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Title: Mussolini as revealed in his political speeches, November 1914-August 1923
Author: Mussolini, Benito
Language: English
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                      (NOVEMBER 1914–AUGUST 1923)



                            LONDON & TORONTO
                         J. M. DENT & SONS LTD.
                      NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO.

                        ONLY AUTHORISED EDITION

                         _All rights reserved_

                        PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN



                            TOMMASO TITTONI




[Illustration: The most limpid waters in the world appear turbid when
compared to the purity of the waters of the Lethe.]

                       A NOTE ON ITALIAN FASCISMO

In an interesting article published last year in our Press, Ettore
Ciccotti shows that Italian Fascismo does not represent an absolutely
new political event, but is part of the general historic development of
nations. In the first years of its appearance it was compared to the
“krypteia” of Sparta, to the “eterie” of Athens, and to similar
phenomena, which are repeated as a manifestation of self-defence of
strong and active groups or classes, uniting and forming centres of
resistance; exercising thus, by their extended action, general functions
of State in a period in which its protection is weak or inefficient, and
shows signs of disintegration or degeneration. Other examples of this
phenomenon can be found in the history of the Church and in the Italian
Communes, in England, Germany, in the Clubs of the French Revolution,
and in the rest of Europe. When in a nation which shows such signs this
form of vitality does not exist, we witness the general collapse of that
nation, as in Russia at this moment, where only the radical uprooting of
Bolshevism might lead to the general resurrection of the country.

The after-war period in Italy, as elsewhere, had caused complete apathy,
slackness and disorder in Parliamentary State functions, characterised
by many elaborate programmes, but few facts. The Italian working
classes, moreover, had been hypnotised by the nefarious gospel of Lenin,
which had powerfully contributed to bring about the grave state of
affairs in Italy in 1920, when the Communist peril had reached its acute
stage. The continued strikes in all industries had caused prices to rise
at a tremendous pace; the production of commodities had been reduced to
a minimum; the enormous deficit in the railway and postal departments,
the debt and the general budget of the State were alarming, while
foreign exchanges had reached fantastic figures. The arrogance of the
Communist elements had become unbearable, and officers at times were
obliged to dress in plain clothes in order not to be attacked by
Bolshevists, while soldiers, Carabineers and Guardie Regie were
frequently insulted and in some instances even killed by Communists.

But the gallant fighters of the Trentino, of the Carso and of the
Grappa, the volunteers who had saved Italy and arrested the advance of
the enemy on the Piave could not reconcile themselves to this state of
affairs, to the idea of watching with folded arms the complete loss of
the fruits of victory for which half a million men had left their lives
on the battlefields. These brave youths, with an indomitable courage,
ready to face all, full of the purest ideals and passionate love for our
country, representing a new force and a new Italy, had already in April
1919 grouped themselves together in a “fascio” (bundle), as the “Fascio
Nazionale dei Combattenti” (National Fasces of Combatants), under the
leadership of Benito Mussolini, who was the inspirer and organiser of
the movement and had himself been their comrade at the front.

They became stronger every day and dealt the initial blow to Communism
in 1921, when the first encounter took place between Fascisti and
Communists at Bologna, which marks the waning of Bolshevism and the rise
of Fascismo.

But it was not an easy matter for the new movement to make its way, as
in its laborious progress it met with endless difficulties, and above
all had to fight the apathy of the people and the general scepticism
regarding it. Fascismo had to deal with peculiar mentalities, to fight
various organisations, including the State, which felt itself being
undermined by this new political group, while its chief enemy, the
Bolshevist faction, had made endless victims among its rank and file
during the past.

It was not possible, however, for the Fascisti to deal with the
Communists otherwise than by using violence, as normal means would have
been entirely inadequate against the seditious elements (made all the
more arrogant by the manifest impotence of the State and the _laisser
faire_ attitude of public opinion), in view of the daily increasing
number of crimes committed against property and peaceful individuals.

Fascisti, moreover, started a strong movement against the composition of
the Chamber, maintaining that it no longer represented the nation, that
it had grown prematurely old and must, therefore, be quickly dissolved
and a new appeal to the electors be made as soon as possible. They had
been deeply concerned, on the other hand, with the Italian economic
crisis, which, according to Edmondo Rossoni, the able organiser and
Secretary-General of the Syndicalist Corporations, could not be overcome
without an increase in the production of commodities to be obtained by a
more rigorous discipline in the labour question; thus an economic
victory followed the victory on the battlefields. The masses of the
working classes, many of them previously Socialists and Communists,
enrolled themselves among the Fascisti syndicates scattered all over
Italy and were able to settle various important disputes.

The alleged dissension between Fascismo and the Italian Monarchy had
always been a favourite weapon in the hands of the anti-Fascisti
elements. The Hon. Mussolini, in his speech at the great Fascista Mass
Meeting at Naples on 24th October of last year, clearly manifested his
party feeling in the matter, as can be gathered by his own words uttered
there (see Part IV. page 171, of this collection). The attitude of
Fascismo towards Monarchy clearly defined by its leader was very
opportune, and contributed to the greater popularity of the movement
throughout the country, where this institution rests on a solid base,
represents Italian unity, and is to-day associated with its illustrious
representative, King Victor Emmanuel III., an example of domestic virtue
in private life, one of the most cultured men of our times, beloved by
all classes, who at the front proved himself the first soldier among
soldiers and gained the popularity of the whole nation.

The Army was secretly or openly greatly in favour of Fascismo, the
successful efforts of which to save the country from the
Social-Communist factions it could not forget. The soldiers could,
therefore, never have marched against the Fascisti—who represented
Italian patriotism. The very generals of the regular Army, such as
Generals Fara, Ceccherini, Graziani, de Bono, and others, in black
shirts, themselves directed the famous “March to Rome.”

With reference to religion, Mussolini’s Government promised to respect
all creeds, especially Catholicism. At Ouchy he said to the Press: “My
spirit is deeply religious. Religion is a formidable force which must be
respected and defended. I am, therefore, against anti-clerical and
atheistic democracy, which represents an old and useless toy. I maintain
that Catholicism is a great spiritual power, and I trust that the
relations between Church and State will henceforward be more friendly.”
And while the Minister for Public Instruction, Senator Gentile, has
introduced compulsory religious instruction in the elementary public
schools, the Under-Secretary of the same Ministry, Hon. Dario Lupi, one
of Mussolini’s closest friends, issued, as one of his first acts, a
timely and peremptory order to the school authorities requesting the
immediate replacement of the Crucifix and the picture of the King.

Fascismo, which during the last months of 1922 had seen its membership
increasing by leaps and bounds, finally won with a note of fanaticism
the very heart of the country from the Alps to the southern shores of
Sicily. Latterly it had exercised the functions of State almost
undisturbed, and did not spare either institutions or individuals in the
pursuit of its end. It had demanded and successfully obtained the
dismissal of the Pangermanist Mayor of Bolzano, Herr Perathoner; it had
occupied the Giunta Provinciale of Trento, causing the removal of the
Italian Governor, maintaining that he had been too weak in his attitude
towards arrogant Pangermanists in that region; and had acted
successfully as arbitrator in the labour dispute between Cantiere
Orlando of Leghorn and the Government itself. It was no wonder, then, if
after the big October meeting of last year at Naples and the “March to
Rome” with the famous Quadrumvirate formed by General Cesare de Bono,
Hon. Cesare Maria de Vecchi, Italo Balbo, and Michele Bianchi, then
Secretary-General of the Party, Mussolini, the creator of this mighty
movement, was summoned by the King to form the new Fascista Cabinet.

It might be a cause of surprise to the superficial observer, this sudden
ascent to power of a party which, a few days before it took the
government into its hands, had been threatened with martial law, an
order which the King wisely refused to sign, thus avoiding civil war.
But whoever has followed the development and progress of Fascismo during
the last four years, considers its great strength and power in the
country, its formidable membership (now over a million strong) compared
with that of any other party (the Socialists are reduced to seventy
thousand), and takes into account the high and patriotic principles on
which this movement is founded will not wonder that the party got to
power through an extra-parliamentary crisis. We cannot and must not
forget that these “black shirts”—as the Fascisti are called—have really
saved Italy from Bolshevism, which was sucking her very life-blood, and
that they are thereby entitled to the gratitude of our country and of
the world at large. “The Moscow conspirators, whose object was the
overthrow of Western civilisation, swept with a wide net,” writes Lord
Rothermere in his recent article, _Mussolini: What Europe owes to him_.
“They made great headway in Germany, especially in Berlin; they seized
Budapest under the direction of a convicted thief, but it was upon Italy
they counted most, and when Mussolini struck against them in Italy, he
was fighting a battle for all Europe.”

I do not think—and the Hon. Mussolini agreed with me in one of the
conversations I had with him—that people abroad, especially in England
and the United States, know much about Fascismo. It had been diagnosed
as a sporadic revolutionary movement, which sooner or later would be put
down by drastic measures. Not many have realised that in this after-war
period there is no more important historical phenomenon than Fascismo,
which, as our Prime Minister said, “is at the same time political,
military, religious, economic and syndicalist, and represents all the
hopes, the aspirations and requirements of the people.” The popular air
“Giovinezza” (Youth), the official song of the Fascisti, with its
thrilling notes, which magnetised the heart of the people, the
characteristic black shirts with the shield of the “fascio” on their
breasts, the “gagliardetti” (Fascisti standards)—all these have largely
contributed towards rousing a delirium of enthusiasm among the masses
for the great cause.

But three other important elements account for the success of the
“National Fascista Party” (as it is now officially constituted, with its
“Great National Council”), namely its military organisation, its
powerful Press, and, above all, the personality of Mussolini himself,
the “Duce,” as he is called. The military organisation is entirely on
Roman lines, with Roman names of “legion,” “Consul,” “cohort,” “Senior,”
“Centurion,” “Decurion,” “Triari,” etc. The symbol of Fascismo is the
same as that of the lictors of Imperial Rome—a bundle of rods with an
axe in the centre—and the Fascista salute is that of the ancient
Romans—by outstretched arm. The coins which are being struck bear on one
side the King’s head and on the other the Roman “fascio;” in the same
way special gold coins of one hundred lire will be issued shortly, to
celebrate the first anniversary of the “March to Rome.” There is the
most rigorous discipline, and the motto: “No discussion, only
obedience,” has proved of immense value in all the sudden mobilisations
and demobilisations carried out, often at a few hours notice, which
could give points to the best organised army in the world. On the
occasion of the mass meeting preceding the “March to Rome,” which was
attended by over half a million men, in less than twenty-four hours
forty thousand left the town in perfect order and without the slightest

Fascismo possesses a large Press, which comprises five dailies and a
large number of weekly, fortnightly and monthly publications and a
publishing house in Milan.

But the decisive factor in the great victory of Fascismo is due to the
personality of the great leader of this army of Italy’s salvation, the
very soul of this mighty movement.

Few public men of our time have had a more rapid, brilliant and
interesting career than Benito Mussolini, the son of a blacksmith. He is
the youngest of his predecessors in this office, as he was born only
forty years ago at Predappio, in the province of Forli, where the
villagers still call him simply “Our Benit.” He was deeply attached to
his mother, Rosa Maltoni, and her death caused him intense sorrow. He
has one sister, Edvige, and a younger brother, Arnaldo, who, since the
elder one has become Prime Minister, has taken his place as editor of
_Il Popolo d’Italia_. Mussolini first worked in his father’s forge and
then, having occupied for a time the position of village schoolmaster,
emigrated to Switzerland, from which country he was, however, expelled
on account of articles he had written advocating the Marxist doctrines.
Returning once more to Italy, he became an active member of the
Socialist Party and finally editor of its organ, the _Avanti_. Upon the
outbreak of war in 1914, with his keen political insight, Mussolini saw
the necessity of Italian intervention, and in consequence was forced to
leave the official Socialist Party, giving up all the positions he held
in it. He founded his _Popolo d’Italia_, and began fiercely to sound the
trumpets of war, inciting his country to abandon her neutral attitude
and to throw in her lot with the Allies. He gained his end, and in 1915
he went to the front as a simple soldier in the 11th Bersagliere
Regiment. In 1917, as the result of the bursting of a shell, he received
thirty-eight simultaneous wounds; he was obliged to go to hospital, was
promoted on the field, and invalided out of the Army. He then returned
to Milan, and having resumed the editorship of his paper, the _Popolo
d’Italia_, began his political battles, and continued to fight through
its columns, spurring his countrymen on to final victory.

With no exaggeration it can be stated that since the advent to power of
Mussolini every day has seen a steady advance in the direction of the
rebuilding of the country within and a notable enhancement of our
prestige abroad. His strenuous everyday work is inspired by an
indomitable determination to make Italy worthy of the glories of
Vittorio Veneto, strengthened and disciplined, and he will spare neither
himself nor those around him in his attempt to bring about its

He wishes to secure Italy’s rightful position in the world. Mussolini’s
foreign policy of dignity, honesty and justice has already been outlined
in his opening speech before the Chamber, and can be summarised thus:
“No imperialism, no aggressions, but an attitude which shall do away
with the policy of humility which has made Italy more like the
Cinderella and humble servant of other nations. Respect for
international treaties at no matter what cost. Fidelity and friendship
towards the nations that give Italy serious proofs of reciprocating it.
Maintenance of Eastern equilibrium, on which depends the tranquillity of
the Balkan States and, therefore, European and world peace.”

It is enough to cast an eye on the numerous legislative and
administrative work accomplished by Mussolini’s Government in these
first eleven months to convince oneself that he is in deep earnest as to
the vast programme of reconstruction he means to carry through. With
reference to domestic matters, the Fascista Government has passed a
great number of bills and projects of laws concerning the Electoral
Reform Bill approved by the Chamber last July, radical reform of the
entire school system, institution of the National Militia, and abolition
of the Guardie Regie (which was a poor substitute for the Carabineers),
industrialisation of Public Services (Posts, Telegraphs, Railways),
abolition of Death Duties between near relations, enactment of Decree on
the Eight Hours Work Bill, reformation of the Civil Law Codes, reduction
of Ministerial departments, now only nine, which formerly were sixteen,
and formation of the recent Ministry of National Economy, under which
are grouped various others: Industry, Agriculture, Labour, etc.,
reduction of the National Debt by over a milliard, a comforting
contribution towards the balance of the Budget, as is gathered by the
speech delivered in June, at Milan, by the Minister of Finance, Hon. De

Mussolini, besides having established a real discipline (there are no
more strikes since the Fascista Government is in power), and having
fully restored the authority of the State, has shown himself to be the
most practical anti-waste advocate which the world has yet known. As to
foreign policy, besides adhering to the Washington Disarmament
Conference, and having signed conventions relative to the laying of
cables for a direct telegraphic communication with North, Central and
South America, negotiated important commercial treaties with Canada,
Russia, Spain, Lithuania, Poland, Siam, Finland, Esthonia, etc., and
having exercised beneficial influence in the Ruhr conflict and in the
Lausanne Conference, has been an element of equilibrium for the new
after-war international policy in the world.

The selection of his speeches contained in this volume is not a mere
translation, since, in fact, the exact equivalent of this book as it has
been arranged, classified and edited is not to be found in any other
language. These speeches, illustrated by the valuable prefatory notes,
almost all of which have been supplied to me by one who has been closely
associated with Mussolini during the whole of his political career,
serve, in my opinion, as could no biography, to reveal the mind,
character and personality of Mussolini himself. Delivered at intervals
throughout the various stages of his career, from Socialist to Fascista
Prime Minister, they enable the reader to follow intimately the events
which led up to the Fascista Revolution and its leader’s attainment of
his present strong position. The forcible and sober style of his
character, shorn of every unnecessary word, betrays the dynamic force
and intense earnestness of this man, who has been compared to Cromwell
for his drastic and dictatorial methods in the Chamber, and to Napoleon
for his eagle-like perception, for his decisiveness and his marvellous
power of leadership.

Mussolini is a volcanic genius, a bewitcher of crowds. He seems a
regular warrior, with an indomitable daring, great physical and moral
courage, and he has seen death near him without wavering. He is the real
type of Roman Emperor, with a severe bronzed face, but which hides a
kind and generous heart. He is what people call a real “self-made man,”
and is a great lover of the violin and of all kinds of sport: fencing,
cycling, flying, riding and motoring. Mussolini gets all he wants and
quickly, and, as all his party do, knows exactly what he _does_ want.

Apart from all that has been said, the present collection of speeches,
besides showing Mussolini’s strong hand in the difficult art of
statesmanship, displays clearly in almost every page (and so, possibly,
the book may also appeal to others than politicians), additional
important elements which are not usually found in a volume of political
speeches, namely a richness of sympathy for mankind, a blunt
straightforwardness, a gentleness of soul together with exceptional
moral strength, pure idealism, which lift him not only above party
politics, but also high above the average of mankind.

Such is the builder of New Italy, and the enthusiasm and deep confidence
which Mussolini has inspired in our country, and the unanimous approval
his work has prompted abroad, are a good omen for Italy’s future
fortunes and for the welfare of the world at large.

                                      BERNARDO QUARANTA di SAN SEVERINO.

  SIENA, Via S. Quirico, N.1.
        _October 1923._


                        (_English Translation_)

                        FASCISTA NATIONAL PARTY


        Our movement has been crowned with success. The leader of our
Party now holds the political power of the State for Italy and abroad.
While this New Government represents our triumph, it celebrates, at the
same time, our victory in the name of those who by land and by sea
promoted it; and it accepts also, for the purpose of pacification, men
from other parties, provided they are true to the cause of the Nation.
The Italian Fascisti are too intelligent to wish to abuse their victory.


        The supreme Quadrumvirate, which has resigned its powers in
favour of the Party, thanks you for the magnificent proof of courage and
of discipline which you have given, and salutes you. You have proved
yourselves worthy of the fortunes and of the future of your Fatherland.

Demobilise in the same perfectly orderly manner in which you assembled
for this great achievement, destined—as we firmly believe—to open a new
era in the history of Italy. Return now to your usual occupations, as,
in order to arrive at the summit of her fortunes, Italy needs to work.
May nothing disturb the glory of these days through which we have just
passed—days of superb passion and of Roman greatness.

                                          Long live Italy!
                                          Long live Fascismo!

                                                      THE QUADRUMVIRATE.


Page 133, last line, _for_ wars _read_ stars.

Page 140, line 24, _for_ times _read_ temples.

Page 143, This Speech was delivered 20th September 1922.

Page 208, line 1, _for_ Council of Munitions _read_ Council of

Page 351, line 21, _for_ 1885 _read_ 1855.


 FACSIMILE LETTER                                                     vi

 INTRODUCTION: A NOTE ON ITALIAN FASCISMO                             ix


 ENGLISH TRANSLATION                                                 xxi

                                 PART I

                        MUSSOLINI THE “SOCIALIST”

   AWAY MY FAITH IN THE CAUSE”                                         3
           (_Speech delivered at Milan, 25th November 1914._)

                                 PART II

                     MUSSOLINI THE “MAN OF THE WAR”

           (_Speech delivered at Parma, 13th December 1914._)

            (_Speech delivered at Milan, 25th January 1915._)

 “TO THE COMPLETE VANQUISHING OF THE HUNS”                            25
     (_Speech delivered at Sesto San Giovanni, 1st December 1917._)

 “NO TURNING BACK!”                                                   30
            (_Speech delivered at Rome, 24th February 1918._)

 THE FATAL VICTORY                                                    37
             (_Speech delivered at Bologna, 24th May 1918._)

 “IN HONOUR OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE”                                   49
             (_Speech delivered at Milan, 8th April 1918._)

 THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS                                                52
            (_Speech delivered at Milan, 20th October 1918._)

 IN CELEBRATION OF VICTORY                                            58
           (_Speech delivered at Milan, 11th November 1918._)

                                PART III


 WORKMEN’S RIGHTS AFTER THE WAR                                       63
            (_Speech delivered at Dalmine, 20th March 1919._)

 SACRIFICE, WORK, AND PRODUCTION                                      67
            (_Speech delivered at Milan, 5th February 1920._)

   FAR AS IT REMAINS ANTI-ITALIAN”                                    71
              (_Speech delivered at Milan, 24th May 1920._)

            (_Speech delivered at Ferrara, 4th April 1921._)

            (_Speech delivered at Milan, 6th December 1922._)

 LABOUR TO TAKE THE FIRST PLACE IN NEW ITALY                          82
             (_Speech delivered at Rome, 6th January 1923._)

                                 PART IV

                        MUSSOLINI THE “FASCISTA”

             (_Speech delivered at Milan, 23rd March 1919._)

             (_Speech delivered at Milan, 22nd July 1919._)

 FASCISMO AND THE RIGHTS OF VICTORY                                  103
           (_Speech delivered at Florence, 9th October 1919._)

 THE TASKS OF FASCISMO                                               108
          (_Speech delivered at Trieste, 20th September 1920._)

           (_Speech delivered at Trieste, 6th February 1921._)

 HOW FASCISMO WAS CREATED                                            134
            (_Speech delivered at Bologna, 3rd April 1921._)

                     (_Speech delivered at Udine._)

          (_Speech delivered at Cremona, 25th September 1922._)

 THE FASCISTA DAWNING OF NEW ITALY                                   161
            (_Speech delivered at Milan, 6th October 1922._)

   CORD WILL BREAK”                                                  171
           (_Speech delivered at Naples, 26th October 1922._)

                                 PART V


 FASCISMO AND THE NEW PROVINCES                                      183
          (_Speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921._)

 THE QUESTION OF MONTENEGRO’S INDEPENDENCE                           189
        (_Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921._)

 D’ANNUNZIO AND FIUME                                                192
        (_Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921._)

        (_Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921._)

        (_Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921._)

   AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY                                              201
        (_Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921._)

                                 PART VI


 A NEW CROMWELL IN THE PARLIAMENT                                    207
        (_Speech delivered in the Chamber, 16th November 1922._)

      (_Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 16th November 1922._)

      (_Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 16th November 1922._)

   AND ITS FOREIGN POLICY”                                           219
       (_Speech delivered before the Senate, 27th November 1922._)

   GOVERNMENT”                                                       227
           (_Speech delivered in London, 12th December 1922._)

   NATION”                                                           228
             (_Speech delivered at Rome, 2nd January 1923._)

 THE ADVANCE IN THE RUHR DISTRICT                                    230
  (_Speech delivered at Rome, 15th January 1923, before the Cabinet._)

 THE GOVERNMENT OF SPEED                                             234
  (_Speech delivered at Rome, 19th January 1923, at the headquarters of
                       Motor Transport Company._)

  (_Speech delivered at Rome, 23rd January 1923, before the Cabinet._)

  (_Speech delivered at Rome, 1st February 1923, before the Cabinet._)

 (_Speech delivered before the Chamber of Deputies, 6th February 1923._)

                      (_Rome, 6th February 1923._)

  (_Prefatory remarks to the Deputies, 8th February 1923, accompanying
    the Project of Law presented by the Hon. Mussolini, Minister for
                  Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister._)

    (_Speech delivered before the Chamber of Deputies, 10th February

   ZARA AND DALMATIA                                                 258
       (_Speech delivered before the Senate, 16th February 1923._)

        (_Speech delivered before the Cabinet, 2nd March 1923._)

              (_Speech delivered at Rome, 6th March 1923._)

   SECURITY”                                                         272
    (_Speech delivered at the Ministry of Finance, 7th March 1923._)

   RESTORE TO ITS FULL EFFICIENCY”                                   274
             (_Speech delivered at Rome, 18th March 1923._)

   CURSED AND STILL CURSE AT THE WAR”                                276
             (_Speech delivered at Milan, 29th March 1923._)

 “PATRIOTISM IS NOT FORMED BY MERE WORDS”                            277
      (_Speech delivered at Arosio, near Milan, 30th March 1923._)

        (_Speech delivered before the Cabinet, 7th April 1923._)

              (_Speech delivered at Rome, 2nd June 1923._)

              (_Speech delivered at Padua, 2nd June 1923._)

     (_Speech delivered at the University of Padua, 3rd June 1923._)

   COUNTRIES                                                         293
         (_Speech delivered before the Senate, 8th June 1923._)

 “THE INTERNAL POLICY”                                               306
         (_Speech delivered before the Senate, 8th June 1923._)

   IN PEACE”                                                         320
       (_Speech delivered at Sassari (Sardinia), 10th June 1923._)

   NEVER DIE”                                                        323
      (_Speech delivered at Cagliari (Sardinia), 12th June 1923._)

      (_Speech delivered at Iglesias (Sardinia), 13th June 1923._)

   SEA TO IMPRISON US”                                               328
            (_Speech delivered at Florence, 19th June 1923._)

            (_Speech delivered at Florence, 19th June 1923._)

              (_Speech delivered at Rome, 25th June 1923._)

 (_Speech delivered by the American Ambassador at Rome, 28th June 1923,
                and the Italian Prime Minister’s reply._)

   GENERATIONS”                                                      343
              (_Speech delivered at Rome, 2nd July 1923._)

    (_Speech delivered 3rd July 1923, at the Council of Ministers._)

 THE ELECTORAL REFORM BILL                                           347
  (_Speech delivered before the Chamber of Deputies, 16th July 1923._)

   GRECO-ALBANIAN FRONTIER                                           363
                       (_Rome, 27th August 1923._)

 INDEX                                                               365

                                 PART I

                       MUSSOLINI THE “SOCIALIST”

                         MY FAITH IN THE CAUSE”

  Speech delivered on 25th November 1914, at Milan, before the meeting
    of the Milanese Socialist Section, which had decreed Mussolini’s
              expulsion from the official Socialist Party.

  In the fearless militarism of the dramatic speech with which this
  volume begins, the Socialistic activity of Benito Mussolini ends—of
  Benito Mussolini, who from the autumn of 1914 could have been
  considered the recognised and acclaimed leader of the Italian
  Socialist Party. He had attained with giant strides the highest rank
  in the party’s hierarchy, namely the editorship of the _Avanti_, the
  chief organ of the political and syndicalist movement. He had been a
  clever and aggressive writer in a weekly provincial paper of Forli,
  called _La lotta di classe_,[1] and an ardent Sunday orator for the
  “ville” of Romagna. He had revealed himself a “comrade” of
  tremendous power at the Congress of Reggio Emilia, held in the
  summer of 1912, where he delivered a memorable speech bitterly
  criticising the flaccid mentality of Reformism then dominating the

Footnote 1:

    Class struggle.

  It was within two months of his success at Reggio Emilia that the
  revolutionary leaders, feeling the need of strong men, entrusted to
  Benito Mussolini the editorship of the _Avanti_, which was the most
  powerful weapon of the party.

  The following speech was delivered before a furious crowd of not
  less than three thousand holders of membership cards, who hastened
  from other centres adjacent to Milan, amid a diabolical tumult in an
  atmosphere of organised hostility, which was the more violent by
  contrast with the fanatical devotion which Benito Mussolini had
  evoked during the two years in which he had been the undisputed
  mouthpiece of the party.

  This atmosphere of intolerance and hatred had been fostered by the
  neutralist adversaries who had succeeded to the management of the
  _Avanti_ after the present head of the Italian Government had left
  the party.

  As is known, the excited meeting held in the spacious hall of the
  Casa del Popolo closed with a resolution for the expulsion of the
  new heretic, which was passed, except by a negligible minority of
  about fifty supporters, who afterwards stood by Mussolini in the
  victorious campaign for intervention.

My fate is decided, and it seems as if the sentence were to be executed
with a certain solemnity. (Voices: “Louder! Louder!”)

You are severer than ordinary judges who allow the fullest and most
exhaustive defence even after the sentence, since they give ten days for
the production of the motives of appeal. If, then, it is decided, and
you still think that I am unworthy of fighting any longer for your
cause—(“Yes! yes!” is shouted by some of the most excited among the
audience.)—then expel me. But I have a right to exact a legal act of
accusation, and in this meeting the public prosecutor has not yet
intervened with regard either to the political or to the moral issues. I
shall, therefore, be condemned by an “order of the day” which means
nothing. In a case like this, I ought to have been told that I was
unworthy to belong any longer to the party for definite reasons, in
which case I should have accepted my fate. This, however, has not been
said, and a great many of you—if not all—will leave this room with an
uneasy conscience. (Deafening voices: “No! no!”)

