no need to add, a dictator unchallenged at the system’s head. ‘Universal fascism’ over a short three or four years had declined to being little more than this authoritarian recipe. One reason for the withering of the dictator’s ambition and range was that, since 1932–3, he had been losing a political, economic and ideological conflict with Nazi Germany and had done so well before Italy entered battle on the Nazi side in June 1940. During the Ethiopian war it was still natural for an ambitious but frustrated Norwegian politician like Vidkun Quisling, who had had a distinguished career in international relief programmes, to denounce the League of Nations for its sanctions policy, adopt the Roman salute for his Nasjonal Samling (National Union) movement and establish a paramilitary ‘Hird’ who donned brown shirts with black ties in what might look like a compromise between Nazi and Fascist influence. However, soon Quisling took his meagre membership to closer and closer mimicry of Germany, becoming fiercely anti-Semitic and welcoming the charge of his opponents that he was ‘Norway’s Hitler’.32 Reference to Mussolini vanished. This fall from grace was imitated extensively during the late 1930s, Mosley in the UK following a similar course to Quisling. In Argentina, where people of Italian descent composed 40 per cent of the population, across rightist circles Germany had become the predominant rival of the USA by the end of the 1930s.33 It did not matter that Juan Perón, the country’s authoritarian chief 1946–55 (and 1974–5), was a professed admirer of Mussolini and a starstruck, gullible, military observer in Rome 1939–41. For the great majority of those aspiring to influence their countries’ political right, Germany was so much richer, so visibly ‘revolutionary’ and so ‘universal’, if, no doubt, with a certainly arrogant and perhaps total unwillingness to share power in a policy which, as Adam Tooze has discerned, aimed at land grabbing on a global scale. With little offer of compromise, Nazism promised to its potential aides and 258

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auxiliaries a gigantic Europe that ran from the Atlantic to the Pacific, to be constructed on a ‘waste’ of 45 million ‘Slavs’ (along with all the Jews in the world). Hitler talked of the Volga as Germany’s ‘Mississippi’ which would make ‘Europe and not America . . . the land of unlimited possibilities’, destined to be victorious over the USA in a final conflict, and therefore indeed the lord of thought in the twentieth century.34 Although far more Italians than Germans lived in the Americas, Fascism, the regime that presided over what was the least of the Great Powers by each industrial or economic index, could scarcely contemplate such global span, limitless massacre (or eternal triumph). After its entry into the Second World War, Fascist propagandists talked for a while about their regime being engaged in ‘parallel’ battle, where its national interests would be given primacy over those of its ally. But, as was soon demonstrated in the failed attack on Greece from 28 October 1940, the destiny of the Italian dictatorship was to lose on every front and thereby deprive the nation of its pretentions since the Risorgimento to be a Great Power or, anyway, the least of the Great Powers. But the real defeat had occurred earlier, being plainly manifest when Italy could do nothing to stop the Anschluss in March 1938. In fact, a retreat from the grand ambition to provide the ideology of the twentieth century can be detected before Hitler was secured in power. While in 1932–3 it talked vividly about universal Fascism, the Italian dictatorship was preparing the way for its version of more humdrum substitute populism. First making the promise in Naples late in 1931, Mussolini maintained that his regime intended ‘to go decisively towards the people’,35 the phrase becoming the watchword of Starace’s long tenure of the PNF secretaryship, 1932–9. It was accompanied by fervent totalitarianist words. But Germino was wrong to assume that what was said was what actually happened. In practice, after 1932, the regime attempted energetically and perhaps desperately to draw its people to Fascism or, more credibly, to the Duce’s charisma. It did so through parades and circuses, war and expansion (on the relative cheap) in Ethiopia, Spain and Albania, and, soon, through racist legislation, first in the Empire and then at home, where it turned viciously against Italian Jews. Such policy choices were radical and drastic, and tied Italy more tightly to the genuinely revolutionary Nazis. But they did not marshal the people behind the Fascist Party, as the Duce in his most honest moments knew. The 259

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increasingly embittered dictator, hoping angrily not for ideological triumph but whatever ‘booty’ chance and the Nazis would allow, was shutting himself tightly into his disgust at his people, his party, his ideology and himself, and paid less and less attention to experts who might warn about the real state of the economy or military preparedness. As Romanian diplomat Grigore Gafencu perceptively noted, by 1939, ‘the more he felt compelled to proclaim his faith in the excellence of his policy, the more he felt its disadvantages and risks’. Mussolini knew that he had become ‘a prisoner of the system he had created and of the passions he had unleashed’, Gafencu added, and was deeply uneasy at his association with a German Führer, ‘who could call on infinitely greater forces’.36 From the empyrean heights of the Decennale, Mussolini’s international glory had been dispersed and he was being reduced to the meagre role of ‘puppet dictator’, a derided ‘Al Capone’ figure, better at strutting than winning. Recounting a story of decline and fall, it might be tempting to accept the acerbic conclusion of A.J.P. Taylor that Mussolini was, or had become, ‘a bladder of words, a malicious clown who had strayed mistakenly into real life’.37 It would be better to agree with Italian historian Roberto Vivarelli, insulated against Oxonian superiority, that words had mattered a great deal to Mussolini but he had always used them ‘not as an instrument of persuasion but as a means of deception’,38 and certainly not in the hope of profound conviction. Once upon a time, Mussolini’s bellicose speeches, which, in the 1920s, never debouched into war, had been the prime example. Prattle about continuing totalitarian revolution and quite a bit of open aggression in the 1930s fitted the same pattern. In this slump from a proclaimed grandeur to bathetic failure, Mussolini is a more telling historical case study of the nature and fate of dictators than is either Hitler or Stalin. Whatever they may say during their rise to power, the great majority of tyrants have as their prime mission to clutch onto their personal power, with whatever ideological twists and turns are needed. Certainly that was Mussolini’s aim. There are lessons, too, about our contemporary populists and not merely because of the irony that a journalist reported that Mussolini had small hands, while he never tired of displaying his body in public and, through his notorious love affairs, implied that it was still more exciting in private.39 A more serious psychological parallel with Trump, Duterte in the Philippines, 260

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Salvini in Italy, perhaps Orbán in Hungary may lie in the anger which they constantly arouse, and which they use to cement their followers’ backing. For the scowling Duce of the 1930s, the crafted violence of the early years transmogrified into a mulish hatred of his party and his people, as well as his foes, and also of his fate, so plainly slipping from his control. Perhaps, too, there is a curious case of meeting extremes in Fascist (and Vatican) censorship hampering Italy’s ties with the world and the current global deregulation of knowledge and damning of experts through social media (exemplified by Trump’s bizarre insouciance at saying one thing at one moment and the reverse at the next, and claiming each is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the opposite of ‘fake news’, the false truth of his critics). Nonetheless, it is unconvincing to claim that Trump and the European populists are ‘fascists’. For all their boasted nationalism, their dallying with protectionism and their tirades against globalised free trade, they accept most of the rules of the neoliberal market and, at least in Trump’s case, renounce such state welfare and regulation as exists in the USA in favour of still greater economic advantage to the rich, himself and his family. Current populists do not want to annex ‘inferior’ foreign peoples to their rule, but rather, with what are often deeply racist assumptions, want to expel from their countries immigrants who bear allegedly alien cultures and ways of behaviour. Trump does express a palingenetic rhetorical desire ‘to make America great again’, but his imperialism may in fact be more cautious than that of his neoliberal predecessors. His nationalism, as Vivarelli discerned about Mussolinian rhodomontades, is chiefly designed to deceive. It seeks to delude losers under neoliberal hegemony and make them forget that Trump and his aides have no intention of sharing their wealth or power, their ‘booty’, to return to Mussolini’s vocabulary. The greatest instruction therefore that we can gain from Mussolinian populism in regard to our current dilemmas is its falseness and superficiality. Here was a failed ideology and a weak regime that went to its collapse broadcasting fake news about itself. When it claimed to arouse and benefit the people, it was merely trying to conceal its failures and to prolong its term in power. By 1939 its rhetoric did little more than harp on the glory of the leader. Sad to say, even in the desperate circumstances of 1943–5, the dictator’s residual charisma seduced quite a few Italians to still view him as a Great Leader, their Duce. In reality he was certainly not a Great Man. And it 261

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is to be hoped that those populists in our current world who cynically sell their leadership as a vast advantage for their nation will not have similar success in winning popular support for policies which harm and mislead the people but are not fascist. As for current and future dictators, Walter Laqueur was wrong to suggest that they are all half ready to become new Hitlers.40 But they may replicate the passage of Benito Mussolini into a desert of bitter failure, bathetic death and rejection by those of his people alert enough to realise that his regime’s ‘truth’ was fake.

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INTRODUCTION  1. For my own account of Rome’s many modern memory sites, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Whispering city: Rome and its histories (London: Yale University Press, 2011).   2. For an underlining of the long role in memory of the ‘Holy Mountain’, see Jason Moralee, Rome’s holy mountain: the Capitoline Hill in late antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2018).   3. See, for example, Gioacchino Volpe, L’Italia in cammino: l’ultimo cinquantennio (Milan: Treves, 1928). This was the third edition of the book, published in the ‘library of political culture’ for the Istituto Nazionale Fascista di Cultura.  4. See R.J.B. Bosworth, Italy, the least of the Great Powers: Italian foreign policy before the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 1979). An Italian translation soon appeared with the Communist Party publisher. It was given the bland title La politica estera dell’Italia giolittiana (Rome: Editori Riunti, 1985). In English there was the follow-up Italy and the approach of the First World War (London: Macmillan, 1983), a work in a series applying the ideas of German historian Fritz Fischer to the other Great Powers.   5. For my own deliberate choice of this appellation in a detailed account of the historiography, see R.J.B. Bosworth, The Italian dictatorship: problems and perspectives in the inter­ pretation of Mussolini and Fascism (London: Arnold, 1998). My words were in knowing contrast to Ian Kershaw, The Nazi dictatorship: problems and perspectives of interpretation (London: Arnold, 1985) in the same series.   6. For the reason why he had a young female partner in that fate, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta: Mussolini’s last lover (London: Yale University Press, 2017).   7. See, notably, R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini (rev. ed.) (London: Bloomsbury, 2010); Mussolini’s Italy (London: Allen Lane, 2005).   8. See the typical Geoffrey T. Garratt, Mussolini’s Roman Empire (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1938).   9. See, for example, Borden W. Painter, Mussolini’s Rome: rebuilding the Eternal City (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Paul Baxa, Roads and ruins: the symbolic landscape of Fascist Rome (University of Toronto Press, 2010). The classic Italian study in this regard is Antonio Cederna, Mussolini urbanista: lo sventramento di Roma negli anni del consenso (Bari: Laterza, 1979). 10. For perhaps an extreme example, see Brendan Simms, Hitler: only the world was enough (London: Allen Lane, 2019). 11. See, for example, Corelli Barnett, The audit of war: the illusion and reality of Britain as a great nation (London: Macmillan, 1986); John Charmley, Churchill: the end of glory – a political biography (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1993). 12. BMOO XXV, pp. 48–51, Speech in Naples, 25 October 1931.

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NOTES to pp. 8–12 CHAPTER 1  MUSSOLINI AND THE GHOST OF ADOLF HITLER   1. Benito Mussolini, Il mio diario di guerra (1915–1917) (Milan: Imperia, Casa Editrice del PNF, 1923).   2. For a vivid recent listing of those attending, see Mimmo Franzinelli, Fascismo Anno Zero. 1919: la nascita dei Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Milan: Mondadori, 2019).   3. BMOO X (15 December 1917), pp. 140–2.  4. Jason Moralee, Rome’s holy mountain: the Capitoline Hill in late antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2018), p. xiii.   5. For the view that such submission is confirmed by the extensive record of popular diaries, see Christopher Duggan, Fascist voices: an intimate history of Mussolini’s Italy (London: Bodley Head, 2012). Cf. Emilio Gentile, La via italiana al totalitarismo: il partito e lo stato nel regime fascista (Rome: Nuova Italia, 1995), with the important argument that Mussolini led Italy down a ‘road to totalitarianism’. Max Weber, the German political theorist, who died in 1920, was, perhaps ironically, theorising ‘charismatic rule’ just as Mussolini emerged as a Fascist. See Max Weber, Economy and society: a new translation (ed. Keith Tribe) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019).  6. For one example of Rachele’s saleability, see https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news /article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=12132608 (accessed 13 December 2019).   7. For introduction to his ideas, see https://popula.com/2019/09/08/the-names-mussolini -caio-giulio-cesare-mussolini/ (accessed 13 December 2019).   8. Boris Johnson, The dream of Rome (London: HarperCollins, 2006), p. 42.   9. Alfredo Strano, Prigioniero in Germania: luglio 1945: il ritorno da Bolzano a Delianuova alle falde dell’Aspromonte (Padua: Rebellato, 1973), p. 3. 10. Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010), p. vii. 11. See Hannah Arendt, The origins of totalitarianism, rev. edn (London: Allen and Unwin, 1967); the book was first published in 1951 and written in 1949. Mussolini’s Italy was not an object of her major focus. Nazi Germany and the USSR were. 12. Timothy Snyder, On tyranny: twenty lessons for the twentieth century (London: Bodley Head, 2017), pp. 9, 12. 13. Ibid., pp. 71, 73. 14. See also Christopher R. Browning, ‘The suffocation of democracy’, New York Review of Books, 25 October 2018, timed for the midterm elections, where again the parallels were between 1933 and 2018. Mussolini did get a couple of brief mentions but Browning’s emphasis was on the German model. 15. Timothy Snyder, On tyranny, p. 82. 16. Ibid., p. 32. 17. Madeleine Albright (with Bill Woodward), Fascism: a warning (New York: Harper Collins, 2018), pp. 4–5. Cf. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How democracies die (New York: Penguin Random House, 2018), where Mussolini is the first name mentioned (pp. 11–13) but where the greatest concentration is on Trump; cf. also Frank Dikötter, How to be a dictator: the cult of the personality in the twentieth century (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), a curious eight-person collection which starts with Mussolini (and Hitler), moves on to Stalin, Mao and Kim Il-sung, but also finds a place for ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier of Haiti, Nicolae Ceaușescu of Romania and Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia. In Dikötter’s view, the key to a dictator is always his lying propaganda cult. Trump this time does not rate a mention. Information retailed in the chapter on Mussolini (pp. 1–31) is decidedly approximate. 18. Richard Collier, Duce! The rise and fall of Benito Mussolini (London: Collins, 1971). For Collier’s recollection of the biography’s construction, helped by 276 interviews with leading participants from Dino Grandi to Dwight Eisenhower, see his The past is a foreign country: scenes from a life (London: Allison and Busby, 1996), pp. 225–50. 19. Albright, Fascism, p. 28.

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NOTES to pp. 13–17 20. Ibid., p. 40. 21. Ibid., p. 72. 22. Ibid., p. 8. 23. Ibid., pp. 223–4. 24. He did so in an essay in 1974. For Levi, see especially his magnificent, If this is a man and The truce (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979). Cf. also https://www.chronicle.com/article/ Here-There-Is-a-Why-Primo/127574 (accessed 14 November 2018). 25. New York Times, 28 February 2016. 26. The Independent, 16 March 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas /us-politics/steve-bannon-mussolini-fascination-populist-facist-donald-trump-usa8259621.html (accessed 7 November 2018). 27. Financial Times, 4 November 2018. 28. https://www.google.com/search?q=Il+Douche&client=firefox-b-ab&tbm=isch&source= iu&ictx=1&fir=2nHgvBQ1zrLhSM%253A%252Cw1OM4o4sj4FPHM%252C_&usg =AI4_-kR7j9lJz9Uu_VdMANMpgq0BeVN0-Q&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiRxfjZhMLeAh VYOMAKHbPaD2AQ9QEwAXoECAAQBA#imgrc=_ (accessed 7 November 2018). 29. Albright, Fascism, pp. 15-16. Cf. the calmer account of his life, especially once he transferred to the state school at Forlimpopoli, in Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il rivoluzionario (Turin: Einaudi, 1965), pp. 12–14. 30. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, The twelve Caesars (London: Penguin, 2006), p. 155. 31. Con Coughlin, Saddam: the secret life (London: Macmillan, 2002), pp. 1, 8. 32. Ernest E. Kellett, The story of dictatorship from the earliest times till to-day (London: Ivor Nicholson and Watson, 1937), p. 9. 33. https://list25.com/25-of-historys-deadliest-dictators/5/ (accessed 13 December 2018). 34. https://historylists.org/people/list-of-top-10-most-brutal-dictators-in-modern-history. html (accessed 13 December 2018). 35. See https://www.ranker.com/list/list-of-famous-dictators/reference (accessed 13 December 2018). 36. See Jennifer Gandhi, Political institutions under dictatorships (Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. xix. Cf. Frank J. Coppa, Encyclopedia of modern dictators from Napoleon to the present (New York: Peter Lang, 2006) who only lists 156, although some with questionable qualifications. For Mussolini, see the bland account, pp. 199–204. 37. For critiques, see John W. Dower, The violent American century: war and terrorism since World War II (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017); David F. Schmitz, Thank God they’re on our side: the United States and right-wing dictatorships 1925–1965 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999) and The United States and right-wing dictatorships, 1965– 1989 (Cambridge University Press, 2006). 38. Jeane Kirkpatrick, Dictatorships and double standards: rationalism and reason in politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982), pp. 9, 13–16 (p. 202 for Mussolini). Kirkpatrick wrote under the auspices of the American Enterprise Institute. 39. Walter Laqueur, The terrible secret: suppression of the truth about Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982), p. 206. 40. Susan Brewer, Why America fights: patriotism and war propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 235. 41. Andrew Roberts, Hitler and Churchill: the secrets of leadership (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2003), p. xxv. 42. Edward Thompson, Mary Kaldor and Paul Anderson (eds), Mad dogs: the US raids on Libya (London: Pluto Press, 1986), p. 8. 43. Stanley Payne, A history of fascism, 1914–1945 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), p. 517. 44. David Egerton, The rise and fall of the British nation: a twentieth-century history (London: Allen Lane, 2018), p. 517. 45. The Times, 2 September 2013. 46. Robert Harris, Selling Hitler (London: Faber and Faber, 1986), p. 263.

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NOTES to pp. 17–22 47. For the case of Francisco Macías Nguema in Equatorial Guinea, see Samuel Decalo, Psychoses of power: African personal dictatorship (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1989), p. 75. 48. https://www.businessinsider.com/most-succesful-dictators-2011-6?r=US&IR=T (accessed 18 December 2018). 49. https://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/and-the-award-for-best-dictatorgoes-to/ (accessed 13 December 2018). 50. https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2007/sep/30/featuresreview.review3 (accessed 13 December 2018). 51. Stewart D. Friedman, Total leadership: be a better leader, have a richer life (Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2008), pp. 9, 62. 52. Lee Iacocca (with Catherine Whitney), Where have all the leaders gone? (London: Simon and Schuster, 2007), p. 6. 53. Daniel Goleman with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, The new leaders: transforming the art of leadership into the science of results (London: Little Brown, 2002), pp. ix-x, 5–6. The publication was supported by the Harvard Business School. 54. Rudolph W. Giuliani (with Ken Kurson), Leadership (New York: TimeWarner, 2003), pp. xii, 26, 296. 55. See, for example, John A.R. Marriott, The Tudor dictatorship: an introductory lecture (Oxford University Press, 1905) who concluded that their dictatorships were ‘unmistakeably beneficent’ (p. 31); by 1931 he kept to that view of the Tudors, arguing more generally that Mussolini’s ‘benevolent dictatorship’ had rescued Italy from ‘the menace of anarchy and dissolution’, John A.R. Marriott, The makers of modern Italy (Oxford: Clarendon, 1931), pp. 206, 222; Andrew Dakers, Oliver Cromwell (London: Parsons, 1925); Milton Waldman, Some English dictators (London: Blackie, 1940). The rightist Morning Post (15 May 1925) explained after the 3 January speech that Italians were turning to Mussolini, as the English had to the Tudors after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. So shrewd a people as the Italians, it added, would never tolerate a crass dictatorship. Might it be maliciously wondered if the continuing English obsession with the Tudors is linked to their obsession with Hitler (and Churchill), but not Mussolini? 56. Keith Grint, The arts of leadership (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 13–14, 35, 106, 187, 225, 289, 351. 57. John Adair, Effective leadership masterclass: secrets of success for the world’s greatest leaders (London: Pan, 2010), pp. 69, 87, 106, 139, 157–63. The oddest book in this genre is Alan Axelrod, Elizabeth I CEO: strategic lessons from the leader who built an empire (Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall Press, 2000). The Tudor, we learn, was ‘Queen of the bottom line’ (p. 203). 58. Rosaria Quartararo, Roma tra Londra e Berlino: la politica estera fascista dal 1931 al 1940 (Rome: Bonacci, 1980), p. 16; Winston Churchill, Arms and the Covenant (London: Harrap, 1938), pp. 69–73. 59. In this regard, see Charles Maier, Recasting bourgeois Europe: stabilization in France, Germany and Italy in the decade after the First World War (Princeton University Press, 1975). 60. See Lucy Riall, Garibaldi: invention of a hero (London: Yale University Press, 2007), p. 209 and passim for his self-image making. 61. George M. Trevelyan, Garibaldi’s defence of the Roman Republic 1848–9 (London: T. Nelson, 1907), p. 160. 62. Heraldo Muňoz, The dictator’s shadow: life under Augusto Pinochet (New York: Basic Books, 2008), pp. 69, 219. 63. Justin McCarthy, The dictator (London: Chatto and Windus, 1893), pp. 1, 6. 64. For background, see Hugh Hamill (ed.), Caudillos: dictators in Spanish America (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992). 65. Carleton Beals, Porfirio Díaz: dictator of Mexico (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1932), pp. 19, 174, 287, 343, 347.

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NOTES to pp. 22–25 66. Scott Mainwaring and Aníbal Pérez-Liñáu, Democracies and dictatorships in Latin America: emergence, survival and fall (Cambridge University Press, 2013), p. 4. They claimed the figure had risen to 58 per cent in 1950 and then declined to 12 per cent in 1977. 67. J. Lynch, Simón Bolivar: a life (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 77, 189. 68. Ernest E. Kellett, The story of dictatorship, pp. 113–14. 69. Ibid., pp. 127–8. 70. See chapter 3, pp. 80–4. 71. Giustino Fortunato, Carteggio 1912–1922 (ed. Emilio Gentile) (Bari: Laterza, 1979), p. 400 (letter 14 February 1922). 72. Alfredo Misuri, ’Ad Bestias!’ memorie di un perseguitato (Rome: Edizioni delle Catacombe, 1944), p. 78. 73. Framing his book when still a POW in Nazi Germany, Pieter Geyl was sure that the emperor should not be demeaned by ‘association with the evil of Hitler’. Pieter Geyl, Napoleon: for and against (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965), pp. 7–8. 74. R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini (rev. edn) (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), p. 242. 75. Jacques Bainville, Dictators (London: Jonathan Cape, 1937), p. 111. 76. Lewis Namier, Vanished supremacies (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962). 77. Alfred Neumann, Man of December: a story of Napoleon III and the fall of the Second Empire: a novel (London: Hutchinson, 1937), p. 72. 78. Observer, 2 September 1923. 79. J.C.G. Röhl, Young Wilhelm: the Kaiser’s early life 1859–1888 (Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 556. 80. See Martin Kitchen, The silent dictatorship: the politics of the German High Command under Hindenburg and Ludendorff, 1916–1918 (London: Croom Helm, 1976). 81. Scipio Sighele, Il nazionalismo e i partiti politici (Milan: Treves, 1911), pp. 194–7. For a balanced survey, see Alexander De Grand, The hunchback’s tailor: Giovanni Giolitti and Liberal Italy from the challenge of new politics to the rise of Fascism, 1882–1922 (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2001). The London Times scarcely mourned Giolitti’s death, declaring that he had run a ‘subterranean dictatorship’ (18 July 1928). 82. Antonio Gramsci, Pre-prison writings (Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 63. 83. Luigi Sturzo, Italy and Fascismo (London: Faber and Gwyre, 1926), p. 65. 84. Piero Gobetti, On Liberal revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 61, 211. Mussolini readied himself for the vote by claiming to have reread Machiavelli’s corpus and been reminded that unless disciplined by the state, individuals will always seek to disobey the law and avoid taxes and war service. See Gerarchia, IV, April 1924. 85. Denis Mack Smith, Italy and its monarchy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 88. 86. Salvatore Saladino, ‘Italy’ in Hans Rogger and Eugen Weber (eds), The European right: a historical profile (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), p. 220. 87. Francesco Crispi, Memoirs (ed. Tommaso Palmenghi-Crispi) (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1912–14), vol. II, p. 393. 88. Mario Missiroli, L’Italia d’oggi (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1932), pp. 28-9. 89. Gioacchino Volpe, L’impresa di Tripoli (Rome: Leonardo, 1946), p. 9. 90. Gianni Rocca, Cadorna (Milan: Mondadori, 1985), p. 219. For further background, see Angelo Ventrone, Le seduzione totalitaria: guerra, modernità, violenza politica (1914–1918). 91. Ventrone, Le seduzione totalitaria, pp. 201–3. 92. For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini, pp. 119–20. 93. BMOO XI, pp. 88–90. Mussolini would, by 1919, be utterly disillusioned in Wilson. 94. For a summary, see Robert Gerwarth, The vanquished: why the First World War failed to end, 1917–1923 (London: Allen Lane, 2017). 95. Carlo Sforza, European dictatorships (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1967), pp. ix, 3.

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NOTES to pp. 25–30   96. Arno Mayer, Politics and Diplomacy of Peacemaking: Containment and Counterrevolution at Versailles, 1918–1919 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967). For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Explaining Auschwitz and Hiroshima: history writing and the Second World War 1945–1990 (London: Routledge, 1993), pp. 91–2.   97. BMOO XI, pp. 8–9. It was, he said, in that regard, worse than Tsarism.  98. See Nina Tumarkin, Lenin lives! The Lenin cult in Soviet Russia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).   99. See, for example, Mussolini’s first speech to the Chamber on 16 November 1922 where he said that he had not ‘totally conquered’ but could have done. He then repeated his determination to put down ‘Fascist illegality’ along with the rest. Benito Mussolini, Opera omnia, vol. XIX, pp. 15–24. 100. See Emilio Gentile, E fu subito regime: il fascismo e la Marcia su Roma (Rome: Laterza, 2012). 101. Snyder, Bloodlands. 102. H. Wiereszycki, ‘Poland 1918–1939’ in Aleksander Gieyszior et al., History of Poland (Warsaw: PNN, 1968), p. 693; Jerzy Borejsza, ‘East European perceptions of Italian Fascism’ in Stein Larsen, Bernt Hagtvet and Jan Myklebust (eds), Who were the fascists? Social roots of European fascism (Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1980), pp. 354–6. 103. DDI 7s, IV, 551, 18 December 1926, Bastianini to Mussolini. 104. DDI 7s, V, 540, 13 November 1927, Grandi pro-memoria. 105. For some introduction, see António Costa Pinto, The Blue Shirts: Portuguese fascists and the new state (Boulder, CO: Social Science Monographs, 2000) and, for this and other countries, cf. R.J.B. Bosworth (ed.), The Oxford handbook of fascism (Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 339–544. 106. Shlomo Ben-Ami, Fascism from above: the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in Spain 1923–1930 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), pp. 71, 131–2. 107. DDI 7s, V, 48, 4 March 1927, Primo De Rivera to Mussolini. 108. DDI 7s, V, 87, 21 March 1927, Mussolini to Primo De Rivera. 109. Andrew Mango, Atatürk (London: John Murray, 1999), pp. xi, 458, 461–4, 489, 504, 536; M. Şükrü Hanioğlu, Atatürk: an intellectual biography (Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 44, 164–5, 177. 110. Julian Huxley, If I were dictator (London: Methuen, 1934), pp. 6, 50. 111. See, for example, his speech to the seventh national philosophy conference in Rome, 26 May 1929. BMOO XXIV, pp. 108–10. 112. For some example of this last, see Abbott Gleason, Totalitarianism: the inner history (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). 113. For descriptive exposition, see Edward P. Thompson, The making of the English working class (London: Gollancz, 1963); cf. the theory in Thompson’s The poverty of theory and other essays (London: Merlin, Press, 1978). 114. Mario Borsa, Memorie di un redivivo (Milan: Rizzoli, 1945), pp. 14, 22. 115. See Christopher Duggan, Francesco Crispi from nation to nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 640–7. 116. Edoardo Scarfoglio, La guerra della sterlina contro il marco vista dall’Italia (Rome: A. Quattrini, nd [1915]), pp. 12, 31. Scarfoglio, in early 1915, still had not decided whether Italy should fight for the Central Powers or the Entente. 117. See Ventrone, Le seduzione totalitaria, p. 48. 118. See, for example, his appeal from this body to the workers of Italy, Il Popolo d’Italia, 6 January 1915, BMOO VII, p. 117. 119. BMOO VII, p. 141. 120. BMOO X, p. 188. 121. La Tribuna, cited in BMOO I, p. 251. 122. Anita Pensotti, Rachele: sessant’anni con Mussolini nel bene e nel male (Milan: Bompiani, 1983), p. 44. 123. BMOO VIII, p. 355.

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NOTES to pp. 30–39 124. See R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini, p. 77 quoting La Soffitta 15 June 1911. 125. Rocca, Cadorna, p. 107. 126. Ferdinando Giunta, Essenza del squadrismo (Rome: Libreria del Littorio, 1931), p. 29. 127. Ferruccio Vecchi, Arditismo civile (Milan: Libreria Editrice de l’Ardito, 1920), p. 34. 128. Salvatore Lupo, Il Fascismo: la politica in un regime totalitario (Rome: Donzelli, 2000), p. 77. 129. Giuseppe Pardini, Roberto Farinacci ovvero della Rivoluzione Fascista (Florence: Le Lettere, 2007), p. 226. 130. BMOO XVIII, p. 44. 131. So journalist Giorgio Pini said he always addressed him. Giorgio Pini, Filo diretto con Palazzo Venezia (Milan: Edizioni FPE, 1967), p. 10. 132. Rachele Mussolini, The real Mussolini (Farnborough: Saxon House, 1973), p. 66. He was ‘Presidente’ thereafter or among his grandchildren ‘nonno Duce’. See Ruggero Zangrandi, Il lungo viaggio attraverso il Fascismo: contributo alla storia di una generazione (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1964), p. 19. 133. For Federzoni, see, for example, SPDCR 82R/2, 26 May 1925, Federzoni to Mussolini; for Balbo, see Giordano Bruno Guerri, Italo Balbo (Milan: Rizzoli, 2013), pp. 300–2; for Farinacci, SPDCR 40, 8 July 1926, Farinacci to Mussolini, and for Costanzo Ciano, see Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2018), p. 37. 134. Esercito e Nazione, I, April 1926; September 1926 photo.

CHAPTER 2  THE PECULIARITIES OF ITALIAN HISTORY AND THE MANY BIRTHDAYS OF 1932–3   1. Sheila Fitzpatrick, On Stalin’s team: the years of living dangerously in Soviet politics (Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 91.   2. Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in power: the revolution from above, 1928–1941 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992), pp. 128–9.   3. Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1936–1945: nemesis (London: Allen Lane, 2000), pp. 183–4.    4. It can also be found in BMOO XXVI, pp. 36–8.    5. See Gustave Le Bon, The crowd: a study of the popular mind (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1896).    6. See further chapter 5.    7. See Italo Balbo, My air armada (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1934).    8. For his agreeable relationship with the dictatorship, see Marc Raboy, Marconi: the man who networked the world (Oxford University Press, 2016).   9. Il Popolo d’Italia, 29 July 1933.  10. Il Messaggero, 29 July 1933.  11. L’Artigiano, 29 July 1933.   12. See R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini’s Italy: life under the dictatorship 1915–1945 (London: Allen Lane, 2005), pp. 347–50.  13. See R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta: Mussolini’s last lover (London: Yale University Press, 2017). Claretta was given to complaining about Mussolini’s forgetfulness of her own birthday (28 February) but she did not pay attention to his.  14. See, for example, L’Illustrazione italiana, 26 March 1933, photo of Mussolini in a cutaway coat, meeting British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. The dictator is smiling and cheerful but does have noticeably white cropped hair.   15. CP 382, case of Antonio Enrichiello.   16. BMOO XXV, p. 284, 11 November 1933. He similarly greeted Queen Elena, XXVI, p. 422, 20 August 1933.   17. By the time Mussolini turned 60 in 1943 he was imprisoned on the island of Ponza in the Tyrrhenian Sea, bewailing his fate and perhaps not totally appeased by the weighty gift that he received (late) from the birthday-conscious Führer of the complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche in 24 volumes in German. See BMOO XXXIV, p. 364.

