Russia’s Repeat Failures
Moscow’s New Strategy in Ukraine Is Just as Bad as the Old One
NOW that the armies of the United Nations are distributed along the southern shore of the Mediterranean it does not seem farfetched to assume that sooner or later Sicily will come within the scope of their operations. Some of the programs of action which one hears discussed might postpone the day; but in view of Sicily's dominating position in the center of the Mediterranean, I hardly think it will be excluded permanently and entirely from the reckoning of American and British military leaders.
In Sicily there is not a village, whether it be lost among the mountains of the interior or sprawled along the slopes of Etna, which has not sent whole families to work and live in the United States. Up to the outbreak of war, a steady correspondence was always maintained between those at home and their American relatives. There also were many "Americans" (as they are called in Sicily) who went back to the old country and bought houses and farms with their dollars. Often the street where they settled or built is called "the street of the Americans." All through the island, then, the starred flag of the United States is known and loved as a friendly flag.
This seems to me an important psychological consideration, and when the time comes for the occupation of Sicily I think it should lead to the use of American troops for the purpose in preference to any others. The Sicilian people would understand that they were not coming to Sicily to conquer her, to keep her in pawn, to develop permanent naval bases there (as has sometimes been alleged), but instead to bring about the liberation of Sicily, as of the whole of Italy, from both Nazi and Fascist domination.[i]
Many Italians are fighting the present war reluctantly and only because they cannot do otherwise. They are deeply worried over their national future. They ask themselves anxiously whether the United Nations will respect the territorial integrity of the country after victory. In this connection, some of the suggestions of British publicists like Wickham Steed and Stephen King-Hall are not reassuring. For example, King-Hall suggests[ii] that the United Nations should guarantee to Italy, upon her withdrawal from the Axis, the boundaries of 1914. This would mean the loss of the Trentino, the Alto Adige and Istria. When with these one considers the Jugoslav claim to Trieste and Istria, and the propaganda carried on in the United States on behalf of Otto of Habsburg, which includes a demand for the return of the Trentino to Austria, the worry which I have mentioned is seen not to spring solely from Nazi propaganda.[iii]
Under such circumstances, it seems necessary that some clarification of the political aims of the United Nations precede the arrival of armies of occupation -- that is, if the United Nations want to win the friendship and have the coöperation of that part of the Italian population which hates Fascism and would welcome intervention as a decisive step toward freedom. If no attempt is made to silence the rumors that Italy will suffer territorial mutilation, will lose her old colonies, and will be forever disarmed and subjected to a foreign process of "reëducation," then fear of the unknown future will paralyze Italians of good will.
The mutilation of Italian territory would also have moral and political effects long after the war was over. It would prove very difficult for Italy to dispel the Fascist ideology if the postwar government had been compelled, as the Weimar democracy was in Germany, to shoulder the blame for a national humiliation at the hands of the United Nations. The Fascists and Fascist sympathizers will in any case disappear underground during the period of the armistice. But they would then emerge later to accuse their opponents of having weakened national unity and caused everlasting injury to the country. And since the people -- any people -- is influenced more by sentiment than by complicated logic, it would develop feelings of hatred and revenge which would offer a good basis for an early rebirth of Fascism.
One of the catchwords of Fascism in 1919 was that Italy had "won the war but lost the peace," referring thereby to the series of rebuffs which the Italian representatives met with at the Paris Conference. The psychological reaction of the German people to the contrast between the promises of Wilson's Fourteen Points and the reality of Versailles contributed to the rise of Nazism in Germany. In the same way, if Italy were mutilated after this war, the Italians would recall the Atlantic Charter as an unfulfilled promise, and they would fix the responsibility upon the anti-Fascists and the democrats.
In order to indicate clearly the various territorial issues which will arise in connection with Italy after the war I shall review them briefly, one by one.
