Fascist Ideology

Mussolini dreamed of turning Italians into fascists, and to do this he tried to harness a mechanism which proved to be unbelievably successful in Nazi Germany half a decade later; Propaganda.

Unlike in Nazi Germany, fascist Ideology was very confused, complex and at times contradictory. With a wide spectrum of supporters from conservatives to radical right-wingers interests conflicted and accordingly propaganda varied to suit different audiences at different times. For example, the fascist message in 1922 was considerably different and less radical than in 1919.

After coming to power, many factors of fascist ideology were discarded to appeal to the political centre. There was no longer any talk of over throwing the monarchy simply because the King was a necessary instrument in Mussolini’s continued rule. Any anti-capitalist beliefs also had to be changed to gain support from the influential and wealthy big businesses.  Likewise, anti-clericalism needed to be forgotten in order to appear allies of the Church in their war on socialism, reassuring many Catholics that Mussolini and fascism were not as bad as first thought.

Whether these opinions really changed, or whether they were simply hidden by Mussolini to suit his needs is not easy to judge, but given that Mussolini later regretted his lack of radicalism in his early rule shows that he was a very pragmatic person.

It was also hard to advertise Fascism later one when there were so many different types of it springing up all over Europe, ranging from Hitler to Falange in Spain to Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. In comparison with the left wing communist movements, there was very little cohesion and organisation between the various Fascist denominations.

For Italian Fascism, particularly in the 1920s, the focus was Mussolini himself, his personality and image.


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