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NOTES to pp. 39–46 18. For the detail, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta, pp. 227–31. 19. Don Dignan, ‘Archbishop James Duhig and Italians and Italy’, in Ian Grosart and Silvio Trambaiolo (eds), Altro polo: studies in contemporary Italy (Sydney: F. May Foundation for Italian Studies, 1988), pp. 163–70. Duhig as a prelate was slow to change his mind about Fascist virtue, endorsing the Befana Fascista (two days late) at the local cathedral school on 8 January 1939 and, in 1945–6, still a defender of the regime and its achievements. 20. For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Italian Venice: a history (London: Yale University Press, 2014), pp. 140–1. 21. Dino Alfieri and Luigi Freddi (eds), Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista (Bergamo: Istituto italiano d’arti grafiche, 1933), pp. 8–9. Cf. their Guida della Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista (Florence: Vallecchi, 1933; p. 7 claims objectivity). 22. A droll advertisement from a tailor, still called ‘Old England’ in Bologna, stated that a full uniform could be purchased at 21.50 lire for a Giovane Fascista, 12.25 for a Balilla and 10.80 for a Piccole Italiane, exorbitant sums for many Italians. See Gioventù fascista, III, 10, 10 April 1933. 23. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHBJ1ECaz9g (accessed 27 November 2018). 24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j7zqq18mVY (accessed 27 November 2018). 25. Alfieri and Freddi (eds), Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista, pp. 227–8. 26. Francesco Gargano, Italiani e stranieri alla Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista (Rome: SAIR, XIII [1935]), p. 67. 27. For these details, see ibid., pp. 19, 67, 79, 141, 375. For an analysis of the Anno Santo and its massive popular appeal, see R.J.B. Bosworth, ‘L’Anno Santo (Holy Year) in Fascist Italy 1933–34’, European History Quarterly, 40, 2010, pp. 436–57. 28. L’Illustrazione Vaticana, 16–30 April 1933; Il Messaggero 17 April 1933 agreed on the tally. 29. L’Illustrazione Vaticana, 1–15 May 1933. 30. Il Messaggero, 2 April 1933. 31. Angelo Brucculeri, ‘L’Anno Santo: celebrazione doverosa’, La Civiltà Cattolica, 84, 1 April 1933. Brucculeri, a theoretician of Catholic corporatism, later found reason to defend Italian racism while rejecting the German ‘scientific’ version. 32. La Civiltà Cattolica, 84, 1 July 1933. 33. See Antonio Morena, Mussolini’s Decennale: aura and mythmaking in Fascist Italy (University of Toronto Press, 2015). Morena sensibly doubts whether the ‘aura’ was ubiquitous or enduring. 34. Marla Stone, ‘Staging Fascism: the Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution’, Journal of Contemporary History, 28, 1993, pp. 215–43. 35. Alfieri and Freddi (eds), Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista, pp. 64–5. 36. R.J.B. Bosworth, Whispering city: Rome and its histories (London: Yale University Press, 2011), pp. 161–2. 37. Spiro Kostoff, The Third Rome 1870–1950: traffic and glory (Berkeley, CA: University Art Museum, 1973), p. 32. 38. Marcello Piacentini, Sulla conservazione e bellezza di Roma e sullo sviluppo della città moderna (Rome: Stabilimento tipografico ‘Aeternum’ di Enrico Sabucchi, nd [1916]), p. 7. 39. Ibid., pp. 13–19. 40. Ibid., pp. 19–20, 33–4. 41. Ibid., p. 32. In February 1932, Mussolini enthusiastically urging greater demolition similarly demanded the removal of the ‘huts and hovels, which face the Colosseum’. SPDCO 500019/I, 1 February 1932, Mussolini note. 42. For a classic case, see his reworking of the meaning of the Tempio di Cristo Re, ironically set in the Viale Mazzini (bitter enemy of the papacy in the Risorgimento) in Rome, and seemingly expressing the most aggressive and Fascist form of Catholicism, now instead claimed to stand for ‘human, family, and social values’. See Marcello Piacentini, Adriano Prandi and Beniamino Zambetti, Tempio di Cristo Re (Rome: Marietti, 1961), p. 18. 43. For further background, see Bosworth, Whispering city, pp. 201–5.

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NOTES to pp. 46–51 44. See https://centropiacentiniano.it/il–progetto–del–piacentini/ (accessed 3 December 2018). 45. Paolo Nicoloso, Gli architetti di Mussolini: scuole e sindacato, architetti e massoni, profes­ sori e politici negli anni del regime (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1999), pp. 224–5. 46. See Bosworth, Claretta, pp. 149–50. 47. Under late Fascism, Gustavo Giovannoni, Piacentini’s most established rival, born in 1873 but radicalising when it seemed appropriate, maintained that the perverse Le Corbusier stood for a ‘Taylorised’, American-style ‘man machine’ which Fascism must reject. See Gustavo Giovannoni, Lineamenti fondamentali del piano regolatore di Roma imperiale (Rome: Istituto di studi romani, 1939), pp. 112–13. Le Corbusier was therefore ‘a false prophet’. Gustavo Giovannoni, L’architettura come volontà costruttiva del genio romano e italico (Rome: Istituto di studi romani, 1939), p. 19. 48. See generally Nicoloso, Gli architetti di Mussolini. 49. More fully, see the posthumously published Arnaldo Mussolini, ‘La rinascita forestale’, Nuova Antolgia, f. 1433, 1 December 1931, pp. 314–21. The issue also included Giacomo Acerbo, ‘L’olivacoltura’, pp. 290–314. 50. PNF Comitato Nazionale Forestale, Il movimento forestale nel suo primo decennale: discorsi celebrativi pronunciati in Campidoglio il 3 maggio 1934–XII (Rome: La Precis, 1934), pp. 24, 28, 46–7. A medal was coined for the event with Arnaldo’s image on one side. The official account of the event ended with its image preceded, with that inconsistency that is such a part of Fascism, by a photo of Bernini’s baroque statue of Apollo pursuing Daphne. 51. Announced in a speech in Naples, BMOO XXV, p. 50. 52. Acerbo was another ‘Virgilian’. After retiring from his ministry in 1935, he published L’agricoltura italica al tempo d’Augusto (Rome: Istituto di studi romani, 1938). 53. For his autobiographical account, see Giacomo Acerbo, Fra due plotoni di esecuzione: avvenimenti e problemi dell’epoca fascista (Rocca San Casciano: Cappelli, 1968), pp. 284–92. 54. Ibid., pp. 370, 382–3. 55. Arno Mayer, The persistence of the old regime: Europe to the Great War (New York: Pantheon, 1981). 56. R.C. Fried, Planning the eternal city (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1973), p. 30. They were Filippo Cremonese, Ludovico Spada Veralli Potenziani, Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi, Piero Colonna and Giangiacomo Borghese. 57. Nino D’Aroma, Vent’anni insieme: Vittorio Emanuele e Mussolini (Rocca San Casciano: Cappelli, 1957), p. 194. 58. I fasci all’estero, II, 14 February 1925. 59. Didier Musiedlak, Lo stato fascista e la sua classe politica 1922–1943 (Bologna: il Mulino, 2003), p. 139. 60. Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2018), p. 29. 61. For some of his articles in this regard, see Francesco Giunta, Essenza dello squadrismo (Rome: Libreria del Littorio, 1931) and Un po’ di fascismo (Milan: Consalvo Editore, 1935). 62. For example, see Bosworth, Claretta, p. 129. 63. Thomas B. Morgan, Spurs on the boot: Italy under her masters (London: Harrap, 1942), p. 194. 64. ‘The violent take it by force’, Matthew 11:12. 65. See La Gazzetta di Modena, 17 March 2004. 66. For genealogy through to the present with a Vietnamese connection, see https://www. geni.com/people/Princess–Ph%C6%B0%C6%A1ng–Mai–Badoglio–2nd–Duke– of–Addis–Ababa/6000000056349698899 (accessed 29 November 2018). Badoglio had pointed out to Mussolini that he had two sons. Therefore one could take the Sabotino title and the other the Duchy of Addis Ababa. His Fascist colleagues more primly thought that eventually the title should go to a royal prince. See SPDCR 67, 2 July 1936, Fedele to Mussolini; 26 June 1936, Badoglio to Mussolini.

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NOTES to pp. 51–56 67. For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini’s Italy: life under the dictatorship 1915– 1945 (London: Allen Lane, 2005), pp. 383–4. 68. SPDCR 87, 19 November 1938, note. 69. For background, see Bosworth, Claretta, pp. 153–6. 70. Marzio Barbagli, Educating for unemployment: politics, labor markets, and the school system – Italy, 1859–1973 (New York: Columbia University Press), p. 138. 71. Lorenzo Piccioni, San Lorenzo: un quartiere romano durante il fascismo (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Lettatura, 1984), pp. 48–9, 57. 72. Alfredo Misuri,‘Ad Bestias!’ Memorie di un perseguitato (Rome: Edizioni delle Catacombe, 1944), p. 215. 73. La Stampa italiana, 15 April 1932. 74. The only English-language analysis of the monarchy is Denis Mack Smith, Italy and its monarchy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), a highly traditionalist, top-down, political history. Italian research has also scarcely probed the matter of the monarchy and the royal family in national society. 75. Benito Mussolini, Memoirs 1942–1943 with documents relating to the period (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1949), p. 53. 76. Matteo Mureddu, Il Quirinale del Re (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1977), p. 17. 77. Il Balilla del Trentino, II, 20 November 1930. 78. Giovanni Graglia, Fascistizing Turin: compromising with tradition and clashing with oppo­ sition (Dublin: PQDT, 2013), pp. 59–94. 79. See, for example, Francesco Mauro, ‘Il Papa alpinista’, Lo sport fascista, II, March 1929. 80. Il Mare Nostro–Stirpe Italica, October 1936. 81. In visual preparation, see the gushing article by Victor Boni, ‘La bella coppia sportiva’, Lo sport fascista, II, December 1929, with a special concentration on Marie-José’s sporting life. 82. The birth of a first daughter was greeted in the journal, Giovanissima, V, November 1934, directed at young Fascists, as a momentous event, little Maria Pia being hailed as ‘the new, most delicate, flower of the glorious House of Savoy’. 83. See, for example, Angela Pulini, ‘L’Imperatore’ [i.e., Prince Vittorio Emanuele], Il Mare nostro: Stirpe italica, XXVIII, February 1937. 84. See, for example, Il Legionario, 9 June 1937. Other royal photos figured in the issues of 30 June, 14 July, 4 and 18 August. 85. See, for example, the celebration of the birth of a daughter there. L’Illustrazione italiana, 22 January 1933. 86. For eulogy under the regime on his death, see Ezio Maria Gray (ed.), Il Duca d’Aosta: cittadino della riscossa italica (Milan: Ente Autonomo della stampa, 1931). Then PNF secretary, Giovanni Giuriati, provided a preface hailing this ‘Citizen Duke’. 87. S.K. Pavlowitch, ‘The king who never was: an instance of Italian involvement in Croatia, 1941–3’, European Studies Review, 8, 1978, pp. 465–87. 88. See, for example, ‘I Savoia e l’Italia d’Oltremare’, L’Oltremare, II, May 1928. 89. R. Micaletti, ‘Il viaggio africano della Duchessa Aosta Madre’, L’Oltremare, VII, 4, April 1933. 90. See, for example, Luigi Federzoni, ‘Il Re in Eritrea’; Anon., ‘Le giornate del Sovrano in Colonia’ each in L’Oltremare, VI, 10, October 1932, pp. 390–6 and editorial, VII, 4, April 1933. 91. Di Rienzo, Ciano, p. 144. 92. For this upper-class institution, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Italy, the least of the Great Powers: Italian foreign policy before the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 52–5. 93. Mirella Tendrini and Michael Shandrick, The Duke of Abruzzi: an explorer’s life (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1997). 94. L’Illustrazione italiana, 15 April 1928. 95. L’Illustrazione italiana, 21 August 1932.

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NOTES to pp. 56–61 96. ‘Blueshirts’: Oliver Locker-Lampson’s group, not the Blackshirts of Oswald Mosley. For further detail see chapter 5. 97. Anselmo Vaccari, Decennale rivoluzionario (Rome: Edizioni ‘Ars Nova’, 1932), pp. 11, 40–3, 97–121, 132–3. 98. Richard J. Evans, The coming of the Third Reich (London: Allen Lane), 2003, pp. 292–4.

CHAPTER 3  A THRIVING DICTATORSHIP: FASCIST, TOTALITARIAN OR MUSSOLINIAN?   1. A recent statement of anti-Fascism simplistically ascribes the regime’s evil to the Duce. See Francesco Filippi, Mussolini ha fatto anche cose buone: le idiozie che continuano a circolare sul fascismo (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 2019).   2. R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini, rev. edn (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), p. 2.   3. On the villeggiatura, see for example the witty rebuttal by Silverio Corvisieri, La villeggia­ tura di Mussolini: il confino da Bocchini a Berlusconi (Milan: Baldini, Castoldi, Dalai, 2004). However, at least one anti-Fascist had earlier recalled his year of confino as a time of ‘villeggiatura’. Leo Valiani, Tutte le strade conducono a Roma: diario di un uomo nella guerra di un popolo (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1947), p. 49.   4. For detail, see Cristina Baldassini, L’ombra di Mussolini: l’Italia moderata e la memoria del fascismo (1945–1960) (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 2008), pp. 36, 50.   5. For further background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta (London: Yale University Press, 2017), pp. 10–28.   6. See, for example, Matteo Millan, Squadrismo e squadristi nella dittatura fascista (Rome: Viella, 2014).   7. For detail, see Vera Zamagni, The economic history of Italy 1860–1990 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).   8. Tim Mason, ‘The Great Economic History Show’, History Workshop, 21, 1986, pp. 3–35.  9. For the complexity involved in the counting, see Pietro Ramella, ‘La partecipazione fascista alla guerra di Spagna’, Impegno, XXVII, 2007. 10. Claudia Baldoli and Marco Fincardi, ‘Italian society under Anglo-American bombs: propaganda, experience and legend, 1940–1945’, Historical Journal, 52, 2009. The UK lost 450,000 in the war, the USA 410,000. 11. See Shira Klein, Italy’s Jews from emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2018). 12. See the unapologetic Rodolfo Graziani, Pace romana in Libia (Milan: Mondadori, 1937). 13. See most recently Andrew Stewart, The first victory: the Second World War and the East African campaign (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2016). 14. See Giorgio De Vecchi di Val Cismon, Dubàt: gli arditi neri (Milan: Mondadori, 1936). Giorgio was the son of Cesare Maria, Fascist quadruumvir, minister, imperial administrator, ambassador to the Vatican and organiser of historians friendly to the regime. 15. See George H. Stein, The Waffen SS: Hitler’s elite guard at war (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1966). 16. See, notably, Roberta Pergher, Mussolini’s nation empire: sovereignty and settlement in Italy’s borderlands, 1922–1943 (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and, more radically, Patrick Bernhard, ‘Hitler’s Africa in the East: Italian colonialism as a model for German planning in Eastern Europe’, Journal of Contemporary History, 51, 2016, pp. 61–90. Once Ernst Nolte brought much opprobrium on himself for the suggestion that the Nazis followed behind a model begun with the Russian Revolution in 1917. It is a sign of Italy’s relatively minor place in historiography that no one has brought such an outraged charge against Bernhard for his thesis that Fascist Italy in Libya pioneered the policies later applied by the Germans in their eastern racial empire. Cf. the different Eileen Ryan, Religion as resistance: negotiating authority in Italian Libya (Oxford University Press, 2018). 17. Caroline Elkins, Britain’s Gulag: the brutal end of empire in Kenya (London: Jonathan

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NOTES to pp. 62–65 Cape, 2005), p. xi, reckons the toll of black deaths lay between 160,000 and 320,000. 18. Christopher Duggan, Fascist voices: an intimate history of Mussolini’s Italy (London: Bodley Head, 2012), p. xxiii. 19. MacGregor Knox, To the threshold of power, 1922/33: origins and dynamics of the Fascist and National Socialist dictatorships (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. xi, 302–4. Knox’s theoretical approach is seconded by much other monographic work but cf. especially Robert Mallett, The Italian navy and Fascist expansionism 1935–1940 (London: Frank Cass, 1998); Mussolini and the origins of the Second World War, 1933–1940 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Mussolini in Ethiopia 1919–1935: the origins of Fascist Italy’s African War (Cambridge University Press, 2015). 20. G. Bruce Strang, ‘Preface’, in his (ed.), Collision of empires: Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia and its international impact (London: Routledge, 2017), p. xi. 21. Rosaria Quartararo, Roma tra Londra e Berlino: la politica estera fascista dal 1931 al 1940 (Rome: Bonacci, 1980), p. 461. 22. Francesco Lefebvre D’Ovidio, L’Italia e il sistema internazionale dalla formazione del governo Mussolini alla Grande Depressione (1922–1929), 2 vols (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2016), vol. I, p. xv. 23. See Eugenio Di Rienzo, La storia e l’azione: vita politica di Gioacchino Volpe (Florence: Le Lettere, 2008). He duly excused Volpe of any responsibility for the Holocaust. See ‘Intellettuali italiani e antisemitismo 1938–1948’, Nuova Rivista Storica, XCVII, 2013, pp. 337–74. Cf. also his nationalist Storia d’Italia e identità nazionale dalla Grande Guerra alla Repubblica (Florence: Le Lettere, 2006) and his pious remembering of De Felice, ‘Renzo De Felice: una vita difficile. Nel ventennio della scomparsa’, Nuova Rivista Storica, C, 2016, pp. 1027–39. 24. BMOO XXIII, pp. 189–92 (speech of 5 June 1928); cf. DDI 7s, V, 256, 8 June 1927, Grandi to Turati. 25. Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2018), p. 74. 26. Di Rienzo, not alone among Europe-based historians, uses the name that was common in the 1930s but is now viewed by Ethiopians as insulting. 27. Di Rienzo has commented nowhere on the new research, some of it undoubtedly driven by pro-Ethiopian sentiment, about the level of Fascist murder, especially in Addis Ababa after the assassination attempt on cruel Viceroy Graziani, on 19 February 1937. See Ian Campbell, The Addis Ababa massacre: Italy’s national shame (London: Hurst, 2017). 28. Eugenio Di Rienzo, Il gioco degli imperi: la Guerra d’Etiopia e le origini del secondo conflitto mondiale (Rome: Società Editrice Dante Alighieri, 2016), pp. 3–4. Cf. Francesco Lefebvre D’Ovidio, ‘Eden, la Guerra italo-etiopica e il test case’, Nuova Rivista Storica, XCIII, 2009, pp. 785–832; Eugenio Di Rienzo, ‘Una Grande Potenza a solo titolo di cortesia: appunti sulla continuità tra tradizione diplomatica dell’Italia liberale e politica estera fascista, 1922–1935’, Nuova Rivista Storica, CI, 2017, pp. 431–56. 29. Mallett, The Italian Navy and Fascist expansionism, p. 2. 30. DDI 7s, VI, 641, 11 September 1928, Mussolini to Rochira; VIII, 129, October 1929, Grandi to Mussolini. 31. DDI 7s, IV, 448, 2 October 1926, Mussolini to Badoglio. 32. See, for example, DDI 7s, VII, 17, 3 October 1928, Auriti to Mussolini; VIII, 101, 22 October 1929, Grandi to Auriti. 33. See, for example, BMOO XXXIX, p. 465, 10 July 1925, Mussolini to Lanza di Scalea. 34. See, for example, DDI 7s, IV, 21, 8 June 1925, Mussolini to Della Torretta and other; BMOO XXXIX, pp. 540–2, 1 November 1925, Mussolini to his Ministers; vol. XL, p. 240, 15 January 1927, Mussolini to Umberto Ricci (Prefect of Bolzano); vol. XXIII, pp. 116–23 (speech of 3 March 1928). He did then add again that Fascism was not an article for export. 35. Benito Mussolini, ‘Il numero come forza’, Gerarchia, VIII, August 1928. For an Englishlanguage introduction to the regime’s demographic policies and their ambiguities, see

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NOTES to pp. 65–70 Carl Ipsen, Dictating demography: the problem of population in Fascist Italy (Cambridge University Press, 1996). Late in 1933, the 92 ‘most prolific’ mothers in the country showed up in Rome for praise and reward. Between them, they had produced 1,310 children, with Paolina Rolandi of Naples leading the score with 19. It was typical that they were hailed by Pius XI in the Vatican on 22 December and only afterwards by Mussolini. See Il Messaggero, 23, 24 December 1933. 36. BMOO XL, p. 298, 24 March 1927, Mussolini to Giurati; p. 354, 27 May 1927, Mussolini to prefects. 37. BMOO XXXV, p. 244, 9 July 1937, Mussolini to Guarneri. 38. BMOO XXXVII, p. 333 (article in Il Popolo di Roma, 28–9 November 1928) and, in reaction, DDI 7s, VII, 99, 4 December 1928, Sacerdoti to Mussolini (with attachment). 39. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il rivoluzione 1883-1920 (Turin: Einaudi, 1965), p. 528. 40. For further examination of Italy’s aggressive traditions, see R.J.B. Bosworth, ‘Italian foreign policy and the road to war 1918–39: Ambitions and delusions of the least of the Great Powers’ in Frank McDonough (ed.), The origins of the Second World War: an inter­ national perspective (London: Continuum, 2011), pp. 66–81, and ‘Italy’s wars of illusions, 1911–1915’ in Andreas Gestrich and Harmut Pogge von Strandmann (eds), Bid for world power? New research on the outbreak of the First World War (Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 181–200. Cf. Roberta Pergher, ‘An Italian war? War and nation in the Italian historiography of the First World War’, Journal of Modern History, 90, 2018, pp. 863–99, a fullish account which, however, omits empire. 41. Livio Del Fra, Sciara Sciat genocidio nell’oasi: l’esercito italiano a Tripoli (Rome: DATANEWS Editrice, 1995), p. 65. 42. Angelo Del Boca, Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 24–6. 43. For a summary, see Richard Bosworth and Giuseppe Finaldi, ‘The Italian Empire’ in Robert Gerwarth and Erez Manela (eds), Empires at war 1911–1923 (Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 34–51. 44. Leopoldo Franchetti, ‘L’Italia e Asia minore’, Nuova Antolgia, f. 1087, 1 May 1917, pp. 109–10. 45. For description, see Robert L. Hess, ‘Italy and Africa: colonial ambitions in the First World War’, Journal of African History, 4, 1963, pp. 105–26. 46. See, for example, BMOO XXII, pp. 150–1 (speech of 27 May 1926). 47. BMOO XXIII, p. 184 (speech to Senate of 5 June 1928). 48. BMOO XXIII, p. 271 (speech of 8 December 1928). Cf. Giuseppe Bevione, ‘Il patto Kellogg’, Gerarchia, VIII, August 1928, writing off the arrangement. 49. BMOO XXII, pp. 147–53 (speech of 27 May 1926). 50. DDI 7s, IX, 148, 14 July 1930, Grandi pro-memoria. 51. James J. Sadkovich, Italian support for Croatian separation 1927–1937 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1987), p. 127. 52. BMOO XXI, pp. 317-18 (speech of 20 May 1925). 53. Giorgio Petracchi, ‘Ideology and realpolitik: Italo-Soviet relations 1917–1932’, Journal of Italian History, 2, 1979, pp. 509–10. 54. Luigi Albertini, Epistolario 1911–1926, 4 vols (Milan: Mondadori, 1968), vol. IV, p. 1908. 55. DDI 7s, X, 217, 24 April 1931, Grandi to Durini di Monza. 56. DDI 7s, VIII, 304, 10 January 1930, Mussolini to Grandi. 57. BMOO XXIV, pp. 278–84 (article of 27 October 1930). 58. BMOO XXIII, p. 164. 59. The Times, 21 May 1930. 60. Muriel Currey, Italian foreign policy 1918–1932 (London: Nicholson and Watson, 1932), p. xviii. 61. Guido Cora, ‘Un diplomatico durante l’era fascista’, Storia e Politica, V, 1966, p. 89. 62. BMOO XXIII, pp. 73–4 (interview given 10 December 1927).

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NOTES to pp. 70–74 63. The Observer, 12 December 1926. 64. Vansittart papers 1/6, 1 January 1932, Vansittart memorandum. 65. Alberto Aquarone, L’organizzazione dello stato totalitario (Turin: Einaudi, 1965). 66. See Giovanni Bastianini, ‘Sull’internazionale del Fascismo’, I fasci italiani all’estero, II, 9 May 1925. 67. Aquarone, L’organizzazione dello stato totalitario, pp. 47–50. 68. I Fasci italiani all’estero, II, 10 January 1925. 69. Malaparte’s life trajectory would move from a career as a war hero and Alpino captain to radical Fascism, to dallying with high society, to being his country’s best, if on occasion inventive, war correspondent, to an accommodation for a time with the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and a last flirtation with Maoism before he died in 1957. He deserves a full scholarly biography, although in Italian, see Giuseppe Pardini, Curzio Malaparte: biografia politica (Milan: Luci Editrice, 1998). The best of Malaparte’s war books is Kaputt (London: Alvin Redman, 1948). 70. See, for example, Critica fascista III, 1 April 1925 on Japan and Albania and 1 May 1925 on Britain. In January 1926, Alessandro Pavolini thought there might be a ‘Latin fascism’ that could extend to France. Yet the French had not found a leader and, as Bottai agreed, Italians could not sympathise with rightists who were merely reactionary. See Critica fascista, IV, 15 January 1926. 71. BMOO XXII, pp. 8–12 (18 November 1925). 72. Giolitti had shown the need to be both Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, as had Crispi, at least from 1893 to 1896, and Agostino Depretis, 1879 to 1887. 73. For an account of the early months of 1927 in this post, see Luigi Federzoni, 1927: diario di un ministro del fascismo (ed. Adriana Macchi) (Florence: Passigli, 1993). 74. He began with Mussolini’s best wishes: Benito Mussolini, ‘Auspicio’, Nuova Antolgia, f. 1421, 1 June 1931. 75. Luigi Federzoni, ‘Presentazione’, Rivista d’Albania, I, April 1940, pp. 3–4. In Nuova Antologia, cf., for example, ‘Il problema del Mediterraneo’, Nuova Antologia, 1532, 16 January 1936, and duly critical of British policy throughout the region. 76. ‘Giulio De Frenzi’ (his pseudonym), Per l’italianità del ‘Gardasee’ (Naples: Riccardo Ricciardi, 1909); L’Italia nell’Egeo (Rome: Gaetano Garzoni Provenzani, 1913), La Dalmazia che aspetta (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1915). 77. Luigi Federzoni, Presagi alla nazione: discorsi politici (Milan: Editrice Imperia del PNF, 1924) p. 340 on Atatürk; Paradossi di ieri (Milan: Mondadori, 1926). 78. Luigi Federzoni, Italia di ieri per la storia di domani (Milan: Mondadori, 1967), pp. 251–2, 260. 79. Paul Corner, ‘Corruzione di sistema? I “fascisti reali” tra pubblico e privato’, in Paolo Giovannini and Marco Palla (eds), Il fascismo dalle mani sporche: dittatura, corruzione, affarismo (Rome: Laterza, 2019), p. 11. 80. Alberto Aquarone, L’organizzazione dello stato totalitario, pp. 243-4; Il Selvaggio, 1 April 1925. 81. DDI 7s, III, 797, 11 April 1925 Mussolini to Farinacci; BMOO XXXIX, pp. 395–6. 82. BMOO XXXIX, p. 421 (circular of 14 May 1925). 83. See, for example, SPDCR 41, 22 May 1926, Mussolini to Farinacci via Prefect of Genoa, rejecting an attack on Bottai; 24 May 1926, Prefect (Genoa) to Mussolini, saying Farinacci accepted rebuke but was scarcely cowed. 84. SPDCR 41, 27 October 1931, Mussolini to Prefect (Cremona). 85. For one example, see Farinacci papers 29, 26 July 1929, Eliza Majer Rizzoli to Farinacci; 10 August 1929, Farinacci to Majer Rizzoli; 1 September 1929, Majer Rizzoli to Farinacci. 86. See SPDCR 43, 19 April 1925 note with the imposition of a penalty of six months gaol for such copying. Cf. Harry Fornari, Mussolini’s gadfly: Roberto Farinacci (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1971), pp. 75–6. For a defence, typical of anti-anti-Fascist historiography since 1990, arguing that such copying was normal at Italian universities, until made illegal in 1925, see Giuseppe Pardini, Roberto Farinacci ovvero della rivoluz­

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NOTES to pp. 74–79 ione fascista (Florence: Le Lettere, 2007), pp. 117–18.   87. SPDCR 43, 16 February 1932, note. Farinacci was killed in 1945 but his fortune was largely preserved for a son and daughter, the son making a career in the diplomatic service. For some details, see Mauro Canali and Clemente Volpini, Mussolini e i ladri di regime: gli arrichimenti illeciti del fascismo (Milan: Mondadori, 2019), pp. 61–93. Average worker wages in Italy fell to below 2 lire per hour for most of the regime, only rising above that figure after 1935. Peasant pay was still often in kind rather than money. For further background, see Zamagni, The economic history of Italy 1860-1990.  88. See, for example, Carte Farinacci 25, 28 September 1923, E.M. Gray to Farinacci; 14 October 1923, Grandi to Farinacci; 9 February 1931, E.M. Gray to Farinacci; 16 December 1931, P. Grillo to Farinacci; 5, 9 April 1925 ‘Prof. Dott. Comm.’ Luigi Bobbio to Farinacci.  89. Opposition politicians had withdrawn from parliament and gathered in what was known as the ‘Aventine Secession’ (after the plebeian secession in ancient Rome) following the murder of Giacomo Matteotti.  90. Aquarone, L’organizzazione dello stato totalitario, p. 85.   91. Many of his writings are translated. See, for example, Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the prison notebooks (eds. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith), (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971); Letters from prison (ed. Lynne Lawner) (New York: Harper and Row, 1973).   92. Among his extensive writings, see his Epistolario 1911–1926, 4 vols (Milan: Mondadori, 1968) and five-volume Venti anni di vita politica (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1950–4) and, in English translation, The origins of the war of 1914 (3 vols), (London: Oxford University Press, 1951–7). Cf. his brother’s biography Alberto Albertini, Vita di Luigi Albertini (Rome: Mondadori, 1945).   93. Benito Mussolini, ‘Fascismo e sindacalismo’, Gerarchia, May 1925.  94. For allegations about his corrupt dealings in Rome and Brisighella, see SPDCR 91, 11 March 1928, note; 29 March, note. His agents were thought to be his father and an uncle.   95. Mauro Canali and Clemente Volpini, Mussolini e i ladri di regime, pp. 94–112.   96. For an English account, see the descriptive John J. Tinghino, Edmondo Rossoni: from revolutionary syndicalism to Fascism (New York: Peter Lang, 1991); for a more intellectualised approach, cf. David D. Roberts, The syndicalist tradition and Italian Fascism (Manchester University Press, 1979).   97. Edmondo Rossoni, ‘Il lavoro nel Fascismo e nel Bolscevismo’, Civiltà Fascista, IV, April 1937, pp. 201–16.   98. Giuseppe Bottai, Diario 1935–1944 (ed. Giordano Bruno Guerri) (Milan: Rizzoli, 1982), p. 338.  99. Aquarone, L’organizzazione dello stato totalitario, p. 136. 100. Victoria De Grazia, The culture of consent: the mass organization of leisure in Fascist Italy (Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 51. 101. Lo Sport Fascista, II, January 1929. 102. See in his Appendix 6, Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il fascista: II l’organizzazione dello Stato fascista 1925–1929 (Turin: Einaudi, 1968), p. 551. 103. For the full document, see Aquarone, L’organizzazione dello stato totalitario, pp. 477–81. 104. Augusto Turati and Giuseppe Bottai (eds), La Carta del Lavoro: illustrato e commentato (Rome: Edizioni del Diritto del Lavoro, 1929), pp. 59, 63. 105. Giuseppe Bottai, ‘Significato della “Carta del Lavoro” ’, Gerarchia, VII, May 1927. 106. BMOO XXI, pp. 422–7, speech of 28 October 1925. Mussolini did add characteristically that in no way did this definition challenge the monarchy’s position in Italy. 107. BMOO XXI, pp. 422–7. 108. Richard Pipes, Russia under the Bolshevik regime 1919–1924 (London: Fontana, 1995), pp. 245, 262. 109. BMOO XIII, p. 169 (article 4 June 1919). In an anti-Semitic outburst, he added his conviction that Lenin was the hireling of Jewish international plutocracy.

