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Italian Fascism denotes the authoritarian, nationalist, Fascismo politics via which Prime Minister Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy, from 1922 until 1943. Etymologically, Fascismo (Fascism) derives from the Italian fascio (league), derived from the Latin fasces (bundles); the ancient Roman Symbol of Authority. It dates from Mussolini’s January 1915 coinage and the 1919 establishment of the Fascist Revolutionary Party begun as the fasci di combattimento (combat leagues) popular movement. The English fascism denotes the league connotation of the Italian fascio (fagot); in the Italian language, in denoting the political philosophy, the proper noun Fascismo (Fascism) is upper-case, and the generic, common noun fascismo (fascism) is lower-case.
In political science, Italian Fascism is the syncretic model of government from which derive other varieties of fascism — yet they share no common politico-philosophic core, a “fascist minimum” of tactical, cultural, and ideological tenets. During the twenty-one-year intermarium of the පළමු (1914–18) and Second (1939–45) world wars, similarly authoritarian–nationalist movements appeared worldwide: Adolf Hitler’s Nazism in Germany, Peronism in Argentina under General Juan Domingo Perón, Falangism in Spain under Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the Iron Guard in Romania, Integralism in Brazil, Action Française and the Croix-de-Feu in France, the Arrow Cross Party in Hungary, Austrofascism in the Austria of Engelbert Dollfuss, Statism in Shōwa Japan, Rexism in Belgium, the Ustaše in Croatia, et alii.
After the Second World War, fascists considered they shared common philosophic tenets — the Leader, Single-party State, Social Darwinism, élitism, yet each government espoused a discrete variety of national fascism, e.g. the Portuguese clerico–corporativist Estado Novo (New State) of the António de Oliveira Salazar régime; and the Spanish alliance among Falangists, Clerical Fascists, and Generalissimo Franco. In 1945, at War’s end, upon the Allied vanquishing of Nazi Germany (1933–45) most fascist governments dissociated themselves from Nazism — lest their national variety be equated with the Hitlerian (1933–45) variety of fascism.
- 1 Doctrine
- 2 Conditions propitiating Fascism
- 3 Fascism empowered
- 4 Italian Fascist mnemonics
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 Further reading
- 8 බාහිර සබැඳුම්
The Doctrine of Fascism (La dottrina del fascismo, 1932), by the Actualist philosopher Giovanni Gentile, is the official formulation of Italian Fascism, published under Benito Mussolini’s name in 1933. Gentile was intellectually influenced by Hegel, Plato, Benedetto Croce, and Giambattista Vico, as such, his Actual Idealism philosophy was the basis for Fascism. Hence, the Doctrine’s Weltanschauung proposes the world as action in the realm of Humanity — beyond the quotidian constrictions of contemporary political trend, by rejecting “perpetual peace” as fantastical, and accepting Man as a species continually at war; those who meet the challenge, achieve nobility. To wit, Actual Idealism generally accepted that conquerors were the men of historical consequence, e.g. the Roman Julius Caesar, the Greek Alexander the Great, the German Charlemagne, and the French (Corsican) Napoleon; the philosopher–intellectual Gentile was especially inspired by the Roman Empire (27 BC – AD 476, 1453), from whence derives Fascism, thus:
|“||The Fascist accepts life and loves it, knowing nothing of and despising suicide; he rather conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest, life, which should be high and full, lived for oneself, but not, above all, for others — those who are at hand, and those who are far distant, contemporaries, and those who will come after.||”|
Therefore, in 1925, Benito Mussolini assumed the title Duce (Leader), derived from the Latin dux (leader), a Roman Republic military-command title. Moreover, although Fascist Italy (1922–43) is historically considered an authoritarian–totalitarian ඒකාධිපතිවාදය, it retained the original “liberal democratic” government façade: the Grand Council of Fascism remained active as administrators; and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy could — at his Crown’s risk — discretionarily dismiss Mussolini as Italian Prime Minister, as, in the event, he did.