With reference to the moral question, I repeat once more that I am ready
to submit my case to any Committee which cares to make investigations
and to issue a report.

As regards the question of discipline, I should say that this has not
been examined, because there are just and fitting precedents for my
changed attitude, and if I do not quote them it is because I feel myself
to be secure and have an easy conscience.

You think to sign my death warrant, but you are mistaken. To-day you
hate me, because in your heart of hearts you still love me, because....
(Applause and hisses interrupt the speaker.)

But you have not seen the last of me! Twelve years of my party life are,
or ought to be, a sufficient guarantee of my faith in Socialism.
Socialism is something which takes root in the heart. What divides me
from you now is not a small dispute, but a great question over which the
whole of Socialism is divided. Amilcare Cipriani can no longer be your
candidate because he declared, both by word of mouth and in writing,
that if his seventy-five years allowed him, he would be in the trenches
fighting the European military reaction which was stifling revolution.

Time will prove who is right and who is wrong in the formidable question
which now confronts Socialism, and which it has never had to face before
in the history of humanity, since never before has there been such a
conflagration as exists to-day, in which millions of the proletariat are
pitted one against the other. This war, which has much in common with
those of the Napoleonic period, is not an everyday event. Waterloo was
fought in 1814; perhaps 1914 will see some other principles fall to the
ground, will see the salvation of liberty, and the beginning of a new
era in the world’s history—(Loud applause greets this fitting historical
comparison.)—and especially in the history of the proletariat, which at
all critical moments has found me here with you in this same spot, just
as it found me in the street.

But I tell you that from now onwards I shall never forgive nor have pity
on anyone who in this momentous hour does not speak his mind for fear of
being hissed or shouted down. (This cutting allusion to the many
prominent absentees is understood and warmly applauded by the meeting.)

I shall neither forgive nor have pity on those who are purposely
reticent, those who show themselves hypocrites and cowards. And you will
find me still on your side. You must not think that the middle classes
are enthusiastic about our intervention. They snarl and accuse us of
temerity, and fear that the proletariat, once armed with bayonets, will
use them for their own ends. (Mingled applause, and cries of “No! no!”)

Do not think that in taking away my membership card you will be taking
away my faith in the cause, or that you will prevent my still working
for Socialism and revolution. (Hearty applause follows these last words
of Mussolini, uttered with great energy and profound conviction. He
descends from the platform and makes his way down the great hall.)

                                PART II

                     MUSSOLINI THE “MAN OF THE WAR”


    Speech delivered at the Scuole Mazza, Parma, 13th December 1914.

  This speech was delivered under the stress of great excitement. The
  most ardent supporters of active neutrality were assembled at Parma,
  a citadel of revolutionary Syndicalism, which opposed Party
  Socialism, and the majority of whose members, after the outbreak of
  the European War, sided against the Central Empires and in defence
  of intervention. Among these we remember Giacinto Menotti Serrati,
  then Editor-in-chief of the _Avanti_, and Fulvio Zocchi, a
  ridiculous and malignant demagogue, now removed from political life.

  But, notwithstanding this pressure from outside, the people of
  Parma, mindful of their Garibaldian and anti-Austrian traditions,
  sided enthusiastically with Mussolini and Alcesto De Ambris, the
  leader of Syndicalism and member of Parliament for the city, who had
  been the first to support the section of the extremists.

Citizens,—It is in your interest to listen to me quietly and with
tolerance. I shall be brief, precise and sincere to the point of

The last great continental war was from 1870 to 1871. Prussia, guided by
Bismarck and Moltke, defeated France and robbed her of two flourishing
and populous provinces. The Treaty of Frankfurt marked the triumph of
Bismarck’s policy, which aimed at the incontestable hegemony of Prussia
in Central Europe and the gradual Slavisation of the Balkan zones of
Austria-Hungary. One recalls these features of Bismarck’s policy in
trying to understand the different international crises which took place
in Europe from ’70 up to the bewildering and extremely painful situation
of to-day. From ’70 onwards there were only remoter wars among the
peoples of Eastern Europe, such as those between Russia and Turkey,
Serbia and Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, or wars in the colonies. There
was, in consequence, a widespread conviction that a European or world
war was no longer possible. The most diverse reasons were put forward to
maintain this argument.

_Illusions and Sophisms._ It was suggested, for example, that the
perfecting of the instruments for making war must destroy its
possibility. Ridiculous! War has always been deadly. The perfecting of
arms is relative to the progress—technical, mechanical and military—of
the human race. In this respect the warlike machines of the ancient
Romans are the equivalent of the mortars of 420 calibre. They are made
with the object of killing, and they do kill. The perfecting of
instruments of war is no hindrance to warlike instincts. It might have
the opposite effect.

Reliance was also placed on “human kindness” and other sentiments of
humanity, of brotherhood and love, which ought, it was maintained, to
bind all the different branches of the species “man” together regardless
of barriers of land or sea. Another illusion! It is very true that these
feelings of sympathy and brotherliness exist; our century has, in truth,
seen the rapid multiplication of philanthropic works for the alleviation
of the hardships both of men and of animals; but along with these
impulses exist others, profounder, higher and more vital. We should not
explain the universal phenomenon of war by attributing it to the
caprices of monarchs, race-hatred or economic rivalry; we must take into
account other feelings which each of us carries in his heart, and which
made Proudhon exclaim, with that perennial truth which hides beneath the
mask of paradox, that war was of “divine origin.”

It was also maintained that the encouragement of closer international
relations—economic, artistic, intellectual, political and sporting—by
causing the peoples to become better acquainted, would have prevented
the outbreak of war among civilised nations. Norman Angell had founded
his book upon the impossibility of war, proving that all the nations
involved—victors and vanquished alike—would have their economic life
completely convulsed and ruined in consequence. Another illusion laid
bare! Lack of observation. The purely economic man does not exist. The
story of the world is not merely a page of book-keeping; and material
interests—luckily—are not the only mainspring of human actions. It is
true that international relations have multiplied; that there is, or
was, freer interchange—political and economic—between the peoples of the
different countries than there was a century ago. But parallel with this
phenomenon is another, which is that the people, with the diffusion of
culture and the formation of an economic system of a national type, tend
to isolate themselves psychologically and morally.

_Internationalism._ Side by side with the peaceful middle-class
movement, which is not worth examination, flourished another of an
international character, that of the working classes. At the outbreak of
war this class, too, gave evidence of its inefficiency. The Germans, who
ought to have set the example, flocked as a man to the Kaiser’s banner.
The treachery of the Germans forced the Socialists of the other
countries to fall back upon the basis of nationality and the necessity
of national defence. The German unity automatically determined the unity
of the other countries. It is said, and justly, that international
relations are like love; it takes two to carry them on. Internationalism
is ended; that which existed yesterday is dead, and it is impossible to
foresee what form it will take to-morrow. Reality cannot be done away
with and cannot be ignored, and the reality is that millions and
millions of men, for the most part of the working classes, are standing
opposite one another to-day on the blood-drenched battlefields of
Europe. The neutrals, who shout themselves hoarse crying “Down with
war!” do not realise the grotesque cowardice contained in that cry
to-day. It is irony of the most atrocious kind to shout “Down with war!”
while men are fighting and dying in the trenches.

_The Real Situation._ Between the two groups, the Triple Entente and the
Austro-German Alliance, Italy has remained—neutral. In the Triple
Entente there is heroic Serbia, who has broken loose from the Austrian
yoke; there is martyred Belgium, who refused to sell herself; there is
republican France who has been attacked; there is democratic England;
there is autocratic Russia, though her foundations are undermined by
revolution. On the other side there is Austria, clerical and feudal, and
Germany, militarist and aggressive. At the outbreak of war Italy
proclaimed herself neutral. Was the “exception” contemplated in the
treaties? It seems as if it were so, especially in view of the recent
revelations made by Giolitti. If the neutrality of the Government meant
indifference, the neutrality of the Socialists and the economic
organisations had an entirely different character and significance. The
Socialist neutrality intended a general strike in the case of alliance
with Austria; no practical opposition in the case of a war against her.
A distinction was made, therefore, between one war and another. Further,
the classes were allowed to be called up.

If the Government had mobilised, all the Socialists would have found it
a natural and logical proceeding. They admitted, therefore, that a
nation has the right and duty to defend itself by recourse to arms, in
case of attack from outside. Neutrality understood in this way had
necessarily to lead—with the progress of events, especially in
Belgium—to the idea of intervention.

_The Bourgeoisie is Neutral._ It is controversial whether Italy has a
bourgeoisie in the generally accepted sense of the word. Rather than the
bourgeoisie and lower classes, there are rich and poor. In any case, it
is untrue that the Italian middle classes are, at the moment, jingoist.
On the contrary they are neutral and desperately pacifist. The banking
world is neutral, the industrial classes have reorganised their
business, and the agrarian population, small and great, are pacifists by
tradition and temperament; the political and academic middle classes are
neutral. Look at the Senate! There are perhaps exceptions, young men who
do not wish to stagnate in the dead pool of neutrality; but the middle
classes, taken as a whole, are hostile to war and neutral. As a
conclusive proof, compare the tone of the middle-class papers to-day
with that shown at the time of the Libyan campaign, and note the
difference. The trumpet-call which then sounded for war is muffled now.
The language of the middle-class Press is uncertain, wavering and
mysterious, neutral in word but, in effect, in favour of the Allies.
Where are the trumpets that summoned us in the September of 1911? The
secret is out, and ought to make the Socialists, who are not stupid,
stop and think. On the one side are all the conservative and stagnant
elements, and on the other the revolutionary and the living forces of
the country. It is necessary to choose.

_We want the War!_ But _we_ want the war and we want it _at once_. It is
not true that military preparation is lacking. What does this waiting
for the spring to come mean?

Socialism ought not, and cannot, be against all wars because in that
case it would have to deny fifty years of history. Do you want to judge
and condemn in the same breath the war in Tripoli and the result of the
French Revolution of 1793? And Garibaldi? Is he, too, a jingoist? You
must distinguish between one war and another, as between one crime and
another, one case of bloodshed and another. Bovio said: “All the water
in the sea would not suffice to remove the stain from the hands of Lady
Macbeth, but a basinful would wash the blood from the hands of

Guesde, in a congress of French Socialists held a few weeks before the
outbreak of war, declared that, in case of a conflagration, the nation
that was most Socialist would be the victim of the nation that was
least. To prove this, notice the behaviour of the Italian Socialists.
Look at them in Parliament. Treves lost time by quibbling. At one moment
he exclaimed, “We shall not deny the country.” In fact the country
cannot be denied. One does not deny one’s mother, even if she does not
offer one all her gifts, even if she does force one to earn one’s living
in the alluring streets of the world. (Great applause.)

Treves said more: “We shall not oppose a war of defence.” If this is
admitted, the necessity of arming ourselves is admitted. You will not
open the gates of Italy yet to the Austrian army, because they will come
to pillage the houses and violate the women! I know it well. There are
base wretches who blame Belgium for defending herself. She might have
pocketed the money of the Germans, they say, and allowed them a free
passage; while resistance meant laying herself open to the scientific
and systematic destruction of her towns. But Belgium lives, and will
live, because she refused to sell herself ignobly. If she had done so,
she would be dead for all time. (Great applause, and cries of “Long live
Belgium!” The cheering lasts for some minutes.)

_The War of Defence._ When do you want to begin to defend yourselves?
When the enemy’s knee is on your chest? Wouldn’t it be better to begin a
little earlier? Wouldn’t it be better to begin to-day when it would not
cost so much, rather than wait until to-morrow when it might be
disastrous? Do you wish to maintain a splendid isolation? But in that
case we must arm; arm and create a colossal militarism.

The Socialists, and I am still one, although an exasperated one, never
brought forward the question of irredentism, but left it to the
Republicans. We are in favour of a national war. But there are also
reasons, purely socialist in character, which spur us on towards

_The Europe of To-morrow._ It is said that the Europe of to-morrow will
not be any different from the Europe of yesterday. This is the most
absurd and alarming hypothesis. If you accept it, there is some absolute
meaning for your neutrality. It is not worth while sacrificing oneself
in order to leave things as they were before. But both mind and heart
refuse to believe that this spilling of blood over three continents will
lead to nothing. Everything leads one to believe, on the contrary, that
the Europe of to-morrow will be profoundly transformed. Greater liberty
or greater reaction? More or less militarism? Which of the two groups of
Powers, by their victory, would assure us of better conditions of
liberty for the working classes? There is no doubt about the answer. And
in what way do you wish to assist in the triumph of the Triple Entente?
Perhaps with articles in the papers and “orders of the day” in
committee? Are these sentimental manifestations enough to raise up
Belgium again? To relieve France? This France which bled for Europe in
the revolutions and wars from ’89 to ’71 and from ’71 to ’14? Do you
then offer to the France of the “Rights of Man” nothing but words?

_Against Apathy._ Tell me—and this is the supreme reason for
intervention—tell me, is it human, civilised, socialistic, to stop
quietly at the window while blood is flowing in torrents, and to say, “I
am not going to move, it does not matter to me a bit”? Can the formula
of “sacred egoism” devised by the Hon. Salandra be accepted by the
working classes? No! I do not think so. The law of solidarity does not
stop at economic competition; it goes beyond. Yesterday it was both fine
and necessary to contribute in aid of struggling companions; but to-day
they ask you to shed your blood for them. They implore it. Intervention
will shorten the period of terrible carnage. That will be to the
advantage of all, even of the Germans, our enemies. Will you refuse this
proof of solidarity? If you do, with what dignity will you, Italian
proletarians, show yourselves abroad to-morrow? Do you not fear that
your German comrades will reject you, because you betrayed the Triple
Entente? Do you not fear that those in France and Belgium, showing you
their land still scarred by graves and trenches, and pointing out with
pride their ruined towns, will say to you: “Where were you, and what did
you do, O Italian Proletarians, when we fought desperately against the
Austro-German militarism to free Europe from the incubus of the hegemony
of the Kaiser?” In that day you will not know how to answer; in that day
you will be ashamed to be Italian, but it will be too late!

_The People’s War._ Let us take up again the Italian traditions. The
people who want the war want it without delay. In two months’ time it
might be an act of brigandage; to-day it is a war to be fought with
courage and dignity.

War and Socialism are incompatible, understood in their universal sense,
but every epoch and every people has had its wars. Life is relative; the
absolute only exists in the cold and unfruitful abstract. Those who set
too much store by their skins will not go into the trenches, and you
will not find them even in the streets in the day of battle. He who
refuses to fight to-day is an accomplice of the Kaiser, and a prop of
the tottering throne of Francis Joseph. Do you wish mechanical Germany,
intoxicated by Bismarck, to be once more the free and unprejudiced
Germany of the first half of last century? Do you wish for a German
Republic extending from the Rhine to the Vistula? Does the idea of the
Kaiser, a prisoner and banished to some remote island, make you laugh?
Germany will only find her soul through defeat. With the defeat of
Germany the new and brilliant spring will burst over Europe.

It is necessary to act, to move, to fight and, if necessary, to die.
Neutrals have never dominated events. They have always gone under. It is
blood which moves the wheels of history! (Frantic bursts of applause.)


             Speech delivered at Milan, 25th January 1915.

  The progress of Milanese, which is to say of Italian
  interventionalism, thanks to the authority and the influence of the
  Lombard metropolis, the throbbing heart of the country, begins with
  the meeting held in the great hall of the Istituto Tecnico Carlo
  Cattaneo. At this meeting there were present forty-five “fasci,”
  called “fasci di azione rivoluzionaria,” formed almost entirely in
  the principal regional and provincial centres. Among the most
  notable supporters were a group of soldiers of the 61st and 62nd
  Infantry, the poet Ceccardo Roccatagliata Ceccardi, and the old
  Garibaldian patriot Ergisto Bezzi, called the “Ferruccio” of the

I thank you for your greeting, and am happy and proud to be present at
this meeting which represents, perhaps, in these six months of a
neutrality of commercialism and smuggling, branded with Socialism, a new
fact of the utmost importance and significance.

While listening to the reports which were made here, my mind carried me
back to the first Congresses of the International, when the
representatives of the various sections of the different countries
prepared written reports which gave full details as to the situations of
the respective peoples. This was a splendid means of coming to a closer
understanding. I pass now to speak of the international state of

The diplomatic and political situation cannot be spoken of without the
military. The military situation is stationary, although, to-day, it is
clearly in favour of the Germans, who occupy the whole of Belgium, with
the exception of 880 square kilometres, who hold ten rich and populous
departments of France, and a great part of Russian Poland. Besides, the
recent attack upon Dunkirk and the activity of the submarines and
dirigibles show that the Germans are still full of fight, and wish to
carry the war on literally to the utmost limits of their powers of
attack and defence. Thus the intervention of Italy is not late. I think
the right moment has come now, when the military situation hangs in the
balance. There is neither advance nor retreat on either side, for which
reason it would be a good thing to decide the game by the introduction
of a new factor, the intervention of Italy and Roumania.

The principal international events of this week have been the Berchtold
resignations, the consideration of intervention by Roumania, and the
treaty of the Triple Entente for the regulation of Russia’s financial

_Russia._ It really seems to me that there was a moment of slackness in
the pursuit of the war on the part of Austria and Russia. It is enough
to call to mind a short paragraph in an official Russian paper, the
_Ruskoie Slovo_, in order to realise that there was a time when Russia

“It is true,” says the paper, “that on the 4th September, Russia,
France, England, Belgium and Serbia undertook not to make peace
individually; but this pledge brings with it the necessity of supporting
the expenses of war in common, especially now that Turkey has come to
the help of the Central Powers. Our treasury is empty. Where can we
obtain that money which is more important than men? If England refuses,
we shall be obliged to end the war in any way convenient to Russia.”
Really threatening words these, of which England, however, understood
the meaning, and immediately took steps to prevent their realisation by
launching the loan of fifteen milliards in favour of Russia to be
subscribed to in the capitals of the Triple Entente. And, in fact,
immediately after the announcement of the loan the tone of the official
papers changed, and there was no more talk of making a separate peace.

_Austria._ There were other symptoms of restlessness in Austria.
Clearly, up to the present, Austria has been sacrificed the most. She
has lost Galicia and been defeated by the Russians and Serbs.

It may be then that the resignation of Berchtold is an indication that
Austrian politics are taking a new direction. In what sense? I do not
think in the pacifist sense. Austria is tied to Germany, and Germany
leans upon Austria and Hungary. Burian’s journey to the German General
Staff was made, I think, with the object of obtaining military aid for
Hungary. Austria and Hungary are preparing themselves against Roumania,
because this nation will probably intervene before Italy.

_Roumania._ Roumania has four million men concentrated in Transylvania
under the rule of Austria-Hungary; she is a young nation with a perfect
army of 500,000 men, and she will be obliged to end her hesitation,
probably owing to the fact that the Russians are at her frontier.
Nothing would embarrass the Roumanians as much as this, since they
remember that in 1878 the Russians occupied Bessarabia. When the
Russians, therefore, are in Transylvania, the intervention of Roumania
will be decided at once.

_Valona._ One fact that has a certain importance where Italy is
concerned is the occupation of Valona, which has come about in curious
circumstances with the occupation of Sasseno, and the landing of the
marines before the Bersaglieri. I do not think that there are really
rebels in Albania; and I think that Italy will stop at Valona. I do not
think either that Valona will run any serious risk, because the
Albanians have rifles but no artillery. Albania does not exist in the
true sense of the word, as the Albanians are divided both by race and
tribe, and I do not think that an organised movement is to be feared.

_Switzerland._ One point that we must take into consideration is the
position of Switzerland—a point, to my mind, rather obscure. It is true
that we can feel, to a certain extent, reassured by the fact that the
President of Switzerland at the moment is an Italian. But without doubt
a restless state of mind prevails among the German element there. The
voice of race calls louder than the voice of political union; the German
Swiss lay down laws; they circulate pamphlets which say “Let us remain
Swiss”; they go in search of the Swiss spirit, but I think that it would
be difficult to find it. In any case, it is certain that they make acid
comments on the articles in the _Popolo d’Italia_! Taken as a whole it
can be said that a Pan-German movement has developed in German
Switzerland, which manifests open sympathy towards the Central Powers.

Zahn, a Swiss writer, in this way published an ode and sent money to the
German Red Cross. A political personality of Basel sent information
about the troops and the Swiss defence to the _Frankfurter Zeitung_. The
novelist Schapfer, of Basel, went to Berlin to extol Germany and to sing
_Deutschland über Alles_ at a public meeting. The journalist Schappner
advocated in the _Neues Deutschland_ that Switzerland should abandon her
neutral position in order to help Germany, and have as compensation
Upper Savoy, the Gex region and a part of Franche-Comté so that she
might form an advanced post of Germany towards the south, declaring at
the same time an alliance with Austria-Hungary which would enable
Switzerland to extend her boundaries also towards Italy.

The _Neue Zurcher Nachrichten_ has even gone to the extent of taunting
Belgium with her unhappy fate, saying that the neutrality of Belgium
would have been violated by her own Government, and calling her the
betrayer of Germany, and saying that Germany had every right to punish

These are all documents which are worth while knowing about, because
they denote a state of mind that might have a surprise in store for us.
Switzerland is made up of twenty-four cantons, in one of which the
Italian language is spoken; but I don’t think that much reliance can be
placed on that fact. For the rest, I know that the General Staff
preoccupies itself a good deal with the possibility that, either through
love or fear, Switzerland will allow the Kaiser’s troops to pass through
Swiss territory, in which case they would then find themselves at once
in Lombardy.

_The Dilemma of Italy._ This meeting, therefore, asks for the
repudiation of the Treaty of the Triple Alliance as the first step to
mobilisation and war. Otherwise, if the treaty is still in force, you
can see how it can be interpreted in any sense. At first it bound us to
intervene on the side of Austria and Germany, and we were taxed with
being traitors when we declared ourselves neutral. To-day it proves that
it is our duty to remain neutral. Treaties then are interpreted
according to the letter, according to the spirit and according to the
convenience of those who have to interpret them! Necessity demands,
therefore, the explicit repudiation of the Treaty of the Triple
Alliance. Perhaps this can be made the _casus belli_. We are not
diplomats, but it is certain that if Italy repudiates the Treaty of the
Triple Alliance, Germany will ask for explanations, and if, at the same
time, there was mobilisation against Austria and Germany, we should be
able to reach the stage in which a solution by arms would be forced upon
us. For us the _casus belli_ was magnificent and solemn; it was that
created by the violation of the neutrality of Belgium. Italy ought to
intervene in the name of _jus gentium_, in the name of her own national
security. She has not been able to do so then; but now we must decide.
“Either war, or the end of our name as a great power.” Let us build
gambling-houses and hotels and grow fat. A people can have this ideal
also, which is shared by the lower zoological species!

In reality the German working classes have embraced the cause of
Prussian militarism, and so, my friends, the chief reason for remaining
neutral falls to the ground. You Italian Socialists are preparing to
commit the same crime of which you accuse the German Socialists. We, in
the meantime, question the right of the German Socialists to call
themselves Socialists any more. The International compact is only of
value when it is signed and respected by all the contracting parties.
Since the Germans are the first to have broken it, the Italians are no
longer under obligation to hold by a contract which might mean their

It is a fact, however, that Italy is “still bound to the Triple
Alliance.” This Government of ours is pusillanimous, because the
repudiation of the Triple Alliance does not mean a declaration of war or
even mobilisation. But, meanwhile, this would prove that the Italian
people vindicate their right to independence of action in this period of

_The Revolutionary War._ To say that we are causing a revolution in
order to obtain war, is to say something which we cannot maintain. We
have not the strength. We find ourselves face to face with formidable
coalitions, but the _fasci_ of action have this object, to create that
state of mind which will impose war upon the country.

To-morrow, if Italy does not make war, a revolutionary position will be
inevitably decided, and discontent will spring up everywhere. Those same
men who to-day are in favour of neutrality, when they feel themselves
humiliated as men and Italians, will ask the responsible powers to
account for it, and then will be our chance. Then we shall have our war.
Then we shall say to the dominant classes: “You have not proved
yourselves capable of fulfilling your task; you have deceived us and
destroyed our aspirations. Your first care should have been the
completion of the unity of the country, and you have ignored it. You
have been warned about it by democracy in general and by the Republican
Party particularly.” This will be a case which will surely end in
condemnation; in condemnation which cannot be other than capital. And
then perhaps we shall issue from this harassing period of history. Every
day we feel that there is something in Italy which does not work, that
there is a cog missing in the gear, or a wheel that does not go round.
The country is young, but its institutions are old; and when—if I may be
allowed to quote once more from Karl Marx, the old Pangermanist—a
conflict between new forces and old institutions begins to shape itself,
that means that the new wine cannot any longer be kept in the old skins,
or the inevitable will occur. The old forces of the political and social
life of Italy will fall into fragments. (Loud applause.)


       Speech delivered at Sesto San Giovanni, 1st December 1917.

  After the Caporetto disaster the patriotic organisations of Milan
  had consolidated their union, previously undermined by the opponents
  of war, who, thanks to the leniency of the Government, had been able
  to work in the interest of the enemy. They developed the existing
  sphere of propaganda, advocating resistance within the country. One
  of the centres most infected by neutralist opposition was
  undoubtedly Sesto San Giovanni, a large borough of the working
  classes at the gates of Milan, completely controlled by
  Social-Communist administration.

  Mussolini, having just left the military hospital, where he had been
  lying ill as a result of many wounds received when a “bersagliere”
  of the 11th Regiment, spoke in this hostile citadel as only he could
  speak; and it is certainly beyond question that his frank and
  incisive eloquence was mainly instrumental in dispersing the bitter
  anti-war feelings fomented by stubborn and impudent Socialist

Workmen and citizens! The other evening, after three years’ silence, I
spoke to the audience of the Scala; an imposing audience and a large
hall; but I prefer this friendly gathering of workmen and soldiers,
because, in spite of everything, I am, and shall always remain, one with
the masses which produce and work, and the implacable adversary of every

_The International Illusion._ I am here to talk to you of the war, and
to remind you of an article, which some of you will still remember, in
which, in a certain degree, I foresaw this truce. “A truce of arms” I
called it then, and I repeat these words to-day. When one speaks of war,
one must do so with a clear conscience and without all those useless
ornaments of speech typical of an old, artificial style of literature.
We must remember that while we stand together here to think of them, the
best among our men, our brothers, your sons and your husbands are
consuming themselves, suffering and perhaps dying for us, for our
country and for our civilisation! We wished for the war, it is true, but
because the arrogance of other men imposed it upon us. We had
entertained the illusion that it was possible to realise the
international dream among the peoples, but, while we were sincerely
putting our faith in this beautiful chimera, the German
“Internationals,” with Bebel at their head, were declaring themselves to
be first Germans, and afterwards Socialists! And in the International
Congresses the Germans always systematically refused to bind themselves
to decisive action with the Socialists of other countries, under the
specious pretext that the retrograde constitution of their country did
not allow them, without jeopardising their organisation, to conclude
international agreements. They held too much by their organisations, by
their hundred and one deputies and by the fat and swollen purse of
marks, which is the only thing which has been saved from German
Socialism. (Loud applause.)

While Germany was preparing for war by organising formidable means of
dominion and massacre, nobody in England, France, Italy or Russia
dreamed of the imminence of the terrible scourge.

_The True Germany._ We had a very wrong idea of Germany. We only knew
the Germany of the flaxen-haired Gretchens and of home-sick novels, and
not that of Von Bernhardi, Harden and the Hohenzollerns.

It was Germany who wanted the war. Harden said so in an ill-considered
outburst of sincerity. The Socialists, who claimed more land for the
expansion of the German people, wanted it; spectacled professors
incapable of synthesis, but terrible in analysis, prepared it; the
military caste imposed it. The pretext for the unchaining of these
forces was soon found. Two revolver shots in 1914; some bombs thrown;
two imperial corpses hurried away in a court coach were the pretext. The
war, for which the Central Powers were prepared, blazed up on all sides.