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NOTES to pp. 79–85 110. BMOO XIV, pp. 230–2 (1 January 1920). 111. BMOO XVI, pp. 101–3. 112. BMOO XVII, p. 220. 113. For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini’s Italy, p. 153. 114. Amerigo Dumini, Diciassette colpi (Milan: Longanesi, 1958), pp. 78–9. 115. For the most scholarly account of the murder, see Mauro Canali, Il delitto Matteotti (Bologna: il Mulino, 2004). 116. Giacomo Matteotti, The Fascisti exposed: a year of Fascist domination (New York: H. Fertig reprint, 1969; first published 1924). 117. Giacomo Matteotti, Scritti e discorsi scelti a cura della Fondazione Matteotti (Parma: Guanda Editore), pp. 259, 272. 118. L’Illustrazione italiana 31 August 1924. They soon gave rather greater space to the murder and funeral of the Fascist Armando Casalini in Rome. Issue of 21 September 1924. 119. CP b 426, 20 January 1932 Questura Rovigo to Prefect. Fornasiero was amnestied within a few months but, in time, volunteered as a communist in Spain and earned another five years when caught in 1942 trying to repatriate. 120. William Elwin, Fascism at work (London: Martin Hopkinson, 1934), pp. 52–3. 121. Mauro Canali, La scoperta dell’Italia: il fascismo raccontato dai correspondenti americani (Venice: Marsilio, 2017), p. 161. 122. Michael Seidman, ‘Was the French Popular Front Antifascist?’, in Hugo García, Mercedes Yusta, Xaviet Tabet and Cristina Climaco (eds), Rethinking Antifascism: history, memory and politics, 1922 to the present (New York: Berghahn, 2016), p. 48. For further background, see Pierre Birnbaum, Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015). 123. ‘Pentad’, The remaking of Italy (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1941), p. 225. 124. Murray papers, Public Record Office, Edinburgh, December 1931, note. 125. George Seldes, Sawdust Caesar: the untold history of Mussolini and Fascism (London: Arthur Barker, 1936), pp. 157–9. 126. Robert Vansittart, The mist procession (London: Hutchinson, 1958), p. 327. 127. Peter Sebastian, I servizi segreti speciali britannici e l’Italia (1940–1945) (Rome: Bonacci, 1986), p. 57. 128. Mauro Canali, Il delitto Matteotti, pp. 291–314. Cf. the highly anti-Fascist account of the matter at https://labottegadelciabattino.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/velia-matteotti-la-donna-che-sfido-mussolini/ (accessed 3 March 2019). 129. See the extensive Dumini file in SPDCR 84. 130. For a basic summary, see Larry Ceplair, Under the shadow of war: Fascism, Anti-Fascism and Marxists 1918–1939 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987). 131. David Beetham, Marxists in face of fascism: writings by Marxists on fascism in the inter-war period (Manchester University Press, 1986), p. 149. 132. Ibid., pp. 35, 155. 133. Pravda, 29 March 1937 (I owe this reference to Mark Edele of Melbourne University). 134. José Maria Faraldo, ‘An Antifascist political identity? On the cult of antifascism in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia’ in Hugo García, Mercedes Yusta, Xaviet Tabet and Cristina Climaco (eds), Rethinking Antifascism: history, memory and politics, 1922 to the present (New York: Berghahn, 2016), pp. 206–8. Faraldo notes that, after 1945, the Soviet line often became that the ‘West’ was ‘really’ fascist and today Putin continues to use the word to damn his enemies. 135. Beetham, Marxists in face of fascism, p. 14. 136. Claudio Segrè, Italo Balbo: a Fascist life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), p. 207. 137. Luciano Monzali, ‘Pietro Quaroni protagonista e testimone della politica estera italiana del Novecento’, introduction to his edition of Pietro Quaroni, La politica estera italiana dal 1914 al 1945 (Rome: Società Editrice Dante Alighieri, 2018), pp. 12, 29. 138. For a vivid description of its actions and purpose, see Mimmo Franzinelli, Il tribunale

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NOTES to pp. 85–88 del Duce: la giustizia fascista e le sue vittime (1927–1943) (Milan: Mondadori, 2017). 139. De Felice, Mussolini il fascista: II l’organizzazione dello Stato fascista, pp. 470–1. 140. Elio Apih, Italia: fascismo e antifascismo nella Venezia Giulia (1918–1943) (Bari: Laterza, 1966), p. 315. 141. For the most recent scholarly study of the ambiguities in the practice of law under Fascism, see Paul Garfinkel, Criminal law in Liberal and Fascist Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2016). 142. Franzinelli, Il tribunale del Duce, pp. 103–4. Dino Grandi’s figures, adding common criminals, are two executed (1932), six (1933), two (1934), four (1935), seven (1936), twelve (1937), six (1938), nineteen (1939) and seven (1940). The top provinces for such punishment were Cagliari (seven), Sassari (seven) and Agrigento (five), where the rural resistance known as banditry lingered. This last figure was equalled by the vastly more heavily populated Milan. See Dino Grandi, Bonifica umana: decennale delle leggi penali e della riforma penitenziaria (2 vols) (Rome: Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia, 1941), p. 347. Politically inspired murders could still occur in the provinces, although the overall murder rate fell under the regime. 143. See http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/hanged2.html (accessed 8 November 2018). 144. Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle, The death penalty: a worldwide perspective (Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 129. For a full file, see ‘Executions in the U.S. 1608–2002: The ESPY File Executions by State’: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions-us-1608-2002espy-file (accessed 8 November 2018). 145. Hood and Hoyle, The death penalty, p. 13. 146. For a list, see Adriano Dal Pont and Simonetta Carolini, L’Italia dissidente e antifascista: le ordinanze, le sentenze istruttorie e le sentenze in Camera di consiglio emesse dal Tribunale speciale fascista contro gli imputati dall’anno 1927 al 1943, 3 vols (Milan, La Pietra, 1980) and their L’Italia al confino: le ordinanze di assegnazione al confino emesse dalle Commissioni provinciali dal novembre 1926 al luglio 1943, 4 vols (Milan: La Pietra, 1983). Cf. also Adriano Dal Pont, I lager di Mussolini: l’altra faccia del confino nei docu­ menti della politica fascista (Milan: La Pietra, 1975). 147. CP 23, 12 December 1932, Natalina Amedeo to Mussolini. 148. Michael R. Ebner, Ordinary violence in Mussolini’s Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 110–11, 132. 149. The Nazis had 45,000 in their first camps early in 1933; by 1939 there were 21,000. Deaths had been common. See Richard Evans, The Third Reich in power 1933–1939 (London: Allen Lane, 2005), pp. 80–91. 150. See Paul Preston, The Spanish Holocaust: inquisition and extermination in twentiethcentury Spain (London: HarperPress, 2012). 151. Ebner, Ordinary violence in Mussolini’s Italy, pp. 103–38. 152. For his file, see CP 584. 153. Emilio Lussu, Essere a sinistra: democrazia, autonomia e socialismo in cinquant’anni di lotta (Milan: Mazzotta, 1972), p. 61. 154. See, for example, Nello Rosselli, Mazzini e Bakunin: dodici anni di movimento operaio in Italia (1860–1872) (Turin: Einaudi, 1967), Carlo Pisacane nel Risorgimento italiano (Turin: Einaudi, 1977). 155. For a brilliant cinematic portrait of the compromises involved, see director Marco Leto’s black and white film, La Villegggiatura (1973) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070881/ (accessed 22 January 2019). Marco was the son of Guido Leto, Bocchini’s aide and eventual deputy. See Guido Leto, Ovra: fascismo, antifascismo (Bologna: Cappelli, 1951). Leto, who had entered the bureaucracy in 1919, supported the RSI, avoided the purges, resumed a police career and ended his life as the manager of the Jolly Hotel chain. It is a splendidly Italian twentieth-century story. 156. For examples, see Giovannini and Palla (eds), Il fascismo dalle mani sporche. 157. Critica fascista, V, 1 June 1927. 158. Anon. (G. Bottai), ‘Vedere Mussolini’, Critica fascista, VIII, 1 June 1930.

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NOTES to pp. 89–93 CHAPTER 4  IMAGINING LIBERAL TOTALITARIANISM?   1. For the detail, see Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il fascista: Il l’organizzazione dello Stato fascista (Turin: Einaudi, 1968), pp. 16–21.  2. Ibid., pp. 122–4.  3. Giorgio Rochat, L’esercito italiano da Vittorio Veneto a Mussolini (1919–1925) (Bari: Laterza, 1967), p. 559. In English, see John Gooch, Mussolini and his generals: the armed forces and Fascist foreign policy 1922–1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Gooch accepts the common English-language view of Mussolini as a ‘warlord’, eagerly hoping for war.   4. The Ministry of War, the Navy and Air Force were fully formalised on 3 January 1926. From April to September 1929 Mussolini was also Minister of Public Works. He took on the Ministry of Colonies from 18 December 1928.   5. Guido Melis, La macchina imperfetta: immagine e realtà dello Stato fascista (Bologna: il Mulino, 2018), pp. 36–7; Due modelli di amministrazione tra liberalismo e fascismo: burocrazie tradizionali e nuovi apparati (Rome: Ministero per i Beni culturali e ambientali, 1988), pp. 270–2.   6. For the most recent analysis, see Thomas Hippler, Bombing the people: Giulio Douhet and the foundations of air-power strategy, 1884–1939 (Cambridge University Press, 2013). For an English translation of his key work, see Giulio Douhet, The command of the air (London: Faber and Faber, 1943).   7. Giulio Douhet, Il dominio dell’aria (Milan: Mondadori, 1932), p. 161 (this comment was added in a 1926 edition of the book).  8. Giulio Douhet, ‘Il dominio dell’aria’, Rivista Aeronautica, IV, February-March 1928, expanding on his book.  9. Douhet, Il dominio dell’aria, p. 10. Cf. his ‘Probabili aspetti della guerra futura’, Rivista Aeronautica, IV, April 1928. His articles continued in every issue of the journal that year. 10. Giulio Douhet, ‘Resistere sulla superficie per far massa sull’aria’, Rivista Aeronautica, V, January 1929. 11. For a contemporary critique, see Ettore Bastico, ‘Difesa aerea e protezione contraerea’, Rivista Aeronautica, V, June 1929. 12. Alessandro Lustig, ‘Ricordi storici della guerra con i gas’, Esercito e Nazione, II, June 1927. 13. SPDCR 54, 30 April 1928, Balbo to Mussolini. 14. See, among other sources, the English language biography, Claudio G. Segrè, Italo Balbo: a Fascist life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987) and, for example, Italo Balbo, Stormi in volo sull’oceano (Milan: Mondadori, 1931); Diario 1922 (Milan: Mondadori, 1932); My air armada (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1934), or, on Ferrara, Ilaria Pavan, Il podestà ebreo: Renzo Ravenna tra fascismo e leggi razziali (Bari: Laterza, 2006). 15. Giorgio Rochat and Giulio Massobrio, Breve storia dell’esercito italiano dal 1861 al 1943 (Turin: Einaudi, 1943), pp. 210–12. 16. Italo Balbo, La guerra futura e il senso della realtà (Rome: Tipografia della Camera dei Deputati, 1932), pp. 9–11, 31–8. 17. Giorgio Rochat, L’esercito italiano in pace e in guerra: studi di storia militare (Milan: RARA, 1991), p. 195. 18. Silvio Bertoldi, Mussolini tale e quale (Milan: Longanesi, 1973), p. 15. 19. Andrea Riccardi, Roma ‘città sacra’? Dalla Conciliazione all’operazione Sturzo (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1979), p. 162. 20. See SPDCO 3120, November–December 1935. 21. De Felice regarded him as the most able party secretary. De Felice, Mussolini il fascista: II l’organizzazione dello Stato fascista, p. 177. 22. Alice A. Kelikian, Town and country under Fascism: the transformation of Brescia 1915–26 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), p. 200.

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NOTES to pp. 93–97 23. DDI 7s, VI, 252, 16 April 1928, Mussolini minute. 24. For details, see John Pollard, Money and the rise of the modern papacy: financing the Vatican, 1850–1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2005). 25. La Civiltà Cattolica, March 1929. 26. Gerarchia, IX, February 1929. 27. SPDCR 6, 13 February 1929, police report. 28. SPDCR 68, 3, 17 February 1929, each, Tacchi Venturi to Mussolini. 29. DDI 7s, X, 305, 1 June 1931, Mussolini note. 30. For further details of the Church’s world view under Pius XI, see Guido Verucci, La chiesa nella società contemporanea dal primo dopoguerra al Concilio Vaticano II (Bari: Laterza, 1999), pp. 36–8. 31. Emilio Gentile, Contro Cesare: Cristianesimo e totalitarismo nell’epoca del fascismo (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2010), p. 100. Cf. John Pollard’s sensible note that, in his celebrated encyclical Quadregesimo Anno (1931), Pius XI endorsed a variety of Corporatism as the economic ideal for a society. See John Pollard, ‘Corporatism and political Catholicism: the impact of Catholic corporatism in inter-war Europe’, in A. Costa Pinto (ed.), Corporatism and Fascism: the corporatist wave in Europe (London: Routledge, 2017), p. 48. 32. Stewart A. Stehlin, Weimar and the Vatican 1919–1933: German–Vatican diplomatic rela­ tions in the interwar years (Princeton University Press, 1983), p. 305. 33. Michael A. Ledeen, ‘The evolution of Italian Fascist Antisemitism’, Jewish Social Studies, 37, 1975, p. 5. 34. Emilio Gentile, Contro Cesare, p. 183. 35. Kelikian, Town and country under Fascism, p. 344. 36. SPDCCZ 4, undated note (1927) and 16 February 1927, Bocchini to Mussolini. 37. Jonathan Dunnage, Mussolini’s policemen: behaviour, ideology and institutional culture in representation and practice (Manchester University Press, 2012), p. 39. 38. Mimmo Franzinelli, I tentacoli dell’Ovra: agenti, collaboratori e vittime della polizia politica fascista (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1999), pp. x–xi. 39. Ibid., p. 28. 40. See the popular biography, Domizia Carafoli e Gustavo Padiglione, Il viceduce: storia di Arturo Bocchini capo della polizia fascista (Milan: Rusconi, 1987). 41. Dunnage, Mussolini’s policemen, pp. 45, 50. In 1936 Bocchini did reaffirm the ban on joining the MVSN, p. 51. 42. Farinacci papers 35, 23 January 1930, Farinacci to Teruzzi. 43. Mauro Canali, Le spie del regime (Bologna: il Mulino, 2004), pp. 61, 80–1, 152, 173. 44. CP 985, 25 October 1933, Edda Suckert to Balbo (and on to Mussolini). 45. Franzinelli, I tentacoli dell’Ovra, pp. 362–3. 46. R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini’s Italy: life under the dictatorship 1915–1945 (London: Allen Lane, 2005), p. 362. 47. See Dunnage, Mussolini’s policemen, p. 3. 48. Paul Garfinkel, Criminal law in Liberal and Fascist Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. 10. 49. Alfredo Rocco, La trasformazione dello Stato: dallo Stato Liberale allo Stato Fascista (Rome: ‘La Voce’ Anonima Editrice, 1927), pp. 9, 31. 50. For a key Italian example, see Augusto Bosco, La delinquenza in vari stati d’Europa (Rome: Accademia dei Lincei, 1903). 51. Garfinkel, Criminal law in Liberal and Fascist Italy, p. 23. 52. See Daniel Pick, Faces of degeneration: a European disorder c.1848–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1989). 53. Garfinkel, Criminal law in Liberal and Fascist Italy, pp. 393–4. 54. Ibid., p. 453. 55. MRF 52/122, nd (1928), Turati memorandum. 56. For examples, see Giorgio Amendola, Un’isola (Milan: Rizzoli, 1980).

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NOTES to pp. 98–101 57. Gaetano Salvemini, The Fascist dictatorship in Italy (New York: Henry Holt, 1927), pp. 99–100. 58. Gian Giacomo Migone, Gli Stati Uniti e il fascismo: alle origini dell’egemonia americana in Italia (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1980), p. 105. An English-language edition of this book, The United States and Fascist Italy: the rise of American finance in Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2015), published 25 years later, now had a less 1970s leftist title. Migone introduced himself and the Italy of those times in a new preface (pp. xi–xxxv). 59. Antonio Gramsci, Selections from political writings 1921–1926 (ed. Quintin Hoare) (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1978), p. 404. 60. Gian Giacomo Migone, Gli Stati Uniti e il fascismo, pp. 155, 176. 61. Ibid., p. 286. 62. Cornelio Di Marzio, ‘Aspetti di questo nuovo mondo’, Critica fascista, VIII, 15 July 1930. 63. Michele Oro, ‘Alberghi d’oltre Oceano e Alberghi italiani’, Economia nazionale, XIX, October 1927. 64. BMOO XXIV, 2 January 1931, Mussolini to American people. 65. DDI 7s, XI, 100, 2 December 1931, Grandi to Mussolini for his report on a country of ‘titans and kiddies’. 66. Claudia Damiani, Mussolini e gli Stati Uniti 1922–1935 (Bologna: Cappelli, 1980), pp. 170, 177. 67. Churchill papers 1/179/52–3, 31 October 1927, Clementine Churchill to Winston. 68. Giuseppe Bianchini, The work of the Fascist government and the economic reconstruction of Italy (Milan: Unione economica italiana, 1925), p. 3. 69. Antonio Mosconi, La mia linea politica (Rome: Studio tipografico Di Biase, 1952), pp. 14, 16–23. 70. For his career in Venice, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Italian Venice: a history (London: Yale University Press, 2014). 71. BMOO XL, pp. 71, 86–7, 17 June, 10 July 1926, each, Mussolini to Farinacci. 72. BMOO XL, p. 110, 8 August 1926, Mussolini to Volpi. 73. Volpi papers 2/20/2, 12 July 1928, JP Morgan to Volpi. 74. Felice Guarneri, Battaglie economiche fra le due guerre (ed. Luciano Zani) (Bologna: il Mulino, 1988), pp. 254, 260. 75. BMOO XL, p. 504, 20 November 1927. 76. La Proprietà Edilizia, III, March 1931. 77. BMOO XLIV, p. 25–6, 24 October 1931, Mussolini at Head Office of Banco di Napoli. 78. Alberto Pirelli, Taccuini 1922–1943 (ed. Donato Barbone) (Bologna: il Mulino, 1984), p. 93. 79. Giuseppe Bottai, ‘La rivoluzione permanente: quarto anniversario’, Critica fascista, IV, 1 November 1926. 80. Giuseppe Bottai, Fascismo e capitalismo (Rome: Edizioni di Critica fascista, 1931), p. 55. 81. Alessandro Pavolini, ‘Il Rotary’, Critica fascista, VII, 15 January 1929; on the League, cf. the detailed study by Elisabetta Tollardo, Fascist Italy and the League of Nations, 1922– 1935 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). 82. Tullio Cianetti, Memorie dal carcere di Verona (ed. Renzo De Felice) (Milan: Rizzoli, 1983), p. 157. 83. For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini, rev. edn (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), pp. 225–7. 84. Vera Zamagni, The economic history of Italy 1860–1990 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), p. 274. 85. Salvatore La Francesca, La politica economica del fascismo (Bari: Laterza, 1972), pp. 33–4, 48, 71. 86. Alberto Aquarone,‘Italy, the crisis and the Corporative economy’, Journal of Contemporary History, 4, 1969, p. 38. 87. Paul Einzig, The economic foundations of fascism (London: Macmillan, 1933), pp. vi–viii, 6, 10.

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NOTES to pp. 102–107   88. Guido Gamberini, ‘Il dovere di discutere’, Critica fascista, VIII, 15 March 1930.   89. Philip Morgan, ‘ “The trash who are obstacles in our way”: the Italian Fascist party at the point of totalitarian lift off, 1930–1931’, English Historical Review, CCCVII, 2012, p. 330.   90. See, for example, SPDCR 47, 29 October 1930, Giuriati to PNF secretaries.  91. Giovanni Giuriati, La parabola di Mussolini nei ricordi di una gerarca (ed. Emilio Gentile) (Bari: Laterza, 1981), pp. 132–5.   92. For background, see Bosworth, Italian Venice.  93. Loreto Di Nucci, Lo Stato-partito del fascismo: genesi, evoluzione e crisi 1919–1943 (Bologna: il Mulino, 2009), p. 347.   94. See Bosworth, Mussolini, p. 259.   95. Lorenzo Benadusi, Il nemico dell’uomo nuovo: l’omosessualità nell’esperimento totalitario fascista (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2005), pp. 247–8, 252–4.   96. See, for example, the short summaries in Emil Ludwig, Genius and character (London: Jonathan Cape, 1927).   97. Emil Ludwig, Talks with Mussolini (London: Jonathan Cape, 1932), p. 36.  98. Ibid., pp. 12–13.   99. Emil Ludwig, ‘Mussolini, the Italian autocrat’ in his Leaders of Europe (London: Ivor Nicolson and Watson, 1934), pp. 313–46. 100. Ludwig, Talks with Mussolini, p. 36. 101. Ibid., pp. 26, 32, 37. 102. Ibid., p. 70. 103. Ibid., pp. 63, 155, 191. 104. Ibid., p. 129. 105. In 1934 the Dizionario della dottrina fascista (ed. Amerigo Montemaggiori) (Turin: Paravia, 1934), agreed under ‘Razza’ that races were now all mixed and that mixture might well be their strength. 106. Ludwig, Talks with Mussolini, pp. 73–4, 168, 220. 107. Ibid., pp. 143–4. 108. Ibid., p. 160. 109. Editorial in Critica fascista, IX, 14, 15 July 1931. Cf. DDI 7s, XI, 205, 11 February 1932, Mussolini to Victor Emmanuel III and BMOO XXXVII, pp. 128–31, for accounts of the meeting. 110. See its enthusiastic endorsement in the party journal by the historian, jurist and eventual Ministro di Grazia e Giustizia 1935–9, Arrigo Solmi, ‘La visita di Mussolini a Pio XI’, Gerarchia, XII, February 1932. 111. L’Osservatore Romano, 29 April 1929. 112. For full background, see John Pollard, The papacy in the age of totalitarianism 1914– 1958 (Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 135–51, 241–9. 113. Observer, 16 October 1932. 114. Spectator, 29 October 1932. 115. National Review, September 1932. 116. The Economist, 23 July, 29 October 1932. 117. FO371/15977/C9314, 1 November 1932, Graham to Simon. 118. The Economist, 25 March, 27 May 1933. 119. The Times, 18 October 1932, 17 February 1933. 120. Robert M. Levine, The Vargas regime: the critical years 1934–1938 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970), p. 81. 121. Roberto Zapperi, Freud e Mussolini: la psicoanalisi in Italia durante il fascismo (Milan: Franco Angeli, 2013). 122. Ramachandra Guha, Gandhi: the years that changed the world 1914–1945 (London: Allen Lane, 2018), pp. 416–17; Kalyan Kundu, Meeting with Mussolini: Tagore’s tours in Italy 1925 and 1926 (Oxford University Press, 2015), p. 206. Back in September, a Fascist journalist had, by contrast, attacked Gandhi and been certain that Italy’s task was to stand up for the white race. See Valentino Piccoli, ‘Stroncatura di Gandhi’, Critica

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NOTES to pp. 107–115 Fascista, IX, 20, 15 October 1931. However, Farinacci was inclined to sympathise with the Indian’s battle against the British Empire and argued that his ‘profoundly mystical soul’ was something that he shared with Fascism. La Vita Italiana, 38, f. 223, 15 October 1931. 123. Kundu, Meeting with Mussolini, pp. 82–4. Cf. BMOO XXXVII, p. 492. Article in Il Popolo d’Italia, 1 April 1926. 124. Henri Béraud, Dictateurs d’ajourd’hui (Paris: Flammarion, 1933), pp. 32, 107. 125. Emile Schreiber, Rome après Moscou (Paris: Plon, 1932), pp. 5–6, 104, 107–11, 117. 126. See, for example, George Seldes, The truth behind the news 1918–1928 (London: Faber and Gwyer, 1929), pp. 41–2. 127. Mauro Canali, La scoperta dell’Italia: il fascismo raccontato dai correspondenti americani (Venice: Marsilio, 2017), p. 220. 128. DDI 7s, XI, 100, 2 December 1931, Grandi to Mussolini. 129. Kenneth Scott, ‘Mussolini and the Roman Empire’, Classical Journal, 27, 1932, p. 656. 130. Canali, La scoperta dell’Italia. 131. Paul Corner, The Fascist Party and popular opinion in Mussolini’s Italy (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 125, 181. 132. SPEP 12, July 1932, PNF report. 133. SPEP 19, 22 August 1932, report. 134. SPEP 6, 20 January 1932, report on Milan, 19, 20, 25 January 1932, reports. 135. SPEP 27, 26 October 1932, report. 136. SPEP 11, November 1930, April 1931 reports. 137. SPEP 11, 30 December 1931, report. 138. SPDCR 40, 20 January 1932, Farinacci to Mussolini. 139. BMOO XXXIV, pp. 117–38. An authorised English translation was placed in an American scholarly journal. See Benito Mussolini, ‘The political and social doctrine of Fascism’, Political Quarterly, 4, 1933, pp. 341–56. 140. BMOO XXXIV, p. 128. 141. BMOO XXXIV, p. 131. 142. BMOO XXV, pp. 134–6. 143. BMOO XXV, p. 143. 144. BMOO XXV, pp. 145–8. 145. Il Popolo d’Italia, 28 October 1932. 146. Ernesto Giminez Caballero, ‘Ripercussioni del Fascismo in Ispagna’, Gerarchia, XII, October 1932. 147. Oswald Mosley, ‘Il Fascismo come fattore di pace universale’, Gerarchia, XII, October 1932. Somewhat surprisingly, Oliver Locker Lampson, from the rival Blueshirts, also contributed an article under the title ‘Le camicie azzurre d’Inghilterra’, stating that the nation awaited ‘a leader and a light’, bringing its regeneration. By 1934 Locker Lampson had become a determined anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist who, in 1935–6, would speak up manfully for Haile Selassie. 148. Margherita G. Sarfatti, ‘Nel Decennale: orientamenti e presagi’, Gerarchia, XII, October 1932. 149. Bruno Spampanato, ‘Ottobre, principio del secolo; universalità di Ottobre’, Critica fascista, XII, 1 February 1932. 150. Bruno Spampanato, ‘Equazioni rivoluzionarie: dal bolscevismo al fascismo’, Critica fascista, VIII, 15 April 1930. 151. Duchess of Sermoneta, Sparkle distant worlds (London: Hutchinson, nd [1947]), p. 18. 152. FO 371/16800/C7361, 5 August 1933, Graham to Sir John Simon. 153. SPEP 19, report of 26 October 1933. 154. James R.M. Butler, Lord Lothian: Philip Kerr, 1882–1940 (London: Macmillan, 1960), p. 210.

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NOTES to pp. 116–121 CHAPTER 5  AN ITALIAN DICTATORSHIP, ITS DREAMS OF EMPIRE AND THE ENVELOPING SHADOW OF NAZISM  1. https://www.thedailybeast.com/saddam-hussein-hitler-stalin-mao-and-more-13deadliest-dictators-photos?ref=scroll (accessed 14 January 2019).   2. See Peter McPhee, Liberty or death: the French Revolution (London: Yale University Press, 2016).   3. See, for example, from the heights of the Liberal diplomatic world, Giacomo De Martino, Cirene e Cartagine: note e impressioni della caravana De Martino-Baldari, giugno-luglio 1907 (Bologna: Zanichelli, 1907), p. ix. ‘Carthage’ lay in French-ruled Tunisia, from time to time to be a ‘Fascist’ ambition on the diplomatic stage and settled by tens of thousands of Sicilians, who may or may not have been nationalised as Italians. De Martino thought they made Tunis flourish ‘like Lombardy’ (p. 135).   4. Luigi Goglia and Fabio Grassi, Il colonialismo italiano da Adua all’Impero (Bari: Laterza, 1981); Andrea Naletto, Italiani in Somalia: storia di un colonialismo straccione (Verona: Cierre edizioni, 2011).  5. Tiago Saraiva, Fascist pigs: technoscientific organisms and the history of fascism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016), pp. 138–9.  6. Angelo Del Boca, Gli italiani in Libia dal fascismo a Gheddafi (Bari: Laterza, 1988), pp. 126–7.   7. Antonia Bullotta, La Somalia sotto due bandiere (Cernusco sul Naviglio: Garzanti, 1949), p. xxi.   8. Rodolfo Graziani, Ho difeso la patria (Cernusco sul Naviglio: Garzanti, 1947), p. 6.  9. Ibid., pp. 10–14. 10. Antonella Randazzo, L’Africa del Duce: i crimini fascisti in Africa (Varese: Edizioni Arterigere, 2007), p. 163. 11. See, for example, BMOO XII, pp. 100–3, article for New Year’s Day, 1919. 12. For semiofficial celebration, see Raffaele Rapex, L’affermazione della sovranità italiana in Tripolitania: governorato del Conte Giuseppe Volpi (1921–1925) (Tientsin: Chihli Press, 1937). 13. Randazzo, L’Africa del Duce, p. 109. 14. Angelo Del Boca, Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 123. 15. See Rodolfo Graziani, Pace romana in Libia (Milan: Mondadori, 1937), p. 167, for his romantic evocation of a Roman woman’s tomb in Fezzan. This book is an updating of his Cirenaica pacificata (Milan: Mondadori, 1932). 16. Graziani, Ho difeso la patria, p. 41. 17. Rodolfo Graziani, Verso il Fezzan (Tripoli: Editore F. Cacopardo, VIII, 1929). 18. For the Sanusiyya, see Eileen Ryan, Religion as resistance: negotiating authority in Italian Libya (Oxford University Press, 2018). 19. Angelo Del Boca, ‘I non facili rapporti dell’Italia con le sue ex-colonie’ in Angelo De Boca (ed.), Confini contesi: la Repubblica italiana e il Trattato di Pace di Parigi (10 febbraio 1947) (Cuneo: EGA, 1997), p. 14. 20. Graziani, Pace romana in Libia, p. 191. 21. For high praise of the fighting qualities of these last, see Pietro Maletti, ‘Ascari abissini sotto insegne italiane’, Rassegna italiana, IX, June 1926. 22. Arnaldo Mussolini, Tripolitania (Rome: Istituto Coloniale Fascista, nd [1927]), p.16; cf. L’Italia coloniale, January 1932 obituary. 23. Rodolfo Graziani, La riconquista del Fezzan (Milan: Mondadori, 1934). 24. Rodolfo Graziani, Libia redenta: storia di trent’anni di passione italiana in Africa (Naples: Torella Editore, 1948), pp. 2–3. 25. Del Boca, Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya, p. 131. 26. Rivista Aeronautica VI, December 1930, VII, January 1931, taking the story deep into the Fezzan.

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NOTES to pp. 121–124 27. Ercolano Turriani, ‘La riconquista fascista della Cirenaica e i fuorusciti libici in Egitto’, Contemporanea, X, 2007, p. 254. 28. Giorgio Rochat, Guerre italiane in Libia e in Etiopia: studi militari 1921–1939 (Padua: Pagus Edizione, 1991), p. 60. 29. For a defence arguing that the Italians were bringing civilisation to nomads, see Biagio Pace, ‘L’occupazione di Cufra e la politica con la Senussia’, Rivista di Colonia, V, May 1931, pp. 327–41. 30. Raffaele Rapex, L’affermazione della sovranità italiana in Tripolitania, p. 350. 31. Turriani, ‘La riconquista fascista della Cirenaica’, p. 255. 32. Roberta Pergher, Mussolini’s nation empire: sovereignty and settlement in Italy’s border­ lands, 1922–1943 (Cambridge University Press, 2018), p. 47. 33. Mario Raciti, L’opera coloniale dell’Italia fascista in Cirenaica (Rome: np, 1934), p. 20. For Gaddafi’s evocation of the memory, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Whispering city: Rome and its histories (London: Yale University Press, 2014), pp. 8–9. 34. Del Boca, Gli italiani in Libia dal fascismo al Gheddafi, pp. 203–7. 35. Graziani, Pace romana in Libia, p. 338. 36. See New York Times, 17 April 1981; Guardian, 30 June 2011. 37. Federica Saini Fasanotti, Libia: le operazioni militari italiane (Rome: Stato Maggiore dell’Esercito, 2012), p. 114. She says the French used the weapon in Morocco in June 1925 killing 800 (but before the Geneva Convention). She adds the claim that the population of Libya rose from 648,815 in 1931 to 810,853 in 1940, helped by Italian medical welfare (pp. 110, 325). 38. Luigi Federzoni, ‘Il Re in Eritrea’, Oltremare, VII, October 1932. Cf. the issue of November 1932. 39. Nicola Labanca, Oltremare: storia dell’espansione coloniale italiana (Bologna: il Mulino, 2002), pp. 108–9. 40. Joseph J. Viscomi, ‘Mediterranean futures: historical time and the departure of Italians from Egypt 1919–1937’, Journal of Modern History, 91, 2019, pp. 341–79. 41. See L’Italia coloniale, March 1932. 42. Vincenzo Fani Ciotti (‘Volt’), Dal Partito allo Stato (Brescia: Vittorio Gatti Editore, 1930), p. 81. 43. P. Barone Scerni, ‘Cirenaica pacificata’, L’Oltremare, XI, November 1932, pp. 432–5. 44. Round Table, June 1932. 45. Alessandro Lessona, Verso l’impero: memorie per la storia politica del conflitto italoetiopico (Florence: Sansoni, 1939), p. 35. In 1926 Federzoni stated that black troops were the best for imperial service, a statement that showed how little he genuinely believed in mass, American-style, Italian emigration to the empire. See Giulia Barrera, ‘The construction of racial hierarchies in colonial Eritrea: the Liberal and early Fascist period, 1897–1934’, in Patrizia Palumbo (ed.), A place in the sun: Africa in Italian colonial culture from post-unification to the present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), p. 88. 46. Aldobrandino Malvezzi, La politica indigena nelle colonie (Padua: Cedam, 1933), pp. 192, 290–1, 336, 374. 47. Ian Campbell, The Addis Ababa massacre: Italy’s national shame (London: Hurst, 2017), p. 18; Nicola Labanca, Oltremare, p. 169. 48. Luigi Federzoni, 1927: diario di un ministro del fascismo (Florence: Passigli, 1993), p. 40. 49. See, for example, Angelo Del Boca, The Ethiopian War, 1935–1941 (University of Chicago Press, 1969), p. 8. 50. For a sentimental recent account, see Raymond Jonas, The Battle of Adwa: African victory in the age of empire (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011). 51. Arnold H.M. Jones and Elizabeth Monroe, A history of Abyssinia (Oxford: Clarendon, 1935), pp. 162–3. 52. See, for example, James E. Baum, Savage Abyssinia (London: Cassell, 1928). Tafari, however, was depicted by this journalist from the Chicago Daily News working hard on

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NOTES to pp. 124–130 the all but impossible task of modernisation (pp. 31–9). ‘Abyssinia’ was the common term for the country but the word is derived from the Arabic ‘al-Habash’, with an implication of ‘mixed blood’, and it is more properly called Ethiopia. 53. Kathleen Simon, Slavery (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929), pp. 8, 11, 36–8. 54. Francesco Lefebvre D’Ovidio, L’Italia e il sistema internazionale dalla formazione del Governo Mussolini alla Grande Depressione (1922–1929) (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2016), pp. 433–43. 55. Giorgio Rochat, ‘La missione Malladra e la responsabilità della preparazione militare in Africa Orientale nel 1926’, Il Risorgimento, 22, 1970, pp. 135–48. 56. Emilio De Bono, Nell’esercito nostro prima della guerra (Milan: Mondadori, 1931), pp. 66–7, 149–51, 188–90, 394. 57. Emilio De Bono, La guerra come e dove l’ho vista e combattuta io (Milan: Mondadori, 1935), pp. 23, 31. 58. DDI 7s, X, 224, 26 April 1931, De Bono to Grandi. 59. DDI 7s, VIII, 310, 16 January 1930, De Bono to Grandi. 60. DDI 7s, X, 329, 11 June 1931, De Bono to Mussolini. 61. DDI 7s, IX, 80, June 1930, Grandi to De Bono. 62. DDI 7s, X, 402, 15 July 1931, Grandi to De Bono. 63. DDI 7s, X, 413, 25 July 1931, Grandi to Mussolini. 64. For his autobiography, see Raffaele Guariglia, Ricordi 1922–1946 (Naples: Edizioni scientifiche italiane, 1950). 65. DDI 7s, XII, 222–3, 26 and 27 August 1932, Guariglia to Mussolini. 66. Emanuele Ertola, ‘Predatori fascisti dell’impero’ in Paolo Giovannini and Marco Palla (eds), Il fascismo delle mani sporche: dittatura, corruzione, affarismo (Rome: Laterza, 2019), p. 234. 67. DDI 7s, XII, 393, 5 November 1932, memorandum of meeting of Ministry of Colonies. 68. DDI 7s, XII, 534, 12 December 1932, De Bono to Mussolini. 69. Hans Bernd Gisevius, To the bitter end (London: Jonathan Cape, 1948), p. 91. 70. Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s secret book (ed. Telford Taylor) (New York: Grove Press, 1961), p. 167. For the bust, see Francesco Ciarlantini, ‘Fascismo e Nazional-Socialismo’, Augustea, VIII, 31 August 1932. 71. Christian Goeschel, Mussolini and Hitler: the forging of the fascist alliance (London: Yale University Press, 2018), pp. 17, 22. 72. Ibid., p. 3. 73. O. Randi, ‘Il fascismo bavarese’, Critica fascista, IV, 1 February 1926. 74. DDI 7s, V, 206, 17 May 1927, Summonte to Mussolini; cf. 168, 27 April 1927, Riccardi to Mussolini with a typical request from the paramilitary Heimwehr in Austria for Italian subsidy. 75. DDI 7s, V, 680, 14 December 1927, Aldrovandi to Mussolini. 76. DDI 7s, VII, 413, 8 May 1929, Morreale note. 77. Giuseppe Bevione, the sometime nationalist, in Gerarchia, September 1930. 78. Karl-Peter Hoepke, La destra tedesca e il fascismo (Bologna: il Mulino, 1971), pp. 148, 171. 79. DDI 7s, IX, 289, 28 September, 4 October 1930, Morreale to Mussolini. For Rosenberg, see Esmé Robertson, ‘Race as a factor in Mussolini’s policy in Africa and Europe’, Journal of Contemporary History, 23, 1988, p. 39. Cf. Dietrich Orlow, The lure of fascism in Western Europe: German Nazis, Dutch and French fascists, 1933–1939 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 5. 80. DDI 7s, X, 272, 17 May 1931, Grandi to Mussolini. 81. DDI 7s, X, 287, 23–4 May 1931, Grandi to Mussolini. 82. See Stefan Laffin, ‘Gaining a foothold in the Weimar Republic: Giuseppe Renzetti’s activities in the years 1925–1927’ available at https://storicamente.org/giuseppe-renzettifascism-laffin (accessed 22 January 2019). 83. DDI 7s, XI, 62, 23 October 1931, Sebastiani note.

