And so on. All of these may be true, and probably are. But some footnotes explaining why the author thinks so are necessary for this sort of book. Also, the constant Brit bashing gets old. The author describes her as a destroyer, but my research says for that size destroyer escort is more appropriate. Hair splitting, though.
I recommend the book, but I just don't understand why the author won't show where their statements are coming from. I got this when it was free. Author of several books, he has also been an historical adviser for BBC documentaries. His work was fundamental in enabling the British government to change the law so that Nazi war criminals could be arrested and tried in the UK. The works of J. Willmott and David Cesarani. The class struggle is a vain formula, without effect and consequence wherever one finds a people that has not integrated itself into its proper linguistic and racial confines—where the national problem has not been definitely resolved.
In such circumstances the class movement finds itself impaired by an inauspicious historic climate. Mussolini continued to promote the need of a revolutionary vanguard elite to lead society. He no longer advocated a proletarian vanguard, but instead a vanguard led by dynamic and revolutionary people of any social class. As for the Italian Socialist Party and its support of orthodox socialism, he claimed that his failure as a member of the party to revitalize and transform it to recognize the contemporary reality revealed the hopelessness of orthodox socialism as outdated and a failure.
These basic political views and principles formed the basis of Mussolini's newly formed political movement, the Fasci Rivoluzionari d'Azione Internazionalista in , who called themselves Fascisti Fascists. The opposition and attacks by the anti-interventionist revolutionary socialists against the Fascists and other interventionists were so violent that even democratic socialists who opposed the war such as Anna Kuliscioff said that the Italian Socialist Party had gone too far in a campaign of silencing the freedom of speech of supporters of the war.
These early hostilities between the Fascists and the revolutionary socialists shaped Mussolini's conception of the nature of Fascism in its support of political violence. Mussolini became an ally with the irredentist politician and journalist Cesare Battisti and—like him—entered the Army and served in the war. He was promoted to the rank of corporal "for merit in war".
The promotion was recommended because of his exemplary conduct and fighting quality, his mental calmness and lack of concern for discomfort, his zeal and regularity in carrying out his assignments, where he was always first in every task involving labor and fortitude. Mussolini's military experience is told in his work Diario di guerra. Overall, he totaled about nine months of active, front-line trench warfare.
During this time, he contracted paratyphoid fever. He was left with at least 40 shards of metal in his body. He wrote there positive articles about Czechoslovak Legions in Italy.
In , he had a son with Ida Dalser , a woman born in Sopramonte, a village near Trento. By the time he returned from service in the Allied forces of World War I, very little remained of Mussolini the socialist. Indeed, he was now convinced that socialism as a doctrine had largely been a failure. This help was authorized by Sir Samuel Hoare.
The ideological basis for fascism came from a number of sources. Mussolini utilized works of Plato , Georges Sorel , Nietzsche , and the economic ideas of Vilfredo Pareto , to develop fascism. Mussolini admired Plato's The Republic , which he often read for inspiration. The idea behind Mussolini's foreign policy was that of spazio vitale vital space , a concept in Fascism that was analogous to Lebensraum in German National Socialism.
The right to colonize the neighboring Slovene ethnic areas and the Mediterranean, being inhabited by what were alleged to be less developed peoples, was justified on the grounds that Italy was allegedly suffering from overpopulation. Borrowing the idea first developed by Enrico Corradini before of the natural conflict between " plutocratic " nations like Britain and "proletarian" nations like Italy, Mussolini claimed that Italy's principal problem was that "plutocratic" countries like Britain were blocking Italy from achieving the necessary spazio vitale that would let the Italian economy grow.
Though biological racism was less prominent in Fascism than in National Socialism , right from the start the spazio vitale concept had a strong racist undercurrent. Mussolini asserted there was a "natural law" for stronger peoples to subject and dominate "inferior" peoples such as the "barbaric" Slavic peoples of Yugoslavia. He stated in a September speech:. When dealing with such a race as Slavic—inferior and barbarian—we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy We should not be afraid of new victims I would say we can easily sacrifice , barbaric Slavs for 50, Italians While Italy occupied former Austro-Hungarian areas between years and , five hundred "Slav" societies for example Sokol and slightly smaller number of libraries "reading rooms" had been forbidden, specifically so later with the Law on Associations , the Law on Public Demonstrations and the Law on Public Order —the closure of the classical lyceum in Pazin, of the high school in Voloska , and the five hundred Slovene and Croatian primary schools followed.
In the same way, Mussolini argued that Italy was right to follow an imperialist policy in Africa because he saw all black people as "inferior" to whites.
Mussolini believed that the United States was doomed as the American blacks had a higher birthrate than whites, making it inevitable that the blacks would take over the United States to drag it down to their level. In Mussolini's thinking, demography was destiny; nations with rising populations were nations destined to conquer; and nations with falling populations were decaying powers that deserved to die.
Hence, the importance of natalism to Mussolini, since only by increasing the birth rate could Italy ensure that its future as a great power that would win its spazio vitale would be assured. By Mussolini's reckoning, the Italian population had to reach 60 million to enable Italy to fight a major war—hence his relentless demands for Italian women to have more children in order to reach that number.
Mussolini and the fascists managed to be simultaneously revolutionary and traditionalist ;   because this was vastly different from anything else in the political climate of the time, it is sometimes described [ by whom? The blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists, and anarchists at parades and demonstrations; all of these factions were also involved in clashes against each other.
