Fascism in Italian History

Courtesy Reuters

THE most thorough way to understand and judge Fascism is by dissociating Fascism as a political program from Fascism as a movement in the history of the Italian national revolution. It is my intention in the following pages to consider and appraise particularly this second aspect--or function--of Fascism as it is revealed in the history of my country.

The history of the Fascist political party, which is much simpler and shorter than that of the Fascist revolutionary movement, can be easily summed up. The recent political struggles in Italy had unluckily opened the way to parties anti-nationalist in theory as well as in practice, viz., the Socialists, the People's Christian Party (Popolari) and the organization of the Freemasons. For years Socialism had preached to the masses the principles of the economic class struggle pure and simple, totally disregarding the immense danger to the unity and strength of nations in theories which appeal to violence in order to assert the primacy of material requirements and which deny all the moral and historical values championed by nationalism in behalf of State and country. The People's Party, a spontaneous and vigorous post-war formation sprung from the ashes of the shattered Christian democracy, which had seemed dead since the disappearance from the scene of Pope Leo XIII, took up again some of the precepts of the radicalism of the last century. It did away with the balance between justice and humanity on the one side and the exigencies of the fatherland on the other, and aimed to restore the bond between the Catholics of the whole world, so as to bring them into obedience to the principles common to all believers apart from and above the obligations of citizenship. This was not the international Socialism of class struggle. It was a spiritual internationalism fatally tending to weaken the ideas of state and country. Finally, the mighty Masonic organization, as it exists in western Europe, made a forceful cosmopolitan appeal, strongest wherever Freemasonry assumes a financial

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