La dottrina del fascismo proposed an Italy of greater living standards under a single-party Fascist system, than under the multi-party liberal democratic government of 1920. As the Leader of the National Fascist Party (PNF — Partito Nazionale Fascista), Benito Mussolini said that democracy is “beautiful in theory; in practice, it is a fallacy”, and spoke of celebrating the burial of the “putrid corpse of liberty”. In 1923, to give Deputy Mussolini control of the pluralist parliamentary government of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946), an economist, the Baron Giacomo Acerbo proposed — and the Italian Parliament approved — the Acerbo Law, changing the electoral system from proportional representation to majority representation. The party who received the most votes (provided they possessed at least 25 per cent of cast votes), won two-thirds of the parliament; the remaining third was proportionately shared among the other parties — thus the Fascist manipulation of liberal democratic law that rendered Italy a single-party State.
In 1924, the National Fascist Party won the election with 65 per cent of the votes; yet the United Socialist Party of Italy refused to accept such a defeat — especially Deputy Giacomo Matteotti who, on 30 May 1924, in Parliament formally accused the PNF of electoral fraud, and reiterated his denunciations of PNF Blackshirt political violence, and was publishing The Fascisti Exposed: A Year of Fascist Domination, a book substantiating his accusations. Consequently, on 24 June 1924, the Ceka (PNF secret police) assassinated the Parliament Deputy; of the five men arrested, Amerigo Dumini, aka Il Sicario del Duce (The Leader’s Assassin), was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, yet served only eleven months, and was freed under amnesty from King Victor Emmanuel III. Moreover, when the King supported Prime Minister Mussolini, the socialists cried “Foul!”, and unwisely quit Parliament in protest — leaving the Fascists to govern Italy. In that time, assassination was not yet the modus operandi norm, the Italian Fascist Duce usually disposed of opponents in the Imperial Roman way: political arrest punished with island banishment.
Conditions propitiating Fascism[සංස්කරණය]
After the පළමුවන ලෝක යුද්ධය (1914–18), despite the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) being a full-partner Allied Power against the Central Powers, Italian nationalists claimed Italy was cheated in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919), thus the Allies had impeded Italy’s progress to becoming a “Great Power”. Thenceforth, the National Fascist Party (PNF — Partito Nazionale Fascista) successfully exploited that “slight” to Italian nationalism, in presenting Fascism as best-suited for governing the country, by successfully claiming that democracy, socialism, and liberalism were failed systems. The PNF assumed Italian government in 1922, consequent to the Fascist Leader Mussolini’s oratory and Blackshirt paramilitary political violence.
In 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference, the Allies compelled the Kingdom of Italy to yield to Yugoslavia the Croatian seaport of Fiume (Rijeka), a mostly-Italian city of little nationalist significance, until early 1919. Moreover, elsewhere, Italy then was excluded from the wartime secret Treaty of London (1915) it had concorded with the Triple Entente; wherein Italy was to leave the Triple Alliance and join the enemy, by declaring war against the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, in exchange for territories, at war’s end, upon which the Kingdom of Italy held claims. (see Italia irredenta)
In September 1919, the nationalist response of outraged war hero Gabriele d'Annunzio was declaring the establishment of the Italian Regency of Carnaro. To his independent Italian state, he installed himself as the Regent Duce (Leader), and promulgated the Carta del Carnaro (Charter of Carnaro, 8 September 1920 ), a politically-syncretic constitutional amalgamation of right-wing and left-wing anarchist, proto-fascist, and democratic republican politics, which much influenced the politico-philosophic development of early Italian Fascism. Consequent to the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) the metropolitan Italian military deposed the Regency of Duce D’Annunzio on Christmas 1920. In the development of the fascist model of government, Gabriele d’ Annunzio was a nationalist, not a fascist, whose legacy of political–praxis (“Politics as Theatre”) was stylistic (ceremony, uniform, harangue, chanting), not substantive, which Italian Fascism artfully developed as a government model.
