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The TRUTH About Mussolini and Fascism
By Martin Goldberg Copyright 2020 Cover Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Dedication For all those Italians who died serving a cause which the world conspired to forget, and for honest history.
Introduction: Why This Book Had To Be Written I arrived at the course of completing this volume due to an adamant sense of derision for modern academia and its interpretation of the Second World War period. Professors and researchers, who are with few exceptions firm adherents to leftist ideologies, enjoy painting the totalitarian regimes of the 1920s and 30s in an ultra-simplistic light, rarely stopping to consider their native legitimacy, or why perhaps various classes supported them. The traditional explanation for Fascism -- which suggests it was a counterrevolution of industrial leaders against organized labor -- did not align well with several of my deceased relatives, who were not men of station, yet still fervently supported the policies of Mussolini. These loyalties simply did not compute based on the popular discourses of the academic syndicate. After all, why would a person with limited means joyfully endorse a movement with professed contempt, both for the socialist crowd, and their liberal friends working to support equality? The only reasonable explanation by modern terms would have to be delusion, insanity, insecurity, racism, or susceptibility to propaganda. There could not be an alternative justification, one based on genuine thought and appreciation, for to admit such a thing would mean open genocide of liberal primacy and moral entrenchment. All my life I labored under such cosmopolitan propositions, not daring to extend past the safe limit, and always ensuring my work observed a close deference towards the values termed “socially acceptable.” Even when there seemed hypocrisy of the highest order prevailing, liberalism had to be defended, almost like some dithering advisor must carefully cajole his king to remain in good favor. Liberalism in this way is much like a despotic ruler; if one speaks out or decries the popular norm, they will soon see themselves jobless,
untouchable, and without reputation. For liberals simply cannot comprehend that anyone, no matter how justified, might think differently from them. It should come as no surprise that the broader implications of liberal thinking have invaded and commandeered academic communities, wrestling their spirits towards utter submission. While no one will mind if a professor speaks warmly of communism, Islam, or anarchism, the same is not true of other beliefs. I ascribe this permissibility to the cultural status which those three philosophies possess, in large part thanks to liberal dictums. Communism may have been the contributing factor to a seismic-scale investment in death and global pollution across its long history at the helm of various states, but that is immaterial. The fact that certain communists fought Nazism (read: racism) means communism has been irrevocably remanded to the “good guys” column, regardless of other dynamics. In fact, modern liberals will often rhapsodize communism and wish for it themselves, such as in the case of Thomas Friedman, who openly fantasizes about adopting the Chinese Communist system in order to “authorize the right solutions.” Or even Charles Freeman, who criticized the Beijing government for not being aggressive enough in response to the Tiananmen Square protests, despite the thousands killed by government forces. Islam of course has its struggles with radicalized totalitarian politics, but in the liberal sway of thought, the religion is victimized by a greater threat: right-wing Christian fundamentalism. Muslims are the target of a campaign bolstered by the dollars and foot soldiers of the Moral Majority, which seeks to create a new fascist state, a place where RACISTS rule, in patterns similar to what the “good guys” fought off during the Second World War. As for anarchism, it is too small and poorly-understood to pose a significant issue. Nevertheless, anarchists tend to oppose fascists,
so there’s room for them at the party as well. The “enemy of my enemy” principle takes root here quite helplessly. On the contrary, any academic who chooses to publicly express affinity for Nazism or Fascism will be quickly surrounded by crowds of concerned and shrill liberal activists chanting about how they “Strongly disavow,” or “Will not tolerate,” such ideas. Unless that instructor holds a full professorship, they would quickly be shown the door, on the heels of statements from the university colored by similarly-wobbly disclaimers. The gentleman with tenure might not even be safe, as endowment donor money tends to become questionable whenever subjected to public pressure. In typical fashion, liberals would work to ensure that the individual’s opinions get thoroughly soiled by society, and thus made illegitimate. With such a path liberalism feels brave and empowered, because it outright blocks any view which can be taken as threatening. The designs of this cordon sanitaire in both society and the academic community were ably summarized by the scholar Robert Paxton, who noted “some even doubt that the term fascism has any meaning other than a smear word. The epithet has been so loosely used that practically everyone who either holds or shakes authority has been someone’s fascist.” Noted philosopher John Dewey provided similar social commentary on the matter: “For while it was part of the original doctrine that personal hatred is outside the scope of the interpersonal sweep of economic forces, it is doubtful if there is any case in history of odium theologicum that surpasses in intensity the venom displayed by convinced disciples of orthodox Marxist creed towards dissenters, the venom being even greater against those who agree in some respects than towards professional representatives of capitalism. For the former are heretics, while the latter are simply believers in a faith that is natural to them. Like pagans, as distinct from heretics, they do not know any better. Verbal abuse in countries like the United States is the
substitute for physical violence where dictatorship exists, the mildest epithet being that of Fascist or friend of Fascism.” Similar liberal and leftist behavior was inflicted on Professor Renzo De Felice by Italian academics and the press for his work on Benito Mussolini. The reaction of what De Felice termed an “AntiFascist vulgate” was so extreme that even the communist Giorgio Amendola came to his defense. In addition, some years back Jason Richwine fell victim to comparable liberal finger-wagging for committing intellectual thought crime, even though his arguments were solid and formed the basis for a Harvard doctoral thesis. The liberal community harangued him into submission and silence, while also causing his dismissal from the Heritage Foundation. Richwine’s ideas were too much for liberalism’s insecurity, and hence he had to be removed. Despite all their supposed tolerance, the liberals tend to be non-fascists or anti-fascists with the fascist mentality, as De Felice argued. I would experience something similar after submitting an article carrying many of this book’s arguments to a conservative publication years ago. Initially the piece was released, but after another writer threatened to resign over “fascist apologetics,” the endowed conservative editors unpublished and deleted the article. Keep in mind that this was a volunteer-based arrangement, with the goal being to further the exchange of ideas and opinions. Yet an article simply explaining that some perceptions of Fascism were inaccurate could not be permitted. Liberalism’s openness and tolerance won the battle again. This problem of “war crimes by academic association” is so flagrant that liberals themselves are not even immune. Mainline scholars of Fascism remain utterly terrified of potentially causing someone to sympathize with the ideology, and thus they pepper texts with overt disclaimers and mea culpas in hopes of avoiding criticism by fellow academics or journalists. One prominent author begins his biography of Mussolini by cautiously and explicitly
describing himself as an “Anti-Fascist biographer,” before proceeding to constantly describe the Duce (taken from the Latin Dux, or “leader”) as a failure, as if driven by moral duty to do so. Consequently, this book is necessary to clear up the record on Italian Fascism without falling prey to the nauseous, ideological heelclicking of the academic elite. My objective with the succeeding text is not to apologize on behalf of Fascism, but merely to present the historical facts free of emotionalism and petty intrigue. I have previously outlined my political views in the book Centrism: Why We Need It, and do not find myself embracing Fascist ideas, though of course I refuse to shrilly defame anyone for the sole fact of holding such beliefs. The following pages are not designed to present Mussolini or his supporters as somehow divinely-inspired and devoid of the capacity for mistakes; on the contrary, many were made by the Fascists, and some with devastating results. It is however imperative for the world to be presented with material which distills all mistreated recordings in favor the blossoming truth. In line with those principles, I must pause to explain how the book has been crafted. A topic such as this will always be controversial, leaving some readers to dismiss offhand the contents as conjecture or opinion. Further complicating the matter is that many of these cited sources are difficult to attain on account of limited printing –- or extremely expensive to purchase. Naturally I have foreseen both these fronts, and thus belabored to supply rich direct citations from a variety of locations. Skeptical readers may fervently disagree with the author, but they will be forced to contend with countless quotes or letters from historical figures, complicating their rage-mongering. Students unable to get hold of the sources referenced can view large swaths of what was included, giving them solid intellectual ammunition for future endeavors. As an added note, because their contributions have been so mandatory to the lifeblood of this text, I want to specially recognize the invaluable research of Renzo De Felice, Herbert Schneider, and Luigi Villari. All three are honorable
men who dared to speak past popular norms, providing the opportunities we have to study and learn today. As a general guidance, I use the terms “Fascist” and “Fascism” in this book to specifically reference the Italian manifestation of the ideology, not that generalized, lower-case version, “fascism,” which is a rather empty term cast about to defame anyone and anything not associated with the Far-Left. In addition, I employ the terms “liberalism” and “liberal” to encapsulate the broader political and economic establishment preceding and succeeding the Fascist State. This method incorporates both classical liberals, who share many values with modern center-right parties or conservatives, and traditional social liberals, whose ideological successors are typically found in center-left associations. Lastly, the terms “socialist” and “communist” will be capitalized only when referring to specific party or state associations.
I. The Basis For An Idea There are two primary assessments of the Fascist period typically concluded by the academic community, as Renzo De Felice explained. The first, captured by the usual Western or Marxist interpretation, defines Fascism as a counterrevolution of the industrialists and employers against workers who sought to emancipate themselves by way of socialism. The view creates a basic, yet also endearing diorama in which the aspirations of working class angst were systematically crushed by hired thugs with backing from the bourgeoisie, who sought to protect their wealth and profits. As time went on, the sinister evils of oppressive capitalism and imperialism helped spur a second global war, with the ultimate intent dedicated to stomping out proletarian rage and revolution. Unifying together, the communist and liberal nations formed a defensive front to finally put down the excesses of greed by defeating the Axis in World War II. The staggering problem with such a take is its sheer lack of completeness, and the purveyor’s focus on fitting every piece of history into the Marxist plotline. While it is true that certain conservative elements favored Mussolini’s regime, and many socialists took issue with his rule, the saga does not even begin at that milestone. Fascism was in fact a far more complex phenomenon, one crafted on the iron forge of Italian history going back to the days of the famed Risorgimento, when disparate states on the Tuscan peninsula were brought together under the guise of a Roman republic, and ultimately the Savoy monarchy. According to De Felice, it should also be seen as the image not of counterrevolution, but the rise of an indignant and emerging middle class, a factor seldom mentioned in Marxist circles, where individuals are normally expected to side with workers, or else stand against them.
In the course of our study, it will remain crucial to avoid oversimplifying the events leading to the rise of Mussolini and Fascism. Contemporary scholars frequently commit the error of either assuming Fascism can be defined strictly in the personality and leadership of Mussolini, or discounting the Duce entirely and pretending his movement was some docile offshoot of the German variety, which of course came later. Our goal must be to render credit and achievements where they are due, yet not lose sight of the overall mission to explain precisely how Fascism has been crucified by history, in many cases for acts it simply did not commit, or had limited power to prevent. One can see the contours of the dilemma by examining Mussolini’s life itself. Like most statesmen, he had political views which evolved or shifted based upon the era and climate. Originally a more radical member of the Socialist Party, he moved towards a political camp in support of the First World War, resulting in his expulsion from the party in 1914. To this blow he reacted by declaring, “You hate me because you still love me!” He initially desired a political program for Fascism which would appeal to the proletarian class, yet came to realize that the socialistic workers had not been part of the “aristocracy of the trenches,” or veterans and soldiers determined to pursue national greatness. As it turned out, many of those who served actively in the war were of middle class extraction, contributing to Fascism’s eventual turn. However, this is not to suggest that either Fascist officials or the Duce himself completely rejected appeals for socialism during their encounter with government administration; on the contrary, a number of significant reforms would be undertaken to advance the well-being of the poor in Italy, from health insurance to the establishment of paid vacation for workers. Furthermore, there was substantial support for the Fascists amongst the proletariat, at least until foreign policy outcomes began to turn out poorly. At the same junction, Mussolini did start his premiership by pursuing certain policies aligned with the modern center-right and
economic liberalism. These are perhaps best explained by considering the makeup of his original cabinet, which featured a number of figures from the Liberal and Democratic parties. In particular, leaders at the Ministry of Finance promulgated rules diminishing taxes, eliminating regulation, and streamlining economic activities, much to the pleasure of the business community. It should be noted here that the economic liberals remained in frequent conflict with the left-wing of the Fascist Party, and would see their main advocate driven out over a contentious decision on the administration of stock brokerage operators. The Fascist perspective also viewed rural areas as an idealized base to recreate the nation, with Mussolini arguing that they should resist urbanization and colonize the countryside. Looking at the later positions on the “Battle for Grain,” this broader image begins to solidify. During the timeframe of civil strife as the Fascists battled for power, Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti would describe Fascism as “Anarchic Liberalism,” and the predecessor to a totalitarian system. After Mussolini was removed from command in July 1943, only to be reinstalled some months later in Northern Italy to govern the Italian Social Republic (RSI), Fascism took a sharper leftist turn. Building on the economic reforms of the 1920s and 1930s, Mussolini pushed for successful policies of nationalization and public housing, with stalwart support from the co-founder of Italy’s Communist Party, Nicola Bombacci. That special period is criminally underrepresented in English language texts on Fascism and Mussolini, but thankfully our book will provide clairvoyance on the subject. Fascist Philosophy and Worldview As we have already begun to understand, Fascism developed as a syncretic movement pulling from various ends of the existing political spectrum. Mussolini was described as not being a “prisoner of ideas,” and “a great artist in action,” thus vacillations in terms
of Fascist ideas versus applied acts pushed by the State materialized. In foundational terms, Roger Griffin styles Fascism along the following key lines: - Anti-Liberalism and Egalitarianism: Disbelief in mandated equalities of outcome, with an emphasis on the individual being channeled to support the State. - Anti-Conservative: With a focus on building the nation into a new order, eventually meant to craft an enduring, organic state. - Anti-Rationalism: Rejecting traditional notions of legalrational systems and liberal humanism in favor of myth. - Heterogeneity of Support: Though broadly supported by the middle classes, Fascism was capable of attracting sympathies from large swaths in society, consistent with its arguments about transcending class.
Individualism On these fronts, we can begin to construct a picture coloring what different constituent ideas were baked into the Fascist movement. An excellent first salvo would be the subject of individualism. Over the years, scholars and journalists have attempted to create various explanations for Fascist attitudes towards the concept, or at least the extents to which it existed. Jonah Goldberg pushed an exposé with his book Liberal Fascism by painting the philosophy as antiindividualistic and pro-collectivization, but the interesting tome is plagued from the start with major problems. Most crucially, it relies on an exclusivist, narrow definition of individualism extracted from the hodgepodge conservative community in the United States. As a result, the book reads more like a diatribe attempting to deflect the Fascist label back on liberal Democrats rather than a full-throated
grasp of the actual viewpoint. Better luck can be had by examining the words of Alberto De Stefani, a professor appointed to Mussolini’s first cabinet: “If we look closely into our history from its very origins we shall find that fascism in its most fundamental signification has always existed and has always operated in the most serious crises of the nation. Moreover there have always existed two opposed conceptions of history: the individualistic and heroic conception of our Latin race, and the socialist Gregorian conception which is Teutonic and characteristic of current socialism. So-called scientific socialism is a foreign product, a product exported by a German Jew. Solidly opposed to socialism stands the individualistic concept that we have inherited from liberalism, from our own forefathers of the risorgimento, who had the assurance of their convictions and who continued to sit on the benches of the glorious national right wing even when its fortunes had declined […] The historical function of fascism is very clear and does not lend itself to equivocation: fascism is an aristocratic and individualistic movement.” Mussolini of course rose from a Socialist Party background, and thus his quote, “Everything in the State, Nothing outside the State, and Nothing against the State” is taken by individuals like Jonah Goldberg to be a sign of Fascism’s anti-individualist tendencies. The error here is a misapprehension of what “State” means. Traditional political culture would hold that State equals government, and thus Mussolini wanted government control over everything. In reality, the State for Fascists encapsulated the totality of existence, including culture, race, religion, art, and the economy. The Duce was therefore signaling a philosophical conception of the national system, not forcibly the proliferation of bureaucrats into all facets of human life. He noted that “Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual.” Put simply, to maximize liberty, especially economic liberty, liberals undermined the national concept of Italy. Fascists on
the other hand believed individualism could exist so long as it fit within national objectives advanced by the State. The individual was meant to live in a religious dedication, where one could become a man based on his absolute contribution to the State and Nation. Under the Fascist perspective, people were bound to the Nation by moral duty, and would see their individual energies multiplied by the machinations of the State, which stood to serve as “a discipline of the whole person.” The focus on individual abilities magnified for the State is visible in the Fascist obsession with athleticism and technological advancement to glorify Italy. Examples of such manifestations during the Fascist period would be the conceived martyrdom of heroic soldiers such as Roberto Sarfatti and Ettore Muti, the successful transatlantic flight of Italo Balbo, and the development of a radio system by Guglielmo Marconi. Fascism and Christianity Relations between the Fascist State and the Roman Catholic Church vacillated in a continuum of close warmth and distant hostility. We must note that Mussolini was individually a non-believer, an opinion perhaps developed from his readings of Nietzsche and work for the Socialist Party cause. Throughout his life, he remained skeptical of organized religion, even if in public he would make efforts to find an agreement with the Pope. In his later years he began comparing himself to Christ as parts of the country turned against his rule and conduct of the war. Initially, Fascism’s revolutionary nature called for the complete disendowment of the Catholic Church, which at the time was still operating under the aftermath of the conflict in 1870, when the Italian government did battle with Papal State forces and conquered Rome. The following year brought the Law of Guarantees, which afforded some protections and income to the Vatican, yet was fiercely criticized by Pope Pius IX. Fascist leaders were highly skeptical of Catholicism, much like Freemasonry and socialism, because they
viewed the bulk of these movements as holding international sympathies which would clash with the national agenda. Mussolini addressed the Church with characteristic directness on April 3, 1921: “Fascism is the strongest of all the heresies that strike at the doors of the churches. Tell the priests, who are more or less whimpering old maids: away with these temples that are doomed to destruction; for our triumphant heresy is destined to illuminate all brains and hearts. Make way for the youth of Italy, whose faith and passion are demanding expression.” The Duce would speak as late as 1939 about seizing the metal holdings of the Church for the war effort, a proposal which was deemed politically inadvisable by other prominent Fascists. To understand the compromise Fascism made with the Vatican, we must consider political context. At the outset, Fascism did not have the electoral support to govern freely until the balloting of 1924. Keeping in mind the tacit support from Liberals and firm Socialist opposition, the Fascists could not afford to abandon potential allies (or at least neutral factions) if they wished to attain power. In point, the Church-supported Popular Party was a large bloc in parliament, controlling 108 seats after the election of 1921. Fascists therefore changed their official, revolutionary position, adopting measures suggesting the Church’s universal character could coexist with their worldview: “Hence the only International that has a right and a duty to exist is Catholicism, that is, Christianity. This, in fact, still exists and has endured for so many centuries because in asserting the intimate brotherhood of all men in charity, in the face of God, it does not deny but rather asserts the duty of men in so far as they live on earth to adhere to and to serve each his own nation; not out of hatred for the foreigner, for he too is a brother in Christ, but out of a duty which united both though on opposite sides of a common holocaust of the individual, to a cause which transcends him. And so Catholicism in spite of its intrinsic
spiritual universalism is, can be, and must be the national religion of each Catholic nation. For the end of man on earth is not to live blessed and inert in a paradise of identity of all men, which would make life unworthy of being lived; rather it is to dedicate himself as an individual to the triumph of those national values which history entrusts him for the sake of the progress of human civilization.” Furthermore, at the Fascist Congress in November 1921, a new position was outlined to cement the growing closeness between the party and faith: “[…] it is necessary to have a dogma for social life: the dogma, namely, that unity and power lay in Rome, in the Church there is the Catholic God, and in the modern State there is the Patria.” The consequences of those moves were realized on multiple fronts. To begin, the Church adopted a policy enshrined in the Papal Encyclopedia the following month, noting: “Though the Church does not condemn the democratic form of government, yet it is a well-known fact that this system of government is especially adapted to party strife.” In return for this attitude change, Mussolini ordered Fascists to not quarter in churches during the 1922 March on Rome, raised salaries for the clergy, authorized pensions for those priests and nuns who had fallen prey to antimonastic laws under previous governments, and used the State to help repair damaged churches. The Catholic approach had great significance for the future of the Fascist State, as it helped neutralize the Church’s ability to serve as direct opposition to the regime. By not steadfastly being against the Fascist political system, Catholic authorities allowed Mussolini to diminish the Church’s international role and make it part of national Italian culture. This significant lurch by the Vatican also shooed the Popular Party away from distinct resistance, and towards neutrality, as the Pope himself ordered. Evidence for the outcome can be seen in the fall of Don Sturzo from Catholic politics, and the decision of the Populari to abstain on a vote regarding the Acerbo
Law, which aided the clinching of Mussolini’s governing majority in 1924. The newfound understanding between Fascism and the Church would develop over time along various ends. For one, the education reform championed by Fascist philosopher Giovanni Gentile included mandatory religious instruction for Italian students, a break from the more secular curriculum supported by prior coalitions of the Liberal and Socialist parties. The reforms also led to the Crucifix’s display in schools, something Catholic parties had desired. Although designed to incorporate faith into the public curriculum, further requirements demanding that teachers take exams on religion enraged both anti-clerical forces and the Church itself, which saw its domination of faith becoming eroded by Gentile’s expansion into the spiritual realm. Much as with notions of cooperation mentioned before, the reformers saw Christianity and Catholicism as being part of the national culture and mythos: “If we want to teach children religion, with its mythology, with its mythical personification, with its dogmatic commandments […] To restore the people a sense of sacredness of life, we must have practice, and return to our Christian tradition […] Though Christianity at a particular stage in its development has wrapped itself in a rigid theology, it does not cease to represent, to be sure in the form of myths, the essential revelation of the reality of spirit [… ] We can and we must go beyond the limits of Catholic orthodoxy, but we cannot remain absolutely indifferent to a faith and an institution that represents the central nucleus of our national tradition.” Fascism’s foremost achievement in the realm of faith entailed the signing of the Lateran Pacts in 1929. This massive shift helped break the nearly 60-year stalemate begun by the battle of September 1870 between the Church and Italian forces. The agreement led to Catholicism’s official designation as the national religion of Italy, while also ceasing existing payments from the Italian government to
the Papal State, which would henceforth cooperate with Rome on defense, but otherwise remain self-sufficient financially. As Mussolini noted shortly before ratification of the arrangement, “We are a Catholic nation not only because the vast majority of our people is Catholic, but because Catholicism is inseparable from our history.” Despite its tremendous contribution to Church history, the Lateran agreement does not receive adequate attention by Western scholars because they refuse to provide any positive recognition to Mussolini’s regime. This is a remarkable shame, as the treaty was more than simple political showmanship to appease constituent interests. During the latter part of the war, when German forces were occupying large tracts throughout Italy, Hitler reportedly wished to put troops in the Vatican City and commandeer it. The move was fiercely opposed by both the Fuehrer’s advisers and many Fascists, causing him to eventually back off from the threat. The relative warmth between Fascism and the Church should not be taken as an indication of perfect harmonization, however. Conflict arose shortly after the 1924 debate on questions of youth and their role in public life. As we will soon learn, the concept of the younger generation carrying the Fascist revolution forward inspired great confidence in the philosophy and regime, which erected a number of programs to encourage physical fitness and political development for children as well as teenagers. An evident rival to these associations and organizations was the Gioventu Cattolica, whose buildings were targeted for destruction after the 1924 election by some Fascists. Mussolini criticized the action, yet only a few years later in 1926 his government began ordering the dissolution of the Catholic Scouts, a competing organization to Fascist youth groups. This process led to its total elimination in 1928 as part of the national march towards erection of an organic state. War As a Revolutionary Act
A consistent theme running through the origins and governmental manifestation of Italian Fascism is the concept of war as a proletarian revolution through which the nation could be rebirthed. Mussolini saw the First World War in this light, arguing it had demonstrated the underlying flaws of liberalism, leading to the latter perspective’s collapse in the wake of nationalist revolution. War cleansed the national plane, helping to dislodge the materialistic political interests and replacing them with a new nation-child, for violence was viewed as “the midwife of history.” Mussolini flatly argued that Fascists did not believe in the existence of perpetual peace, for war “keys up all human energies,” while imperialism was a spiritual expression of vitality. As much as the Great War made liberalism illegitimate, the outcome also destroyed traditional socialism’s viability in Fascist eyes, with the former movement continuing as but a grudge against the prevailing modern tide. We might explain this idea by considering that the central message of socialism historically was for workers across the globe to unite against kingdoms, borders, economies, and religion so as to overcome their apparent oppression. What World War I proved is how such loyalties of blood and nation were far more consequential to the average man than mere escape from capitalist tyranny. Thus even the worker class needed a rejuvenating force such as Fascism to truly realize its potential. Philosophers for Fascism and its related art branch Futurism were fond of injecting the importance of war into the political medley. In the case of Giovanni Papini, we have committed faith in military conflict as an initial step towards the utter remaking of society: “Italy, even if it was no longer a geographical expression, was quickly becoming a metaphysical expression. A great power, but the weakest of all, armed, but incapable of waging war; full of social unrest, but with no serious will to change regime; conservative, but spineless whenever there was a hint of threat to stability. […] Others have brought our country into a terrible state: the least they can do is let us make the effort to
raise her up again. The war will not suffice. But it is enough to start with. Afterwards there will be a total change in the ruling classes, of the caste which holds power.” Filippo Marinetti, a prominent Futurist artist and advocate of Fascism, encapsulated military conflict in a similar light: “The war will sweep from power all her foes: diplomats, professors, philosophers, archaeologists, critics, cultural obsession, Greek, Latin, history, senilism, museums, libraries, the tourist industry. […] The war will rejuvenate Italy, will enrich her with men of action, will force her to live no longer off the past, off ruins and the mild climate, but off her own national forces.” The natural result of war embodying revolution was a replacement of the political class with the warriors who had done battle for the Patria, or Fatherland. Here the Fascist position bears some resemblance to Plato’s conception of the Republic, where auxiliaries would protect the State and the Philosopher King from the passions of average citizens, and the members of the producer class, who in the modern sense are those financial interests funding corrupt politicians. In the Fascist idealization, older liberal, conservative, or socialist power brokers would be replaced by a “trenchocracy” of war veterans, the only individuals qualified to serve in office due to their heroism in serving the Nation. According to Mussolini: “The brutal and bloody apprenticeship of the trenches will mean something. It will mean more courage, more faith, more tenacity. […] The words republic, democracy, radicalism, liberalism, and the word socialism itself, have no sense any longer: they will have one tomorrow, but it will be one given to them by the millions of ‘those who returned.’ And it could be something quite different. It could, for example, be an antiMarxist and rational socialism. The millions of workers who