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NOTES to pp. 130–135  84. Giuseppe Renzetti, ‘Hindenburg e Hitler’, Gerarchia, XII, March 1932. Cf. Mario Da Silva, ‘Basi dello Stato nazional-socialista’, Critica fascista, X, 1 June 1932, which spent time explaining the Nazi obsession with anti-Semitism, portrayed as silly but German.   85. For Grandi’s own self-interested account of his life and actions, see Dino Grandi, La politica estera italiana dal 1929 al 1932 (eds. Renzo De Felice and Paolo Nello), 2 vols (Rome: Bonacci, 1985); Il mio paese: ricordi autografici (ed. Renzo De Felice) (Bologna: il Mulino, 1985). For highly sympathetic biographies, see Paolo Nello, Dino Grandi: la formazione di un leader fascista (Bologna: il Mulino, 1987); Un fedele disubbidiente: Dino Grandi da Palazzo Chigi al 25 luglio (Bologna: il Mulino, 1993).   86. Giuseppe Renzetti, ‘Aspetti della situazione politica tedesca’, Gerarchia, XII, September 1932.   87. See Goeschel, Mussolini and Hitler, pp. 25–34.   88. SPDCR 71, 31 January 1933, Renzetti to Mussolini.   89. DDI 7s, XII, 324, 11 October 1932, Renzetti to Mussolini.   90. DDI 7s, XII, 364, 25 October 1932, Renzetti to Mussolini.   91. Franco Ciarlantini, ‘Fascismo e Nazional-socialismo’ and Augustea, VIII, 15 September 1932 continuing the piece from August.  92. Augustea, X, 15 April 1934.  93. Augustea, XI, 31 January, 15 March 1933. Cf. similar thoughts in Gerarchia, XIII, February 1933 and Beniamino De Ritis, ‘L’America scopre se stessa: lettera dall’America del Nord’, Critica fascista, XI, 1 June 1933.   94. Francesco Ciarlantini, Hitler e il fascismo (Florence: Bemporad, 1933), pp. 10–13.  95. Francesco Ciarlantini, Mussolini immaginario (Milan: Sonzogno, 1933), pp. 45, 91, 171–2.   96. DDI 7s, XII, 414, 10 November 1932, minutes of Gömbös–Mussolini meeting.  97. La Vita Italiana, 236, 15 September, 15 November 1932.   98. Vincenzo Piccoli, ‘Problemi della nuova Germania’, Critica fascista, X, 15 August 1932.   99. SPEP 6, 1 February 1933, report. 100. Gioventù fascista, III, 10 March XI (1933). 101. Morning Post, 7 March, 12 July, 20 August 1933. 102. FO 800/288 Simon papers, 15 April 1933, FJ Lys to Simon; 22 April 1933, Simon to Lys, approving the idea if Mussolini could be persuaded to come to Oxford to collect such an award. 103. FO 371/15977/C8742, 14 October 1932, Graham to Simon. 104. BMOO XLII, p. 36, 30 March 1933, Mussolini to Cerruti. 105. BMOO XXXVII, p. 137, note of meeting, 12 April 1933. 106. BMOO XLII, p. 58. 107. BMOO XXXVII, p. 138, 1 September 1933, Mussolini note. 108. SPEP 19, 12 August 1932, report. 109. SPEP 19, 25 March 1933, report. 110. SPDCO 500019/1, 8 May 1933, report. 111. SPEP 19, 26 June 1932, report. 112. Ministero dell’Interno DGPS, b.8, f. 4 Cat. B 87.2, 29 June 1937, report. 113. SPEP 21, February 1933, report. 114. SPEP 19, 10 October 1933, note. 115. SPEP 27, 8 February 1933, note. 116. C.L.R. James, World Revolution 1917–1936: the rise and fall of the Communist International (London: Secker and Warburg, 1937), pp. 313–14. James did not know too much. His spelling of Italian words leaves much to be desired. 117. Arno J. Mayer, Wilson versus Lenin: political origins of the new diplomacy 1917–1918 (Cleveland, OH: World Publishing, 1959). 118. For an introduction, see Patricia Clavin, Securing the world economy: the reinvention of the League of Nations 1920–1946 (Oxford University Press, 2013).

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NOTES to pp. 136–143 119. Asvero Gravelli, Verso l’internazionale fascista (Rome: Nuova Europa Editrice, 1932), pp. 13, 52, 95–195. Cf. his Panfascismo (Rome: Casa Editrice ‘Nuova Europa’, 1935), a collection of his articles, a number expressing his doubts about Nazism. 120. Asvero Gravelli (ed.), Razzismo (Rome: Nuova Europa, 1934), p. 333. 121. Asvero Gravelli, Uno e molti: interpretazioni spirituali di Mussolini (Rome: Nuova Europa, 1938), pp. 31, 37, 50. 122. For details, see Simona Giustibelli, ‘L’Europa nella riflessione del convegno della Fondazione Volta (Roma, 16–20 novembre, 1932)’, online at http://dprs.uniroma1.it/ sites/default/files/giustibelli.pdf (accessed 25 January 2019). 123. Michael Ledeen, Universal fascism: the theory and practice of the Fascist International, 1928–1936 (New York: Howard Fertig, 1972), pp. 82–9. 124. Maurice Manning, The Blue Shirts (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1971), pp. 58–9, 84. 125. Ibid., pp. 114–24. Cf. Aristotle Kallis, ‘From CAUR to EUR: Italian Fascism, the “Myth of Rome” and the pursuit of international primacy’, Patterns of Prejudice, 50, 2016, pp. 359–72. 126. See further Orlow, The lure of fascism in western Europe. 127. Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano (Rome: Salerno Editore, 2018), pp. 118–19. Cf. Antonio Costa Pinto and Aristotle Kallis (eds), Rethinking fascism and dictatorship in Europe (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) for the interesting use of ‘hybridisation’ as an explanation of how one fascist or authoritarian movement inflected another. The contributors underestimate the sagging of the Italian model through the 1930s. 128. For the comparison, see Francesco Salata, Il patto Mussolini: storia di un piano politico e di un negoziato diplomatico (Milan: Mondadori, 1933), pp. 134–5 where Mussolini was defined as the heir to Emilio Visconti Venosta, Foreign Minister 1863–4, 1866–7, 1869– 76, 1896–1901. 129. J. Calvitt Clarke III, Russia and Italy against Hitler: the Bolshevik–Fascist rapprochement of the 1930s (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1991), pp. 69, 101, 123–5. 130. BMOO XXVI, pp. 61–3. 131. Salata, Il patto Mussolini, pp. 3, 11. 132. BMOO XXVI, article in Il Popolo d’Italia, 29 July 1933 (pp. 36–8). 133. Georges Bonnet, Quai d’Orsay (Douglas, IOM: Times Press and Anthony Gibbs and Phillips, 1965), p. 109. 134. FO 371/23784/R434, 11 January 1939, minute. 135. FO 371/16801/C1998, 16 February 1933, Vansittart to Simon; 16792/C2327, 2 March 1933, Vansittart to Simon. 136. Vansittart papers, 7 July 1933, Vansittart memorandum. 137. For the droll tale of these matters, see R.J.B. Bosworth, ‘Tourist planning in Fascist Italy and the limits of totalitarian control’, Contemporary European History, 6, 1997, pp. 1–25. 138. SPDCO 3108, 3111. 139. Fulvio Suvich, Memorie 1932–1936 (ed. Gianfranco Bianchi) (Milan: Rizzoli, 1984), pp. 4, 10, 187. 140. For detail, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta: Mussolini’s last lover (London: Yale University Press, 2017). 141. For an example, see Claretta Petacci, Verso il disastro: Mussolini in guerra. Diari 1939– 1940 (ed. Mimmo Franzinelli) (Milan: Rizzoli, 2011), pp. 24–5. 142. Samuel Smiles, Passi scelti del Character con note tolte dei discorsi e degli scritti del Duce (ed. Cesare Cucchi) (Milan: Società Editrice Dante Alighieri, 1938), p. 69 fn. 1. 143. Carmine Senise, Quando ero Capo della Polizia 1940–1943 (Rome: Ruffolo, 1946), p. 70. 144. See SPDCO 3108–20. 145. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il duce 1. Gli anni del consenso 1929–1936 (Turin: Einaudi, 1974), p. 23.

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NOTES to pp. 143–152 146. In his farewell report, Ambassador Graham did allege that ‘clean and punctual trains’ did now run on time and that was no small achievement by Mussolini. FO371/16800/ C9361, 5 August 1933, Graham to Simon. 147. For the detail of these interviews, see Amedeo Osti Guerrazzi, ‘Il calendario di lavoro di un dittatore: l’agenda di Benito Mussolini 1923–1943’, Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Biblotheken, 95, 2016, pp. 412–20. 148. Matthew Feldman, Ezra Pound’s Fascist propaganda 1935–45 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 15–16; Tim Redman, Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 95; Ezra Pound, A draft of XXX cantos (New York: New Directions Publishing, 1990). 149. SPDCO 367/130355, 5 February 1932, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Mussolini setting out Moran’s profile. 150. See the sardonic Robert Graves and Alan Hodge, The long weekend: a social history of Great Britain 1918–1939 (London: Cardinal, 1991). 151. Herbert M. Moran, In my fashion: an autobiography of the last ten years (London: Peter Davies, 1946), p. 3. 152. Ibid., pp. 2–4. 153. Ibid., p. 10. 154. Ibid., pp. 11–16. 155. Ibid., pp. 17–22. 156. Ibid., pp. 37–9. 157. Ibid., pp. 41–7. 158. Ibid., pp. 260–2.

CHAPTER 6  POPULIST TOTALITARIANISM AND/OR FASCIST MYSTICISM UNDER THE DUCE   1. L’Illustrazione italiana, 29 October 1933.   2. For splendid examples of suppressed smiles, see Mimmo Franzinelli and Valerio Marino, Il Duce proibito: le fotografie che gli italiani non hanno mai visto (Milan: Mondadori, 2003).    3. Sergio Panunzio, ‘Teoria generale della dittatura’, Gerarchia, XVI, April and May 1936.   4. Roberto Festorazzi, Starace: il mastino della rivoluzione fascista (Milan: Mursia, 2002), p. 14.   5. Antonio Spinosa, Starace (Milan: Rizzoli, 1981), p. 105.    6. SPDCR 94, 5 March 1933, report.   7. Loreto Di Nucci, Lo Stato-partito del fascismo: genesi, evoluzione e crisi 1919–1943 (Bologna: il Mulino, 2009), pp. 431–2.   8. Ibid., p. 427.   9. Alberto Aquarone, L’organizzazione dello stato totalitario (Turin: Einaudi, 1965), p. 178.   10. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il duce 1. Gli anni del consenso 1929–1936 (Turin: Einaudi, 1974), p. 109.   11. See, for example, Il Messaggero, 16 May 1933.   12. Teresa Maria Mazzatosta, Il regime fascista tra educazione e propaganda (1935–1943) (Bologna: Cappelli, 1978), pp. 22–3.  13. Gioventù fascista, 30 November XI, 1933.  14. L’Illustrazione italiana, 17 and 24 June 1934.  15. The Times, 31 August 1933.   16. Vito Panunzio, Il ‘secondo fascismo’ 1936–1943: la reazione della nuova generazione alla crisi del movimento e del regime (Milan: Mursia, 1988), p. 63.   17. BMOO XXVI, p. 192 (speech of 18 March 1934).   18. See, for example, Giuseppe De Finetti, ‘Gli otto stadi del Campionato del Mondo’, Lo sport fascista, XII, July 1934, pp. 30–4.

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NOTES to pp. 152–156 19. Gioventù fascista, III, 10 December XI, 1933. For the case of the Touring Club Italiano and its manful efforts to preserve its name by one mechanism or another, with the Duce showing himself less than fanatical about the issue, see R.J.B. Bosworth, ‘The Touring Club Italiano and the nationalization of the Italian bourgeoisie’, European History Quarterly, 27, 1995, pp. 371–410. 20. Antonio Papa and Guido Panico, Storia sociale del calcio in Italia: dai club dei pionieri alla nazione sportiva (1887–1945) (Bologna: il Mulino, 2002), p. 231. 21. L’Illustrazione Italiana, 3 July 1938. 22. Claretta Petacci, Mussolini segreto: diari 1932–1938 (ed. Mauro Suttora) (Milan: Rizzoli, 2009), pp. 367, 465–7. In December 1938 Italy beat France 1–0, thus confirming the World Cup result. 23. Achille Starace, L’Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (Milan: Mondadori, 1933), pp. 13, 45–8. 24. Il Popolo d’Italia, 15 July 1939. 25. See, for example, L’Illustrazione Italiana, 10 July 1938. 26. BMOO XXVIII, pp. 136–9, 9 March 1937, interview with Webb Miller. 27. ‘Mussoliniana’ (Corrado Dall’Ungaro), Mussolini e lo sport (Mantova: Edizioni Paladino, 1928), p. 15. 28. BMOO XXIX, pp. 52–3, 1 February 1938, Mussolini speech. The egregious romanità was justified with the claim that Livy had told how sacred geese saved the Capitol from Gaulish attack in 390 bce. 29. Victoria De Grazia, The culture of consent: mass organization of leisure in Fascist Italy (Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 122, 178. 30. Ibid., pp. 155–6. 31. See, for example, Il Corriere della Sera, 15 January 1938. 32. Fulvio Suvich, Memorie 1932–1936 (ed. Gianfranco Bianchi) (Milan: Rizzoli, 1984), pp. 21–2. 33. Natasha V. Chang, The Crisis-Woman: body politics and the modern woman in Fascist Italy (Toronto University Press, 2015), pp. 13–14. 34. See Mauro Forno, ‘Aspetti dell’esperienza totalitaria fascista. Limiti e contraddizioni nella gestione del “Quarto Potere” ’, Studi Storici, 47, 2006, pp. 781–817 and, in more detail, his La stampa del ventennio: strutture e trasformazioni nello stato totalitario (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 2005). 35. Guido Bonsaver, Censorship and literature in Fascist Italy (University of Toronto Press, 2007), p. 197. 36. Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano (Rome: Salerno editore, 2019), pp. 127–8. 37. Ibid., pp. 130–3; cf. further Elisa Annibale and Eugenio Di Rienzo, ‘Alle origini del “Propagandaministerium” fascista. Galeazzo Ciano e la nascita del Ministero per la Stampa e Propaganda’, Nuova Rivista Storica, 101, 2017, pp. 619–38. 38. Marc Raboy, Marconi: the man who networked the world (Oxford University Press, 2016), p. 575. 39. For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Italian Venice: a history (London: Yale University Press, 2017), p. 146. 40. Gian Piero Brunetta, Storia del cinema italiano 1895–1940 (Rome: Riuniti, 1979), p. 285. 41. Victoria De Grazia, ‘Mass culture and sovereignty: the American challenge to European cinemas 1920–1960’, Journal of Modern History, 61, 1989, p. 73. 42. When translating foreign comics was banned, an exception was made for Topolino, which lasted until deep into the war. See Patrizia Dogliani, L’Italia fascista 1922–1940 (Florence: Sansoni, 1999), p. 301. 43. Michael Sedgwick, Fiat (New York: Arco, 1974), pp. 20, 216. 44. See Vittorio Mussolini, ‘Cinema Americano – Cinema Ebreo’, Il Popolo d’Italia, 20 December 1938. 45. Alessandro Blasetti, Scritti sul cinema (ed. Adriano Aprà) (Venice: Marsilio, 1982), p. 119.

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NOTES to pp. 156–160 46. For an analysis giving more credit to the Fascist purpose, see Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Italian Fascism’s empire cinema (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015). 47. Il Messaggero, 16 September 1933. 48. L’Oltremare, VIII, June 1934. 49. For detail, see R.J.B. Bosworth, ‘Tourist planning in Fascist Italy and the limits of a totalitarian culture’, Contemporary European History, 6, 1997, pp. 1–25. 50. SPDCR 49, 3 May 1933, Starace to Mussolini. 51. For their story, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini’s Italy: life under the dictatorship 1915–1945 (London: Allen Lane, 2005), pp. 251–4. 52. SPDCR 49, 15 September 1934, Starace to Mussolini. 53. Giorgio Amendola, Una scelta di vita (Milan: Rizzoli, 1976), pp. 125–32. 54. For fuller details, see Umberto Sereni, ‘Carlo Scorza e il fascismo “stile camorra” ’, in Paolo Giovannini and Marco Palla (eds), Il fascismo dalle mani sporche: dittatura, corruzione, affarismo (Rome: Laterza, 2019), pp. 190–217. 55. SPEP 19, report of 2 January 1934. 56. Giuseppe Bottai, ‘Una rivoluzione nella Rivoluzione: la nuova legge corporativa’, Critica fascista, XI, 15 December 1933. 57. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il duce 1. Gli anni del consenso, pp. 311–14. 58. Daniele Marchesini, La scuola dei gerarchi: mistica fascista: storia, problemi, istituzioni (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1976), p. 121. 59. Luciano Zani, Fascismo, autarchia, commercio estero. Felice Guarneri un tecnocrate al servizio dello ‘Stato nuovo’ (Bologna: il Mulino, 1988), p. 8. 60. BMOO XXVI pp. 86–9. For a case made about the need for protectionism from the highest capitalists circles, see Ettore Conti, ‘Difendiamo il lavoro italiano’, Gerarchia, XII, April 1932. Conti, born 1871, was a leading industrialist, who became a PNF member in 1932. He was ennobled as Conte di Verampio in 1938. 61. For a detailed study, see Nicola De Ianni, Il ministro soldato: vita di Guido Jung (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 2009). Mussolini, with a shock jock’s careless anti-Semitism, declared in 1932, ‘a Jew should be head of finance’. See Sam Waagenaar, The Pope’s Jews (London: Alcove Press, 1974), p. 295. 62. SPDCR 4, 6 February 1933, Mussolini to Jung; 10 March 1934, Mussolini to Jung. For the Vatican, see John Pollard, Money and the rise of the modern papacy: financing the Vatican, 1850–1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 180–1. 63. Alberto Aquarone, ‘Italy, the crisis and the corporative economy’, Journal of Contemporary History, 4, iv, 1969, p. 56. 64. SPDCR 98, 14 March 1934, telephone tap. 65. Giovanni Gentile, ‘Parole preliminari’, Civiltà Fascista, I, January 1934. 66. Giuseppe Bottai, ‘Appelli all’uomo’, Critica fascista, XII, 1 January 1934. 67. Luigi Einaudi, ‘The future of the Italian press’, Foreign Affairs, 23, iii, 1945, p. 506. 68. For more detail, see Roberto Maiocchi, Gli scienziati del Duce: il ruolo dei ricercatori e del CNR nella politica autarchica del fascismo (Rome: Carocci, 2003). 69. Guido Melis, Storia dell’amministrazione italiana 1861–1943 (Bologna: il Mulino, 1996), pp. 338, 374. 70. Ibid., p. 362. 71. Chiara Giorgi, La previdenza del regime: storia dell’Inps durante il fascismo (Bologna: il Mulino, 2004), p. 69. 72. See Maria Quine, Italy’s social revolution: charity and welfare from liberalism to Fascism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), p. 118. 73. Paul Corner, La dittatura fascista: consenso e controllo durante il Ventennio (Rome: Carocci, 2017), pp. 85–91 74. Guido Melis, La macchina imperfetta: immagine e realtà dello Stato fascista (Bologna: il Mulino), pp. 452–67. 75. Ibid., pp. 175–80.

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NOTES to pp. 160–165  76. L’Artigiano, 6 May 1934.   77. Eugenia Paulicelli, Fashion under Fascism: beyond the black shirt (Oxford: Berg, 2004), p. 21.   78. See the piece in that regard in Stirpe italica, II, June 1934.   79. Donald Sassoon, Contemporary Italy: politics, economy and society since 1945 (London: Longman, 1988), p. 32.   80. For an account of his career, see Mimmo Franzinelli and Marco Magnani, Beneduce, il finanziere di Mussolini (Milan: Mondadori, 2009).   81. SPDCR 98, 10 April 1939, Beneduce to Mussolini.   82. Perry Willson, Peasant women and politics in Fascist Italy: the Massaie Rurali (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 15.  83. Tiago Saraiva, Fascist pigs: technoscientific organisms and the history of fascism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016), p. 42.   84. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s peasants: resistance and survival in the Russian village after collectivization (Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 4–5.  85. Ibid., pp. 233, 288, 296, 320.   86. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: ordinary life in extraordinary times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s (Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 227.   87. Edward Banfield, The moral basis of a backward society (New York: Free Press, 1958), p. 94.  88. Ibid., p. 93.  89. Ibid., p. 75.  90. Ibid., p. 162.   91. CP 1086, case of Celeste Zunino.   92. Percy Allum, Politics and society in post-war Naples (Cambridge University Press, 1973), p. 72.   93. Henner Hess, Mafia and mafiosi: the structure of power (London: Saxon House, 1973), p. 134.   94. Danilo Dolci, The man who plays alone (London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1968), p. 4.  95. Pino Arlacchi, Mafia, peasants and great estates: society in traditional Calabria (Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 172.   96. Pino Arlacchi, Mafia business: the Mafia ethic and the spirit of capitalism (London: Verso, 1987), p. 36.   97. In fact a statement in 1910 by accountant and later prime minister, F.S. Nitti, cited by Gaetano Cingari, Storia della Calabria dall’Unità a oggi (Bari: Laterza, 1982), p. 173.   98. Feliks Gross, Il Paese: values and social change in an Italian village (New York University Press, 1973), p. 279. The villagers near Rome recalled ‘Fascism’ favourably and ‘the monarchy’ unfavourably since it was blamed for Italy’s wars.   99. Maureen J. Giovannini, ‘A structural analysis of proverbs in a Sicilian village’, American Ethnologist, 5, 1978, pp. 324–6. Giovannini adds cautiously that not all proverbs are consistent. 100. Anthony H. Galt, Far from the Church bells: settlement and society in an Apulian town (Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. xi. 101. Shirley Guiton, A world by itself: tradition and change in the Venetian lagoon (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1977), p. 16. 102. Ann Cornelisen, Flight from Torregreca: strangers and pilgrims (London: Macmillan, 1980), p. 16. 103. Charlotte Gower Chapman, Milocca: a Sicilian village (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1973), pp. 7, 19, 36, 94, 124, 155–6, 223, 232. 104. Roger Absalom, A strange alliance: aspects of escape and survival in Italy 1943–45 (Florence: Olschki, 1991), pp. 17, 21–2, 146. 105. See, for example, Roy MacGregor-Hastie, The day of the lion: the life and death of Fascist Italy (London: Macdonald, 1963).

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NOTES to pp. 165–170 106. Roy MacGregor-Hastie, Signor Roy: a British pioneer of the Co-operative movement in Italy (London: SMH, 2016), p. 24. 107. Ibid., pp. 28–30. 108. Carlo Levi, Christ stopped at Eboli: the story of a year (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1947), p. 76. 109. Giovanni Ansaldo, L’antifascista riluttante: memorie del carcere e del confino 1926–1927 (ed. Marcello Staglieno) (Bologna: il Mulino, 1992), pp. 297–8. 110. Ibid., p. 286. 111. Ibid., p. 357. He did admit that communist prisoners had a discipline and purpose not shared by, or with, others. 112. Camilla Ravera, Vita in carcere e al confino con lettere e documenti (ed. Ada Gobetti) (Parma: Guanda, 1969), pp. 84, 282, 289; Diario di Trent’anni 1913–1943 (Rome: Riuniti, 1973), pp. 537–8, 594–5. 113. Jaurès Busoni, Nel tempo del fascismo (Rome: Riuniti, 1975), p. 150. 114. Cesira Fiori, Una donna nelle carceri fasciste (Rome: Riuniti, 1965), pp. 172–5. 115. Carlo Spartaco Capogreco, Ferramonti: la vita e gli uomini del più grande campo d’interna­ mento fascista (1940–1945) (Florence: La Giuntina, 1987), p. 47. The camp took the local paese’s sugar supply since paesani were still accustomed to using honey as a sweetener. 116. https://www.istat.it/it/files//2011/06/Italy2011.pdf (accessed 6 March 2019). 117. Nicola Labanca, Una guerra per l’impero: memorie della campagna d’Etiopia (Bologna: il Mulino, 2005), p. 65. 118. John Davis, Land and family in Pisticci (London: Athlone Press, 1973), p. 21. Davis may not have been fully informed about Italian politics since he thought the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale was a ‘socialist’ movement. 119. Carlo Spartaco Capogreco, I campi del duce: l’internamento civile nell’Italia fascista (1940–1943) (Turin: Einaudi, 2004), p. 27. 120. Tullio Cianetti, Memorie dal carcere di Verona (ed. Renzo De Felice) (Milan: Rizzoli, 1983), p. xiv. 121. Ibid., p. 15, 122. Ibid., pp. 96, 148. 123. Ibid., pp. 164, 178, 243, 249, 257, 299, 303. 124. BMOO XXIX, p. 15, speech of 27 October 1937. 125. Dino Grandi, Bonifica umana: decennale delle leggi penali e della riforma penitenziaria, 2 vols (Rome: Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia, 1941). 126. Dante Gaggio, The shaping of Tuscany: landscape and society between tradition and modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 28–30. 127. BMOO XXV– XXVIII, itineraries. 128. For a compendium, see https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citt%C3%A0_di_fondazione_ nel_periodo_fascista (accessed 7 March 2019). 129. See, for example, https://www.newsweek.com/2015/04/24/mussolinis-latina-townremains-living-monument-fascist-nostalgia-322777.html (accessed 7 March 2019). 130. Oscar Gasparri, L’emigrazione veneta nell’Agro Pontino durante il periodo fascista (Brescia: Morcelliana, 1985), p. 82. 131. For evocation, see Antonio Pennacchi, Palude: storia d’amore di spettri e di trapianti (Rome: Donzelli, 1995). 132. Bosworth, Claretta, p. 118. 133. Giorgio Pini and Duilio Susmel, Mussolini: l’uomo e l’opera, vol. III (Florence: La Fenice, 1955), p. 361. For more about the local aspect of his importunate family, see Vittorio Emiliani, Il paese di Mussolini (Turin: Einaudi, 1984); I tre Mussolini: Luigi, Alessandro, Benito (Milan: Baldini and Castaldi, 1997). 134. Mauro Canali and Clemente Volpini, Mussolini e i ladri del regime: gli arricchimenti illeciti del fascismo (Milan: Mondadori, 2019), pp. 184-7, 194–8. 135. Ernesto Brunetta, ‘Dalla Grande Guerra alla Repubblica’ in Silvio Lanaro (ed.), Il Veneto (Turin: Einaudi, 1984), p. 960.

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NOTES to pp. 171–174 136. Mimmo Franzinelli, Fascismo anno zero: 1919: la nascita dei Fasci italiani di combatti­ mento (Milan: Mondadori, 2019), pp. 56–7. 137. Margherita Sarfatti, ‘L’Italia di oggi’, Augustea, XI, 15 December 1933. 138. For her story in English, see Philip V. Cannistraro and Brian R. Sullivan, Il Duce’s other woman (New York: William Morrow, 1993). Reflecting on their relationship late in her life, Sarfatti vituperatively and unforgivingly labelled Mussolini ‘a despicable ingrate, petty tyrant and moral coward’, while affirming that he suffered from tertiary neurosyphilis, a claim not endorsed by professional medical reports. See Margherita Sarfatti, My fault: Mussolini as I knew him (ed. Brian R. Sullivan) (New York: Enigma Books, 2014). 139. Bosworth, Claretta, pp. 213–14. 140. Perry Willson, Peasant women and politics in Fascist Italy, p. 58. 141. Ibid., p. 103. 142. Victoria De Grazia, How Fascism ruled women: Italy 1922–1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), p. 9. 143. Willson, Peasant women and politics in Fascist Italy, p. 40. 144. Elizabeth Dixon Whitaker, Measuring mamma’s milk: Fascism and the medicalization of maternity in Italy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), p. 179. 145. Cesare Vannutelli, ‘The living standard of Italian workers 1929–1939’ in Roland Sarti (ed.), The Ax within: Italian fascism in action (New York: New Viewpoints), p. 149. 146. De Grazia, How Fascism ruled women, p. 1. 147. Ibid., p. 197. 148. Michela De Giorgio, Le italiane dall’Unità a oggi: modelli culturali e comportamenti sociali (Bari: Laterza, 1992), p. 125. 149. Aldo Grandi, I giovani di Mussolini: Fascisti convinti, fascisti pentiti, antifascisti (Milan: Baldini and Castoldi, 2001), p. 330. 150. Roberto Festorazzi, Starace: il mastino della rivoluzione fascista, pp. 88–9. 151. See, for example, Gabriella Parca, Italian women confess (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1963); Love, Italian style (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1966). 152. See Paul Ginsborg, Family politics: domestic life, devastation and survival 1900–1950 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press). 153. MacGregor Knox, To the threshold of power 1922/33: origins and dynamics of the Fascist and National Socialist dictatorships, vol. 1 (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 400. 154. See, for example, BMOO XXVI, pp. 185–93, Mussolini’s speech on 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Fasci di combattimento. 155. DDI 7s, XV, 54, 31 March 1934, report of meeting between Mussolini and Balbo with Spanish rightists; 100, 14 April 1934, Balbo to Mussolini. Cf. Paul Preston, The Spanish Holocaust: inquisition and extermination in twentieth-century Spain (London: HarperPress, 2013), pp. 63–4. 156. José Antonio Primo De Rivera, Selected writings (ed. Hugh Thomas) (London: Jonathan Cape, 1972), pp.70–2. 157. See Gustavo Selvi, ‘Fermentazione fascista nel mondo’ Gerarchia, XV, July 1935, which foresaw Spain merely becoming ‘ever more decrepit’. 158. For detail, see Stephen Dorril, Blackshirt: Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism (London: Penguin, 2007), pp. 236; 244; 256; 336–7; 378; 412. Dorril’s maths could be clearer and simpler. 159. SPDCO 157286, various letters and reports. Campbell bore a raccomandazione from Mosley. 160. FO 800/289, Simon papers, 16 February 1934, Drummond to Simon. 161. Maurizio Serra, La ferita della modernità: intellettuali, totalitarismo e immagine del nemico (Bologna: il Mulino, 1992), pp. 109–11. 162. See, notably, Roberto Farinacci, ‘Rilievi mensili’, La Vita Italiana, 15 March 1934. 163. Giovanni Preziosi, ‘Fatti e commenti’, La Vita Italiana, 15 September 1934. 164. Il Messaggero, 15 April 1933. Cf. 16 April, when the paper underlined Dollfuss’s delight in ‘the friendship of Fascist Italy’.

