The 20th Anniversary of the founding of the first fascist squad and how it happened.

Today is the big day. March 26, 1939, is the day that I make an address for the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the first fascist squad. The event is being held in Rome, where it all began. Everyone is expecting a speech from me. Now it is only moments before going on and the amount of people here is amazing, it is giving me a little bit of stage fright but knowing that everyone is here to listen to me brings joy to my heart. To think that I would be in this position, a man of power that people look up to, about to give a speech on the fascist squad that I started, it blows my mind.

I remember when I was a little kid growing up with my three younger siblings, wanting to grow up to be the president of Italy. At one point I was the President of the Council of Ministers, also known as the Prime Minister, then I was appointed to the title of the head of the government. Well in 1922 Italy had slipped into political chaos and I declared that I was the only one that could restore order and I was given the authority. By 1925 I had made myself dictator, taking the title “II Duce”, which translates to the Leader.[1] I carried out an extensive public work program and reduced unemployment, making me very popular with the people. I only wanted the best for my country.

With my family’s background, there was little talk of politics besides the main influence of my father, who I believe spent a little too much time on politics. My father was a blacksmith and I will always remember sitting in the kitchen and being able to hear him outside hard at work, the metals clashing against each other. On the side he was an impassioned socialist and there were the parts I like to block out about him. For example, he always liked to sneak around with his mistress while my mother was the one who provided for the family. My mother was a devout Catholic schoolteacher. You would think that I would follow in my mother’s footsteps of being Catholic but my father was an atheist and since he was the main influence in my life I became atheist myself. I did occasionally work with the Catholics but that is for more personal gain and power than the religion aspect.[2]

As a child, people would describe me as boisterous and disobedient, and that was from my father’s influence, he that would instill me in a passion for socialist politics and a defiance against authority. My father doing that then led me to being expelled from many schools for bullying and defying the school authorities. I could not help myself because that is how I was raised. This rebellious characteristic I had gained did lead me to some issues later in life because I always felt the need to challenge authorities, people could not tell me what to do, I had to tell them what to do.

It was in 1900 when I decided to become a member of the Socialist party. My socialism was created entirely by myself and I am proud of that. It is hard to follow ways that are set in concrete, so why not create your own? I as some people would say “specialized” in attacking clericalism, militarism, and reformism. Also, I would urge the thought of a revolution at any cost. For each attack, it would be extreme and violent but I was also eloquent and forceful. If you want to get a point across you should do whatever you think is necessary. When I was 19 years old I moved to Switzerland to promote socialism, this of course was influenced by my father. In doing so I began to build a reputation for my magnetism and remarkable rhetorical talents. Since I had that rebellious characteristic I managed to catch the attention of the Swiss authorities and was then expelled from the country. After a couple years, I decided to return to Italy and worked to promote a socialist agenda. When I was only 29 I managed to emerge in the Socialist Party Congress in 1912. I was the editor of the party’s daily paper, Avanti. My editorial tenure during 1913-1914 abundantly confirmed my promise. I did a wide range of things from writing new journalism, to injecting a new excitement into Socialist ranks. I felt good about my position, but this led me to desert the Socialist party in 1914 and cross over to the enemy camp, the Italian bourgeoisie.

Even though I was at a good position I felt the need to change something, with the War starting I knew that there would be changes and the old Europe would be buried. Knowing that a change like this would happen I had to prepare for what was coming even though I did not know what it was. There was an independent newspaper that I found and I decided to back it up with my own independent movement, which was named Autonomous Fascists. I managed to become close with the new forces in Italian politics and made myself their national spokesman. Being the spokesman gave me an opportunity to make the changes I saw fit. I began substituting nationalism for internationalism, militarism for antimilitarism, and the aggressive restoration of the bourgeois state instead of the revolutionary destruction. In doing so I managed to reverse myself, I also gained the nicknames “Judas” and “traitor” by the Italians. In 1915, I joined the Italian army and fought on the front lines. Shortly two years later I was wounded during training exercises, but I did manage to return to active politics that same year.

After the war, I went back to what I do best, politics. I would criticize the Italian government for how weak the Treaty of Versailles was. In the year 1919, I began to organize several groups into a single force and this started to form the first fascist squad. This is when everything began to happen. The movement I created proclaimed opposition to social class discrimination and supported nationalist sentiments, hoping to raise Italy to the levels of the great Roman past. There would be Italian youth who would wait for events to happen just to favor me. Even though I started the formation of the group I was not elected into Parliament until 1921, but once I was elected I was the head of 35 Fascist deputies and I could not be happier.

Creating those groups who turned out to be the first fascist squad led me to where I am now. All those things that I went through to get to this position now made me into a stronger leader, it broke me down here and there but I fought through it all. I keep walking around this room checking outside seeing if people have left and to my amazement they have not. There have been so many who fell fighting like heroes in the most Roman sense of the word thousands of comrades in streets and squares of Italy, in Africa and in Spain. Those are the ones whose memory is ever alive and present in our hearts.[3]

There may be someone who has forgotten the very hard years of the founding, but the men of these squads have not forgotten them, they cannot forget them. The difference between 1919 and 1939 is huge. A way I would describe 1919 is deluded, restless, disorganized, infected with bolshevism as a nation not victorious but defeated. To describe 1939, I would describe it as orderly, disciplined, creative, warlike, and imperial. The thing that still amazes me is that this fascist Italy is still as unknown even in the age of radio as the farthest and most remote regions of the earth. What we have done is important but for us what we shall do is more important. We shall all do it because our wills know no obstacles and because our enthusiasm and our spirit of sacrifice are intact.

The people out there are not my bodyguard, but they wish to be the bodyguard of the revolution and the fascist regime. There is no way we will be carried away by that which now is known as the war psychosis, a mixture of hysteria and fear. It may be known that we consider a perpetual peace as a catastrophe for human civilization, we also consider a long period of peace necessary to safeguard Europe and the development of European civilization. The attempts we have to crack and break the Rome-Berlin axis are childish. The axis is not only a relationship between two States, but it is a meeting between the two revolutions which have shown themselves as opposed to all other conceptions of contemporary civilization. I add that if the problem to be placed on the levels of morals, nobody and I say nobody has the right to throw the first stone as the ancient and modern history of Europe abundantly demonstrates. We as a group do not ask the world’s judgment, but we desire the world to be informed. Well, in the Italian note of December 17, 1938, the Italian problems with France were clearly set forth, problems of a colonial character.

No matter how things go, we wish to hear no more about brotherhood, sisterhood, cousins and such other relationships because I believe that relationships between States are relations of force and these relations of force are the determining elements of their policy. I believe that the people waiting outside should arm. We all must arm, at whatever cost we have, even if it should mean wiping out all that is called civil life. When one is strong one is dear to one’s friends and feared by one’s enemies. Since prehistoric times one shout has come down on the waves of the centuries and the series of generations, “Woe to the weak!”[4] This is our day, our great day. With our courage and our sacrifice, our faith has given a powerful impulse to the wheel of history. The secret of every victory is believe, obey, and fight!

 

[1] Biography.com Editors. “Benito Mussolini.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television

[2] Kershaw, Tom. “Benito Mussolini’s Religion and Political Views.” The Hollowverse. N.p.

 

[3] Mussolini, Benito. “The Interests of Italy Are at Stake.” Vital Speeches of the Day, vol. 5, no. 13, 15 Apr. 1939, p. 389

 

[4] Mussolini, Benito. “The Interests of Italy Are at Stake.”

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