return to furrow in their fields after being in the furrows of the trenches, will realize a synthesis of the antithesis: class and nation.” The casual reader might be tempted to conclude that these extolling speeches were simply effective propaganda, yet in reality the Fascist State made substantial strides to achieve the trenchocracy vision. Examining the leadership briefly, we see that the Duce himself was a veteran, along with ministers of foreign affairs Dino Grandi and Galeazzo Ciano, noted syndicalist and government under-secretary Michele Bianchi, Cesare De Vecchi, Emilio De Bono, Roberto Farinacci, Achille Starace, Italo Balbo, and officials such as Ettore Muti. More than this, a certain percentage of seats in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies (Italy’s lower house) were reserved for those who were, or had been, part of the Italian military, including wounded veterans. Youth No analysis of Fascism is complete until the critical role of youth has been appropriately tackled. We have already considered how the Fascist State represented in many ways an absolute rejection of traditionalism and conservatism, both which emphasize past wisdom being doled out by elderly leaders for the erudition of the young. The Fascists were instead devoted to the concept of an organic state, and thus determined to establish the foundation for an order that would stand absent continuous legislation, or the iron grip of a dictatorship. Mussolini addressed this profoundly in his memoirs by describing the horrors of war, and remaining thankful that the traumatic experience had not cost him his youth. In addition, Giovanni Giurati summarized the idea in this tract: “It is among the young that all the great movements of history have found their prophets, their soldiers, their martyrs. It is well known that the more life is held in contempt, the more it acquires, and the young, since they are more prepared to
embrace a faith, are precisely for this reason more prepared to face the final sacrifice for it. Hence it is the unquestioning support of the young which vouches for the value and universality of the movement. ” Structurally, Fascism would institute several organizations to help craft a sense of eternal leadership spurred by the ranks of younger generations. These included the Balilla, a scouts-style group meant to groom future leaders, the Fascista Femminile, to integrate women, and the Dopolavoro national leisure program, which was designed to promote a sense of national community. This latter cluster had the effect of advancing charity work, athletics, public health, and social events for the populace.  The motivation behind Fascist youth culture went beyond superficial manifestations. We can point to physical mandates and group membership, yet past these still lies a more devout conception. For instance, the effective national anthem for Fascist Italy was the song Giovinezza, with the following lyrics: Italian: Giovinezza, giovinezza, primavera di bellezza, nel fascismo è la salvezza della nostra libertà. English: Youth, youth, Spring of beauty, In fascism is the salvation Of our liberty. It has in fact been argued that the Fascist State dedicated more effort to operating “in the sphere of human behavior and human sentiment than in that of social institutions.” An interpretation of
Georges Sorel’s beliefs summarized as “the concept of will opposed to that of organization, as purity of conviction opposes suffocating rationalism” also melds well here. Consequently, the idea of revolution was postponed by an anxious need to create new humans before genuinely Fascist institutions could be erected. This question embodies the essence of Fascist youth policy, which assumed a somewhat utopian ability of the State to fashion new adherents who might evade the risks brought by time, and outlive the Quadrumvir (leaders of the March on Rome) founding class without compromising Fascism. Where the youth question did become somewhat diminished was in the realm of foreign policy. Although Mussolini had long promoted the irreplaceability of youth participation in matters of state, his attitude changed when contemplating imperial expansion into Ethiopia. At this junction, the expectation for younger generations was that they would “Believe, obey, fight,” rather than debate the merits of adding Abyssinia to Italy’s borders. It is also worth referencing Galeazzo Ciano’s diaries to provide some sense of how youth dejection impacted the later regime. In one entry from 1943, a suspected plot by young Fascists to restore political structures to a right-wing position is detailed, noting that a perception among the dissidents existed of the administration “slipping to the left.” Ultimately, it remains difficult to judge how effective the organic state might one day have become. The eternal problem of laws and institutions versus human nature created an issue, as Fascism did not exist long enough to see transformations occur over multiple generations of the country, especially in the case of the educational system, where older era teachers resisted national reforms. In addition, despite policy shifts beginning in the 1920s, the full array did not appear until the mid-1930s, and still older generations remained an obstacle, with industrialists serving as a shining example of the conflict. Monarchy and Democracy
The Fascist movement and eventual government would adopt significantly divergent positions, both on the validity of democratic principles, and what role Italy‘s House of Savoy might play under a Fascist revolution. Conceptually they must be considered together, as the fate of Italy’s relatively short-lived liberal institutions depended on the survival of each complimentary force. This section may prove traumatic to present-day defenders of the democratic ideal, as they will be required to examine many demonstrated issues with the notions they take for granted. We should also ponder how many people in Italy (and indeed the known world) had skepticism regarding the efficacy of the Liberal State, and those constitutional monarchs standing in its defense. Let us commence with democracy as an idea. It might be grand to utilize some verbiage from the Reformist Socialist Ivanoe Bonomi, for he offers an opportunity to clarify terms of the debate, and the reasons for Fascism’s rise: “The democratic State can be so democratic and the representative system so representative as to nullify free institutions and make government impossible. […] Discipline was impossible, because each of the coalition parties hoped to turn the general indiscipline to its own advantage. The various groups, which were organised hierarchically on the model of the Chamber itself, watched restlessly for a chance to change the personnel of the Government on the principle of ‘rotation.’ Offices ‘rotated’ without regard to the capacity or the experience of aspirants; and the ease with which ambitious schemers climbed into office by provoking ministerial crises was a standing encouragement to intrigue. This was the cause of the rapid decline of the Chamber, which seemed to the unreflective public to be the end of parliamentary institutions, and of the degeneracy of coalition cabinets made and unmade to suit party convenience. Lobby conspiracies reduced one cabinet after another to impotence, and public opinion, offended by the
endless crises, had its revenge in the fascist march on Rome.” Here we face the utmost controversy: a suggestion that liberal democracy can actually lead to less freedom or representativeness by providing too much power for actors pursuing their own interests. While the proposal is likely an anathema to the minds of the democracy defenders, it matches the heart and soul of our fellows who view the concept with some derision. Mussolini in key was unconvinced of democracy’s value, viewing the system as a corrupt arrangement which created disorder and failed to deliver reform. He described it pointedly: “Democracy is a kingless regime infested by many kings who are sometimes more exclusive, tyrannical, and destructive than one, even if he be a tyrant.” This theme is supported in the case of historical analysis concerning the liberal era following the Risorgimento. According to Schneider, democratic governments held power by using the national cabinet as a bargaining weapon, and through the employment of patronage-style politics to assuage various party forces. Both Fascists and Socialists were distrustful of the system, which they saw more so as selling the national destiny to the highest bidder than actually representing the heart and soul of the Italian people. In an especially telling moment, Mussolini would comment that the ruling House of Savoy enjoyed using the liberal democratic system as a tool to divide and conquer society by pitting various factions against each other. Despite such hostility, Fascism did not reject the democratic system outright. The Liberal State would actually constitutionalize Fascism, particularly in the regime’s early days. The Duce, perhaps in part due on practicality and politics, worked within the democratic frame in order to seize power, and the controversial 1924 election under the Acerbo Law (which gave a two-thirds majority to any party winning 25 percent of the vote) yielded a turnout of over 63 percent, despite what skepticism many had of such a model. The
Fascist Party actually scored 64 percent of the vote that year, again bedeviling those who remained unsure. Of course Mussolini did outlaw opposition parties in the succeeding plebiscites of 1929 and 1934, following a broader program to create the conditions that would allow an organic state to be formed. Scholars like De Felice defined Fascism as being influenced by a Western radical movement in the legacy of Rousseau’s “totalitarian democracy,” and Mussolini made similar allusions. In The Doctrine of Fascism, he outlines an “authoritarian democratic” model, which promotes the State as a guide to safeguard the national mission. The participatory element here becomes intra-party based, while the regime also afforded great appreciation for detailed criticism, as we shall see later. Towards the end of the war Mussolini, at this point diminished in power and stature, had the following conclusion on the system: “The greatest massacre of all times has a name: democracy. The word hides the voracity of Jewish capitalism which, through the butchery of men and the ruin of Christian civilization, wants to carry out the scientific exploitation of the world.” Where Fascism and the monarchy met a tense relationship developed. Several of the leading Fascists, such as Italo Balbo and Mussolini, emerged from republican and socialist backgrounds, neither of which were strong centers of support for the preservation of the Italian monarchy. At the same time, Cesare De Vecchi was an ardent follower on the royalist side, and the monarchy enjoyed respectable backing in the military officer classes, along with the Nationalist Party, Fascism’s early coalition neighbor. Inside the Fascist Party itself, the visible groundswell for a republican message existed in Milan, while other Fascist deputies furiously rebelled against anti-monarchical measures, with some openly defying Mussolini’s original pro-republic message. This resistance caused the Duce to lessen the intensity of Fascist declarations against the King, although his private opinions on the matter did not evolve. At various points, Mussolini made scathing remarks about the
sovereign, Victor Emmanuel, and expressed his desire to “blow up” the monarchy. He further expressed a low opinion of the King’s sons, describing them as “morons,” while also keeping a file on Prince Humbert, who was both a devout Catholic and a homosexual. 
Because Italy was a constitutional monarchy, the King’s role as head of state made him instrumental in the rise of Mussolini during the tense October of 1922. Prime Minister Luigi Facta had put forward a decree to enact martial law and crush the Fascist Blackshirts marching on Rome, only to be countermanded by Victor Emmanuel, who proceeded to appoint Mussolini as the new head of government. Historians enjoy portraying Facta as weak or even cowardly, but Italo Balbo would later dismiss such opinions, arguing that they failed to understand the overwhelming spirit of Fascism, which he believed could not be stopped by guns and troops. There is also the suggestion that Victor Emmanuel feared civil war, along with speculation that he assumed he could politically neutralize Fascism. We must remember that the King had ruled for over twenty years before Mussolini came to power, and was skilled in the art of manipulating prime ministers, as the Duce would complain. It was also Victor Emmanuel who ultimately conspired with dissident Fascists to remove Mussolini from the premiership, with some believing he would make Dino Grandi the next prime minister, when in fact it turned out to be Pietro Badoglio. As much as Fascism did not fully eradicate the monarchy to begin with, Mussolini employed measures to check the King’s power. One aspect of this involved a limitation on the number of titles and honors granted to various patrons of the regime, yet in key we see the enactment of a Grand Council of Fascism reform that gave the body control over who would succeed Victor Emmanuel as monarch.  Here stands a development which cannot be dismissed in terms of its historical significance. Similar to the Catholic Church, Mussolini’s embrace of the monarchy had the effect of lessening its overall power by making the regent in some sense dependent on
support from the Fascist Party, like a prime minister must retain the support of parliament to govern. Combined with his aforementioned keeping tabs on the behavior of the royal family, the Duce’s reforms helped diminish the House of Savoy’s standing, and perhaps too its legitimacy. What Mussolini did not achieve was spurred on by the character of Victor Emmanuel himself, whom the Duce believed was in support of a British war victory due to his wealth being stored on the island country. After the Duce’s deposition, the King demonstrated little courage, fleeing with Pietro Badoglio from the capital city out of fear the Germans would kill them. The consequences were a military collapse and the adoption of an unconditional surrender policy by the Allied Powers which thoroughly demoralized the Italian troops, causing many to simply give up against German forces. In a strange sense of irony, Mussolini’s failure to abolish the monarchy (at least before the formation of the Social Republic), would win some late poetic justice after the war. The Duce was shot in 1945, yet all of the King’s recriminations towards liberalism and late opposition to the Axis could not save his royal seat. Victor Emmanuel would abdicate in favor of Prince Humbert in 1946 as the country underwent a referendum campaign on the monarchy’s future. Even Humbert, who had close ties to the military, could not effectively sway public opinion, and the Italian voters replaced him with a president elected by parliament. It must be noted in fairness to the House of Savoy that evidence exists of widespread fraud in the referendum perpetrated by the occupying influence of the Allies, so perhaps a different outcome could have materialized under fairer conditions. Italy’s new constitution, which has been described as “fundamentally anti-fascist,” would amplify the meager end of Savoy’s rule, leaving general derision in its wake. Mussolini is loved and hated to this day -- but still remembered -- while Victor Emmanuel is typically a short footnote in the history books, normally described by liberal historians as weak and fearful, or, according to
the Duce, a shrunken man. In one of the latest national surveys conducted in Italy to gauge support for the royalty’s restoration, the monarchy snagged 15 percent, while a different poll indicated around 48 percent in favor of a “strongman” leader who is unaccountable to parliament or elections. Political Structures of Fascism Thanks to the incomplete and simplistic instruction doled out by Western schools, most of us view dictatorships in the light of a rough caricature. There is a bold and vain man at the top who rules sadistically through violent terror and corrupt underlings, crushing the rights of democratic liberals and the progressive Left. To entertain his own ego, this leader promotes patriotic parades and displays of national resurgence as propagandas for his iron-fisted (and necessarily evil) administration. All dissent, no matter how small, is mercilessly squashed, and separation of powers remains non-existent. Educational and intellectual figures are soundly dismissed, with science being utterly ignored in favor of blind political faith. This image is predictably childish, and helps explain why liberals (along with many conservatives) accept it at face value without question. In reality, dictatorships must serve their constituents like any democratic representative in order to retain power, though the normal machinations of government are of course different. To begin, while Mussolini did operate with a degree of executive independence as Capo del Governo, or prime minister, he was still accountable, both to the King and the Grand Council of Fascism, with the latter providing the role of parliamentary confidence native to traditional democratic systems. The Council would also present nominations for the prime minister role to the King for approval. As a body, it was made up of senior Fascist officials such as Italo Balbo, Emilio De Bono, Roberto Farinacci, Michele Bianchi, and Dino Grandi. Within his parliamentary cabinet of fourteen separate departments, Mussolini required regular changes in leadership,
whether to prevent the concentration of power or as a means of limiting challenges to his personal authority. At any rate, it strikes against the comfortable illusion that the regime was intractable and unwilling to advance any political reform. We also see the function of a Court of Accounts designed to audit state spending and determine if new proposals would violate existing laws. On the subject of devolution, the Fascists achieved mixed outcomes. They would work to eradicate popular elections in the provinces and communes (municipalities), some of which were associated with flagrant corruption under democratic administrations.  The governing bodies of localities were replaced with a podesta appointed by the Minister of Interior on advice from the province’s administrative prefect. Prior to the Fascist reforms, provinces had autonomy over administration of roads, secondary education, charity, and asylums. That would shift from the democratic governing council’s mandate to the office of the prefect, though not with the assumed anti-representative effect. In fact, there is evidence of prefects being pressured to resign over the introduction of unpopular national rules, while others simply ignored the central government. For instance, Roberto Farinacci vetoed an attempt to privatize railroads in his province of Cremona, defying the national inclinations for reform to favor his traditional socialist persuasions.  The system overall was less democratic when compared to previous structures, yet its model also helped advance a certain degree of harmonization between local administrators and the Rome government. It also had the effect of cleaning up older Socialist Party administrations, which were infamous for widespread inefficiency, favoritism, and embezzlement. The nature of legislative functions under Fascism is another center for confusion. As we already know, liberalism constitutionalized Fascism with the 1922 revolution by allowing Mussolini to enter office through the organs of the State. Accordingly, governmental behavior was modified without being entirely overhauled. In theory, the fusion of legislative authority between the
King and cabinet would seem to result in rule by petty fiat, but this is an exceptionally ignorant perception. Not only could parliament make small amendments and raise technical concerns about state decrees; the orders themselves were actually sensitive to political backlash, and thus sported a flexible nature, allowing their reversal based on popular disagreement: “In general, many of these apparently dictatorial decrees turn out to be genial suggestions! Some are even timid experiments, quietly and quickly dropped when they arouse opposition. This experimental aspect of legislation is a commonplace of political experience which foreign students of dictatorships are particularly prone to forget. Even dictation is an art that must be learned and the most formidable regimes must occasionally stoop to the tactics of the desperate parent who finally said to the child: ‘Well then, don’t do it! I must be obeyed!’” Free Speech and Dissent Of course we should investigate the broader category of dissent and opposition towards the Fascist State. From a liberal perspective, there necessarily had to be no allowance for opposing views, because Fascism is not liberal. Here again the truth is one of nuanced flavor. Mussolini did not initially make a significant crackdown on press freedoms, and even encouraged some socialist writers to continue publishing their work. It was only after the consolidation of power in 1925 that more aggressive actions occurred. This started with the targeting of socialists and communists, and was followed by Fascist assumption of control over liberal newspapers. At the same time, the Duce allowed some “loyal criticism” in the press, similar to the legislative scrutiny described earlier. Put simply, “criticism is allowed, but not opposition.” If this model strikes as unpalatable to the reader, it should be viewed in the context of Fascist belief that the weak democratic system had succeeded in effectively destroying liberty by
creating a state of anarchy, where the advancement of the national idea fell aside in favor of constituent interests. Such dynamics made political liberalism the enemy of liberty to Fascists, and they preferred a domineering model that could march Italy towards the concept of a stato etico or Kulturstaat, where every part of society cooperates in organic fashion. Fascism did make a point of rounding up communists and suppressing groups like the Freemasons and Scottish Rite, though the punishments were less extreme than one might assume. Grand Master Torrigiani of the Masons was banished for five years, and 700 political prisoners sent to the Lipari Islands for exile, where the State supported them financially. Reforms to the legal system left it with a harsher outlook, including reinstatement of the death penalty, yet even here amnesties or commutations for prisoners were not uncommon. It is also crucial to note that intra-party dissent was an issue throughout the Fascist movement’s existence. Mussolini’s 1921 Pact of Pacification with the Socialists nearly caused his replacement by Gabriele D’Annunzio and Fascists later actively contemplated a revolution to restore their view of idealized principles following Mussolini’s rise to power. Perhaps the best way to sum up the picture of dissent is in the words of a direct observer during the Fascist State’s existence: “It is not true that significant debate has been wiped out in Italy. The fascist motto ‘We welcome criticism but not opposition,’ is not a mere sophism, but an important distinction. General opposition to the regime continues to be crushed whenever it shows its head, but detailed criticism goes on daily to an extent little appreciated by those naïve foreigners who imagine Mussolini literally dictating all day long to everyone. Mussolini listens more than he dictates. His decrees are rarely initiated by himself but represent decisions, usually compromised, made after a period of active discussion among
those concerned. Nor does this discussion always terminate when the decision is announced. Decrees do not have the finality in fact that they have in form. Some of the debate, to be sure, is conducted behind closed doors, but enough of it is published in scientific and professional journals, reports, and books to enable the technically competent to participate in the expression of conflicting points of view and to influence the decisions of the government. The critical discussion of problems, in short, is the concern of relatively small groups.” This certainly does not sound like a regime hell-bent on wiping out any and all opposing opinions, and the remarkable truth remains that Mussolini’s decisions usually worked to care for opposing forces. In the case of government officials who got dismissed for perceived insubordination or hostility, they were still permitted to collect regular pensions, and the minimum service time required to be eligible for such payments was actually lowered from twenty years to fifteen. Even towards the end of the war, when Mussolini ruled the Social Republic in Salo, he did not use an intercepted letter detailing membership names in certain underground parties to make arrests; instead, the Duce tipped off resistance figures like Ferruccio Parri and Ricardo Lombardi to keep them safe. Fascism and Race Contemporary scholarship on Fascism is wound up in a solemn obsession over the question of race and the Holocaust. Even though Italy’s regime had minimal interest in the racial question, modern intellectual producers cannot cease to fixate on the matter, going to lengths which are often quite comical. A great illustration of this would be the documentary Italian Fascism In Color. The film has beautiful footage overlaid by a foreboding British narrator who focuses most of the message on Mussolini, the Jews, and Roberto Farinacci, the more pro-German and anti-Semitic Fascist figure. However, even Farinacci had a Jewish mistress and secretary, Jole Foà, whom he insisted on providing with a 50,000 lire severance
package after the 1938 Manifesto On Race led to her dismissal. In any case, while the Fascist from Cremona was prominent in the regime, his dislike for Jews hardly defines the entire system and philosophy. Nevertheless, since the Holocaust is an emotional matter for numerous people, it makes good grounds for content, as most observers can be expected to get angry at the prospect of antiSemitism, and thus swiftly reach a negative conclusion. Of course such a mentality could also lead someone to declare the complete system of constitutional government in the United States toxic and evil because it was not always extended fairly to the Indian tribes and African-Americans. The astute observer can distill good from bad without devolving into extreme emotions, as many historians of Fascism do. The racial question for Fascists was always handled with a measure of tact. Scholars have noted that there was no danger of a racial theory for Italian nationality due to cultural attitudes and the historical inheritance of Roman culture, which “never recognized boundaries.” Mussolini is also not seen as a racialist, having declared: “Race! It is a feeling, not a reality. Ninety-five percent, at least, is a feeling. 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.” The essence of this origin culture lent itself to foreign policy excursions championed by Fascists, both in Africa and Albania. Evidence for their attitudes can be found in the policies of Italo Balbo with Libya, and the approach taken by the government after Italy annexed Albania. Rather than treating the colonies as mere holdings to profit off of, the Fascist State viewed them as an extension of the Italian world, and actively invested to improve quality of life for the natives. Where Libya stood, attempts were made to offer Italian citizenship to the local population, and Albania was joined into a personal union with the Italian Empire, benefiting from substantial
internal reforms and the freeing of political prisoners. Even in the case of Ethiopia, it has been argued that the invasion was conceived of as establishing an Italian “New World,” rather than baselessly subjugating other people, helping to justify the move by Mussolini to abolish slavery there. To the Duce, race remained a complicated philosophical subject. While he did reject the National Socialist conception of blood and soil as the absolute foundation of a nation, his views on the broader notion varied, perhaps due to existing political conditions in Italy and other parts of Europe. For instance, in 1910 Italy had a Jewish prime minister, and as late as 1920 Jews accounted for 19 members of the Senate. Both Mussolini and Farinacci has Jewish mistresses, creating the intrigue mentioned earlier. Prior to the publication of the Manifesto On Race, the Fascist relationship with the Jewish community was remarkably warm. The wealthy banker Ettore Ovazza from Turin was a member of the Fascist Party who published criticism of certain Jewish behavior in the newspaper La Nostra Bandiera. According to Ovazza, Jewish support for anti-Fascism and Zionism were the reason that the climate against Jews had grown. His vigorous condemnations were enough to incite requests for a toning down of the messaging by Mussolini, who had expressed support for Zionism. Even when the anti-Jewish laws were put into effect, enforcement proved inconsistent and sporadic, with pro-Fascist Jews becoming largely exempt from them under the discriminati category. The Duce’s attitude can be understood by examining his claim of being able to “Aryanize” the Jews, which he knew Hitler would see as a violation of the laws of nature. Attempts to pin down Mussolini on the subject prove difficult because he balanced social policy with pragmatism. A 1922 conversation between the Nazi Kurt Ludecke and the Duce yielded the following observation: “Then, pursuing the issue of International Finance, I found Mussolini’s view paralleled Hitler’s. While he admitted that he watched the Jews carefully, he pointed out that the
Jewish question was not the problem it was in Germany.” Some have also claimed that the lack of anti-Semitism in Italy was the result of its population including mostly Sephardic Jews, as opposed to the proletarian-leaning varieties from Eastern Europe. After Mussolini fell from power and was reinstalled to rule the Italian Social Republic in Northern Italy, the acts of government became more pronounced against Jews, albeit with the mixed outcomes seen previously. For one, we have records of Mussolini intervening to secure jobs for Jews who fell victim to the racial laws.  When German pressure on the Social Republic forced the enaction of a rule dispossessing Jews of their assets, the RSI’s Minister of Interior instructed provinces to limit the impact, and directed Italian heads of concentration camps to not give Jews over to the SS. Concurrently, Mussolini actively attempted to intercede and protect deported Italian Jews, with uncertain results. In January 1944, Giovanni Preziosi was appointed Minister of Jewish Affairs, and within months he began trying to ramp up the persecution of Jews. The following is a letter from him to the Duce: “How can we pretend that we have a solid front with Germany when within our ranks there is anyone who has a drop – even a single drop of Jewish blood? History tells us that whoever has one drop of Jewish blood in his veins is part of the race. In Italy we look on half-Jews as non-Jews and good Italians. The most dangerous Jews are the one-quarter aryanized ones who shelter behind our inadequate racial laws.” Preziosi moved to introduce legislation which would have mirrored the Nuremberg Laws by stripping Jews of all civil rights in May of the same year, and internal security minister Guido Guidi responded by noting, “Such laws would be an aberration. Preziosi wants to create Jews so he can enjoy persecuting them.” Mussolini himself rejected the notion, and even scholars skeptical of
Fascism admit that leaders of the Social Republic prevented the deaths of many Jews. Just as he respected different races, Mussolini was also aware of the growing non-European populations across the globe, and raised alarms over this question. If Europe continued to make war and lost sight of its various colonial constituencies, there was a real chance that those holdings might be lost, and rival civilizations rise to challenge the imperial order. In 1927, he brought the issue forward with a speech inspired by the writings of Oswald Spengler: “The city dies, the nation--deprived of the young life-blood of new generations--is now made up of people who are old and degenerate and cannot defend itself against a younger people which launches an attack on the now unguarded frontiers. This has happened. It can happen again. This will happen, and not just to cities and nations, but on an infinitely greater scale: the whole white race, the Western race can be submerged by other colored races which are multiplying at a rate unknown in our race.” The Duce’s viewpoint was echoed by his Jewish mistress Margarita Sarfatti, and population concerns were used in part by Fascists as an impetus to establish a new frontier abroad where the national population could grow and thrive. In Libya, Italo Balbo planned the settlement of 20,000 Italians annually for five years, with the aim of a population of 500,000 there by the 1950s. Looking with hindsight, there is some prescience in Mussolini’s warnings. Europe faced a manpower shortage following World War II, necessitating the import of foreigners to fill employment positions and creating the ethnic conflict which Enoch Powell famously warned about. Today, with the refugee crisis and mass immigration, Europe faces raucous internal debates over assimilation and heinous crimes such as the Rotherham rape case.