Given Italian Fascism’s pragmatic political amalgamations of left-wing and right-wing socio-economic policies, discontented workers and peasants proved an abundant source of popular political power, especially because of peasant opposition to socialist agricultural collectivism. Thus armed, the former socialist Benito Mussolini oratorically inspired and mobilized country and working-class people: “We declare war on socialism, not because it is socialist, but because it has opposed nationalism. . . . ” Moreover, for campaign financing, in the 1920–21 period, the National Fascist Party also courted the industrialists and (historically-feudal) landowners, by appealing to their fears of left-wing socialist and Bolshevik labor politics and urban and rural strikes; the Fascists promised a good business climate of cost-effective labor, wage, and political stability; the Fascist Party was en route to power; the historian Charles F. Delzell reports:
At first, the Fascists [PNF] were concentrated in Milan and a few other cities. They gained ground quite slowly, between 1919 and 1920; not until after the scare, brought about by the workers “occupation of the factories” in the late summer of 1920 did fascism become really widespread. The industrialists began to throw their financial support to it. Moreover, toward the end of 1920, fascism began to spread into the countryside, bidding for the support of large landowners, particularly in the area between Bologna and Ferrara, a traditional stronghold of the Left, and scene of frequent violence. Socialist and Catholic organizer of farm hands in that region, Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, and even distant Apulia, were soon attacked by [Black Shirt] squads of Fascists, armed with castor oil, blackjacks, and more lethal weapons. The era of Squadrismo, and nightly expeditions to burn Socialist and Catholic labor headquarters had begun.
The පළමුවන ලෝක යුද්ධය (1914–18) inflated Italy’s economy with great debts, unemployment (aggravated by thousands of demobilised soldiers), social discontent featuring strikes, organised crime, and anarchist, Socialist, and Communist insurrections. When the elected Italian Liberal Party Government could not control Italy, the Fascist Revolutionary Party (FRP) Leader Benito Mussolini took matters in hand, combating those societal ills with the Blackshirts, paramilitary squads of Great War veterans and ex-socialists; Prime Ministers such as Giovanni Giolitti allowed the Fascist’s taking the law in hand. The Liberal Government preferred Fascist class collaboration to the Communist Party of Italy’s bloody class conflict, should they assume government, as had Lenin’s Bolsheviks in the recent Russian Revolution of 1917. The Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle (June 1919) of the FRP presented the politico-philosophic tenets of Fascism; it included women's suffrage, a minimum wage, an eight-hour workday, and reorganisation of public transport.
By the early 1920s, popular support for the Fascist Revolutionary Party’s fight against Bolshevism numbered some 250,000 people. In 1921, the Fascisti (Fascists) metamorphosed into the National Fascist Party, and achieved political legitimacy when Benito Mussolini was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1922. Although the Liberal Party retained power, the governing prime ministries proved ephemeral, especially that of the fifth Prime Minister Luigi Facta, whose government proved vacillating. To depose the weak parliamentary democracy, Deputy Mussolini (with military, business, and liberal right-wing support) launched the PNF March on Rome (27–29 October 1922) coup d’État, to oust Prime Minister Facta, and assume the government of Italy, to restore nationalist pride, re-start the economy, increase productivity with labor controls, remove economic business controls, and impose law and order. On 28 October, whilst the “March” occurred, King Victor Emmanuel III withdrew his support of Prime Minister Facta, and appointed PNF Leader Benito Mussolini as the Sixth Prime Minister of Italy. the March on Rome became a victory parade, the Fascists believed their success was revolutionary and traditionalist.
Until 1925, when the liberal economist Alberto de Stefani ended his tenure as Minister of Economics (1922–25), after having re-started the economy and balanced the national budget, the Italian Fascist Government’s economic policies were aligned with classical liberalism principles; inheritance, luxury, and foreign capital taxes were abolished; life insurance (1923), and the state communications monopolies were privatised, et cetera. Yet such pro-business enterprise policies apparently did not contradict the State’s financing of banks and industry.
Privatisation — One of Prime Minister Mussolini’s first acts was the 400-million-Lira financing of Gio. Ansaldo & C., one of the country’s most important engineering companies. Subsequent to the 1926 deflation crisis, banks such as the Banco di Roma (Bank of Rome), the Banco di Napoli (Bank of Naples), and the Banco di Sicilia (Bank of Sicily) also were state-financed. In 1924, a private business enterprise established the Unione Radiofonica Italiana (URI — Italian Radiophonic Union), as part of the Marconi group, to which the Italian Fascist Government granted official radio-broadcast monopoly; after the Second World War, URI became the Radio Audizioni Italiane (RAI — Italian Radio Audience, 1954–54), then the Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI — Italian Radiotelevision).