Trento and Trieste. These two cities and the provinces of which they are the centers were objects of Italian aspirations from the days of the Risorgimento. The war of 1848-1849 against Austria was fought for the independence of Lombardy and of all the Venetian provinces subject to the foreigner. Even during the life of the Triple Alliance there was persistent agitation for the return of the terre irredente, as Trento and Trieste were called, and in 1915 when Italy went into the World War she did so in order to achieve that aim. The Treaty of London was written with that specific aim in view. To take away Trento and Trieste after the present war would produce a new surge of irredentism in Italy; they are to Italy what Alsace and Lorraine are to France.
Italy has been accused of maltreating her Slovene and German minorities. The accusation is well founded. Many abuses have been committed, and the recent war atrocities about which the bishops of Istria have protested to the Vatican are particularly repulsive. They are to be attributed to the mentality and methods of Fascism. It is true that some of the Italian misdeeds occurred in the period preceding Fascism, during the administrations of Giolitti, Bonomi and Facta. But they can still be attributed to the Fascist mentality, which at that time was already strong in northern and central Italy. The problem of European minorities cannot be solved by shifting territories back and forth or -- a worse method still -- by uprooting populations and deporting them from one region to another as though they were cattle. There are too many racial mixtures in Europe to make such a drastic course practicable. We must learn to live together and to afford small national groups better juridical protection than was provided, for instance, in the minorities treaties after the last war.
Fiume. The status of Fiume and the position of the Italo-Jugoslav boundary were fixed in the Treaty of Rapallo in 1920. After the advent of Fascism, Fiume was annexed by Italy. If the status quo of 1922 be taken as a starting point, Fiume should be considered an autonomous city. If a new arrangement is deemed opportune, the interested parties should try to devise one on a friendly basis.
Dodecanese. At the termination of the Libyan War, Italy retained the Turkish islands in the Aegean Sea as a provisional guarantee; then Turkey lost them definitely in the World War. Italy first agreed that they should go to Greece; but the Fascist Government denounced the agreement and proclaimed the annexation of the islands to Italy. Going back again to the 1922 status quo, I would say that friendly negotiations should be reopened with Greece, whose moral right to the islands cannot be denied.
Albania. In a memorandum at Paris on December 9, 1919, Messrs. Clemenceau, Polk and Crowe, in the name of France, the United States and England respectively, offered Italy a mandate over Albania. In June 1920 Premier Giolitti declared that Italy was giving up the mandate and withdrawing her troops from Albania. In reality, Albania remained under Italian influence. These events are mentioned here with two purposes in mind. First, I wish to disprove any claim deriving from the Fascist occupation which might endanger the independence of Albania. Second, I would like to stress the importance of the problem of the Adriatic; it cannot be solved by turning it over to conflicting local interests, but only by considering it within the framework of a general European settlement.
Libya, Eritrea and Somaliland. These colonies were not acquired in the Fascist cycle but in the period of the formation of the French and British African empires. It is strange to read in the American press that the loss of Tripoli marks the fall of "the Mussolini empire." Libya was conquered long before Mussolini came to power; as a matter of fact, Mussolini first displayed his demagogic abilities in 1911 by inciting mobs to interfere with the movement of troops leaving for Africa. By Fascist legislation, Libya became part of the metropolitan territory of Italy, just as Algeria is part of France. The Fascist "empire" consisted only of Ethiopia, which has already recovered her independence and has become the thirtieth signatory of the Washington Declaration. Thus Ethiopia has emerged not only from the Fascist interlude, but also from the arrangement set up by Britain, France and Italy in the Tripartite Agreement of 1925. Sir Austen Chamberlain promoted that arrangement, let us remember, at a time when Ethiopia had already been accepted as a member of the League of Nations.
The African problem will have to be dealt with sooner or later and the solution of it will have to be reached on a basis common to all the European colonial Powers. The writer agrees fully with the declaration made on January 17, 1943, by Herbert Morrison, a member of the British War Cabinet, looking to a colonial policy which "can combine progressive policies of education with opportunities for native peoples to take an increasing part in the forms of self-government."[iv]
This short review of territorial questions in which Italy is concerned was necessary to establish what the rights of Italy are under the Atlantic Charter and to indicate the general opinion of Italians who are not blinded by Fascist propaganda.
We come now to the problem of how to liberate Italy politically from Fascism.