II. On Mussolini Himself The Duce and Wealth There is a common assumption that Mussolini was some rich sycophant who made plays to benefit his own station at the expense of the country. People don’t tend to question this accusation because they are taught to believe from a young age that everything associated with Fascism is automatically bad, and thus wholly irredeemable. When we peel back the propagandistic delusions of modern academics, a fascinating picture comes into view, one affording little sympathy to the machinations of the detracting class. As we know, Mussolini was an ex-socialist whose views on the old capitalist elite and monarchy did not generate much warmth following his ascension to power. Although entitled to immense honors as prime minister, he looked upon medals and the nobility with derision, outright refusing to ennoble Italo Balbo. The Duce was described as a frugal man with little interest in financial grandeur, perhaps due to his proletarian peasant background, and he viewed the manic pursuit of wealth as a disease. He reportedly owned only one painting, and considered giving it as a gift to Hermann Goering. As a member of the Socialist Party, he regularly gave away money or land to friends, and accepted less of a salary than his predecessor as editor of the Avanti! newspaper.  While prime minister, he earned an income of 32,000 lire, which he refused to accept for years, and once got depicted by the American ambassador Richard Washburn Child as having a family in poverty. One of his notable reforms in power ended the traditional policy requiring members of the Italian Foreign Service to be wealthy, opening up a lauded career field to much of the population.
At the same time, the Duce earned respectable money, mostly from publishing his memoirs and a journalistic venture with Margherita Sarfatti. He would go on record to defend against claims of being paid by industrialists, and argue that he had never gotten rich off of politics. While it might be tempting to disbelieve Mussolini’s public dispensations about money, we must keep in mind that Fascist economic policies did not sit well with many industrialists, who had to be forced into line, particularly as the regime moved towards a corporatist model of market administration. This certainly does not exclude the possibility, but rather diminishes it, for capitalists rarely get close to those who are actively undermining their interests. The Duce’s Bravery Because there is seldom any sympathy towards Axis figures, liberal academics often get away with spurious insults towards Mussolini, a man who enjoyed playing with grown lions as a pastime, much to the chagrin of his staff. One of the most common (and despicable) is to claim that he was a chicken who used patriotic nationalism as a political weapon whilst not being capable of heroic acts himself. Some falsely suggest he only served for a brief time in the military, hoping to make the Duce appear as a coward. The barb is probably more applicable when directed towards certain members of the Italian military at the end of the World War II who surrendered en masse to the Germans despite having numerical superiority. In truth however, Mussolini demonstrated considerable courage until the very end of his life, lining up to the warrior ethos which had defined Fascism from its foundation. In 1915, he began an emphatic attempt to join the military, despite being permitted an exemption as a newspaper editor, his older age of thirty-two, and government reticence over having a radical socialist revolutionary in the ranks. Italian officials consequently delayed his entry based upon reserve unit activation,
driving the future Duce to such despair that he contemplated joining the French Foreign Legion as a means to fight in the war. Upon finally being accepted and reaching the bloody front in the Alps, Mussolini was offered the chance to become a clerk, the role that would keep him out of the trenches and in a relatively safer position. He flatly refused, noting, “I prefer to remain with my comrades in the trenches,” and further declaring, “I came to war to fight, not to write!” His performance led to a promotion to acting corporal, and he subsequently got accepted into commissioned officer school, but military officials blocked his entrance due to past political activities. 
After a brief hiatus caused by typhus, Mussolini returned to the front in 1916, volunteering to lead a recon squad under constant enemy fire near Austrian lines at Fort Marlborghetto. It was here that Italy participated in a larger thirty-six hour battle with the Central Powers, and lost 148,000 troops. In August of 1916, an Austrian artillery shell hit his dugout, nearly burying him alive. More than concern of harm from the Central Powers, Mussolini actually ran the risk of being killed by a comrade who viewed him as responsible for starting the war through his political advocacy. He also engaged in the dangerous practice of trying to fling back enemy grenades, describing it as follows: “My specialty was to throw back hand grenades before they could explode, a dangerous game, but if you did it quickly you could hurl it back in time to go off in their trenches. And then, I taught my troops how to handle our own grenades. Often you had to light the fuse close to your face with a cigarette, because matches didn’t burn long enough to do it, and then hold the grenade lit in your hand for a few moments. If you didn’t, they would land in time to be thrown back at you. My poor little soldiers! They were all shaking, their teeth chattering, while I counted out loud, marking off the seconds, from one to sixty, for them and for me. But I kept a sharp eye on it: I didn’t budge, you know! When I threw it, then we all ducked down together!”
These certainly do not sound like the words of a coward, but perhaps honesty is troublesome for biased scholars. Later on in February 1917, Mussolini was loading a mortar shell into a heated gun when it exploded, killing five soldiers and severely wounding him. The future Duce suffered fragmentation wounds, a damaged right collarbone, laceration of his thigh, multiple puncture wounds to the legs, and a temporarily paralyzed arm. Some military comrades refused to help carry him from the explosion site due to his pro-intervention views, and Mussolini’s surgery to remove the shrapnel featured no anesthesia. Still towards the end of his life, the Duce did not shirk on the side of courage. When the Allied victory began to look more inevitable, Mussolini was offered the chance to flee by airplane to Spain, where Francisco Franco would provide refuge from his enemies. Mussolini refused, supposedly asking, “And do you also have a plane for all the Blackshirts in Italy?” In fact, he had designs to make a last stand at Valtellina with 3,000 members of the Black Brigades, the Italian Social Republic’s militia. This plan did not materialize due to lack of Germany cooperation, and the Duce was captured by Communist partisans in April 1945. At this point Mussolini was described as follows: “His face was like wax and his stare glassy, but somehow blind. I read there utter exhaustion, but not fear.” The Duce did not fail to insist on a dignified end, despite his fall from power. Depending on the account, his last words were either to ask that he be shot in the heart, or indeed a loud demand that partisans, “Shoot me in the chest!” Alternatively, some scholars believe Mussolini was shot in the back unawares while being transported by his captors. Though less dramatic, this explanation only reflects the negative label on his enemies. Perhaps the reason Mussolini is so frequently portrayed under a coward’s light is that it aligns well with the Allied narrative. To suggest anything otherwise—to commit the sin of even slightly humanizing the man—might risk making some readers sympathize
with him, and cause them to stray towards the seductive light of Fascism. To those with mature hearts and minds, this fear seems rather ludicrous, not simply at face value, but even more so where academic clarity is concerned. If a caricature is employed, it must be assumed that the people following such a man or viewpoint have some defect or mental disability. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, become maligned and dismissed in order to protect the sanctity that liberalism presupposes itself to be. The truth, now so roughly demeaned, is crushed beneath an endless tide of political acceptability, making us collectively less intelligent, and more apt to emulate the cruelest stereotypes of the totalitarians. On Claims of Mussolini as a Heartless Killer It follows in the liberal mind that if the Duce was a dictator, then he was also necessarily a violent and hateful man with little sense of mercy for the world. After all, was Fascism not about suppressing the common person? Once more we can let history be the guide. While Mussolini may not have been any paragon of virtue, he demonstrated a sense of humanity far past what petty assumptions entail. Of course any scholar seeking to paint a negative picture will carefully evade instances contributing to an image defying the popular idea. As Prime Minister of Italy and the leader of Fascism, Mussolini naturally attracted his share of enemies. What remains interesting to consider is the Duce’s response to being targeted, which often took the form of restraint, compassion, and forgiveness. On March 22nd, 1921, Mussolini met with Biagio Masi, a young man soliciting for employment at his newspaper office. Upon seeing the Duce, Masi drew a gun and admitted he had been paid to assassinate the Fascist leader. When the hitman backed down, Mussolini asked for him to be escorted to a police station, and requested that no charges be filed. Later in 1926, Mussolini was shot in the face by Violet Gibson, a mentally ill woman from Britain. She produced an 1892 model revolver and attempted to fire twice, the first bullet striking the
Duce’s nose, before her weapon misfired. Surrounding Fascists wished that she be hung, but Mussolini forbid the action. Rather than having her imprisoned or killed, the woman was ordered deported to a mental asylum in the United Kingdom. In both cases, the stereotypical image would imply his harsh and unquestioning response, but Mussolini was not so simple a person. Furthermore, while Fascism did employ the OVRA secret police to spy on opponents, the organization in hindsight is seen by researchers to be very mild, and few political enemies were actually executed.  Another example of such character is visible in the Corfu Incident of 1923. Following the end of World War I, a commission was appointed by the Paris-based Conference of Ambassadors to determine the borders between Albania and Greece, with Italian General Enrico Tellini as the presiding officer. Strong nationalistic sentiment in Greece over the issue led to the attack and murder of Tellini and other commission members in August of 1923, an act which was attributed in part to local Greek officials. After the Greek government failed to meet Italian terms of justice over the affair, the latter country’s navy moved to the coast of Corfu and demanded the surrender of its military garrison. Refusal precipitated a bombardment by the Italians, inadvertently costing the lives of some refugees housed there (this fact unbeknownst to Italy), and the island was occupied. What succeeded was a vile attack on Fascist Italy by the London press, and attempts by British officials to diminish the seriousness of Tellini’s murder. Nevertheless, an agreement was reached for the Greeks to pay 50 million lire in compensation, which Mussolini gave partially to the families of Tellini and other commission members, along with the relatives of refugees killed on Corfu. What remains peculiar about this ordeal is the manner in which Western academics tend to portray its details. Corfu is regularly singled out to justify Fascism’s violent image, and to endorse the notion that Mussolini was some kind of uncontrollable warmonger. The truth is that Italy’s attempts to maintain its dignity on
the world stage were simply not acceptable to the French or British, as we shall see more in the section on foreign policy. Towards the end of his life, Mussolini’s military failures did not prevent him from maintaining some personal mercy. The success of the July 1943 coup which removed him from power was reversed after the Duce got rescued from prison at Campo Imperatore and established a new state based in Salo, Italy. During February 1944, several of the conspirators who ousted Mussolini from the Grand Council of Fascism were captured and brought before a court in Verona, Italy. Although the Council vote was not really illegal, its act during a time of war did not win the sympathies of many Fascists. Galeazzo Ciano, Emilio De Bono, Giovanni Marinelli, Luciano Gottardi, Carlo Pareschi, and Tullio Cianetti were all placed on trial. Mussolini remarked at the time “I do not believe, as you know, I have never believed that the condemnation of those men will be of advantage for our country and the restoration of internal order.” This attitude came after the Duce’s fall from power, and evidence that Ciano had earlier alluded to possibly poisoning Mussolini, the father of his own wife. Ultimately, Cianetti was given a 30-year prison sentence due to his written apology to Mussolini immediately following the noconfidence vote in 1943, but the court ruled 5-4 that the remaining defendants be shot by firing squad, with the sentence being summarized by Attilio Tamaro as “[…] they had been scapegoats or propitiatory victims, sacrificed, as it were, in a fatal decision to placate the furies of a blood-stained tempest which tormented everyone.” It is likely that the trial faced considerable pressure from Germany, and particularly Adolf Hitler, who wanted the men made an example of, perhaps because he doubted Mussolini’s tenacity after the fall from power. At any rate, all of the convicts receiving death sentences appealed for clemency to the Duce, though their requests were never delivered. There is evidence that other party officials,
particularly Alessandro Pavolini, had conflict over the matter. Minister of Justice Piero Pisenti insisted the appeals be sent directly to Mussolini, but Pavolini disagreed. Guido Guidi at the Interior department refused to take part in the sentence’s execution, and thus the militia commander Renato Ricci ordered General Italo Vianini of the National Guard to sign the order, saying Mussolini supported the shooting. Vianini reluctantly acceded, probably on the basis of his belief that the Duce was in agreement. There is a strong likelihood that this claim about Mussolini’s opinion is untrue, on account of his previously expressed viewpoint, appeals by his daughter Edda for clemency, and his solicitation of advice from General Karl Wolff of the SS over the question of mercy. Regardless, his treatment of opponents during the prior regime, including the frequency of pardons and successful appeals, suggests that Mussolini would have at least commuted the sentences to prison terms rather than seeing them shot. The Matteotti Question The death of Giacomo Matteotti remains a searing example of how popular academia has moved to indict the Fascist regime on dubious grounds for the killing of a political opponent. Mussolini in particular is singled out for the crime, because his position as dictator and ferocious criticisms of Matteotti are readily accepted as a smoking gun. Like with most attempts at character assassination of the Duce, this one leaves out crucial details that could sway opinions, and even the judicial record itself. Giacomo Matteotti was a rich landowner hailing from the Rovigo region who had established himself as a leading Socialist Party critic of the Fascist State. During the First World War, he took the interesting step of endorsing the positions of the Central Powers, breaking with prototypical leftist viewpoints of the time, which entailed remaining neutral or backing the Allies. After Mussolini attained office, Matteotti became famous for his searing condemnations of the regime’s operations, particularly in the realm
of political violence. His decision to harshly denounce the 1924 election administration before parliament in May of that year reportedly elicited an angry response from Mussolini, who ordered a press campaign be launched against the Socialist deputy, and made a number of demeaning remarks about him. Mussolini is further believed to have written an article advocating “a more concrete reply” to Matteotti’s condemnations, and spoke of the imperative to get rid of Matteotti. Information like this would seem like a clear case of guilt for the Duce, and yet the historical record is more complex. The skeptical sources concede that action against Matteotti is difficult to tie to a government figure. Giovanni Marinelli, who served as a party official, is thought to have understood Mussolini’s rage as acceptance of a hit, and Fascist enforcers Amerigo Dumini and Albino Volpi are believed to have carried out the attack with others. The tricky part is ascertaining specific motivations and intent. According to Luigi Villari, Dumini and his fellows saw Matteotti as being responsible for coordinating the murder of the journalist Nicola Bonservizi in Paris by the anti-Fascist waiter Ernesto Bonomini. It has also been argued that rogue Fascist elements conspired against Matteotti in order to disrupt Mussolini’s plan to offer two cabinet portfolios to the Socialist Party, and also to avoid the release of compromising documents pertaining to them. There remains a rather dubious claim that Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel may have been on the verge of exposure for ties to Sinclair Oil, with the former allegedly taking a one million dollar bribe, according to Cesare Rossi. Such an allegation must be handled with skepticism, both due to Mussolini’s previously mentioned disdain for wealth, and the fact that his accusers were on the line. Dumini would receive the harshest penalty for the crime, and Rossi fled to Switzerland, where he became a critic of Fascism before being imprisoned by Mussolini in 1928 under a 30-year sentence. Rossi’s claim about the bribe was made to the Allies as the war neared its end, so perhaps he was trying to ingratiate himself, but in any case years later he flew into a
violent rage when questioned about the event, denying any responsibility. Ultimately, separate investigations by two anti-Fascist journalists established that the Duce bore no culpability for the murder. In addition, multiple court cases both under the Fascist regime and after determined that the perpetrators acted independently of the government. A conclusion was reached that those who attacked Matteotti had merely intended to scare him into dropping his castigations of the government, but the rough treatment he experienced led to a tubercular hemorrhage based on his existing condition of tuberculosis. At one of the post-Fascist trials in 1947, Dumini would be sentenced to life in prison while fellow defendant Cesare Rossi was acquitted. Dumini ultimately served six years before being released in 1953, and was eventually pardoned in 1956. The effects of the Matteotti murder were devastating, and would reveal the fragility of the fledgling Fascist government. Mussolini denied his involvement and described it as a plot against himself to bring down the government, noting “If they have flung a corpse at my feet in order to get me to give up power, they’ve made a mistake,” while others in the government disagreed about his role. Politically, pressure was placed on the prime minister when three of the major parliamentary blocs withdrew from the chamber and called for a motion of no confidence, although he survived this challenge to power. Then in January 1925, he delivered a speech which precipitated the establishment of a full dictatorship, saying: “I and I alone assume the political, moral and historical responsibility for what has happened.” Obviously it is impossible to know for certain, yet when one examines the Matteotti affair in the context of the times, the situation becomes easier to appreciate. We benefit from the advantages of a well-ordered political system and relative stability as far as the social sphere is concerned. Italy on the other hand was a wretched
wasteland of chaos and armed struggle after the First World War, with violence perpetrated on all sides. What the popular historical record on Matteotti fails to mention is both the widespread atrocities committed by socialists against Fascists and non-Fascists, along with the lingering threat posed by the Soviet Union to the Italian Kingdom. There was a domineering fear among many Italians that a socialist revolution might successfully bring the militant left to power, and perhaps even the communists as well, which would have provided Bolshevism with a foothold in the heart of Catholic and royalist culture. It is also worth mentioning that in the short period after Matteotti’s death, leftist elements murdered a Fascist deputy while he sat on a train with his daughter, but this story received far less attention in the press.
III. Why Fascism Came To Power In the realm of historical discussions held with the advantage of hindsight, there is a tendency to attempt convenient explanations which serve the modern academic’s interests. Lean and barebones conclusions rule the day because they permit the employer to evade any uncomfortable questions regarding accuracy or personal biases. It is far easier to dismiss the concerns expressed by actual supporters of an ideology by blaming fear, insecurity, poverty, or the most supreme alternative: a statement along the lines of, “We simply have not done a good enough job of explaining our own values.” This particular variety is immensely condescending, as it implies that any viewpoints starkly opposed to the speaker’s worldview (such as nationalism or populism) are completely illegitimate, and therefore must necessarily be sourced in ignorance or some other flaw affecting the supporter. We will have none of that intellectual hogwash in this book. An honest appraisal of the historical record uncovers the very real and understandable justifications for Fascism’s rise, and depicts its adherents as far closer to the popular mainstream than academics pretend to imagine. The movement did not emerge out of a random vacuum, but rather appeared due to the manifest failure of prior governments to provide stalwart national leadership when the times demanded it. Such a reality becomes swiftly evident once our hands peel back the textbook schadenfreude concerning Europe in the early 1900s. The beachhead of Fascism’s elevation to power would undoubtedly be World War I. Italy’s engagement in the large and bloody conflict occurred across various stages, in each case with devastating effect. Italian troops famously confronted AustroHungarian forces in the Alps, where they would attempt to scale peaks with disassembled cannons and utilize special alpine units to
exact damage on the Central Powers. Despite valiant efforts, the brutal treatment of soldiers by General Luigi Cadorna (who some Italians saw as worse than their Austrian enemies) and several catastrophic outcomes led to a destructive end, including the death of Roberto Sarfatti, the son of Mussolini’s mistress. At the heart of the tragedy was the Battle of Caporetto, an epic conflict that lasted from October-November of 1917 and cost Italians over 300,000 soldiers between casualties, deserters, and prisoners of war. The entire European conflict would claim more than 650,000 Italian lives, leaving the nation battered and destitute as the 1920s approached. The critically poor leadership of Italian officials was compounded by outcomes of the Versailles Treaty, which granted little rewards to Italy, sealing the disdain and anger of returning veterans such as Mussolini. He described it as follows: “We who willed the war, we should have seized power […] They spoke of ‘political liberty!’ Ah, liberty to betray, to assassinate our country, to make more blood flow.” Italo Balbo went further: “[…] just like so many others, I hated politics and politicians who, in my opinion, had betrayed the hopes of soldiers, reducing Italy to a shameful peace and to a systematic humiliation Italians who maintained the cult of heroes. To struggle, to fight in order to return to the land of Giolitti, who made merchandise of every deal? No. Rather deny everything, destroy everything, in order to renew everything from the foundations.” One can feel the pronounced rage in both Fascists’ words, the ferocious anger towards a political class which not only got the country into a costly war, but then proceeded to abandon responsibility against such high human losses. We might compare the sentiment in post-WWI Italy to that of the American population during the Vietnam War. In both cases, national leadership held on in a devastating struggle before finally giving up, allowing the supposed objective to collapse in the enemy’s interest. This resentment on the
part of veterans who felt their service entitled them to lead was a contributing factor in Fascist expansion. Let us remember that army officers were overwhelmingly middle class in nature, contrasted with the workers who largely stayed home to staff factories during the war.  From here were get the concepts of the “aristocracy of the trenches” and “trenchocracy,” as discussed earlier. The attitudes of many veterans resulted in what Renzo De Felice describes not as a counterrevolution of old money against the socialists, but rather the assertion of the petite bouregeoise (or emerging middle class) “[…] seeking to gain power and assert its own function, culture, and political power against both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.” Failure to appreciate such a distinction in class interests runs the risk of breaking Fascism down into the rudimentary, “it protected the 1 percent” explanation, which as we shall see later on, is grossly incorrect. The Brutality of the Socialist Left Now the analytical wagon arrives at the subject of left-wing violence and terrorism. Once more, it can be tempting to absorb the popular view which portrays socialists and communists as innocent hens being preyed upon by a Fascist fox. Reality is of course more nuanced. While Mussolini’s followers did commit acts of aggression, these were usually defensive in nature to start with, and the worst of their deeds occurred only after a long-running campaign of leftist violence and murders which shook the country. Squaring socialist violence with Fascism’s rise must be considered in the context of the Russian Revolution of 1917, which frightened many Italians, and made them fear a similar event in their own country. Mussolini himself noted, “The reality is this. The socialist party is a Russian army encamped in Italy. Against this foreign army, Fascists have launched a guerilla war, and they will conduct it with exceptional seriousness.” What Russian Communists achieved was not merely the changing of government,
but also the complete destruction of a royal house, and the introduction of a culture promoting atheism. This image was especially terrifying to Italians of faith, and might help explain later Fascist involvement in the Spanish Civil War, during which leftists infamously attacked the Catholic Church. The aforementioned violence was by no means exclusive to Russia and Spain, however. A legitimate tragedy of the leftist bent in many universities has been the crafting of World War II history in a manner which paints socialists and communists as harmless victims of Fascist oppression. Students of the genuine historical record understand this assessment to be painfully unsupported, and it establishes an angle wherein decent folks might even sympathize wrongly with the red faction based on a lack of information. Let us commence by acknowledging a glaring problem for the left-wing position: The Red Year of 1919-1920. During this tumultuous period, the broader Left unleashed a violent and murderous campaign against businessmen, veterans, rival trade unions, and religious people across the country. Where they encountered resistance, leftists would mercilessly assault and murder their opponents, banking on hopes that the Russian Revolution might be replicated on the Italian Peninsula. Fascists defined socialism as being “founded in hate,” and advocated patriotic love as a replacement for leftist vitriol. When the Socialist bloc took over Ferrara, they began the process of remaking the entire social structure, replacing Sunday with Monday as the day of rest and launching arson attacks on crops, along with the slaughter of livestock, using such intimidation to force landowners into the leftist corner. What we commonly see as Blackshirts nowadays were in fact volunteer or paid defensive squads assembled to stop the degradation by protecting animals and the public. Under Italo Balbo’s leadership, the local squads operated on the principle that they would react only if provoked, an important distinction where socialist actions are recalled.
