Mussolini: the master of Italy – archives, 1922 | Italy


Fascist activities

From our own correspondent
The Observer, September 24, 1922

The Fascists continue their activities throughout Italy, and if they employ despotic methods, it must be admitted that their despotism is sometimes accompanied by good results. To what extent and for how long an extra-state despotism can continue to exist alongside the legal constitution is the problem which will have to face in the near future both Italy and the Fascists.

They are now preparing a campaign in southern Italy where, until now, fascism has penetrated very little. The National Congress of Fascists is held in Naples in October, and will be the signal for the “black shirts” to begin their propaganda. They have already created national unions to replace the communist chambers of labor in the provinces of Bari and Foggia, once strongholds of socialism. These unions aim to unite workers of all classes, instead of separating social strata and producing the harmful class struggles that have hitherto been the hallmark of Italian socialism.

In Sicily, fascism has a better ground of action than in the Neapolitan provinces. As an article in the Popolo d’Italia rightly observes, there is no real socialism in Sicily; only the malcontents will gladly join any association that promises to improve their lot. In Messina, fascism is already flourishing. In Sicily, generally, memories still linger of Garibaldi and his band of heroes, and the tradition of the “red shirts” will pave the way for the new expedition of the “Camicie Nere.”

In central Italy, the fascists made themselves the champions of the ex-soldiers of the countryside by occupying the villas or those landowners who refused to give them work. A few days ago, 300 of them invaded the Villa Borghese in Mugello, near Florence, and continued the pressure of their presence until the owner, the Duca di Bomarzo, consented to employ a reasonable number of former soldiers on his estate.

The village of Bacchereto, also in Tuscany, has just been occupied by fascists, who announce their intention to stay there until the priest has been removed. The obnoxious cleric is accused of slandering fascism from the pulpit and being generally guilty of anti-national sentiment. His parishioners, it seems, are in complete agreement with the fascists and are grateful to them for their help. The priest declares that he is innocent of the feelings attributed to him, but it is rumored that he intends to resign Bacchereto’s life rather than fight with the fascists.

The master of Italy: Mussolini and his program

From our own correspondent
The Observer, October 1, 1922

Last week, Italy’s nominal leader and virtual leader gave speeches and were honored in different ways and to very different extents. The banquet given in Pinerolo, in Piedmont, to celebrate the completion of the 30 years of the political life of the Prime Minister, brought together numerous ministers, countless deputies and three Italian ambassadors, in addition to a host of other distinguished guests , who had come, not only because Do is personally loved and highly respected, but because an important speech was expected, given the seriousness of the political situation. The illusion is bitter. “Verba non factacried a joker, and the phrase will serve as a cenotaph to this amiably dignified and ineffectually upright minister who has failed to impress his countrymen, and is used only as a hyphen between a ministry and the ‘other. He purred with peace and order at home, and respect for Italy abroad, but didn’t know which card to play.

The subtle Italian spirit adores a man of Teflon, a man of elemental force. Mussolini, “the Thunder”, whose words became deeds as they fell from his mouth, swept most of young Italy off their feet, and holds them for the moment in the hollow of her hand. In any case, he has no difficulty in finding playing cards; he shows them with stormy promptness in response to the restless curiosity of his anxious countrymen, and no one can complain that his playing lacks variety. His whole life, from revolutionary socialist to revolutionary fascist, is made up of cinematic changes of moving interest and significance.

In Udine, on September 20, Mussolini delivered the most important of his speeches, the slogan of which was “Rome.” “The march on Rome”, however symbolic it may be (and, given the necessity, Mussolini will turn symbols into deeds), means nothing less that Italy must be fascist and ruled either by Mussolini or by those who will suit their policy. to his. In the very near future, we may see a Giolitti-Ministry Mussolini – age and exuberance grappling with, perhaps, the most subtly difficult situation an Italian cabinet has ever faced.

In the speech of Udine, Mussolini launches a vigorous call that the discipline is the driving force of its army and Italy. “We must submit ourselves,” he said, “to an iron discipline, otherwise we would not have the right to impose it on the nation.” Only discipline will allow Italy to make its voice heard among other nations. Discipline must be accepted; if it is not accepted, it must be imposed… We are an army, and because we have chosen this special constitution, our life and our actions must be based on discipline… “The voice of the Italy must be heard among other nations” – there you have another stone foundation of Mussolini’s program.

“Black Shirts » in Cremona
The very day when the Prime Minister’s 3,000 distinguished guests dined and exchanged “well complimentedMussolini peacefully took possession of the enemy country. The beautiful little town of Cremona, located in the rich Lombard plain near the slippery waters of the Po, woke up to find its population suddenly doubled by the advent of 30,000 fascists – youths in black shirts and black fez, skulls and crossbones as their emblem, their motto”Me no frego” (“I do not care”); and young girls in short black skirts, white blouses and tricolor jockey caps.

Mussolini in Rome, February 1927. Photo: Universal History Archives/UIG/Getty Images

The “loggie” flanking the cathedral was soon packed with people, boys sat astride the ominous medieval lions and heads peered out of the small windows above the giant sundial, while thousands of blackshirts streamed onto the place for an hour and a half in the well – orderly formation. With his usual quiet rapidity, Mussolini suddenly appeared in the stone pulpit set high against a pillar of the Communal Palace from which the demagogues of yore had influenced the people of Cremona. There was a welcome roar.”Il nostro Duceand the banners were raised aloft and waved above the crowd.

Mussolini as speaker
“How he looks like a Roman tribune,” exclaimed an officer, as Mussolini stretched his arm towards the crowd, saluting the people in the Roman manner adopted by the fascists. His mighty head was thrown back, his stern eye staring at them all as one. I was more impressed by the religious silence that descended on the crowd when Mussolini began to speak than by the indescribable enthusiasm when the cheers were unleashed. He’s a great speaker, not an orator. He dominates his audience more by the force of his volcanic personality, well controlled, than by the force of his words. The young people of Italy, full of intense joie de vivre and earthy patriotism, followed him everywhere with a simple gesture. It is in this absorbing love for Italy and in its pride that lies their strength, their virtue and their danger.

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