Magazine article The Spectator

Mussolini and the Jews

Magazine article The Spectator

Mussolini and the Jews

Article excerpt

From Nicholas Farrell Sir: Ian Thomson states (Books, 22 October) that 'these days' it is 'fashionable' to portray Benito Mussolini as a 'decent fellow', and cites my biography of Mussolini as his evidence. I am not aware that I am fashionable, but anyway such a view of Mussolini is not mine. My (unfashionable) view is that Mussolini was a genius, which is also how Winston Churchill once described him; not a good man, but not half as bad as portrayed.

The fashionable view of Mussolini, on the other hand, is that he was simply a grotesque buffoon. Naturally, as a fashion victim, Thomson supports it. This is why he states that 'Italian Fascism relied on bludgeons and intimidation'. Nonsense.

Italian Fascism was wanted, not imposed.

There was no Fascist Terror à la Danton or Lenin. There was no need. One reason for this is that Fascism tried to address spiritual, not just material, poverty.

On the subject of Mussolini and the Jews, Thomson states, trendily, 'Mussolini's gangs helped to deport more than 6,800 Italian Jews to Auschwitz and other Third Reich camps. …

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