_The Socialist Intervention._ We Socialists who were in favour of
intervention advocated war, because we divined that it contained within
it the seeds of revolution. It is not the first instance of
revolutionary war. There were the Napoleonic wars, the war of 1870, the
enterprises of Garibaldi, in which, had we lived in those days, we
should have joined in the same spirit and the same faith.

Karl Marx, too, was a jingoist. In 1855 he wrote that Germany would have
been obliged to declare war against Russia; and in 1870 he said of the
French: “They must be defeated! They will never be sufficiently beaten.”
And when in 1871 the Socialists of France, with Latin ingenuousness,
after declaring the Republic, sent a passionate appeal to the Germans
for peace, Karl Marx said: “These imbeciles of Frenchmen claim that for
their rag of a republic we should renounce all the advantages of this

_One does not deny one’s Country._ It is possible to remain a Socialist
and be in favour of certain wars. When the country is in danger, it is
not possible to remain pacifist. A man cannot ignore his country any
more than a tree can ignore the earth which provides it with sustenance.
(Applause.) Our people have understood it, and you, who carry in your
veins some drops of the warrior-blood of those men of Legnano who drove
away Barbarossa, of the people of the Cinque Giornate, join with me
to-day in inciting our soldiers to free our land from the shame of
servitude. (Applause.) To deny one’s country, especially in a critical
hour of her existence, is to deny one’s mother!

It was thought that the soldiers’ strike would bring peace. But, when
our soldiers found that the enemy, instead of throwing down their
rifles, mounted cannons and field-guns, instead of fraternising,
massacred old men, women and children, and far from returning to their
own country, advanced into ours, they only waited until a large enough
river divided them from the adversary to place before them once again
the impassable barrier of the Italian forces. (Loud applause.)

Our set-back is not due to fear of the Germans. The victors of eleven
battles, the soldiers of the Carso, Bainsizza, Monte Santo, Cucco and of
Sabotino do not fear spiked helmets. The armies of all the combatant
countries have had moments of bewilderment, but not one recovered itself
as quickly as we have. After only one week of retreat, our troops faced
the enemy again and forced them back.

_A Resolute Resistance._ We have skirted the abyss; we might have been
lost, but we have saved ourselves. While the Germans were hoping for
still further revolution, the soldiers re-established the force of
resistance which had been weakened; and now at the front the only
fraternity is that of rifle shots. (Applause.)

When the storm is passed we shall be proud of having done our duty.
Wilson, convinced pacifist, was drawn into the war by an elevated
humanitarian motive, which made him feel that to prolong the war was an
act of intolerable complicity with the Germans, and he gives us an

The war will end with our victory; but in order to win, you, workmen,
must produce more. We must have guns, shells, rifles and bombs in great
quantities. Arms and munitions, at this moment, represent our salvation.
To-morrow, when our factories again produce ploughs and spades and
instruments for agriculture, we shall have the joy of a duty done.
To-day, and until the barbarians are defeated for ever, instruments of
war must increase in number under the impulse of your decisive will to
win. (Loud applause and demonstration of affection and sympathy.)

                           “NO TURNING BACK!”

     Speech delivered in the Augusteo at Rome, 24th February 1918.

  The speech delivered at the Augusteo in Rome may be included among
  those made by the most fervent patriots to rouse the country to a
  resolute effort after the Caporetto disaster. It was a summons to
  resistance, and a strong indictment against the heads of the
  Government in Italy which was responsible for the moral collapse
  which took place in the Army, due to the evil influences of
  blackmail and neutralist Parliamentarism at work in the country. The
  salient feature of this meeting was the leaving of the hall by the
  generals representing the “Corpo d’Armata” and the Ministry of War.
  But it was entirely owing to this meeting of exasperated patriots
  that the general policy of the then Prime Minister ceased to be
  lenient to the enemy’s sympathisers and that active resistance paved
  the way to the victory of the country in arms.

I wonder if there is anyone among you who remembers a meeting in favour
of intervention in the war, that we held three years ago in one of the
squares in Rome? We were dispersed by the police, but we were in the
right. We moved on, and history moved on with us.

Three cities created history. But it does not matter. It is always the
cities which create history; the villages are content to endure it. We,
after three years of war, notwithstanding Caporetto, solemnly and truly
reaffirm all that was deep, pure and immortal in those days in May.

Remember! It was just in the May of 1915 that Italy was not afraid of
knowing how to live, because she was not afraid of knowing how to die!

_The Mistake of May._ But we made a great mistake then, that we have
since paid for bitterly. We, who wished for the war, ought to have taken
command of the situation. (Loud applause.) The Italian people—which is
not the plebeian crowd which gets drunk in taverns, for twenty centuries
of history have not civilised us for nothing—the Italian people had,
even then, a vague apprehension of the dangers which threatened its

In the May of 1915 the nation as a whole presented a marvellous
concentration of human force. We men of ’84, when we forded the Upper
Isonzo, thought that it was never again to be crossed by the Germans.
When we gained the other side, with one accord we shouted: “Long live
Italy!” (Loud applause from the whole assembly, who echo the cry.) It
was fine human material which we handed over to those men who carried on
war as if it were a tiresome task more tedious than the rest. We gave it
over—for a war which, after twenty centuries of history, was the first
war of the Italian people—to men who did not understand it; to men who
represented the past; to bureaucrats who have spilled much too much ink
over the trials and sufferings of the people.

But we are here to say to you: Gentlemen! the Germans are on the Piave,
the Germans have broken down one gate of the Veneto and are in the
process of breaking down the other. The moment has come to see if our
hearts are made of steel. (Enthusiastic applause.)

I know these soldiers, because, as a simple soldier myself, I have lived
among them, leading the life of a simple soldier. I have seen them under
all the different aspects of military life. I have seen them in the
barracks, in the hard, bare military transports while going to the
front, in the trenches, in the dugouts under ceaseless bombardment when
the shells rained down death; I have seen them when every heart has
stopped beating, awaiting the command of the officer, “Over the top”; I
know them, these sons of Italy, and I tell you, they have not been
merely soldiers, they have been saints and martyrs! (Loud burst of

_The Causes of Caporetto._ How then did Caporetto happen? Let us search
our consciences courageously as a great people.

Ah! yes! At first, it may have had a military reason, not later. Later
we were face to face with a gigantic hallucination. (Applause.) Great
words were flashed across the horizon. The formulæ of “salvation” had
come from Russia, and from Rome came a fierce outcry against the war,
saying that it was “a useless massacre.” You cannot conceive the
profound disturbance this outcry caused in the minds of the multitude.
And, as if that were not enough, without anyone having the courage to
take summary proceedings against the authors, another sacrilegious
message came from Parliament: “No more trenches next winter.” And, it is
true, we are not any longer in the trenches beyond the Isonzo; we are on
_this_ side of the Piave.

_Justice for All._ All this was the result of a falsehood that lay at
the bottom of our national life. The words “political liberty” had been
said. Ah! liberty to betray, to murder the country, to pour out more
blood, as said the man in France. (General applause. Cries of “Long live
Clémenceau!”) This political liberty is a paradox. It is criminal to
think that men are requisitioned, dressed, armed and sent to be killed,
whilst every liberty of speech and power of protest is denied them; that
they are terribly punished for the slightest act or word not in keeping
with given orders, while at the same time, behind, in the secret
meeting-places, in the club-houses of brutalised drunkards, plans are
allowed to be matured and words to be spoken which are death to the war.
(Loud general applause.)

But did you not feel, after 24th October, that there was a great change
in us, both collectively and individually? Did you not feel that the
vultures had torn away the flesh and fixed their claws in the open
wounds? Did you not understand that we were going back to ’66? Did you
not take into account the danger that the military system of ’66 would
be accompanied by the same diplomatic manœuvring which we have not yet
expiated? One does not deny one’s country, one conquers it! (Warm

_The Example of Russia._ Take a lesson from what has happened in Russia.
The Latin sages used to say that Nature does not work by sudden leaps. I
think, on the contrary, that she does sometimes. But in Russia they
wanted to make things move too fast. They got rid of Czarism in order to
form the democratic republic of Rodzianko and Miliukoff. That was in
itself a big step, and I pass over the intermediate action of the Grand
Duke Michael. But, not satisfied with this republic, they wished to
become more Socialist and called for Kerensky. Kerensky went, because he
was a mere figurehead—(Laughter.)—and now there are other people who
still want to make things move too fast. But now the Germans, under the
pretence of a future pseudo-democracy, have unmasked their brutal and
barbarous annexationist projects. At Petrograd, it is said, all citizens
must dig trenches, and those falling under suspicion of vagabondage or
espionage will be shot immediately.

_An Iron Policy._ But meanwhile the Germans advance, and I think they
are impelled by three motives: military, political and dynastic. I think
that the Hohenzollerns propose to put the Romanoffs back on the throne.
Well! I don’t care if they do! As the Russian people have proved that
they don’t know how to live under a régime of liberty, let them live in
slavery. But, in the meantime, the defection of the Russians increases
our task.

It is not the moment to bewail idly or to follow a weak policy. I seek
ferocious men! I want the fierce man who possesses energy—the energy to
smash, the inexorable determination to punish and to strike without
hesitation, and the higher the position of the culprit the better. (Loud
applause from the assembly which understands the allusion.)

You send the simple soldier, burdened with a family, full of cares, and
whom you have never taught anything about the country, to court-martial
because he has disobeyed some order. If you put this soldier with his
back against the wall, I approve of what you do, because I am a believer
in rigid discipline. But you must not have two kinds of law. If there is
a general who infringes the Sacchi decree, strike him too. If there is a
deputy who, after the experience of Caporetto, says again that war is a
“useless massacre,” I tell you that he, too, ought to be arrested and
punished! (Ovation.)

Whoever has been to the front and lived in the trenches, knows what an
effect the reading of certain speeches and Parliamentary reports had
upon the minds of the soldiers. The poor man in the trenches asked
himself: “Why must I suffer and die, if they are still discussing at
Rome whether there ought to be war, if those who are at the head of
affairs there do not know whether or not it is a good thing to be
fighting?” That is deplorable and criminal talk, gentlemen! And now,
even after Caporetto, after defeat, irresponsible people are allowed to
make public anti-war demonstrations. (Loud applause.)

_Ghosts!_ After Caporetto men showed themselves again whom we thought to
have swept away for ever. But we have driven them back into their holes,
because we are still on our legs.

Yes! Many of our comrades have not come back from the Carso and from
among the Alps. But we carry their sacred memory in our hearts. I think
of the indescribable torture of mind of those men of the Third Armata,
when they had to abandon the Carso. I think they must have cried out,
“For what reason, as the result of what unexpected catastrophe, are we
forced to abandon these rocks?” Because in the end one loves the tracks,
the stones, the trenches and the dugouts among which men have lived and
suffered. We love the Carso, this heap of stones dotted with little
crosses which mark the graves of those fallen in the cause of the
liberty of our country. (Applause.) We love the Carso, from which we can
view the coveted coast-line, the riviera of our Trieste. We still carry,
alive and splendid, the torch of the dead; the torch of those who fell
in the face of the enemy. And we are not moved by motives of gain. We
want clear and explicit recognition of the fact that we have done our
duty. And we find ourselves still in the breach, that we may tell this
people, in case they have forgotten, that there is no turning back.
There is no possibility of choosing. Worry your brains as you will,
there is nothing else to be done, nothing else can be thought of!

_Until Victory._ The game is such that we must go on, because there is
no other solution than this; victory or defeat! And it is the life or
death of the nation that is at stake. Also those who assumed power with
different ideas, with the intention of mending the situation, have had
to change their minds. There is no turning back; we must win!

The warning has come from Russia. The Russian rulers tried to turn back
and make peace. They have talked for days, weeks and months without
coming to any conclusions, because if Massimalism had sent lawyers more
or less smart, Prussia had sent armed generals who from time to time
tapped the pavement with their swords so that German rights might be the
better understood. Then they accepted peace. But Prussia, thirsty for
land, the Prussia of the Hohenzollerns, insatiable and implacable,
marches into Russia and occupies territory.

If there is anybody to-day who does not wish for peace, who prevents
talk of peace, who wants to continue the war, you must not seek him
among the people, but at Berlin in the company of Hindenburg and
Ludendorff. These are the enemies of mankind and to these one does not
kneel. No! The Latin race holds itself upright! (Ovation.)

We who desired the war and make it our boast that we did so, we who do
not go humbly soliciting electoral divisions, we shall not follow the
cowardly demagogic example of those who wish to ingratiate themselves
with the people. Democracy does not signify descent. It means ascent. It
means raising up those who are down. And so for all the sacred and
youthful blood that has been shed, and that we have not forgotten, and
for the sake of all that is still to be shed, let us renew the solemn
pact of our faith in the certainty of victory.

No! Italy will not die, because Italy is immortal! (Frantic applause.)

                           THE FATAL VICTORY

    Speech delivered at the Teatro Comunale, Bologna, 24th May 1918.

  On this occasion the principal speaker was the Editor of _Il Popolo
  d’Italia_, who had recovered his physical efficiency after severe
  wounds received on the Carso, and had a real influence in securing
  victory because of the encouragement he gave to the spirit of
  resistance within the country.

  Bologna was then a stronghold of the opponents of war, on account of
  the net of political and syndicalist organisation stretching
  throughout the province, and of Socialist supremacy in the communes
  and dependent administrations. It is, unfortunately, well known that
  the State had by then ceased exercising any authority other than
  merely formal in this province.

  A mark of Socialist power, which proves also the profound
  anti-national feeling of the defeated politicians who to-day stammer
  so many lying excuses, is offered by the absolute prohibition of
  manifestations calculated to glorify the Italian Army.

  Mussolini’s speech at the “Comunale” temporarily reunited the sane
  sections of Bologna to the rest of Italy, then in great anxiety for
  her fate and future.

Combatants and Citizens! Will you allow me to pass over without
unnecessary delay the polemics which preceded my coming to this city?
If, as says our great poet Carducci, “one does not seek for butterflies
beneath the arch of Titus,” one does not seek for them either beneath
the arches of this, our ancient and magnificent town of Bologna,
especially as one would probably not find butterflies at all, but bats
dazed and frightened by this glorious May sunshine.

The form of my speech will not surprise you. In those days, three years
ago, all the Italy that was conscious of life and possessed of
will-power, the only Italy which has a right to transform her chaotic
succession of events into history, burned with an intense ardour—our
ardour. I have noticed now for some time that there are opportunists who
are trying to open a door for eventual responsibilities and who are
carefully and laboriously cataloguing the reasons why Italy could not
remain neutral.

_Destiny and Will._ Very well! I admit that there has been fatality, I
admit this compulsion, which was the result of a number of causes which
it is useless to dwell upon, but I add that at a certain moment we
imprinted the mark of our will upon this concatenation of events, and
to-day, after three years, we are not penitent of what we have done. We
leave this weak, spiritual attitude to those who seek applause, seats in
Parliament, and personal satisfaction; those who thoroughly despise, as
I do, all parliamenteering and demagogism, are far away from all this.

What Machiavelli says in chapter vi. of the _Principe_, about those who,
by their own inherent qualities, attained the position of princes,
Moses, Cyrus, Romulus and Theseus, can be applied not only to the
individual, but to the nation. “And examining,” says the Florentine
Secretary, “their lives and actions, one does not see that they had
other fortune than that of the opportunity which gave them the material
and enabled them to shape it as seemed best to them; and without that
opportunity the virtue of their souls would have been lost, and without
that virtue the opportunity would have come in vain.”

As to the Italian people in that glorious May, it can be said that
without the opportunity of the war the virtue of our people would have
been lost; but without this virtue the opportunity of the war would have
come in vain.

I have found an echo of the thought of Machiavelli in the book of
Maeterlinck, the great Belgian poet, the poet who, perhaps, more than
any of his contemporaries, has given expression to the most delicate and
complex movements of the human soul. Maeterlinck in his book _Wisdom and
Destiny_ admits the existence of a mechanical, external fate, but says
that a human being can react against it. “An event in itself,” he says
in chapter viii. of this book, “is pure water which the fountain pours
out over us, and which has not generally in itself either taste, colour
or perfume. It becomes beautiful or sad, sweet or bitter, life-giving or
mortal, according to the soul which receives it. Thousands of
adventures, all of which seem to contain the seeds of heroism,
continually happen to those who surround us, whilst no heroism arises
when the adventure is over. But Christ met a group of children in his
path, an adulteress, a Samaritan, and three times in succession humanity
rose to divine heights.” The war has been as a jet of pure water for our
nation. It has been deadly for Spain, for instance, but life-giving to
us. We desired it. We chose. Before making our choice we argued and
struggled, and the struggle sometimes assumed the aspect of violence;
but we won, and now we are proud of those days, and are glad to think
that the memory of the crowds which filled the streets and squares of
our cities disturbs those who were defeated and those who even to-day,
by the most insidious means, try to extinguish the sacred flame and the
faith of our people. They accepted this war as one accepts a heavy
burden, and their leader, followed by the curses of the people,
withdrew, like an old feudal lord, to his remote native country, and we
can only wish that he will always remain there.

_Enough of Old Age!_ But, as I am never tired of repeating, we young men
made one fatal mistake then, which we have paid for bitterly; we
entrusted this ardent youth of ours to the most grievous old age. When I
say old age, I do not establish merely a chronological fact. I think
some people are born old, that there are those at twenty who are in a
mental and physical decline, whereas some men—the marvellous Tiger of
France, for instance—at seventy have all the vibration and fire of
virile youth. I speak of the old men who are old men, who are behind the
times, who are encumbrances. They neither understood nor realised the
fundamental truths underlying the war.

Besides the people, the meaning of this war in its historical aspect and
development has been perceived by two classes of men: the poets and the
industrial world. By the poets, because with their extreme sensitiveness
they grasp truths which remain half veiled to the ordinary person; and
by the industrial world, because it understands that this war is a war
of machines. Between the two let us also put the journalists, who have
enough of the poet in them not to belong to the industrial world, and
are enough of the industrial world not to be poets. And the journalists
have often forestalled the Government. I speak of the great journalists
who keep their ears open, on the alert to catch vibrations from the
outside world. The journalist has sometimes foreseen what those
responsible, alas! have recognised too late.

_Quality versus Quantity._ This war has so far been one of quantity.
Now, it is realised that the masses do not beat the masses, an army does
not vanquish an army, quantity does not overcome quantity. The problem
must be faced from another point of view—that of quality. This war,
which began by being tremendously democratic, is now tending to become
aristocratic. Soldiers are becoming warriors. A selection is being made
from the armed mass. The struggle, now carried on almost exclusively in
the air, has lost the characteristics it had in 1914.

The first novelist who foresaw the problems of the war of quality was
Wells. Read his book _The War on Three Fronts_. It is in this book that
he advised the exploitation of the “quality” of the Latin and
Anglo-Saxon races. Because, whereas the Germans only work in close
formation, only give good results through the automatism of the masses,
the Latin feels the joy of personal audacity, the fascination of risk,
and has the taste for adventure; which taste, says Wells, is limited in
Germany to the descendants of the feudal nobility, while with us it is
to be found also among the people.

Another truth which those responsible realised late was that, in order
to win the armies, the people must be won, that is to say, that the
armies must be taken in the rear. This would be difficult where Germany
was concerned, as she is ethnically, politically and morally compact.
But we are face to face with an enemy against whom we could have acted
in this way from the very first. We ought to have penetrated the mosaic
of the Austrian State.

_A Great People._ Among the peoples who cannot be taken in the rear by
surprise, is ours. My praise is sincere. The people in the trenches are
great, and those who have not fought are great. For deficiency you must
look among those old men of whom I spoke just now.

I have lived among our brave soldiers in the trenches and listened to
them talking in their little groups. I have seen them during their bad
times and in epic moments of enthusiasm. And when, after the sad 24th
October, there was a certain distrust of them, I would not allow it,
because it seemed to me impossible that the soldiers, who had won
battles in circumstances more difficult than those prevailing in any
other theatre of war, had become all at once weak cowards, who fled at
the mere crackling of a machine-gun. And it was not so, because if it
had been, no river would have stopped the invading forces, and if we
stopped them on the Piave, it means we could have resisted also on the
Isonzo. (Applause.)

I was reading in the train last night a book of poems written in the
trenches by a Captain Arturo Arpigati. The literature of the war is the
only readable literature, but it must have been written by men who have
really been at the front. In this verse I recognised my one-time
fellow-soldiers, the humble and great soldiers of our war. Here it is:

                Col vecchio suo magico sguardo
                il Dovere, nume d’acciaio
                gli inconsci anche soggioga.
                benché ne balbettino il nome,
                ecco, essi, la madre difendono
                ed è la madre di tutti;
                e sono essi la Guerra,
                e sono essi la Fronte,
                sono essi la Vittoria;
                dai loro elmetti ferrei
                spicca il volo la gloria:
                essi martiri e santi,
                sono l’eroica Patria, essi. I Fanti![2]

But the highest praise of the people in arms is contained in the
thousand bulletins of the Supreme Command. The unarmed also deserve
praise, both those in cities—inevitably nervous and restless by reason
of the association of thousands of human beings and the contact of
thousands of temperaments—and those in the country. From the Valle
Padana to the Tavoliere delle Puglie, from the vine-clad hills of
Montferrat to the plains of the Conca d’Oro, the houses of the peasants
stand empty, and with the houses the stables. The women have seen the
father and the son depart together, the thoughtful territorial of over
forty and the adventurous youth. It is useless to expect from the humble
people of the proletariat a highly developed sense of nationality. It
cannot possess what we have never done anything to cultivate. From the
people who have exchanged the spade for the gun we simply ask for
obedience, and the Italian people, the people of the country and of the
factories, obey. A sad episode, some signs of restlessness are not
enough to spoil this picture. It had been said that we should not hold
out six months; that at the announcement of the names of the dead the
families would rebel; that the sight of the maimed at the street corners
would rouse the people to action. Three years have now passed—three long
years. The mothers of the fallen take a sacred pride in their grief. The
maimed do not ask to be called “glorious,” and refuse to be pitied. Food
is scarce, but the people still resist. The troop trains go to the front
adorned with flowers as in the May of 1915. The dignity and peace in the
towns and in the country is simply marvellous! The national crisis,
which lasted from August to October of 1917, and which is summed up in
the two names of Turin and Caporetto, has been in a certain sense
salutary. It was the repercussion of the great crisis which hurled
Russia into the abyss.

Footnote 2:

  As of old, Duty, of the steel hand, enchains even the ignorant by the
  magic of her glance. While as yet they can barely stutter her name,
  lo! they defend their mother, who is the mother of all.

  And they are the war, and they are the battle front, and they are the
  victory. Glory is reflected from their steel helmets.

  They, the soldiers, are the martyrs and saints and the heroic country.

_The Russian Tragedy._ Was there any definite motive in the Leninist
policy which led Russia to make the “painful, forced and shameful Peace
of Brest”? Yes! there was. The massimalists really believe in the
possibility of revolution by “contagion.” They hoped to infect the
Germans with the massimalist bacillus. They did not succeed; Germany is
refractory. The very “minoritaries” are far from proclaiming themselves
Bolshevists. And more, these “minoritaries,” who ought to represent the
fermenting yeast, are continually losing ground. In three elections
there have been three overwhelming defeats. The “majoritaries” triumph.
They are the same now as in the August of 1914, accomplices of
Pangermanism. They want to win. After Brest-Litowsk the Socialists lay
low; after the Peace of Bucharest they kept silence.

We have seen what have been the results in Russia of the Leninist
gospel, we have seen how the German Socialists, who accepted “neither
annexations nor indemnities and the right of the people to decide their
own fate,” have interpreted this doctrine. The Germans took possession
of 540,000 square kilometres of territory in Russia with a population of
fifty-five millions; then they went on to Roumania and plundered her. If
the Peace of Brest-Litowsk was shameful for Russia, the Peace of
Bucharest was not. The Roumanians were taken in the rear, and could not

In the meantime, Cicerin, the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs, made the
wireless work. A cynic might remark that if the Roman Republic had a
Cicero in a critical hour of her history, Russia has a Cicerin, whom,
contrary to the former, nobody takes seriously, because it is impossible
to take seriously those who do not know how to take up arms in the
defence of their own rights.

The Russian experiment has helped us enormously, both from the socialist
and the political points of view. It has opened many eyes which had
persistently remained closed. It must be realised that if Germany wins,
complete and certain ruin awaits us. Germany has not changed her
fundamental instincts. They are the same as those which Tacitus
describes to perfection in his _Germania_ in these words: “The Germans
do not live in villages, but in separate houses, set wide apart the
better to protect them against fire. To shield themselves from the cold,
they live in underground dwellings covered with manure or clothe
themselves in the skins of small animals, of which they have a great
number. Strong in war, but persistent drunkards and gamblers, armed with
spears and well supplied with horses, they prefer to gain wealth, when
it suits them, by violence rather than by the working of their lands.”

In his _De Vita Julii Agricolæ_ this Roman writer notes a contrast
between the Germans and the Britons nineteen centuries ago which is
still the same to-day, that is, that while the Britons fight for the
defence of their country and their homes, the Germans fight for avarice
and lust. These same tribes, driven once to Legnano, have resumed their
march beyond the Rhine and are preparing once more to take up the
offensive against us. But the “lust” of which Kuhlmann speaks will not
carry the Germans beyond the Piave.

_We are on our Feet._ According to German calculations, the Italian
nation, as the result of Caporetto, ought to fall into a state of chaos.
Instead, it is on its feet. What vicissitudes may not this last phase of
the war bring with it? Will Germany, who has not been able to beat us by
ourselves, beat the formidable combination of nations which faces her?

We are one with France, whose soldiers have performed wonders of
heroism. And this France, which we knew so little, because we had looked
for her only in the cabarets of Montmartre, not frequented by Frenchmen
at all but by adventurers from all over the world, has written for us
the most splendid pages of heroic deeds. She has known how to rid
herself of insidious dangers, to give the death-blow to the plotters of
treachery, both great and small, and to make the rifles of the
executionary squadrons crackle, a sound which, to one who loves his
country, is sweeter than the harmonies of a great opera. Also we, in
Italy, must act inexorably where traitors are concerned, if we are to
defend our soldiers from attack from behind. Where the existence of the
nation and of millions of men is involved, there cannot and must not be
a moment’s hesitation about sacrificing the lives of one, ten or a
hundred men.

We are one with England, who repeats the words of Nelson, “England
expects that every man this day will do his duty.”

And we are one with the United States. This is Internationalism, the
real, true and lasting Internationalism, even if it has not got the
formulas, dogmas and chrism of Socialism made official. It is in the
trenches, where soldiers of different nationalities have crossed six
thousand leagues of ocean to come and die in Europe.

You must allow me to be optimistic about the outcome of the war. We
shall win because the United States cannot lose, England cannot lose,
France cannot lose. The United States has a population of 110 millions;
one single levy can produce a million recruits. America, like England,
knows that the wealth of society is at stake.

As long as we are in this company there is no danger of a ruinous peace.
Not to arrive at the goal of peace means to be crushed; but when we
arrive there, we, too, can look the enemy in the face and say that we,
too, small, despised people, army of mandolinists, have held out to the
end, wept, suffered, but resisted, and have thus the right to a just and
lasting peace!

_Convalescence._ I am an optimist, and see the Italy of to-morrow
through rose-coloured spectacles. Enough of the Italy of the
hotel-keeper, goal of the idle with their odious Baedekers in their
hands; enough of dusting old plaster-work; we are and we wish to be a
nation of producers.

We are a people who will expand without aiming at conquest. We shall
gain the world’s respect by means of our industries and our work. It
will be the august name of Rome which will still guide our forces in the
Adriatic, the Gulf of the Mediterranean, and in the Mediterranean, which
forms the communication between three continents.