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NOTES to pp. 174–178 165. BMOO, XXVI, pp. 40–7. Cf. pp. 408–9 repeated such advice 9 September. 166. Gioventù fascista, III, 10 March XI [1933]. 167. BMOO XXVI, p. 10. Cf. a further piece on ‘Roosevelt and his system’, 7 July 1933 (pp. 22–4). 168. Luigi Barzini, ‘L’Italia ha ragione’, Gerarchia, XIII, August 1933. Cf. Piero Sacerdoti, ‘L’America verso il fascismo’, Gerarchia, XIII, November 1933 and Ernesto Brunetta, ‘Esperimento di Roosevelt’, Critica fascista, XI, 1 September 1933. 169. Antonio Landolfi, ‘FDR e il suo primo anno di presidenza’, La Vita Italiana, XLIII, 15 April 1934. 170. For a review of American understandings of Corporatism, see Matteo Pretelli, ‘La “terza via” corporativa e la sua ricezione negli Stati Uniti’, Rivista Storica Italiana, CXXXI, I, 2019, pp. 233–55. This issue has nine articles on attitudes to the Fascist economy edited by Antonello Mattone. 171. Giuseppe Bottai, ‘Corporate State and N.R.A’, Foreign Affairs, 13, July 1935, pp. 612–24. 172. Paolo Drigo, ‘Alto Adige – Anno XII’, La Rassegna Italiana, XVIII, March 1934. 173. DDI 7s, XV, 270, 21 May 1934, Mussolini–De Vecchi talk. 174. BMOO XXVI, pp. 232–3, article of 26 May 1934. 175. Renzetti had boosted the visit, no doubt in his own interest. See DDI 7s, XV, 396 and 401, 13 and 14 June 1934, Renzetti to Mussolini. When the Führer got home, Renzetti claimed that Hitler had been ‘radiant’ in his memory of Venice. 419, 19–20 June 1934, Renzetti to Mussolini. In September, Renzetti heard, to his disgust, that he was to be transferred to Colombo. 845, 20 September 1934, Renzetti to Suvich. 176. Bosworth, Italian Venice, pp. 135–6; Christian Goeschel, Mussolini and Hitler: the forging of the Fascist alliance (London: Yale University Press, 2018), pp. 45–51. 177. Girolamo Sommi Picenardi, ‘Rosenberg l’anticristo’, La Vita Italiana, XLIII, 15 June 1934. 178. BMOO XXVI, pp. 268–9, article in Il Popolo d’Italia, 22 June 1934. 179. The Times, 13 June 1934. 180. The Duce took pains to have the Dollfuss family well treated then, and on a further summer holiday in 1935. See SPDCR 71, 26 July 1934, Mussolini to Austrian vicechancellor, 10 July 1935, prefectural note. 181. L’Illustrazione Vaticana, V, 1–15 August 1934. Cf. DDI 7s, XV, 744, De Vecchi to Mussolini confirming the Vatican’s deep hostility to the Nazi regime and its behaviour. 182. Il Mare Nostro, VII, July 1934. 183. Stirpe Italica, II, September 1934. 184. Ugo Nanni, ‘La questione dell “Anschluss” ’, Gerarchia, XIV, September 1934. 185. See, for example, L’Illustrazione Italiana, 29 July, 5 August 1934. 186. BMOO XXVI, pp. 309–10; 315–16 (articles in Il Popolo d’Italia, 29 July, 5 September 1934); pp. 318–20 (speech at Bari, 6 September 1934). 187. John Pollard, The papacy in the age of totalitarianism 1914–1958 (Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 254, 188. FO 800/291 Simon papers, 27 July 1934, Simon to MacDonald. 189. FO 800/289, 7 August 1934, Simon to Neville Chamberlain. 190. For a typical friendly exchange between authoritarian leaders, see DDI 7s, XVI, 112, 6 November 1934, report of Mussolini–Gömbös meeting. 191. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il duce 1. Gli anni del consenso, p. 554. 192. The Times, 9 October 1934. 193. Jacob Hoptner, Yugoslavia in crisis 1934–41 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962), pp. 21–3. 194. James J. Sadkovich, Italian support for Croatian separatism 1927–1937 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1987), pp. 127, 229, 252. 195. Robert Mallett, Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935: the origins of Fascist Italy’s African war (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 111–12.

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NOTES to pp. 180–184 CHAPTER 7  THE FASCIST MAP OF EUROPE MOVES TO AFRICA: ETHIOPIA, EMPIRE AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES  1. For the unrepentant imperialism of this ‘career diplomat’, see Raffaele Guariglia, ‘Il conflitto italo-etiopico’, Gerarchia, XVI, February 1936, pp. 93–101, where he was convinced that ‘the will of a great people’ to expand could not be blocked by ‘barbarous’ locals.   2. DDI 7s, XV, 202, 10 May 1934, Mussolini to Vinci.   3. DDI 7s, XV, 219, 12 May 1934, Badoglio to De Bono.   4. SPDCO 3, 22 October 1934, informer report.   5. DDI 7s, XV, 501, 7 July 1934, Mussolini to De Bono.   6. Ion S. Munro, Through Fascism to world power (London: Alexander Maclehose, 1933), p. 270.   7. DDI 7s, XV, 684, 10 August 1934, Mussolini to representatives abroad; 686, 10 August 1934, Mussolini to De Bono, Baistrocchi, Cavagnari, Valle. This latter is also in BMOO XLII, p. 845.   8. Paul Preston, The Spanish Holocaust: inquisition and extermination in twentieth-century Spain (London: HarperPress, 2012), pp. 75–85.   9. See DDI 7s, XVI, 112, 6 November 1934, report of Mussolini–Gömbös meeting; 157, 17 November 1934, report of Mussolini–Schuschnigg meeting. 10. See, for example, DDI 8s, I, 114, 30 April 1935 SIM to Mussolini, with a report on the lack of Austrian enthusiasm for Italian protection. 11. Giovinissima, V, December 1934. 12. Giacomo Acerbo, Fra due plotoni di esecuzione: avvenimenti e problemi dell’epoca fascista (Rocca San Casciano: Cappelli, 1968), p. 382. 13. DDI 7s, XVI, 358, 30 December 1934, Mussolini directive. Also in BMOO XXXVIII, pp. 141–4. 14. See R.J.B. Bosworth, Italy, the least of the Great Powers: Italian foreign policy before the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 127–95. During the Second World War, Giovanni Preziosi blamed any criticism on a Jewish conspiracy. See his Giudaismo, bolscevismo, plutocrazia, massoneria (Milan: Mondadori, 1941). 15. For background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Italy and the approach of the First World War (London: Macmillan, 1983), pp. 121–41. 16. See chapter 5, p. 125–6. 17. DDI 7s, XVI, 391, 5 January 1935, memorandum of Mussolini–Laval talk. 18. William I. Shorrock, From ally to enemy: the enigma of Fascist Italy in French diplomacy 1920–1940 (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1988), pp. 118, 131. 19. Pietro Quaroni, La politica estera italiana dal 1914 al 1945 (ed. Luciano Monzali) (Rome: Società Editrice Dante Alighieri, 2018), p. 89. 20. Ibid., p. 106. 21. DDI 7s, XVI, 492, 25 January 1935, Mussolini to Grandi. 22. DDI 7s, XVI, 545, 4 February 1935, Grandi to Mussolini; 659, 26 February 1935, Grandi to Mussolini. 23. DDI 7s, XVI, 707, 8 March 1935, Mussolini to De Bono. Naturally, De Bono’s appointment was contested among other leading Fascists as Farinacci, helpfully or maliciously, was quick to tell him. Carte Farinacci, 16, 3 April 1935, Farinacci to De Bono. 24. BMOO XXVIII, pp. 52–3, article 4 April 1935. 25. DDI 7s, XVI, 922, 14 April 1935, Stresa resolutions. 26. Carlo Giglio, ‘Caratteri dell’imperialismo britannico nel dopoguerra’, La Civiltà Fascista, II, March 1935. 27. See La vita Italiana, f. 265, 15 April 1935; f. 266, 15 May 1935. Cf. M. De Silva, ‘Metafisica razzista e fede cristiana: lettera dalla Germania’, Critica fascista, XIII, 15 April 1935, claiming that Nazism stood in deep opposition to Catholic and Roman faith. 28. Il Mare Nostro, 8, editorial, March 1935.

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NOTES to pp. 184–190 29. Giovanissima, V, March–April 1935. 30. John Gooch, Mussolini and his generals: the armed forces and Fascist foreign policy, 1922– 1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 259. 31. Il Popolo d’Italia, 22 May 1935. 32. DDI 8s, I, 60, 20 April 1935, Mussolini to Grandi. 33. DDI 8s, I, 247, 18 May 1935, Mussolini to De Bono. 34. BMOO XXVII, pp. 76–80, 25 May 1935. 35. MI DGPS DPP 46, Cat. C, 11/58/2, report of 15 March 1935. 36. MI DGPS DPP 46, Cat. C, 11/58/2, report of 20 May 1935. 37. SPEP 28, 4 May 1935, report. 38. SPEP 26, 15 April, 21 June reports. 39. See Robert Mallett, Mussolini in Ethiopia: the origins of Fascist Italy’s African War (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 144–6. 40. DDI 8s, I, 419, 21 June 1935, Renzetti to Mussolini. 41. See Eugenio Di Rienzo, Il ‘Gioco degli Imperi’: la guerrra d’Etiopia e le origini del secondo conflitto mondiale (Rome: Società Editrice Dante Alighieri, 2016), pp. 89, 102–3. 42. Paul Corner, La dittatura fascista: consenso e controllo durante il Ventennio (Rome: Carocci, 2017), pp. 61–8, 97–101. 43. For an analysis of the matter, see Matteo Millan, Squadristi e squadrismo nella dittatura fascista (Rome: Viella, 2014). 44. BMOO XXVII, pp. 202–3, 18 December 1935, speech at Pontinia. 45. Corriere Emiliano; Gazzetta di Parma, 19 May 1935. 46. Joe Maiolo, Cry Havoc: the arms race and the Second World War 1931–1941 (London: John Murray, 2010), p. 65. 47. For telling case studies, see R.J.B. Bosworth, ‘War, totalitarianism and “deep belief ” in Fascist Italy 1935–1943’, European History Quarterly, 34, 2004, pp. 475–505. 48. See, for example, Rosaria Quartararo, Roma tra Londra e Berlino: la politica estera fascista dal 1931 al 1940 (Rome: Bonacci, 1980), pp. 85–150. 49. Il Mare Nostro: Stirpe Italica, XXVII, April 1936. 50. Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2019), p. 203; Il ‘Gioco degli Imperi’, p. 9. 51. Samuel Hoare (Viscount Templewood), Nine troubled years (London: Collins, 1954), pp. 154–5, recalled Mussolini as then having been a ‘Milan mob leader’ but did not underline his own efforts as paymaster-spy. 52. FO 800/290, Simon papers, 21 May 1935, Eden to Simon. 53. DDI 8s, I, 431, 24 June 1935, Mussolini–Eden talk. 54. Anthony Eden, Memoirs vol. II: facing the dictators (London: Cassell, 1962), pp. 74–9. 55. David Dutton, Anthony Eden: a life and reputation (London: Arnold, 1997), p. 47. 56. Ibid., pp. 69, 97. 57. Phipps papers, 1/22, 22 April 1939, Phipps to Halifax. 58. FO 800/295, Hoare papers, 27 July 1935, Hoare to Drummond. 59. Frank Hardie, The Abyssinian crisis (London: Batsford, 1974), p. 123. 60. The British Cabinet self-righteously worried about the French reaction, but scarcely noticed the Italians. See CAB 23/82, 19 June 1935, report. 61. Mallett, Mussolini in Ethiopia, pp. 181–3. 62. Robert R. James (ed.), Chips: the diaries of Chips Channon: lives and letters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970), p. 53. 63. House of Lords, debates, vol. 98, pp. 1111–18, session of 22 October 1935. 64. FO 800/295, Hoare papers, 13 October 1935, Wigram to Hoare. 65. FO 800/295, Hoare papers, 14 July 1935, Sir Edward Grigg to Hoare. 66. FO 800/295, 18 August 1935, Hoare to N. Chamberlain; cf. 27 August 1935, Drummond to Hoare, further stressing the ‘mad dog’ parallel. Hoare repeated the phrase in an explanatory note to King George V, 14 September 1935. It may be assumed that the dog-loving

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NOTES to pp. 190–194 British upper classes assumed that the Dover Strait mercifully separated them from canine rabies. Already in 1923, King George V had expressed his own fear that the foreign dictator would prove to be a ‘mad dog’. Kenneth Rose, King George V (London: Macmillan, 1983), p. 387. 67. FO 800/295, 25 August 1935, Churchill to Hoare. 68. Giuseppe Bottai, ‘Abissinia: impresa rivoluzionaria’, Critica Fascista, XIII, 15 July 1935. 69. La Vita Italiana, 15 July 1935. 70. DDI 8s, II, 202, 29 September 1935, Mussolini to De Bono. 71. BMOO XXVII, pp. 158–160, speech of 2 October 1935. 72. DDI 8s, II, 284, 7 October 1935, Grandi to Mussolini. 73. G. Baer, Test case: Italy, Ethiopia and the League of Nations (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1976), p. 79. 74. Petra Terhoeven, Oro alla patria: donne, guerra e propaganda nella giornata della Fede fascista (Bologna: il Mulino, 2006), p. 37. 75. See R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta: Mussolini’s last lover (London: Yale University Press, 2017), pp. 101–3. 76. Giuseppe Bottai, Diario 1935–1944 (ed. Giordano Bruno Guerri) (Milan: Rizzoli, 1982), p. 102. 77. See, for example, the strong advice from the Committee of Imperial Defence to the British prime minister, not to risk such an affront to Italy. Hankey papers 8/33, 25 November 1935, Hankey to Baldwin. 78. Petra Terhoeven, Oro alla patria, p. 73. 79. For some scepticism in this regard, see Paul Corner, La dittatura fascista, pp. 118–25. 80. Terhoeven, Oro alla patria, p. 196. 81. MacGregor Knox, Common destiny: dictatorship, foreign policy, and war in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 140–2. 82. Phipps papers, 1/15, 19 December 1935, Phipps to Hoare. 83. DDI 8s, II, 795, 4 December 1935, Mussolini to Grandi. 84. Di Rienzo, Il ‘Gioco degli Imperi’, pp. 89–104. 85. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il duce: I, Gli anni del consenso 1929–1936 (Turin: Einaudi, 1974), pp. 708–9. 86. For Mussolini’s celebratory speeches of 5 and 9 May, see BMOO XXVII, pp. 265–6, 268–9. 87. For background, see Gaynor Johnson, ‘Philip Noel-Baker, the League of Nations and the Abyssinian crisis, 1935–1936’ in G. Bruce Strang, Collision of empires: Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia and its international impact (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 67–8. 88. Giorgio Rochat, ‘L’impiego dei gas nella guerra d’Etiopia 1935–6’, Rivista di Storia contem­ poranea, XVI, 1988, p. 90. Rochat does add that French military experts were not scandalised by Italian actions (p. 105); Angelo Del Boca, Il mio novecento (Vicenza: Neri Pozza Editore, 2008), p. 350. 89. Del Boca, Il mio novecento, pp. 330–4. 90. John W.S. MacFie, An Ethiopian diary: a record of the British ambulance service in Ethiopia (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1936), pp. 77–8. 91. House of Lords, debates, vol. 99, p. 343, session of 30 March 1936. 92. The Spectator, 7 February 1936. 93. George Seldes, Sawdust Caesar: the untold story of Mussolini and Fascism (London: Arthur Barker, 1936). By April 1936 it was at its fourth impression. 94. Georges Bonnet, Quai d’Orsay (London: Anthony Gibbs, 1965), p. 156. 95. Eden, Facing the dictators, p. 382. 96. Jeffrey T. Sammons, Beyond the ring: the role of boxing in American society (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), p. 102. Carnera had said of an earlier victory over Jack Sharkey that he had ‘conquered for Italy and the Duce’. He had been an emigrant in France until 1928, and began his career there. For details, see Daniele Marchesini, Carnera (Bologna: il Mulino, 2006).

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NOTES to pp. 194–196   97. Frank Rosengarten, The Italian anti-Fascist press (1919–1945): from legal opposition to the underground newspapers of World War II (Cleveland, OH: Case Western University Press, 1968), p. 29.   98. Arnold Toynbee (ed.), Survey of international affairs 1935 vol. II Abyssinia and Italy (London: Oxford University Press, 1936), pp. 84–5.   99. For more detail, see Edward O. Erhagbe and Ehimika A. Ifidon, ‘African-Americans and the Italo-Ethiopian crisis of 1935–1936: the practical dimensions for Pan Africanism’, Aethiopica, 11, 2008, pp. 68–83 and the older S.K.B. Asante, Pan-African protest: West Africa and the Italo-Ethiopian crisis 1934-1941 (London: Longman, 1977). For a more wide-ranging account of international reaction, cf. the chapters in G. Bruce Strang (ed.), Collision of empires. 100. The Economist, 12 October 1935. 101. Indro Montanelli, Soltanto un giornalista: tesimonianza resa a Tiziana Abate (Milan: Rizzoli, 2002), pp. 17–23. 102. Indro Montanelli, ‘Dentro la guerra’, Civiltà Fascista, III, January 1936. 103. Indro Montanelli, ‘Distaccamento in AO’, Nuova Antologia, f. 1556, 16 January 1937. 104. Nicola Labanca, Una guerra per l’impero: memorie della campagna d’Etiopia (Bologna: il Mulino, 2005), p. 103. 105. Vittorio Mussolini, Voli sulle Ambi (Florence: Sansoni, 1937), p. 28. 106. George L. Steer, Caesar in Abyssinia (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1936), p. 279. 107. Nicola Labanca, Oltremare: l’espansione coloniale italiana (Bologna: il Mulino, 2002), p. 355. 108. Patrizia Dogliani, L’Italia fascista 1922–1940 (Milan: Sansoni, 1999), p. 260. 109. Robin Pickering-Iazzi, ‘Mass-mediated fantasies of feminine conquest 1930–1940’, in Patrizia Palumbo (ed.), A place in the sun: Africa in Italian colonial culture from postunification to the present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), p. 207. 110. Emanuele Ertola, In terra d’Africa: gli italiani che colonizzarono l’impero (Rome: Laterza, 2017), p. 171. 111. Haile M. Larebo, The building of an empire: Italian land policy and practice in Ethiopia 1935–1941 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), p. 286. 112. Ertola, In terra d’Africa, p. 102. 113. Alberto Pirelli, Taccuini 1922–1943 (Bologna, Il Mulino, 1984), p. 147 reported that, during the Hoare–Laval crisis he feared Mussolini had gone mad. 114. For Balbo, and notably his doubts in January 1936, see Claudio G. Segrè, Italo Balbo: a Fascist life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), pp. 340–2. 115. For Acerbo, see SPDCR 4, 17 February 1936, Acerbo to Mussolini (a 14-page letter). 116. De Felice, Mussolini il duce I. Gli anni del consenso, p. 641. 117. Renato Bova Scoppa, Colloqui con due dittatori (Rome: Ruffolo, 1949), p. 134. 118. Giuseppe Bottai, Diario 1935–1944, p. 54. 119. Sergio Soave, Federico Chabod politico (Bologna: il Mulino, 1989), p. 16. 120. Giovanni Gentile, ‘Dopo la fondazione dell’impero’, Civiltà Fascista, III, May 1936. 121. Antonella Randazzo, L’Africa del Duce: i crimini fascisti in Africa (Varese: Edizioni Arterigere, 2007), p. 219. 122. Sáska László, Fascist Italian butchery in Ethiopia 1935–1937: an eyewitness account (Trenton, NJ: The Red Sea Press, 2015), p. 64. 123. Federica Saini Fasanotti, Etiopia 1936–1940: le operazioni di polizia coloniale nelle fonti dell’esercito italiano (Rome: Stato Maggiore dell’Esercito, 2010), p. 199. 124. Ertola, In terra d’Africa, pp. 11–12. 125. Luigi Calabrò, Intermezzo africano: ricordi di un Residente di Governo in Etiopia (1937– 1941) (Rome: Bonacci, 1988), p. 38. 126. Achille Starace, Marcia su Gondar della Colonna celere A.O. e le successive operazioni nella Etiopia occidentale (Milan: Mondadori, 1936), pp. 2–3. 127. Ertola, In terra d’Africa, pp. 126–7.

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NOTES to pp. 197–200 128. Angelo Del Boca, Gli italiani in Africa orientale, vol. III, La caduta dell’impero (Bari: Laterza, 1982), p. 240. 129. Le Vie d’Italia, LXIII, January 1938. 130. La Vita Italiana, 15 May 1938. 131. Larebo, The building of an empire, p. 67. 132. Ibid., pp. 14–15, 58–86. 133. Ibid., p. 60. 134. See the enthusiasm of one of Italy’s leading historians of empire (also after 1945), Carlo Giglio, ‘Il partito nell’impero’, Gerarchia, XVI, November 1936. 135. Ertola, In terra d’Africa, pp. 175–87. 136. Ibid., pp. 221–3. 137. In their regard, see Carlo Emilio Gadda, ‘La donna si prepara ai suoi compiti coloniali’, Le Vie d’Italia, XLIV, October 1938. Later, Gadda was to become a brilliant anti-Fascist writer. 138. Alberto Sbacchi, Ethiopia under Mussolini: the colonial experience (London: Zed Books, 1985), p. 108. 139. Giordano Bruno Guerri, Italo Balbo (Milan: Bompiani, 2013), p. 449. 140. Larebo, The building of an empire, pp. 286–7. 141. Angelo Del Boca, Gli italiani in Africa orientale vol. III La caduta dell’impero, p. 180. 142. Felice Guarneri, Battaglie economiche fra le due guerre (ed. Luciano Zani) (Bologna: il Mulino, 1988), p. 97. 143. SPDCR 44, 25 December 1938, Farinacci to Mussolini. 144. Angelo Del Boca, The Ethiopian war (University of Chicago Press, 1969), p. 6. 145. Ertola, In terra d’Africa, p. 230. 146. Giuseppe Pardini, ‘La nascita dell’impero di Roma e la diplomazia britannica’, Nuova Storia Contemporanea, 2s, I, 2018, p. 183. 147. Ertola, In terra d’Africa, pp. 187–99. 148. Claretta Petacci, Mussolini segreto: diari 1932–1938 (ed. Mauro Suttora) (Milan: Rizzoli, 2009), p. 300. 149. Matteo Dominioni, Lo sfascio dell’impero: gli italiani in Etiopia 1936–1941 (Rome: Laterza, 2008), pp. 179–80. 150. Ian Campbell, The Addis Ababa massacre: Italy’s national shame (London: Hurst, 2017), pp. 111, 276. 151. Angelo Del Boca, L’Africa nella coscienza degli italiani: miti, memorie, errori, sconfitte (Bari: Laterza, 1992), p. 42. 152. Giuseppe Ferraro, ‘I deportati dall’impero: gli etiopi confinati in Italia durante il regime fascista’, Nuova Rivista Storica, C, 2016, pp. 243–65. 153. Angelo Del Boca, Il Negus: vita e morte dell’ultimo re dei re (Bari: Laterza, 1995), pp. 205–6. 154. Angelo Del Boca, ‘I non facili rapporti dell’Italia con le sue colonie’ in Angelo Del Boca (ed.), Confini contesi: la Repubblica italiana e il Trattato di Pace di Parigi (10 febbraio 1947) (Turin: EGA, 1998), p. 7. 155. Campbell, The Addis Ababa massacre, p. 44. 156. Ibid., p. 294. When the crude PNF secretary, Aldo Vidussoni, talked about genocide in Slovenia in 1942 (with no serious plan to that end), he evoked the behaviour of ‘African mercenaries’ as his ideal. See Dennison Rusinow, Italy’s Austrian heritage (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), p. 275. 157. As Campbell admits cautiously; The Addis Ababa massacre, pp. 294–5. 158. BMOO XXXVIII, pp. 148–9, 18 November 1937, Mussolini to Amedeo of Savoy; also in SPD CCZ AD 10. 159. L’Italia coloniale, February 1939. 160. Il Legionario, 1 December 1937. 161. See, for example, Il Legionario, 1 December 1937.

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NOTES to pp. 200–206 162. Sbacchi, Ethiopia under Mussolini, pp. 55, 78, 141. 163. Angelo Del Boca, Gli italiani in Africa orientale, vol. III, La caduta dell’impero (Bari: Laterza, 1982), pp. 307–12. 164. SPDCR 3, 28 February 1937, report. 165. For recent work by archaeologists on the matter, see https://core.ac.uk/download/ pdf/36054473.pdf (accessed 3 April 2019). 166. 150 Allied soldiers died in the campaign. For an account, see Andrew Stewart, The First Victory: the Second World War and the East Africa campaign (London: Yale University Press, 2016). 167. Del Boca, Gli italiani in Africa orientale, vol. III, p. 215. 168. De Felice, Mussolini il duce: I. Gli anni del consenso, p. 642. For historiographical background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, The Italian dictatorship: problems and perspectives in the interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism (London: Arnold, 1998), pp. 75–7. 169. Gaetano Salvemini, Prelude to World War II (London: Victor Gollancz, 1953). 170. Vansittart papers 2/29, 17 May 1936, Vansittart minute. 171. Vansittart papers 1/14, 21 May 1936, Vansittart memorandum. 172. The Economist, 14, 21 March 1936. 173. DDI 8s, IX, 42, 2 May 1938, Ciano to Mussolini. 174. For background, see Bosworth, Italy, the least of the Great Powers, pp. 299–336. 175. ‘Giulio De Frenzi’ (Luigi Federzoni), L’Italia nell’Egeo (Rome: Gaetano Garzoni Provenzani, 1913), pp. 113, 125. 176. SPDCR 4, 28 November 1937, 27 April 1939 reports. 177. Cesare Marongiu Buonaiuti, La politica religiosa del Fascismo nel Dodecaneso (Naples: Giannini Editore, 1979), pp. 95–106. 178. For more detail, see Nick Doumanis, Myth and memory in the Mediterranean: remem­ bering Fascism’s empire (London: Macmillan, 1997). 179. Jason H. Tomes, King Zog of Albania: Europe’s self-made Muslim king (New York University Press, 2004), p. 81. 180. Francesco Jacomoni di San Savino, La politica dell’Italia in Albania (Rocca San Casciano: Cappelli, 1965), p. 28. 181. Tomes, King Zog of Albania, pp. 108, 146–7. 182. Ibid., pp. 120–1. 183. Galeazzo Ciano, Diary 1937–1943 (New York: Phoenix Press, 2002), p. 74. Cf. Giuseppe Bottai, Diario 1935–1944, p. 138. 184. Alessandro Rosselli, Italy and Albania: financial relations in the Fascist period (London: I.B.Tauris, 2006), pp. 100–10, 127. 185. Bernd J. Fischer, Albania at war, 1939–1945 (London: Hurst, 1999), p. 177. 186. For background, see Paolo Ferrari, ‘Ugo Cavallero tra industria e stato maggiore’ in Paolo Giovannini and Marco Palla (eds), Il fascismo dalle mani sporche: dittatura, corruzione, affarismo (Rome: Laterza, 2019), pp. 88–105. 187. Francesco Jacomoni di San Savino, La politica dell’Italia in Albania, pp. 164–5. 188. For background, see Bosworth, Claretta, pp. 146–7. 189. San Savino, La politica dell’Italia in Albania, p. 181. 190. Fischer, Albania at war, p. 272. 191. For a general account, see Davide Rodogno, Fascism’s European Empire: Italian occupa­ tion during the Second World War (Cambridge University Press, 2006). 192. Nuto Revelli, Mussolini’s death march: eyewitness accounts of Italian soldiers on the eastern front (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2013), p. 5. 193. Gooch, Mussolini and his generals, pp. 173–4. 194. Ilaria Pavan, Il podestà ebreo: la storia di Renzo Ravenna tra fascismo e leggi razziali (Bari: Laterza, 2006). 195. Segrè, Italo Balbo, pp. 303–4. 196. IBA 15, February 1937, reprinting an article from the West Australian.

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NOTES to pp. 206–211 197. Alessandro Lessona, Scritti e discorsi coloniali (Milan: Editoriale ‘Arte e Scienza’, 1935), p. 201. 198. See, for example, DDI 8s, VII, 365, 22 September 1937, Ciano to Mussolini. 199. Renzo De Felice, Il fascismo e l’Oriente: Arabi, ebrei e indiani nella politica di Mussolini (Bologna: il Mulino, 1988). 200. Guerri, Italo Balbo, p. 470. 201. Martin Moore, Fourth shore: Italy’s mass colonization of Libya (London: George Routledge, 1940), p. 114. 202. Eileen Ryan, Religion as resistance: negotiating authority in Italian Libya (Oxford University Press, 2018), p. 163. 203. Pamela Bollinger, ‘Colonial twilight: Italian settlers and the long decolonization of Libya’, Journal of Contemporary History, 51, 2016, pp. 815–20. According to a regime propagandist, 87,799 Italians outnumbered 54,576 French there in 1921. By 1936 there were 94,289 Italians against 108,068 French. Virginio Gayda, Italia e Francia: problemi aperti (Rome: Giornale d’Italia, 1939), p. 30. 204. Segrè, Italo Balbo, pp. 312–20. 205. Moore, Fourth shore, pp. 96–8. 206. Roberta Pergher, Mussolini’s nation-empire: sovereignty and settlement in Italy’s border­ lands (Cambridge University Press, 2018), p. 5. 207. Ibid., p.131. 208. For more detail, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Italy and the wider world 1860–1960 (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 114–36. 209. Pergher, Mussolini’s nation-empire, p. 156. 210. Ibid., p. 251. 211. Ibid., p. 161. 212. Ibid., p. 134. 213. Patrick Bernhard, ‘Hitler’s Africa in the East: Italian colonies as a model for German planning in Eastern Europe’, Journal of Contemporary History, 51, 2016, pp. 61–90. Pergher makes the sensible point that most European empires and the USA too had experimented with planning of one kind or another. As the child of a family who lived in Adelaide, South Australia 1848–1933, I know that that city’s planner, Colonel William Light, thought he was building a Roman model encampment in the South Seas. 214. In a sardonic review of David Irving, see A.J.P. Taylor, ‘The Fuehrer as Mohican’, The Observer, 12 June 1977. 215. Albert Speer, Spandau: the secret diaries (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978), p. 384. 216. Pergher, Mussolini’s nation-empire, pp. 211–33. 217. See, for example, Götz, Aly, Final solution: Nazi population policy and the murder of the European Jews (London: Arnold, 1998). 218. Pergher, Mussolini’s nation-empire, pp. 143–50. 219. For further development of this difference, see Bosworth, Italy and the wider world and Silvana Patriarca, Italian vices: nation and character from the Risorgimento to the Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2010). 220. Pergher, Mussolini’s nation-empire, p. 156. 221. For a detailed study of this community, see Renzo De Felice, Ebrei in un paese arabo (Bologna: il Mulino, 1978). 222. Pergher, Mussolini’s nation-empire, pp. 179–201. 223. See, for example, the contemporary G.T. Garratt, Mussolini’s Roman empire (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1938) or the racy Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini’s Roman empire (London: Longman, 1976). 224. Caroline Elkins, Britain’s gulag: the brutal end of empire in Kenya (London: Pimlico, 2005), p. 44. 225. Fabio F. Rizi, Benedetto Croce and the birth of the Italian Republic 1943–1952 (University of Toronto Press, 2019), p. 229.