The evidence is difficult to contradict, even from a leftist point of view. For one, an anti-Fascist scholar admits that in 1921 the Fascists felled a total of 12 people, while in May 1921 a report suggested four times as many socialists had been arrested as Fascists. It is likely that socialist violence was far higher than reported, because in many cases police would not bother arresting them due to the coalition government’s fear of retaliation by Socialist Party deputies in parliament, who amounted to a large swath of seats. A similar dynamic was observed by Georges Sorel in France, where in the face of socialist riots “the magistrates who have the right to demand the services of soldiers dare not use their power to the utmost, whilst officers allow themselves to be abused and struck with a patience hitherto unknown in them.” As a result of these conditions, it was private individuals in Italy organizing to fill the void where the State refused to act.  Lest folks interpret the scene as one of the Fascists broadly supporting the big business class, understand that many industrialists supported left-wing factory strikes for economic reasons, as it prevented them from having to pay unemployment to workers during slower periods of the market. In addition, the Socialist Party was not uniformly against the existing economic system. Over time they had broken into different factions, including the Maximalists, who aligned with the radical communism of Russia, along with the Reformists and Social Democrats, who were less extreme in their demands, and included the support of wealthy figures like Giacomo Matteotti. Leftist behavior in other regions was similarly horrendous. The Red Leagues routinely assaulted and mocked war veterans, shot civilians, and targeted non-political individuals for assassination. Specific instances are as follows: -
The March 1921 murder of the Fascist student Romeo in Perugia by leftists.
The brutal murder of Giovanni Berta, son of a manufacturer in Florence, who was taken as he attempted to cross the Iron Bridge and tossed over the side. When the youth tried clinging to a parapet to save himself, one of the kidnappers sliced off his hands, causing the boy to fall and drown.
Denial of access to bread and milk for the children of those who were not socialists by the Socialist Party-led government of Bologna. The bombing of the Diana Theater, which killed and maimed many men, women, and children. The 1924 assassination of the Fascist deputy Armando Casalini as he rode a train with his young daughter. An attack on several non-Socialist councilors in Bologna’s town hall on the day of inauguration, which injured two and resulted in the murder of the councilor Giordani, a crippled veteran and recipient of the Gold Medal of Military Valor.
The propensity of leftists for violence did not end with the regime’s ascension to power. Available records showcase the murder of a Paris-based Fascist consul, another killing of four Fascists in 1931, and the suspected hand of Giacomo Matteotti in a further assassination which occurred in France. These acts exclude the violence directed at figures like Igino Ghisellini, Ettore Muti, and Giovanni Gentile, who were all dispatched towards the end of the war. During those later years, it is estimated that around 30,000 Fascists, many of whom were not senior officials for the regime, were shot by partisans, while other figures peg the postwar total at as much as 300,000. An estimated 2,000 were executed in Turin alone, and people merely associated with
Fascism, such as Mussolini’s personal pilot Lacistri, faced firing squads. We also see the following events in that era: -
The massacre of Italian civilians in Istria, with many being shot and thrown into bauxite mines, or natural pits, while others were buried alive, with some being tortured first.
The gang rape, torture, and shooting of a woman by fifteen communists.
A prisoner exchange wherein communist militants sent an Italian commander a basket filled with the eyeballs gouged out of Italian prisoners, even after Yugoslav prisoners had been released.
Continued obfuscation of the truth about leftist inclinations for violence during the war have worked to convince students to overlook facts. For instance, when Josip Tito’s followers massacred a million people in the late war period, those deaths were blamed on the Axis Powers, while communist murders of children in Italy go similarly unexamined. Were those acts properly identified, the modern academic class might enjoy heightened esteem, yet doing so could delimit their own personal philosophies, as Renzo De Felice has ably shown us.
IV. Fascist Economic Policy Among many subjects, the question of Fascist economics shines as one of the least well-understood. It may be a result of how syncretic philosophies come to be dominated by particular constituent ideologies based on which versions have better articulation, or simply possess numerical superiority. At any level, Fascism’s approach to the market system gets woefully miscast due to limited access to appropriate sources, and the lay politician’s propensity for (illogical) comparisons with modern day party politics. Here we must tread carefully to make certain the genuine historical record holds true, and not bastardized options serving petty partisan objectives. To begin, let us excel to comprehend the economic roots of the Fascist State. While academics enjoy dumbing it down to an antisocialist, counterrevolutionary movement, this falls starkly outside the scope of reality. Fascists took much inspiration from the campaigns of Garibaldi and Mazzini, whose activism during the Risorgimento was seen as proclaiming a form of national socialism, albeit something quite different from the later German variety. It is crucial to recognize a distinction in relation to socialism on this standpoint: while Mazzini held some socialist opinions, his was a socialism of more than merely the worker vs. employer dynamic. Mazzini perceived class struggle as going beyond the principle of historical materialism and encompassing nation-states, each struggling against each other for prosperity and wealth in a world of finite resources. As a result, traditional Marxist Socialism was viewed by the Fascists as affording workers increased rights and economic benefits, while also ignoring their moral and spiritual duty to serve the Nation. Mussolini himself did not believe that traditional Socialism was viable even as he performed activism to advance proletarian goals in the 1910s. He warned that the pursuit of strict internationalism and economic materialism advocated by the
Socialists would run up against nation and race, yet fail to surpass or transcend them and prevent the eruption of new wars. If we look at examples of socialist nations and liberal states, the wisdom of Mussolini’s observation becomes exceptionally clear. For as much as communists spoke of an international worker brotherhood to overthrow imperialism and industrial oppression, the Soviet Union proved a poor model for these objectives. When Hungary rose up against the Soviet-backed government in 1954, the revolutionaries were crushed by fellow socialists attempting to preserve the Union’s dominance. In plainer terms, national interests and identity conflicted with the idea of one unified socialist comradeocracy. The Sino-Soviet split is yet another example of this dynamic. Liberalism presents a similar conundrum. The development of modern liberal thought came through the Enlightenment and its criticism of overbearing monarchies, such as those in France and Great Britain. Many liberal theorists believed that establishing the principles of natural rights (including property rights), could help curtail the fundamental abuses of power by royalty seeking to quash opposition or seize more control. Liberal regimes could be held accountable through the ratification of firm, overarching constitutions with regular elections to limit the dictatorial concentration of power. The playing field which is liberal society would then serve as an arena of discourse where issues are hashed out and injustices addressed through popular legislation. In purely idealistic terms, liberalism sounds like a fantastic system for humanity to coexist in. The unfortunate problem is that, like with socialism, the liberal concept clashes violently against the concepts of a nation-state and ethnic, cultural, or religious groups, preferring liberty and economic prosperity to these aspects. This helps explain why the Weimar Republic, which offered considerable social freedom and in many cases superior economic growth, nonetheless drifted towards a strongly nationalist, ethnocentric, and authoritarian state model. Even in the United Kingdom, where
liberalism did not collapse during the 1930s, the entire empire was predicated on a principle of English culture harshly dominating not just the Welsh, Scots, and Irish, but still more other regions like India and Singapore, largely for financial reasons. Today, self-styled “liberal democracies” go to great lengths to manipulate or at times overthrow other regimes which do not pay them fealty, especially on the economic front. Italy’s case was not much different. After the Risorgimento, the country was ruled by a constitutional monarchy which devolved into what was described elsewhere in Europe as Gelddenken, or “money-thinking,” where industrialists and Marxists commandeered the State for their personal financial and political interests, with the people suffering through profit-driven wars and economic oppression. Indeed, Mussolini pointed out the hypocrisy of the liberals, who preached tranquility and respect for rights while creating the treacherous political conditions that caused the eruption of the First World War: “The liberal century, after piling up innumerable Gordian knots, tried to cut them with the sword of the world war. Never has any religion claimed so cruel a sacrifice. Were the Gods of liberalism thirsting for blood? Now liberalism is preparing to close the doors of its temples, deserted by the peoples who feel that the agnosticism it professed in the sphere of economics and the indifferentism of which it has given proof in the sphere of politics and morals, would lead the world to ruin in the future as they have done in the past.” So despite its assumed ability to transcend the snarling barbs of identity and cultural politics, the liberal order proved insufficient to prevent mass conflict by employing sanitized discourse and negotiation. The Economic Coalition
Because of its status as a syncretic and “catch-all” movement, Fascism was naturally supported by a variety of different economic stakeholders. Mussolini was of course a socialist, though one who reached the conclusion that the only way to help the proletariat was by taking advantage of capitalist growth. He worried that a country without national economic strength would weaken and impoverish the citizenry, regardless of class. Roberto Farinacci was similarly an ex-socialist, whilst Michele Bianchi and Italo Balbo had closer ties to National Syndicalism, Still other Fascists favored economic liberalism, such as De Stefani, or policies focused on assisting big business, though they were by no means predominant during the Fascist regime. Because so much misinformation permeates the Western world’s academic texts, it is necessary to gently consider the various components, and their relationship with one another.
National Syndicalism One major constituent of the Fascist economic league owed allegiance or sympathies to National Syndicalism. As an extraction from the ideas of Georges Sorel, the syndicalist position presupposed a grand, unified revolution of workers to overthrow the capitalist system, leaving in its wake an economy led by patriotic syndical associations. The philosophy proved especially enticing due to its conclusions surrounding nationalism and a “socialism of nations.” A text of the Revolutionary League for International Action (an early movement of revolutionary syndicalists and nationalists) lays this idea out: “The reply cannot be in doubt for us revolutionaries, because, true to the teaching of our masters, we believe that the
limits of national revolutions cannot be transcended without first reaching them, and for this reason the class struggle remains an empty formula, not a vital and fertile force, unless every people is first integrated within its own natural borders of language and race, and unless, one the question of nationality has been decisively resolved, the historical climate has formed necessary for the normal development of the class movement, and for the progress and triumph of the ideas which inspire working-class internationalism.” People were thus expected to not fall back along the lines of petty class interests like the employers or proletariat, because to do so would invite utter chaos that belied national weakness. Instead, they were compelled to transform themselves, embracing an economic understanding based on the harmonized syndical doctrine. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the revolutionary syndicalists in Fascism would become critical players resisting more traditional economic liberalism espoused by the likes of De Stefani. Italo Balbo for example harshly criticized the early laissez-faire bent of Mussolini’s government, which he saw as selling out to individuals ahead of the nation. He thus advocated that “[…] we need to march on the Left rather than the Right.” The Liberal/Conservative Connection Due in part to the breadth of scholarship on Fascism created by leftist historians, Mussolini’s regime has come to be associated with the bourgeoisie employer and industrial classes, under the counterrevolutionary banner. This oversimplification is especially devout when discussions come to corporatism, which they confidently sum up as the rule or domination of society by big business at the expense of the oppressed working class. Such an interpretation is lazy and ahistorical, yet it prevails because limited sources are widely available speaking to the contrary. Couple this with the eager labeling of opponents in derogatory terms mentioned by John Dewey, and it comes as no surprise that so many
Westerners (particularly Americans) are ignorant of the historical facts. We are therefore left to take a scalpel to the partisan molasses which frustrates accurate thought. To whatever degree Fascism has come to be associated with the employer and economic elites, it must be explained by recognizing the dynamics inherent to political compromise. Recall that Mussolini did not come to power with anything close to a Fascist majority; at the time of ascension to the prime minister’s office he commandeered a rump of 35 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and thus relied on other parties for legislative support. The blocs which initially helped him secure a constitutional mandate were the Nationalists (with 20 seats) and the Liberals (who made up 50). Socialists held around 123 seats, and the Popular Party rested at 108. This resulted in a situation where Fascism had to make concessions to survive, particularly as policies related to the economic sphere. Consequently, Mussolini’s first cabinet had the following ideological composition: Minister of Foreign Affairs: Mussolini himself. Minister of the Interior: Mussolini, with Michele Bianchi as under-secretary. Minister of War: General Armando Diaz (Military). Minister of Navy: Admiral Thaon de Revel. (Military). Minister of National Economy: Teofilo Rossi (Liberal Party). Minister of Finance: Alberto De Stefani (Fascist, but part of the Democratic political group) Minister of Public Works: Gabriello Carnazza (Social Democrat) Minister of Public Instruction: Giovanni Gentile (Liberal Party)
Minister of Labor: Stefano Cavazzoni (Popular Party) Minister of Agriculture: Giuseppe De Capitani (Liberal Party). Minister of the Treasury: Vincenzzo Tangorra (Liberal Party) Minister of Justice: Aldo Oviglio (National Fascist Party) Minister of Liberated Territories: Giovanni Giurati (National Fascist Party) Minister of Colonies: Luigi Federzoni (Nationalist Party) Postmaster General: Giovanni Colonna De Cesaro (Liberal Party) The selection of Alberto De Stefani for the Finance Ministry is singularly important. A distinguished professor from the Commercial High School in Venice, he was easily the foremost advocate of a Fascist model emphasizing liberalization and individualism. He wrote in 1922: “The Fascist Party and the national syndicates are two distinct organizations, the first of which controls the second, in order that syndical activity may develop within the limits of the national and productivistic principle. […] We must have the strength to go against the national syndicates when they do not respect the conditions we have laid down for liberty of organization, just as we went after the red and white syndicates. […] I do not believe a forced cultivation of syndical unity to be opportune […].” Taxes
In his role, De Stefani pushed for a significant rollback of taxes, retaining only three out of the total thirteen previously in place. The cabinet concentrated its repealing firepower on eradicating levies set on capital and estate inheritances, but also introduced a fresh 10 percent tax on dividends. The ministers then outlined several levels of direct taxes, to include the following: - 5 percent tax on employees for social insurance. - 12 percent tax on employers for the same
- A tax on bachelors and childless marriages, meant to encourage population growth as part of a plan to expand the empire. - Changes to the commercial transaction tax to exempt certain categories, eradication of the death tax, ending of the war contribution, and a 25-year exemption on housing taxes for new homes. - Expansion of the income tax to the salaried classes and small farmers, with the latter bearing a heavy burden.  To counteract the tax reductions, De Stefani helped advance considerable cuts to the national budget. These drops in spending led to the budget reaching surplus under his leadership, albeit at the expense of the military, which remarkably suffered reductions despite the nationalist posturing of the regime. This would result in a negative assessment of the armed forces’ organizational capacity, and its general readiness to do battle in the later European war. The mention of tax eliminations might lead the reader to conclude that Fascism embraced some libertine, anti-tax message, but this would be a misapprehension. In reality, the regime worked to increase revenue collection using indirect taxes, such as fees for
services and syndicate dues. To demonstrate taxes as an area of Fascist flexibility, we can look at the early platform put forth by Mussolini, which emphasized large increases in revenue extraction, along with confiscation of properties belonging to the Church. At the same time, the Fascist reduction in taxes should be seen using the context of prior Liberal Party regimes, which had instituted high levels of taxation, created the conditions for a spiraling cost of living, and oversaw the rise of inflationary problems. Agriculture and Trade It is worth recalling that Italy at this time was heavily agricultural, which resulted in many of the early provincial conflicts revolving around competing landowners and peasants, the latter of whom supported the Fascists strongly.  Policy influence from the agricultural sector can be seen in the reaction to poor harvest totals. The especially bad outcome of the 1921-1922 period left the government with the unpleasant prospect of importing 2.7 tons of grain to feed the populace, a situation which was deemed untenable.  Mussolini responded by unleashing the “Battle for Grain,” a coordinated state campaign to boost domestic production and reduce the outflow of funds to other regions. Central to the program were state subsidies and price controls, along with the employment of trained agricultural experts to cultivate the land. The Fascist State made efforts to drain swamps and marshes which could then be repurposed to generate further crop production. The Battle for Grain would prove extremely successful, lowering total imports from the high of 2.7 million tons to a low of 500,000 tons from 1928-1934.  
On trade, the regime's approach featured a combination of price controls and protectionist subsidies designed to help the nation's economy succeed against more developed blocs elsewhere in Europe and the rest of the world. In addition, the implementation of an import duty of 15 percent resulted in a trade structure that would actually work to balance Italy’s trade deficit. It must be noted
clearly that Fascist restrictions on imports did not sit well with the established interests of the day, and yet the regime held firm on the principle that national independence was more critical than the market’s whims. Indeed, De Stefani did not achieve his goal of reducing tariffs on account of political pressure. We also have the developments of December 1927, when Mussolini adopted a deflationary currency policy by pegging the value of the lira at 19 to the U.S. Dollar and 92.46 to the British Pound, while also reintroducing the Gold Standard. As with other regimes of the time, Italy’s experience with the First World War drove the idea of autarchy as an economic policy. The underlying principle was that the country needed to be completely independent in terms of production so as to avoid becoming subservient to another state or alliance. Such aspirations were especially well-pronounced after the application of sanctions on Rome by the League of Nations due to the Fascist State’s colonial aspirations. Spending and Bureaucratic Reform A narrative seldom mentioned in Western accounts of Italian Fascism involves the regime’s aggressive attempts to achieve fiscal solvency and fix the bloated civil service system. Prior to Mussolini’s ascendancy to the premiership, Italy’s governments had been colored by flimsy alliances which sought to appease coalition leftists by pushing high taxes and increased spending, leading to deficits of 14,633,898,000 lire in 1920-1921 and 12,668,678,000 lire in 19211922. The Duce deemed this unacceptable, noting, “An authoritative regime such as Fascism must provide the most absolute guarantees for the good administration of public funds.” Mussolini’s government went to work by cutting the civil service, which fell from a total of 509,145 employees in January 1923 to 477,028 in January 1924, and continued its downward trend from there. These changes led to a consistent drop in the size of the budget deficit until the 1924-1925 spending proposal, which resulted
in a hefty surplus, and positioned the state for continued fiscal health in the next budget period. As we already know, these cuts would come at the cost of the military, a development harshly criticized by Italo Balbo, who wished to see the aviation budget increased. The area where Fascist reform truly shines is in the case of the Italian railway system. People jokingly associate the phrase with Mussolini which goes, “He made the trains run on time.” This is not a sophism, but the reflection of genuine changes to railroad management. Up until 1907, the railways had been privately-held, but that year brought the advent of state-run management, which provided the effect of diminishing productivity and entrenching corruption. Between the first year of government administration to the 1913-1914 period, the railroad’s surplus fell from 50,770,896 lire to 28,068,062 lire, while expenditure shot up from 391,539,177 lire to 579,948,605 lire. The system became dominated by socialist interests during the same period, leaving it the victim of crippling strikes and a swollen but ineffectual service staff, which by 1921 totaled 241,000 people. In addition, corrupt railway employees and others caused the theft or damage of passenger goods and cargo, with the government shelling out 1,520,000 lire for compensation in the 1913-1914 period, and a whopping 93,845,000 lire from 1921-1922, despite the fact that traffic was on the decline during this period. Compounding the issue was the existence of a syndical parliament containing 700 delegates which permitted Socialist Party-affiliated secretaries to draw pay and travel free of charge while disseminating their political beliefs.  With the advent of Fascist leadership, things began to change. Already during the railroad strike of August 1922 Fascists had stepped in to operate the trains, and once in power the regime created a railway militia to crackdown on the theft problem, leading to a decline from 59,000,000 lire in compensation from 1922-1923 to 13,600,000 lire in 1924-1925. Mussolini’s government also targeted corruption in the oversized civil service population, trimming from the 1922 number of 225,000 down to 173,068 in 1924-1925,
even as the system experienced higher traffic and revenues. Fascism also did away with the equalization of pay system favored by the Socialist Party, which allowed unimpressive workers to collect the same amount of money as top-performers, while also introducing a system of bonuses and incentives for quality employees. State Control Since readers may be more familiar with the American understanding of economic policy than European alternatives, it makes sense to outline specifically how Fascism dealt with the question of state intervention into the market. Two prevailing views in our own time would be that of the Left, which falsely assumes Mussolini simply did the bidding of corporations like a modern day Chamber of Commerce Republican, or the regular conservative opposition. In the latter column are people such as Jonah Goldberg, who attempts to argue that Fascism was a leftist and collectivist philosophy diametrically opposed to conservative freedoms. As per usual, reality hampers both opinions quite vividly. In truth, the Fascist model combined elements from both viewpoints, depending on the era and context. An example usually weaponized to help justify the suggestion that Fascism served corporations is the question of state support during the Great Depression. By 1934, Mussolini was lamenting that 75 percent of the country’s businesses were asking for economic aid from the government. While such a realization might seem damning, it is important to remember the extent of economic damage caused by the global collapse in productivity. Statistics imply quite devastating results during the period from 1929-1932: -
Foreign trade declined 60 percent. Internal trade dropped 40 percent. Industrial production fell by 50 percent. Unemployment surged 250 percent.