Those who have been wounded know what convalescence means. There comes a
day when the surgeon no longer takes his ruthless but life-giving knife
from the tray, no longer tortures the suffering flesh. The danger of
infection is over, and you feel yourself re-born. A second youth begins.
Things, men, the voice of a woman, the caress of a child, the flowering
of a tree—everything gives you the ineffable sensation of a return. New
blood surges through your veins, and fills you with a feverish desire to

The Italian people too will have its convalescence, and it will be a
competition for reconstruction after destruction. The flag of the
disabled is a symbol of a change in their moral and spiritual life. Just
think that certain rascals thought to take advantage of them for their
infamous speculations. But the disabled answered: “We will not lend
ourselves to this shameful game, we do not intend to accept from your
charity and sympathy help which would humiliate us.” And they do not
curse their fate, they do not complain, even if they are without an arm
or a leg; even those who have lost the divine light of their eyes hold
their peace. In vain the enemy hoped to profit by the state of mind of
these people. They reply to this by saying that all they had they gave
for their country, and to-day they do not wish to be a burden upon her,
and so they work and train themselves, and give further proof of their
devotion to the sacred cause.

_The Returning Battalions._ I no longer see relegated to some far future
time the day upon which the banners of the disabled will precede the
torn and glorious standards of the regiments. And around the standards
will be collected the veterans and the people. And there will be the
shadow of our dead, from those who fell on the Alps to those who were
buried beyond the Isonzo, from those who stormed Gorizia to those who
were mowed down between Hermada and the mysterious Timavo, or upon the
banks of the Piave. All this sacred phalanx we sum up in three names:
Cesare Battisti, who wished deliberately to face martyrdom, and who was
never so noble as when he offered his neck to the Hapsburg executioner;
Giacomo Venezian, who left the austere halls of your Athenæum in order
to go and meet his death upon the road to Trieste; and Filippo
Corridoni, born of the people, a fighter for the people, and who died
for the people on the first rocky ridges of the Carso.

The returning battalions will move with the slow and measured tread of
those who have lived and suffered much and who have seen innumerable
others suffer and die. They will say, we shall say:

“Here upon the track which leads back to the harvest field, here in the
factory which now forges the instruments of peace, here in the
tumultuous city and the silent country, now that the duty was done and
the goal reached, let us set up the symbol of our new right. Away with
shadows! We, the survivors—we, the returned, vindicate our right to
govern Italy, not to her destruction and decay, but in order to lead her
ever higher, ever on, to make her—in thought and deed—worthy to take her
place among the great nations which will build up the civilisation of
the world to-morrow.”


        Speech delivered at Milan on the occasion of the popular
                    demonstration of 8th April 1918.

  The exaggerated welcome lavished upon President Wilson during his
  visit to Italy is well known; and of all cities Milan accorded him
  the most generous hospitality. Benito Mussolini, who on that
  occasion was specially entrusted with the task of addressing the
  President of the United States on behalf of the Lombard Association
  of Journalists, had prepared the mind of the Milanese eight months
  before, by a speech delivered in Piazza Cordusio, extolling the
  generous and brotherly effort of the great and vigorous American

Citizens! Time does not allow long speeches. I do not speak of time by
the clock, but of historical time, which for some few weeks has
quickened its beat. To-day throughout Italy demonstrations are taking
place worthy of this unique moment in the history of humanity.

The people of Bergamo go to Pontida to renew the vows made by the League
of the Lombard Communes seven centuries ago, when they took the field
against Barbarossa; at Rome an imposing demonstration is in progress
beneath the shadow of the imperial walls of the Coliseum; while here the
people of Milan, by their numbers and enthusiasm, express the keen
sympathy they feel for the noble American Democracy. It was a year ago
to-day that America, having loyally waited for the Germans to come to
their senses, unsheathed her sword and joined the battle. (Applause.)

Six thousand leagues of ocean have not prevented the United States from
fulfilling her definite duty. The importance of her intervention does
not consist only in the fact that America gives us, and will give us,
men, ammunition and provisions. There is something deeper in the
intimate reassurance given us as men and civilised people, as America
would never have embraced our cause if she had not been firmly convinced
of the right and justice of it. (Applause.)

Citizens! It is for us a source of pride and satisfaction to be
associated with twenty-three other nations in this war against Prussian
militarism. But it must also be a satisfaction for the United States to
fight side by side with a great and powerful England which does not
tremble before the varying chances of war; beside a France which is
almost sublime in her heroism—(Applause.)—and beside the new Italy,
which has now definitely taken her place in the world struggle.

As Italy discovered America, so America and the rest of the New World
must discover Italy, not only in the great towns, pulsating with life
and humming with industry, but also in the country, where the humble
labourers wait with quiet resignation for the dawn of a victorious and
just peace to appear on the horizon.

There cannot be anybody now, even the most ignorant, who can sincerely
believe that Germany did not want the war, and that Germany does not
wish to continue the war in order that she may turn the world into a lot
of horrible Prussian barracks. (Applause and cries of “Death to

This is our conviction, and also the conviction of the Americans, a
great people numbering more than a hundred million, who have a vast
wealth at their command and who have already submitted themselves to the
magnificent discipline of war.

An old story comes into my mind. When Christopher Columbus turned the
prows of his three poor little ships towards unknown lands and far-off
shores, there were those who called him mad and moonstruck; and
certainly sometimes during those three months of wandering a sense of
despair invaded the hearts of those men lost in the midst of the unknown
ocean. But one morning the crew up aloft saw something new upon the
horizon. It was a dark, vague line. They shouted “Land! Land!” and three
months of misery were forgotten in one delirious moment.

The day will come when from our blood-stained trenches will arise
another such cry; the cry of “Victory! Victory!” And there will be the
right and just peace for all the nations!

Citizens! On behalf of the Committee of the Wounded and Disabled
Soldiers, I thank you for your solemn demonstration and I ask you to
join with me in giving three cheers for America and for Italy. (Warm
applause and cheers.)

                         THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS

             Speech delivered at Milan, 20th October 1918.

  Immediately after the end of the war a group of journalists and
  politicians, belonging for the most part to the Republican and
  Radical democracy, took the initiative in a movement supporting the
  future work of the League of Nations. Later, however, this
  initiative had to be abandoned by those who were loyal to victory,
  because it seemed clear to them that the pseudo-idealism of the
  Allies would prejudice the legitimate interests of the Italian
  nation. The following speech, however, shows clearly the generosity
  of Italian ex-soldiers disappointed by the realism of other
  countries’ national aspirations.

The Executive Committee of the Wounded and Disabled Soldiers has asked
me to speak on the order of the day expressing support of the idea of
the League of Nations, which, already preconceived in Italy, is now so
nobly advocated by President Wilson, and which proclaims the
determination of the Italian people to co-operate effectively in
bringing about its realisation. I shall do so shortly, as the question
is not new, but is already understood throughout the country.

The disabled soldiers have taken the initiative, and it is significant,
as only those who have suffered most from the war have the right to say
what the peace ought to be, not those who have wilfully opposed it and
would have led us to defeat or—not wishing that the people should suffer
defeat—to continuous war.

This is the hour particularly suited to the discussion of these
problems. Already a League of Nations seems to be in the process of
realisation; in the trenches the different peoples are mixed up and are
associating with each other. The humblest peasant, dreaming of return to
his native village after the hard experiences of the trenches, has
widened his spiritual horizon and, for a time, breathes a world

In the other nations, the question has already come under discussion in
the papers, the universities and the Parliaments. It could be said that
Italy was behindhand, but we might reply that in a certain sense we have
forestalled the others. There have been epochs in our history when
Italian thought has been almost too universal, but I think perhaps at
those times the universality of our literature, our philosophy, our art,
of our spirit, in fact, was our highest and noblest title to greatness.

But, without returning to the Middle Ages, two men of the nineteenth
century, Cattaneo and Mazzini, prove that Italian thought led, and that
the other nations followed the furrow we were the first to plough.

This war may be divided into two periods: the first, from the outbreak
of hostilities to the American intervention; the second, from the
American intervention up to to-day. In the first, the war has a national
and territorial character. The names of Metz, Trento, Fiume and Zara
occur frequently, and can be said to sum up our aims. The territorial
questions come first. The systemised jurisdiction of the world is not
yet spoken of; the war is world-wide in its direct and indirect
repercussion in as far as England has already made use of her colonies,
since Australians and Indians came to fight in Europe, but it is not yet
world-wide in its extension and aims. The second period began with the
April of ’17. Already, in the first period, English politicians had
begun to disregard the territorial problems; but this process was
shaped, hurried on and definitely settled by the intervention of
America. But in my modest opinion, the national and territorial
questions must not be underrated too much; that would be to play into
the hands of the anti-war agitators and the Germans. These are questions
of justice. It is a good thing to remember that Wilson, in all his
messages, though he certainly made a transposition of values, never
failed to establish that vindication of national rights, without which
the settlement of Europe and the world of to-morrow in general could
have no definite meaning.

When we speak of a League of Nations we must take into account certain
dispositions. Cesare Lombroso used to divide men into two categories:
the “misoneists” and the “philoneists”: the misoneists, who accept the
revealed truths, lean upon them and sleep upon them; the philoneists,
who are restless, impatient spirits and as necessary to the world as the
wheels and shafts to a cart. For the first the so-called kingdom of the
impossible has always extensive boundaries, but the war has enormously
reduced that kingdom. That which yesterday was a misty, fantastic
Utopia, to-day has become reality and fact.

Our enemies talk too much about the League of Nations. There are furious
“Wilsonites” of the latest kind in Austria and in Germany. Now I must
say that seeing this kind of people bleating like lambs makes a certain
impression on me. (The simile is that of a Republican German paper
printed at Berne.) They are the same who burnt the cities of Belgium,
who sank ships without leaving a trace, or gave orders to that effect;
they are the same who carried off men and women in their retreat. They
shout “League of Nations,” but we cannot be mixed up with them. There is
evidently an underlying motive. But they will be unmasked by the
victorious armies of the Entente.

Some people say, Would not this League of Nations be a substitute for
victory? No! on the other hand, it presupposes victory. Wilson has
talked of absolute victory.

It is said, in a Socialist review, that a League of Nations is
impossible if the Allies gain a military victory, because the desire for
revenge would lurk in the depths of the German mind. Now there are three
hypotheses as regards the way in which the conflict may end. The first
is the victory of the enemy, and this has already fallen through. If
this had come about, there would not have been a League of Nations, but
a master at Berlin and slaves in the rest of Europe, which would then
have become a German colony. The second is a war which ends in neither
victory nor defeat; and this is the most repugnant and inhuman of all,
as it would leave all the problems unsolved, and give a peace which was
only a truce. The third is the solution which is now shaping itself
gloriously upon the horizon—our victory. There is no danger of the
spirit of revenge being fostered by the Germans to-morrow, because we
allies in war would remain allies in peace. Germany will find herself
face to face with the same coalition which defeated her, and will have
to resign herself to the _fait accompli_. The League of Nations will be
formed without Germany, against Germany, or with Germany when she has
expiated her crime by being defeated.

Some people say: “Does it not seem very dangerous to go back to
universality, after the experiences of the past?” Ernest Renan must have
been up against this problem when he wrote: “The nation which entertains
problems of the religious and social order is always weak. Every country
which dreams of a kingdom of God, lives on general ideas and carries out
work in the interests of the universe, sacrifices through this its own
particular destiny and weakens and destroys its efficiency as a
territorial power. It was thus with Judea, Greece and Italy. It will,
perhaps, be thus with France.”

Renan was a great man, but his prophecy has not been fulfilled. France
during the nineteenth century entertained universal ideas, but with the
outbreak of war she recovered her national spirit. Internationalism may
be dangerous when a single nation advocates it, but to-day all the
nations of the world are seeking each other, in order to lay the
foundations of a lasting and pacific means of co-existence. Besides
this, the racial, historical and moral sense of every nation has been
developed by the war. It is not a paradox but a reality that the war,
while it has made us find ourselves and exalted the national spirit,
has, at the same time, carried us beyond those boundaries which we have
defended and conquered.

There is no danger of the levelling of the national spirit as the result
of contact with other nations. Solid foundations are needed for national
unity, and for this reason the condition of the working classes must be
raised. No nation can become greater in which there are enormous masses
condemned to the conditions of life of prehistoric humanity.

Another paradox of this war is that the nations fighting against the
Germans have not yet formed a peace alliance. The peace manifesto to the
peoples of the world ought to have come from Versailles. This could
help, among other things, to make the German crisis more acute. It has
not been done yet. The people intuitively felt the necessity. Sometimes
truths are arrived at more quickly by intuition than by reasoning, and
the people felt that that was the path to follow. And we are upon that
path to-day. Not long ago Clémenceau said that the liberation of France
must be the liberation of humanity.

It is true that to put the idea of the League of Nations into practice
would present difficulties, especially at first. According to me the
problems which will have to be faced and solved are of a political,
economic, military and colonial order. In a month’s time you will have
reports upon these subjects, and I do not wish to tire you with hasty

We have arrived at a decisive point in history. While we are gathered
here the battle is raging; there are millions and millions of men who
are fighting their last fight. Let us swear that all this has not been
in vain, but that these sacrifices must mark a new phase in the history
of humanity. Let us say to ourselves that all that can be tried will be
tried, in order to make the purple flower of liberty spring from the
blood shed in the cause of freedom, and that justice shall reign
sovereign over all the peoples of the renewed world!

                       IN CELEBRATION OF VICTORY

   Speech delivered at Milan, 11th November 1918, before the Monument
                       of the “Cinque Giornate.”

  Milan, notwithstanding its multi-coloured local Socialism, had ever
  remained the burning heart of the country’s resistance and spent
  herself lavishly for the war. On the morrow of the memorable day of
  Vittorio Veneto she gave herself up to unrestrained manifestations
  of patriotic joy.

  Benito Mussolini—the ardent advocate of intervention in the
  harassing times gone by, the indomitable fighter in the Carso
  trenches, and the fervent advocate of resistance in the hour in
  which the enemy’s friends were crying for “peace at any
  price”—Benito Mussolini may well be considered as one of the
  principal artificers of victory.

  The people of Milan felt this in the triumphant rejoicings and the
  Editor of _Il Popolo d’Italia_ was acclaimed by public gratitude for
  his part in the union of hearts.

My brothers of the trenches, Citizens! I have never before felt my
inefficiency as an orator as deeply as I do now in the face of the
greatness of the events and your memorable and imposing manifestation.
What can I say to you, when this manifestation is already more than a
speech, a hymn—more than a hymn, an epos?

We have arrived at this day after many hardships. I see here, gathered
round the monument of the Cinque Giornate, which is the altar of Milan,
those who fought first and last, those of the trenches who are the
survivors of the sacrifice of devotion, who marked with their blood the
destinies of the country, and the disabled who feel themselves no longer
maimed since Italy has become great. I see beside them the refugees, who
will soon return to their lands and deserted hearths. I remember what I
said last year; we must love these brothers of ours, warm them by our
firesides, and still more in our hearts. And I see the people of Milan
joined together like all the Italian people in a superb act of love.

How many different events in the course of a year! Do you remember these
days a year ago? Do you remember last year at the Scala when we swore
that the Germans should not pass the Piave? And they did not pass, and
the then line of resistance became afterwards the line of advance
towards victory. Even in the darkest hours I did not despair, and paid
homage to the fighters. We saw in those days the first “poilus” and
“tommies”; it was the Entente coming to cement the Alliance in our
trenches. After a year of faith and sacrifice has come victory.

We think with gratitude of the fine leaders who led us on to victory,
but also, still more, of the anonymous mass of soldiers, our marvellous
people, who resisted the invasion on the Piave, and from the Piave
sprang forward to rout the enemy.

Remember it here—here where we held the first meeting for war—here, with
Filippo Corridoni. (The crowd give a prolonged ovation to the memory of
Filippo Corridoni.) We wanted the war, because we were obliged to want
it, because it was imposed by historical necessity. To-day we have
realised all our ideals; we have secured our national aims; the Italian
flag to-day flies from the Brenner to Trieste and Fiume and Italian
Zara. We did not know then that there were Italian infantry on the other
side of the Adriatic. Now, in all the cities and villages on the eastern
shore, the Italians have planted the flag of their country, because that
shore, which is Italian, must remain Italian.

We have also accomplished the international aims of our war. When we
said, four years ago, that the red flag must wave over the castle at
Potsdam, the dream appeared madness. To-day the Kaiser has fled, and
with the passing of the Hohenzollerns passes militarism.

The most magnificent political panorama which history records unfolds
itself before the eyes of the astonished world. Empires, kingdoms and
autocracies crumble like castles built with cards. Austria no longer
exists; to-morrow there will no longer be Imperialist Germany. We, with
the sacrifice of our blood, have given the German people liberty, while
the German people have made a holocaust of their blood in order to
deliver us over to the chain of imperialism and military slavery. Upon
the ruins of the old world is outlined the dream of a League of Nations.

Victory must also see the realisation of the aims of war within the
country—that is to say, the redemption of labour. From now onwards the
Italian people must be the arbiters of their destinies, and labour must
be redeemed from speculation and misery.

Citizens! At Trento there is the statue of Dante with his hand
outstretched towards the Alps. It seemed before that the reproach of the
great poet:

               Ahi! serva Italia, di dolore ostello,
               Nave senza nocchiero in gran tempesta,[3]

rang out admonishing the country. But Italy to-day is no longer a slave,
she is the mistress of herself and her future. She is no longer a
rudderless ship in a storm, because a glorious horizon has been opened
up by her victory.

Footnote 3:

                Alas! Slave Italy, the home of all griefs,
                A ship without rudder in a great storm.

And the people are the rudder of this ship, which, between three seas
and three continents, sails serenely and securely towards the port of
supreme justice in the light of the redeemed humanity of to-morrow.
(Prolonged applause.)

                                PART III


                     WORKMEN’S RIGHTS AFTER THE WAR

    Speech delivered 20th March 1919 before the workmen of Dalmine.

  The episode of Syndicalist strife, during which the present Prime
  Minister addressed a crowded meeting of ironworkers, is often
  recalled as a kind of reproach by Italian Socialists. They would
  like to attribute to Mussolini and to Fascista Syndicalism the
  initial responsibility for that dark period in our national life
  which had its dramatic expression in the occupation of the

  But the methods of protest adopted by the patriotic Italian workmen
  of Dalmine (Bergamo), although primitive on account of the moral
  immaturity and technical incapacity of the proletariat at that time,
  were provoked by the insolence of employers. For the rest, the
  protest was kept within the bounds of correct and calm expression.

  A significant item in the story, which reveals the state of mind of
  the workers, is the following: tricolour flags, which were then
  frequently insulted by organisations of workmen under the thumb of
  the Socialist Party, flew from all chimney-tops during the
  occupation of Dalmine works, while in the workshops below the work
  itself throbbed cheerfully and briskly.

I have often asked myself if, after the four years of terrible though
victorious war in which our bodies and minds have been engaged, the
masses of the people would return to move in the same old tracks as
before, or whether they would have the courage to change their
direction. Dalmine has answered. The order of the day voted by you on
Monday is a document of enormous historical importance, which will and
must give a general direction to the line taken by all Italian labour.

The intrinsic significance of your action is clearly set forth in the
order of the day. You have acted on the grounds of class, but you have
not forgotten the nation. You have spoken for the Italian people, and
not only for those of your class of metal-workers. In the immediate
interests of your category you might have caused a strike in the old
style, the negative and destructive style; but, thinking of the
interests of the people, you have inaugurated the creative strike which
does not interrupt production. You could not deny the nation after
having fought for her, when half a million men have given their lives
for her. The nation, for which this sacrifice has been made, cannot be
denied, because she is a glorious and victorious reality. You are not
the poor, the humiliated, the rejected, as the old rhetorical sayings of
the Socialists would have you be; you are the producers, and it is in
this capacity that you vindicate your right to treat the industrial
owners as equals. You are teaching some of them, especially those who
have ignored all that has occurred in the world in the last four years,
that for the figure of the old industrial magnate, odious and grasping,
must be substituted that of the industrial captain.

You have not been able to prove your capacity for creation, on account
of shortness of time and of the conditions made for you by the
industrial leaders; but you have proved your good-will, and I tell you
that you are on the right road, because you are freed from your
protectors, and have chosen from among yourselves the men who are to
direct you and represent you, and to them only you have entrusted the
guardianship of your rights.

The future of the proletariat is a question of will-power and capacity;
not of will-power only and not of capacity only, but of both together.
You are free from the yoke of political intrigue. Your applause tells me
that it is true. I am proud of having fought for intervention. If it
were necessary, I would carve in capital letters upon my forehead, so
that all cowards might see, that I was among those in the glorious May
of ’15 who demanded that the shame of the neutral Italy of those days
should cease.

Now that the war is over, I, who have been in the trenches, and
witnessed daily for long months the revelation, in every sense, of the
valour of the sons of Italy—I say, to-day, that it is necessary to go
out and meet the returning workers and those, who were no shirkers, who
laboured in the factories with minds open to the necessities of the
hour. And those who do not see this necessity, involved by the new order
of things, or deny it, are either stupid or deluded.

I have never asked, and to-day less than ever, anything from you or
anybody. And so I have no anxiety or misgivings as to the effect that my
words will have upon you. I tell you that your action has been original,
and is worthy, on account of the motives of sympathy which inspired it.

Another observation. Upon the flagstaff of your building you have run up
your flag, which is the tricolour, and around it you have fought your
battle. You have done well. The national flag is not merely a rag, even
if it has been dragged in the mud by the bourgeoisie, or by their
representatives; it still remains the symbol of the sacrifice of
thousands and thousands of men. For its sake from 1821 to 1918
innumerable bands of men suffered privation, imprisonment and the
gallows. Around it during these years, while it was the rallying-point
of the nation, was shed the blood of the flower of our youth, of our
sons and brothers. It seems to me that I have said enough.

As regards your rights, which are just and sacred, I am with you. I have
always distinguished the mass which works from the party which assumes
the right, nobody knows why, of representing it. I have sympathy with
all the working classes, not excluding the “General Federation of
Labour,” though I feel myself more drawn towards the “Italian Union of
Workmen.” But I say that I shall not cease fighting against the party
which during the war was the instrument of the Kaiser. They wish at your
expense to try their monkey-like experiments, which are only an
imitation of Russia. But you will succeed, sooner or later, in
exercising essential functions in modern society, though the political
dabblers of the bourgeoisie and semi-bourgeoisie must not make
stepping-stones of your aspirations so as to arrive at winning their
little games.

They may have said what they liked to you about me, I do not mind. I am
an individualist, who does not seek companions on his journey. I find
them, but I do not seek them. While this despicable speculation of the
jackals rages, you, obscure workers of Dalmine, have cleared the way. It
is labour which speaks in you, and not an idiotic dogma or an intolerant
creed. It is that labour which in the trenches established its right to
be no longer considered as labour, necessarily accompanied by poverty
and despair, because it must bring joy, pride in creation, and the
conquest of free men in the great and free country of Italy within and
without her boundaries. (Enthusiastic applause.)


    Speech delivered at Milan, 5th February 1920, before the Fascio
                        Milanese Combattimento.

If it were possible, before voting on the orders of the day, to put into
practice the system of democracy, we ought to have summoned the
Assembly. But when events follow one another with lightning speed, it is
not possible to carry out this system of absolute Democracy.

We have, therefore, voted the orders of the day, and wait for you to
ratify them. We have brought forward three, and done so from a point of
view essentially Fascista. I dare to say that one is born a Fascista,
and that it is difficult to become one. All the other parties and
associations argue on a basis of dogmas and from the standpoint of
definite preconceptions and infallible ideals. We, being an anti-party,
have no preconceptions. We are not like the Socialists, who always think
that the working masses are in the right, and we are not like the
Conservatives, who think that they are always in the wrong. We have got
above all this and have the privilege of moving on the ground of pure
objectivity. Voting these “orders of the day,” after a serious and
elaborate discussion, we have kept before us three classes of facts or
elements. First, we have kept in mind the general interests of the
nation, particularly as regards the recent strikes. Secondly, we have
considered the subject of production, because if we kill production, if
to-day we render sterile the fount of economic activity, to-morrow there
will be universal poverty. Thirdly, we have been guided, in voting these
orders of the day, by our disinterested love for the working classes.

_All must sacrifice themselves._ I agree with those who recommend the
spirit of sacrifice also to the working classes; I agree, because we do
not only say to the working men that they must wait, while still
working, for better times to come in order to break the vicious circle
in which they move; we also say that, generally speaking, capital must
be controlled. In this connection I announce to you that in a short time
a manifesto will be issued in which it will be once more asserted that,
in order to solve the financial problem, it is necessary to resort to a
threefold measure: first, the partial confiscation of all wealth over a
certain amount; secondly, the heavy taxation of inheritance, and
thirdly, the confiscation of super war profits.

_No Pessimism._ I am not a bit pessimistic about the future of the
Italian nation. If I were, I should retire from public life. But as I am
profoundly optimistic, I think that with the January strikes over we
have passed the critical period of our social crisis.

You will tell me that February has not brought much light; we have the
strike of 50,000 textile workers belonging to the Popular Party, which
shows that black Bolshevism has the same destructive and anti-social
character as the other Bolshevism. But it seems to me that the social
crisis is stabilising itself while awaiting solution. If we can get over
these next six or eight months without catastrophe, if we can increase
our trade with the East, if the workmen can be made to understand that
we cannot take our money there but must send our manufactured goods, and
that only thus will the high rate of living be diminished, because only
from the East come those raw materials of which we stand in need, it is
certain that the workmen will repudiate the more destructive than
constructive weapon of strikes and settle down to serious work.

_Sure Repentance._ Our position as regards the syndicalist movement is
not reactionary, as has been said by some purposely malicious adversary.
I wrote some very bitter articles during the strikes, but these
articles, which were so incriminating, brought me approval which was
very significant. If there is a man in the Italian Union of Workmen who
has worked seriously, it is the republican Carlo Bazzi, who has recently
founded the Syndicate of Co-operation, which is the necessary
counterwork to the Socialist co-operative movement. Now Bazzi wrote my
brother[4] a letter which contained these words: “I fully subscribe to
Mussolini’s article ‘You are immortal, Cagoia.’” This is enough for me.
But, at the same time, I do not require that everybody shall agree with
me, and that there shall be no one who differs. I am always ready to
persuade myself of my mistake when I am in the wrong. But I do not think
that our work can be valued now. I think that within five or six months’
time there will be quite a few Socialists who will recognise that I am
the only Socialist that there has been in Italy for the last five years;
and I am not being paradoxical, even if I add that the Socialist Party
on the whole is detestable. I think, too, that a great many elements of
the Centre and followers of Turati are beginning to recognise it even
now, and that in a short time the working classes will admit that the
days of 15th April and 20th–21st July, with all our violent opposition,
were providential and miraculous, because, having put the stake between
the wheels of the runaway coach, we prevented that what has happened in
Hungary should happen in Italy.

Footnote 4:

  Arnaldo Mussolini, Editor of _Il Popolo d’Italia_.

_Production necessary._ To-day it is said that poverty should not be
socialised, but that is what we said two years ago, just as to-day it is
said that there must be increased production, as we said two years ago.
And when history comes to be written, as it will be shortly, then our
work will be judged very differently from that of the Socialists and the
responsible elements in the working classes.

The discussion of this evening, I think, might end with a declaration
upon these four points:

1. The meeting ratifies the “orders of the day” voted by the Executive
Committee and the Central Committee.

2. The meeting reaffirms its solidarity with the just demands of the
postal telegraphists and the railway men and all the State employees
(because I have never been tired of repeating that we are against the
strike, but not against the demands of the staff).

3. The meeting votes a warning to the Government that the working of the
State services must be made really efficient, whether it be by removing
the bureaucratic management or by industrialisation. (And I think that
autonomous organisations can be formed of the postal, telephone and
railway services, in which the agents would have a large direct

4. Finally, the meeting votes its sympathy with all the working-class
elements who are agitating against the Socialist Party and urges them to
gather together in a compact body so that, though hitherto it has not
been possible, from to-day onwards it may be possible, even in Italy, to
live and work and struggle without being slaves to the new tyrannies,
without the necessity of being compelled to become a mere member in a
flock of membership cardholders like a flock of sheep.

                      AS IT REMAINS ANTI-ITALIAN”

    Speech delivered at Milan, 24th May 1920, at the second National
                           Fascista meeting.

  The following is not a conventional speech, but represents a sincere
  act of faith, made in the darkest hour through which Italy passed,
  the hour which followed upon the sweeping electoral and political
  triumphs of 1919, when communal and provincial administrations were
  divorced from the Liberal policies.