The Italian government rarely interfered with the blackshirts' actions, owing in part to a looming threat and widespread fear of a communist revolution. The Fascisti grew rapidly; within two years they transformed themselves into the National Fascist Party at a congress in Rome. In , Mussolini won election to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time.
In the night between 27 and 28 October , about 30, Fascist blackshirts gathered in Rome to demand the resignation of liberal Prime Minister Luigi Facta and the appointment of a new Fascist government. On the morning of 28 October, King Victor Emmanuel III , who according to the Albertine Statute held the supreme military power, refused the government request to declare martial law , which led to Facta's resignation.
The King then handed over power to Mussolini who stayed in his headquarters in Milan during the talks by asking him to form a new government. The King's controversial decision has been explained by historians as a combination of delusions and fears; Mussolini enjoyed wide support in the military and among the industrial and agrarian elites, while the King and the conservative establishment were afraid of a possible civil war and ultimately thought they could use Mussolini to restore law and order in the country, but failed to foresee the danger of a totalitarian evolution.
As Prime Minister, the first years of Mussolini's rule were characterized by a right-wing coalition government composed of Fascists, nationalists, liberals, and two Catholic clerics from the Popular Party. The Fascists made up a small minority in his original governments. Mussolini's domestic goal was the eventual establishment of a totalitarian state with himself as supreme leader Il Duce , a message that was articulated by the Fascist newspaper Il Popolo , which was now edited by Mussolini's brother, Arnaldo.
To that end, Mussolini obtained from the legislature dictatorial powers for one year legal under the Italian constitution of the time. He favored the complete restoration of state authority, with the integration of the Fasci di Combattimento into the armed forces the foundation in January of the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale and the progressive identification of the party with the state. In political and social economy, he passed legislation that favored the wealthy industrial and agrarian classes privatizations, liberalizations of rent laws and dismantlement of the unions.
In , Mussolini sent Italian forces to invade Corfu during the Corfu incident. In the end, the League of Nations proved powerless, and Greece was forced to comply with Italian demands. In June , the government passed the Acerbo Law , which transformed Italy into a single national constituency. The assassination of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti , who had requested that the elections be annulled because of the irregularities,  provoked a momentary crisis in the Mussolini government.
Mussolini ordered a cover-up, but witnesses saw the car that transported Matteotti's body parked outside Matteotti's residence, which linked Amerigo Dumini to the murder. Mussolini later confessed that a few resolute men could have altered public opinion and started a coup that would have swept fascism away.
Dumini was imprisoned for two years. On his release, Dumini allegedly told other people that Mussolini was responsible, for which he served further prison time. The opposition parties responded weakly or were generally unresponsive. Many of the socialists, liberals, and moderates boycotted Parliament in the Aventine Secession , hoping to force Victor Emmanuel to dismiss Mussolini. On 31 December , MVSN consuls met with Mussolini and gave him an ultimatum: crush the opposition or they would do so without him.
Fearing a revolt by his own militants, Mussolini decided to drop all pretense of democracy. German-American historian Konrad Jarausch has argued that Mussolini was responsible for an integrated suite of political innovations that made fascism a powerful force in Europe. First, he went beyond the vague promise of future national renewal, and proved the movement could actually seize power and operate a comprehensive government in a major country along fascist lines.
Second, the movement claimed to represent the entire national community, not a fragment such as the working class or the aristocracy. He made a significant effort to include the previously alienated Catholic element. He defined public roles for the main sectors of the business community rather than allowing it to operate backstage. Third, he developed a cult of one-man leadership that focused media attention and national debate on his own personality.
As a former journalist, Mussolini proved highly adept at exploiting all forms of mass media, including such new forms as motion pictures and radio. Fourth, he created a mass membership party, with free programs for young men, young women, and various other groups who could therefore be more readily mobilized and monitored. He shut down all alternative political formations and parties but this step was not an innovation by any means.
Like all dictators he made liberal use of the threat of extrajudicial violence, as well as actual violence by his Blackshirts, to frighten his opposition. Between and , Mussolini progressively dismantled virtually all constitutional and conventional restraints on his power and built a police state. A law passed on 24 December —Christmas Eve for the largely Roman Catholic country—changed Mussolini's formal title from "President of the Council of Ministers" to "Head of the Government", although he was still called "Prime Minister" by most non-Italian news sources. He was no longer responsible to Parliament and could be removed only by the King.
While the Italian constitution stated that ministers were responsible only to the sovereign, in practice it had become all but impossible to govern against the express will of Parliament. The Christmas Eve law ended this practice, and also made Mussolini the only person competent to determine the body's agenda.
This law transformed Mussolini's government into a de facto legal dictatorship. On 7 April , Mussolini survived a first assassination attempt by Violet Gibson , an Irish woman and daughter of Lord Ashbourne , who was deported after her arrest.
Zamboni was lynched on the spot. All other parties were outlawed following Zamboni's assassination attempt in , though in practice Italy had been a one-party state since with either his January speech to the Chamber or the passage of the Christmas Eve law, depending on the source. In the same year, an electoral law abolished parliamentary elections.
Instead, the Grand Council of Fascism selected a single list of candidates to be approved by plebiscite. The Grand Council had been created five years earlier as a party body but was "constitutionalized" and became the highest constitutional authority in the state. On paper, the Grand Council had the power to recommend Mussolini's removal from office, and was thus theoretically the only check on his power. However, only Mussolini could summon the Grand Council and determine its agenda. To gain control of the South, especially Sicily , he appointed Cesare Mori as a Prefect of the city of Palermo, with the charge of eradicating the Mafia at any price.