Matteotti and the Despot…

[translates: You can kill me but my ideas will never die.]

Many years ago, I took a college course on the rise of fascism in Italy.

It was a particular interest to me since my father grew up in that nation during that period and I had visited Italy three times in the early to mid-1960’s. It was hard for me to understand how fascism could rise among those I saw as a good people.

As discussed in the course, a turning point toward Italian fascism was the murder of Giacomo Matteotti.

In 1922, Benito Mussolini became the Italian Premier. This followed The March on Rome.

The March was the result of dissatisfaction with the socialist and moderate coalitions that had been democratically governing the nation. The middle class feared a socialist revolution. There was also anger at being badly treated, despite promises from their allies on the winning side, during the World War I peace settlement. Their economy was severely damaged.

In the face of the Fascist Blackshirts who were preparing to enter and take over Rome, the king and parliament lacked the strength to stand up to the threat. Fearing civil war, they offered Mussolini leadership of a coalition government. By the time they realized that wasn’t enough, it was too late.

As the Encyclopedia Brittanica describes it…

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