Agriculture — To strengthen the domestic Italian production of grain, in 1925, the Fascist Government established protectionist policies that ultimately failed (see: the Battle for Grain); historian Denis Mack Smith reports that: “Success in this battle was . . . another illusory propaganda victory, won at the expense of the Italian economy in general, and consumers in particular. . . Those who gained were the owners of the Latifondia, and the propertied classes in general . . . [Mussolini’s] policy conferred a heavy subsidy on the Latifondisti.”
Industry — The Fascist Government countered the Great Depression with public works programs, such as the draining of the Pontine Marshes, hydroelectricity development, railway improvement, and rearmament. In 1933, the Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI — Institute for Industrial Reconstruction) was established to subsidize failing companies, and soon controlled important portions of the national economy via government-linked companies, among them Alfa Romeo. The Italian economy’s Gross National Product increased 2 per cent; automobile production was increased, especially that of the Fiat motor company, and the aeronautical industry was developing. Prime Minister Mussolini also advocated agrarianism as part of the battles for Land, the Lira, and Grain. As Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini physically participated with the workers in doing the work; the “politics as theatre” legacy of Gabriele D’ Anunzio yielded great propaganda images of Il Duce as “Man of the People”.
In 1929, as Italian Head of State, Benito Mussolini concluded the unresolved Church–State conflict of the Roman Question (La Questione romana, pending since the Risorgimento, 1815–71) with the Lateran Treaty (February 1929), between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, establishing the Vatican City microstate in Rome. In exchange for diplomatic recognition of the Vatican City and compensated territorial losses, the Fascist Government established Roman Catholic religious education in every education level; the Vatican would diplomatically recognize the Italian Fascist State.
Moreover, to render the Italian people cosmopolitan, the Fascist Government applied every cultural artefact — from postage stamps to monumental architecture to sculpture — in making every social class conscious of Italy's cultural heritage, namely the Roman, Mediæval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, and the Modern age. The Fascist Government combated organised crime and the Mafia with violence and vendetta (honour). Mussolini’s establishment of law and order to Italy and its society was praised by Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, George Bernard Shaw, and Thomas Edison.
Nationalism and Empire[සංස්කරණය]
Influenced by the Roman Empire, Il Duce, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, perceived himself as a contemporary Roman Emperor, and set to establishing a new Italian Empire. With an expansionist and militarian agenda, Italian colonialism penetrated Africa in competition with the British and French empires. The first Italian Fascist colony was Eritrea, in East Africa; then Libya, Somalia, and ඉතියෝපියාව. The Fascists ruled via authoritarian government, especially in combating insurgents and guerrillas attempting to expel the Italians from their colonized countries; Omar Mukhtar was a notable Libyan example.
Moreover, Italian Fascism was (officially) neither atheist nor racist — provided the colonized folk agreed to Italianisation and swore fealty to Il Duce, (See: Racial classification). Just as Italian Jews were allowed membership in the National Fascist Party, in metropolitan Italy, in the Libyan colony, Muslims were Fascist Party members via the Muslim Association of the Lictor. In a unity ceremony, a Libyan chief awarded Prime Minister Mussolini an ancient Yemeni Sword of Islam artefact. East Africans were allowed to serve with Italians in the MVSN Colonial Militia.
To fulfil Italian unification, Fascist imperialism included the Italia irredenta (Irredentist Italy) demand of Italian ethnic integrity — recovering all lands previously annexed to the states incorporated to Italy. Said revanchism included the County of Nice, part of the Kingdom of Sardinia until 1860, the Duchy of Savoy, Corsica, part of the Republic of Genoa until 1768, Dalmatia, part of the Republic of Venice until 1797, and the island of Malta, part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530.
To prepare the Italians for military conquest, Mussolini's agenda became radical in the 1930s; seeking a physically fit and psychologically tough imperialist people to establish a modern Italian Empire, like the Roman Empire, he advocated discarding formalities of language, thought, and action; a coarse mind and hard body suited for aggressive war. The radical social change to Italian society signalled greater ideologic affinity with Nazi Germany in international diplomacy, given Nazi approval of Italian Fascist imperial ambitions. Moreover, whilst in Germany, on 27 January 1938, an impressed Mussolini observed Wehrmacht soldiers march in goose-step. Upon returning to Italy, he adopted that marching style for his military, and also promulgated legal Anti-Semitism. The changes were partly unwelcome, because the Italians were not especially hateful of Jews, and thus were wary of such a cultural imposition, because of a strong German Nazi–Italian Fascist relations. Despite parallels between Nazi Germany’s racist domestic and foreign policies with those of Italy, Il Duce Mussolini was inconsistent about the application of racism in society. Despite, in the 1920s, having emphasized the importance of “race”, speaking in racialist terms about white–coloured relations, stating that the races are in continual competition:
|“||[When the] city dies, the nation — deprived of the young life, [the] 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 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 coloured races which are multiplying at a rate unknown in our race.||”|
—Benito Mussolini, 1928.