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NOTES to pp. 212–216 CHAPTER 8  AN AXIS OF EVIL, FASCIST RACISM AND A WANING DICTATOR 1936–40  1. Paul Corner, La dittatura fascista: consenso e controllo durante il Ventennio (Rome: Carocci, 2017), p. 98.   2. For the term’s background, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini (rev. edn) (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), pp. 16–33, 290–331.   3. Nicola Labanca, Una guerra per l’impero: memorie dalla campagna d’Etiopia (Bologna: il Mulino, 2005), p. 54.   4. In some minds it still does. As noted above, in 2019, an Argentinian-born great-grandson named Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini is active in the neo-Fascist Fratelli d’Italia party, although in May he failed to win election to the European parliament. See https://www. nextquotidiano.it/caio-giulio-cesare-mussolini-pronipote-del-duce-candidato-meloni/ (accessed 19 April 2019).   5. BMOO XXVIII, pp. 92–3, 17 December 1936.   6. DDI 8s, IV, 1, 10 May 1936, Mussolini to diplomatic representatives.   7. BMOO XLIV, pp. 187–9, 20 August 1936, speech to federali.   8. Gennaro Mondaini, ‘Il significato storico dell’impresa etiopica nell’evoluzione coloniale contemporanea’, Rivista delle Colonie, X, June 1936.   9. APMAE, 5/8. 16 June 1936, Tarquinio Nauto to Duce. 10. Cesare Marroni, Mussolini se stesso (Palermo: G.B. Palumbo Editore, 1939), pp. 7–10. 11. Asvero Gravelli, Una e molti interpretazioni spirituali di Mussolini (Rome: Nuova Europa, 1938), pp. 37, 50. 12. Ubaldo Burani, L’ineluttabilità mussoliniana (Rome: P. Maglione Editore, 1939), pp. 43, 78. 13. Telesio Interlandi, Pane bigio: scritti politici (Bologna: Italia Editore, 1927), p. 28. 14. For the complexities of his life, see http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/armandolodolini_(Dizionario-Biografico)/ (accessed 20 April 2019). 15. Armando Lodolini, La storia della razza italiana da Augusto a Mussolini dedicata agli italiani di Mussolini e specialmente ai giovani e alle scuole (Rome: Unione Editoriale d’Italia, 1939), pp. 300, 312. 16. So a Fascist found him after long years abroad. Giovanni Bastianini, Uomini, cose, fatti: memorie di un ambasciatore (Milan: Vitagliano, 1959), pp. 40–1. 17. William Phillips, Ventures in diplomacy (London: John Murray, 1955), p. 119. 18. Galeazzo Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943 (New York: Enigma Books, 2002), pp. 134–5. 19. BMOO XXIX, pp. 185–96, speech to PNF Council. 20. R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta: Mussolini’s last lover (London: Yale University Press, 2017), pp. 134–5. 21. For an account of such thoughts and occasional suggestions that Ciano might act to replace a tiring Duce, see Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2018). 22. Daniele Varè, The two impostors (London: John Murray, 1949), p. 203; cf. Eugenio Di Rienzo, Ciano, pp. 105–8. 23. Marcello Cirillo (President of the Italian Golf Federation), ‘Preface’ to Anthony Spalding, Golf (Milan: Sperling and Kufper, 1939), p. 115; Mabel Berezin, Making the Fascist self: the political culture of interwar Italy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), p. 121. 24. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, p. 518. 25. Eugen Dollmann, The interpreter: memoirs (London: Hutchinson, 1967), p. 198. 26. See L’Artigiano, 9 May 1937. 27. Bosworth, Claretta, p. 114. 28. Thomas Buzzegoli, ‘L’umorismo antiborghese e le ossessioni della stampa fascista’, Italia contemporanea, 239–40, 2005, p. 177. The PNF was also campaigning to remove the foreign word ‘bridge’ from Italian vocabularies. For Edda’s failure to ‘love the mob’, see Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, p. 10. 29. Yvon De Begnac, Palazzo Venezia: storia di un regime (Rome: Editrice La Rocca, 1950), p. 299.

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NOTES to pp. 216–220 30. Ibid., p. 353. 31. Yvon De Begnac, Taccuini mussoliniani (ed. Renzo De Felice) (Bologna: il Mulino, 1990), p. 202. 32. The confidential papers of Admiral Horthy (eds. Miklos Szinai and Lászlo Szücs) (Budapest: Corvina Press, 1965), 22 August 1936, memorandum. 33. SPEP 19, 1 November 1937, note. Disgracefully the stele was not returned to Ethiopia until 2003–5. 34. It may on occasion have been justified. See CP 141, case of Spartaco Borzi, 6 April 1939, for a conman who tried to win benefits by claiming to be returned from Ethiopia and Spain. 35. Corner, La dittatura fascista, pp. 122–4. 36. Enzo Santarelli, Fascismo e antifascismo: studi e problemi di ricerca (Rome: Riuniti, 1974), p. 121. 37. For an extreme case, see the article by the young racist, Guido Landra, ‘Scienza: per una carta della razza italiana in Francia’, La Difesa della Razza, II, 20 January 1939, where Italian blood, it was claimed, flowed freely all across the Rhone Valley and even in the Vendée. 38. John F. Coverdale, Italian intervention in the Spanish Civil War (Princeton University Press, 1975), p. 38. 39. Franco was presumably finding a Spanish word, with a Latin derivation from caput (head), which could parallel Duce and Führer, although the term had frequently been used for nineteenth-century Latin American dictators. 40. Bosworth, Claretta, pp. 132–3. 41. It is intriguing that the best survey of the bloodiness of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath does not forgo the use of ‘inquisition’. See Paul Preston, The Spanish Holocaust: inquisition and extermination in twentieth-century Spain (London: HarperPress, 2012). 42. DDI 8s, IV, 577, 20 July 1936, Alfonso XIII to Mussolini. 43. For his apologia, see Raffaele Guariglia, Primi passi in diplomazia e rapporti dall’ambas­ ciata di Madrid (Naples: ESI, 1972). 44. He was the author of a score of books, mainly backing his country’s imperial ambitions. For his combination of such hopes with Catholicism, see notably Orazio Pedrazzi, Spagna di Dio (Milan: Garzanti, 1941). 45. DDI 8s, IV, 565, 18 July 1936, Pedrazzi to Ciano. 46. DDI 8s, IV, 570, 20 July; 578, 584, both 21 July 1936, Luccardi to Ministry of War; 596, 23 July 1936, Luccardi to Ministry of War; 599, 23 July 1936, De Rossi to Ciano; 610, 24 July 1936, Ciano to De Rossi; 617, 25 July 1936, De Rossi to Ciano; 630, 27 July 1936, Ciano to De Rossi; 634, 27 July 1936, SIM to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A few days later, the consul in Tangiers reported that nine planes had arrived but two others had crashed in French territory, 661, 31 July 1936, De Rossi to Ciano. 47. Stanley Payne, Franco’s Spain (London: Routledge, 1968), p. 22. 48. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il Duce: II. Lo stato totalitario 1936–1940 (Turin: Einaudi, 1981), p. 364. 49. Di Rienzo, Ciano, pp. 220–2. 50. DDI 8s, IX, 299, 11 July 1938, Ciano to Viola. 51. For details, see SPDCR, 111. 52. Bosworth, Mussolini, p. 252. 53. Lorenzo Baratter, Anna Maria Mussolini: l’ultima figlia del Duce (Milan: Mursia, 2008), p. 27. 54. Di Rienzo, Ciano, p. 220. 55. DDI 8s, V, 154, 4 October 1936, Mussolini to De Rossi. A year later, Mussolini enlarged his formula to urge the creation of a ‘single party, single militia and single union’. They could be the ‘three foundations of the great Spain of tomorrow’. DDI 8s, VII, 191, 9 August 1937, Mussolini to Viola.

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NOTES to pp. 220–226 56. DDI 8s, IV, 805, 28 August 1936, Mussolini to Boscarelli; V, 201, 11 October 1936, Mussolini to Salata. 57. Indro Montanelli, Soltanto un giornalista: testimonianza resa a Tiziana Abate (Milan: Rizzoli, 2002), p. 143. 58. David Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini: the secret history of Pius XI and the rise of Fascism in Europe (Oxford University Press), p. 243. 59. Guido Gonella, Verso la Seconda Guerra Mondiale. Cronache Politiche: ‘Acta Diurna’ 1933–1940 (ed. Franco Malgeri) (Bari: Laterza, 1979), 179, 198. 60. Regni il Cuore sacerdotale di Gesù, 16–19 September 1936. 61. Paul Preston, ‘Italy and Spain in Civil War and World War, 1936–1943’ in Sebastian Balfour and Paul Preston (eds), Spain and the Great Powers in the twentieth century (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 176. 62. De Felice, Mussolini il Duce: II. Lo stato totalitario, p. 465. 63. PCM 1937–9 3.21/2409, 14 August 1937, Guarneri to Medici del Vascello. For an example of such a junket, see L’Artigiano, 5 June 1938. 64. SPEP 19, 27 January 1940, report. 65. Ugo Guspini, L’occhio del regime: le intercettazioni telefoniche al tempo del fascismo (Milan: Mursia, 1973), p. 146. 66. R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini’s Italy: life under the dictatorship 1915–1945 (London: Allen Lane, 2005), p. 402. 67. CP 800, case of Omero Pinzi. 68. Rosselli remains a romantic figure for anti-Fascist popular historians. See Caroline Moorehead, A bold and dangerous family: the Rossellis and the fight against Mussolini (London: Chatto and Windus, 2017); Isabelle Richet, Women, antifascism and Mussolini’s Italy: the life of Marion Cave Rosselli (London: I.B.Tauris, 2018). 69. De Felice, Mussolini il Duce, II. Lo stato totalitario, p. 465. 70. See file in SPDCR 72 and note 17, 20 March 1937, Mussolini to Ciano. 71. DDI 8s, VI, 285, 17 March 1937, Mussolini to Ciano. 72. See, for example, John Harvey (ed.), The diplomatic diaries of Oliver Harvey 1937–1940 (London: Collins, 1970), p. 34; David Dilks (ed.), The diaries of Sir Alexander Cadogan 1938–1945 (London: Cassell, 1971), pp. 171, 292. 73. SPDCR 77, 23 June 1936. After the killing, Mussolini allowed a passport to Amelia Rosselli, the dead brothers’ mother and a patriot. 12 June 1937, Mussolini note. 74. Richet, Women, antifascism and Mussolini’s Italy, pp. 190–1. 75. Maurizio Serra, ‘I cinquanta giorni di un ambasciatore nella Spagna franchista’, Nuova Storia Contemporanea, XVIII, 2014, p. 111. 76. Robert Mallett, Mussolini and the origins of the Second World War, 1933–1940 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 155. For Mallett, Mussolini hoped thereby ‘to gear up for an anti-British war of expansion in North Africa’ (p. 164). 77. John F. Coverdale, Italian intervention in the Spanish Civil War, p. 153. Cf. for example, Mussolini’s merciful suggestion to the Francoists that they allow the Basques to surrender on reasonable terms since they were ‘fervent Catholics who had mistaken their line and are – almost all of them – recoverable for Your Spain’. DDI 8s, VII, 27, 6 July 1937, Mussolini to Bossi. 78. For fuller background, see Matteo Millan, Squadrismo e squadristi nella dittatura fascista (Rome: Viella, 2014), pp. 231–68. 79. SPDCR 38, report of 11 February 1938. Ironically, the day marked the ninth anniversary of the signature of the Lateran Pacts. 80. Farinacci papers, 38 undated report. 81. SPDCR 44, 5 March 1937, Farinacci to Mussolini; cf. 1 March 1937, Mussolini to Farinacci. 82. Preston, The Spanish Holocaust, p. xi. 83. CP 962. 84. FO 371/23818/R5643 6 July 1939, Loraine to Halifax.

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NOTES to pp. 226–230   85. MI DGPS 8/4 Cat. B 87/2, reports of 26 August, 29 September 1936.  86. MacGregor Knox, Mussolini unleashed 1939–1941: politics and strategy in Italy’s last war (Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 30.  87. Bosworth, Mussolini, p. 234.  88. Rassegna della Proprietà Edilizia, IX, January–March 1937.  89. Corner, La dittatura fascista, p. 172.   90. Farinacci papers, 8, 9 July 1937, Farinacci to Buffarini Guidi.  91. Massimo Legnani, ‘Guerra e governo delle risorse: strategie economiche e soggetti sociali nell’Italia 1940–1943’, Italia contemporanea, 179, 1990, p. 254. In France the figure was more like 20 per cent.   92. Teresa Maria Mazzatosta and Claudio Volpi, L’Italietta fascista (lettere al potere 1936– 1943) (Bologna: Cappelli, 1980), p. 141.   93. For more detail, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Whispering city: Rome and its histories (London: Yale University Press, 2014), pp. 188–93.  94. Mario Sanfilippo, San Lorenzo 1870–1945: storia e ‘storie’ di un quartiere popolare romano (Rome: Edilazio, 2003), p. 94.   95. Ruggero Zangrandi, ‘Un giovane per i giovani: il problema della disoccupazione intellettuale’, Gerarchia, XVII, October 1937. For similar thoughts from Vasco Pratolini, later an eminent anti-Fascist novelist, see Vasco Pratolini, ‘Fine della polemica: testimonianze di giovani’, Critica fascista, XVI, 15 July 1938.   96. FO 954/13A/It/37/37, 25 August 1937, Peter Rodd to Eden. Rodd had joined the BUF in 1933 but soon left.   97. Piero Garafolo and Giorgio Farabegoli, ‘Churches without bells in Fascist Italy’, Modern Italy, 24, 2019, pp. 245–64.   98. Giulia Albanese, ‘Arnaldo Mussolini’, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, 77, 2012.   99. For further detail, see Marie-Anne Matard-Bonucci, ‘Rire sans éclats. Esquisse d’une histoire politique e sociale du rire en régime fasciste’, Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 45, 1998, pp. 170–95. 100. See, for example, Javier Rodrigo, ‘On fascistization: Mussolini’s political project for Franco’s Spain, 1937–1939’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 22, 2017, p. 472. 101. Preston, The Spanish Holocaust, pp. 514–15. 102. For a recent forthright account of the guilt of many Italians in the Fascist version of the Holocaust, see Simon Levis Sullam, The Italian executioners: the genocide of the Jews of Italy (Princeton University Press, 2018). Levis Sullam makes no comment on the more numerous killings of blacks and Arabs in the empire. 103. G. Piscatelli, ‘Il fondamento etico-religioso della politica inglese’, and Giovanni Preziosi, La Vita Italiana, f. 274, 15 January 1936. The same issue contained an article by Ezra Pound damning usury and banking, and hailing Corporatism. 104. Pietro Chimienti, ‘La conquista dello Stato’, Gerarchia, XVII, February 1937. 105. La Vita Italiana, f. 277, 15 April 1936. 106. DDI 8s, III, 357, 3 March 1936, Ravenna to Mussolini. 107. For such German influence, see Aaron Gillette, ‘The origins of the “Manifesto of the racial scientists” ’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 6, 2001, p. 312; cf. also his Racial theories in Fascist Italy (London: Routledge, 2002). 108. For a lengthy exposition of this latter view where ‘race consciousness’ was to be ‘the new frontier of the Patria’, see Civiltà Fascista, V, August 1938. But cf. BMOO XXIX, pp. 125–6, article in Il Popolo d’Italia, 26 July 1938, where Mussolini declared Italians to be ‘Aryans’, that is, the people ‘who have created world civilisation’. 109. Susan Zucotti, The Italians and the Holocaust: persecution, rescue and survival (New York: Basic Books, 1987), p. 40. 110. Claretta Petacci, Mussolini segreto: Diari 1932–1938 (ed. Mauro Suttora) (Milan: Rizzoli, 2009), pp. 422–3. 111. Ibid., p. 413. 112. Ibid., p. 425.

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NOTES to pp. 230–232 113. L’Illustrazione italiana, 9 October 1938. 114. Shira Klein, Italy’s Jews from emancipation to Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 148, 156, 165, 169. 115. For an example, see Giovanni Preziosi, ‘Era mussoliniana’, La Vita Italiana, LII, 15 August 1938, dating the Duce’s anti-Semitism to 1921. 116. DDI 8s, IX, 375, Note 18 of diplomatic information, 5 August 1938. It did not note that strong and handsome indigenous men and women worked in the villas of Teruzzi, De Bono, Lessona, Graziani and Volpi demonstrating that the relationship between Fascist words and Italian acts was by no means straightforward. See Barbara Sòrgoni, Parole e corpi: antropologia, discorso giuridico e politiche sessuali interrazziali nella colonia Eritrea (1890–1941) (Naples: Liguori, 1998), p. 189. 117. Sam Waagenaar, The Pope’s Jews (London: Alcove Press, 1974), p. 342. 118. Giorgio Fabre, Il contratto: Mussolini editore di Hitler (Bari: Dedalo, 2004), pp. 21–5, 56–7, 62. 119. Ibid., p. 125. 120. Giacomo Acerbo, Fra due plotoni di esecuzione: avvenimenti e problemi dell’epoca fascista (Rocca San Casciano: Cappelli, 1968), p. 285. 121. Meir Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews: German–Italian relations and the Jewish ques­ tion in Italy 1922–1945 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978), p. 88. 122. For examples, see Shira Klein, Italy’s Jews from emancipation to Fascism, pp. 50–1. 123. Eucadio Momigliano, Storia tragica e grottesca del razzismo fascista (Milan: Mondadori, 1946), p. 47. 124. BMOO XXIX, pp. 32–4, speech of 11 December 1937. 125. Klaus Voigt, ‘Jewish refugees and immigrants to Italy, 1933–1945’, in Ivo Herzer (ed.), The Italian refuge: rescue of the Jews during the Holocaust (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1989), pp. 141–2. For fuller detail, see Klaus Voigt, Il rifugio precario: gli esuli in Italia dal 1933 al 1945 (2 vols) (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1996). 126. Bosworth, Mussolini, p. 278. 127. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, p. 211. 128. See Emilio Segrè, Enrico Fermi: physicist (University of Chicago Press, 1970); cf. also his wife’s critical biography of the Duce: Laura Fermi, Mussolini (University of Chicago Press, 1966). 129. Giorgio Israel and Pietro Nastasi, Scienza e razza nell’Italian fascista (Bologna: il Mulino, 1998), p. 157. See Giorgio Almirante, ‘Nè con 98, nè con 998’, La Difesa della razza, I, 20 October 1938, for a defence of their expulsion by the later long-term leader of the MSI. 130. Georg Zachariae, Mussolini si confessa (rev. edn) (Milan: BUR, 2004), p. 179. 131. Giancarlo Sacerdoti, Ricordi di un ebreo Bolognese: illusioni e delusioni 1929–1945 (Rome: Bonacci, 1983), p. 66. 132. For examples, some successful, some not, see Robert A. Maryks, ‘Pouring Jewish water into Fascist wine’: untold stories of (Catholic) Jews from the archives of Mussolini’s Jesuit Pietro Tacchi Venturi (2 vols), (London: Brill, 2011–17). 133. BMOO XLIV, pp. 203–4, speech of 16 April 1937. 134. See http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/it/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_14031937 _mit-brennender-sorge.html (accessed 26 April 2019). For background, see John Pollard, The papacy in the age of totalitarianism (Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 266–9. 135. DDI 8s, VI, 456, 13 April 1937, Pignatti to Ciano. 136. See, for example, Romano Bilenchi, ‘Appello ai polemisti: Fascismo e Bolscevismo’, Critica fascista, XV, 1 March 1937; Agostino Nasti, ‘L’Italia, il bolscevismo, la Russia’, Critica fascista, XV, 15 March 1937; Tommaso Napolitano, ‘Il “fascismo” di Stalin’, Critica fascista, XV, 15 July 1937. For other heretical thoughts, see Paolo Buchignani, Un fascismo impossibile: l’eresia di Berto Ricci nella cultura del Ventennio (Bologna: il Mulino, 1994). But see also Giuseppe Bastianini, ‘Il Fascismo e i valori della civiltà europea, La Civiltà Fascista, IV, December 1937, where communists are damned as non-European terrorists.

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NOTES to pp. 233–237 137. BMOO XXIX, pp. 61–4, article in Il Popolo d’Italia, 6 March 1938. 138. See, for example, DDI 8s, VIII, 3, 3 January 1938, memorandum; 105, 8 March 1938, Ciano to Grandi. 139. Robert Mallett, Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1919–1935: the origins of Fascist Italy’s African War (Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 200. 140. MacGregor Knox, Common destiny: dictatorship, foreign policy and war in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 57, 66, 78, 109–11, 130. 141. Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il Duce: II. Lo stato totalitario, pp. 427–665, especially pp. 621–7. 142. Rosaria Quartararo, Roma tra Londra e Berlino: la politica estera fascista dal 1931 al 1940 (Rome: Bonacci, 1980), pp. 31, 35, 40–1, 336. 143. Francesco Lefebvre d’Ovidio, ‘Eden, la Guerra italo-etiopica e il test case’, Nuova Rivista Storica, XCIII, 2009, pp. 785–832; Eugenio Di Rienzo, ‘ “Una Grande Potenza a solo titolo di cortesia”. Appunti sulla continuità tra tradizione diplomatica dell’Italia liberale e politica estera fascista’, Nuova Rivista Storica, CI, 2017, pp. 431–56. 144. Francesco Lefebvre d’Ovidio, ‘Il problema austro-tedesco e la crisi della politica estera italiana (luglio 1934 al luglio 1936)’, Storia delle relazioni internazionali, XIV, 1999, pp. 3–4. 145. He would be executed in 1944 for backing the nationalist and Christian ‘July plot’ against Hitler. For his memoirs in that regard, see Ulrich von Hassell, The von Hassell diaries 1938–1944 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1948). 146. See, for example, DDI 8s, III, 36, 10 January 1936, Suvich to Mussolini, 110, 24 January 1936, Suvich–von Hassell talk. 147. DDI 8s, III, 131, 29 January 1936, Suvich to Mussolini. For an account of Germany’s ruthlessly opportunist policy during the Ethiopian war, see Geoffrey T. Waddington, ‘Schreck and schadenfreude: Hitler, German alliance priorities and the Abyssinian crisis, 1935–1936’, in G. Bruce Strang (ed.), Collision of empires: Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia and its international impact (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 205–30. 148. DDI 8s, III, 17 February 1936, Suvich–von Hassell talk. 149. DDI 8s, IV, 208, 7 June 1936, Mussolini to Attolico. 150. Francesco Lefebvre d’Ovidio, ‘Il problema austro-tedesco e la crisi della politica estera italiana (luglio 1934 al luglio 1936)’, p. 39. 151. For a belated example of such reports, see Dante M. Tuninetti, La mia missione segreta in Austria 1937–1938 (Milan: CEBES, 1946), p. 49. 152. See, for example, SPDCR 71, a letter from the Dollfuss women to Anna Maria Mussolini about her illness; 21 March 1938, Alwise Dollfuss to Mussolini thinking him for help in getting her and her family to Switzerland after the Anschluss. 153. See, for example, DDI 8s, III, 24 March 1936, Mussolini–Schuschnigg talk; IV, 55, 15 May 1936 Mussolini to Salata. 154. The Times, 15 May 1936. 155. DDI 8s, VII, 16–17 July 1937, Ciano–Dingli talks. The Maltese Dingli was Neville Chamberlain’s private agent to Italy. 156. BMOO XXVIII, pp. 67–72, speech in Milan, 1 November 1936. 157. Vansittart papers 2/30, 4 December 1936, Drummond to Eden (and attached minutes). 158. FO954/13A/It/37/3, 1 April 1937, Eden memorandum. 159. FO 954/13A/It/37/23, 7 August 1937, Chamberlain to Halifax. 160. Giuseppe Pardini, ‘La nascita dell’impero di Roma e la diplomazia britannica’, Nuova Storia Contemporanea, 2s, I, 2018, p. 161. 161. Matteo L. Napolitano, Mussolini e la conferenza di Locarno (1925): il problema della sicurezza nella politica estera italiana (Urbino: Editrice Montefeltro, 1996), p. 200. 162. DDI 8s, VIII, 235, 27 February 1938, Mussolini memorandum. 163. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, pp. 57–8. 164. DDI 8s, VIII, 193, 19 February 1938, Grandi to Mussolini. Cf. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, p.103.

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NOTES to pp. 237–244 165. Knox, Mussolini unleashed 1939–1941, p. 61. 166. BMOO XXVIII, pp. 248–52. 167. BMOO XXIX, pp. 1–2, article in Il Popolo d’Italia, 6 October 1937. 168. For recent evocation, see Christian Goeschel, Mussolini and Hitler: the forging of a fascist alliance (London: Yale University Press, 2018), pp. 60–128. 169. Bosworth, Claretta, p. 130. 170. Luciana Frassati, Il destino passa per Varsavia (Bologna: Cappelli, 1949), pp. 20–1, 32. 171. DDI 8s, VI, 500, 22–3 April 1937, Mussolini–Schuschnigg talks. 172. FO 371/23824/R1425, 27 February, 3 March 1939, Industrial Intelligence Centre to J.W. Nicholls. Cf. also FO 371/23825/R2955, 14 April 1939, Perth to Halifax. 173. FO 371/23802/R5006, 22 June 1939, A. Noble minute. 174. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, pp. 305–6. 175. BMOO XXIX, pp. 16–8; 23; speeches of 28 October, 19 November 1937. 176. Ernesto Rossi, Padroni del vapore e fascismo (Bari: Laterza, 1966), p. 215. 177. Alessio Gagliardi, ‘The entrepreneurial bourgeoisie and Fascism’, in Giulia Albanese and Roberta Pergher (eds), In the society of Fascists: acclamation, acquiescence and agency in Mussolini’s Italy (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 124–5; cf. also Chiara Fiori, ‘The allure of the welfare state’ in the same volume. 178. Vera Zamagni, The economic history of Italy 1860–1990 (Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 267. 179. Bruno Mantelli, ‘Camerati del lavoro’: i lavoratori italiani emigrati nel Terzo Reich nel periodo dell’Asse 1939–1943 (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1992), pp. 33, 43. 180. Massimo Mazzetti, ‘Recenti studi italiani di storia militare’, Storia contemporanea, 1, 1970, p. 165. 181. Giorgio Rochat, ‘Il fascismo e la preparazione militare al conflitto mondiale’, in Angelo Del Boca, Massimo Legnani and Mario G. Rossi, Il regime fascista: storia e storiografia (Bari: Laterza, 1995), pp. 151–64. 182. Giorgio Rochat and Giulio Massobrio, Breve storia dell’esercito italiano dal 1861 al 1943 (Turin: Einaudi, 1978), p. 215. 183. Ibid., pp. 225, 267, 283. 184. SPDCR 67, 28 July 1937, report. 185. Giuseppe Solari-Bozzi, ‘I tedeschi dei Sudeti: lettera da Praga’, Critica fascista, XVI, 1 April 1938. 186. DDI 8s, IX, 269, 27 June 1938, SIM to Mussolini. 187. DDI 8s, IX, 315, 18 July 1938, Mussolini–Imredy– De Kanya talks. 188. Claretta Petacci, Mussolini segreto, pp. 413–17. 189. SPEP 7, 25 November 1938, report. 190. SPEP 19, 24 January 1939, report. 191. FO 371/23784/R502, 18 January 1939, report on Cabinet. 192. Spampanato papers, 27 January 1939, report. 193. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, pp. 200–3. 194. BMOO XXIX, pp. 249–53, speech of 23 March 1939. 195. See, for example, Vittorio Cini, ‘Presentazione’ Esposizione universale di Roma –Anno XX EF (Rome: Commissariato Generale, 1939). 196. DDI 8s, XII, 59, 30 May 1939, Mussolini to Hitler (also in BMOO XXXV). 197. DDI 8s, 130, 6 June 1939, Attolico to Ciano; 662, 24 July 1939, Mussolini to Berlin embassy. 198. Il Popolo d’Italia, 4 June 1939. 199. See, for example, DDI 8s, XI, 432, 2 July 1939, Ciano to Attolico. 200. DDI 8s, XII, 480, 5 July 1939, Viola to Ciano. 201. DDI 8s, XII, 488, 6 July 1939, Mussolini to Franco. 202. DDI 8s, XII, 592, 16 July 1939, Mameli to Ciano. 203. FO 800/319, Halifax papers, 8 July 1919, Loraine to Halifax. 204. SPEP 21, 10 June 1939, report.

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NOTES to pp. 244–251 205. DPP 220, 24 May 1939, report. 206. DPP 220, 16 August 1939, report. 207. DPP 220, 29 July 1939, report. 208. SPEP 3, 12 August 1939, Prefect’s report. 209. DDI 8s, XII, 740, 1 August 1939, 798, 7 August 1939. 210. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, p. 257. Cf. DDI 8s, XIII, 1, 4, 12 August 1939, Ciano reports; 21, 13 August 1939, Ciano report. 211. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, p. 258. 212. For background, see Eugenio Di Rienzo and Emilio Gin, Le potenze dell’Asse e l’Unione Sovietica 1939–1945 (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 2013). 213. DDI 8s, XIII, 25 August 1939, Hitler to Mussolini. 214. Galeazzo Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, pp. 262–3. 215. DDI 8s, XIII, 136, 21 August 1939, Mussolini to Hitler. 216. DDI 8s, XIII, 250, 25 August, 293, 26 August, both Mussolini to Hitler. Also in BMOO, XXIX, pp. 415–20. 217. BMOO XXIX, pp. 420–1, 28 August 1939, Mussolini to Hitler; also DDI 8s, XIII, 29 August 1939, Ciano to Attolico. Hitler refuses again, 639, 3 September 1939. 218. Ciano, Ciano’s Diary 1937–1943, p. 267. 219. Knox, Mussolini unleashed, pp. 83, 101, 107, 116. 220. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTEN06p6Rqk (accessed 17 January 2020). 221. BMOO XXIX, pp. 403–5.

CONCLUSION WORST OF DICTATORS? THE MEANING OF BENITO MUSSOLINI AND ITALIAN FASCISM IN THE AGE OF TRUMP AND THE POPULISTS    1. For a much hailed account in this genre, where goodies and baddies do breathless battle, see Ben Macintyre, The spy and the traitor: the greatest espionage story of the Cold War (London: Penguin Random House, 2018).   2. Luigi Barzini, The Italians (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968), p. 169.    3. Pound refers to Ezra Pound.    4. See https://www.casapounditalia.org/ (accessed 7 June 2019).    5. https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/tag/casapound/ (accessed 8 July 2019).   6. Alessandro Orsini, Sacrifice: my life in a Fascist militia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017), p. 51.   7. The Independent, 16 October 2018 (https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/italy-fascist -policies-march-rome-matteo-salvini-donald-trump-a8586711.html (accessed 7 June 2019).    8. For my commentary in regard to the reaction to the purported ‘tragedy’ of his affair with Claretta Petacci, see R.J.B. Bosworth, Claretta: Mussolini’s last lover (London: Yale University Press, 2017), pp. 1–28.   9. Gaetano Salvemini, Carteggio 1921–1926 (Bari: Laterza, 1985), p. 238.   10. Adriano Dal Pont, I lager di Mussolini: l’altra faccia del confino nei documenti della politica fascista (Milan: La Pietra, 1975), p. 24. Over the next two decades numbers lessened, only to be increased again in the First World War.   11. Michael R. Ebner, Ordinary violence in Mussolini’s Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 8.   12. https://ourworldindata.org/homicides (accessed 7 June 2019).   13. For an example of affronted patriotism even among serious academic historians, see Roberto Vivarelli, ‘Di una pseudo-storia d’Italia’, Rivista Storica Italiana, CXXI, 2009, pp. 1255–83. Equally telling are the manifold critiques of the work of Oxbridge historian Denis Mack Smith in Italy, led by Rosario Romeo, his country’s leading conservative patriotic historian of the Risorgimento.

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NOTES to pp. 251–262 14. Arrigo Petacco, La storia ci ha mentito: dai misteri della borsa scomparsa di Mussolini alle ‘armi segrete’ di Hitler, le grandi menzogne del Novecento (Milan: Mondadori, 2014). 15. Arrigo Petacco, Dear Benito, Caro Winston: verità e misteri del carteggio Churchill– Mussolini (Milan: Mondadori, 1985), p. 10. 16. Nino D’Aroma, Mussolini segreto (Rocca San Casciano: Cappelli, 1958), p. 170. 17. Dante Germino, The Italian Fascist Party in power: a study in totalitarian rule (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1959), p. 144. 18. Emilio Gentile, Le origini dell’ideologia fascista (1918–1925) (Bari: Laterza, 1975), p. 4. 19. A. James Gregor, Young Mussolini and the intellectual origins of fascism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), p. xi. 20. Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Triumph and turmoil: a personal history of our time (London: George Allen and Uwin, 1970), p. 140. 21. BMOO XXI, pp. 422–7, speech of 28 October 1925. Mussolini characteristically added that in no way did this definition challenge the monarchy’s position in Italy. 22. Giuseppe Bottai, Vent’anni e un giorno (Milan: BUR, 2008), pp. 106–7; Diario 1944–1948 (ed. Giordano Bruno Guerri) (Milan: Rizzoli, 1988), p. 174. 23. See R.J.B. Bosworth, Explaining Auschwitz and Hiroshima: history writing and the Second World War 1945–1990 (London: Routledge, 1993), pp. 94–117. 24. Paul Ginsborg, Family politics: domestic life, devastation and survival 1900–1950 (London: Yale University Press, 2014), pp. 170, 334. 25. Detlev Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany: conformity, opposition and racism in everyday life (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989), pp. 14–15. 26. Ginsborg, Family politics, p. 396. 27. Ivon De Begnac, Trent’anni di Mussolini, 1883–1915 (Rome: Arti Grafiche Menaglia, 1934), p. 2. 28. Ginsborg, Family politics, pp. 223–5. 29. The Observer, 2 June 2019. 30. Report in The Atlantic, 25 January 2020. See https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ archive/2020/01/obama–2016–trump–fascist/605488/ (accessed 29 January 2020). 31. DDI 8s, IV, 805, 28 August 1936, Mussolini to Boscarelli. 32. See Oddvar K. Høidal, ‘Vidkun Quisling’s decline as a political figure in prewar Norway, 1933–1937’, Journal of Modern History, 43, 1971, pp. 440–67. 33. David Aliano, Mussolini’s national project in Argentina (Madison, WI: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2012), p. 164. 34. Adam Tooze, The wages of destruction: the making and breaking of the Nazi economy (London: Allen Lane, 2006), pp. 462–3, 467–70. 35. BMOO XXV, pp. 48–51. Speech in Naples, 25 October 1931. 36. Grigore Gafencu, The last days of Europe: a diplomatic journey in 1939 (London: F. Muller, 1947), pp. 126–8. 37. A.J.P. Taylor, ‘Dictator without a cause’, in his Politics in wartime and other essays (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1964), p. 201. 38. Roberto Vivarelli, ‘Interpretations of the origins of Fascism’, Journal of Modern History, 63, 1991, p. 29. 39. Emilio Settimelli, Gli animatori: Benito Mussolini (Piacenza: Società Tipografica Editoriale Porta, nd [1922]), pp. 44–5; Giorgio Pini, ‘Ritratto di Mussolini’, Gerarchia, XIX, April 1939. Cf. Karen Pinkus, Bodily regimes: Italian advertising under Fascism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), p. 16; Cf. Bosworth, Claretta. 40. Walter Laqueur, The terrible secret: suppression of the truth about Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982), p. 206.