  The subversive newspapers of the day regarded that second Fascista
  meeting as a useless attempt at galvanisation, since the movement
  which was destined later to conquer the State seemed then merely to
  lead to a blind alley. Such is the futility of newspaper prophecies!

Words, at certain times, can be facts. Let us act, then, in such a way
that all the words we utter now may be potential facts to-day, and
reality to-morrow.

Five years ago, at this time, popular enthusiasm burst forth in all the
streets and squares of the towns of Italy. Looking back now and studying
the documents of those times, I can state, with certainty and a clear
conscience, that the cause of intervention was not taken up by the
so-called middle classes, but by the best and healthiest part of the
Italian people. And when I say the people, I mean also the proletariat,
because nobody could imagine that the thousands and thousands of
citizens who followed Corridoni were all from the middle class. I
remember that one Agricultural Chamber of Labour, that of Parma,
declared in favour of intervention on the part of Italy with a great
majority. And even admitting that the war was a mistake, which I do not
admit, he who scorns the sacrifice which has been made is despicable.

If you want to go back and make a critical examination, I am ready to
argue with anybody and to maintain: First, that the war was desired by
the Central Powers, as has been confessed by the politicians of the
German Republic and confirmed by the imperial archives. Secondly, that
Italy could not have remained neutral, and thirdly, that if she had, she
would find herself, to-day, in a worse condition than she actually does.

On the other hand, we who intervened must not be surprised if the sea is
tempestuous. It would be absurd to expect that a nation which had just
passed through so grave a crisis would recover itself in twenty-four
hours. And when you think that after two years we have not yet got our
peace, when you think of the weakness of those who govern us, you will
realise that certain crises of doubt are inevitable. But the war gave
that which we required of it—it gave us victory.

_Let us idealise Labour._ When, not long ago, you hissed the song of the
sickle and the hammer, you certainly did not mean to disdain these two
instruments of human labour. There is nothing more beautiful and noble
than the sickle, which gives us our bread, and nothing finer than the
hammer, which shapes metals. We must not despise manual work. We must
understand that if it is overrated to-day, it is because mankind, as a
whole, is suffering from a lack of material goods. It is natural,
therefore, that those who produce these necessaries are excessively
overrated. We do not represent a reactionary element. We tell the masses
not to go too far, and not to expect to transform society by means of
something which they do not understand. If there is to be
transformation, it must come when the historical and psychological
elements of our civilisation have been taken into account.

_Let us unmask the Deceivers._ We do not intend to oppose the movement
of the working classes, only to unmask the work of mystification which
is carried on by a horde of middle-class, lower-middle-class and
pseudo-middle-class men, who think that they have become the saviours of
humanity by the mere fact of being possessed of a card of membership.
“We are not against the proletariat, but against the Socialist Party in
as far as it continues to be anti-Italian.” The Socialist Party
continued, after the victory, to abuse the war, to fight against those
who had been in favour of intervention, threatening reprisals and
excommunication. Well, I, for my part, shall not give way. I laugh at
excommunication, and as for reprisals, we shall answer with sacred
reprisals. But we cannot go against the people, because the people made
the war. We cannot look askance at the peasants, who to-day are
agitating for the solution of the land question. They commit excesses,
but I ask you to remember that the backbone of the infantry was the

_Repentance._ We do not deceive ourselves by thinking that we shall
succeed in sinking completely the now wrecked ship of Bolshevism. But I
already note signs of repentance. I think that some day the working
classes, tired of letting themselves be duped, will turn to us,
recognising that we have never flattered them, but have always told them
the brutal truth, working really in their interests. If, to-day, Italy
has not fallen into the Hungarian abyss, it is due to us, because we
have saved them by active interposition and by our life.

We have then one clear duty, which is to understand the social
phenomenon which is developing before our eyes, and to fight the
deceivers of the people and maintain a sure and immovable faith in the
future of the nation.

_Towards Equilibrium._ There has been a period of lassitude on the
morrow of all great historical crises. But afterwards, little by little,
the tired muscles recover. All that which before was neglected and
despised becomes once more honoured and admired. To-day nobody wants to
talk of war, and it is natural. But when a certain period of time has
elapsed, things will change, and a large part of the Italian people will
recognise the moral and material value of victory, they will honour
those who fought and will rebel against those Governments which do not
guarantee the future of the nation. All the people will honour the great
“arditi.” It was the “arditi” who went to the trenches singing, and if
we returned from the Piave and the Isonzo, if we still hold Fiume, and
are still in Dalmatia, it is due to them.

Three martyrs, among the thousands who were consecrated to the war,
clearly defined what were to be the destinies of the nation. Battisti
tells us that the boundary of Italy should be at the Brenner; Sauro that
the Adriatic must be an Italian sea and commercially Italo-Slav; while
Rismondo tells us that Dalmatia is Italian. Very well! Let us swear upon
the standard which bears the sign of death, of that death which gives
life, and the life which does not fear death, to keep faith to the
sacrifice of these martyrs! (Loud applause.)


  Speech delivered at Prato della Marfisia in Ferrara, 4th April 1921.

  The manifestations of enthusiasm culminating in the meeting at the
  Prato della Marfisia solemnly confirmed the triumphant development
  of Fascismo at Ferrara, the red province _par excellence_. On that
  occasion some fifty thousand _contadini_, who had come on foot from
  the remotest centres of the vast province, spent the day acclaiming
  the “leader of the black shirts” and the new faith in Italy. A
  noteworthy feature was that many red flags belonging to the
  disbanded and defeated Socialist leagues were deposited before
  Mussolini and thereupon trampled underfoot by the crowd.

People of Ferrara! and I say _people_ intentionally, because that which
I see before me now is a marvellous gathering of the people, in both the
Roman and Italian sense of the word. I see among you children who are
upon the threshold of life, and not long ago I shook hands with an old
Garibaldian, a survivor of that heroic Italy which was born at Nola in
1821, when two cavalry officers hoisted the flag of liberty against the
Bourbons, and which triumphed at Vittorio Veneto with the great and
magnificent victory of the Italian people. I see also among you factory
hands and their brothers of the fields.

We, Fascisti, have a great love for the working classes. But our love,
in as far as it is pure, is seriously disinterested and intransigent.
Our love does not consist in burning incense and creating new idols and
new kings, but in telling upon every occasion and in every place the
plain truth, and the more this truth is unpalatable the greater the need
to speak it out.

We, Fascisti, hitherto slandered and maligned, wished to continue the
war in order to obtain freedom of movement in Italy, and although not
giving way to a sense of weak demagogism, we are the first to recognise
that the rights of the labouring classes are sacred, and even more so
the rights of those who work the soil. And here I can give hearty praise
to the Fascisti of Ferrara, who have undertaken with facts, and not with
the useless words of the politicians, that agrarian revolution which
must gradually give the peasants the possession of the soil. I strongly
encourage the Fascisti of Ferrara to go on as they have begun, and to
become the vanguard of the Fascista agrarian movement in all Italy.

How does it come about that we are said to be sold to the middle
classes, capitalism and the Government? But already our enemies dare no
longer continue this accusation, so false and ridiculous is it. This
impressive meeting would move a heart harder than mine, and shows me
that you have done justice to those base calumnies put into circulation
by people who believed in the eternity of their fortunes, while in
reality they had barricaded themselves in a castle which must fall with
the first breath of a Fascista revolt. And this Fascista revolt, and we
could also use the more sacred and serious word _revolution_, is
inspired by indestructible and moral motives and has nothing to do with
incentives of a material nature. We, Fascisti, say that above all the
competition and those differences which divide men—and which might
almost be called natural and inevitable, since life would be
extraordinarily dull if everybody thought in the same way—above all this
there is a single reality, common in all, and it is the reality of the
nation and of the country to which we are bound, as the tree is bound by
its roots to the soil which nourishes it.

Thus, whether you like it or not, the country is an indestructible,
eternal and immortal unity, which, like all ideas, institutions and
sentiments in this world, may be eclipsed for a time, but which revives
again in the depths of the soul, as the seed thrown in the soil bursts
into flower with the coming of the warmth of spring. We have thus, by
our furious blows, broken the unworthy crust beneath which lay
imprisoned the soul of the proletariat. There were those among the
proletariat who were ashamed to be Italian; there were those who,
brutalised by propaganda, shouted “Welcome to the Germans!” and also
“Long live Austria!” They were for the most part irresponsible but
sometimes wicked! Well we, Fascisti, want to bring into every city, into
every part of the country, even the most remote, the pride and passion
of belonging to the most noble Italian race; the race which has produced
Dante, which has given Galileo, the greatest masterpieces of art, Verdi,
Mazzini, Garibaldi and d’Annunzio to the world, and which has produced
the people who won Vittorio Veneto.

And not this only. We do not intend to push the working classes
backwards. All that which they have won and which they will win is
sacred. But they must acquire these conquests by material and moral
improvement. We, Fascisti, do not speak only of rights, we speak also of
duty, as Mazzini would have wished. We have not only the verb “to take,”
we have also the verb “to give,” because sometimes when our country
calls, whether she be threatened by an internal or external enemy, we
exact both from our adherents and from those who sympathise with us
readiness even for the supreme sacrifice. And you, Fascisti of Ferrara,
have consecrated the Fascista ideals with martyrdom.

If the idea of Fascismo had not contained in itself great potentiality,
nobility and beauty, do you think that it would have spread with this
tremendous impetus! Do you think that seven lives would have been given
for it, lives which point out to us the path of perseverance and
victory? A short time ago I went to your cemetery. One by one we visited
the graves and threw our flowers upon them. Those seconds of silence
which we passed there were pregnant with feeling. Each one of us felt
that within those graves were the bodies of young men in the flower of
their days, men who were certainly loved and who had before them all the
possibilities of life. They are dead; they have fallen. But we, in this
great hour of your history, O people of Ferrara, will recall them one by
one in the orders of the day; and since they are not dead, because their
mortal clay is transformed in the infinite play of the possibilities of
the universe, we ask of the pure, bright blood of the youth of Ferrara
the inspiration to be true to our ideals, to be faithful to our nation.
And so we are content that our flags, after having saluted the dead,
smile on life, because the working people of Ferrara, and of all Italy,
have found the true path that had been forgotten, have cast off all
those ignoble politicians who had filled their heads with lying fables.

We, O Italians of Ferrara, have no need to go beyond our boundaries,
beyond the seas, in order to find the word of wisdom and of life. We do
not need to go to Russia in order to see how a great people may be
massacred. We do not need to turn the pages of the Muscovite gospels;
gospels which the prophets themselves are reviling since, overwhelmed by
the reality of life, they are denying them. We have no need to imitate
others, because brilliant original minds are to be found in Italy in all
branches of civilisation and learning. And if there is to be Socialism,
it cannot be the bestial, tyrannical Socialism of yesterday, it can only
be the Socialism of Carlo Pisacane, of Giuseppe Ferrari and Giuseppe

Here, O people of Ferrara, is your history, your life and your future.
And we, who have undertaken this hard battle, which has cost us tens and
hundreds of lives, we do not ask you for salaries, we do not ask you for
votes. We only ask you for one thing, and that is that you shall shout
with us “Long live Italy!” (Loud applause.)


  Speech delivered at Milan, 6th December 1922, before the workmen of
    the iron foundries, in answer to Engineer Vanzetti, the manager.

  On the occasion of his first visit to Milan after assuming the
  Premiership of the Council, the city where he had lived and the
  centre of his victorious political strife, Mussolini was urgently
  summoned to the works of the Lombard Iron Foundries (Acciaierie
  Lombarde), where he was welcomed with enthusiastic demonstrations of
  support and appreciation. During the stormy years of 1919–20 these
  very works were the scene of extraordinary events.

I am particularly glad to have seen these works, already known to me by
what has been accomplished in them in the last five strenuous years. I
am not going to make a speech, but, as has always been—and always will
be—my way, I shall tell you things clearly as they are, things that will
interest you.

The Government over which I have the honour of presiding is not, cannot
and does not wish to be anti-proletariat. The workmen are a vital part
of the nation; they are Italians and, like all Italians, when they work,
when they produce and when they live orderly lives, must be protected,
respected and defended. My Government is very strong and does not need
to seek a great deal of outside support; it neither asks for it nor
refuses it. If the workmen’s organisations choose to give me support, I
shall not reject it. But we shall have to come to a clear understanding
and to make definite agreements in order to avoid dissension later.

I was deeply moved just now while I was visiting the factory, and seemed
for an instant to be living again the bygone days of my youth. Because I
do not come of an aristocratic and illustrious family. My ancestors were
peasants who tilled the earth, and my father was a blacksmith who bent
red-hot iron on the anvil. Sometimes, when I was a boy, I helped my
father in his hard and humble work, and now I have the infinitely harder
task of bending souls. At twenty I worked with my hands—I repeat, with
my hands—first as a mason’s lad and afterwards as a mason. And I do not
tell you this in order to arouse your sympathy, but to show you how
impossible it is for me to be against the working class. I am, however,
the enemy of those who, in the name of false and ridiculous ideologies,
try to dupe the workmen and drive them towards ruin.

You will have the opportunity of realising that more valuable than my
words will be the acts of my Government, which, in all that it does,
will be inspired by and keep before it these three fundamental

First: The NATION, which is an undeniable reality.

Secondly: The necessity of PRODUCTION, because greater and better
production is not only the interest of the capitalist but also of the
workman; since the workman, together with the capitalist, loses his
livelihood and falls into poverty if the productions of the nation do
not find a market in the trade-centres of the world.


Keeping these three essential principles in sight, I intend to give
peace to Italy and to make her more respected at home and abroad.

Nobody wants to go in search of adventures which will imperil the lives
and wealth of the citizens; but, on the other hand, neither do we wish
to follow a policy of renunciation nor allow Italy to be the last
considered among the nations. In order that we may be listened to in
international conferences—conferences which are of the greatest
importance to you workmen—it is necessary that the most rigid discipline
be maintained at home, as no one will listen to us if we have a
disturbed and unsettled country behind us.

You, workmen, must not think that it is only the head of the Government
who is speaking to you now, but a man who knows you well and who is
known by you; a man who understands your value and what you can and what
you cannot do. But, as the head of the Government, I tell you that this
one over which I preside is serious, strong and sure of itself, and no
slow-moving bureaucracy; it is a Government that wishes to act in the
interests of the working classes, interests which will always be
recognised when they are just.

The workmen thought that they could, and ought to, disassociate
themselves from the life of the nation; and this has been a great
mistake. They ought, instead, to be a most intimate part of the nation,
so that all our long and laborious toiling may not be miserably lost.

This is the message which comes from our dead, who, hovering above us,
repeat this command.

The Italian people must somehow find that medium of harmony necessary
for the reconstruction and development of civilisation; and if there be
rebellious and seditious minorities they must be inexorably stamped out.

Treasure up these words in your hearts and remember the motto of the
Fascista Syndicates:

             The country must not be denied but conquered.

I raise my glass with you and drink to the future and the fortunes of
Italian industry, that it may take a glorious place in the eyes of the
whole world.


  Speech delivered at Rome, 6th January 1923, before a representative
  gathering of Fascisti dock-workers from Genoa who had presented him
                      with an illuminated address.

You must certainly be aware of the fact that I take a great interest in
your city—an interest which dates from 1915 when Genoa, together with
Milan and Rome, led the way to revolution; because the revolution which
has brought the Fascisti into power began in the May of 1915, was
continued in the October of 1922, and goes on still, and will go on for
some time. I am very pleased to accept your message, and I thank you
with sincere cordiality.

I must tell you that the Government over which I have the honour of
presiding never has had, never can and never will have the intention of
following a so-called antilabour policy. On the contrary, I want to
praise the working classes, who do not put obstacles in the way of the
Government, who work, and who have practically abolished strikes. They
have redeemed themselves, because they no longer believe in the Asiatic
Utopia which came from Russia; they believe in themselves, in their
work; they believe in the possibility, which for me is a certainty, of a
prosperous Italian nation.

You have been directly interested in this greatness of the nation, and
you, who come from such a live centre as Genoa, are the most suited to
feel this ferment of new life, all this active preparation for a new

The Government, as you see, governs for all, over the heads of all, and,
if necessary, against all. It governs for all, because it takes into
account all general interests; it governs against all, when any group,
whether of the middle class or of the proletariat, tries to put its
interests before the general interests of the nation. I am sure that if
the working classes—of which you are the aristocratic minority—continue
to give this noble exhibition of tranquillity and discipline, the
nation, which was upon the verge of ruin, will recover itself

I do not say things which have not been well considered and thought
over; and, after two months of government, I tell you that if the
Fascista revolution had been postponed for another few months or perhaps
only another few weeks, the nation would have fallen into a state of
chaos. All that we are performing now is really work in arrears; we are
freeing the citizens from the weight of laws which were the result of a
foolish demagogic policy; we are freeing the State from all those
superstructures which were suffocating it, from all the economic
functions which it was unfitted to perform; we are working to balance
the budget, which means re-establishing the value of the lira, which
means taking a position of dignity and influence in the international

The Italy which we wish to make, which we are building up day by day,
which we shall succeed in making, as it is our aim and our immovable
determination to do, will be a magnificent creation of power and of
wisdom. You can rest assured that in this Italy the workman—and all
labour both of the brain and of the hands—will take, as is right, the
first place.

                                PART IV

                        MUSSOLINI THE “FASCISTA”


   Speech delivered at Milan, 23rd March 1919, at the first Fascista

  In the spring of 1919, the most critical period through which Italy
  has passed, the attempt initiated by Benito Mussolini to summon the
  men prepared to fight Bolshevism, that apparently triumphant beast,
  seemed absolute madness. A handful of bold spirits, for the most
  part ex-soldiers coming from the extreme interventionist sections,
  responded to the appeal. But the gravity of the moment and the
  danger of physical sacrifice to which they exposed themselves were
  not sufficient to lessen their ardour and determination for an
  immediate counter-offensive. This had its conclusive expression in
  the assault upon and the burning of the offices of the newspaper
  _Avanti_, which took place on a day of general strike, when two
  hundred thousand workmen marched defiantly through the streets of

First of all, a few words about the proceedings. Without too much
formality or pedantry, I will read you three declarations which seem to
me worthy of being discussed and voted upon. Then in the afternoon we
will resume the discussion of the declaration of our programme. I tell
you at once that we cannot go into detail. Wishing to act, we must take
salient facts as they exist.

The first declaration is as follows:

  The Meeting of the 23rd March first salutes with reverence and
  remembrance the sons of Italy who have fallen for the cause of the
  greatness of the country and the liberty of the world, the maimed
  and disabled, and all the fighters and ex-prisoners who fulfilled
  their duty, and declares itself ready to uphold strongly the
  vindication of rights, both material and moral, advocated by the
  “Association of Fighters.”

As we do not wish to form a Party of ex-soldiers, because something in
that line has already been done in various cities in Italy, we cannot
say exactly what this programme of vindications will be; those
interested will do so. We declare simply that we will uphold them. We do
not wish to classify the dead, to look into their pockets to find out to
which party they belonged; we leave this sort of occupation to the
Official Socialists. We include in one single loving thought all the
fallen, from the general to the humblest soldier, from the most
intelligent to the most ignorant and uncultured. But you must allow me
to remember with special, if not exclusive, affection our dead, those
who were with us in the glorious May: the Corridoni, Reguzzoni, Vidali,
Deffenu, and our Serrani—all that marvellous youth which went to fight
and remained to die. Certainly when one speaks of the greatness of the
country and the liberty of the world, there may be someone who will
sneer and smile ironically, because it is the fashion now to run down
the war, but war must be either wholly accepted or wholly rejected. If
this line is to be taken up, it will be for us to do so and not the
others. Besides, wishing to examine the situation in the light of facts,
we say that the active and passive sides of so immense an undertaking
cannot be established with cut-and-dried figures. One cannot put on one
side the “quantum” of that which has been accomplished and that which
has not; the “qualifying” element must be taken into account.

From this point of view we can, with complete certainty, maintain that
the country is greater to-day, not only because it extends as far as
the Brenner—reached by Ergisto Bezzi, to whom my thoughts
turn—(Applause.)—not only because it extends as far as Dalmatia; Italy
is greater, even if small minds try their little experiments, because
we feel ourselves greater inasmuch as we have the experience of the
war, inasmuch as we willed it, it was not forced upon us and we could
have avoided it. The choosing of this path was a sign that there are
elements of greatness in our history and our blood, because if it were
not so, we, to-day, should be the least important people in the world.
The war has given us that for which we asked. It has yielded its
negative and positive advantages: negative, in as far as it has
prevented the Houses of Hapsburg and Hohenzollern from dominating the
world—and this result, which all can see, is enough in itself to
justify the war; and positive, because in no nation has reaction
triumphed. Everything moves towards a stronger political and economic
Democracy. In spite of certain details which may injure the more or
less intelligent elements, the war has given all that we asked.

And why do we speak of ex-prisoners also? It is a burning question.
Evidently there were those who surrendered themselves, but those are
called deserters. The large majority of the mass which fell prisoner did
so after having fought and done their duty. If this were not so, we
could begin to brand Cesare Battisti and many brave and brilliant
officers and men who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the

_The National Vindications._ Second declaration:

  The Meeting of the 23rd March declares that it will oppose
  Imperialism in other peoples which would be prejudicial to Italy,
  and any eventual Imperialism in Italy which would be prejudicial to
  other nations, and accepts the fundamental principle of the League
  of Nations, which presupposes the geographical integrity of every
  nation. This, as far as Italy is concerned, must be realised on the
  Alps and the Adriatic with the annexation of Fiume and Dalmatia.

We have forty million inhabitants and an area of 287,000 square
kilometres, divided by the Apennines, which reduce still further the
availability of the land capable of cultivation. In ten or twenty years’
time we shall be sixty millions, and we have a bare million and a half
square kilometres of land in the way of colonies, which to a large
extent is barren, and to which we certainly can never send the surplus
of our people. But, if we look round, we see England, with forty-seven
million inhabitants, and a colonial empire of fifty-five million square
kilometres, and we see France, with a population of thirty-eight
millions, and a colonial empire of fifteen million square kilometres.
And I could prove to you with figures that all the nations of the world,
not excluding Portugal, Holland and Belgium, have colonies which they
cling to, and are not in the least disposed to relinquish for all the
ideologies which come from the other side of the ocean. Imperialism is
at the base of the life of every people which desires economic and
spiritual expansion. That which distinguishes the different kinds of
imperialism is the method adopted in its pursuit. Now the method which
we choose, and shall choose, will never resemble the barbaric
penetration of the Germans. And we say, either everybody idealist or
nobody. One cannot understand how people who are well off can preach
idealism to those who suffer, because that would be very easy. We want
our place in the world because we have a right to it. I reaffirm the
principle of the Society of Nations, but we must beware lest this
principle mean only protection of the material interests of wealthy

_In View of the Elections._ Third declaration:

  The Meeting of the 23rd March pledges the Fascisti to prevent by
  every means in their power the candidature of neutralists of any

You see I pass from one subject to another, but there is logic in it, an
underlying thread. I am not an enthusiast for ballot-paper battles, so
much so that for some time I have abolished the chronicles of the
Chamber, and nobody is sorry. My example, too, has caused other papers
to do the same, within the limits of strict necessity. It is clear in
any case that the elections will take place before the end of the year.
The date and the system to be followed are not yet known, but this year
these electoral campaigns and ballot-paper battles will take place.

Now, whether one likes it or not, the war having been of late the
dominant event of our national life, it is clear that in these elections
the subject of the war cannot be avoided. We shall accept the battle
precisely on the topic war, because not only have we not repented of
that which we have done, but we go further and say, with that courage
which is the result of our individuality, that if the same condition of
things which existed in 1915 were repeated in Italy, we should demand
war again as in 1915.

Now it is very sad to think that there are those who formerly were in
favour of intervention and who now have changed. Only a few have done
so, and it has not always been for political reasons. Some have changed
for those reasons, and this I do not wish to discuss, but there has also
been defection due to physical fear. “In order to pacify these people
let us cede Dalmatia, let us renounce something!” But their calculations
have piteously failed. We shall not only refuse to take up this
political line, but we shall not give way to that physical fear which is
simply absurd. One life is of the same value as another, and one
barricade is as good as another. If there is to be a fight, we shall
engage also in that of the elections.

There have been neutralists also among the official Socialists and the
Republicans. We shall go and examine the passports of all these people,
both the ultra-neutralists and those who accepted the war as a painful
burden; we shall go to their meetings, we shall present candidates and
find every possible means of routing them. (Prolonged applause.)


   Speech delivered at Milan, 22nd July 1919, at the Liceo Beccaria.

  The evening before the general international strike of the 20th
  and 21st of July 1919, called by the federal organisations as a
  reaction to the rash movement, the National Socialists, the
  Republicans, the Democrats and the Fascisti met in order to share
  the responsibilities for possible complications and to demonstrate
  the inconsistency of so-called revolutionary attitudes.

  This manifestation, according to the intention of its organisers,
  had also the object of marking the beginning of a political
  concentration of the Left, composed of ex-interventionists. But the
  attempt afterwards failed, chiefly on account of want of
  understanding on the part of the Republican Party, and because of
  the development of the spiritual crisis within the mass of Italian

I think that it will depend upon the sincerity and loyalty with which we
join in this meeting whether it will become an historical event, or a
little fact of everyday life destined to pass without leaving any trace.

This being the case, it will not surprise you if I speak with a
frankness almost brutal. I add at once that the friendly confusion of
this moment of reunion after schisms and separations will not eliminate
the necessity of settling certain personal and political questions,
otherwise this union, which we wish to be eminently fruitful, cannot be
other than painfully sterile.

What are we looking for, we who are members of U.S.M., the Fascio of
Fighters, the Association of Fighters, the Association of Arditi, the
Union of Demobilised, the Association of Volunteers, the Association of
Garibaldians, the Republican Party, the Italian Socialist Union, the
Corridoni Club, etc.—we who are together represented in the Committee of
Intesa e Azione[5] which was formed at the time of the movement against
the high cost of living? We are looking for the least common denominator
for this understanding and action. Shall we find it? Yes! We come from
different schools; we have different temperaments, and temperaments
divide men more widely than ideas; we belong to an individualist people;
but all this does not prevent something else bringing us together and
binding us both in these present contingencies and in that which has to
do with the action of to-morrow.

Footnote 5:

  Understanding and Action.

_The Basis of Unity._ There can be a thousand shades of ideas among us,
but upon one important point we are all agreed, and that is in regarding
the Socialist manifestation as a bluff, a comedy, a speculation and
blackmail. Also we are all agreed in making a differentiation between
the Socialist Party and the mass of the workmen. The Socialist Party has
usurped up to yesterday the name of being a pure revolutionary
organisation, of being the protector and the exclusive, genuine
representative of the working masses. This is all nonsense and must be
cleared up. Referring to statistics, we find that out of forty-two
millions of Italians, hardly sixty thousand were enrolled in the
Socialist Party in the August of 1919, and the dominating element is a
group composed of lower-middle-class people in the most philistine sense
of the word.

In the unlikely and absurd event of a triumph on the part of the
Leninist revolutionaries, ten of these idiots would be, to-morrow, the
ten Ministers of the Italian nation. The Socialist Party is one thing,
and the organised mass of working men another, and the disorganised mass
yet another and seven times larger than the rest put together.

We must not allow ourselves to approach the working classes in the
sometimes unctuous, sometimes theatrical, manner of the demagogues. The
masses must be educated and for this reason must have the straight
truth. Many of the crowds which the Socialists sway are not worthy of
blandishments, because they consist of masses of brutes infected and
barbarised by the “Red” gospel. Our working-class colleagues know all
about it, because they have had to leave certain factories. We must not
present ourselves to the masses as charlatans, promising Paradise within
a short time, but as educators who do not seek either success,
popularity, salaries or votes.

_Produce! Produce! Produce! The Admonition of Merrheim._ The way in
which the working masses should and must be spoken to has been shown us
by Merrheim, one of the thinking heads of French Syndicalism. Last
January he made a very important speech, and it would be a good thing to
run over those parts of it which are now of most importance, especially
those touching upon the relations between economics and politics and the
necessity of production.