The Atlantic Charter speaks only of Nazi tyranny, but subsequent interpretations lead to the belief that Fascist tyranny is also implied. Mr. Churchill's assertion that one man, and one man only, Mussolini, should be held responsible for the Italian tragedy, is, however, clearly incorrect. This is shown by the fact that the Fascist Government is still strongly organized, that the Gestapo is active in Italy by permission of that government, that German generals have been granted some authority over the Italian army, and that even today new pacts, such as the economic agreement of January 1943, are signed by Italy and her partner. Many other individuals besides Mussolini have been led by greed or weakness -- and some by sentiment and conviction -- into a position where they must share their leader's responsibility. In his address of February 11, Mr. Churchill made his position clearer when he said: "No vestige of Nazi or Fascist power or of the Japanese war-plotting machine will be left by us when the work is done, as done it certainly will be."
To free Italy from the Fascist Government, the Fascist Party and Fascist ideology is precisely one of the chief war aims and aspirations of a majority of the Italian people. To say this is not to say that they can be asked now to revolt. That would be premature and useless. Further, to think that the Italian people can be led to revolt out of fear of Allied bombings, however "scientific" they may be, is to show a lack of both psychological insight and realistic understanding. They cannot revolt against the united might of the Nazi and Fascist armies and police forces; any attempt to do so would be suppressed bloodily and quickly, as recent events in Marseilles show. Not Allied bombings, but the appearance of United Nations armies in Italy, and Italian popular confidence in the purposes of those armies, are the conditions precedent to revolt. We return, then, to the fundamental political problem raised by the possibility of a military occupation by the United Nations: Will such confidence exist? There would seem to be a need for clear and unequivocal statements by the leaders of the United Nations and for straight directives to all those who communicate over the radio or through other means with the Italian people.
To sum up, the Italian people must feel certain that after the Allied occupation is over they will not have to face some new variety or modification of Fascism which will continue to tyrannize over them. And they must be told, and believe, that in an earlier stage they will have an opportunity to decide freely, as the third point of the Atlantic Charter provides, what form of government they wish to organize.
Will the future Italy be monarchical or republican? This question was not created by the present war. The issue appeared to be settled during the Risorgimento, when Cavour and luck led the House of Savoy through the wars of liberation and unity. It was raised again, however, soon after the advent of Fascism. Between 1860 and 1922 the republican tradition was kept alive mainly by Mazzinian idealists, a few radicals, the pioneers of Socialism (who gradually, however, put their emphasis more on social than on political questions) and a group of Christian democrats. Yet the feeling was fairly widespread even among members of other parties that Italy would never know true democracy under the monarchy, given the coalition formed around the throne by powerful forces representing the upper bourgeoisie, the old aristocracy, the army and the bureaucracy.
The social question rapidly was identified with the political question; the basis of suffrage was broadened, but not sufficiently to inject popular forces into the stream of democratic legality. The Sicilian uprisings of 1893, and the risings of 1898 which spread from Milan to the whole of Italy, marked the experimental stage of the political activity of popular forces. To deal with them, the Government had recourse to a state of siege and other exceptional laws. After the assassination of King Humbert and the advent of the present king, Victor Emmanuel III, the new forces finally entered into the constitutional life of the country. The new King's background gave many persons fresh confidence in the monarchy, and even the Socialists did not insist upon their usual formal objection to the monarchical régime. But just as under Humbert the monarchy had become a debatable issue because of its recourse to martial law, so under Humbert's son it again became an issue. This time the reason was much stronger -- Victor Emmanuel's acquiescence in the March on Rome.
It is difficult to guess how many people in Italy today would stand by the monarchy as an institution, even though they did not condone the guilt of the present sovereign, and how many would favor a republic. We may surmise, however, that a good many would incline toward the abdication of Victor Emmanuel in favor of the Crown Prince in order to eliminate irritating discussion and dissension over the King's past rôle from the postwar political atmosphere. Indeed, the abdication might have taken place some time ago if Mussolini had not given the Fascist Grand Council the right to pass on all questions bearing upon the succession to the throne. Did he conceive of this provision as a kind of veto power to be exercised against any possible anti-Fascist successor to Victor Emmanuel? Or did he merely wish to hold a threat over the heads of the present King and Crown Prince, so as to force them to remain in step with Fascism? Probably both. Victor Emmanuel gave his approval to the Grand Council legislation, just as he has to every other Fascist law, including the declarations of war. Perhaps it was his secret belief that Fascism is a passing phenomenon but that the monarchy will endure.