When we recall that Italy was heavily agricultural in nature, the pummeling force of change is undeniable. This did not however lead to an utter abandonment of Fascism’s commitment to holding corporations in line and resisting their material obsessions. As Mussolini had declared, Fascism superseded the capitalistic mode of production, along with the liberal theory underpinning it. He further believed that state intervention should occur only when absolutely necessary, and private property ought to stand as a precondition to complete the human personality. The effective outcome was a program to secure the interests of property owners while also pushing for the bureaucratization of economic activity in line with a national Italian agenda. Being able to separate these approaches in the economic sphere is crucial to understanding Fascism’s outlook on the role of government in market machinations. Mussolini made no secret of his belief surrounding the encompassing nature of the State over the actions of business when considering a government bill: “The fundamental premise is the following: there is no such thing as an economic fact which is exclusively private and individual. From the day on which man resigned or adapted himself to living in the company of his fellows, from that day on not one of the actions he accomplishes is limited in its development and conclusions to himself, all have reactions which go beyond his person.” In other words, the nature of business within a market system causes it to no longer exist with strictly “private character,” but rather becomes a stakeholder (and is itself held by others), as well as a “public fact.” The mixed approach of the Fascist State on intervention highlights another angle when we examine the role of governmental institutes in the national economy, along with economic decrees. In the first category, we witness the creation of multiple semi-political
organizations designed to help guide national policy on various issues, and provide the aforementioned Depression-era aid which Mussolini decried. These bodies had the mission of accomplishing goals involving the promotion or protection of certain industries, including small businesses, against the reach of larger firms, and implementing price controls. Fascism also took considerable action to influence industries with assorted governmental mandates. These directives included the following: - Required establishment of a national steel and iron consortium in 1931. - A forced reduction in interest on state debt from 5 to 3.5 percent along with cuts to state worker pay between 6-20 percent in 1934. - Reduction in rents between 12-15 percent, and a prohibition on exporting money or importing raw materials without authorization, also in 1934. - The creation of an effective monopoly on coal and the metals industries controlled by the remaining state-run railroads in 1935. - Mandates that all people possessing foreign securities must convert them to government bonds, a new 10 percent tax on holders of other bonds, a 6 percent cap on stock dividends, and the blocking of exports for all Italian currency and securities, also in 1935. - The consolidation of all banking under the national Bank of Italy in 1936. Another element of state intervention by the Fascists came in the form of the public works program, which was especially critical as a
response to the growing economic crisis of the later 1920s and the 1930s. The government plan incorporated several elements, with the most prominent being the draining of marshes and reclamation of land for division into publically-administered farming sections overseen by agricultural technicians. The cabinet also spearheaded expansion of hydro-electric power sources and electric railroad systems, while boosting construction projects to assist the trade industries. The result was a national decline in unemployment, which shrunk from a high in 1932 by about 40 percent to 1935. Fascism and Labor The consequence of Fascism’s historical struggle against the Italian Socialist Party is that academia produces a general malaise where the labor question is concerned. Spectators take campaign taglines such as “The Socialists ask what is our program? Our program is to smash the heads of the Socialists,” and conclude Fascism was a mean-spirited regime dedicated to the annihilation of workers’ rights and the ability of unions to advocate their own interests. At error here is the propensity of people to associate organized labor with the Left—and only the Left—no matter how much this conflicts with the historical record. Like with most other subjects, Fascism treated labor as one part of the broader machinations of the national concept, and sought its harmonization within that structure. Here stands a firm contrast, as leftists tend to view anyone outside the working class, and indeed the very notion of social mobility, with derision or distrust. While enjoying substantial support from organized labor, the political fates saw Fascism backed by large swaths of an emerging middle class birthed in the legacy of World War I. Mussolini initially proposed a revolutionary labor movement with the 1919 campaign, but as we already know, workers had often avoided war service due to their roles within the factories, and thus the nationalist “trenchocracy” notion held more sway with soldiers and military
officers, the latter of whom belonged to the middle of society. It is thus understandable how violently leftists reacted to Renzo De Felice’s proposal that Fascism entailed a revolution of the new middle class; this notion that workers do not have a monopoly on revolution, and the principle suggesting one might climb the class ladder, infuriates progressive minds. What we witness with Fascists is in fact a nuanced and inclusive view of the economic system, where labor plays an important role. According to James Gregor, Fascism’s stance was neither procapitalist nor anti-labor in its underlying nature. This helps explain the manner in which labor unions assisted the Fascists on their quest to attain power. Looking at the Italian stage in very early 1920s, it would be difficult to suggest that Mussolini’s ideology had any realistic chance of dominating the country. Socialist forces had come to control many of Italy’s regions, and the pro-Catholic Popular Party held considerable sway as well. Fascists were typically outnumbered in the early days, and thus relied on military tactics to strike firmly, with theatric effect. A central target were factories, long plagued by strikes which paralyzed industry and were seen as crippling the national livelihood. Mussolini would order his followers to occupy factories, either to end destructive labor strikes, gain influence for Fascist unions, or punish corrupt industrialists. The latter point is an exceptionally crucial one to recall as we engage those who claim Fascism only served the interests of the bourgeoisie classes. It was previously noted that the Fascist cause perceived the nation as an embodiment of class struggle against other nation-states. Furthermore, the Mazzinian concept of socialists attempting labor agitation for rights in a materialistic form without demanding moral duty from workers was also considered. Thus Fascists believed that workers would only be respected if their nation was also strong and respected. The flaw at this stage would be to assume the Fascists only scrutinized labor in this manner, and not the upper classes as well. What history reveals to us is a far less welcoming policy than the modern observer might assume.
In reaction to a sharp drop in the value of the lira between 19251926, Mussolini began pushing a policy of price and wage controls, along with industrial regulations that spanned various sectors of the economy. On the subject of rent, these actions led to declines by government mandate of as much as 50 percent, causing outrage on the part of landlords. Those who complained or defied the state order were banished to one of Mussolini’s island penal colonies,  which he also employed to house political opponents and homosexuals. In addition, rules were instated that ensured employers who shut down operations so as to coerce employees into agreeing to changes in existing labor contracts would face 3-12 months imprisonment and a 10,000-100,000 lire fine. In contrast, the penalty for employees attempting a strike or related hindrance of business would be 1-3 months imprisonment, along with a fine of 100-1000 lire. What’s more, as part of an anti-corruption campaign, the millionaire mayor of Piana dei Greci was arrested, and Cesare Mori of the Palermo police claimed to have taken fourteen millionaires into custody. These punitive actions are not to be summarized as some isolated dynamic divorced from the supportive philosophy behind the Fascist State. For starters, following the demise of the 1920 “Red Year,” during which socialists engaged in a violent and economically disruptive campaign, Italy experienced a surge in support for syndicalist associations expressing nationalist and patriotic sentiments. The sequel to such ideas was furnished by Edmondo Rossoni, a senator and later Minister of Agriculture under Mussolini who spearheaded the concept known as a “Struggle of Capacities.” Under its dictums, class struggle in the traditional sense did not exist because the various constituent aspects in economic society relied on each other for survival. Instead, the real conflict took place between separate players in the governing classes, or classi dirigenti. Therefore, to the extent that Fascists permitted the existence of capitalism, it was only after demanding a complete
replacement of the traditional gilded capitalist ruling actors. In Rossoni's words: "We teach workers not to hate factory owners and industrialists. But in turn the owners must not consider themselves bosses in the old sense of the word. Between Italian and Italian there can no longer be master and slave, but only coworkers for their common interests and for the higher ends of the country. Against the bosses in the old sense of the word, we shall fight inexorably. Along this theme of complimentarism, we shall examine specific labor policy employed by the regime. As we already know, the early years of Fascism saw a largely collaborative policy of economic liberalism enacted under De Stefani. However, fateful developments would lead to his departure from office in 1925, after he attempted to delimit the freedoms of stock brokers as a response to a perceived campaign meant to shrink the lira’s value. The financial industry raised hell with the government, causing those regulations to be repealed, and De Stefani subsequently fell from power. Although superficially a triumph for one sector of the established classes, the change of leadership ushered in grounds for the comprehensive economic reforms of 1926-1927, and, eventually, 1934. In the first case, we have the promulgation of the Labor Charter of April 1926. This sprawling legislation worked to help clarify the intricacies contained within Italy's labor union system, which included various confederations and syndicates. Through the syndical associations, the Fascist State provided a manner by which workers could be organized according to their specific industries, while gaining both economic and political representation. The syndicates supplied the additional advantage of collecting membership dues, a popular form of indirect taxation under Mussolini. As associations, they took one of several forms:
1. Provincial and national syndicates designed for particular trades or professions. 2. Provincial unions and national federations. 3. National confederations, which gathered the provincial unions and national federations into five primary groups, such as industry, credit, agriculture, commerce, and professions. Concerns over the diminished role played by local syndicates in the economic order would be responded to as part of the 1934 legislation, which emphasized their position in direct contact with the populace, thus granting them a clear revolutionary character when compared to the larger bureaucracies higher up on the totem pole of authority. The labor legislation hinged on the concept of cooperation, so strikes were outlawed, being replaced by a system of labor tribunals and courts. These bodies were expected to mediate disputes without creating the cosmic disorder featured by the walkouts in 1919, when a coordinated leftist campaign paralyzed industry in the country. To strengthen the economic unity objective, the Fascist State abolished the Ministry of Labor (eventually to be replaced by a Ministry of Corporations) and instituted collective labor contracts to specify relationships between workers and employers. These contracts, which were overwhelmingly concluded at the provincial level, started slowly to take hold, rising from 178 in 1928 to above 6,000 in 1931. As a response to sluggish adherence by employers, the Confederation of Industry paid out thirty million lire to make up for ineffectual enforcement, and further bureaucratization by the state improved oversight as time went on. Later opposition to the collective contracts by employers would be addressed with an aggressive political pressure campaign by Fascist officials that led to stricter obedience.
At stake in the formation of these agreements were negotiations on hourly wages, where Fascism overall has a mixed record. To start, state reforms resulted in the establishment of a 40-hour workweek, one of the long-desired goals championed by labor movements. While partially a victory for them, limitations on hours were not balanced with mandates for higher hourly pay, thus some workers experienced reductions of as much as 16 percent. Looking at matters in context, during the 1934-1935 period average hourly wages were as follows: Industry: 1.65 lire Agriculture: 1.12 lire for men, 0.65 for women and children. In the midst of the Great Depression, the government accompanied price controls with wage cuts, the latter of which some companies demanded to be as much as 50 percent. However, preordained syndical agreements limited the impact to 8 percent in 1930, an amount that spanned different industries. There was limited worker opposition to the ordered cuts, perhaps in part because a corresponding reduction in the workday diminished the impact. Calls for further reductions led to a compromise agreement wherein certain employers were allowed to cut wages after 1934, yet only those who had not made the full 8 percent cut earlier. The outcome of wage policy is seen in figures of the time, which estimate a cost of living decrease of 25 percent during 1928-1934, along with incomes falling 20-40 percent for industry and 30-50 percent for agriculture. The latter drops can be explained by factoring in limitations on workweek hours, the economic decline, and wage cuts implemented by the government, although the total outcome was proportionally less grievous than the impact felt in the United States by the Great Depression. Labor Courts
Where disputes did arise for workers, the Fascists devised a layered system for resolution. To start, any disagreements were required to be handled by a conciliatory process though the confederation of the company or person in question. If this proved unsuccessful, the case moved to the labor court system, which would issue judgment. Data available concerning the agricultural sector shows a breakdown of 65 percent in favor of workers, 3 percent adverse to them, and 32 percent laid aside with the option of a court appeal. As far as the court itself is concerned, 1934 figures revealed several realities: - Informal Arbitration: 6,050. - Granted: 11,062. - Withdrawn: 3,432. - No jurisdiction: 670. These numbers tell a nuanced story for Fascism, as we have seen before. While certain cases favored workers, others would be dismissed or rejected. It is thus difficult to conclude responsibly that the regime followed the interests of the bourgeoisie or proletariat with distinct loyalty. Similar indeterminate data exists for larger labor disputes, with 1933-1934 showing a varied outcome depending on the industry. Taking the broader picture of labor into perspective, we notice both advantages and downsides from a traditional leftist point of view. On the one hand, labor won major influence when negotiating with employers, and the syndicalist system prevented hardline wage cuts in the era of economic depression. Concurrently, the Fascism reduced taxes and did not do away with capitalist structures entirely, despite some believing it could be influenced towards a “higher socialism.” This of course would change in the case of the Italian Social Republic, which we will discuss later. Schneider concludes:
“In general there can be no doubt that within the last year, since Rossoni had made his power felt, Italian workers have been less at the mercy of their employers than they were during the early days of fascism; and it is probable that they are protected more than they would have been by independent labor organizations. Indeed in the recent economic crisis the protests against the government have come from employers rather than from laborers and the government gained enormously in the confidence of large groups of formerly hostile labor elements. It is no longer possible to accuse fascism of being an out and out bourgeois reaction.” It must be said that skepticism on the labor issue still prevails for observers of Fascism. Some note that Rossoni’s removal from the leadership of the Fascist trade unions in 1928 dealt a blow to organized labor and benefited private interests. While this might seem like a tantalizing confirmation of Fascism’s pro-employer stereotype, it fails to account for the later corporative reforms of the 1930s, which set the stage for a managed economic system and increased participation of workers, along with Fascism’s social welfare policies. Furthermore, after the formation of the Italian Social Republic in 1943, Mussolini would embark on an ambitious program of socialization and worker-led management of industries. All of these developments must be fully discussed to gain a proper appreciation. Corporatism In popular discourse, the term “corporatism” has become so bastardized as to represent truly nothing at all. It is not uncommon to see those who are normally foes on the conservative Right and progressive Left join together in condemnation of corporatist idea, which they take to mean large firms (such as Wall Street banks) funding political campaigns through SuperPACs and then strongarming the State to give them taxpayer-funded bailouts during economic recessions. Conservatives prefer to use the term “crony
capitalism,” while defending the seemingly normal, “TRUE Capitalism” from criticism. It should be understood that the only way to attain a purist form of capitalist economics involves doing away with the State, as any government entity capable of issuing grants or bailouts will be targeted by companies for political subversion. Regardless, American political spectators tend to use corporatism interchangeably with the term fascism and, by extension, Mussolini. Embarrassing and ignorant as this interpretation might seem, it can be somewhat explained by the poor educational system in the United States, along with the limited resources available for study. Furthermore, since universities are dominated by Marxist thinkers, they feel no obligation to clarify the realities of the corporate system in Italy. To perform intellectual surgery on the matter, we are required to suppress the propensity of American politicians where hyperbole and appeals to WWII regimes are concerned. As a start, let us examine the concept of corporatism itself. The idea emerged as the progeny of old medieval merchant guilds, which exercised both economic influence and political administration in society.  In the modern sense, corporativismo came of age alongside syndicalism as a response to the tendencies of late-stage capitalism and the growing threat which Marxism posed in the form of both socialism and communism. Much as discussed before, the theoretical underpinnings of corporatism implied an idealized “third way” which could accommodate various stakeholders in the economy and harmonize the market picture to prioritize national interests. The corporations themselves were not SNP 500 firms gnawing at profits and trying to boost quarterly earnings, but administrative and political organs with a particular agenda designed to serve the country. From the viewpoint of Ivanhoe Bonomi, the corporations were not the results of economic growth, but rather the creation of the Fascist Party. Mussolini on the other hand described the corporation as being formed “to expand the wealth, the political power, and the well-being of the Italian people.” He
would add that corporatism meant a regulated and bureaucratized (controlled) economy which would supersede liberalism and socialism, with the additional requirements of a single-party totalitarian state and a period of high tension. In terms of the governmental context, corporatism took some influence from the city-state of Fiume, founded by Gabriele D’Annunzio in nationalist Italian defiance of Yugoslavian domination over the region. D’Annunzio and his followers devised a system of ten corporations to help administer society. These included the assortment below, quoted from Article 19 of the city’s constitution: 
The first Corporation comprises the wage-earners of industry, agriculture and commerce, small artisans, and small landholders who work their own farms, employing little other labour and that only occasionally. The second Corporation includes all members of the technical or managerial staff in any private business, industrial or rural, with the exception of the proprietors or partners in the business. In the third, are united all persons employed in commercial undertakings who are not actually operatives. Here again proprietors are excluded. In the fourth, are associated together all employers engaged in industrial, agricultural, or commercial undertakings, so long as they are not merely owners of the business but — according to the spirit of the new constitution —prudent and sagacious masters of industry. The fifth comprises all public servants, State and Communal employees of every rank. In the sixth are to be found the intellectual section of the people; studious youth and its leaders; teachers in the public schools and students in colleges and
polytechnics; sculptors, painters, decorators, architects, musicians, all those who practise the Arts, scenic or ornamental. The seventh includes all persons belonging to the liberal professions who are not included in the former categories. The eighth is made up of the Co-operative Societies of production and consumption, industrial and agricultural, and can only be represented by the self-chosen administrators of the Societies. The ninth comprises all workers on the sea. The tenth has no special trade or register or title. It is reserved for the mysterious forces of progress and adventure. It is a sort of votive offering to the genius of the unknown, to the man of the future, to the hoped-for idealization of daily work, to the liberation of the spirit of man beyond the panting effort and bloody sweat of to-day. When it came to the Fascist State, the progress towards corporatism was slow and incremental. We have already discussed the law on labor, and what succeeded was the creation of a Ministry of Corporations, initially led by Mussolini with Giuseppe Bottai as under-secretary. The labor charter reforms introduced guidelines to define the ultimate objectives of the Corporate State in relation to administration and relationships with worker unions. According to Michael Ledeen, the older capitalist class was upset with the expanding corporate administration, and resisted Bottai’s reforms steadily. Mussolini was initially hesitant to create too sprawling of a bureaucracy with the corporate model, yet legislation released in 1934 helped clarify the government’s position by establishing a number of sector and industry-based corporations, including: 1. The Corporation of Stage (Theater and opera) 2. The Corporation of Grains
3. The Corporation of Fruits, Vegetables, and Flowers 4. The Corporation of the Beet Sugar and Refining Industry 5. The Corporation of Animal Products and Fisheries 6. The Corporation of Vineyards and Wine 7. The Corporation of Vegetable Oils 8. The Corporation of Paper and Press 9. The Textile Corporation 10. The Clothing Industries Corporation 11. The Corporation of Marine and Aviation 12. The Corporation of Metallurgy and Machinery 13. The Corporation of Mines 14. The Corporation of the Professions and Arts To get a firmer sense of what the corporations actually entailed, we can quote directly from Article 43 of the July 1926 decree on Rules and Regulations for the corporate system: “A corporation does not possess legal personality, but is an administrative organ of the state.” Article 44 follows up by detailing how corporations are intended to conciliate between organizations, establish employment agencies, and regulate both training and apprenticeship. This legal distribution helps explain the confusion which is steadily advanced by American academics and their political lackeys. As opposed to the stereotypical model featuring modern corporations governing society according to their personal whims, the Fascists pushed measures to protect unified national interests. The ultimate Fascist objective was to create a structure through which the State might manage and direct national production, while allowing the means of capital to remain largely in private hands. Where immediate administration was concerned, the Ministry of Corporations enjoyed extensive plenary powers to pursue the economic agenda of the regime. The primary deliberative body was the Central Corporative Committee, which helped develop and present new regulations for enforcement across the nation. At the same time, a Council of Corporations came into existence for the purpose of ratifying the rules and policies established by the
Committee, with its members selected from the various councils appointed to oversee specific corporations. In terms of the corporations themselves, they were structured in a manner focused on promoting power-sharing between the different stakeholders in particular industries. This meant that the special councils for each corporation typically included an even number of representatives for both the employer class and the employees (labor). Furthermore, experts from the industry and Fascist politicians were installed in other council seats to help break any impasses which might occur between workers and management. On an official basis, the presidency of each council was meant for the Minister of Corporations (Mussolini to start), yet practical needs led to a placeholder being appointed in his stead. The corporative structure of the state, and indeed the Council of Corporations with its legislative functions, would ultimately lead to the transformation of the Italian lower house into a Chamber of Fasces and Corporations, with the presiding officers including Costanzo Ciano and later Dino Grandi. It must be understood that the Italian model of corporatism, which expressly enshrined cooperation and compromise between workers and employers, did not find favor in Nazi Germany. The Nazis would develop a concept of state-directed capitalism that was on the way to a state economy model, but their methods were less forgiving on the labor question, and national resurgence came at the expense of forced slave workers, something Fascist Italy never entertained, even during the most difficult hours of the war. Social Democracy Under Fascism In keeping with its nature as a reform-minded movement, Fascism would oversee the adoption of several state programs to assist with family life. This is a central issue of importance, as we have to consider both Italy’s relative poverty at the time, with the lira equating the purchasing power of ten cents in the United States
during the period of 1934-1935. While Mussolini sternly condemned welfare leeching in his autobiography, he nonetheless oversaw substantial changes to the delivery of social services. In 1936, the government ratified a law to reimagine Italy’s youthful insurance system and place it under the watch of a state-run agency. New offerings included mandatory accident and sick leave insurance, along with an array of supplemental state schemes.  These latter provisions focused on the prevention of illnesses or workplace accidents, the elimination of tuberculosis, unemployment protections, and retirement pensions. On the question of the accident and sick leave insurance, employers were required by law to pay for it themselves through taxes, and could not pass on charges to their workers. Mussolini would also move to boost old age pensions due to the mediocre rations of livelihood they had doled out in previous years. Additional benefits oriented towards the poor were free summer camps for those in urban areas, maternity and child welfare organizations, and the Libyan development program pushed by Italo Balbo, which brought 1800 impoverished Italians to the colony and gave them land to build a stronger economic future. On the matter of the Libyans, Fascism was exceptionally generous, especially if we consider the popular view of the regime as small-minded and hateful towards certain racial groups. Under the administration of Balbo, colonial authorities worked to aggressively expand public infrastructure, completing a number of public sewage systems and boosting public housing. The sprawling Litoranea Balbo highway across the entire coast of Libya was also completed, with the help of native workers who received very impressive wages when compared to the usual reputation of colonial powers. Balbo further implemented a number of reforms that expanded medical access for the Libyan population, and opened educational opportunities for women, something that was relatively uncommon in the starkly conservative Islamic world.
V. The Italian Social Republic In July 1943, following the Allied bombing of Rome, Mussolini was confronted by a vote of no-confidence from the Grand Council of Fascism advanced by Dino Grandi. Although he took it as nothing, the next day after a meeting with the King, the Duce was arrested by royal caribinieri and spent the next several months in prison, first on the island of Maddalena, and then in Campo Imperatore, a post in the Apennine Mountains. In September of the same year, the Gran Sasso raid ordered by Adolf Hitler and orchestrated by Otto Skorzeny successfully liberated Mussolini and brought him to Germany, where he was expected to rejoin the fight against the Allies. While some Germans fantasized about a “clean slate” in Northern Italy without Mussolini, others preferred to simply have the area occupied by the German military, and Roberto Farinacci himself offered to lead the new government. Yet the Duce moved forward to recreate the Fascist State. This time around, the movement returned to its pro-republican roots, setting up a contrast with the Kingdom of Italy on the southern portion of the peninsula, which was viewed by Fascists as collaborating with the enemy. The new regime would be known as the Italian Social Republic (RSI), with a more purely leftist bent than the previous catch-all version under monarchy, both for reasons of politics and the Duce’s long-standing reservations about middle class interests. One of Mussolini’s first acts was to advocate for a constitutional convention to abolish the House of Savoy, something that would later be achieved by the post-war referendum which transitioned Italy to a modern republic. In a similar act that aligned with some of Fascism’s traditional viewpoints on the transition to socialism, the newly-minted Fascist Republican Party issued the Charter of Verona, a founding document to outline the Republic’s vision for a future Italy:
1. That a Constituent Assembly, whose sovereign power is popularly derived, be convened in order to declare the abolition of the monarchy, solemnly condemn the last treasonous and fugitive king, proclaim the Italian Social Republic, and appoint its Head. 2. That this Constituent Assembly be made up of representatives from all syndical associations and administrative districts and also include representatives from the occupied provinces in the form of delegations of evacuees and refugees residing in liberated territories. This Constituent Assembly must also include representatives of servicemen, war prisoners (represented by those sent back due to disabilities), Italians abroad, the judiciary, universities, and any other body or institution whose participation contributes to designating this Constituent Assembly as a synthesis of the nation's values. 3. That this republican Constituent grant to citizens, be they soldiers, workers, or taxpayers, the right to audit and criticize the public administration's actions, so long as this right is exercised in a responsible manner. Every fifth year citizens will be called upon to nominate the Head of the Republic. No citizen will be held beyond seven days without a warrant from the judicial authorities irrespective of whether he was arrested in the act or detained for preventive reasons. A judicial warrant will also be required to carry out searches of homes, except in cases of flagrant delicto. The judicial branch of government will operate with complete independence while carrying out its functions.
4. That an intermediate solution be adopted in the electoral domain given Italy's prior negative experiences with elections and its partially negative experiences with too rigidly hierarchical methods of appointment. A mixed system seems the most advisable—one, for example, that would combine popular election of deputies with appointments of ministers made by the Head of the Republic and government. Within the Party, it would probably be best for elections to be held on the Fascio level, with approvals for appointments to the National Directorate being made by the Duce. 5. That the organization responsible for politically educating the people be one. The Party, an order of fighters and believers, must become an organism of absolute political purity, worthy of being the guardian of a revolutionary idea. Party membership will not be required for any job or position. 6. That the Republic's religion be the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion. Respect is assured for other cults so long as they do not oppose the law. 7. That those belonging to the Jewish race be considered foreigners. During this war they belong to an enemy nation. As concerns foreign policy issues, we propose: 8. That the main goal of the Republic's foreign policy be the unity, independence, and territorial integrity of the Fatherland. The territory in question comprises the maritime and alpine borders marked in nature, as well as the borders consecrated by sacrifice of blood and by history. Both boundaries are now threatened by the invading enemy and by their promises to the governments that have sought refuge in London. A second essential goal will be to achieve recognition of the fact that a population of 45 million, living in an area insufficient to sustain it, has certain indispensable needs for vital space.
