Mussolini in the First World War: The Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist

By Paul O'Brien | Go to book overview

8
Envisioning Fascism
October 1917-November 1918

The agrarian problem is different from region to region and is of a grandiose com-
plexity. Be careful of certain ready-made phrases!

Mussolini, Il fascismo nel 1921, 7 January 1921

So that hierarchs are not dead categories it is necessary for them to flow into a syn-
thesis, make everything converge towards a single aim and have their own soul inserted
into the collective soul. This means that the State must express itself in the most elect
part of a given society and must be the guide of the lower classes.

Mussolini, Stato, anti-Stato e Fascismo, June 1922

If politics is the art of governing men, that is of orienting, utilizing, educating their pas-
sions, their egoism and their interests as part of more general aims which almost always
transcend the individual life because projected into the future, if this is politics then
there is no doubt that the fundamental element of this art is man.

Mussolini, Preludio al Principe di Machiavelli, 1924

In the silent coordination of all forces, under the guide of one man only, lies the peren-
nial secret of every victory.

Mussolini, Elogio ai gregari, February 1925


Italy Divided

In a vote of confidence taken on 25 October 1917 the Boselli government was defeated by 314 votes to 96. Strictly speaking, however, the Orlando government which took office at the end of the month was not the political progeny of Caporetto. The Boselli cabinet was already in its death throes amidst the heated atmosphere of Parliament, which had reopened on 16 October. The debate was still going on when the Austro-German invasion began, but, like the rest of the country, including the military command, neither the government nor the Parliament knew anything of the military situation. As for the origins of the Orlando cabinet, in some respects it was the expression of an attempt at national pacification following a spring and summer of popular anti-war activity on the one hand, and coup plot

-163-

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Mussolini in the First World War: The Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Stating the Programme November 1918-June 1919 11
  • 2: Man of Straw July 1914-May 1915 31
  • 3: Mind and Matter May-November 1915 59
  • 4: Digging in November 1915-June 1916 87
  • 5: Disenchanted Warrior July 1916-February 1917 107
  • 6: War and Revolution March-October 1917 123
  • 7: Victory Imagined October 1917-November 1918 141
  • 8: Envisioning Fascism October 1917-November 1918 163
  • Conclusion 183
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 201
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