Before the war, upholders of the monarchy were wont to say that the Prince of Piedmont was not a Fascist, even though sometimes he wore the Black Shirt. During the course of the war the Prince has been promoted, on the recommendation of Mussolini as Head of the Government, to the rank of Marshal. The Fascist radio has recently applied to him the unprecedented title of "hereditary prince." Under a totalitarian régime, changes in the prestige and power of individuals can be noted only by portents.
In the United States the possibility of a regency has sometimes been advanced as a solution which would eliminate both Victor Emmanuel and the Crown Prince in favor of the Crown Prince's young son, born in 1937. Rumors have been reaching the United States that in Italy there is some backing for Maria José, the Crown Princess, as a Queen Regent. Fascist-minded members of the capitalistic bourgeoisie might favor this solution, as promising to aid their attempt to retain or regain the upper hand. So might the Communists, in the knowledge that a period of transition and equivocal power always favors revolutionary movements.
In any case, the question of the monarchy is not urgent. Let us, then, leave monarchists and republicans to prepare for the inevitable test of strength between them after the war. Any sort of accurate forecast as to the outcome is impossible. We not only lack certain elements of judgment but we also are dealing with those imponderables which play such a great part in history. Between 1871 and 1875, for example, France just happened to become a republic. Luckily the question is not one to be solved by the chiefs of the Allied troops of occupation or by their governments. That will have to be done by the Italian people.
Various hypotheses upon the course of the war are possible. It is idle to hope that Italy will be knocked out so long as Hitler determines to offer resistance upon Italian soil. As the armies of the United Nations move forward in the occupation of Italy, and indeed until they reach Rome, the first task of their generals will be to facilitate the setting up of civilian administrations in the occupied cities and provinces, making use for that purpose of the best local elements and avoiding as far as possible any former Quislings or Lavals.
The local governments set up in this way in the occupied zones will not be able to assert that they derive their powers from the King, for he will still be on the other side. Instead, they will derive their provisional powers from the people. The precedent of a Darlan who recognized Pétain's authority at the same time that Pétain was depriving him of his citizenship as a traitor cannot be repeated in Italy. As long as Victor Emmanuel remains with the Axis, he will be in Allied eyes the chief representative of an enemy power. The people that are being liberated will have a historical connection with him, but not a juridical or political one.
When the Allies reach Rome (this is not a military plan but a political hypothesis), one of three things will happen: either the King will abandon the capital, to continue the war together with his Government and his German ally; or he will give himself up, while his armies continue the struggle alongside the Germans; or he will give himself up, order the cessation of hostilities and ask for an armistice. In the first case we shall have still further confirmation of the fact that we are dealing with an unyielding enemy. In the second case, the King will become an illustrious prisoner, without authority over either his armies or the people of the occupied territory. In the third case, Hitler will supplant him in the provinces still under German control until he himself is expelled or withdraws.
These various hypotheses help to demonstrate the proposition that the problem of the monarchy was not created by the anti-Fascist Italians living abroad but was inevitably posed on the day the King signed the declaration of war and thereby assumed responsibility for what was to happen as a result of that act. When an armistice is signed, Mussolini and the Fascist leaders will be fugitives or prisoners; perhaps Victor Emmanuel will have abdicated. The generals and the admirals will be there to sign the capitulation, and after them a provisional government will become heir to all the burdens of the past. It is necessary, however, that such a government be free of any responsibility for that past.
