Under the Axe of Fascism

Under the Axe of Fascism

Under the Axe of Fascism

Under the Axe of Fascism

Excerpt

The "march on Rome" of October 28, 1922, marked the advent to power of the Fascist party in Italy under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. This seizure of the government through a coup d'état was justified by the claim that Italy had to be rescued from the imminent danger of a Bolshevist revolution. Before the eyes of a world horrified by the tragedy of Russia, Italian Fascism assumed the role of the knightly Saint George who had slain the red dragon of communism. The legend appealed to the imaginations and soothed the fears of all the good people of Europe and America. It became the sacred myth around which was woven the early Fascist propaganda.

Meanwhile Fascist institutions were developing in Italy, and at the end of 1926 the personal dictatorship of Mussolini emerged. Dictatorship was not a new political system, nor did it enjoy a high reputation in the records of history. Mussolini did not relish the idea of passing down in history as a mere imitator of old discredited experiments. Therefore a new and greater myth had to take the place of the early anti-Bolshevist myth, if the existence of what was now the Fascist state was to be justified. Fascist "thinkers" abandoned the anti-Bolshevist myth, which had outlived its usefulness, acknowledged that in 1922 Italy had been neither on the verge of ruin nor under the menace of a communist revolution, and clothed Fascism in a brand-new mantle, the mantle of the "corporative state." Fascism was no longer to be regarded negatively, as a mere measure of defence against communism in Italy, but positively, as a new . . .

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