This foreign policy will also strive for the creation of a "European community" made up of all those nations that accept the following fundamental principles: a) elimination from our continent the century-long British intrigues; b) abolition of the internal capitalist system and combat against world plutocracies; c) valourisation of Africa's natural resources for the benefit of Europeans as well as natives, with full respect for those peoples, particularly Muslim ones, who have already shaped themselves into civilized nations, such as Egypt. As concerns social issues, we propose: 9. That the foundation and the main goal of the Italian Social Republic be work—manual, technical, intellectual—in all its manifestations; 10. That the State guarantee private property, which is the fruit of individual labour and savings as well as an extension of the human personality. Private property, however, must not be permitted to have a disintegrative effect on the physical and moral personality of other individuals by way of the exploitation of their labour. 11. That in the domain of the national economy, the State's sphere of action encompass everything that extends beyond the individual interests or within the domain of collective interests, whether due to scale or function. Public services and, in most cases, armament industries, must be managed by the State through parastatal agencies.
12. That in every factory (whether industrial, private, government-controlled, or state-owned) representatives of technicians and workers must collaborate closely—to the point of having direct knowledge of the factory's management—in setting fair wages and in equitably distributing profits between reserve funds, stockholder dividends, and worker profit shares. In some factories this measure will be implemented by expanding the powers of the existing factory commissions. In others, the current management will be substituted by a managing council made up of technicians, workers, and a state representative. In others still, a parasyndical cooperative will be set up. 13. That in the domain of agricultural production, landowner's private initiative shall be curbed whenever and wherever initiative itself is lacking. Expropriations of uncultivated lands may lead to their being parceled out among farm workers (who thereby become farmerlandowners). Similarly, badly managed businesses may be transformed into parasyndical or parastatal cooperatives, depending upon the needs of the agricultural economy. Since current laws already provide for these sorts of measures, the Party and various syndical organizations are now hard at work on their implementation. 14. That farmers, craftsmen, professionals, and artists be fully entitled to pursue their vocations individually, for their families or other nucleus. However, they are subject to legal obligations to deliver to the masses those quantities of produce that are set forth by the law and to regulation of fees for services. 15. That home ownership be treated not just as an extension of property rights but also as a right. The Party's platform
proposes the creation of a national agency for popular housing that will absorb the existing institute and greatly enhance its effectiveness. Its aim will be to make home ownership available to families of all categories of workers via the construction of new homes or the gradual repurchase of existing ones. To this end, the general principle that rent payments ought to go towards purchase of a home, once capital has been paid off in full, must be adopted. The first duty of this agency will be to address the war's detrimental effects on housing by expropriating and distributing empty buildings and by erecting temporary structures. 16. That workers automatically become members of the syndicate regulating the category to which they belong, but that this membership must not preclude transfer to another syndicate if all requirements are met. All the trade syndicates are gathered together under the umbrella of a single confederation comprising all workers, technicians, and professionals (but excluding landlords, who are neither managers nor technicians). This umbrella organization will be named the General Confederation of Labour, Technology, and Arts. Like other workers, employees of state-controlled industries or public services are integrated into syndicates as a function of their category. The imposing complex of social welfare institutions created by the Fascist regime over the past twenty years remains intact. Consecrated by the 1927 Charter of Labour, its spirit will inform all future developments. 17. That the Party considers a salary adjustment for all workers an urgent necessity. This can be effected by adopting a nationwide minimum wage (with prompt regional adjustments). The need is particularly great among lower-echelon and middle-
echelon workers, both in the public and private sectors. Part of the salary should be paid in foodstuffs (at official prices) so that this measure not prove ineffective or harmful for all parties concerned. This can be accomplished by means of cooperatives and factory stores, by expanding the "Provvida's" responsibilities, and by expropriating stores that have broken the law and placing them under state or cooperative management. This is the best way to contribute to the stabilization of prices and the lira's value as well as to the market's recovery. As concerns the black market, speculators must be placed under the authority of special courts and made subject to the death penalty, just like traitors and defeatists. 18. That with this preamble to the Constituent Assembly, the Party offers proof that it is not only reaching out toward the people but also is one with the people. On the other hand, the Italian people must realize that it only has one way to defend its past, present, and future achievements: to reject the enslaving invasion of the AngloAmerican plutocracies whose sole aim, confirmed by a thousand precise signs, is to make the lives of Italians more cramped and miserable. There is only one way for us to accomplish all our social goals: to fight, to work, to triumph. An overt emphasis on cynicism towards the broader market system is visible throughout the text, especially with its references to the abolition of the internal capitalist system and plutocratic tendencies. Mussolini and his followers also stress an enhanced program for housing, agricultural reform to create more landowners, the introduction of a minimum wage, and changes to factory ownership. This shift can in part be explained by the Duce’s belief that he had been conspired against by the King and international finance, including the Jews. As a result, one of his first moves as
head of the RSI was to meet with business leaders and labor unions to discuss a plan regarding the nationalization of private industries,  which he claimed had been attempted between 1939-1940 before the war interrupted those intentions. The Myth of the RSI’s Political Failure, and “Puppet States” Although often relegated to petty dismissal on the part of historians, who argue that Mussolini was a puppet leader, or suggest the new leftist bent came of desperation, the Italian Social Republic proved quite successful at reestablishing authority and advancing socialist causes. To begin, there was some difficulty assembling a new army due to the ravaged state of the country and its existing political divisions, which included both conservative and leftist partisan groups. When Republican Fascist Party secretary Alessandro Pavolini attempted to muster support for a new militia, he reportedly only amassed fifteen troops in Rome, the Republic’s official capitol. Nevertheless, over several weeks 250,000 militants had joined the party, with the organization reaching an impressive 3 percent membership of the whole Italian population at its height, and hundreds of thousands entered the ranks of the National Republican Army throughout the remainder of the war. This helps give a sense of the popular support Mussolini still possessed, with large crowds greeting him to support the new republic, a response which baffles some anti-Fascist writers, who fail to find evidence of hatred for the Duce in places like Milan during this period. We should also hammer a point home on the question of independence. While it cannot be denied that Germany exercised great influence over the RSI, the matter is far more complicated. Mussolini specifically organized the new army to help check German influence, and Field Marshal Albrecht Kesselring’s September 11, 1943 order which subjected Northern Italy to German authority was allowed to lapse on September 18th, once the Social Republic
came into existence. This is in strong contrast to the southern kingdom, which was completely controlled by the Allied Powers, both during and after the conclusion of the war. Furthermore, Mussolini’s declaration that the new Fascists simply desired “Italy, Republic, socialization” ran up against the reality of German figures, some of whom viewed his project with derision, and the galvanization of leftists against Fascism. Responding to a reported incidence of Mussolini meeting with industrialists to discuss nationalization, one scholar even pompously notes, “No record of these talks exists, and they are of no historical importance. No Italian with any sense of realism could take this last-moment advocacy of Socialism seriously.” Indeed, this is considered acceptable scholarship on such a crucial historical timeframe in the lauded liberal halls of the West. Regardless, in February 1944 Mussolini’s cabinet approved a bill designed to advance “[…] much higher Social Justice, a more equitable distribution of wealth and the participation of labor in the state’s life.” He would use these policies as part of an attempt to seek rapprochement with the Italian Left. Scholars have tended to depict the socialist aspects of the RSI as mere propaganda, with some suggesting it achieved nothing except to annoy the Germans,  yet the actual record proves otherwise. In its relatively brief existence, the Social Republic more than lived up to its revolutionary origins by nationalizing (in Mussolini’s words, “socializing”) 80 companies, which collectively employed 150,000 people. Notable among the firms to surrender to state control was the legendary Italian company Fiat, which got socialized in January 1945. In addition, Mussolini expanded the employee participation in management functions and profit sharing that was initiated under the earlier corporatist model, while also enacting a massive public housing program. Much of the responsibility for this push came from Nicola Bombacci, the co-founder of the Italian Communist Party who was
popularly known as the “Red Pope,” and served as a close confidant of Mussolini. In 1928, Bombacci described Fascist reforms regarding the social and corporatist fronts by saying, “every postulate is a Socialist program.” He would serve in an unpaid role as Head of the Unified Work and Technical Confederation under the RSI, helping to promote the Fascist Socialism cause. In a letter to Mussolini in December 1944, he describes the effects of the socialization mentioned earlier: “I have spoken one hour and a half in a conquered and enthusiastic theater…the audience, composed mostly by workers vibrated, shouting: yes, we want to fight for Italy, for the Republic, for Socialization…In the morning I have visited Mondadori, already Socialized, I have spoken with workers that form the Management Council, which I have found full of enthusiasm and understanding for this mission of ours.” Mussolini did not completely reject private property in the new republic, but he noted there had to be preconditions around its maintenance. The Verona Manifesto specifically spelled out that while private property and the fruit of work and personal savings would be guaranteed by the state, it could not “disintegrate the moral and psychic personality of others, through the exploitation of their work.” The Duce would give a speech sometime later explaining how socialism could solve the country’s existing problems: “After the last events we are willing to give a new impulse and outreach to action both in the Political and Social fields. In reality, more than a new stand one should say more precisely: a return to the original positons…but now, the seed has been sown. No matter what may occur, this seed is destined to germinate…the Fascist Socialization is the logical and rational solution that avoids, the economy’s bureaucratization through a state Totalitarianism in one hand, overcoming the Liberal economy’s individualism by the other...it must be considered
today as a solution meeting the demands of the National community’s Social traits.” One of the great misfortunes related to the Social Republic’s domestic policy is that it did not survive long enough to be fullyappreciated. Western sources are replete with haughty dismissals  of Mussolini’s ideas and legitimacy, as mentioned earlier, and consequently the “what if” scenarios are scarcely even considered. While Fascism was never a far-flung communist ideology, it nonetheless maintained strong considerations for protecting workers, blocked employer abuses, and advanced a socialist position on national terms. There is even evidence that Mussolini was prepared to hand power over to the leftist-dominated partisans peacefully, but of course the Communists murdered him before this could occur.
VI. The Foreign Policy of Fascism Italian Colonial Development History The modern state of Italy that we know and associate with various cultural stereotypes such as gondolas, spaghetti, and the mafia, has actually existed for less than 200 years. After the collapse of the Roman Empire and its successors, Italy was split into a series of different kingdoms and states, including at appointed times France, Austria, the Kingdom of Sicily, the Republic of Venice, and the Papal States. These territories changed hands frequently, leading to the sharp cultural (and partly ethnic) divide between Northern and Southern Italy seen today. It was not until 1848 that Italian nationalists Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini led a movement to unify the country in an act known as the Risorgimento. This concluded with the establishment of a brief republic led by figures including Mazzini, and finally the enthronement of the Savoy house over the new Kingdom of Italy during 1861. Still in 1870, the Kingdom declared war on the Rome-based Papal States, killing a number of defenders and beginning the period of isolation between the Church and national government that would finally be resolved by Mussolini in 1929. Consequently, Italy in the early 20th Century was a relevant player in Europe, but also one with significant poverty and a large, underdeveloped agricultural economy, as well as limited colonial possessions. This latter point might seem immaterial, but we must remember that most of the colonial territories held by the Kingdom were of questionable value, such as the majority of Libya’s geography (a desert), Eritrea, Somalia, and Jubaland. Furthermore, Italy’s dramatic sacrifice in human life for the Allied cause in World War I can scarcely be described as having been rewarding to the nation’s prosperity. Despite being promised considerable swaths of Dalmatia, Asia Minor, and former German
colonial holdings, the outcome of the Versailles Treaty and its successors left Italy with little to show for. In particular, the St. Jean de Maurienne agreement meant to grant Rome more territory was essentially torn up, leading to the tension in Corfu during 1923.  The issue was exacerbated by France’s decision to expand into Libya, abuse and disenfranchise Italians in Tunis, and impede an Italian advance to gain influence in the Balkans. With Tunisia, immigration by Italians during the 19th Century had created a large population there meant to be protected by an 1868 treaty between the ruling Bey and Italian officials. In 1881, a raid by Tunisian tribesmen was responded to with French occupation of Tunis, and pressure on the existing Italian residents to embrace francophone culture and citizenship. Despite all such historical tension, Mussolini still attempted to cooperate with Paris, signing the 1935 treaty of friendship and gaining concessions on rights for Italians in Tunis, more territory in Libya, and a 1.5 percent stake in the French African Railroad. On the matter of Albania, Fascist policy showed a similar willingness for cooperation and peace. During the 1460s, Albania was conquered by Turks, and the defeated supporters of the slain hero George Skanderberg fled to the Kingdom of Naples, where they received lands to cultivate. Between 1912-1913, Serbia and Greece attempted to split Albania, only to be blocked by Italian authorities, and during the First World War, Italians were credited with keeping Albanians in the southern part of the country alive by fighting Austro-Hungarians in the north. Paradoxically, Great Britain and France pushed Greece to annex half of Albania, this coming from the lauded defenders of peace and democracy. Under Ahmed Zogu, Albania moved closer to Italian influence as a check on Yugoslavia, which continued agitating for control over the Albanian people. In 1926, the Pact of Friendship and Security was signed between Albania and Fascist Italy, angering Belgrade authorities and their allies in both London and Paris.
The Italian relationship would evolve into a mutual defense treaty, and eventually the joining of Albania with the Italian Empire. A successive move involved the creation of an Albanian army and national bank, along with attempts to reform the civil service, for which the British gave assistance. When Italy created a personal union between the two countries, the image of colonial oppression was finally quashed. Fascists removed the unpopular Zogu in 1939, finding little opposition from the people, and established a national parliament for Albania. The presiding minister Francesco Jacomoni helped introduce a policy of common citizenship as well, granting Albanians unique privileges and leading to some of them being appointed to the Italian Senate. This approach, which would be attempted in Libya as well, ensured Albanians did not become second-class citizens on account of their entrance into the new dominion. Mussolini’s government then aggressively amped up its development policy, improving infrastructure, cultivating natural resources, and combating the issue of malaria. The real tragedy in Albania’s case is what occurred after the war. Divorced from its former partner in Rome and isolated versus the battered Allied Powers, Albania fell into the orbit of communism, suffering under a dictatorship for nearly 50 years. The Ethiopian War Question Where academics struggle to impugn Mussolini and the Fascists for the same offenses of Nazism, they will invariably resort to the conflict in Ethiopia as grounds to indict the Rome regime’s actions. For background purposes, Italy initially attempted to invade Ethiopia in 1894 as part of a campaign spearheaded by various nationalistleaning prime ministers of the era. Following some modest successes, Italian troops were defeated in the Battle of Adua, an event typically misrepresented by historians. To begin, the Ethiopians were supported by Russian and French interlopers, and had 17,000 troops, versus 8,300 Italians and native allies. Italy nevertheless inflicted major losses on Ethiopia, and indeed
reinforcements led by General Baldissera were enroute to eradicate the tattered native army, but the event’s fallout caused the political downfall of Prime Minister Francesco Crispi, and thus Italians withdrew. Such a distinction is critical because liberals enjoy using racist assumptions about Italian bravery and strategic potential in history, completely disregarding the fact that Italy would have still won the overall conflict if democratic bumbling did not block the path. In any case, the war’s mismanagement became a source of frustration for Italian voices seeking a restoration of Roman imperial glory, and thus the region was a natural focus for leaders throughout the early 1900s. One must be careful not to undervalue the importance of AngloFrench hypocrisy in the process of examining decisions made by the Fascist regime. Popular opinion holds that any country governed by allegedly “democratic” politics is somehow better-justified in pursuing imperialist aims than those ruled in an authoritarian manner. Of course while British or French citizens might have been permitted to vote during the 1920s or 30s, those rights could hardly be guaranteed to the colonized nations living under such parliamentary states. Democracy was simply a privilege for some people, with sanctified values subject to change based upon the short-term interests of the “liberal” overlord. And even after their evanescent moralizing about freedom, the democratic states showed little hesitation about forging alliances with Soviet Russia, a despotic genocidal state responsible for the deaths of millions. We owe it to the reader to focus on British folly for a moment. In 1926, Italy and Britain concluded an agreement over the organization of economic interests inside Ethiopia, and in 1928 Rome ratified a treaty with the native leadership of the African country. Later in December 1934, Ethiopian troops, believed to be encouraged by the British, attacked an Italian frontier post in WalWal, a part of the region not claimed by the native government in Addis Ababa. As deliberation over the incident languished in the League of Nations bureaucracy, Ethiopia commenced a large military
buildup along its Eritrean and Somalian borders which, alongside prior raids by its people, drew Italian concern. The outcome of League deliberations resulted in Italy being absolved of responsibility, and fault attributed to Ethiopian local authorities. The British reacted with a proposed agreement in June 1935 which would have divided up regions of Ethiopia, but Mussolini refused on the basis of its empowerment of the slave trade, and lack of rich territory given to Italy. Rome’s response humiliated the United Kingdom foreign affairs minister, Anthony Eden, who until the end of the war would carry a destructive vendetta against Italians.  These tensions led to the ridiculous demands for unconditional surrender which worsened the anti-Axis war effort from 1943-1945. 
Seeing no end in sight to Franco-British intrigue, Mussolini chose to invade Ethiopia in 1936, generating a predictable reaction on the part of the United Kingdom. Despite the Italian delegate Aloisi outlining historical Ethiopian aggression, Britain endorsed Ethiopian calls in the League for an activation of Article 16, the imposition of punitive sanctions, with the move pushed by none other than Anthony Eden. Eden’s decision was roundly criticized by British figures in parliament, along with famous authors such as Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw, and a later attempt at peace coordinated by Pierre Laval would be impeded by London. Ironically, for all that British politicians castigated Italy over aggression, it was their own policies that led to such an outcome. Under the pressure of sanctions, Mussolini would begin to pursue a mission of economic autarchy, seeking to reduce dependency on world markets and further alienating him from the international community. Nevertheless, immediately after annexing Ethiopia, Mussolini declared the establishment of “an Empire of peace, for Italy wants peace for herself and for all.” The Myth of Italian War Crimes and Fascist Racism
Early on in the Ethiopian campaign, Italy’s destiny seemed doomed to replicate the story of 1896. Progress was slow, in part due to the leadership of Emilio De Bono and Pietro Badoglio, two generals regarded as being timid in the face of necessary action. The grim tidings would be reversed by two factors; first, the valiant nature of Rodolfo Graziani’s decision to disregard Badoglio’s orders and launch a fierce attack on advancing Ethiopian columns, which ultimately caused the native resistance to crumble. In addition, Italians utilized an aggressive compliment of poison gas on primary assault divisions of the Ethiopian army, bombing roads and river crossings where enemy forces fell back in retreat.  It is here that academics seem to relish their derisory mallet in order to pummel Mussolini’s Fascists as war criminals. They will typically point to the practice’s prohibition under Geneva guidelines, or even portray the event as being a wanton policy of destruction towards Ethiopian civilians. On the first aspect, we see the strategic meanderings of academics trying to justify the Allied cause without reflection. An obvious follow-up would be to ask how the firebombing of Dresden could be fit into Geneva guidelines, or still more America’s decision to drop atomic bombs on two major Japanese cities. Both actions were far more deadly, yet in particular they did not aim for military structures, but rather civilian targets. What the Western scholars reliably leave out of course are the historical justifications for the special weapon, along with Fascist Italy’s social reform in East Africa. To begin, captured Italians soldiers were the subjects of horrendous atrocities by the Ethiopians during the 1896 war. In addition, the Italian League of Nations delegate Pompeo Aloisi noted that the use of poison gas only occurred after foreign service officials filed reports detailing Ethiopian outrages against Italians by use of technologies including exploding and expanding bullets, both which had already been banned by international conventions on war. As noted before, the chemicals were employed against enemy troops, not the civilian population.
The other angle for liberals eager to indict Fascism relates to the attempted assassination of Marshal Graziani in 1937 by Ethiopians. After terrorists tossed multiple grenades into an Italian celebration in the Ethiopian capital and injured thirty people, Fascist forces led reprisals against the population that drew casualty figures few can agree on. Some scholars suggest a few hundred were slain, and others as many as 30,000. This latter figure is likely to be inflated, but it any case the entire question highlights liberal hypocrisy. Just as with the poison gas matter, they insist the moral responsibility is always with the Fascists, even if Italians were being targeted with illegal weaponry by Ethiopians. Likewise, the attempted murder of a beloved Italian general and war hero must somehow be handled gently, despite all the devotion and help Italy had given to the Ethiopian people. Those facts fail to matter in the liberalistic world, because empowered historians are seeking to make an antiFascist point. Leaving that aside, Italy was also determined to put at rest the repulsive practices permitted by Ethiopia’s leadership, with tacit British approval. At the time, the African nation was being ruled by the negus or king, Haile Selassie, with significant economic involvement in the country by Britain, France, and Japan. According to local chiefs, Selassie was being pushed by the first two nations to resist economic concessions to Italy. The Ethiopian regent had also promised the League of Nations that he would end slavery as a precondition for membership in the international organization in 1923, but failed miserably. Perhaps the reason for his shortcomings related to the lucrative nature of human trade in his country’s economy, with the total enslaved population at the time estimated to be as much as 2 million. In a bizarre dynamic, Ethiopian tribes would routinely raid neighboring Italian Somaliland and seize natives to become slaves, an action which greatly angered Cesare De Vecchi, the Italian governor. When Italians defeated the Ethiopian army and drove Selassie into exile, one of their first acts was to end the slave trade, a monumental
achievement considering the realities of the time. As Mussolini noted in 1935 while he justified the planned invasion: “That in Ethiopia slavery exists, that is the buying and selling of human beings, is admitted by the negus himself. That this trade takes atrocious forms is documented in a thousand reports, mostly carried out by the English, the latest being published in 1932.” What remains odd is that Selassie himself is today deified as a holy figure by Rastafarians, but during his early rule before 1936 slavery was not ended. It took until 1942, after the British forced Italy out of East Africa, for such a reform to occur. Still more is ignored in the popular narrative on Ethiopia. Much like with Italo Balbo’s administration in Libya, the colonial authorities in East Africa made a concerted attempt to modernize and improve conditions for their subjects. This reality might clash with common understandings of colonial administrators, but it stands nonetheless. After securing control, the Fascist government immediately pushed for extensive improvements to better public infrastructure, a successful health campaigns against the scourge of leprosy, creation of hospitals, reform of the civil service, and heightened public security. Evidence to explain Italian motivations can be gleaned by following Mussolini’s own words. Despite his eventual association with Hitler, the Duce did not fundamentally believe in animosity towards those of African or Arab descent. The Ethiopians especially he described as “Semites,” in line with the suggestion that they have lineage running back to the Hebrew King Solomon. He further emphasized this point by noting that the Italians had no quarrels with blacks in the United States, bringing to light the issue of hangings that occurred across the Atlantic, even as white liberals attempted to condemn Fascism for its administrative practices:
“Secondly, there are thousands of Negroes who fight as soldiers under the Italian flag and have always fought magnificently for us and themselves. This can be said too of the Arabs […]. We fascists acknowledge the existence of races, their differences and their hierarchy, but we do not on purpose propose to present ourselves to the world as the embodiment of the White race set against other races, we do not intend to make ourselves the preachers of segregation and of racial hatreds when we see that our fiercest critics are not the Negroes of Harlem—who could profitably use their time to take care of their colleagues who are daily lynched in the United States—but are most genuinely Whites in Europe and America.” The Italians even produced a number of patriotic songs to illustrate their comradeship with Africans; verses in the Faccetta Nera tune speak of plans to end slavery and bring Ethiopians into the Italian Empire: Italian: Faccetta nera, bell'abissina Aspetta e spera che già l'ora si avvicina Quando staremo vicino a te Noi te daremo un'altra legge e un altro Re La legge nostra è schiavitù d'amore il nostro motto è LIBERTÀ e DOVERE vendicheremo noi Camicie Nere Gli eroi caduti liberando te! Faccetta nera, sarai Romana La tua bandiera sarà sol quella italiana! Noi marceremo insieme a te E sfileremo avanti al Duce e avanti al Re!
English Translation: Pretty black face, beautiful Abyssinian Wait and see, for the hour is coming! When we are with you We shall give you another law and another king Our law is slavery of love Our motto is FREEDOM and DUTY We, the blackshirts, will avenge the heroes that died to free you! Pretty black face, you will be Roman Your only flag will be the Italian one! We will march together with you and parade in front of the Duce and the king! Another Italian song from the war: Noi siamo balde schiere indomiti Guerrier portiamo le bandiere nell’Africa Oriental Gli schiavi e la barbarie dovranno scomprarir dell’acquile romane al subito apparir English Translation: We are valiant formations Of indomitable warriors Carrying the flags into Eastern Africa.