Many Americans believe that the Vatican favors the Italian monarchy, and indeed not much imagination is required to arrive at that conclusion. In the Lateran Treaty of 1929 the Papacy gave up all its temporal rights in Rome and in the former territories of the Papal States. In the eyes of the Vatican, the House of Savoy is not any longer the usurper of the Pope's rights nor are the kings which it furnishes to Italy any longer subject to excommunication. An anti-monarchical attitude on the part of the Vatican would therefore not only be out of place, it would represent a violation of the spirit of the 1929 treaty.
This does not mean, on the other hand, that the Vatican would take up the defense of the monarchy if the Italian people decided in favor of a republic. For if we may presume that the conservative leanings of the Italian hierarchy incline them toward the monarchy, we also know that there is a diversity of political opinions within the ranks of the clergy. This is a matter which lies outside the borders both of religious discipline and of faith.[v] But if the monarchical question should come to be linked somehow to the question of the Concordat between the Church and the State, or if the republicans should be designated as anti-clericals, then the situation would be more complicated and might become dangerous.
Anti-Fascists abroad have made several pronouncements with regard to the relationships between Church and State. Thus a report prepared for the Mazzini Society says: "The democratic Italian republic will have to respect faithfully the freedom of the Pope as the head of the international Catholic Church and will therefore have to refrain from any intervention whatsoever in the activities of the Holy See, or from hindering the relations between the Holy See and the Catholics in Italy or outside Italy. The rights of Vatican City shall also be confirmed. But the members of the Mazzini Society affirm that all the privileges of a civil or political order conceded by the Concordat of the Lateran must be abolished without exception; that a régime of separation of Church and State must be adopted in Italy; and that all religious beliefs must have equal rights and equal duties under the protection of a common law."[vi]
Generally speaking, anti-Fascist Italians exclude any idea of religious persecution and do not envisage any infringement of the position of the Pope as head of the Catholic Church. On the other hand, they often suggest the abolition of the Concordat. This would create a gap which would have to be filled by unilateral action, as the Liberals filled the gap which existed in Italian life between 1870 and 1922. It will be remembered that after protracted struggles a de facto condition of toleration was established, and eventually there grew up rather friendly unofficial ties between Church and State. The abolition of the Concordat now would destroy the major part of the traditional economic and juridical structure of the local churches, which dates back to the time before the Risorgimento and which has been gradually modified by successive laws. For example, the contributions for the support of the parish priests which are today a charge on the state budget would cease.
This is not the place to discuss these questions in detail, but their political significance must nevertheless be underlined. A concordat is a contract between two parties. If one of the parties feels itself injured, it should, according to juridical principles as well as in its own political interest, apply for a revision. This should be negotiated between the two parties. If this type of contract is no longer acceptable to public opinion -- which in the present case remains to be proved -- and if it seems desirable either to find a modus vivendi on special matters, such as was arranged in Czechoslovakia, or to make a friendly separation, liquidating the past and providing for a transitional period, then the preferable course is a diplomatic negotiation rather than a unilateral denunciation. Unilateral denunciation of a concordat is always a hostile act. The Holy See could of course suffer such an offense and face its consequences, as Pius X did in the case of France; but no one can foresee what would be the reactions either of Italian Catholics, who are not a negligible political factor, or of Catholics in the various United Nations.
Certainly such a struggle would not be conducive to the pacification of Italy, which in any case will be weakened and crippled by defeat and by twenty years of Fascist dictatorship. Nor does it seem called for on any grounds. The religious problem in Italy is not complicated today as it was during the Risorgimento either by the question of the ecclesiastical mortmain or by that of the temporal power of the Popes, two issues which then seemed hard to solve by processes of negotiation.
Some anti-Fascists, even though they are not on the whole anti-religious, nevertheless suspect the "political" action of the Papacy; they may be termed "Ghibellines." They fight the Concordat in the name of the separation of Church and State, and quote the example of the United States to show how well that system operates. But the United States never had a concordat; its government did not have to assume any ecclesiastical financial burden as a result of the expropriation of church property; and it never was called upon to abolish religious orders. On the contrary, the United States moved from several different colonial régimes, based in some cases on civil and political discrimination against Catholicism, to a system based on religious freedom. Past history conditions the present and marks the ways of the future. The interest of all Italians, including the "Ghibellines," is to avoid complicating the political problem by adding a religious one; to prevent a religious division among the people on the institutional issue; and to refrain from forcing the Vatican to assume, in order to defend its rights, a position on the conflicting issues of the postwar period.