“The militant Socialists must tell the truth, and all the truth, to the
masses, even if the truth brings hatred and slander. Now the truth is
for all those who reflect, that the bad conditions of life, which are
the trouble of the masses, are not going to be remedied by a solution
based on an increase of wages which is not only inoperative, but
entirely in opposition to economic laws. The masses must be told that
the régime of production and distribution of commodities must undergo a
transformation, if efficacious and lasting remedies are to be found for
existing bad conditions, and that this can be arrived at by means of the
force of organisation.”

“... It is pleasant to provoke loud applause by telling the audience at
meetings that we are overstocked with commodities, and that they can
consume without limit and enjoy comfort by imposing wages proportionate
to their desires without increasing production.”

“Courage lies in repeating to the masses that each man is at the same
time a producer and consumer, and that the continued increase of
production is necessary and indispensable.”

“Courage lies in saying that it is not only impossible to satisfy those
normal needs, natural to everyone, without normal production, but that
it is absolutely impossible to obtain general comfort for everyone if at
the same time individual production in the general interest is not

“Courage lies in proclaiming that the purely political revolution, which
inflames the people’s minds, would not solve the social problem, the
solution of which has been precipitated and rendered essential by the

“Courage lies in repeating untiringly to the masses that the revolution
which must be brought about must be economic, and that it is not to be
brought about in the streets by a delirious crowd destroying for the
sake of destruction.”

“Courage lies in saying that an economic revolution draws its substance
from labour, and that it is strengthened, advanced, and carried out by
the intensification of production whether in the fields or in the
factories, and by a further utilisation of scientific processes and
methods of production.”

_The Italian Situation._ We agree upon a third point, in connection with
existing circumstances, that is in maintaining that our national
situation is critical, though far from being desperate. Briefly, it is
this. From the 1st July we have been defaulting debtors of England.
Since the 31st July other financial agreements with the United States
must be faced. To save the situation a loan of one milliard dollars
(seven to eight milliard lire) must be arranged. The railways have a
coal supply for only fifteen more days. There are enough provisions for
another twenty days, that is to say until the end of the month. Two
million tons of food must be imported to save us from immediate hunger.
But these financial and economic agreements depend upon the political
ones at Paris.

The possibility, almost a certainty, has presented itself to us of
obtaining large concessions in Asia Minor, with the coal mines of
Heraclea. Clémenceau has made difficulties about it, but Lansing told
him that he could not see any obstacle, given that Italy approved of the
exploitation of the Saar mines on the part of France. We may also obtain
oil wells in Armenia.

But these acquisitions in the East are in their turn subordinate to the
Adriatic agreements. The solution of the problem of Fiume is already
compromised by the work of the preceding Delegation, which had already
accepted the principle of a Free State. But the project of Tardieu
presented future dangers as far as the safeguarding of the Italian
character of Fiume is concerned, because the Italian majority in the
city would be overwhelmed by the mass of Slavs in the country. It is a
question, then, of reducing these dangers to the smallest possible
limits by the introduction of another plan which would substitute for
the idea of a Free State that of a Free City with limited boundaries.

In Dalmatia it is only possible for us to save the centres which have an
Italian majority, with guarantees for the safeguarding of those Italian
minorities scattered in the other centres. The eventual loss of
Sebenico, which had strategic and not national value, would be
compensated for by some other strategic point to be given to Italy.
Lansing said that this would be eventually sought for in the

Given this situation, it is no exaggeration to say that the general
Socialist strike is a real attempted crime against the nation. And note:
I could understand a strike which had as its object the setting up of
the Soviet in Italy, but I do not understand or admit this one, which is
without aim, object or justification. It must and will fail, because the
leaders themselves are in the _cul de sac_ of this dilemma: either
tragedy, because the State at this moment has its repressive machinery
in full working order; or comedy, in the event of a revolt on the part
of the workmen already outlined, and due to their being tired of serving
a Socialist Party mostly composed of middle-class elements.

Perhaps it is worth while in passing to confute the objection in the
_Stampa_ of Portogruaro, which would like to deny our right of rising up
against the strike on the ground that we were in favour of war. “What,”
it says, “is the damage done in two days of strike compared with that
done in four years of war?” We crush these gentlemen with the reply that
four years of neutrality would have damaged us more, besides having been
to our lasting and ineffaceable moral shame.

_Reactionaries and vice versâ._ For me revolution is not an attack of
St. Vitus’ dance or an unexpected fit of epilepsy. It must have force,
aims, and above all, method. In 1913, when the Socialist Party was
already rotten, it was I who put into circulation the words which made
the pulses of the big men of Italian Socialism beat: “This proletariat
is in need of a bath of blood,” I said. It has had it, and it lasted for
three years. “This proletariat is in need of a day of history.” And it
has had a thousand.

It was necessary then to shake up the masses, because they had fallen
into a state of weakness and insensibility. To-day this situation exists
no longer. To-day the only way not to live in fear of a revolution is to
think that we are now in the full swing of one, that it began in the
August of 1914 and that it is still going on. It is not a question, as
some think, of entering into a revolution as one passes from a state of
tranquillity to a state of action. The task of really free spirits is
different. If this great and immense process of changing the world
stagnates or becomes confused, we can hasten it on; but if it is already
progressing at a frantic rate, then our task is to apply the brakes and
slow it down, in order to avoid disintegration and ruin. To be
revolutionaries, in certain circumstances, time and place, can be the
pride of a lifetime, but when those who speak of revolution are a lot of
parasites, then one must not be afraid, in opposing them, to pass as a
reactionary. One is always a reactionary and revolutionary for somebody.
Fritz Adler, revolutionary in the time of Sturck, is a reactionary
to-day compared with the Communists. I am not afraid of the word. I am a
revolutionary and a reactionary. Really, life is always like this. I am
afraid of the revolution which destroys and does not create. I fear
going to extremes, the policy of madness, at the bottom of which may lie
the destruction of this our fragile mechanical civilisation, robbed of
its solid moral basis, and the coming of a terrible race of dominators
who would reintroduce discipline into the world and re-establish the
necessary hierarchies with the cracking of whips and machine-guns.

_The Compass._ At the same time, as regards reaction and revolution, I
have a compass in my pocket which guides me. All that which tends
towards making the Italian people great finds me favourable, and—_vice
versâ_—all that which tends towards lowering, brutalising and
impoverishing them finds me opposed.

Now Socialism comes into the second category. I find it odd that my
friend Carli, the founder of the National Association of Fighters and a
valiant soldier, puts the Socialists among the advanced parties,
storming them with a succession of “whys,” as he did in the last number
of the _Roma Futurista_.

I deny the title of vanguard to Socialism. I deny the use and timeliness
of any co-operation with this party. I maintain that a reactionary party
in 1914, ’15, ’16, ’17, and ’18 cannot become revolutionary in ’19. I
maintain that this serenading of the Socialists is useless, and this
making of advances not clean. One day, in the culminating moment of the
history of humanity, they embraced the cause of reaction represented by
the Germany of the Hohenzollerns and Sudekum. Besides, it is idiotic and
dangerous to lavish blandishments upon the official Socialists; we
cannot reconcile ourselves with these people. There have been those who
have attached themselves to the movement of to-day, but the Socialists
have disdained that help, because they are megalomaniacs and nourish,
among other things, the fatuous vanity of splendid isolation.

_The Revision of the Treaty of Versailles._ The Peace of Versailles is
not a sufficient motive for the courted collaboration. Things must be
made clear. The Socialists talk of annulling the peace; we wish simply
to revise it. We do not condemn wholesale a peace which a German, and
not one of the most insignificant, Edward Bernstein, has called nine
parts just. The revision of the peace must not mean condemnation of the
war. The Florentine Republican Union has published a manifesto which
defines the limits of protest against the Treaty of Versailles.

“We do not wish to conceal,” say the Florentine Republicans, “that,
although requiring radical amendments, the Treaty is, after all, the
consecration of the fall of four Imperial autocracies, the fall of
numerous dynasties, the creation of as many republics, the
re-establishment of Poland, the reconquest of Alsace and Lorraine, and
of Trento and Trieste by Italy, and of Jerusalem by civilised Europe.
All this would suffice, as long as emendations were made, to bear
witness to the supreme sanctity of the Italian intervention in the
atrocious war let loose by the brutal German Hohenzollerns and

“We do not approve, however, of the proposed general strike as a form of
protest, because—and we say so with the traditional sincerity of our
party—the country is thirsty for fruitful work, and this deluge of
strikes certainly does not help in that.”

“The Peace of Versailles must be corrected and brought into keeping with
the progress of humanity.”

This is also our idea. Rather than seek or beg for useless co-operation,
let us outline a programme of our own of understanding and action. I
refuse, after having got rid of the old, to accept the new dogmas. I
think that it is possible to create a strong economic organisation in
Italy based upon these principles:—

1. Absolute independence from all parties, groups and sets.

2. Federation and autonomy.

3. Abolition, as far as possible, of all paid officials.

4. No steps to be taken without having consulted regularly, by means of
a referendum, the masses interested.

The means of obtaining this end may be altered according to time and
place. The organisation will promote at times co-operation, and at times
war between the classes and the expropriation of class. It will not
always be for co-operation, but neither will it always be in favour of
class preservation; and when it expropriates, it will not be to make all
poor, but to make all rich. In the conquest of a colonial market and in
certain questions connected with the customs, the middle classes and the
proletariat can work together. When there is division of booty, then
class war; but class war in times of under-production is destructive

_In the Political Field._ The Electoral Reform will pass. The scrutiny
of lists and proportional representation will pass. That will determine,
for obvious reasons, the great coalitions—the Socialist-Leninist, the
Clerical-Popular, and, lastly, ours, which might be called the “Alliance
for the Constituent,” the Republican Alliance or the group of the
“interveners” of the Left.

Our programme is to present candidates who pledge themselves to place
the problem of constitutional revision before the new Chamber in the
first session.

This is the Constituent as I understand it. This is the lowest
denominator to which all of us can pledge ourselves and around which we
can all form a union. The moment is particularly propitious for such an
organisation. I think that all we who are represented in this Milanese
Committee of Intesa e Azione can follow this path.

It is a case of “nationalising” this attempt, of making it general all
over Italy. We could, if we wished, number not thousands, but millions
of followers. I myself refuse, in the actual delicate economic situation
in Italy, to adhere to any movement which makes the path clear for
Bolshevism and ruin. The victory cannot and must not be destroyed. I
understand a certain impatience, but I beg you to reflect that if the
lives of individuals are counted in years, the lives of nations are
counted in centuries, and we must not refer egoistically to ourselves
that which is of a general nature. Good strategy is calculation and
audacity. We do not wish to govern by recourse to the bayonet alone,
because that would be dictatorship, which we condemn. We wish first to
sound the masses by the coming elections. Once having had our principles
accepted, we will spring to action.

The revolution which we desired and obtained in 1915 will be ours again
by the victorious peace in its conclusive phase, and it will be called
“Well-being,” “Liberty” and, above all, “Italy.” (Loud applause.)


      Speech delivered at Florence, 9th October 1919, at the first
                       Congress of the Fascisti.

  At Florence was held the first Congress of the “Fasci Italiani di
  Combattimento,” which was the name originally given to the Fascista
  movement. This Congress succeeded the improvised, unorganised
  meeting of 19th March at Milan, and was held in an atmosphere of
  isolation and hostility, amid continuous tumult and interruption; so
  much so, that the members of the Congress were repeatedly obliged to
  suspend their proceedings and go out into the streets to defend
  themselves against hostile demonstrations.

  At that time Florence, the cradle of art, and famed for courtesy and
  hospitality, had been temporarily submerged under waves of
  Bolshevism; Serrati and Lenin, referring to the Italian situation,
  could point to the capital of Tuscany as “the most fertile soil for
  the imminent revolutionary harvest.”

  But even on that occasion Italian Fascismo was able to hold the
  centre successfully, in spite of the numbers of the adversary.

Fascisti comrades! I do not know if I shall succeed in giving you a very
connected speech, as I have not had the opportunity of preparing it, as
is my habit. I had intended to make a Fascista speech to-morrow morning
for a personal reason which might also interest you, and which gave me
the right to ask some hours of rest.

The other day I left Novi Ligure in a “S.V.A.” with a magnificent pilot,
and, having crossed the Adriatic, came down at Fiume, where D’Annunzio
gave us a great welcome. Returning yesterday, we were caught in a storm
on the Istrian tablelands, and were obliged to go out of our course and
to come down at Aiello.

At Fiume I lived in what D’Annunzio justly calls “an atmosphere of
miracles and prodigies.” In the meantime, I bring you his message; he
was thinking of writing one especially for our meeting. (Applause.) My
arrival at Fiume coincided with the capture of the ship _Persia_, about
which Captain Giulietti of the “Federation of the Sea” was so agitated.

The situation at Fiume is splendid from every point of view. There are
supplies for three months. The Yugoslavs have no intention of moving.
Not only that; the Croats, to a certain extent, are supplying the town,
which shows how inappropriate and insidious the movement was which tried
to stir up the people and make them believe that we were on the verge of
a war against the Yugoslavs. Nothing of this exists. D’Annunzio has not,
so far, fired a single shot against those who are on the other side of
the line of the armistice; on the contrary, he has issued a proclamation
to the Croats, which is a magnificent document both from the political
and the human point of view. It ends with these words: “Long live the
Italian-Croat brotherhood! Long live the brotherhood on the sea!”

Now, as regards international relations, the position of Fiume is
perfectly clear. D’Annunzio will not move, because everything is in his
favour. What can the plutocratic powers of Western capitalism do against
him? Nothing! Absolutely nothing, because to strive against a _fait
accompli_ would be to let loose a still greater calamity which nobody
thinks of either in France or England. In France—and we can say so with
tranquillity—there is a sacred horror of further bloodshed; and as for
the English, they have made war very well and brilliantly, but now all
their ideas are contrary to any warlike undertakings and any adventures
of even a slightly complicated nature. To-morrow Fiume would be a _fait
accompli_ for everybody, because nobody would have the strength to
modify it. If the Government had been less cowardly, the problem of
Fiume would be settled by now, and the Allies would have had to accept

_The Forces of the Socialist Party._ And now we come to our affairs. We
must keep the Socialist Party within sight. Let us look a little closer
at their forces. They have had lately to number their forces, and 14,000
of its 80,000 members have disappeared. They are the disbanded. As many
as 500 sections were not represented in what they call the Assizes of
the Italian Proletariat. Nothing of very great importance was said or
done during the congress. Bordiga is not a great general. He is only a
little above mediocrity. What he said to the tribune was what I told the
crowd in 1913. Only Turati’s speech was of any real significance. All
the other unlimited speeches did not, in the end, give practical
indications of that which the Socialists wish or ought to do.

Our statements are much more definite than theirs, and we tell you at
once that we must present an ultimatum to the Government, saying that,
if the censor is not abolished, we Fascisti will not take part in the
elections. It is necessary to protest against an enforced censorship
during the period of the elections, otherwise we shall seem to show that
we are ready to accept an arbitrary act. To this we can add another
positive and effective protest. As for the Socialists, the larger part
of them are distinguished by physical cowardice. They do not like
fighting, they do not wish to fight; fire and steel frighten them.

On the other hand, and I want to draw your attention to this, we must
not confuse this creation, which is for the most part artificial, with a
party of which the proletariat is a lowest minority, while those members
abound who want a seat in Parliament, or in the communal councils and in
the organisations. It is really a political clique which wishes to
substitute itself for the ruling clique. We must not confuse this group
of mediocre politicians with the immense movement of the proletariat
which has a reason for its existence, development and brotherhood.

_Against every Idol._ I repeat here what I said before. No demagogism.
Work-worn hands are not yet enough to show that a man is capable of
upholding a State or a family. We must react against these “cajolers”
and these new semi-idols, in order to uplift these people from the moral
and mental slavery into which they have fallen. We must not approach
them in the attitude of partisans. We are syndicalists, because we think
that by means of the mass it may be possible to determine an economic
readjustment, but this readjustment involves long and complicated
consideration. A political revolution is accomplished in twenty-four
hours, but the economic constitution of a nation, which forms part of
the world system, is not overturned in twenty-four hours.

But we do not, by this, mean to be considered as a kind of “bodyguard”
of the bourgeoisie, which, especially where it is composed of the new
rich, is simply unworthy and cowardly. If these people do not know how
to defend themselves, they must not hope for protection from us. We
defend the nation and the people as a whole. We desire the moral and
material welfare of the people.

I think that, with this as our attitude, it will be possible to approach
the masses. In the meantime, the Federation of Seamen has separated
itself from the General Federation of Labour; the railwaymen have proved
in the big strike that they are Italian and wish to be Italian; and
while the upper bureaucracy of the public administration is, on the
whole, in favour of Nitti and Giolitti, the proletariat of the same
administration tends to sympathise with us. For fifty years generals,
diplomats, and bureaucrats have been taken from the upper classes and
from a certain limited number of persons of rank and position. It is
time to put an end to all this, if we want to infuse new energy and new
blood into the body of the nation.

_For the Elections._ And now we come to the elections. We must deal with
them, because whatever happens it is always a good thing to keep
together and not to burn one’s boats. It may happen that in this month
of October events may be hurried on at such a rate that the elections
may be side-tracked. It may be, on the other hand, that they will take
place. We must be ready also for the second contingency. And then we
Fascisti must do our utmost by ourselves, we must come out clearly
marked and numbered, and if we are few, we must remember that we have
only been in the world six months. Where there is no probability of
isolated success, a union with the “interveners” of the Left might
possibly be formed, which must vindicate, on the one hand, the utility
of the Italian intervention in the name of humanity and the nation
against all those who opposed it, whether followers of Giolitti,
Socialists or Clericals. On the other hand, this programme cannot
exhaust our action; and we shall then have to present to the masses the
fundamental principles upon which we wish to build up a new Italy. Where
the situation may prove more complicated we might also be able to
identify ourselves with a group of “interveners” in a wider and fuller
sense of the word.

_After Vittorio Veneto._ But we wish, above all, to reaffirm solemnly at
this meeting of ours the great Italian victory, vindicating it before
all those who wish to deny and forget it.

We have subdued an Empire which was our enemy, which had advanced to the
Piave, and whose leaders had endeavoured to overthrow Italy. We now
possess the Brenner, the Julian Alps and Fiume, and all the Italians of
Dalmatia. We can say that between the Piave and the Isonzo we have
destroyed that Empire and determined the fall of four autocracies.
(Enthusiastic applause.)

                         THE TASKS OF FASCISMO

      Speech delivered at the Politeama Rossetti at Trieste, 20th
                            September 1920.

  The following speech may be considered as the first of the series of
  those which belong to the period of elaboration of the Fascista
  programme. The moment chosen was not the most favourable, because it
  coincided with two manifestations equally critical both with regard
  to internal and to foreign policy. We refer to the occupation of the
  factories, then at an acute and threatening stage, and to the
  Legionary occupation of Fiume, the first anniversary of which was
  celebrated at this time.

  Benito Mussolini, although taking into due account these two
  important events, destined not to be ignored by history, could and
  did rise above the circumstances of the moment. As a far-seeing
  statesman looking forward to resistance and final victory, he drew
  the attention of his hearers to a sane conception of the problems of
  foreign policy, not included in the enterprise of Ronchi, and, at
  the same time, heartening all Italians who were panic-stricken under
  the arrogant tyranny of Social-Bolshevism.

I do not consider you, men of Trieste, as Italians to whom the whole
truth cannot yet be spoken, because I think of you as among the best in
the country, and your enthusiasm to-day has confirmed me in my opinion.
The event, which had its counterpart in Rome on the 20th September 1870,
was a magnificent picture in a poor frame, but upon this I am not going
to dwell.

_A Comforting Balance._ After a lapse of fifty years since the breach of
Porta Pia, we must undertake the examination of our consciences. A
nation like ours, which had issued from many centuries of disunion,
which had barely achieved unity, had not then muscles strong enough to
bear the weight of a world policy. A great Italian thinker[6] broke this
tradition. In fifty years Italy has made marvellous progress. In the
first place she has a sure foundation, and that is the vitality of our
race. There are nations which every year scan the birth-rates with a
certain preoccupation, because, gentlemen, it is just the want of
balance in this sphere which produces the great crises—you know to what
I allude. But Italy is not thus preoccupied. Italy had twenty-seven
million inhabitants in 1870, she has now fifty million; forty million of
whom live in the Peninsula, and represent the most homogeneous block in
Europe, because, compared with Bohemia, for instance, where five
millions of the Czecho race govern seven millions of other races, Italy
has only 180,000 German subjects on the Upper Adige and 360,000 Slavs,
all the rest forming one compact whole. And besides these forty
millions, there are ten millions who have emigrated to all the
continents and beyond all the oceans; there are 700,000 Italians in New
York alone, another 400,000 in the state of San Paulo, 900,000 in the
Argentine and 120,000 in Tunis.

Footnote 6:

  Francesco Crispi.

_National Discipline._ It is a pity that foreigners know us so little,
but it is still more serious that Italians know Italy so little. If they
knew her a little better, they would realise that there are peoples
beyond her boundaries who are more retrograde than she is; they would
learn, for instance, that Italy possesses the most powerful
hydro-electric plant in the world.

Do not speak to me of reactionary forces in Italy. Those who talk to me
of a reactionary Government make me laugh, especially if they are
immigrants or renegades from Trieste. Because if there is a country in
the world where liberty is in danger of degenerating into licence, and
where it is the inviolable patrimony of every citizen, it is Italy.
There has not yet been seen in our country that which has been seen in
France, where, as the result of a political strike, the Republic
dissolved the General Confederation of Labour, locked up the leaders and
keeps them still in prison. Nor have we seen that which has been
witnessed in England, where so-called undesirable elements are sent over
to the other side of the Channel; or in the ultra-democratic republic of
the United States, where, in one single night, five hundred rebels were
seized and sent over the Atlantic. If there is something to say, it is
this: it is time to impose an iron discipline upon the individual and
upon the masses, because social renovation is one thing—and this we are
not against—but the destruction of the country quite another. As long as
transformation is spoken of we are all agreed, but when instead it is a
question of a leap in the dark, then we put our veto upon it. You will
pass, we say, but it will be over our bodies; you will have to overcome
our resistance first.

_The Greatness of Victory._ Now, after this half-century of the life of
Italy which I have thus roughly sketched, Trieste is Italian and the
tricolour waves over the Brenner. If it were possible to pause one
moment to measure the greatness of the event, you would find that the
fact of the tricolour on the Brenner is of capital importance, in the
history not only of Italy, but also of Europe. The tricolour on the
Brenner means that the Germans will no longer descend with impunity upon
our lands. Glaciers have now been placed between us and them, and on
these glaciers are the magnificent Alpine soldiers who went to the
assault of Monte Nero, who were sacrificed at Ortigara, and who have on
their flag the motto “No passage this way.” (Loud applause.)

Now it is a most important fact that Trieste has come to Italy after a
great victory. If we were not so occupied with the daily material
necessities of life and the solution of commonplace and banal problems,
we should know how to appreciate all that which took place on the banks
of the Piave and at Vittorio Veneto. An Empire was destroyed in an hour,
an Empire which had outlasted a century, an Empire in which necessity
had developed a superfine art of government which consisted in the
eternal “Divide et impera,” according to the wisdom of Budapest and
Vienna. This Empire had an army, a traditional policy, a bureaucracy,
and had bound all its citizens together in a universal suffrage. This
Empire, which seemed so powerful and invincible, fell before the
bayonets of the Italian people.

The Italian Risorgimento is only a struggle between a people and a
State, between the Italian people on one side and the Hapsburg State on
the other, between the live forces of the future and the dead past. It
was inevitable that, having passed the Mincio in 1859, and the Upper
Adige in 1866, we had, in 1915, to pass the Isonzo and get beyond; it
was so far inevitable that the neutralists themselves have had to
acknowledge that Italy could not, under pain of death, and what is
worse, dishonour, have remained neutral.

This vindication of our intervention is the fact which gives us the
greatest satisfaction. And what does it matter if I read in a gloomy and
pessimistic book that the acquisition of Trento, Trieste and Fiume still
represents a deficit in the balance of the war? This way of arguing is
ridiculous. In the first place, historical events cannot be regulated
like a page of book-keeping with receipts and payments, debit and
credit. It is impossible to make out an estimate of historical facts and
expect it to agree with the final balance.

All this is the result of a melancholy philosophy which was widespread
over Italy after the war. But let us hope it will soon pass to leave
room for a little optimism and pride. This after-war period is certainly
critical; I fully recognise the fact. But who can expect that a gigantic
crisis like that of five years of a world-war will be settled at once,
that the world will return to its previous tranquil state in less than
two years? The crisis is not limited to Trieste, Milan or Italy, it is
world-wide and is not yet over.

_The Necessity of Struggle._ Struggle is at the bottom of everything,
because life is full of contrasts. There is love and hate, black and
white, night and day, good and evil, and until these contrasts are
balanced, struggle will always be at the root of human nature, as the
supreme fatality. And it is a good thing that it is so. To-day there may
be war, economic rivalry and conflicting ideas, but the day in which all
struggle will cease will be a day of melancholy, will mean the end of
all things, will mean ruin. Now this day will not come, because history
presents itself as a changing panorama. An attempt to return to peace
and tranquillity would mean fighting against the existing dynamic
period. It is necessary to prepare ourselves for other surprises and
struggles. “There will not be a period of peace,” they say, “unless the
nations indulge in a dream of universal brotherhood and stretch out
their hands beyond the mountains and the oceans.” I, for my part, do not
put too much faith in these ideals, but I do not exclude them, because I
never exclude anything; everything is possible, even the impossible and
absurd. But to-day, being to-day, it would be fallacious, criminal and
dangerous to build our houses on the quicksands of international
Christian-Socialist-Communism. These ideas are very respectable, but a
long way from the truth. (Applause.)

_The Patriotism of Fascismo._ What is the position of Fascismo in this
difficult post-war period? The foundation-stone of Fascismo is
patriotism; that is to say, we are proud of being Italian. Now it is
just this which separates us from a great many other people, who are so
ridiculous and small and hide their patriotism, because eighty per cent.
of the Italian population was once illiterate. This does not mean
anything, for narrow, poor, elementary education may be worse than pure
and simple illiteracy. It is an outworn idea that one who knows how to
write must needs be more intelligent than one who does not know how to.

Now we vindicate the honour of being Italian, because in our wonderful
Peninsula—wonderful, although there are inhabitants who are not always
wonderful—there has been enacted the most marvellous story of humanity.
Do you think that a man who lives in far Japan or in America or in any
other far-off spot can be counted educated if he does not know the
history of Rome? It is not possible.

_Rome._ Rome is the name which filled history for twenty centuries. Rome
gave the lead to universal civilisation, traced the roads and assigned
the boundaries; Rome gave the world the laws of its immutable rights.
But if this was the universal task of Rome in ancient times, we have now
another universal task. Our destiny cannot become universal unless it is
transplanted to the pagan ground of Rome. By means of Paganism Rome
found her form and found the means of upholding herself in the world.

Note that the task of Rome is not yet completed. No! Because the story
of Italy of the Middle Ages—the most brilliant story of Venice, which
lasted for ten centuries, with her ships in all seas and her ambassadors
and her government, the like of which is no longer to be found to-day—is
not closed. The story of the Italian communes is full of wonders,
grandeur and nobility. Go to Venice, Pisa, Amalfi, Genoa and Florence,
and you will find in the palaces and in the streets the signs and
vestiges of this marvellous and not yet decayed civilisation.

Now, my friends, after this period, in the beginning of 1800, when Italy
was divided into seven little States, there arose a generation of poets.
Poetry also has its task to perform in history, in arousing enthusiasm
and in kindling faith, and not for nothing the greatest modern Italian
poet—whether second-rate writers, who do not know how to express the
smallest idea, recognise it or not—Gabriele d’Annunzio, represents in a
magnificent union of thought and sentiment, the power of action which is
characteristic of the Italian people.

