Dr. Habil. (History), Professor,
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine
Annotation. This article covers the fascist movement of 1919–1922 in Italy, namely the causes and circumstances of its emergence, social base, program and theoretical foundations, based on a content analysis of the academic publications in «Foreign Affairs» Magazine (U.S.) during the first decade of Mussolini’s government, 1923–1932.
As the analysis of sources shows, the assessments of the fascist movement by its supporters and opponents differed markedly. The fascist movement had a multidimensional character: violent and aggressive, anti-parliamentary, anti-socialist and syndicalist, as well as patriotic, nationalist, and revolutionary. It was generated by the results of the Great War, previous and those days internal socio-political processes in Italy. Under the influence of the war, it was characterized by its exaltation, the cult of sacrifice, and belief in the effectiveness of violence. It was also generated by the patriotic enthusiasm of Italians and their dissatisfaction with the government’s «weak» policy during a large-scale social unrest and internationally. In this regard, it reflected the public demand for a more decisive government policy, and a «strong government». The founder and the leader of the fascist movement was Mussolini.
Fascists believed that the victory in the war created a favorable situation for the completion of the national unification of Italy and positioned themselves as the only «national» party, unlike others that relied on international ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, and Catholicism. The nationalism of the fascists was purely internal, and did not embody chauvinistic, xenophobic, or anti-Semitic sentiments. On the basis of patriotism and the demands of a «strong government», Mussolini enlisted the support of various social groups with different motivations, both radical and conservative, popular masses and representatives of the wealthy social groups.
The fascist movement was formed on the basis of a specific goal and a vision of how to achieve it, not a doctrine. It was based not on theories, but on actions, including violent ones. Before Mussolini’s appointment as Prime Minister, fascism (in the form of the fascist movement) was primarily a method of achieving goals through «direct action», that is a successful implementation of the theory of revolutionary syndicalism in practice.
Key words: fascism, Italy, fascist movement, Mussolini, «Foreign Affairs» Magazine.
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