Second only to their desire to be free from German and Fascist tyranny is the Italian people's desire to see some sort of normal life restored as quickly and fully as possible, with the possibility of attaining eventually the means of economic welfare. Socially speaking, Italy is a sick body which will recover only if it receives prompt care. I think it especially needs psychological and economic care.
In the psychological field, a way must be found to eliminate the fear of the people of Italy that they will again fall into Fascist or crypto-Fascist hands. Similarly, local vengeance against a thousand petty tyrants will have to be avoided. We must show no weakness toward those who are really responsible for the crimes of the past and the present, but we should stop short of hunting down average Fascists, some of whom joined the movement not out of any evil inclination but because they lacked strong convictions or simply because they wanted to survive. The heroes of the prisons, of the concentration camps and of the long, sad period of exile cannot set up any puritanical standards of anti-Fascism. A good deal will have to be understood and forgiven.
The points which will have to be firmly established, once and for all, are these: (1) No head of a Fascist organization must be allowed in future to fill a responsible post of any sort. (2) Common crimes committed under political pretexts will be punished according to law. (3) All the real Fascist leaders will have to stand with the Nazi leaders before the bar of international justice.
Pope Pius XII expressed the essence of the social aspirations of the Italian people in his 1942 Christmas address, when he said that we must look toward "a social order which will make possible an assured, even if modest, private property for all classes of society," and that we must work for the day when workers will be freed from their modern slavery, "whether this slavery arises from the exploitation of private capital or from the power of the state."
Immediate, large-scale and profitable industrial development is less likely in Italy than in any other country, because of the lack of natural resources. The nation's economic life will continue to be based chiefly on agriculture and its related industries -- fishing, shipping and handicrafts. Private property is basic to such an economic system, coöperative property is complementary, while socialized property is exceptional. When Premier Salandra coined the slogan, "The land to the peasants!", during the First World War, he was not indulging in a vague demagogic appeal but rather was expressing the common aspiration of the Italian peasantry and rural artisans and at the same time a need of the Italian economy. Now to give the land to the peasants does not mean to impoverish one class in order to enrich another, or to break up the large estates (where they still exist), as was done in the past, without regard to the elementary needs of an agrarian economy. The process is a complex one, involving a real attempt at internal colonization with all necessary reclamation work. This was undertaken in the province of Ferrara before Fascism and was outlined in the agrarian program of the Christian Democratic Popular Party, approved by the Chamber of Deputies in July 1922 but later suppressed by the Fascist Government.[vii]
Let it be recalled that the advent of Fascism in Italy was closely linked to the struggle of the big landowners against the reform measures which were demanded by the peasant masses and which were upheld, for different political and economic reasons, by both the Popular and Socialist Parties. That explains in part the strong appeal which plans for agrarian reform make to the popular imagination. European revolutions are nearly always linked to the agrarian problem; in it, for example, the Spanish Civil War originated. Every effort must therefore be made to appeal to the sense of responsibility of the future leaders of Italy, so that they may not divide on the agrarian problem and make a party issue of it. They must agree on a short-run practical plan which will not disturb normal production in a period of extreme crisis, and they must agree on a long-range program of gradual but well-defined steps toward a general solution.
At the same time it will be necessary to foster measures which will provide other forms of work, to regulate demobilization and to maintain the highest possible level of employment. In this connection, we shall do well to recall what happened in 1919 and 1920, when the middle-class unemployed swelled the ranks of Fascism and nationalism while the jobless workers streamed into the Socialist and Communist Parties. The Beveridge Plan, which aims to meet the most urgent needs of all classes, can be a useful guide.
Some fear that Italy's economic structure will collapse under the terrific burden of public and private debts, especially since the banking system has been so much weakened by Fascist interference. My own belief is that Italy is still strong enough to weather the political and economic crisis which will follow the war, that is, unless the collapse is deliberately fostered by concealed interests, as happened when the mark was devalued in Germany in 1920 and 1921. Quick and sufficient help from the United Nations and rigorous internal discipline enforced by capable and trustworthy leaders will be necessary.