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FURTHER READING

The research basis of this book in regard to archival and published works can be traced in the extensive endnotes. For published sources up to 2010, see the bibliography in my biography of Mussolini (pp. 433–90). Though now dated, the fullest bibliography on the Fascist era is R. De Felice, Bibliografia orientativa del fascismo (Rome: Bonacci, 1991). It is worthwhile reiterating that the most obvious collection of Mussolini’s extensive speeches, his journalistic and other writings, are assembled in Benito Mussolini, Opera omnia (ed. E. and D. Susmel), 44 vols (Florence, 1951–62 and 1978–80). These volumes also report discussions at the frequent meetings of the regime’s cabinet (up to no. 440 by December 1941, vol. XXX), the Fascist Grand Council and some other bureaucratic bodies. The fullest (but unfinished) biography of the Duce is Renzo De Felice, Mussolini (seven volumes) (Turin: Einaudi, 1965–97). It is really a political history of the regime. Among Italian historians who have succeeded De Felice, pride of place should probably go to Emilio Gentile, quite a number of whose works have been made available in English. See especially The sacralisation of politics in Fascist Italy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996); The struggle for modernity: nationalism, futurism and fascism (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003); La Grande Italia: the myth of the nation in the twentieth century (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009) and very many articles, notably in the journal Totalitarian movements and political religions. In the last few years, he has added Mussolini contro Lenin (Rome: Laterza, 2017); 25 July 1943 (Rome: Laterza, 2018); Chi è fascista (Rome: Laterza, 2019) to his books in Italian. There is a further massive and strenuous debate in Italian literature, as might be expected among historians. In 2019–20, for example, there has been much discussion of a piece of ‘faction’ (mixing history and fiction) by Antonio Scurati, M: il figlio del secolo (Milan: Bompiani, 2018). It won the Strega prize in 2019. Scurati has only taken the story as far as 1925 and promises further volumes. He dedicated his Strega award to ‘those who fought fascism’. But not all think his work is particularly critical of Mussolini and his dictatorship. Works in English are sparser, although there is an extensive monographic and journal literature, often resulting from doctoral studies. Of more general works, the two most important recent studies are Christopher Duggan, Fascist voices: an intimate history of Mussolini’s Italy (London: Bodley Head, 2012) and Paul Corner, The Fascist Party and public opinion in Mussolini’s Italy (Oxford University Press, 2012). For my own now dated general review of the literature, see The Italian dictatorship: problems and perspectives in the interpre­ tation of Mussolini and Fascism (London: Arnold, 1998). Italian films, many with international markets, have frequently focused on aspects of the regime and the dictator’s life. My favourite is Federico Fellini’s Amarcord (1973), as the title implies a bittersweet memory of provincialised Fascism. A few autobiographical and fictional works can be located, although the indispensable work in that regard is Primo Levi’s magnificently humane If this is a man (published with The Truce) and translated by the historian Stuart Woolf (most recent edition London: Abacus, 2013).

313

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

How is it possible verbally to pay my debts of a lifetime in these short pages, hidden in the modern fashion not in a preface but just before the index? I have become accustomed to call Mussolini and the Eclipse of Italian Fascism ‘My Last Book’ (MLB), and perhaps it will be (although Clare Alexander and I have talked over another possibility). However, lastness has seemed a fitting term for a book whose publication process has been delayed by the global coronavirus pandemic, with its as yet unknown impact on the publishing industry. For me the final polishing, proofreading, index-making and acknowledgement construction have at least given me something to do under lockdown, when even the Bodleian library, that sacred site of scholarship, has been firmly closed. I’m not sure what to make of my necessary simultaneous watching of the current British prime minister, as noted in the text careless and superior in writing off the Duce as ’mad old Musso’. In my eyes, when Johnson has flailingly confronted his own crisis, he has evinced some mutuality with the Italian dictator. Each, after all, was, or is, a journalist in politics. Certainly, when Johnson snatches a figure from the air, promises it will be delivered in a set period of time and proclaims ‘global leadership’, he reminds me of Mussolini’s frequent nationalist ‘mathematical certainty’ about some matter. Then the Duce’s predictions almost always proved false. ‘Is Boris any better?’, I ask myself. But perhaps it is not only journalistic politicians who are arithmetically challenged. In this coda to my book, however, I should set aside a professional dedication to scepticism about the claims of political wordsmiths and give thanks. After all, I have so much about which to be grateful. What a pleasure it has been to work with Yale University Press (London) on our fourth book in association since 2011. Everyone at Yale is so efficient and helpful: Rachael Lonsdale (with the glimpse of Cleo), Marika Lysandrou, Katie Urquhart, Lucy Buchan and Stephanie Lee, with the delegated assistance of Jenny Roberts, have all made major contributions to my book. Leading them has been Heather McCallum. My ties with her go back to Routledge in the 1990s and, in my dealings with her, I am heavily in the red. I have dedicated this book to Clare Alexander, my agent extraordinaire. We met in a curious period of my life, when I had been contracted to produce my biography of Mussolini in innocent Australian ignorance of the commercial side of publishing, and simultaneously had my health set to rights with a quadruple by-pass. My surgeon said that he could not find a fifth vein. With Clare, I therefore in quite a few senses commenced a second life. In it I’ve been allowed to write lots of books and become first a Senior Research Fellow and latterly an Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, where no one seems to mind if I engage in conversation over some good food and wine with a colleague who is much smarter than I am and whose work brings more immediate benefit to humankind than does yet another Bosworth study of modern Italy. My lifetime good fortune spreads further still. How wonderful it has been for me to be a historian, devoted to that magically generalist subject with all of time, all of space and all of humankind as its potential field. How all absorbing it has been to teach my years of undergraduates at the Universities of Sydney, Western Australia and Reading, to research and write and very seldom to administer. My path was opening already in 1962 when I did an Honours

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS class in European History at Sydney with the wonderful Ernest K. Bramsted, Social Democrat and refugee from Nazism, a teacher determined to direct the young to the documents. There I met Michal Newell; by 1963 we were the item that 57 years later we remain. Now we watch in admiration and love our wonderful children, Mary, third generation professor (of Criminology at Oxford this time and she, too, possessed of a Cambridge PhD), and our banker son, Edmund, and our four very promising grandchildren, any of whom may yet be seduced into writing and debate. Back in Sydney, the moments passed in my life when I could have become a businessman, a lawyer or an Australian diplomat. How very much better to have been a historian and especially one focusing on modern Italy! In 1966 Mike and I reached Cambridge (where my Chemistry professor father had been between 1933 and 1938; he had died in 1964) and my genial doctoral supervisor, Harry Hinsley. Given that Foreign Office documents on the coming of the First World War had just opened, Harry had a squad of students examining British policy to this or that country. Largely by chance, I drew Italy. Harry knew very little about that country, but he did encourage my visit there whether to begin library exploration or just to open my callow eyes. By 1967, Mike and I were ensconced in a tiny Rome flat on the peripheral Via Tiburtina. When we walked into town to work at the Biblioteca di storia moderna e contemporanea, we passed by the Vittoriano, which I still evoke at the start of this book and believe is the most telling building in the modern city. Every year since 1967, I have found some cause again to be in Italy, usually in Rome, where the archives (and so much else) are. Yes, we were both there again in February 2020. Mike then celebrated an eight-day birthday, enough fat for us to survive for the rest of this year of so much deprivation. Not much hidden are plans to go again in 2021. In my own mind at least, ‘civis romanus sum’ (although Latin tags are probably best avoided in contemporary Britain). Italian historians are sometimes a jealous breed. Historiographers remember that Rosario Romeo, the leading conservative and patriotic historian of his generation, damned without hope of redemption the work of Denis Mack Smith, the best known and most widely sold English-language Italianist of the generation before mine. Any connection, he remarked, between what Mack Smith wrote and what actually happened was ‘purely accidental’. I, too, have been well aware that praise from English-language reviewers may not be endorsed in Italy, all the more for the Richard Bosworth who until his old age in Oxford was an Australian and so based in a world beyond normal Italian ken. Romeo, for one, thought that I bore the stain of ‘Botany Bay’. Not for nothing have I therefore quoted Giuseppe Prezzolini – in my view one of the more over-rated Italian intellectuals of the twentieth century – on the barbarity of my country of origin. I suppose academics never really forget negative reviews and ponder the philosophy of Cesare Mori, the bureaucrat chosen by Mussolini to deal with the Mafia (or perhaps not deal), who maintained that vendetta was ‘firstly a duty and secondly a pleasure and a right’. In very many ways, history is indeed a passionate argument without end, and not always or altogether out of rigorous scholarship and seamless virtue. However, in old age, it is ever more possible to set aside past rancour. As if in reward, during the very days of coronavirus, I was added to the editorial board of Nuova Rivista Storica, one of Italy’s oldest journals of academic history, and to my mind pleasingly idiosyncratic in its present academic stance. It was also the place where, in 1970, I was first published in Italian; then, to my embarrassment in distant Sydney, someone changed the spelling of ambassador James Rennell Rodd’s name to Rennel. I thus entered the field as I doubtless should have done, visibly capable of error. I have remained such. But, then, I have never wanted to offer the final solution to this or that issue from the past. I have instead always endeavoured to craft a bright (and ideally humane) picture, where the peoples of the past offer to us frail beings of the present their lights and shadows. To me, even the Duce, with responsibility for a million premature deaths and worse besides, does not deserve to be written off contemptuously as ‘mad old Musso’. So readers of this book will find me avoiding simple condemnation of Fascism and all its works, even while I argue that the contemporary burst of populism across the world (to which I am

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS anything but attracted) can be rewardingly read through the case study of the ‘Italian dictator’. We shall have to see what reviewers and readers think of my new claims. One more matter: since this may be MLB, I should find space to hail the dead. I have learned so much from so many people. But those whom I miss the most are Christopher Duggan, my friendly rival and colleague during my five years at Reading and my first four of retirement, the Hispanicist and anarchist Graham Harrison, who joined the Sydney University History on the same day as I did although fifteen years my senior and who thereafter strove to show me the humanity in humankind, and the radical Catholic Tony Cahill, also my colleague and teaching partner at Sydney. I have not met a historian who knew more about history than Tony did. He never wrote (well, there were one or two minor articles); I write all the time. And between his ghost and my ghost to be, I like to think it is a functioning historic compromise. May that tiny positivity and the infinite possibilities of its extension among others, dispel the darkness that lours over our contemporary world. Richard Bosworth June 2020 (can this be what 2020 vision means?)

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INDEX

Abd el-Krim 181 Abruzzi 48, 85, 118, 228 Abruzzi, Luigi Amedeo, Duke of 55 Absalom, Roger 164–5 Abyssinia see Ethiopia Accademia dei Lincei 72 Accademia d’Italia (Italian Academy) 72, 232 Accamè, Gino 60 Acerbo, Giacomo 48, 50, 142, 181, 195, 231 Acquasanta Golf club 215, 221 Adair, John 19 Addis Ababa 4, 31, 47, 51, 61, 69, 119, 184, 193–4, 197–9, 213 Aden 236 Adowa 10, 24, 65, 118, 122, 124, 182, 190, 191, 195, 211, 213 Adriatic 29, 53, 64, 72, 170, 176, 204, 246 Affile 118 Afghanistan 84 Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa: AOI) 4, 145, 184, 195, 198, 201, 208, 217–18 Agnelli, Edoardo 95 Agnelli, Giovanni 159, 167 Agnelli, Virginia (Bourbon del Monte dei principi di San Faustino) 95 Aimone, Duke of Spoleto (‘King Tomislav II’) 55 Albania 64, 72, 202–5, 208, 211–12, 240, 242, 245, 259 Albert Memorial 2 Albertini, Luigi 75–6 Albright, Madeleine 12–15 Alessandria 165 Alexander, King 64, 178 Alexander Volta Foundation 136 Alfieri, Dino 40 Alfonso XIII, King 218 Algeria 4, 61, 236

Aliano 166 Alighieri, Dante 10, 93, 102 Allum, Percy 163 Aloisi, Pompeo 127 Alpini 53, 205 Alto Adige (Süd Tirol) 65, 68, 79, 129–30, 175, 177, 184, 207, 209, 235–6 Amba Aradam, Battle of 193 Amedeo, Mario 85–6 Amendola, Giovanni 119, 157 Ancona, Eugenio Duke of 55 Andreotti, Giulio 121–2 Annales 255 Anno Santo (Holy Year) 42, 174 Ansaldo, Giovanni 166 Anschluss 68, 128–30, 176, 184, 231, 236–8, 240, 259 anti-anti-Fascism 58 Anti-Comintern Pact 242 Anti-Europa 136 anti-Fascism 13, 23, 25, 46, 58–60, 69, 71, 75, 81–2, 85–7, 95, 97, 108, 111, 114, 122–3, 142, 149, 157, 165–7, 178, 188, 192, 194, 196, 202, 212, 214, 220, 222, 227, 250–2, 254, 256 anti-Marxism 14, 27, 79, 128 anti-Semitism 13, 48, 130, 133, 137, 168, 173–4, 176, 206, 221, 228–32, 241, 258 Antonine dynasty 108 Antoninus Pius, Emperor 108 Aosta, Amedeo, Duke of 54, 92, 119–20, 200–1 Aosta, Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of 54, 119–20 Aosta, Hélène, Duchess of 55 Apollo 44 Aprilia 169 Aquarone, Alberto 70, 73 Arabs 61, 67, 119, 200, 206–9, 218 Arborea 169

317

INDEX Arditi 21, 61, 161 Arendt, Hannah 11 Argan, Giulio Carlo 46 Argentina 22, 217, 258 army, Italian 24, 35, 51, 55, 89–91, 110, 119, 121, 125–6, 167, 191, 219, 220, 239–40 Arpinati, Leandro 156–7 Aryan ‘race’ 36, 48, 61 Ascari 61, 120, 122–3, 196–7, 200, 221 Asia 15, 212, 229 Asia Minor 67 Asmara 145 Assad, Bashar Hafez al- 17 Assisi 168 Associazione Nazionalista Italiana (Italian Nationalist Association: ANI) 22–3, 50, 72–3, 96, 99, 102, 148, 214, 253 Asti 165 Asturias 180 Atatürk, Mustafa Kemal 5, 28, 56, 73, 107, 115, 136 Aterno 48 Atlantic 123, 259 Attolico, Bernardo 234 Augustus, Emperor (Gaius Octavius) 112 Aurelian, Emperor (Lucius Domitius Aurelianus) 45, 92 Aurelius, Emperor Marcus (Marcus Annius Verus) 108, 112 Auschwitz 6, 13–14, 115, 210 Australia vii, 17, 53, 143, 145–6, 206, 208, 213, 217 Austria 5, 65, 68, 106, 128–9, 133, 174–7, 181–2, 184–6, 231, 234–8, 240 Austria-Hungary 2, 66–7, 118–19, 209 Avanti! 8, 38, 128 Aventine Secession 76 Axis 4, 14, 62, 192, 208, 234, 238, 242, 246 Axum Obelisk 217 Baathism 150 Badoglio, Pietro 50–1, 90, 119–21, 126, 180, 187, 193, 212, 240 Bagnoles-de-l’Orne 223 Bahrain 236 Bainville, Jacques 22 Balbo, Italo 31, 34, 91–2, 142, 173, 180, 195, 206–8, 209, 218, 223–4 Balearic Islands 223 Balilla (Opera Nazionale Balilla: ONB Fascist Boy Scouts) 36, 93 Balkans 175, 203–4 Baltic 5 Banca della Lucchesia 167

Banfield, Edward 162 Bank of Italy 191 Bannon, Steve 13–4 Bari 37, 52 Barnett, Corelli 6 Barthou, Louis 178 Barzini, Luigi 176, 248 Basilicata 85–6, 162, 166–7 Bavaria 128 Bayreuth 244 Bechstein, Helene 129 Bedouin 121 Belgium 4, 54, 62, 117, 250 Ben-Ghiat, Ruth 12 Beneduce, Alberto 159–60 Benghazi 121 Béraud, Henri 107 Berbers 206, 209 Berchtesgaden 244 Bergamo 46 Bergamo, Duke Adalberto of 55 Berlin 33, 129, 133, 138, 175, 202, 219, 234, 238, 244 Bertolucci, Bernardo 58 Bin Laden, Osama 18 Bismarck, Otto von 23, 64, 103, 138 Bissolati, Leonida 30 Blair, Tony 17 Blue Shirts, Irish 137 ‘Blue Shirts’ (UK) 56, 136 Blum, Léon 81, 192, 194, 220 Bocchini, Arturo 94–5, 141–2 Boggiano, Armando 51 Bohemia 242 Bolivia 96 Bolivar, Simon 22 Bolshevism 6, 84, 105, 113, 128, 138–9, 150 Bolzano 175, 207 Bonacorsi, Arconovaldo 223–4 Bonaparte, Napoleon 21–2, 50, 96, 103, 107, 113, 133 Bonapartism 83 Bonifica (reclamation) 168–9, 175, 204, 207 Bonnet, Georges 139 Boris III, King 54 Botany Bay 24 Bottai, Giuseppe 48–9, 76–9, 87, 100, 122, 133, 142, 158–9, 175, 187, 190–1, 195–6, 215, 255 Boulevard Mussolini 203 Boulevard Zog 203 Braccianti (Day labourers) 160 Branson, Richard 19 Braudel, Fernand 255

318

INDEX Brazil 90–1, 106, 136 Brenner Pass 68, 175, 177, 184, 236–7, 243 Brescia 92, 94, 136 Brisbane 39–40 British Expeditionary Force 246 British Union of Fascists (BUF) 42, 112, 173–4 Bucard, Marcel 137 Buddha, Gautama 18 Buenos Aires 68, 217 Bulgaria 54, 66, 178, 189 Burano 163 bureaucracy 13, 23, 51–2, 68, 79, 90, 94, 110, 140–1, 146, 150, 154, 159, 162, 169, 197, 215, 230 Bush, George H.W. 16 Bush, George W. 16 Business Insider 17 Cadorna, Luigi 24, 30 Caesar, Julius 21, 24, 112, 115, 181, 194, 202, 213 Calabria 38, 157, 163, 167, 204 Calcio (football) 77, 152 Caligula, Emperor (Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) 15 Caltanisseta 164 Calvo Sotelo, José 201 Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies) 29, 49, 68, 71, 158, 185, 253 Camorra 157, 163 Campanilismo 255 Campbell, Eric 173–4 Campbell, Ian 199–200 capitalism 6, 20, 26, 43, 98, 100, 112, 135, 202 Capone, Al 189, 260 Caporetto 24, 30, 213 Carabinieri 142 Caracalla, Emperor (Lucius Septimius Bassianus) 206 Carbonia 169 Carcopino, Jerôme 137 Carducci, Giosuè 42 Carlism 224 Carnera, Primo 194 Carta del Lavoro (Labour Charter) 58, 77–8 Carthage 20 CasaPound 249–50 Catholicism 5, 43, 51, 93, 105, 108, 137, 170, 181, 217, 255 Caucasus 150 Cavallero, Ugo 205 Cecil, Robert 194

Centocelle 187 Centre Party, German 12, 56 Cerruti, Vittorio 133 Chabod, Federico 196 Chad 236 Chamber of Fasces and Corporations 253 Chamberlain, Neville 139, 235, 237, 241, 256 Chapman, Charlotte 163–4 Charmley, John 6 Chávez, Hugo 13 Chiaromonte 162 Chicago 34, 163, 189, 217 Chile 21 China 16–17, 67, 182, 203, 215, 229, 242, 249, 257 Christ, Jesus 18, 189 Christ stopped at Eboli 166 Churchill, Clementine 99 Churchill, Winston 16, 18–20, 99, 190 Cianetti, Tullio 167–8 Ciano, Costanzo 31, 49–50, 109, 166 Ciano, Fabrizio 50 Ciano, Galeazzo 31, 49–50, 142, 153–6, 166–7, 191, 203–5, 214–15, 219–20, 222–3, 231, 233–4, 237, 244–6, 256 Ciano, Raimonda 50 Ciano car race 35 Ciarlantini, Francesco 131–2 Cicero, Marcus Tullius 15 Cincinnatus, Lucius Quinctius 20–2 Cinecittà (Cinema-City) 156 cinema 109, 155–6, 197, 213 Cini, Vittorio 223 Cipriani, Amilcare 38 Circolo della Caccia (Hunting Club) 49 Civiltà Fascista 184 Claudius, Emperor (Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) 215 Clemenceau, Georges 23 Clinton, Bill 12 Clinton, Hilary 257 Codice Pisapia-Vassalli 96 Cold War 49, 92 Collegio Urbano de Propaganda Fide 254 Colleone, Bartolomeo 107 Collier, Richard 12 Colonna, Isabella 215 Colosseum 45–6, 60 Comintern (Communist International) 83–4, 135, 138 Comitati d’Azione per l’Universalità di Roma (Action Committee for the Universality of Rome: C.A.U.R.) 137

319

INDEX communism 6, 11, 13, 26, 32, 39, 68 Como, Lake 8 Compiègne armistice 246 Confederazione generale fascista dell’indu­ stria italiana (Fascist Big Business League) 77, 99 Confederazione nazionale delle corporazioni sindacali (National Federation of Syndical Corporations) 76 Confino 67, 80, 83, 85–7, 95, 157, 166–7, 199, 222, 226, 251 Consiglio dei ministri (Cabinet) 30–1 Consulta Araldica 50 Coppa Montenero-Ciano 35 Cora, Giuliano 69 Corfu 64, 68 Corner, Paul 108, 212, 217 Corporate State 14, 56, 70, 76–8, 90, 94, 100–1, 106, 111–13, 129, 131, 137, 158–9, 167–8, 175, 190, 204, 219, 224, 226, 238, 240, 253, 255, 258 Corpus Nummorum Italicorum 53 Corradini, Enrico 253 Corsica 64, 181, 218, 236 Cortese, Guido 199 Coselschi, Eugenio 137 Costa, Andrea 38 Cremona 30, 74, 227 Crespi family 75 Crispi, Francesco 24, 29 Critica fascista 87, 93, 101, 105, 132, 158, 240 Croatia 55, 64, 178, 245 Croce, Benedetto 191, 210 Cromwell, Oliver 19 Cyprus 236 Cyrenaica 55, 119–22, 125, 207 Czechoslovakia 12–13, 204, 240, 242 Czech Republic 250 Da Vinci, Leonardo 91, 103 Daily Telegraph (London) 210, 229 Daladier, Edouard 189, 241 Dalai Lama 18 Dalmatia 50, 181, 218, 235–6, 245 D’Annunzio, Gabriele 30, 49–50, 66, 112, 137, 218 Danube 130 Danzig 68, 235, 242–3 Darwin, Charles 18, 66, 118, 156 De Bono, Emilio 51, 119–20, 125–7, 142, 180, 183–5, 190, 195, 200 De Cutis, Adriano 35–6 De Felice, Renzo 62–3, 143, 151, 201, 206, 233

De Rosas, Jean Manuel 22 De Stefani, Alfredo 99 De Vecchi di Val Cismon, Cesare 172, 176, 203 Debre Libanos monastery 199 Decennale (10th anniversary) 5, 39–40, 47, 55–6, 102–3, 108–9, 111–12, 122, 126, 131, 257, 260 Degrelle, Léon 94 Del Boca, Andrea 199–200 Del Gallo di Roccagiovine, Zenaida 50 Democrazia Cristiana (Christian Democracy) 46, 121 Denmark 97 Depression, World Economic 5, 56, 60, 101, 103, 109, 130, 134, 160, 178 Deutschland über alles 36 Di Giorgio, Antonio 80 Di Maggio, Joe 18 Di Rienzo, Eugenio 63–4, 188, 192, 233 Diaz, Porfiro 21–2 dictators 2–4, 7, 10–11, 14–26, 27–30, 66, 69, 73, 113, 117, 128, 137, 139, 150–1, 174–5, 202, 204, 210, 212, 218–19, 224–5, 228, 234–5, 237–8, 240–8, 250, 254, 256, 262 dictatorship, the Italian 3, 5–12, 14–15, 26, 29, 31–9, 41, 43, 45–6, 48–9, 52–3, 57–63, 65–6, 68–71, 73–4, 78, 80–2, 86–90, 92–3, 95–7, 99–106, 108–12, 115, 117, 119, 122, 125, 127, 132–5, 138, 140–8, 150–1, 155, 158–9, 161–2, 165, 171, 173–5, 176, 178–9, 182–3, 187–92, 198, 201–2, 206, 208, 210–14, 216, 218–23, 225, 228, 230–6, 240–8, 250–60, 262 Diocletian, Emperor (Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus) 36 Disarmament conference 69 Disney, Walter 155 Djibouti 67–8, 182, 236 Dodecanese islands 203 Dollfuss, Engelbert 133, 174, 176–7, 180–1, 234, 238, 242 Dopolavoro (Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro: OND after work organisation) 77, 109, 153, 204 Douhet, Giulio 90–2, 121, 126, 245 Doumanis, Nick 203 Dovia 8 Drummond, Eric 174, 235 Duggan, Christopher 62 Duhig, James 40 Dumini, Amerigo 80, 82–3

320

INDEX Dumini, Bianca 83 Dunkirk 246 Durack sisters 206 Dutch Fascist League (Algemeene Nederlandsche Fascisten Bond: ANFB) 137 Duterte, Rodrigo 260 Ebner, Michael 251 Economist, The 106, 194, 202 Eden, Anthony 63–4, 139, 188–90, 192–4, 227, 229, 233, 235, 237 Egypt 29, 118, 122, 188, 236 Einaudi, Luigi 159 Einzig, Paul 101 Eire 27, 137 Elena, Queen 53 Elizabeth I, Queen 19 Elkins, Katherine 55 Emerson, Ralph Waldo 98 emigration 30, 35, 54, 61, 67, 71, 76, 120, 198, 208–9, 217–18, 239, 249 Enabling Act, German 128, 138 Encaenia 133 Enciclopedia italiana 72, 111, 256 Ente nazionale della moda (National Fashion Company) 160 Epirus, Northern 204 Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip 13 Eritrea 24, 51, 55, 117–18, 120, 122–6, 145, 180, 185, 195, 199 Esercito e Nazione 91 Esposizione Universale di Roma (Rome Universal Exhibition: EUR) 46, 242–3 Ethiopia 3–5, 10, 14, 23–4, 28, 38, 51, 54–5, 59–65, 67, 69, 81, 91–2, 115, 119–20, 123–7, 134, 137, 142, 144, 148, 155–6, 167, 180–3, 185–202, 204–5, 209–14, 217, 219, 221, 224–5, 227–8, 231, 234, 236, 240, 242, 247, 249, 252, 258–9 Eton 70 Etruscans 29 European Union 255 Evans, Richard 56 Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, Quintus (‘Cunctator’) 20–1, 24 Fabre, Giorgio 230–1 Fahrenheit 11/9 12 Falange Española de las JONS (Spanish fascists) 173, 221, 224, 228 family, the Italian 38, 44, 46, 49, 75, 85–6, 95, 100, 114, 127, 141, 147, 149, 155–6, 162, 164–6, 168, 170–3, 175, 198, 210,

215, 217, 220, 225, 227, 234, 247, 249, 255 Fani Ciotti, Vincenzo 122 Farage, Nigel 14, 257 Farinacci, Roberto 30–1, 51, 73–6, 78, 90, 92, 95, 100, 109–10, 132, 142, 174, 184, 190, 198, 224–5, 227, 231 Fasci (Sicilian) 29 Fasci di combattimento 8, 30, 171 Fascio parlamentare di difesa nazionale 29–30 Fascio rivoluzionario d’azione interventista 29 Federzoni, Luigi 31, 71–5, 79, 89, 94, 96, 112, 118, 122–3, 137, 142, 187, 195, 203 Ferdinando, Duke of Genoa 53–4 Fermi, Enrico 231–2 Ferramonti di Tarsia 167 Ferrara 34, 76, 79, 80, 91, 206 Fertilia 169 Fiat 77, 95, 155, 159 Fiera del Levante 37 Finland 5, 136 Fitzpatrick, Sheila 161–2 Fiume 30, 50, 218 Florence 86, 99–100, 136, 169, 238 Foggia 35 Fonjallaz, Arthur 137 Ford, Henry 19 Foreign Office, British 70, 114, 133, 139, 188, 190, 192 Forges Davanzati, Roberto 22 Forlì 8, 170, 225 Fornasiero, Ribelle 81 Fouché, Joseph 96 Four Power Pact (Patto Mussolini) 14, 34, 36, 138–40, 176, 184, 240, 242 Fourth International 135 France 4, 14, 21–2, 24, 29, 34, 38, 50, 54, 58, 60–4, 69, 86, 98, 117, 124, 126–7, 131, 135, 137, 140, 160, 173, 181–4, 192, 204, 210, 217, 220, 223, 226, 233, 235–7, 239, 242–3, 250, 255 Franchetti, Leopoldo 67 Franco, Francisco 15, 17, 61, 83–6, 150, 154, 212, 218–25, 228, 232, 243, 251 Franzinelli, Mimmo 85 Fratelli Treves 81 Fratta Polesine 80 Freddi, Luigi 40 Frederick II, King 103 Frederick III, Emperor 23 Frederick Barbarossa, Emperor 184

321

INDEX Freemasonry 38, 45–6, 73, 129, 160 Fremantle 53 French Revolution 110, 116, 149, 253 Freud, Sigmund 106 Friedman, Stuart 18 Friuli 169 Gaddafi, Muammar al- 16–17, 150 Gafencu, Grigore 260 Gallipoli 149 Gamberini, Guido 101–2 Gandhi, Jennifer 15 Gandhi, Mahatma 106–7 Garibaldi, Giuseppe 20–1, 23, 107, 112–13, 115, 164, 222 gas, Italian deployment of 17, 91, 121, 123, 193–4, 200, 202 Gasparri, Oscar 169 Gaul 152 gender 93, 108, 147, 149, 164–5, 172–3, 210, 247, 255 Geneva 30, 69, 185, 231 Geneva Convention 91, 121, 193 Genghis Khan 233 Genoa 35, 94, 207 Genoa, Tommaso Duke of 53, 55 Gentile, Emilio 26, 264 Gentile, Giovanni 87, 111, 159, 196, 249, 257 George V, King 190 Georgetown University 12 Georgia 233 Georgics 47 Gerarchia 93, 112–13, 129–30, 158, 175, 227, 229 German Nationalist Party (Deutschnationale Volkspartei: DNVP) 129–30 Germany 4–5, 11, 17, 19, 23–4, 26–7, 31–6, 38–9, 45, 50, 56–8, 60–2, 64–6, 68–70, 72, 80, 83, 85–6, 91, 95, 98–9, 103, 106, 108, 110–11, 113–15, 127–34, 136–40, 142, 145–8, 152, 154–5, 159–60, 165, 173–7, 180–3, 185–6, 188–9, 192, 200–5, 207–9, 211–12, 216–23, 226, 228–9, 231, 233–47, 249–51, 255–6, 259–60 Germino, Dante 252, 259 Gibbon, Edward vii Gil Robles, José Maria 180–1, 221 Giménez Caballero, Ernesto 112, 137 Ginsborg, Paul 173, 256 Giolitti, Giovanni 3, 23–4, 60, 73, 95, 99, 127, 182, 186, 203 Giordano, Antonio 36–7

Giornata della fede 191–2 Giovanissima 184 Giovanna, Queen 54 Gioventù araba del littorio (Fascist Arab Youth) 208 Gioventù fascista (Fascist Youth) 133, 152, 174 Gioventù indigena littorio (Fascist indigenous youth organisation) 197 Giovinezza 31, 37, 42, 102, 228 Giro d’Italia 152 Giuliani, Rudi 18 Giunta, Alessandro 50 Giunta, Francesco 50 Giuriati, Giovanni 48, 79, 102, 108, 142, 148–9, 151, 157, 195 Giustizia e Libertà (Justice and Liberty) 166 Gladstone, William Ewart 189 globalisation 11, 20, 261 Goad, Harold 136 Gobetti, Piero 23 Goebbels, Joseph 33, 154–5 Goeschel, Christian 128 Gojjam 231 Goldmann, Cesare 8 Goldmann, Nahum 229 Gömbös, Gyula 34, 132, 181 Gonella, Guido 221 Göring, Hermann 131, 137, 209 Gorizia 185 Graham, Ronald 106, 114–15, 124, 133 Gramsci, Antonio 23, 75, 98 Grande Consiglio (Fascist Grand Council) 48, 73, 110, 168, 216 Grandi, Dino 27, 50, 52, 68–70, 98–9, 107, 125, 130–1, 137, 140, 142, 169, 183, 185, 191–2, 218, 237 Grandi, Francesco Paolo 50 Gravelli, Asvero 56, 136–7 Graziani, Rodolfo 51, 61, 117–22, 199–200 Great Britain (United Kingdom) 4–6, 8, 10, 17, 19–20, 23–4, 27, 34, 38, 42, 56, 58, 60–4, 69–70, 81–2, 98–9, 106, 114, 117–18, 122, 124, 126–7, 135–6, 138–40, 144–5, 155, 164, 173–4, 177–8, 180, 183–6, 188–96, 199–203, 207–8, 210, 222–4, 226–9, 233–9, 241–3, 246, 250–1 Greece 5, 64, 90, 203–5, 213, 220, 250, 257, 259 Green Book 150 Gregor, A. James 252 Grint, Keith 19 Gruppi Universitari Fascisti (Fascist University Student Union) 158