_The Dolomites of Italian Thought._ We are proud of being Italians, and
not only for reasons of exclusivism. The modern spirit reaches out
towards beauty and truth. One cannot think of a modern man who has not
read Cervantes, Shakespeare, Goethe and Tolstoy. But all this must not
make us forget that we were great when the others were not yet born,
that while German Klopstock was writing his verbose _Messiade_, Dante
Alighieri had been a giant for centuries. And we have also the sculpture
of Michelangelo, the painting of Raffaello, the astronomy of Galileo,
and the medicine of Morgagni, and with these the mysterious Leonardo da
Vinci who excelled in all fields. And then, if you want to pass to
politics and war, there is Napoleon and, above all, Garibaldi, most
Italian of all.

These are the Dolomites of Italian thought and spirit; but beside these
almost inaccessible peaks are lower summits in great numbers, which show
that it is quite impossible to think of human civilisation without the
gigantic contribution made by Italian thought. And this must be repeated
at our boundaries, where there are tribes chattering incomprehensible
languages who would pretend, simply on account of their numbers, to
supplant our marvellous civilisation which has endured two millenniums
and is ready for a third.

_The Sincerity of Fascismo._ The second foundation-stone of Fascismo is
represented by anti-demagogism and pragmatism. We have no preconceived
notions, no fixed ideas and, above all, no stupid pride. Those who say,
“You are unhappy, here is the receipt for happiness,” make me think of
the advertisement “Do you want health?” We do not promise men happiness
either here or in the next world; differing thus from the Socialists,
who pretend that they can set the Russian mask on the face of the

Once there were courtiers who burned incense before the king and the
popes; now there is a new breed, which burns incense, without sincerity,
before the proletariat. Only those who hold Italy in their hands have
the right to govern her, they say, while these do not know even how to
control their own families. We are different. We use another language,
more serious, unprejudiced and worthy of free men. We do not exclude the
possibility that the proletariat may be capable of using its present
forces to other ends, but we say that before it tries to govern the
nation it must learn to govern itself, must make itself worthy,
technically and, still more, morally, because government is a
tremendously difficult and complicated task. The nation is composed of
millions and millions of individuals whose interests clash, and there
are no superior beings who can reconcile all these differences and make
a union of life and progress.

_Fascismo is not Conservative._ But we are not, on the other hand,
traditionalists, bound hand and foot to the stones and débris.
Everything must be changed in the modern city. The ancient streets will
no longer stand the wear and tear of the trams and motor traffic,
because through them passes the whole of civilisation. It is possible to
destroy in order to create anew in a form more beautiful and great, for
destruction must never be carried out in the method of a savage, who
breaks open a machine in order to see what is inside. We do not refuse
to make changes in our spiritual life just because the spirit is a
delicate matter. No social transformation which is necessary, is
repugnant to me. In this way I accept the famous control of the
factories and also their co-operative management by companies; I only
ask that there shall be a clear conscience and technical capacity, and
that there shall be increased production. If this is guaranteed by the
workmen’s unions, instead of by the employers, I have no hesitation in
saying that the former have the right to substitute the latter.

_The Bolshevist Mask._ That which we Fascisti are opposing is the
Bolshevist element in Italian Socialism. It is strange that a race which
has produced Pisacane and Mazzini should go in search of gospels first
to Germany and then to Russia. Pisacane and Mazzini ought to be studied,
and then it would be seen that some of the truths which it is pretended
have been revealed in Russia, are only truths already consecrated in the
books of our great Italian thinkers.

How can Communism be thought possible in the most individualistic
country in the world? It is only possible where every man is a number,
not in Italy where every man is an individual, and more, has
individuality. But after all, my dear friends, does Bolshevism exist in
Russia? It does not any longer. There are no longer councils of the
factories, but dictators of the factories; no longer eight hours of
work, but twelve; no longer equal salaries, but thirty-five different
categories, not according to need, but according to merit. There is not
in Russia even that liberty which there is in Italy. Is there a
dictatorship of the proletariat? No! Is there a dictatorship of the
Socialists? No! There is a dictatorship of a few intelligent men, not
workmen, who belong to a section of the Socialist Party, and their
dictatorship is opposed by all the other sections.

This dictatorship of a few men is what is called Bolshevism. Now we do
not want this in Italy. The Socialists themselves, realising what they
have seen in Russia, recognise, when you question them, that that which
has gone badly in Russia cannot be transplanted into Italy. Only they
are wrong in not saying so openly; they are wrong in playing with
equivocations and deceiving the masses. We repeat, we are not against
the working classes, because they are necessary to the nation, sacredly
necessary. The twenty million Italians who work with their hands have
the right to defend their interests. What we oppose is the deceitful
action of politicians to the detriment of the working classes; we fight
these new priests who promise, in bad faith, a paradise they do not
believe in themselves. Those who are the most ardent advocates of
Bolshevism here in Trieste take up this attitude in order to make
themselves popular with the Slav masses who live near. And if I have a
profound lack of esteem for the Bolshevist leaders in Italy, and despise
many of them, it is because I know them all well and have been in
contact with them. I know perfectly well that when they play the lion
they are rabbits, and that they are like certain monks in Heinrich Heine
who openly preach the drinking of water and drink wine themselves in
secret. We wish to see this shameful speculation finish, because it is
against the interests of the nation.

_Always against Italy._ Can you tell me by what curious chance the
Socialists are always against Italy in all questions? Can you tell me
why they always side with those who are against Italy? With the
Albanians, the Croats, the Germans and others? Can you tell me why they
shout “Long live Albania!” who is fighting for Valona, which is
Albanian, and do not shout “Long live Italy!” who is fighting for Trento
and Trieste, which are Italian? By what criterion are they always
against Italy, shouting, “Down, down!” Four Arabs revolt in Libya and
they shout, “Down with Libya!” Six thousand Albanians attack Valona and
it is, “Down with Valona!” And if to-morrow the Croats of Dalmatia
attack us it will be, “Down with Dalmatia!” And if, upon the burning
mountain of the Carso, an insurrectional movement develops against
Trieste, I am afraid the Italian Socialists would cry, “Down with
Trieste!” But there are Italians here and elsewhere who would strangle
the fratricidal cry in their throats.

It was the same with their opposition to the war. War is a horrible
thing in itself. Those who have been through it know. But it is
necessary to explain. If they say, “War in itself and for itself, for
whatever reason, in whatever latitude, under whatsoever pretext, must
not be made,” then I respect these humanitarians and Tolstoyans. If they
say, “I abhor that blood shall be spilled under any pretext,” then I
respect them and admire them, although I find this impracticable. But
when they cry, “Down with the war!” when Italy makes it, and “Long live
the war!” when Russia makes it, it is a different matter. They had a
paper which was very happy when the so-called Bolshevists were marching
towards Warsaw, and employed the military style: “While we are writing
the cannons....” etc.; we know it all by heart. Is not this war then the
same thing? Does not the Russian war make widows and orphans? Is it not
made with guns, aeroplanes and all the innumerable instruments which
tear and kill human bodies? Either they must be contrary to _all_ wars,
in which case we can discuss together, or if they make distinctions
between war and war, between the war which can be made and the war which
cannot—well, we can tell them that their humanitarianism is simply
horrible. And if they have reason to make war, we had reason to make it
for the destinies of the country in 1915. (Applause.)

_The Epic of D’Annunzio._ What, then, is to be the task of Fascismo? It
is this: to bridle Demagogism with courage, energy and impetuosity.
Fascismo is called the Fascio of Fighters, and the word “fighters” does
not leave any doubts about its aims, which are, to fight with peaceful
arms, but also with the arms of warriors. And this is normal in Italy,
because all the world is arming itself, and so it is absolutely
necessary that we Italians arm ourselves in our turn.

But the task of Fascismo here is more delicate, more difficult, and more
necessary. Fascismo here has a reason for existence, and finds a natural
field for development. I have unlimited faith in the future of the
Italian nation. Crises will succeed crises, there will be pauses and
parentheses, but we shall arrive at a settlement, and the history of
to-morrow cannot be thought of without the participation of Italy.

There have been many orders of the day, many articles in the papers,
much more or less senseless talk, but the only man who has achieved a
real revolutionary stroke, the only man who for twelve or thirteen
months has held in check all the forces ranged against him is Gabriele
d’Annunzio with his legionaries. Against this man, of pure Italian
blood, are leagued all the cowards, and it is for this reason that we
are proud to be with him, even if all this tribe turn against us too.
This man also represents the possibility of victory and resurrection.
And this possibility exists because we have made war and won. It is
ridiculous that those who most profited by it in wages, votes and
honours are those who, to-day, turn round and revile it. In any case I
think, as indeed this meeting of yours bears witness, that the hour of
the vindication of our national efficiency has struck. While on the one
hand there is a vast world of wretched, poor creatures, there is also a
world which does not forget and does not ignore our victory. (Applause.)

_The Re-birth of Ideals._ Just as I was leaving Milan, I received from
the mayor of Cupra Marittima, a little town of Central Italy, an
invitation to be present at their commemoration of the fallen. I did not
accept, because I do not like making speeches. But this episode, like
the pilgrimage of the Ortigara, the pilgrimage to the Grappa, the
pilgrimage of the 24th October to the rocky Carso, tells you that all
ideals are not lost, but are, on the contrary, being re-born. We wish to
assist this spiritual re-birth in every way possible.

Yesterday, I experienced a moment of great emotion when passing over the
Isonzo. Every time that I have passed that river with my pack on my
back, I have stooped to drink of its crystal waters. If we had not
reached the other side of that river, the tricolour would not to-day be
flying from San Giusto.

This is the real and true meaning of the war. If the tricolour flies
from San Giusto, it is because twenty years ago a man of Trieste was the
forerunner; it is there because in 1915 Italian soldiers threw
themselves upon the Austrian defences, and all Italy took part in that
act, from the Alpine detachments of the mountains of Piedmont, Lombardy
and Friuli to the magnificent infantry of the Abruzzi, Puglie and Sicily
and the soldiers of the generous island of Sardinia, too much neglected
by the Government! And these generous sons have not yet risen up to take
reprisals against the demagogues of Italy, because they are always ready
to fulfil their duty.

Men of Trieste! The tricolour of San Giusto is sacred, the tricolour on
the Nevoso is sacred, and still more so is that on the Dinaric Alps. The
tricolour will be protected by our dead heroes, but let us swear
together that it will be defended also by the living. (Prolonged


   Speech delivered at the Politeama Rossetti, Trieste, 6th February

  Just as, a few months before, at the time of Italy’s darkest hour,
  when the Bolshevist movement was at its zenith, Mussolini had
  addressed to the people of Trieste wise words of faith, so in the
  spring of 1921, the spring famous for anti-Socialist reaction,
  Trieste was once more the city he chose as the place best suited for
  the exposition of his analysis of the problems of foreign policy. On
  that occasion the patriotic and liberated town, which gave the first
  impulse of assault in the energetic offensive against the local
  Austrian Bolshevists, accorded to the leader of the new Italy hearty
  manifestations of general assent.

In order to indicate the direction which Italian foreign policy should
take in the immediate future, it is a good thing to give a glance first
at the general situation in the world, and at the forces and currents
which are at work, with a view to finding out what may be the possible
developments and results.

All the States of the world are in a condition of fatal interdependence.
The period for splendid isolation is passed for everyone. It can well be
said, that with the war the story of mankind has acquired a world
movement. While Europe, severely weakened, struggles to recover her
economic, political and spiritual balance, already beyond the boundaries
of the old Continent a formidable clash of interests is shaping itself.
I allude to the conflict between the United States and Japan, and to the
accounts of recent episodes, from the Affair of the Cable to the Bill
against the Yellow Immigration in California, which have occupied the
papers. Japan has a population of 77 millions, and the United States 110
millions. That it was known that a struggle between these two States was
inevitable is proved by the very significant fact that the book which
had the widest circulation among all classes in Tokio was called _Our
Next War with the United States_, a book which outlined the war between
the continents for the dominion of the Pacific. The centre of world
civilisation is tending to alter its position. Up to about 1500 it was
in the Mediterranean; after the discovery of America, it shifted to the
Atlantic; to-day its passage to the biggest ocean of the planet is
indicated. I said, last time I spoke here, that we were approaching the
“Asiatic” century. Japan is destined to be the fermenting element of all
the Yellow world.

As the result of shifting the centre of civilisation from London to New
York (which has already seven million inhabitants and will soon be the
largest agglomeration of human beings on the earth), and from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, there are those who foresee a gradual economic
and spiritual decay of our old Europe, and of our wonderful little
continent, which has been, hitherto, the guiding light of all the world.
Shall we live to see the eclipse of the European rôle in the history of

_The European Situation._ To this disquieting and depressing question we
answer, “It is possible.” The life of Europe, especially that of Central
Europe, is at the mercy of the Americans. Europe presents a troubled
political and economic panorama, a thorny maze of national and social
questions, and it happens that Communism is sometimes the mask of
Nationalism and _vice versâ_. European “unity” does not seem to be any
nearer realisation. Egoism and the interests of nations and classes
exist in proud contrast. Russia is no longer an enigma from the economic
point of view. In Russia there is neither Communism nor Socialism, but
an agrarian revolution of the democratic lower-middle-class kind. She
only remains an enigma from the political point of view. What foreign
policy does Russia follow? Is it a policy of peace or war? The variety
of facts which reach our ears make us continually waver between one
opinion and another. Perhaps under the emblem of the sickle and the
hammer is hidden—or not hidden—the old Panslavism, which to-day is
dominated, besides, by the immediate necessity of extending the
revolution to the rest of Europe, in order to save the Government of the
Soviet in Russia. If Russia adopts a policy of war, the fate of the
Baltic States (Lithuania, Lettonia and Esthonia) will be sealed. The
fate of Poland would also be uncertain, and she might find herself
driven against the unfriendly German wall by an eventual breaking loose
of the Russian forces. There are serious conflicting interests between
the different States of those north-east shores. There is a disagreement
between Poland, Lithuania and Russia as regards Wilna and Grodno. The
rights on the basis of history and statistics are with Poland. There are
263,000 Poles in the district of Wilna as compared with 118,000
Lithuanians, 8000 White Ruthenians and 83,000 Jews. The same figures,
proportionately, are found in Grodno. As for Upper Silesia, which keeps
the Polish and German worlds in a state of continuous agitation, the
German statistics give these returns: 1,348,000 Poles, 588,000 Germans.
Upper Silesia is, therefore, Polish, but its final destiny will be
decided by the plebiscite summoned for the 15th March.

_The Treaties of Peace._ The Great War has resulted in six treaties of
peace up to the present: Versailles, St. Germain, Trianon, Neuilly,
Sèvres, Rapallo. Not one of these treaties has wholly satisfied the
victors; not one, even the Treaty of Rapallo, which was supposed to be a
masterpiece of friendly and peaceful negotiation, has been accepted by
the vanquished. As far as the Treaty of Versailles, the greatest of all,
is concerned, even at this moment the important question of the
indemnity which Germany ought to pay is still under discussion. It is a
figure which makes us feel giddy and the last word has not yet been
said. All the settlements, especially those made by diplomats, have an
ironically provisional character.

The Germans, who have formed the “sacred union” of non-payment, announce
that they will make counterproposals by the same representatives who
will speak at London in a few weeks’ time. Our opinion is, that if the
Germans can pay they ought, as far as it is possible, and the experts
must ascertain the truth of this possibility. We must not forget, before
allowing ourselves to pity the Germans—who had already fixed our
indemnity at 500 milliards of gold, in the case of their victory—that it
was the Germans who began the war, and that the first Irredentism was
directed against Italy, on account of those minorities which had
descended, without right, into the Upper Adige.

_German Austria, Macedonia and Smyrna._ The present Austrian Republic
was the result of the Treaty of St. Germain. Can it continue to live,
formed as it is at present? It is generally thought not. There remains
the alternative of a Danube Confederation with its centre at Vienna and
Budapest, but the “Little Entente” sees to it that there shall be no
return, under any form, of the old régime. We think that, by the force
of events, an economic Danube Confederation will be formed sooner or
later, in which case the conditions of Austria, and especially of
Vienna, would improve until she had arrived at the point of lessening
the pro-German annexationist movement. From the standpoint of justice,
and whenever there was a clear manifestation of the will of the people,
Austria would have the right of separating herself from Germany. This
possible eventuality cannot leave us indifferent, because of the
boundaries of the Brenner, which is a question of life or death for the
Paduan valley. A hungry and pauper Austria cannot organise a dangerous
Irredentism against us; but as the result of union with Germany the
question of the Upper Adige would certainly become more acute.

As for Hungary, she can certainly expect a revision of the treaty which
mutilates her on every side. It must be added, however, that the chapter
of Fiume is definitely closed in Hungarian history.

Centres of infection for another war exist all over the Balkan world.
Let us quote Montenegro and Albania, for example. We are in favour of
the independence of both these States, provided that they show
themselves capable of enjoying it. Bulgaria has a right to Macedonia[7]
and also to a port on the Ægean. And this is of capital importance for
the economic expansion of Italy in Bulgaria. The Treaty of Sèvres
crushed Turkey in order to exalt the Greece of Venizelos and
Constantine, which gave the European war the sacrifice of 787 “euzoni.”
We consider, as far as the Eastern Mediterranean is concerned, that
Italy, on the whole, should follow a pro-Turkish policy.

Footnote 7:

  Population: 1,181,000 Bulgarians, 499,000 Turks, and 228,000 Greeks.

_The Treaty of Rapallo._ Immediately after the signing of the Treaty of
Rapallo, the Central Committee of the Fascio passed its judgment upon
it, finding it “acceptable for the Eastern boundaries, inacceptable and
deficient as regards Fiume, and insufficient and to be rejected as
regards Zara and Dalmatia.” At three months’ distance this judgment does
not seem to be contradicted by successive events. The Treaty of Rapallo
is an unhappy compromise, against which pages of criticism were printed
in the _Popolo d’Italia_, which it is now useless to repeat.

It must be explained why victorious Italy ever arrived at the point of
signing the Peace of Rapallo. And the explanations do not need much
mental exertion. Rapallo was the logical consequence of the line of
foreign policy followed by us or imposed upon us before, during and
after the war. It is explained by Wilson and his so-called experts and
the absolute lack of Italian propaganda abroad and the dead-tiredness of
the people. Rapallo is explained by the meeting of the oppressed
nationalities held at Rome in April 1918, which meeting can be directly
connected with the ill-fated story of Caporetto. Everything is paid for
in this life. On 12th November 1920, we paid at Rapallo for the
breakdown of 24th October 1917. Had there been no Caporetto, there would
have been no Pact of Rome. In that congress the Yugoslavs threw dust in
our eyes because in reality they did nothing towards breaking up the
Dual Monarchy from within, of which they were the faithful slaves to the
last, with traditional Croat loyalty. Not for nothing did the Hapsburg
monarchy, upon its decease, try to present the Jugoslavs with its navy.
But it was in the April of 1918 that the irreparable was committed, with
the consent of all currents of Italian public opinion, including ours
and the Nationalists—that is to say, our worst enemies were raised to
the rank of effectual and powerful allies, and naturally, when the
victory was obtained, there was no accepting of the rôle of vanquished,
but they adopted that of co-operators with a relative share in the
common booty. After the Pact of Rome it was no longer possible to place
our knee on the chest of Yugoslavia—this is the truth. And so it
happened that the Italian people—tired, impoverished and unnerved by two
long years of useless negotiations, demoralised by the policy of the
Government and the tremendous wave of after-war sabotage (against which
only the Fascisti reacted powerfully)—accepted, or rather suffered, the
Treaty of Rapallo, without manifestations of grief or joy. And, in order
to finish it once and for all, many people would also have accepted the
terrible line of Montemaggiore. All the parties of all the grades of
Left and Right accepted the treaty as a lesser evil. We, too, submitted
to it, considering it merely as a transitory and ephemeral act (has
there ever been anything definite in the world, much less upon the
moving sands of diplomacy?), and with the intention of gathering our
forces to be ready for the revision which, sooner or later, would
improve the treaty and not make it worse, would carry our boundaries to
the Dinaric Alps, but never again allow the boundaries of Yugoslavia to
reach the Isonzo.

The fate meted out to Dalmatia makes us very sad. But the fault does not
lie wholly with the negotiators of the eleventh hour; the renunciation
had already been made in Parliament, in the papers and in the
universities themselves, where a professor printed a book, which was
naturally translated at Zagabria, in which he proved, in his own way,
that Dalmatia is not Italian. The Dalmatian tragedy lies in this
ignorance, bad faith and want of understanding; faults which we hope to
repair with our work by making Dalmatia known, loved and defended.

The treaty, once signed, could be annulled in one of two ways: by
outside war or internal revolution. Both equally absurd. You do not make
the people throng the squares in order to change a peace treaty after
five years of bloodshed. Nobody is capable of working such prodigies. It
was possible to cause a revolution in Italy in order to obtain
intervention; but to cause a revolution in November 1920, in order to
annul a peace treaty which, good or bad, had been accepted by
ninety-nine per cent. of the Italian people, could not be considered. I
do not mind much about coherence, but there are stenographic records
which bear witness to the fact that I steadily refused to go against the
treaty either by promoting outside war or internal revolution. I
considered that it was also dangerous to get mixed up in an armed
resistance to the treaty.

_The Tragedy of Fiume._ Two months of polemics and daily articles during
November and December bear witness to my support of the cause of Fiume,
and my open and strong opposition to the Parliament.

It is a pity that oblivion falls so quickly on the words of a daily
paper; and I have not the melancholy habit of unearthing what I publish.
But the undeniable truth is this: that day after day I fought so that
the Government at Rome should recognise the Government at Fiume; so that
the representatives of the Regency should be invited to Rapallo; and so
that the Government at Rome should avoid any armed attack on Fiume. At
the outset I called the attack of Christmas Eve an enormous crime, and I
always upheld the spirit of justice, liberty and free-will which were
the inspiration of the legions of Ronchi.

_The Audience in the Gallery._ It sometimes happens in history as in the
theatre, that there is an audience in the gallery, which, having paid
for its tickets, demands that the performance shall run to a close at
all costs. Thus in Italy to-day there are two types of individuals:
those who blame D’Annunzio for having lived to see the end of the Fiume
tragedy, and those who blame Mussolini for not having brought about that
easy, pretty little thing which is called a revolution! I have always
disdained the cowardly method by which, in Italy, impotence, anger and
misery are laid upon the heads of real or imaginary scapegoats. The
Fasci had never promised to bring about revolution in the event of an
attack on Fiume, nor have I ever written or made known to D’Annunzio
that revolution depended upon my caprice. Revolution is not a
Jack-in-the-box which can be worked at will. I do not carry it in my
pocket, any more than those who fill their noisy mouths with its name
and in practice do not get beyond disorders in the squares after
unimportant demonstrations accompanied by a providential arrest to avoid
any more serious complications. I know the breed. I have been in
politics for twenty years. In the war between Caviglia and Fiume, either
great things should have been accomplished, or else, for reasons of
self-respect, excessive shouting and raising of smoke, which vanished at
once without trace and without bloodshed, should have been avoided.

_With Whom and Where?_ History learned from far-off events teaches men
little; but that which we see written daily under our eyes ought to be
more successful. Now these chronicles of every day tell us that
revolution is made with an army and not against an army; with arms, not
without arms; with movements of trained squadrons, not with the
untrained masses called to meetings in the squares. They succeed when
they are made in an atmosphere of sympathy on the part of the majority;
if this is lacking they die down and fail. Now in Fiume the army and
navy did not fail. A certain revolutionary spirit of the eleventh hour
did not take definite shape; it was the work sometimes of anarchists and
sometimes of Nationalists. According to some emissaries it was possible
to put the devil and holy water together, the nation and that which was
against the nation: Misiano and Del Croix. Now I reject all forms of
Bolshevism, but if I were obliged to choose one, I should choose that of
Moscow and Lenin, if for no other reason because at least it has
gigantic, barbaric and universal proportions. What revolution was it to
be, then? National or Bolshevist? A great uncertainty, complicated by a
great many minor considerations, confused men’s minds, while the nation,
in a mood of revolt against that which had happened round Fiume,
abandoned itself to an attitude of grief, in which the only bright spot
was the hope that the episode would retain its local character and come
quickly to a peaceful conclusion.

_Hypotheses and Certainties._ If there had been an insurrection on our
part—and this was not possible owing to the armed forces which the
Government had at its disposal—there must have been one of two results:
defeat or victory. In the first case, everything would have been
irretrievably lost in the abyss of civil war. Let us, for the sake of
argument, presuppose the second hypothesis: that of victory with the
fall of the Government and of the régime. After the more or less easy
period of demolition, what form would the revolution take? Social, as
some Bolshevists wish—those with the motto “Always further Left,” the
equivalent of the grotesque “Go to the reddest”—or national, Dalmatian
and reactionary, as others desire?

There is no possibility of reconciliation between the two currents. In a
revolution of the social order, what importance would the territorial
questions, and more precisely that of Dalmatia, have had? In the other
event of a national revolution against the Treaty of Rapallo, everything
would have been limited to a formal annulment of the treaty and to a
substitution of men; to be followed later by another treaty in another
Rapallo, in order that one day or another the nation might have her
peace. An episode of civil war was not remedied by letting loose a
bigger war in times like these through which we are passing, and nobody
is capable of prolonging and creating artificially historical situations
which are over and done with. Only the man who knows how to lift himself
above common passions, who knows how to draw conclusions from
conflicting elements and how to distinguish the pure grain from the
equivocal chaff, is able to understand that Fiume Christmas, which can
be called the tragic crossroads between the reasons of the State and of
the ideal: the meeting-place of all our deficiencies and all our

_Suspended Problems._ The first is that of Fiume. We do not feel the
necessity of reaffirming our sympathy for the sacrificed city. We have
given the most tangible proofs, recently, of our solidarity with the
Fascio of Fiume, in order to put it in a position to undertake the
struggle against the Croats, who are now beginning to show signs of
life. The action of the Fascisti must tend, for the moment, towards
economic annexation of Fiume to Italy, to arousing the interest of the
Government and private individuals, and at the same time keeping alive,
by every means, the torch of Italy, so that in due time economic will be
followed by political annexation. We shall achieve this in spite of
everything. All the Fascista force, national and parliamentary, must be
concentrated on Zara, so that the little city shall be able to
accomplish her important and delicate mission in history. There must be
efficacious education for the Italians who have remained in the
principal cities of Dalmatia, and no separate constituencies for the
Slavs in Istria and the Germans in the Upper Adige. It is not possible
to establish such a precedent, as it would carry us far. The French of
the Val d’Aosta, who are in reality excellent Italians, have no special
constituencies and privileges of that sort. These duplicate
constituencies would be a grave mistake. It is up to the Fascisti of
Trento and Trieste to prevent this happening at any cost.

_Old and New Directions._ The lines of the programme laid down at the
meeting at Milan in May last year have not become out of date or in need
of revision. Fascismo has the name of being “imperialist.” This
accusation goes together with that of being reactionary. Fascismo is
against renunciations when they mean humiliation and diminution.

Given these general premises—_first_, that Fascismo does not believe in
the principles of the so-called League of Nations nor in its vitality;
_secondly_, that Fascismo does not believe in the Red Internationals,
which die, reproduce themselves, multiply and die again: for they are
small, artificial organisations, small minorities compared to the masses
of the population, which, living, dying, progressing or retrogressing,
finishes by deciding those changes of interests before which the
international organisations of the first, second and third order crumble
to pieces; _thirdly_, that Fascismo does not believe in the immediate
possibility of general disarmament, and _fourthly_, considers that
Italy, in the present historical period, should follow a policy of
European equilibrium and conciliation—it follows that the Italian Fascio
of Fighters demands:—

1. That the treaties of peace shall be revised and modified in those
parts which have proved inapplicable, or which might prove in
application the cause of formidable hatred and new wars.

2. The economic annexation of Fiume to Italy, or the care of the
Italians resident in Dalmatia.

3. The gradual economic emancipation of Italy from abroad by the
development of her productive forces.

4. The renewal of relations with the enemy countries—Austria, Germany,
Bulgaria, Turkey and Hungary—but with dignity and holding fast to the
supreme necessity of maintaining our northern and eastern boundaries.

5. The creation and intensification of friendly relations with the
peoples of the East, not excluding those governed by the Soviet and
South-eastern Europe.