Yet in the 1933–34 period, when political tensions between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany occurred over Austrian independence, PM Mussolini opportunistically contradicted his earlier claims about the importance of race, by dismissing it as insignificant:
|“||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.||”|
—Benito Mussolini, 1933.
The Italian Fascism government model was very influential beyond Italy; in the twenty-one-year intermarium of the First and Second world wars, many political scientists and philosophers sought ideologic inspiration from Italy. Italian Fascism was copied by the Russian Fascist Organization, the Romanian National Fascist Movement (the National Romanian Fascia, National Italo-Romanian Cultural and Economic Movement), the Dutch fascists based upon the Verbond van Actualisten journal of H. A. Sinclair de Rochemont and Alfred Haighton, and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party. The Sammarinese Fascist Party established an early Fascist government in San Marino, their politico-philosophic basis essentially was Italian Fascism.
Switzerland — pro-Nazi Colonel Arthur Fonjallaz of the National Front, became an ardent Mussolini admirer after visiting Italy in 1932. He advocated the Italian annexation of Switzerland, whilst receiving Fascist foreign aid. The country was host for two Italian politico-cultural activities: the International Centre for Fascist Studies (CINEF — Centre International d’ Études Fascistes), and the 1934 congress of the Action Committee for the Universality of Rome (CAUR — Comitato d’ Azione della Università de Roma).
Spain — The writer Ernesto Giménez Caballero, in Genio de España (The Genius of Spain, 1932) called for the Italian annexation of Spain, led by Mussolini presiding an international Latin Roman Catholic empire. He then progressed to close associated with Falangism, leading to discarding the Spanish annexation to Italy.
Italian Fascist mnemonics[සංස්කරණය]
- Me ne frego (“I don’t give a damn!”): the Italian Fascist motto.
- Libro e moschetto — fascista perfetto (“Book and Musket — Perfect Fascist”)
- Viva la Morte (“Long live Death!”): sacrifice.
- Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato (“Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”).
- Credere, Obbedire, Combattere (“Believe, Obey, Fight”)
- Se avanzo, seguitemi. Se indietreggio, uccidetemi. Se muoio, vendicatemi (“If I advance, follow me. If I retreat, kill me. If I die, avenge me”) Borrowed from French Royalist Gen. Henri de la Rochejaquelein.
- Viva Il Duce (“Long live the Leader”)
- 'War is to Man as Motherhood is to Woman."
- Boia chi molla (“who abandons the struggle is a hangman/executioner”), leaving the fight is seen as killing your own comrades. "Boia" was commonly used as an insult in Italy for centuries.
- Molti nemici. Molto onore (“Many enemies. Much Honor”)
- è l'aratro che traccia il solco, ma è la spada che lo difende ("The plough cuts the furrow, but the sword defends it")
- Definitions of fascism
- Economy of Italy under Fascism, 1922–1943
- National Fascist Party
- Italian fascist states:
- Cesare Mori
- Model of masculinity under fascist Italy
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University of California. 1942. Journal of Central European Affairs. Volume 2.
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- A conscious counterpart to the Catholic principle of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (“No salvation outside the Church”)
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- Reich, Wilhelm. 1970. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
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- Alfred Sohn-Rethel Economy and Class Structure of German Fascism,London, CSE Bks, 1978 ISBN 0-906336-00-7
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- Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: NLB/Atlantic Highlands Humanities Press.
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- Griffin, Roger. 1991. The Nature of Fascism. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
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- Weber, Eugen.  1985. Varieties of Fascism: Doctrines of Revolution in the Twentieth Century, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, (Contains chapters on fascist movements in different countries.)
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- Trotsky, Leon. 1944 "Fascism, What it is and how to fight it" Pioneer Publishers (pamphlet)
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