322

INDEX Guadalajara 213, 222, 224, 232 Guariglia, Raffaele 126–7, 180, 218 Guarneri, Felice 142, 197, 239 Guidi family 170 Guidonia 169 Guinea, Portuguese 123 Habsburgs 2, 79 Hadramaut 236 Hadrian, Emperor Publius Aelius 108 Haile Selassie, Emperor (Ras Tafari Makonnen) 61, 63, 120, 124–7, 180–2, 193–4, 200, 214 Halifax, Edward Wood Lord 82, 139, 241 Hannibal 20 Harar 185 Hardinge, Charles 190 Harris, Robert 17 Hassell, Ulrich von 234 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 111, 249 Heimwehr 65, 129, 143, 234 Hemingway, Ernest 81 Henderson, Arthur 81 Henry VIII, King 19 Herculaneum 206 Himmler, Heinrich 96, 215 Hindenburg, Paul von 23, 127–8 Hitler, Adolf 4–6, 10–20, 23, 27, 31–3, 36, 39, 45, 56, 59, 62, 78, 81–2, 84, 95, 103, 106–7, 115–16, 127–34, 136, 138–9, 141, 145, 148, 150–1, 174, 176, 178, 180, 182, 185–6, 192, 194, 202, 208, 210, 217, 228, 230, 232–8, 240–8, 250–1, 255–60, 262 Hoare, Samuel 188–90, 192 Hoare-Laval Pact 187, 192 Hollywood 155–6 Holocaust 12, 60, 62, 117, 225, 252, 247 Homo Sovieticus 161 Hoover, Herbert 104, 108 Horthy, Miklós 27, 107, 217 House of Lords, British 190, 194 Hungary 5, 11, 14, 27, 34, 217, 228, 261 Hussein, Saddam 15, 17, 150 Huxley, Julian 28 I Littoriali dello sport, della cultura e dell’arte e del lavoro (Fascist youth ‘games’) 158, 173 Ibárurri, Dolores 218 Il Corriere della Sera 75 Il Dominio dell’Aria 90 Il Fascio 29 Il Mare Nostro 184

Il Messaggero 36–7, 43, 156 Il Popolo d’Italia 8, 24, 29–30, 33–4, 112, 18, 138, 152, 154, 174, 176, 185, 188, 216, 228, 243 Il Regime Fascista 74 Il Veltro 102 imperialism 4, 61, 64, 67–8, 122, 135, 178, 203, 209–10, 213, 261 India 28–9, 42, 61, 107, 135, 190, 207, 249 Indonesia 17 Interlandi, Teresio 214 International, Fascist 5, 113, 136–8 International, Second (Socialist) 135 International, Third see Comintern International Congress on Nuclear Physics 155 Iraq 17, 150, 210 Islamophobia 13 Isonzo 118 Istituto Luce 3, 41 Istituto Maria Ausiliatrice 143 Istituto nazionale fascista della previdenza sociale (Fascist institute for social welfare: INFPS) 78 Istituto per la ricostruzione industriale (Institute for industrial reconstruction: IRI) 159–60 Italia Libera 82 Jacomoni di San Savino, Francesco 204–5 James, C.L.R. 135 James, William 98 Janiculum 45 Japan 182, 184, 208, 212, 229, 242, 247, 257 Jeanneret, Charles-Edouard (Le Corbusier) 47 Jefferson, Thomas 47 Jenkins, Roy 18 Jesuits 43, 92–3, 154, 157, 221 Jews 6, 8, 12, 27, 36, 45, 55, 61, 67, 91, 94, 97, 99–100, 103, 105–6, 109, 128–31, 133, 155, 167, 169, 171, 174, 192, 195, 203, 206, 209, 228–32, 241, 259 Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai Shek) 17 Johnson, Boris 10 Juarez, Benito 38 Jung, Guido 99, 159 Kaganovich, Lazar 32 Kalinin, Mikhail 32 Kashoggi, Jamal 82 Kellogg-Briand Pact 68 Kennedy, John F. 18 Kenya 4, 61, 210, 236

323

INDEX Kerry, John 17 Kershaw, Ian 32–3 Khan, Sadiq 257 Kim Jong-un 13, 248 Kirkpatrick, Jeane 16 Knox, Macgregor 62–3, 192, 233, 246 Korbel, Joseph 12 Korea, North 13, 248 Kosovo 204 Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) 241 Kufra 121 Kuibyshev, Valerian 32 La Civiltà Cattolica (Catholic Civilization) 93 La Conquista Dello Stato (The Conquest of the State) 71 La Lotta di Classe (The Class Struggle) 8 La Vita Italiana (Italian Life) 175–6, 197, 229 Labour Party, British 81 Ladin 207 Lago di Garda 72–3 Lago Maggiore 184 Laker, Freddie 19 Lapua movement 136 Laqueur, Walter 16, 262 L’Artigiano (The Artisan) 37 Las Palmas 219 Lateran Pacts 49, 93, 105 Latin America 21–2, 257 Latina 81, 169 Laurel and Hardy 228 Laval, Pierre 125, 182–4, 187, 192 Le Bon, Gustave 28 Le Pen, Marine 14, 257 League of Nations 4, 28, 62, 68, 101, 124, 135, 140, 181–3, 185, 187–94, 211, 229, 231, 234–5, 257–8 Lebensraum 208 Lecce 52, 134, 149, 244 Lee Kuan Yew 17 Lefebvre D’Ovidio, Francesco 63, 233–4 Lega Nord 14, 250 Legion of the Archangel Michael, Romanian (Legiunea Arhanghelului Mihail) 137 Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov 25–6, 56, 78, 132 Leptis Magna 206 Lessona, Alessandro 51, 127, 180, 197, 200, 206, 208 Levi, Carlo 166 Levi, Primo 13

Liberal Italy 1–3, 6, 10, 22–5, 31, 35, 44, 49, 62, 65–7, 80, 85, 113, 116–18, 124–5, 127, 140, 152, 160, 164, 169, 181–3, 186, 191, 203, 211, 215, 224, 235, 242, 245, 247, 251, 253–4 Liberia 124 Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana 51 Libya 4–5, 8, 16, 2, 31, 61, 67, 73, 83, 91, 115–23, 127, 156, 182, 197, 199–202, 206–11, 222, 229, 232, 242, 249, 252 Lij Iyasu, Emperor 124 L’Ilustrazione Italiana 81, 148 L’Impero 71 Lincoln, Abraham 103 Lipari 86–7, 157, 166, 178 Lisbon 243 Lissa 213 Lithuania 27 Littoria 81, 169 Liuzzi, Alberto 231 Livorno 35, 50 Lloyd George, David 23 Lo Squadrone bianco 156 Locarno, Treaty of 68, 236, 243 Locker-Lampson, Oliver 136 Lodolini, Armando 214 Lohengrin 238 L’Oltremare 122 Lombardy 85 Lombroso, Cesare 97 London 2, 14, 18, 21, 28, 33, 45, 62, 69, 80, 105, 131, 140, 151, 169, 174, 176–7, 183, 191, 234, 244, 257 López, Francisco Solano 22 Loraine, Percy 243 L’Osservatore romano 94 Louis, Joe 194 Lucca 157 Ludendorff, Erich 23 Ludwig, Emil 103, 105, 110, 171 Lussu, Emilio 86 Luzzatti, Luigi 3 Lyautey, Hubert 120 Lys, Francis 133 MacArthur, Douglas 18 MacDonald, Ramsay 42, 184 MacGregor-Hastie, Roy 165 Machiavelli, Niccolò 6, 19, 42, 64, 66, 103, 127, 130, 246 Madrid 218 Mafalda, Princess 54 Maffey, John 189 Mafia 157, 163, 186

324

INDEX Magistrati, Masssimo 244 Malaparte, Curzio (Suckert) 71, 95 Mallett, Robert 233 Malta 68, 181, 218, 235–6 Mao Zedong 15, 116 Marcia reale 31, 228 Marconi, Guglielmo 35, 136, 142, 159 Maria Beatrice, Princess 54 Maria Francesca, Princess 54 Maria Gabriella, Princess 54 Maria José, Princess 40, 42, 54–5 Maria Pia, Princess 54 Marius, Gaius 112 Marseille 178, 182 Martini, Ferdinando 124 Marx, Karl 7, 113 Marxism 27, 52, 79, 111, 128, 150, 252–3 Masaniello (Tommaso Aniello) 107 Massawa 145, 188, 200 Matera 153, 166 Matteotti, Giacomo 22–3, 72, 80–3, 114, 116, 145, 174, 176, 178, 194, 223 Matteotti, Velia 82 May, Karl 208 Mayer, Arno J. 25, 49, 135 Mazzini, Giuseppe 8, 45, 87, 137 McCarthy, Justin 21 Mediterranean 2, 67, 69, 175, 182, 191, 220, 223, 234 Mein Kampf 231, 237 Melis, Guido 159–60 Menelik, Emperor 10, 124 Merlika-Kruja, Mustafa 205 Metaxas, Ioannis 220, 257–8 Metternich, Klemens von 138 Mexico 21–2, 81 Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni 107, 204 Middle East 207 Mikoyan, Anastas 32 Milan 3, 8, 29, 33, 35, 39, 75, 79, 81, 86, 95, 109, 111–12, 133, 152, 169, 210, 221, 225, 228, 239, 241 Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (Voluntary Militia for National Security: MVSN) 26, 42, 55, 73, 116–17, 144 Milocca 163–4 Milošević, Slobodan 13 Milton, John 10 Minculpop (Ministero della cultura popolare; Ministry of Popular Culture) 155

Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Foreign Ministry) 54, 63, 90, 126, 140 Ministero dell’Aeronautica (Air Ministry) 90, 92 Ministero dell’Agricoltura e Foreste (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests) 48, 76 Ministero della Marina (Ministry of the Navy) 90 Ministero delle Colonie (Ministry of the Colonies) 123, 127 Ministero delle Corporazioni (Ministry of Corporations) 90 Ministero dell’Economia Nazionale (Ministry of the National Economy) Ministero delle Finanze (Ministry of Finance) 48, 99, 119 Ministero della Grazia e Giustizia (Ministry of Mercy and Justice) 44 Ministero della Guerra (Ministry of War) 89–90, 240 Ministero dell’Interno (Ministry of the Interior) 72–3, 90, 94, 167 Ministero dell’Istruzione Pubblica (Ministry of Education) 42 miseria (poverty) 101, 227 Missiroli, Mario 24 Mississippi 259 Misurata 119, 123 Mit Brennender Sorge 232 Mohammad 18 Mola, Emilio 224–5 Molise 30 Molotov, Vyacheslav 168, 245 monarchism 48, 54, 73, 89, 118, 126, 219 Monferrini 165 Mongolia 182 Montanelli, Indro 194–5, 210, 220 Monte dei Paschi di Siena 109 Montenegro 54 Montreux conference 137 Moore, Martin 207 Moore, Michael 12 Moran, Herbert 143–6 Moravia 242 Mordano 50 Morgan, J.P. 98 Morocco 181 Morreale, Giuseppe 129 Mosconi, Antonio 99 Moscow 69, 78, 84, 87, 135, 229, 244 Moses 18 Mosley, Oswald 42, 112, 173–4, 228, 258

325

INDEX Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista (Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution: MRF) 35, 40–3, 46, 188 Movement Franciste 137 Movimento Sociale Italiano (Italian Social Movement: MSI) 117, 249 Mugabe, Robert 150 Munich 128–9, 139 Munich conference 146, 204, 230, 240, 245 Murdoch, Rupert 17 Musolino, Giuseppe (Calabrian bandit) 163 Mussert, Anton 137 Mussolini, Alessandra 9 Mussolini, Alessandro 8, 38 Mussolini, Anna Maria 59, 141, 220 Mussolini, Arnaldo 33, 35, 37, 41, 47, 81, 109, 120, 136, 154, 258 Mussolini, Benito and administration 70, 75–6, 78, 84–5, 89–90, 92, 94, 96–100, 138–47, 149–52, 154, 158–61, 168, 199–200, 204–5, 226–7, 238–40, 251–4 as dictator 2–4, 6, 9–19, 21–5, 27–8, 33–9, 53, 58–9, 62–5, 67–70, 73–5, 80–7, 89–91, 93–5, 103–8, 113–18, 123–5, 133–5, 150, 153, 174–5, 178–93, 195, 198–9, 207–13, 216–18, 222, 237, 245–58, 260–2 and family 8, 14–15, 37–9, 49–52, 59, 141, 154–6, 170–1, 191, 195, 204–6, 214–16, 219–20, 227–8, 256–7 and Fascists 5, 7–9, 26–7, 29–31, 34, 36–7, 39–44, 56–7, 60, 71, 74, 102, 109–12, 122, 149–51, 156–8, 165, 168, 185–6, 195–6, 198, 216, 224–6, 244, 254–5 and Hitler 9–19, 23, 27, 33–4, 45, 56–7, 60–2, 82, 85–6, 103, 106, 108, 115–16, 128–34, 136, 139–47, 151, 173–8, 180, 184, 201–2, 208–12, 216–17, 228–30, 233–4, 236–8, 240–5, 250, 255–6, 258–9 and philosophy 7, 31, 47, 52, 59, 68, 71–2, 79–80, 83–5, 103–7, 110–13, 115, 128–9, 133–4, 136–9, 178–9, 190, 216, 220–1, 226, 230–3, 243, 252–5, 257–62 and populism 6–7, 10, 14, 110, 115, 148–53, 157–61, 169–78, 181, 187, 196, 210–16, 235, 246–7, 257–62 Mussolini, Bruno 69, 141, 170, 195 Mussolini, Caio Giulio Cesare 9 Mussolini, Edda (Ciano) 50–1, 59, 141, 153–4, 160, 170, 191, 215, 219 Mussolini, Rachele 9

Mussolini, Rachele (Guidi) 31, 59, 141, 170–1, 191, 220 Mussolini, Romano 153 Mussolini, Rosa (Maltoni) 37 Mussolini, Vito 154 Mussolini, Vittorio 59, 141, 155, 170, 195, 227 Mussolinia (San Pietro) 169 Namier, Lewis 23 Napoleon III 22–3, 190 Narpastum 152 Nasjonal Samling (National Union) 258 Nasser, Gamal Abdel 188 Nathan, Ernesto 45 National Corporate Party, Eire (‘Blueshirts’) 137 National Recovery Administration (NRA) 176 National Review 105–6 National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland: NSB) 137 navy, Italian 51, 55, 90, 180, 191, 240 Nazareth 55 Nazi-fascism 13, 61, 66, 117, 212, 237 Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei: NSDAP) 103, 127–30, 132 Nazism (National Socialism) 4–6, 12–14, 16–17, 32–4, 36, 39, 48, 50, 56, 58–64, 66, 68, 84–6, 96, 98–9, 101, 103, 106, 108, 114–15, 117, 126–8, 130–4, 136–40, 154, 158, 161, 168, 173–4, 176–82, 184–6, 189–90, 201, 203–5, 208–12, 216, 218–19, 221, 229–33, 237–8, 240–2, 245, 247, 251–2, 256, 258–60 ’Ndrangheta 163 Neghelli 119 Nelson, Horatio 19 Nenni, Pietro 86 neoliberalism 11, 13, 18, 21, 58, 73, 210, 249, 261 Netherlands 4, 117, 137, 142, 208 New Deal 5, 106–7, 175, 178, 253 New Guard (NSW) 173 New South Wales 173–4 New York 18, 34, 45, 68, 194, 217 New York Times 17 Niger 236 Nigeria 236 Nightingale, Florence 19 Nile, Blue 124

326

INDEX Nitti, Francesco Saverio 86, 160 Nobel Prize 155, 177, 232 Nocra 199 Norway 137, 258 Novecento (Twentieth Century) 58 Nuova Antologia 72 Nuova Rivista Storica 63, 233 Obama, Barack 257 Observer 17, 23, 105 Odalengo 165 Odessa 84, 91 O’Duffy, Eoin 137 Oggi 59 Olivetti, Gino 30 Olympic Games 46 Ooms, Simon 137 Opera Nazionale Maternità e Infanzia (Mother and Child Welfare Agency: ONMI) 172 Operation Barbarossa 83 Orbán, Viktor 13–14, 257, 261 Ordzhonikidze, Grigory (Sergo) 32 Oxford 29, 133 Pacific Ocean 184, 212, 259 Pact of Steel 233, 242 Pakistan 61 Palazzo Borghese 49 Palazzo delle Esposizioni 41, 43–4 Palazzo di Venezia 2–3, 40, 43–4, 143, 191, 213, 246 Palazzo Vidoni pact 76 Palazzo Viminale 143 Palermo 108 Palestine 207 Palingenesis 20, 28, 91, 118, 120, 122, 152, 261 Palmerston, Lord Henry John Temple 177 pan-Germanism 131, 175 pan-Slavism 122 Pankhurst, Sylvia 81 Pannunzio, Vito 151 Paola 157 Paraguay 22 Paris 11–12, 27, 32, 45, 66, 69, 82, 86–7, 107–8, 125, 134, 148, 152, 160, 162, 174, 182–3, 207, 216, 220, 223, 228, 241, 251 Parma 185 Parrini, Eugenio 167 Partito Comunista Italiano (Italian Communist Party 1943–91: PCI) 46 Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party: PNF) 9, 31, 41, 48, 50, 52, 54,

73, 92–3, 95, 99, 102, 108–9, 119–20, 125, 133–4, 142, 148–52, 156–8, 161, 166, 181, 196–7, 200, 216, 221, 224, 227, 239, 253–5, 259 Partito Popolare Italiano (Italian Popular Party: PPI) 75 Passo romano (‘Roman’ or goose step) 153, 215 Pavelić, Ante 55, 64, 68 Pavolini, Alessandro 100 Payne, Stanley 17 peasantry 29, 52, 58, 65, 77, 79–80, 97, 107, 153, 160–70, 172, 175, 188, 196, 198, 203, 207, 214–15, 217, 227, 235, 254 Pedrazzi, Orazio 218 Père Lachaise cemetery 223 Pergher, Roberta 207–9 Perin 236 Peritalia society 144 Perón, Juan 258 Peru 22, 96 Pescopagano 226 Petacci, Claretta 37, 51, 152, 160, 170–1, 191, 215, 218, 229, 238, 240, 243, 246, 257 Petacci, Myriam 51, 171, 257 Pétain, Philippe 246 Peukert, Detlev 256 Philippines 260 Piacentini, Mario 44–6, 197 Piacentini, Pio 44, 46 Piazza Matteotti 81 Piazza Rusticucci 43 Piazza San Pietro 3, 43 Piazza San Sepolcro 171 Piazza Venezia 1–3, 40 Piazzale Loreto 39 Piazzale Roma 40 Piedmont 55, 112, 166 Pilger, John 17 Piłsudski, Józef 27 Pinochet, Augusto 21 Pinzi, Omero 222 Pipes, Richard 78 Pirelli, Alberto 100, 239 Pisticci 167 Pistoia, Filiberto, Duke of 55, 120 Pius XI, Pope 42–3, 53, 94, 105, 115, 123, 177, 220, 232, 254 Pius XII, Pope 53 Po valley 58, 79, 91, 242 Poland 27, 97, 228, 242, 250 Politecnico (Milan) 239 Polverelli, Gaetano 154

327

INDEX Pompeii 206 Ponte del Littorio (Ponte della Libertà) 40 Pontine Marshes 81, 107, 169, 207 Pontinia 169, 187 Ponza 167 Popular Front, French 192, 220 populism 6–7, 10, 14, 31, 95, 108, 114, 134–5, 148–50, 157, 173, 181, 187, 201, 205, 210, 216, 259, 261 Portugal 4, 17, 27, 62, 67, 96, 117, 123, 137, 243 Potenza 226 Pound, Ezra 143 Prague 12 Pravda 32, 84 Predappio 8, 170, 216 Preston, Paul 221, 225 Preziosi, Giovanni 174, 184, 229 Prezzolini, Giuseppe vii Primo de Rivera, José Antonio 173, 228 Primo de Rivera, Miguel 27, 69, 107, 132 Prison Notebooks 75 Proletariat 15, 25, 32, 77, 83, 150, 187, 253 Protestantism 100, 105, 136, 162 Puccini, Giacomo 96 Puglia 52 Putin, Vladimir 13 Quaroni, Pietro 84, 183, 186 Quartararo, Rosaria 62–3, 233 Quas primas 94 Queensland 39–40 Quirinale 53 Quisling, Vidkun 137, 258 Quota novanta 99–100 racism 36, 48, 66, 104, 131, 135–7, 176, 195, 201, 206, 208, 222, 230–2, 252, 257 Ranke, Leopold von 63 Rastafarianism 194 Ravenna 222, 225 Ravenna, Renzo 206 Readers’ Digest 12 Reagan, Ronald 16 Red Cross 195 Regia Aeronautica (Royal Italian Airforce) 90–2, 121, 126, 180, 191, 240 Reichstag 127 Reichswehr 182 Renaissance 2, 44, 46, 70–1, 143, 152, 218 Rennell Rodd, James 137 Renzetti, Giuseppe 130–1, 142 Repubblica Sociale Italiana (Italian Social Republic: RSI) 60, 73, 117–18, 212, 249

Republic, Italian 46, 48, 50, 58, 77, 183, 249, 255 Revelli, Nuto 205–6 Rexists 94 Rhineland 201–2 Rhodes 203, 211 Rhodes, Cecil 103 Ribbentrop, Joachim 244 Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact 168, 245 Riccione 170, 176 Risorgimento 1–2, 20, 24, 44, 49, 65–7, 92–3, 97, 163, 217–18, 231, 246, 259 Rivista Aeronautica 121 Rivista d’Albania 72 Roatta, Mario 219 Roberts, Andrew 16 Rocca delle Carminate 206 Rocco, Alfredo 71, 96–7, 102 Rodd, Peter 227 Rodríguez de Francia, José Gaspar 22 Romagna 8, 256 Romania 11, 137, 228, 250, 260 Rome 1–5, 9, 20, 22, 24, 26–7, 33–6, 39–40, 43–7, 49–50, 52, 54, 56, 64, 67, 70–1, 74–8, 80, 84–6, 90, 92–4, 98–9, 102, 104, 106–7, 111–12, 118–20, 125, 128–9, 132, 134, 136–9, 141–5, 152, 155–7, 169, 173–4, 182, 187–9, 197, 200, 207, 210, 213, 215, 217–19, 221, 223, 227, 234–6, 238, 240–4, 258 Roosevelt, Franklin D. 106, 132, 174–5, 178, 229, 253 Rosenberg, Alfred 38, 129, 131, 137, 176 Rosselli, Carlo 86–7, 166, 222–3 Rosselli, Marion (Cave) 87 Rosselli, Nello 87, 223 Rossellini, Roberto 155 Rossoni, Edmondo 76–7, 101 Rotary 100–1, 105, 155 Round Table, The 122 Rovigo 80–1 Royal Italian Geographical Society (Società Geografica Italiana) 55, 72 Russian Revolution 25, 36, 113 SA (Nazi Sturmabteilung) 56 SS (Nazi Schutzstaffel) 96 Sabato fascista (Fascist Saturday afternoon) 173, 186 Sabaudia 169 Sabotino 51 Sabratha 206 Sacconi, Giuseppe 44 Sacro egoismo 6, 66, 217, 236

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INDEX Sala del Mappamondo 2–3, 40, 143–4, 146 Salandra, Antonio 66 Salazar, António de Oliveira 17, 27, 137, 243 Salerno 212 Salgado, Plinio 106 Salvemini, Gaetano 86, 97–8, 202, 250 Salvini, Matteo 14, 150, 257, 261 San Giovanni Laterano 43 San Lorenzo 52, 227 San Pietro 42–3 San Silverio 167 San Siro 35 Santa Croce in Gerusalemme 174 Santa Maria degli Angeli 36, 51, 94 Saranda (Porto Edda) 205 Sardinia 56, 85–6, 169 Sarfatti, Margherita 112, 171 Saudi Arabia 82 Savignone 35 Savonarola, Girolamo 107 Savoy dynasty 31, 49, 51, 53–5, 200, 211, 254 Savoy Hotel 183 Scarfoglio, Edoardo 29 Scarpia, Vitellio 96 Schacht, Hjalmar 137 Schama, Simon 14 Schneider Trophy 91 Schreiber, Emile 107 Schuschnigg, Kurt von 181, 220, 234, 236, 238 Scipione Africano 156 Scorza, Carlo 157 Scorza, Giuseppe 157 Secret Book 237 Seipel, Ignaz 107 Seldes, George 82, 194 Sempre pronti per la Patria e il Re 73 Senate 68, 72, 205, 253 Senise, Carmine 142 Senussi (Sanusiyya) 120 Septimius Severus, Emperor Lucius 206 Servizio Informazioni Militari (Italian Army’s secret service: S.I.M.) 219 Settembrini, Luigi 42 Settimelli, Emilio 71, 109 Sezione massaie rurali dei fasci femminili (Female Fascist branch for Peasants) 171 Sforza, Carlo 26 Sheldonian Theatre 29 Shiara Shat 67 Sicily 20, 29, 55, 80, 89, 99, 134, 157, 163–4, 166, 169 Siena 109, 134 Sighele, Scipio 23

Simon, John 124 Simon, Kathleen 124, 177, 183–5 Sixtus V, Pope 45 slavery 120, 124, 149 Smiles, Samuel 142 Snyder, Timothy 10–12, 59 Social Darwinism 18, 118, 156 Social Democracy 10, 83 socialism 8, 30, 36, 43, 59, 73, 76, 79–83, 85–6, 94, 111–12, 116, 118, 131, 135, 154, 158, 162, 166, 168, 170, 174, 182, 194, 221–2, 225–6, 253 Società Pio e Marcello Piacentini 46 Socotra 236 Somalia (Italian Somaliland) 55, 117, 122–3, 126, 180, 185 Sonnino, Sidney 3, 66 Soprani, Secondo 225–6 South Africa 29, 194 Southern Italy 18, 52, 95, 134, 149, 163–4, 166, 196, 199 Spain 4, 17, 22, 27, 60–2, 69, 83, 85–6, 97, 112, 117, 127, 136–7, 150, 154, 173, 180, 200–1, 212, 218–20, 224–6, 228, 231–2, 240–1, 243, 247, 251, 259 Spampanato, Bruno 113, 241–2 Spartacus 107 Spectator (London) 14, 58, 105, 194 Speer, Albert 33, 45, 209 Squadristi 5, 75, 80, 91, 119, 151, 157, 186, 223 St Helena 23 St Mark (San Marco) 40, 169–70 Stahlhelm 56, 130 Stakhanov, Alexey 142 Stalin, Joseph 4–5, 10–11, 13, 15–16, 32, 39, 59, 75, 82–3, 86, 103, 113, 116, 135, 141, 148, 150, 157, 161, 175, 222, 225, 232, 253, 260 Starace, Achille 41–2, 47–8, 52, 102, 108–9, 133–4, 142, 149–52, 154, 156–7, 159–60, 173, 181, 187, 191, 196, 205, 214–15, 230, 244, 259 Starhemberg, Rüdiger von 234 Stimson, Henry 98 Stolypin, Pyotr 142 Stone, Marla 43 Streicher, Julius 129 Stresa 184–5, 189, 234 Sturzo, Luigi 23, 75 Sudan 236 Sudetenland 68, 235 Suetonius Tranquillus, Gaius 15 Suez 188

329

INDEX Suharto 17 Sulla, Lucius Cornelius 21, 107, 112 Suluq 121 Sutherland, Donald 58 Suvich, Fulvio 140–2, 154, 193, 234 Sweden 228 Switzerland 237 Sydney 143 Syria 150 Tacchi Venturi, Pietro 92–3, 142, 154 Tacitus, Publius Cornelius vii Tagore, Rabindranath 107 Tanganyika 236 Tangiers 219 Taylor, Alan J.P. 208 Tazerbo (Tazirbu) 121 Terruzzi, Regina 171–2 Teruzzi, Attilio 197 Thaon di Revel, Paolo 51 Thatcherism 79 Thompson, Edward P. 29 Tianjin 67 Tiber 3, 7, 54 Ticino 175–6, 235 Times, The (London) 106, 151, 176–7, 234 Tirana 203–4 Tirpitz, Alfred von 234 Tobruk vii Togliatti, Palmiro 84 Tooze, Adam 258 Topolino (Mickey Mouse) 155 totalitarianism ix, 3, 6–7, 9–10, 12–13, 16, 18, 20–7, 29, 32, 38–9, 41–4, 47–8, 57, 61–2, 64, 70, 78, 84, 87, 89, 92–3, 96, 101–2, 105, 110, 113, 115, 123, 129, 135, 146, 158–9, 161–2, 164, 170, 191, 196, 201, 205, 207, 210, 212, 215, 219, 225–6, 229–30, 243, 247–8, 252–3, 255, 258–60 Trajan, Emperor 108 Transjordania 236 Tremiti islands 67, 167 Trentino 26, 53, 66, 79, 185 Trento 2, 149, 185 Tresigallo 76 Trevelyan, George M. 20 Tribunale Speciale per la difesa dello stato (Special Tribunal for the Defence of the State) 84–5 Trieste 2, 26, 50, 66, 79, 109, 134, 140, 185, 234 Trinidad 135

Tripartite agreement (1906) 124 Triple Alliance 2, 125, 129, 234, 237, 242 Triple Entente 67 Tripoli 2, 99, 119–20, 122, 125, 206–7 Trotsky, Leo 83–4, 135 Trump, Donald J. 6, 11–14, 18, 141, 168–9, 244, 251, 257, 260–1 Tudors 19 Tunisia 182, 207, 218, 235–6 Turati, Augusto 78, 92–4, 97, 102, 152 Turati, Filippo 86 Turin 86, 111, 169 Turkey (Ottoman) 2, 66–7, 124, 203 Turkey (Republic) 5, 28, 160 Tuscany 79, 169 Ufficio Stampa (Press Office) 154 ‘Umar al-Mukhtar 121 Umberto I, King 36, 195 Umberto II, King (Crown Prince of Piedmont) 40, 42, 54–5, 122 Umbria 79, 168 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Soviet Union (USSR) 4–5, 10, 13, 26, 32, 39, 58–60, 64, 68, 83–6, 91, 100, 104, 107, 110, 112, 135, 138, 148, 160–2, 167–8, 201, 205, 212, 222–3, 232, 237, 240, 244–5, 247, 251, 253 United Nations 16, 19 United Press 153 United States of America (USA) 4–6, 11–13, 16–18, 25, 29, 38, 45, 61–2, 80–1, 85, 91, 98, 104, 106, 112, 117, 123, 132, 136, 141, 155, 159, 168–9, 175, 178, 195, 217, 232, 247–9, 251, 258–9, 261 University of Bologna 80 University of Chicago 163 University of Oxford 29, 133 University of Sydney 143 Ustaša 55, 68, 178 Vaccari, Anselmo 56 Val d’Aosta 196 Vansittart, Robert 70, 82, 114, 139, 202 Vatican 2, 30, 37, 42–3, 49, 55, 75, 93–4, 156, 159, 167, 176–7, 219, 221, 232, 244, 254–5, 261 Veneto 169–70 Venezia Giulia 79 Venezuela 22 Venice 40, 53, 91, 99, 102, 119, 134, 150–1, 155, 169, 176, 180, 226 Venice Golf Club 176 Ventennale 46

330

INDEX Vërlaci, Shefqet 204 Verona 35, 168 Versailles, Treaty of 25, 65, 126, 140, 184, 188 Verso l’internazionale fascista 136 Vespasianus, Emperor Titus Flavius 1 Via IV Novembre 164 Via Cassia 80 Via della Conciliazione 43 Via dell’Impero (Empire Street) 46 Via Nazionale 35–6, 40, 44 Via Silvio Pellico 164 Vichy 246 Vicinato 165 Victor Amedeo II, King 55–6 Victor Emmanuel II, King 1 Victor Emmanuel III, King 11, 27, 31, 36, 38, 41, 49–50, 53–5, 73, 89, 122, 195, 254 Victoria, Queen 142 Vidussoni, Aldo 215 Vienna 129, 174–7, 181, 220 Villa Belmonte di Giulino 8 Villa Camilluccia 47 Villa Carpena 170 Villa Torlonia 227–8 Vinci Gigliucci, Luigi 180 Virgil, Publius Vergilius Maro 47 Vittoriano (monument to King Victor Emmanuel II) 1, 40, 44, 46, 67 Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples 55 Vittorio Veneto 39, 65 Vituso 126 Vivarelli, Roberto 260–1 Vlad III, Voivode of Wallachia (‘The Impaler’) 13, 15 Voldemaras, Augustinas 27 Volga 259 Volksgemeinschaft 256 Volpe, Gioacchino 24, 63, 87, 93, 137, 223 Volpi, Giovanni 99–100, 102, 119, 121, 123, 142, 195 Waffen-SS 61 Wagner, Richard 61

Wall Street 98 Walwal (Welwel) 181 Warsaw Pact 150 Washington 82, 175 Waterloo, Battle of 189 Weimar 68, 127 West Virginia 55 Western Australia 53, 206 Wharton School 18 Whitaker family 89 Whitehead, John 16 Wilhelm II, Emperor 65, 70 Willson, Perrie 172 Wilson, Jessie 83 Wilson, Woodrow 5, 25–6, 66, 103, 235 Women’s International Matteotti Committee 81 World Cup 152 World War I 20, 23–4, 27–8, 34, 36, 41, 45, 51, 54–5, 76, 78, 80–1, 119, 124, 128, 131–2, 149, 168, 186, 188, 203, 209, 222, 234, 244 World War II 6, 9, 11, 16, 19, 63, 73, 91, 115, 140, 202, 207, 212, 219, 233, 246–7, 249–51, 255, 259 Wren, Christopher 29 Yale University 10 Yemen 68 Yolanda, Princess 54 Young Europe 137 Yugoslavia 50, 64, 68, 97, 130, 178, 182, 204, 237, 240 Zachariae, Georg 232 Zagreb 55 Zanardelli, Giuseppe 96 Zangrandi, Ruggero 227 Zeret 201 Zewditu, Empress 124 Zinoviev, Grigory 84 Zionism 65, 231 Zog, King (Ahmet Zogu) 203–4 Zweig, Stefan 137

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