Slavery and barbarity Are doomed to vanish The very moment The Roman Eagles appear. The Spanish Civil War One of the major foreign policy excursions of Fascist Italy prior to the Second World War was intervention on the side of Nationalist Spain during the latter country’s civil war. Before tackling the whole question, we should consider that the stage was not clearly set at any one time. The Soviet Union supported Republican Spain due to its communist leanings, while the United Kingdom’s cabinet leaned heavily towards neutrality. Italy and Germany on the other hand backed Francisco Franco due to their concerns about communist expansion across the globe. The foresight of both countries, whether it was based on self-interest or not, should be a lesson to people in today’s world. The decision of the UK and later America to ally with communism birthed unto the planet the Cold War, during which hundreds of thousands of Americans, Koreans, Vietnamese, Africans, and Latin Americans lost their lives resisting the burgeoning Soviet influence. As to communist acts in Spain, they included the raping and murder of Catholic nuns, frequent assaults on civilians, and the broader “Red Terror” campaign of the late 1930s. One can grasp a sense as to the debased morality of the so-called “Popular Front” by reading George Orwell’s Homage To Catalonia, written by a socialist who is nonetheless honest about leftist-anarchist behavior in that period. The Italians would deploy 60,000 troops and provide air support, with the latter becoming grounds for pro-Republican propaganda and slander. British newspapers actually reported about Italians planes dropping boxes of chocolate on Republican cities which supposedly contained time bombs to murder children. This ridiculous practice never occurred and his supported by no factual
evidence, but it helped contribute to anti-Italian sentiment in the UK and France. Despite some initial setbacks, Italy helped drive the Republicans out of Spain, with Mussolini famously declaring in response to the communist slogan “No Pasaran!” the following: “Siamo passati, e passeremo!” Or in English: “We passed, and we pass again!” What remains interesting about the Spanish incident is the shifting attitudes of world governments after the war. Although popularly described as “fascist” by observers both today and during its existence, Nationalist Spain never formally joined the Axis, a fact which damaged that alliance’s options during the war. It has been argued that the failure of the Italo-German relationship to secure an assault on UK-held Gibraltar cost them dearly by providing a resupply point for British forces on their way to North Africa and Sicily. Spain’s leadership did not of course prevent the emerging post-war anti-Soviet coalition from extending an olive branch towards Franco, who ruled not as Duce, but as El Caudillo, for nearly forty years. His reserved anti-communism proved attractive to the United States and Britain, both which agreed to coordinate with Madrid in their broader foreign policy. Paradoxically, the anti-Bolshevik standing of the totalitarian regimes looks quite prescient where the human and cultural destruction wrought by communism comes to attention. Mussolini As Peacemaker Whatever is taken away about the Duce and Fascism, one thing must remain clear: he was the fiercest advocate of peace in prewar Europe. To say otherwise is to betray both an ignorance of history and considerable bias on the intellectual front. It is in these following sections that we begin to comprehend precisely why Mussolini moved into Hitler’s orbit, despite all the simplistic propaganda employed against him. For starters, the Duce was a man of foresight who understood that continued abrasiveness by the Allied Powers
towards Germany would likely lead to war. In 1925, a conference was held at Locarno to help prevent future military action between France and Germany. The agreement resulted in demilitarization of the Rhine frontier, and common acceptance that whoever attempted to attack that region would be met by force from the other signatories. It further brought Germany towards membership in the League of Nations, which was seen as a great step towards lasting European peace. Against these positive advancements, problems continued to arise. In September 1926, a French-born anarchist attempted to assassinate Mussolini, rousing anger in Italy. The Duce firmly declared, “There must be an end to such culpable and unheard of tolerance beyond the frontier if any value is really attached to the friendship of the Italian people, which episodes of this kind might fatally compromise.” Later on in September 1927, the Italian consul in Paris, Carlo Nardini, was killed by another anarchist. The French court which tried him, in a country where countless antiFascists took sanctuary, issued a sentence of only two years in prison. Still at this stage Mussolini tried to calm Italian fury and avoid friction between the two countries. He gave a speech to parliament just a month after the sentence came out, promoting realism where the recent Briand-Kellogg Pact was concerned. This agreement outlawed war as a solution to diplomatic problems, and was agreed to by France, Italy, the United States, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union. Mussolini said: “We are for peace […] But above, below, or by the side of these pacts, is a reality which we must not ignore if we do not wish to commit treason against the nation. The reality is this, gentlemen: The whole world is rearming! Everyday the papers report the launching of submarines, of cruisers, and other peaceful instruments of war. We must have no illusions on the political state of Europe. When storms are brewing, it is then that there is talk of quiet and peace […] but we must be ready. None of you will then be surprised, and no one in Italy will be
surprised, if I ask the nation for another effort to place our forces on land, at sea, and in the air on a proper basis. Fascist Italy is conducting a foreign policy which her very adversaries admit to be logical and peaceful.” The Duce proceeded to warn Europe that by the year 1935 changes would need to be made as far as the status quo was concerned, especially in regards to treaties. During 1931, as negotiations ensued concerning repayment of loan debts to the United States, Mussolini reemphasized his opposition to conflict, saying: “Neither I, nor my Government, nor the Italian people wish to prepare a war. I have fought in a war as a private soldier. I know what war means. The terrible memories of that time, when redhot steel mowed down so many young generations, have not vanished from my memory. A war today, even if it were to break out only between two nations, would inevitably become a world war. Then all civilization would be jeopardized. The war of tomorrow, with the new discoveries of science, would be even more terrible than the war of yesterday. Not only would the fighters risk death, but whole populations would be endangered without the possibility of efficient defense. Italy, as I have said, will never take the initiative of a war.” It is commonly accepted that Mussolini did not think highly of the League of Nations, which Italians perceived as a corrupt veil to shelter British, French and American interests. Nevertheless, he cooperated where possible and forged independent policy in other cases. During 1933, after Adolf Hitler came to power and the Little Entente (Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia) attempted to assert itself internationally, Mussolini detailed how unfit they were as a bloc due to differing ethnic groups, religions, and languages. He then argued that the League should revise prior peace treaties, “because the world wants peace, a long period of peace, and feels
that this immense yearning will remain sterile if peace is not accompanied by justice.” There is no denying the accuracy in Mussolini’s assessments, particularly of the Balkans, where only a temporary lull under postwar communism would prevent the ethnic breakdown witnessed during the 1990s in Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. He would add that the League had to be the guarantor of this justice, and not simply use moralistic words. Previously he had advanced the concept of peace as a way to address the economic crisis of the 1930s. The Duce’s eagerness to avoid bloodshed resulted in his publishing of a proposed Four-Power Pact to replace the armistice which ended World War I. Its text is as follows: Art. 1. The four Western Powers: France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, undertake to carry out among themselves an effective policy of collaboration in view of the maintenance of peace, according to the spirit of the Kellogg Pact and of the “No Force Pact,” and undertake within the framework of Europe an action calculated to induce third parties also, if necessary, to adopt this policy of peace. Art. 2. The four Powers reaffirm, according to the clauses of the League of Nations Covenant, the principle of the revision of the Peace Treaties, in those conditions which might lead to a conflict between States, but declare that this principles of revision can only be applied within the framework of the League of Nations and through the mutual comprehension and solidarity of reciprocal interests. Art. 3. France, Great Britain, and Italy declare that, should the Disarmament Conference only lead to partial results, parity of rights, recognized in favor of Germany, shall have an effective bearing, and Germany undertakes to realize this parity of rights in a gradual manner such as will issue from successive
agreements to be concluded by the four Powers, through normal diplomatic channels. Art. 4. In all European and extra-European political and nonpolitical questions the four Powers undertake to adopt, as far as possible, a common line of conduct, even with reference to the colonial sector. Art. 5. This political agreement of understanding and collaboration, which will be submitted, if necessary, within three months to the approval of Parliaments, shall have the duration of ten years, and will be considered as tacitly renewed for a similar period if time if it shall not have been denounced by one of the Parties one year before its lapse. Art. 6. The present Pact shall be registered at the Secretariat of the League of Nations. Mussolini’s focus on the rights of Germany and parity in colonial affairs is important. While he believed in the crucial urgency of peace, the Duce also recognized that the outdated system of British and French dominance could not work indefinitely, particularly if it continued crushing Germany’s economic system. Initial reaction to the concept proved quite positive. UK Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald established a close relationship with Mussolini, and dubbed the proposed pact “The Peace Club,” while Adolf Hitler noted, “Mussolini’s magnificent plan is warmly welcomed by Germany.” The French ambassador praised Italy’s leader, saying “The Duce has always had in view the general interest. Every particularist idea was discussed, every form of bargaining absolutely ignored.” On the other hand, fierce opposition flared up from the Little Entente and Winston Churchill, who at this time was not yet a party leader. Despite some friction between Germany and France on armament parity, the agreement proceeded, with a final version
being ratified by both Germany and Italy, the two countries demonized most for World War II. France on the other hand refused, fearing a loss of influence due to the exclusion of the Little Entente as a primary power broker, with Britain cautiously following her lead.  The agreement, which was described as “the loyal will, the active proposal for peace,” failed, making Europe a “field open to aggressors.” Successful enactment of the treaty may have eliminated, or at least staved off, the possibility of European war until deeper into the 1940s. After seeing his efforts again go to waste, Mussolini began to lose faith in the ability of internationalism to solve conflicts, and thus drifted close to the world of Adolf Hitler.
Why Mussolini Joined Hitler Whenever academics seek to harmlessly recognize the Duce’s achievements, they reliably insert a qualifier to tar and feather his legacy and movement. Chief amongst these is something attune to, “Mussolini’s mistake was to ally with Hitler.” Given our popular view of Nazi Germany, this claim tickles the normal liberal senses, but of course it remains woefully unsatisfactory. In order to be content with such a basic conclusion, we must assume first that Hitler had no realistic chance of ever winning, and secondly, that Italy was some large, overbearing world power greedy for so much more than her fair share. The latter description applies more readily to Great Britain, but admitting such a thing would be heinous in the eyes of World War II historians, because the United Kingdom is a democracy, and democracies are always right, even when they are wrong. Here again we see the bias of liberalism manifested by historical scholars. These liberals, who forged post-war history based on their admiration for communism and hatred for Fascism, have managed to suppress and censor factual dissenting viewpoints by staining them with the label of Nazi or Fascist sympathizer. To extricate ourselves from this intellectual swamp it is
necessary to consider Italy from a perspective which sees both the past and present realities of the time. Let us remember that the end of World War I brought the collapse of Austro-Hungary, until that point a primary antagonist to the Kingdom of Italy. The resulting Republic of Austria to Italy’s north became a serious cause for alarm, as it looked attractive in multiple directions. Germany longed for unification around cultural and strategic angles, Yugoslavia had territorial claims on the country, and enmity was strong in nearby Czechoslovakia. An Austrofascist government would come to power in 1932 under Engelbert Dollfuss, a nationalist who outright rejected the idea of joining Germany. Mussolini established close ties with Dollfuss, considered by the Duce an ideal check on growing German power in the region. The Austrian chancellor’s administration was however plagued by leftist unrest in the late 1920s and early 1930s that reached a height in February 1934, when his government ordered the shelling of Socialist-heavy sections of Vienna. This latter move, while decisive and successful, weakened Dollfus by isolating him from other anti-Nazi forces in the country, and in July of 1934 a coup led by Austrian Nazis resulted in his murder. It is not clear if Hitler directly ordered the Austrian putsch, as he had promised Mussolini there would be no German interference in Austrian politics. Whether Germany was involved or not, Mussolini responded by moving Italian troops to the Brenner Pass, indicating that Austria’s independence would be safeguarded. It is interesting to note here that the Duce took a leading role in trying to contain German aggression, believing coordinated military action would be needed. While France got on board, Britain, one of the most powerful countries in Europe, refused to participate. That meant Mussolini would have needed to confront Hitler almost unilaterally; a grim prospect when we consider that Emilio De Bono and Rodolfo Graziani, as well as Italo Balbo believed Italy would not be
ready for war until years later. As Dino Grandi noted to Neville Chamberlain on the subject of coming Austrian annexation in 1938, “Italy has done all she could to preserve Austrian independence, whereas the Western Powers have done nothing.” Not long after 1936, Hitler offered up an aggressive plan to support European peace, only to be rejected by the Western Powers, on the basis that the Axis dictators were not trustworthy. Mussolini also made appeals for peace and urged FDR to lead a disarmament movement in May 1937, to little avail. Luigi Villari makes the point that claims of dishonesty thrown at the Axis dictators are questionable when compared to the deceitful nature of leaders like Chamberlain, Churchill, and FDR, the latter of whom had forewarning of the Pearl Harbor attack but did nothing, because he wanted to enter the war. Continued intractability on the part of the British and French led to Italy’s departure from the League of Nations in 1937, the same year it joined the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany and Japan. Britain’s attempts at appeasing Germany in 1938 with the Munich Agreement only came after years of little cooperation, by which time Mussolini had determined he could only proceed by dealing directly with Hitler on the basis of understanding, not the waffling behavior of democratic states. Had it not been for the likes of people such as Anthony Eden, who until the very end of the war insisted on humiliating Italians, perhaps the warpath might have been averted, or at the very least postponed. Mussolini’s ultimate decision to join the war on Hitler’s side should be taken in context of both the aforementioned history, and German performance. While the King, Galeazzo Ciano, Dino Grandi, and Giuseppe Bottai opposed entry with Hitler, others such as Cesare De Vecchi and Roberto Farinacci were more supportive of the alliance. Furthermore, by the time Mussolini entered the conflict in the summer of 1940, Germany had aggressively steamrolled Allied hopes with an effective Blitzkrieg
strategy on the Western Front, making it appear like the probable victor of a short war. Even the invasion of Greece, widely lauded as a disaster for Mussolini, nearly ended quickly with the dictator Ioannis Metaxas wanting to surrender, only to be steeled by other Greeks into continued resistance. We should finally note that Britain and France had an opportunity to sue for peace early on in 1940, when the war had thus far been an overwhelming success for Germany. Hitler even informed his generals that he believed in the importance of the British Empire for world stability, and offered to help defend it with his own military. The refusal of the Allies may seem courageous, but it led to the continuation of a conflict which sapped the lifeblood out of Europe’s population, and helped communism rise mostly unimpeded across the East. The Reality of Italy’s Liberation To benefit the reader’s perspective, we must briefly consider what the Allied occupation forces did, or at the very least permitted, once Fascism collapsed. This section of history is rarely delved into because its realities conspire in such a way to humiliate the righteous perception of the anti-Axis front. The victims of vague Western narratives about the post-war era are not only Fascists, but also the countless Italian civilians who suffered cruel and unspeakable crimes under the administration of their new overlords. Bizarrely, these actions were carried out using the guise of “liberating” Italians from a supposedly repressive regime, though the replacement itself was in many regards worse. Shortly after assuming control of the southern peninsula the Allies, openly determined to oppose Fascist dictatorial tendencies, severely curtailed freedom of the press, while also allowing their officials to dismiss hostile university academics. Allied peace terms, which placed Italy in the awkward position of being a cobelligerent against Nazi Germany while still technically considered
an enemy of the Western countries, meant demoralization and damage to the war effort. The occupation government proceeded to ban Fascists from the political system, in keeping with its democratic respect for all opinions, and placed great pressure on the King to abdicate, while an Italian figure sympathetic to the Allied cause went so far as to suggest that the monarch and other members of the royal family commit suicide. The behavior of Allied soldiers was also quite disturbing in many cases. Looting became a significant issue due to the behavior of American soldiers, and the royal palace in Naples was repurposed as a brothel for occupation forces. Bombing campaigns which targeted civilians were not infrequent, and instances of noncombatants being strafed by machine gun fire were documented. German retaliation for a partisan bombing near Rome is often highlighted in Western texts for its admitted brutality, yet less reported is the massacre of hundreds of Sicilian villagers by British soldiers as a response to the villagers targeting Allied parachutists in response to bombings. In the Esperia region, a component of Moroccan troops committed widespread rapes of women and girls in the village, allegedly with the approval of their European commander, as the Socialist Nenni claimed. Furthermore, abuse of Axis prisoners was widespread in Allied prison camps, as depicted in detail by the books Fascists’ Criminal Camp and Africa senza sole. These atrocities do not include the conduct of Communist Partydominated partisan groups, which were responsible for acts such as the murder of entire families with Fascist affiliations, torturing and killing hospital patients, shooting defenseless prisoners, and burning a woman alive. Added intrigue is to be had on the question of Mussolini’s death. Following the Duce’s murder, queries as to the fate of the large amount of Social Republic state funds carried by his convoy (believed to be around $90 million) generated great controversy. Fellow partisans who looked into the location of the
Fascist treasure mysteriously disappeared, along with concerned members of their families. Even Michele Moretti, suspected by some to be Mussolini’s killer, disappeared. A later inquiry led by an Italian military court was suspiciously stalled, perhaps because leftists in the government did not want embarrassing information to be revealed. A problematic aspect of the national government’s approach related to questions of law and order. Despite claiming to be against dictatorial oppression, the Allies were responsible for the repatriation of leftist leaders to Italy, and even installed some of them in the national cabinet, with Italian Communist Party head Palmiro Togliatti becoming Minister of Justice. The cabinet would issue legislation establishing crimes applicable almost exclusively to Fascists, even if they had not been considered criminal acts until that time. These rules were retroactive, therefore they allowed the occupiers to dole out harsh sentences for acts committed decades before, such as the March on Rome in 1922. Togliatti in particular actively intervened to block the transmittal of death sentence appeals by several soldiers to the Italian president, effectively ensuring their execution. Successive occupation government decisions were also questionable. As noted earlier, the 1946 referendum on the Italian monarchy was not conducted with democratic fairness. At least 300,000 Italian prisoners of war and additional troops stationed outside Italy were not permitted to vote on the royalty’s future, a significant disadvantage given the army’s affinity for the King. Former office holders under Fascism were similarly denied the vote, and thousands of known or suspected monarchists were arrested prior to the election, only to be released once voting had ended. A widespread campaign of violence and suppression was also carried out to damage the monarchy’s cause, and ballot fraud based on governmental manipulation was documented. It has been estimated that a million more votes were cast than eligible voters
existed in Italy at the time, which is no small number when we consider how close the outcome was. Instead of allowing a proper and extensive review, Palmiro Togliatti used his powers as minister to order the results certified, thus sealing the monarchy’s fate. The crowning disgrace of Italy’s occupation government would have to be the peace treaty it concluded in 1947. This archaic and hypocritical agreement was designed to punish Rome on multiple fronts, despite the military aid granted by the Kingdom of Italy against Germany. While it mandated that Italy must protect the human rights of all individuals, these values were not afforded to those affiliated with Fascism, as we have already seen. The treaty went further, extending a legal shield to any Italians who collaborated with the Allies during the war, creating a convenient escape for those who committed war crimes, such as the Communist Party rebels. Beyond that, the agreement dramatically reduced Italy’s military, gave much of its arsenal to the Allied Powers, allowed her colonies to be divided up among the victors, and demanded large monetary reparations for the war. As a whole, the settlement was described by U.S. Senator Henry Lodge as “a veritable sentence of death on Italy as a nation.” Perhaps by the end of the 1940s, as pro-Allies Italians looked at the results of their so-called “alliance,” they might have remembered Mussolini’s quote from his days in the Socialist Party: “You hate me because you still love me!”
VII. The Fascist Legacy Following the collapse of the Social Republic and Mussolini’s murder by partisans, Fascism entered into a period of regression. The new republic of 1946 featured governmental designs specifically decentralizing power as an answer to the era of the Fascists, with a weaker prime ministerial system and increased strength for both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. This approach, along with Italy’s intense political divisions, led to a long history of collapsed governments and short-lived prime ministers who could not cobble together enough support using the fragmented partitocrazia, where countless parties make or break coalitions. In 2006, a referendum pushed by Silvio Berlusconi that would have strengthened the prime minister’s powers failed, and another advanced by Matteo Renzi in 2016 to reform the Senate was also rejected. Voters fed up with the corrupt and flimsy system would however approve changes in a 2020 referendum which actually shrunk the overall number of representatives in both legislative houses. Despite these changes, certain institutions of Fascism would live on, particularly in regards to corporatist programs, state monopolies, and agreements restricting competition. Furthermore, while economic liberalism became a greater focus for the late 1940s Italian government, the democratic regime maintained state-held organizations, including the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction and Agip, a petroleum company. Fascism also made a number of social insurance programs mandatory as a response to the Great Depression, and this policy would be molded into the state delivery of welfare in Italy today. As far as impacts on the political system, the Republican Fascist Party was swiftly succeeded by the Italian Social Movement or MSI, which included notables such as Cesare De Vecchi and Rodolfo Graziani, and was led by Social Republic official Giorgio Almirante
until the late 1980s. Under the premiership of Fernando Tambroni in the 1960s, there was an attempt to bring the MSI into government and allegedly create a secret police, but this ultimately failed. During the 1972 election, the MSI came in fourth place, scoring 56 seats out of 630, yet they were not included in the succeeding administration. After a change to the “National Alliance” name, the group came to power as part of Silvio Berlusconi’s first government in 1994, and then joined the “House of Freedoms” coalition which would rule Italy from 2001-2006. The party eventually united with the People of Freedom group for a separate administration from 20082011, also under Berlusconi. Some have attempted to make parallels between Berlusconi and the Duce, but these show themselves to be quite inadequate when framed in reality. While Mussolini emphasized order and the subjugation of the individual in favor of national interests, Berlusconi’s politics insist on a message of personal and economic freedom. In terms of the broader historical picture, Mussolini’s greatest flaw can be summarized by noting that he was a victim of his own foresight, as Luigi Villari has argued. He fought in the First World War, and accurately predicted that the rigid terms of Versailles would lead Germany to instigate another conflict. If the Allies had agreed to his proposals for peace, there is a decent chance the great loss of life might have been avoided, yet pride and fear consumed them. Mussolini also knew that communism was a far greater threat than the Western nations were bound to believe, perhaps in part because they were influenced by FDR’s advisers, one of whom was a Soviet agent. The Duce strongly supported Francisco Franco, who penned this letter to Winston Churchill in February 1943: “Our anxiety on account of Russia’s advance is not only shared by other peoples, but also by Europeans who have not yet lost their capacity for clear discernment. Communism is an enormous danger for the world, and now that it is supported by a victorious army, all those who see clearly are alarmed. If the war goes on like this, it is obvious that the Russian armies will
penetrate deeply into German territory. If this happens, the danger will arise for England of a Soviet State in Germany who will supply Russia with her own military secrets, her engineers, her science, her specialists and will thus enable Russia to create a monstrous power, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Will there any longer exist a Central Europe, in that mosaic of nations, without cohesion, ruined and devastated by war and occupation, any Power capable of opposing Stalin’s ambitious plans? We appeal to the sound instinct of the British people: if Russia gains possession of Germany, no one will be in a position to hold up her advance. “ Churchill, perhaps high on the tide of a war now turned in his favor, opted to dismiss Franco’s concerns. He replied by diminishing the threat posed by Russia, and suggesting they did not have the ability to swiftly turn into a world power: “I hope I can prove to you that your fears are devoid of foundation. You said that Communism constitutes the only real danger for Europe, that a Russian victory will have as its consequences the progress of Communism is other parts of Europe, and that this will mean the destruction of European civilization and Christian culture. Our point of view is diametrically opposite to this! Do you really believe that a single nation is strong enough to dominate Europe after this war? And it will actually be Russia, who is forced, more than any other nations, to devote herself to large-scale reconstruction, and who for this purpose will have need of England and the United States? I venture to prophesy that, after the war England will be the greatest military Power in Europe. I am sure that England’s influence will be stronger in Europe than it has ever been before since the days of the fall of Napoleon.” Churchill was woefully wrong, and even he would indirectly acknowledge it. In 1945, he began advocating use of the remnants of the German Wehrmacht to invade Soviet territories and push them
out of Europe. This conception, named Operation Unthinkable, was never enacted due to calculated risks, and Churchill was humiliated by his defeat in the July 1945 parliamentary elections. It should go without saying that his dreams about British power were terribly disappointed. As Mussolini predicted, the British Empire collapsed quickly following World War II, with the loss of India, the “Crown Jewel,” being especially painful. Had the British agreed to peace with Germany earlier on, there is a chance the empire might have been saved, but they chose to reject it and continue with the bloody struggle. For all his flaws, Hitler argued for a cessation of war if Germany was granted more colonial influence in 1940, and as we know, he even offered to use his military to protect the empire of the British, who were viewed as being fellow members of the Nordic race, along with Germans. Churchill is often lauded for “taking Hitler seriously” when he read Mein Kampf, and thus saving Europe from tyranny, yet on the subject of truly knowing his enemy’s motivations and predicting Soviet expansion, he grossly missed the mark. His actual legacy, summed up by The European magazine, was as follows: “He found a great Empire and he left a small dependency.” Beyond that subject, Mussolini has shown himself to be remarkably on point with regards to the struggles of future nations. As we noted previously, he warned Europe about the mounting power of non-white peoples, who were increasing in population and demanding greater clout on the global stage. In addition, he pursued programs to boost the Italian population due to a firm belief that diminished virility would lead to national decline. Those who ignored him and allowed the war to erupt crafted a situation where Europe now faces strangling population shortages and low birthrates, problems being addressed by the mass immigration and refugee acceptance policies of leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. One can only speculate as to how different Europe might have been if millions – or even hundreds of thousands
- of lives had been spared. Mussolini offered up what such a vision could have entailed shortly before his violent death: “Europe would have been divided into two great zones of influence: north and northeast a Germanic sphere of influence, south and south-east, and south-west an Italian sphere of influence. A hundred more years of work to bring to fruition this gigantic plan. However, A hundred years of peace and wellbeing. Was I not to look forward with hope and love to a solution of this type realized on this grandiose scale? In a hundred years of Fascist education and material well-being, the Italian people would have had the possibility, the numerical strength, and the spirit to enable them to act as an effective counter-weight to the power of Germany, a power which is now overwhelming. A force of 300 million Europeans, real Europeans, for I refuse to count as European the populations of the Balkans and of certain zones of Russia, even those near Vistula: a material and spiritual force to mobilize against the eventual enemies of Asia and America.” As time goes on, Mussolini’s words seem so rich in their value. The world continues to devolve into petty squabbles, and the European Union itself, meant to bring member states together, has in fact caused them to shun each other, and in some cases seek complete divorce. Perhaps in the future Europeans—and indeed the world—will learn the folly of excess pride and obsession over the vague rules of liberal democracy. Sometimes tyranny is a vessel of peace, and freedom the herald of war.