Who will these leaders be, once all the Fascists, big and small alike, have been swept away? My answer cannot be precise but it is full of faith. Let us not toy with the idea that generals can be useful for civilian government: Italians of my generation recall the government of General Pelloux and the governorship of General Bava-Beccaris as calamities. As for the expert civil servants, they can be useful if they are carefully controlled and excluded from any exercise of political responsibility.
The men who were thirty or forty years old at the time of the March on Rome are now fifty or sixty years old. This is a ripe age, well suited to assuming the responsibilities of public service. The men who were youths when Fascism seized power, and who have grown up under it, began to realize long ago, in spite of their false education, that Italy had been betrayed. Their spiritual crisis -- and this is especially true of university students and other intellectual groups -- has now reached its peak. The tragedy is that their lack of comprehension of the world outside of Fascism and their ignorance of the true history of Italy have quite unfitted them to face the problems of the postwar period. However, the average Italian is not only intelligent and intuitive, but has an unusual ability to reorient himself rapidly. There will be many persons available, then, who although they are not educated will be capable of rapid self-education.
Chief reliance will have to be put on the middle class. Even though it is not so strong in Italy as it should be in a modern country of 45 million people, and even though a part of it (though not the major part) has formed the backbone of Fascism, it still constitutes a sound and vital nucleus. The middle class in Italy contains many groups of intelligent, cultured, hardworking, enterprising people, who, in a free régime, will be able to mediate between the extremes of right and left and neutralize mass excesses. The industrial workers, the city artisans, the métayers of central and southern Italy, who constitute the real core of the Italian economy, will all lend strength and measure to the future Italian democracy. I think one need have no fear of the soundness of the industrial and agricultural working masses of Italy, even after their experience with Fascism and all their sufferings and disillusionments past and present.
Those who for twenty years have fought Fascism, either openly, risking imprisonment and the concentration camp, or secretly and indirectly, will be in a position to make a fresh start and to put their administrative and political capabilities to work again. The same will be true of the political exiles. If they are not too rash or too proud -- and very many are not -- they will be able to join forces with their brothers at home.
The names of the leaders in all these various groups and strata? Nobody knows them. They will be revealed only when the flag of freedom is unfurled on Italian soil.
[i] Sicily, though regionalist, is not at all separatist, as is sometimes thought. After 1860, Sicily accepted reorganization under Piedmontese influence rather unwillingly, but 83 years of national unity have confirmed its necessity. Fascism has not changed the Italian national feelings of the Sicilians. Sicilian "autonomists" are such only within the national framework.
[ii]Picture Post, November 21, 1942.
[iii] In contrast to the above statements was the speech made in New York on November 14, 1942, by Adolf A. Berle, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State. He applied the Atlantic Charter to Italy and declared that "no American seeks to destroy or impair the nationhood of Italy." The Atlantic Charter, signed by 30 states, disclaims any aim of territorial aggrandizement. Certain serious doubts nevertheless persist with regard to the position, for instance, of Poland, the Baltic States and Italy herself. One difficulty with an attempt to give juridical value to the Atlantic Charter is that neither the House of Commons nor Congress have expressed themselves on it. Senator Guy M. Gillette's recent proposal that the basic principles of the Charter be embodied in treaties is, however, a hopeful move.
[iv] It may be recalled here that early in 1922 the late Signor Amendola, Minister for Colonies in the Facta Cabinet, and his Undersecretary, Signor Pecoraro, were working out just such policies for Libya.
[v] The Italian clergy is probably persuaded that if Mussolini had decided to inaugurate a movement of open religious persecution (and a beginning was actually made in the spring of 1931), the King would have signed the necessary decrees without objection, in accordance with his unvarying rule.
[vi]Nazioni Unite, December 10, 1942.
[vii] The reclamation work of the Pontine marshes was started before Fascism, but by a private group. The Fascist Government took it up and made it one of its chief subjects of propaganda.