Book References Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. New York: AMS Press. Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Brody, J. K. (2000). The Avoidable War. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. Bull, M. J., & Newell, J. L. (2005). Italian Politics. Malden, MA: Polity Press. Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman. New York: William Morrow and Company. Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 1939-1943. Simon Publications. De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated. Dewey, J. (1989). Freedom and Culture (Great Books In Philosophy). Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books. Di Scala, S. M. (1988). Renewing Italian Socialism: Nenni to Craxi. New York: Oxford University Press. Ginsborg, P. (2005). Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony. London: Verso. Goldberg, J. (2007). Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini To Hillary Clinton. New York: Doubleday.
Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hughes, R. (2011). Rome. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. London: Penguin. Lochner, L. P. (1971). The Goebbels Diaries. New York: Universal-Award House. Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. New York, NY: Howard Fertig. Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. New York, NY: Da Capo Press. Norling, E. (2011). Revolutionary Fascism. Lisbon: Finis Mundi Press. Paxton, R. O. (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. Podmore, W. (1998). Britain, Italy, Germany and the Spanish Civil War. Lewiston: Edwin Melen Press Royal, R. (2006). The Pope’s Army: 500 Years of the Papal Swiss Guard. New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company. Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. New York: Howard Fertig. Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. University of California Press.
Smith, D. M. (1981). Mussolini: A Biography. New York: Vintage Books. Smith, D. M. (1983). Mussolini: A Biography. New York: Vintage Books. Tooze, A. J. (2006). The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of The Nazi Economy. New York: Penguin Group. Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. New York: AMS Press. Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. New York: The Devin-Adair Company. Villari, L. (1929). Italy. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's
About the Author Martin Goldberg is a social scientist and educator who has also authored the books Total Invincibility, Centrism: Why We Need It, and Social Warrior. He blogs at www.martingoldberg.net and is active elsewhere in the digital realm. When not putting pen to the word processor, he can be found working outdoors and developing an organic garden, somewhere in the South.
Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pg. vi. New York: AMS Press.  Welch, M. (2010, May 24). Thomas L. Friedman Wants Us "to be China for a day," to "authorize the right solutions". Retrieved August 03, 2020, from https://reason.com/2010/05/24/thomas-lfriedman-wants-us-to/  Evans, Z. (2020, July 31). Former U.S. Ambassador Labels Pompeo Speech on China a ‘Psychotic Rant’ in Interview with Chinese Propaganda Outlet. Retrieved August 03, 2020, from https://www.nationalreview.com/news/former-u-s-ambassador-labelspompeo-speech-on-china-a-psychotic-rant-in-interview-with-chinesepropaganda-outlet/  Paxton, R. O. (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. pg. 8. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  Dewey, J. (1989). Freedom and Culture (Great Books In Philosophy). pp. 74-75. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.  Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 3. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pp. 18-19. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Bump, P. (2013, October 29). Heritage Foundation Cuts Ties To Jason Richwine. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/05/heritagefoundation-cuts-ties-jason-richwine/315377/  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 26. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.
Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 11. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pp. 9-10. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Ibid, pp. 48-49.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 126. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Ibid, pp. 171-172, 182.  Ibid, pg. 182.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 11. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 174. New York: Howard Fertig.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 246. University of California Press.  Togliatti, P. (1976). Lectures On Fascism. pg. 24. New York: International Publishers.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pg. 46. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pg. 139. New York: AMS Press.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pp. 4-7. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 299. New York: Howard Fertig.  Goldberg, J. (2007). Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini To Hillary Clinton. pg. 52. New York: Doubleday.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 10. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pp. 10-11.  Ibid, pp. 8-9.  Ibid, pg. 29.
Ibid, pg. 13.  Smith, D. M. (1982). Mussolini: A Biography. pg. 311 New York,NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pg. vii. New York: AMS Press.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pp. 77-78. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 218. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. Pg. 211. Simon Publications.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pp. 229230. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 218.  Ibid, pg. 218.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 199-202. New York: AMS Press.  Royal, R. (2006). The Popes Army: 500 Years of the Papal Swiss Guard. pg. 161. New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pp. 216220. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pp. 216-220.  Ibid, pp. 87-90, 216-220.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 177-178. New York: AMS Press.  Ibid, pg. 200.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pp. 221222. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pp. 221-222.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pg. 64. New York: AMS Press.  Royal, R. (2006). The Popes Army: 500 Years of the Papal Swiss Guard. pg. 161. New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company.
Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 45. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pp. 45-47.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 223. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pp. 223-224.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pg. 19. New York: AMS Press.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 24. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pg. 22. New York: AMS Press.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pp. 18-19, 31. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 16.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pp. 23-24. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Ibid, pg. 26.  Ibid, pg. 29.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 53-58. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. pg. 27. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pg. 68. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 144. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pp. 133134.. New York: Howard Fertig.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 68. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Ibid, pg. 68.  Ibid, pg. 71.
Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 454. Simon Publications.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 77. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Ibid, pp. 77-78.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pp. x, 93. New York: AMS Press.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pp. 21-22. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 24. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 51. Simon Publications.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 59. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 23. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 15. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 23. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 148-149. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pg. 88. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 105. University of California Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 72. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pp. 72-75.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 21-22. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.
Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 248. Simon Publications.  Ibid, pg. 37.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 512. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pp. 105-107. University of California Press.  The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2020, September 10). March on Rome. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/event/March-on-Rome  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 51. Simon Publications.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 298-299. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 51. Simon Publications.  Ibid, pg. 279.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 2. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pg. 1.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 233235. Appleton: Nelson.  Bull, M. J., & Newell, J. L. (2005). Italian Politics. pg. 5. Malden, MA: Polity Press.  Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. pg. 72. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.  Langton, K. (2019, November 20). Royal RETURN: The Prince who vowed to return to the throne in shock Twitter video. Retrieved from https://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/1206154/royalreturn-italy-royal-family-abolished-monarchy-returns-princeemanuele-filiberto#:~:text=Instead, his video caused a,Emanuele as King of Italy.  Amante, A. (2019, December 06). Half of Italians want 'strongman' in power, survey shows. Retrieved from
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-politics-survey/half-ofitalians-want-strongman-in-power-survey-shows-idUSKBN1YA1X5  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 35. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pp. 36-37.  Ibid, pg. 38.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pp. 274-275. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 38-39. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 40.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 49. New York: Howard Fertig.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 40. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 221-223. New York: AMS Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 52. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 52.  Di Scala, S. M. (1988). Renewing Italian Socialism: Nenni to Craxi. pg. 18. New York: Oxford University Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pp. 9596. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 96.  Ibid, pg. 110.  Ibid, pp. 110-113.  Ibid, pp. 97-98.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 59-62. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pp. 61-62. University of California Press.  Ibid, pg. 115.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 148-149. New York: D. Van Nostrand.
Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 177-178. New York: AMS Press.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 137138. Appleton: Nelson.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 515. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 2-3. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Hughes, R. (2011). Rome. pg. 429. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pp. 325-331.. University of California Press.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pp. 61-64 . Simon Publications.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pp. 65-66. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 161. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 35. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pg. 35.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 5 . Simon Publications.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 38. London: Penguin.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pp. 95-96. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 343. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 197-199. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pp. 200-201.
Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 52. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pg. 52.  Ibid, pg. 53.  Ibid, pg. 54.  Ibid, pp. 54-55.  Griffin, Roger. Fascism. pg. 59. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 364. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 301. University of California Press.  Staff, B. (2018, April 16). Enoch Powell right about immigration, UKIP's Neil Hamilton claims. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-politics-43783172  Nowrasteh, A. (2016, October 31). Muslim Immigration and Integration in the United States and Western Europe. Retrieved from https://www.cato.org/blog/muslim-immigration-integration-unitedstates-western-europe  Scruton, R. (2014, September 01). Why Did British Police Ignore Pakistani Gangs Abusing 1,400 Rotherham Children? Political Correctness. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerscruton/2014/08/30/why-didbritish-police-ignore-pakistani-gangs-raping-rotherham-childrenpolitical-correctness/#32395b5c754a  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 238 . Simon Publications.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 228. University of California Press.  Ibid, pg. 273.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 80 . Simon Publications.  Ibid, pg. 566.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 89. New York: William Morrow and Company.
Ibid, pg. 93.  Ginsborg, P. (2005). Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony. pp. 128-129. London: Verso.  Smith, D. M. (1981). Mussolini: A Biography.pg. 108. New York: Vintage Books. 
Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. pg. x. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.  Smith, D. M. (1981). Mussolini: A Biography. pg. 153. New York: Vintage Books.  Ginsborg, P. (2005). Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony. pp. 128-129. London: Verso.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 359. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. pg. 13. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.  Ibid, pg. x.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 179. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pp. 138-144. London: Penguin.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 179. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 133. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Ibid, pg. 133.  Ibid, pg. 135.  Ibid, pg. 136.  Ibid, pg. 142.  Ibid, pg. 146.  Ibid, pg. 146.  Ibid, pg. 149.  Ibid, pg. 150.  Ibid, pg. 150.
Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 365.. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pp. 297-300. London: Penguin.  Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 32. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Deac, W. (2016, November 07). The Execution of Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2016/08/29/the-execution-ofitalian-dictator-benito-mussolini/  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 170171. Appleton: Nelson.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 180. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman. pg. 241. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pp. 218-219. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Paxton, R. O. (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. pg. 134. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 212213. Appleton: Nelson.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 21-22. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pp. 22-23.  Ibid, pg. 23.  Ibid, pg. 350.  Smith, D. M. (1981). Mussolini: A Biography. pg. 285. New York: Vintage Books.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 353. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 353.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 81. London: Penguin.
Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 353. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 84. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pp. 83-85.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 27-28. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 290. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Ibid, 290-291.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 27-28. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pg. 203. Appleton: Nelson.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 294. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Ibid, pg. 294.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 33. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 203204. Appleton: Nelson.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 27-29, 179. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pp. 27-29.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pg. 98. New York: AMS Press.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman. pp. 292-293. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Ibid, pg. 297.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pp. 149-151. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pg. 77. New York: AMS Press.
Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 16. New York: Howard Fertig.  Paxton, R. O. (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. pg. 30. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 182. New York: William Morrow and Company.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pp. 48-50. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pp. 134-135. New York: AMS Press.  Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 152. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 164. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 34. University of California Press.  Ibid, pg. 57.  Ibid, pp. 36-37.  Ibid, pg. 40.  Ibid, pp. 52, 56.  Ibid, pg. 56.  Ibid, pg. 58.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 13-14. New York: AMS Press.  Sorel, G., & Jennings, J. (2004). Reflections On Violence. pp. 61-62. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 46. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 154.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pp. 4346. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pp. 53-54.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 40-41. New York: AMS Press.
Ibid, pg. 32.  Ibid, pg. 40.  Ibid, pg. 77.  Ibid, pg. 39.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pg. 162. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 28, 76, 84. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 236. London: Penguin.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp 193194. Appleton: Nelson.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 238. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pg. 302  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 8990. Appleton: Nelson.  Ibid, pg. 89-90.  Ibid, pg. 90.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 345. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 355.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pp. 16-18. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 59. University of California Press.  Ibid, pg. 47.  Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. pg. 36. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.  Tooze, A. J. (2006). The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of The Nazi Economy.pg. 65. New York: Penguin Group.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pg. 141. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 24-25. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 8. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 49. New York: Howard Fertig.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pp. 15-18. University of California Press.  Paxton, R. O. (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. pg. 6. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pp. 24-25.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 70. University of California Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 85. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 169.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 103. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pp. 62-65, 103.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 40. New York: Howard Fertig.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pg. 106. New York: AMS Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 103. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Togliatti, P. (1976). Lectures On Fascism. pp. 129-130. New York: International Publishers.  Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 179. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Ibid, pg. 206.  Ibid, pg. 207.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 157. University of California Press.
Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 62, 80, 103. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pp. 101-102. New York: AMS Press.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 102-108. New York: AMS Press  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 224. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pg. 43. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 62. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 108-110. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 110.  Ibid, pg. 112.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 124-127. New York: AMS Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 132. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 132.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 168. New York: Howard Fertig.  Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pp. 226-227. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 127, 140-141. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 102-103. New York: AMS Press.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pg. 204. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pg. 106. New York: AMS Press.  Ibid, pg. 109.
Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pp. 179, 206-207. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pp. 156-159. University of California Press.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 114-115. New York: AMS Press.  Ibid, pp. 115-116.  Ibid, pp. 116-117.  Ibid, pg. 118.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pg. 151. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pg. 119. New York: AMS Press.  Ibid, pp. 119-121.  Ibid, pg. 120.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 72. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 112.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 44. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 70.  Ibid, pg. 51.  Ibid, pg. 65.  Ibid, pg. 68.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 115-116. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 117.  Ibid, pp. 108-112.  Ibid, pg. 118.  Ibid, pp. 114-118.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 11. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman.pg. 182. New York: William Morrow and Company.
De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pp. 48-49. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Griffin, R. (1995). Fascism. pg. 299. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Togliatti, P. (1976). Lectures On Fascism. pg. 16. New York: International Publishers..  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pg. 141. New York: AMS Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 208. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 209.  Villari, L. (1972). The Fascist Experiment. pp. 158-159. New York: AMS Press.  Ibid, pp. 158-159.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pg. 255. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 67. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 156.. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 156.  Ibid, pg. 174.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 76. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pp. 77, 81.  Ibid, pp. 81-82.  Ibid, pg. 82.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 190. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 83.  Ibid, pg. 86.  Ibid, pp. 88-89.  Perri, F., & Quadrini, V. (2002). The Great Depression in Italy: Trade Restrictions and Real Wage Rigidities. Great
Depressions of the Twentieth Century, 11-12. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from http://faculty.marshall.usc.edu/VincenzoQuadrini/papers/deprpap.pdf  Ibid, pg. 86.  Ibid, pg. 86.  Ibid, pg. 91.  Ibid, pg. 92.  Ibid, pp. 92-93.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 213. New York: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 210.  Paxton, R. O. (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. pp. 147, 152. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 25-26. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 17. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Bonomi, I. (1924). From Socialism To Fascism. pp. 48-49. New York: AMS Press.  Mussolini, B. (2006). The Doctrine of Fascism. pg. 55. New York, NY: Howard Fertig.  Ibid, pg. 59.  D'Annunzio, G. (2018, September 15). The Constitution of the Free State of Fiume. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt? id=mdp.39015011061945&view=1up&seq=1#.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 70. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  De Felice, R. (1976). Fascism: An Informal Introduction To Its Theory and Practice. pg. 77. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Incorporated.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pp. 121-125.. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Schneider, H. W. (1968). Making The Fascist State. pg. 194. New York: Howard Fertig.
Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 96.New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pp. 97-98.  Ibid, pp. 97-100.  Tooze, A. J. (2006). The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of The Nazi Economy. pg. 121. New York: Penguin Group.  Ibid, pg. 642.  Ibid, pp. 180, 445, 473.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 86. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. pg. 26. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.  Bull, M. J., & Newell, J. L. (2005). Italian Politics. pg. 140. Malden, MA: Polity Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 143. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 143.  Ibid, pg. 143.  Mussolini, B. (1998). My Rise and Fall. pg. 293. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 142. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 319. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pg. 10. University of California Press.  Ibid, pg. 306.  Ibid, pp. 298, 326-327.  Ibid, pp. 326-329.  Royal, R. (2006). The Pope’s Army: 500 Years of the Papal Swiss Guard. pg. 163. New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company.  Lochner, L. P. (1971). The Goebbels Diaries. pg. 506. New York: Universal-Award House.
Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 408. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 334. Simon Publications.  Lochner, L. P. (1971). The Goebbels Diaries. pg. 513. New York: Universal-Award House.  Griffin, Roger. Fascism. pg. 86. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pp. 279-280. London: Penguin.  Smith, D. M. (1983). Mussolini: A Biography. pg. 311. New York: Vintage Books.  Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 406-409. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pp. 80, 280. London: Penguin.  Lochner, L. P. (1971). The Goebbels Diaries. pg. 538. New York: Universal-Award House.  Norling, E. (2011). Revolutionary Fascism. pp. 41-42. Lisbon: Finis Mundi Press.  Ibid, pg. 45.  Ibid, pg. 42.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pp. 99-101. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pg. 280.  Ibid, pp. 86-87.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp 19, 30.. Appleton: Nelson.  Ibid, pp. 20, 30, 191.  Lochner, L. P. (1971). The Goebbels Diaries. pg. 598. New York: Universal-Award House.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pp. 279-280. London: Penguin.  Norling, E. (2011). Revolutionary Fascism. pg. 103. Lisbon: Finis Mundi Press..
Smith, D. M. (1983). Mussolini: A Biography.pg. 312. New York: Vintage Books.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pp. 80-81. London: Penguin.  Norling, E. (2011). Revolutionary Fascism. pg. 48. Lisbon: Finis Mundi Press.  Ibid, pg. 142.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 333-334. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Norling, E. (2011). Revolutionary Fascism. pp. 48, 100. Lisbon: Finis Mundi Press.  Ibid, pg. 48.  Ibid, pg. 30.  Ibid, pg. 35.  Ibid, pg. 36.  Ibid, pg. 99.  Ibid, pg. 50.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 279. London: Penguin.  Ibid, pp. 279, 281-299.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 139. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Ibid, pg. 134.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 20-22. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 134. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 30. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 31.  Schneider, H. W. (1936). The Fascist Government of Italy. pg. 136. New York: D. Van Nostrand.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 47. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 48.
Ibid, pg. 48.  Ibid, pg. 49.  Ibid, pp. 50-52.  Ibid, pp. 220-222.  Ibid, pg. 221.  Ibid, pg. 221.  Villari, L. (1929). Italy. pp. 105-106. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Son's  Ibid, pg. 106.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 126-127. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 127.  Ibid, pp. 129-130.  Ibid, pg. 131.  Ibid, pp. 136-137.  Ibid, pg. 136.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 1. London: Penguin.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 146-150. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 150.  Ibid, pp. 155-159.  Ibid, pg. 182.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman. pp. 480-489. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Ibid, pp. 480-489.  Ibid, pp. 480-487.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 158 New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 125.  Ibid, pg. 158.  Paxton, R. O. (2004). The Anatomy of Fascism. pg. 166. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Bosworth, R. (2002). Mussolini. pg. 320. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 140 New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 126.  Brody, J. K. (2000). The Avoidable War. pg. 209. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 127. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 161.  Griffin, Roger. Fascism. pg. 74. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.  Goitom, H. (2012, February 14). Abolition of Slavery in Ethiopia. Retrieved from https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2012/02/abolitionof-slavery-in-ethiopia/  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 161. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Griffin, Roger. Fascism. pg. 74. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.  Sansom, I. (2010, October 08). Great dynasties of the world: The Ethiopian royal family. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/09/haile-selassieethiopia-king-solomon  Griffin, Roger. Fascism. pp. 74-75. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.  Podmore, W. (1998). Britain, Italy, Germany and the Spanish Civil War. pg. 7. Lewiston: Edwin Melen Press  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 164. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 171.  Ibid, pg. 278.  Ibid, pg. 33.  Ibid, pp. 33-39.  Ibid, pg. 43.  Ibid, pg. 76.
Ibid, pg. 78.  Ibid, pg. 78.  Ibid, pg. 85.  Ibid, pg. 96.  Ibid, pg. 97.  Ibid, pg. 99.  Ibid, pg. 101.  Ibid, pg. 102.  Ibid, pp. 101-102.  Ibid, pg. 108.  Ibid, pg. 109.  Ibid, pp. vi-viii.  Ibid, pg. 111.  Ibid, pp. 111-112.  Staff, C. (2009, September 29). February 1934 - Austrians Take Up Arms. Retrieved from https://www.wien.gv.at/english/history/commemoration/february1934.html  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 113. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pp. 142-145 . Simon Publications.  Segre, C. G. (1987). Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. pp. 156-159. University of California Press.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 188. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, pg. 185.  Ibid, pg. 184.  Ibid, pg. 186.  Ibid, pp. 286-288.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 87. Simon Publications.  Ibid, pg. 121.  Ibid, pg. 225.
Ibid, pg. 225.  Ibid, pg. 217.  Cannistraro, P. V., & Sullivan, B. R. (1993). Il Duce's Other Woman. pg. 397. New York: William Morrow and Company.  Ciano, G., & Gibson, H. (2001). The Ciano Diaries: 19391943. pg. 308. Simon Publications.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 269. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 2223. Appleton: Nelson.  Ibid, pg. 105.  Lamb, R. (1995). War In Italy, 1943-45: A Brutal Story. pg. 1. London: Penguin.  Villari, L. (1959). The Liberation of Italy: 1943-1947. pp. 115117. Appleton: Nelson.  Ibid, pg. 65.  Ibid, pp. 120-130.  Ibid, pp. 88-97.  Ibid, pp. 112-113.  Ibid, pg. 122.  Ibid, pp. 183-186.  Ibid, pp. 194-199.  Ibid, pp. 206-208.  Ibid, pp. 205-207.  Ibid, pp. 206-207.  Ibid, pp. 117, 176.  Ibid, pp. 209-210.  Ibid, pp. 210-213.  Ibid, pp. 179-180.  Ibid, pg. 233.  Ibid, pg. 233.  Ibid, pg. 234.  Ibid, pg. 235.  Ibid, pg. 235.
Ibid, pg. 239.  Ibid, pg. 240.  Ibid, pg. 239.  Ibid, pp. 237-244.  Ibid, pg. 245.  Povoledo, E. (2006, June 26). Italians Defeat Constitution Reforms of Prodi's Predecessor. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/26/world/europe/26cnd-italy.html  Kirchgaessner, S. (2016, December 05). Italian PM Matteot Renzi resigns after referendum defeat. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/04/matteot-renzisfuture-in-the-balance-amid-high-turnout-in-italy-referendum  Italian referendum on parliament size heading towards 'yes'. (2020, September 21). Retrieved from https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/20/italians-begin-voting-inreferendum-on-reducing-parliament-size  Bull, M. J., & Newell, J. L. (2005). Italian Politics. pg. 6. Malden, MA: Polity Press.  Ibid, pg. 21.  Ibid, pg. 140.  Di Scala, S. M. (1988). Renewing Italian Socialism: Nenni to Craxi. pp. 120-121. New York: Oxford University Press.  Ginsborg, P. (2005). Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony. pp. 128-131. London: Verso.  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pp. 375-376. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Staff, T. (2001, January 04). Harry Hopkins, Soviet agent. Retrieved from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2001/jan/4/20010104020500-7670r/  Villari, L. (1956). Italian Foreign Policy Under Mussolini. pg. 376. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.  Ibid, 377.  Stilwell, B. (2016, December 02). The British Planned To Start World War III By Invading Russia With The German Army.
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