6. The vindication of the rights and interests of the nation as regards
the colonies.

7. The abandonment of the old systems and the replacement of all our
diplomatic representatives with others from the special university

8. The furtherance of the Italian colonies in the Mediterranean and
beyond the Atlantic by economic and educational means and by rapid

_Towards a New Italy._ I have enormous faith in the future greatness of
the Italian people. Ours is the most numerous and homogeneous of the
peoples of Europe.

The war has enormously increased the prestige of Italy. “Long live
Italy!” is now cried in far-off Lettonia and still more distant Georgia.

Italy is the tricolour wing of Ferrarin, the magnetic wave of Marconi,
the baton of Toscanini, the revival of Dante, in the sixth centenary of
his departure. Let us prepare ourselves by energetic everyday work for
the Italy of to-morrow of which we dream; an Italy free and rich,
resounding with song, with her skies and seas populated with her fleets,
and her earth fruitful beneath her ploughs. And may the coming citizens
be able to say what Virgil said of ancient Rome: “Imperium oceano, famam
terminavit astris” (The Empire ended with the ocean, but her fame
reached the stars.)

                        HOW FASCISMO WAS CREATED
                       ITS EVOLUTION AND ESSENCE

  Speech delivered at the Teatro Comunale of Bologna, 3rd April 1921.

  Bologna, the capital of the so-called red region of Emilia, a region
  thought to be lost to the Italian State as far as laws and authority
  were concerned, from the 2nd to the 4th of April passed through
  truly memorable days.

  The learned and noble city, with its fine patriotic traditions,
  whose very walls recall the popular and patrician insurrection
  against the Austrians, welcomed Benito Mussolini with manifestations
  of solidarity and veneration such as were accorded to Giuseppe
  Garibaldi. For if the latter was a liberator from foreign tyranny,
  the former had been no less a liberator from an equal tyranny,
  arising from similar causes, although materialised through different
  means and by different agents living in our midst.

  All who witnessed those enthusiastic manifestations instantly
  perceived that the problem of Italian internal politics was now
  solved by the definite defeat of that parasitic, anti-National
  Socialism, the enemy of liberty, which had chosen the Valle Padana
  as the most suitable experimental field for the fecundation of the
  microbes of Collectivist Utopia, and incidentally for the
  exploitation of the masses of the proletariat.

Fascisti of Emilia and Romagna—Citizens of Bologna! I feel that I might
be carried out of that sphere of eloquence which is mine by all the
circumstances of this meeting, beginning with the welcomes of yesterday
evening and the songs of last night, and ending with this magnificent
sea of heads and the greeting which I received with the greatest
veneration from the widow of our unforgettable Giulio Giordani, and the
presence of two heroic women, the widows of the two heroes, Battisti and
Venezian. (Applause.) But as I hope, and am almost certain, that you do
not expect eloquence from me, but a short abrupt speech as is my habit,
I will proceed to speak clearly in the Fascista manner.

_How Fascismo was born._ I thank my friend Grandi for having presented
me to you and with such flattering words. I do not think, however, that
I am guilty of the sin of pride if I accept them. I think I may say, in
accordance with Socrates, that I know myself. (Applause.)

How then was this Fascismo born; amid what conflicting passions,
sympathy, hatred, and lack of comprehension? It was not only born in my
mind and heart, in that meeting held in March 1919 in the little hall at
Milan, it was born of the profound and perennial need of this our
Mediterranean and Aryan race, which felt the essential foundations of
its existence threatened by a tragic folly which will crumble to pieces,
to-day, upon the ground on which it was raised.

We felt then—we, who were not penitent Magdalens; we, who had always had
the courage to uphold intervention and reason in those days of 1915; we,
who were not ashamed of having barred the way to Austria on the Piave
and having crushed her at Vittorio Veneto; we, who wished for a
victorious peace, felt at once, almost before the exultation of victory
had passed, that our task was not ended, and I, myself, felt that my
work was not done. As a matter of fact, at every turn of events it was
said that my task and the task of the forces I lead was accomplished. In
May 1915, when the Fascismo of Revolutionary Action had swept away all
neutralists from the streets and squares of Italy, even in the smallest
villages, it was said: “Mussolini has no more to say to the nation.” But
when the tragic days of Caporetto came and Milan was grey and ghastly
for those who felt that if the Austrians passed and came to the city of
the Cinque Giornate it would be the end of Italy, then we felt that we
still had a word to say. And again, after victory, when there arose the
more or less democratic school of renunciation which was intent upon
mutilating the victory, we Fascisti had the supreme and unprejudiced
courage to proclaim ourselves Imperialists and against all renunciation.

That was the first battle, fought in the theatre of the Scala in January
1919. But how did it happen? We had won; we had sacrificed the flower of
our youth, and they came to us with bills of usury and extortion! They
disputed with us the sacred boundaries of the country, and there were
Democrats in Italy, whose democracy consisted in Imperialism for others
and no Imperialism for us, who threw this ridiculous accusation at us,
because we intended that Italy should be bounded on the north by the
Brenner, as she shall be while there is Italian blood in Italy! We
intended that the eastern boundaries should be at the Nevoso, because
that is the just and natural confine of our country; and they accused us
because we did not turn deaf ears to the appeal of Fiume, because we
feel in our hearts the sufferings of our brothers in Dalmatia, because,
in fact, we feel those bonds of race to be alive and vital which bind
us, not only to the Italians of Zara, Ragusa and Cattaro, but also to
those of the Canton Ticino and Corsica, to those beyond the oceans, to
all that great family of fifty million men whom we wish to unite in the
same pride of race. (Applause.)

Already we have noticed the first signs of the Socialist offensive. On
16th February, Milan was the witness—to the fear and terror of the
trembling middle classes—of a procession of 20,000 Bolshevists, who,
after having hymned Lenin from the top of the castle towers, proclaimed
that the Bolshevist revolution was imminent.

_The Pride of Victory._ On the morrow of that day I issued an
article,[8] which made an impression also among some friends, and which
was entitled, “The Return of the Triumphant Beast.” In it was said: “We
are ready to dig trenches in the squares of Italy and set up barbed
wire, in order to win and fight to the last against the enemy.” And the
sabotage, begun with that parade, lasted all the summer.

Footnote 8:

  _Popolo d’Italia_, 17th Feb. 1919.

Also, in those days, we Fascisti had the courage to defend certain
actions which, measured by the standard of current morals, perhaps were
indefensible. But, gentlemen, war is like revolution, it must be taken
as a whole; detail cannot and must not be gone into. But, meanwhile, the
campaign had its results upon the elections. One million eight hundred
and fifty thousand electors registered their vote with the symbol of the
sickle and the hammer. One hundred and fifty-six deputies were returned
to the Chamber. The catastrophe seemed imminent. Then I was fished out,
a suicide(!) of the waters—not by any means too limpid—of the old

But one thing had been forgotten—our tenacious spirit and sometimes
indomitable will. I, proud of my four thousand votes—and those who saw
me in those days know how immovably I accepted that electoral
response—said, “The battle goes on!” Because I firmly believed that the
day would come in which the Italians would be ashamed of the elections
of 16th November, that the day would come in which the Italians would no
longer elect in two cities that ignoble deserter whom I do not wish to
name. And it has proved true, because this man to-day, not being able to
maintain his part in the drama, has descended from the stage and, having
despised the Guardie Regie, now asks them for protection.

But has the growth of this movement of Fascismo, this young ardent and
heroic movement, finished yet? I, who vindicate the paternity of this,
my creature so overflowing with life, feel sometimes that it has already
overstepped the modest boundaries I laid down for it. Now we Fascisti
have a clear programme; we must move on led by a pillar of fire, because
we are slandered and not understood. And, however much violence may be
deplored, it is evident that we, in order to make our ideas understood,
must beat refractory skulls with resounding blows.

_Necessary Violence._ But we do not make a school, a system or, worse
still, an æsthetic of violence. We are violent when it is necessary to
be so. But I tell you at once that this necessary violence on the part
of the Fascisti must have a character and style of its own, definitely
aristocratic, or, if you prefer, surgical.

Our punitive expeditions, all those acts of violence which figure in the
papers, must always have the character of a just retort and legitimate
reprisal; because we are the first to recognise that it is sad, after
having fought the external enemy, to have to fight the enemy within,
who, whether they like it or not, are Italians. But it is necessary, and
as long as it is necessary, we shall continue to carry out this hard and
thankless task.

Now the Democrats, the Republicans and the Socialists accuse us of
various things. The Socialists, hitherto, have said that we were sold to
the profiteers and the agrarians. Now there are not enough profiteers in
the whole of Italy to support a movement like ours, and in any case I
must say that they would be rather stupid profiteers, because from the
March of 1919 we, in our Fascista programmes, have laid down fiscal
provisions which are pretty heavy and in any case anti-profiteer. The
accusations of the Democrats are equally ridiculous, and also those of
the Republicans. I cannot explain to myself why the Republicans are
against a movement which has republican tendencies like ours. I could
understand them being against us if we were in favour of the monarchy.
They say to us: “You have no preconceptions.” We have not, and we are
proud of it. But you must explain the phenomenon of the anger and the
incomprehension of the Socialists. The Socialists had formed a State
within a State. If this new State had been more liberal, more modern,
nearer the old type, there would have been nothing against it. But this
State, and you know it by direct experience, is more tyrannical,
illiberal and overbearing than the old one; and for this reason that
which we are causing to-day is a revolution to break up the Bolshevist
State, while waiting to settle our accounts with the Liberal State which
remains. (Applause.)

_The Socialist Crisis and the Fascista Attitude to the Elections._ There
are those who think that the Socialist crisis is only a crisis limited
to a few men; but it goes deeper, my dear friends, and it represents a
general upheaval.

Among other absurd things, there has been that of baptising Socialism as
scientific. Now there is nothing scientific in the world. Science
explains the “how” of things, but does not explain the “why.” If, then,
there is nothing scientific in what are called the exact sciences, what
is more absurd than to try and pass off as scientific a vast, uncertain,
underground and dark movement such as Socialism has been, even though it
may have had a useful function at first, when it directed the oppressed
peoples towards new ways of life, because you will agree with me that
there is no turning back? Foolish reactionary and Conservative
contraband practices must not be carried on under the Fascista flag. To
wrench from the masses the conquests, they have obtained through
sacrifice would be impossible. We are the first to recognise that a
State law should grant the eight-hour day, and that there should be a
social legislation corresponding to the exigencies of the new times. And
this is not because we recognise the importance of the proletariat. We
look at the question from another point of view. We realise that there
cannot be a great nation, capable of doing great things, if the working
masses are constrained to live under brutalising conditions. It is
necessary, then, that by preaching and practising the reconciliation of
right and duty, which I call Mazzinian, this enormous mass of tens of
millions of people who work shall be raised to an ever higher level of

_Brothers, not Enemies!_ It is absurd to depict us as the enemies of the
working classes. We feel ourselves to be brothers in spirit of all those
who work; but we do not make distinctions, we do not put work-worn hands
into the first rank. We do not place the new divinity, manual labour,
upon the altar. For us all work—the astronomer who in his observatory
consults the trajectory of the stars, the lawyer, the archæologist, the
student of religion and the artist, if they are increasing by their work
the sum total of spiritual wealth which is at the disposal of mankind.
We wish to see the realisation of a communion between spirit and matter,
between the arm and the brain, the realisation of the solidarity of the

Fascismo is then the blast of heresy which beats at the doors of all the
churches and says to the old and more or less tearful priest: “Get out
of the way of these temples which threaten ruin to you, for our
triumphant heresy is destined to bring light to all brains and all
souls!” And we say to all men, great and small, upon the national
political scene: “Make way for the youth of Italy which wishes to affirm
its faith and passion. And if you do not make way spontaneously, you
will be overwhelmed in our universal punitive expedition, which is to
collect all the free spirits of Italy and bind them together in a
Fascio.” (Applause.)

We are now face to face with a fact, which is that of the elections. The
Chamber being old, and more than old, worn out, the protagonists of this
semi-tragedy being tired and misled, it is time to make that new appeal
to the electors which is imperative. Do you not feel that, if the
elections of 1919 had the character of sabotage, the elections of 1921
will be definitely Fascista? Do you not feel that the helm of State will
never return to the old men of the old Italy?

I received a message to-day on the strength of which I feel I can state
that the difference, more or less artificially created, which existed
between the defenders of Fiume—to whom we pay the homage of our
gratitude—and us, her defenders at home, has no more _raison d’être_.
And this difference, which, rather than by the legionaries, was created
by certain politicians who were not even at Fiume when it was attacked
seriously, will be put an end to by Gabriele d’Annunzio.

_The Day consecrated to Fascismo._ Another characteristic of Fascismo is
pride of nationality. And, in connection with this, I am pleased to tell
you that we have already decided the Fascista day. If the Socialists
have May Day, if the Popular Party have 15th May, and other parties
other days, we Fascisti will have one, too, and it shall be the day of
the birth of Rome, 21st April. Upon that day, in token of the eternity
of Rome, in memory of that city which gave two civilisations to the
world and will give a third, we Fascisti will gather together, and the
regional legions will file past in the Fascista order, which is neither
military nor German, but simply Roman. We have abolished the procession
and substituted this ancient form of manifestation, which imposes
individual control on each participator and order and discipline upon
all. For we wish to introduce strict national discipline, without which
Italy cannot become the Mediterranean and world nation of which we
dream. And those who blame us for marching like the Germans must
remember that it is not we who imitate the Germans, but they who imitate
the Romans, for which reason it is we who go back to the original, who
return to the Roman style, the Latin and Mediterranean style.

We have no prejudices, because we are not a church, we are a movement.
We are not a party, we are a band of free men. If anyone is tired of
being Fascista, there are twenty shops, twenty churches at whose doors
to knock and ask for hospitality. We have not institutions either, we
consider them superfluous. Ours is an army characterised by enthusiasm
and voluntary discipline, and known, above all, not in the light of
guardian of some party or faction, but as guardian of the nation. We are
known for the love we bear to Italy, to her history and her
civilisation, as well as to her inhabitants and geographical

Yesterday, while the train carried me to Bologna, I felt myself in
harmony with all things and all men. I felt bound to this earth; I felt
myself an infinitesimal part of that great river which flows from the
Alps to the Adriatic; I recognised my brothers in the peasants, those
peasants with the grave attitudes of those who work the soil; I saw
myself in the blue sky, which awakened my inextinguishable passion for
flight; I recognised myself in all the aspects of nature and man. And a
profound prayer arose in my heart. It is the prayer that every Italian
should make, when the sunrise illumines the sky and the twilight
descends over the earth. “We, Italians of the twentieth century, who
have witnessed the great tragedy which has brought about the fulfilment
of our nationality; we, who carry in the depths of our souls the memory
of the dead, who are our religion; we, citizens of Italy, shall make one
oath, one single resolution: that we only shall be the modest but
persevering builders of her present and future fortunes.” (Applause.)


             This Speech was delivered 20th September 1922.

  The four following speeches are undoubtedly the most important of
  this collection, because they depict Mussolini as the polemic, the
  agitator, the warrior, the leader, travelling to his political
  maturity. In reading them one recognises the _condottiero_ who is
  quite sure of himself, who is near the end of his march, and is
  certain of reaching his final goal.

  Except for a gradually accelerated rhythm, proportionate to the
  precipitation of events, the tone of the four speeches is almost the
  same. There is no pause, no perplexity, nothing which might induce
  the reader to think of a change of direction, of a truce, of the
  relinquishing of the struggle. But rather one notices the close
  march of a compact and well-equipped army, determined to struggle on
  and to win at whatever cost.

  At UDINE, that strong old town, the sentinel of the country, dear to
  the heart of all Italian soldiers, the leader of Fascismo initiates
  the spiritual and physical mobilisation of the “black shirts,” while
  he hurls the first challenge at the old political caste and lays
  down the fundamental points of the imminent national revolution.

The speech which I intend to make to-day is going to be an exception to
the rule which I have imposed upon myself of limiting my speeches, as
far as I can. Oh! if it were only possible to do as the poets advise and
strangle the verbose, inconclusive oratory which has side-tracked us for
so long! I am certain, or at any rate I hope, that you do not expect
anything from me in a speech which is not eminently Fascista, that is to
say straightforward, hard, bare facts.

_The Unity of the Country._ Do not expect a commemoration of the 20th
September. Certainly the subject would be tempting and there would be
ample material for reflection in re-examining by what prodigies of
immeasurable force, and through how many and how great sacrifices, Italy
has been able to achieve her not yet complete unity. I say not yet
complete, because perfect unity cannot be spoken of until Fiume and
Dalmatia and the other territories have come back to us, thus fulfilling
the proud dream which we carry in our hearts. Instead, I ask you to
consider that throughout the Risorgimento—which began with the first
attempt at rebellion on the part of a small section of a cavalry
regiment at Nola, and ended with the breach of Porta Pia in ’70—two
forces were brought into play: one, the traditional and conservative
force, of necessity rather stationary and sluggish, the force of the
Savoy and Piedmont tradition; the other, the rebellious and
revolutionary force which sprang from the best elements among the
bourgeoisie especially. And it was only as the result of the
reconciliation and balancing of these two forces that we were able to
realise the unity of the Country. Perhaps something of the sort can be
found to-day, and of this I shall go on to speak later.

_Rome!_ Have you ever asked yourselves why the unity of the country is
summed up in the symbol and the name of Rome? We Fascisti must forget
the more or less ungrateful welcome we received at Rome in the October
of last year, otherwise we should show ourselves to be mean-spirited,
and we must have the courage to own that part of the responsibility for
what happened belongs to us, on account of some elements among us which
were not on the high level the situation required.

And Rome must not be confused with the Romans; with those hundreds of
so-called “fugitives of Fascismo” which are to be found at Rome, Milan
and other centres in Italy, who effectively arouse harmful anti-Fascista
feeling in the country. But if Mazzini and Garibaldi tried three times
to arrive at Rome, and if Garibaldi gave his “red shirts” the tragic and
inexorable alternative of “Rome or death,” this means that, to the best
men of the Risorgimento, Rome already had an essential function of the
first importance to perform in the new history of the Italian nation.

Let us then, with minds pure and free from animosity, lift up our
thoughts towards Rome, which is one of the few spiritual cities which
exist in the world; because at Rome, among those seven hills so pregnant
with history, occurred one of the greatest spiritual miracles which have
ever taken place—that is, the transformation of an Eastern religion, not
understood by us, into a universal one, and which has succeeded, under
another form, to the Empire that the Roman legions had carried to the
extreme ends of the earth. And we want to make Rome the city of our
ideals, a city cleaned and purified of all those elements which corrupt
and defile her; we wish to make Rome the throbbing heart, the living
spirit of the Italy of which we dream.

Somebody might object, saying: “Are you worthy of Rome? Are you capable
of inheriting and transmitting the ideals and glories of an Empire?” And
then surly critics busy themselves with trying to find signs of
uncertainty in our young, exuberant organisation!

_Fascista Discipline._ People speak to us of Fascista _autonomy_. I tell
the Fascisti and citizens that this autonomy has no importance
whatsoever. It is not an autonomy of ideas and prejudice. Fascismo has
no prejudices; they are the sad privilege of the old parties,
associations scattered over all countries, whose members, having nothing
better to do or to say, end by imitating those sordid priests of the
East who discussed all the questions of the world while the Byzantine
Empire perished. The few and sporadic attempts on the part of Fascisti
to establish autonomy are either frustrated or nearly so, because they
represent only revenge of a personal nature.

We come to another question: _discipline_. I am in favour of the most
rigid discipline. We must first sternly discipline ourselves, otherwise
we shall not have the right to discipline the nation. And it is only by
the discipline of the nation that Italy can make herself heard in the
councils of the other countries. Discipline must be accepted. If it is
not, it must be imposed. We put aside the democratic dogma that one must
for ever proceed by sermonising and lecturing in a more or less liberal
manner. At a given moment discipline must show itself under the form of
a command or of an act of force.

I exact discipline, and I do not speak to the men of the Friulian
district, who are—let me say—perfect as regards sobriety and
correctness, austerity and quiet living, but I speak to the Fascisti of
all Italy, who, if they must have a dogma, must have one which bears the
clear name of discipline. Only by obedience, by the humble and sacred
pride in obedience, can the right to command be conquered. And only when
it is conquered can it be imposed upon others; otherwise, no! The
Fascisti of Italy must take note of this. They must not interpret
discipline as a call to order of the administrative kind or as the fear
of shepherds who foresee the scattering of their flock. This cannot be,
because we are not shepherds and our forces cannot be called, by any
means, a flock. We are an army, and it is just because we have this
special organisation that we must make discipline the supreme pivot of
our life and action.

_Violence!_ I come now to the question of violence. Violence is not
immoral. On the contrary it is sometimes moral. We dispute the right of
our enemies to bewail our violence, because, compared with that which
was committed in the unlucky years of ’19 and ’20 and with that of the
Bolshevists in Russia—where two million people have been executed and
another two million still pine in prison—our violence is child’s-play.
On the other hand violence is decisive, because at the end of July and
August, after having made use of it systematically for forty-eight
hours, we got results which we should not have obtained in forty-eight
years of sermons and propaganda. When, therefore, violence removes a
gangrene of this sort, it is morally sacred and necessary.

But, my Fascista friends, and I speak to the Fascisti of all Italy, our
violence must have certain Fascista characteristics. The violence of ten
to one is to be disowned and condemned. There is a violence that frees
and a violence that binds; there is moral violence and stupid, immoral
violence. Violence must be proportionate to the necessities of the
moment, and not made a school, a doctrine or a sport. The Fascisti must
be careful not to spoil with sporadic, individual and unjustifiable acts
of violence, the brilliant and splendid victories of August.

This is what our enemies are waiting for. As the result of certain
episodes—let us frankly admit disagreeable episodes—such as that at
Taranto, they have been led to believe and to hope that violence has
become a sort of second habit, and that when we no longer have a target
upon which to practise, we shall turn against ourselves and against each
other, or the Nationalists. Now the Nationalists differ from us on
certain questions, but the truth is this, that in all the battles we
have fought we have had them by our side. It may well be that among them
there are leaders who do not see Fascismo as we see it, but it must be
recognised and proclaimed that the “blue shirts”[9] at Genoa, Bologna
and Milan, and in another hundred centres, were with the “black shirts.”
In consequence the occurrence at Taranto was most displeasing, and I
hope that the leaders of Fascismo will act in such a way that it remains
an isolated incident to be forgotten in a local reconciliation and in a
national manifestation of sympathy and solidarity.

Footnote 9:

  The Nationalists.

_Our Syndicalism._ Another argument which raises the hopes of our
enemies is the existence of the masses. You know that I do not worship
the new divinity, the masses. It is a creation of Democracy and
Socialism. Just because they are numerous, they must be right. Not a bit
of it, the opposite has often proved to be true that the masses are
against the right. In any case history proves that it has always been
the minorities, a handful from the first, that have produced profound
changes in human society. We do not adore the masses, even if they have
got work-worn hands and brains. We shall bring, instead, into our
examination of social life, ideas and elements new at any rate in
Italian circles. We could not turn away the masses; they came to us.
Ought we to have received them with kicks on the shins? Are they
sincere? Do they come to us as the result of conviction or fear, or
because they hope to get from us what they failed to obtain from the
Socialists? These questions are really superfluous, as no one yet has
found the way to penetrate into their inmost minds.

We have, therefore, had to adopt syndicalism, and we are doing so. They
say: “Your syndicalism will end by being in every way exactly like that
of the Socialists, and you will have, of necessity, to promote class
war.” The democracy, or a section of them, that section which does not
seem to have any better object than stirring up the mud, continue from
Rome (where they print too many papers, many of which do not represent
anybody or anything) to work in this direction. But our syndicalism
differs from that of the others, because we do not allow strikes in
public services under any pretext, and we are in favour of co-operation
among the classes, especially in a period like the present one of acute
economic crisis. We try to make this conception penetrate the brains of
our syndicates. But it must be made equally clear that the industrial
workers and their employers must not blackmail us, because there is a
limit which must not be passed; and these workers and their masters—the
bourgeoisie in a word—must take into account that the nation also
consists of the people, a mass which labours, and one cannot think of
the greatness of the nation if this portion is restless and idle. The
task of Fascismo is to make the people organically one with the nation,
so that they may be ready to-morrow when the nation has need of them, as
the artist takes his raw material in order to create his masterpiece.
Only with the masses forming an intimate part of the life and history of
the nation can we have a foreign policy.

_Foreign Policy._ And now I come to the subject which, at the present
moment, is of the greatest positive importance. It is evident that at
the end of the war it was not understood how to make peace. There were
two alternatives: the peace of the sword, and the peace of approximate
justice. But, under the influence of a pernicious democratic mentality,
the peace of the sword was not made by occupying Berlin, Vienna and
Budapest, and neither has the approximate peace of justice been

Men, many of whom were ignorant of history and geography (and it seems
that these famous experts who thus disarrange and rearrange the map of
Europe at their will really know as little about it as their masters),
have said: “The moment the Turks give trouble to the English, we will
suppress Turkey; but the moment that Italy, in order to become a
Mediterranean power, ought to have the Adriatic as her inland gulf, we
deny Italy her Adriatic rights.” What is the result? The result is that
this kind of treaty naturally falls to pieces before the others. But,
since everything depends upon the making up of these treaties, since
they are all connected with each other, so the failure of the Treaty of
Sèvres may possibly involve the failure of all the others. Moreover, if
the position becomes more involved, you will see the indestructible
Russian Cossack, who changes his name but not his nature, coming forward
again. Who armed the Turkey of Kemal Pasha? France and Russia. Who may
possibly arm Germany to-morrow? Russia. Considering what we aim at in
our foreign policy, it is very fortunate that besides our national army,
of glorious tradition, there is the Fascista army.

Our Ministers for foreign affairs ought to know how to play this card
too, with the warning: “Be careful; Italy no longer follows a policy of
renunciation and cowardice, cost what it may!” So it has come about that
while in other countries men are beginning to realise the force
represented by Italian Fascismo, in the field of foreign policy our
Ministers still remain in a yielding attitude. We are asked what is our
programme. I have already answered this question, which was meant to be
insidious, at a little meeting held at Levanto in the presence of thirty
or forty Fascisti, and I did not think that a little homely speech would
have such a vast echo.

_Our Programme. The Crisis of the Liberal State._ Our programme is
simple: we wish to govern Italy. They ask us for programmes, but there
are already too many. It is not programmes that are wanting for the
salvation of Italy, but men and will-power.

There is not an Italian who does not think that he possesses the one
sure method by which the most acute problems of our national life may be
solved. But I think you are all convinced that our political class is
deficient. The crisis of the Liberal State has proved it. We have made a
splendid war from the point of view of collective and individual acts of
heroism. From having been soldiers, the Italians, in 1918, became
warriors. I beg you to note the essential difference. But our political
class carried on the war as if it had been work of ordinary
administration. These men whom we all know, and whose very features are
familiar to every one of us, now appear men of the past, ruined, tired
and beaten.

I do not deny, in my absolute objectivity, that this middle class, which
might, with a world-wide title, be called Giolittian, has its merits. It
certainly has. But to-day, when Italy is still under the influence of
Vittorio Veneto—to-day, when Italy is bursting with life, vigour and
passion, these men, who are above all accustomed to Parliamentary
mystification, do not appear to us to be big enough for the situation.
It is necessary, therefore, to consider how to replace this political
class which has of late consistently surrendered to that swollen-headed
puppet, Italian Socialism.

I think that this replacement has become necessary, and that the more
complete it is the better. Certainly Fascismo, in taking the entire
forty-seven millions of Italians under its care, will assume a great
responsibility. It is to be foreseen that many will be disappointed,
because, in any case, there is always disappointment sooner or later,
whether things are accomplished or not.

Friends! Like the life of the individual, the life of the nation brings
with it a certain amount of risk. One cannot hope to run for ever on the
Decauville track of daily regularity. At a given moment both men and
parties must have the courage to shoulder heavy responsibility and to
adopt a daring policy. They may succeed; they may fail. But there are
also unsuccessful attempts that suffice to ennoble and uplift for all
time the soul of a movement such as Italian Fascismo.

_The Question of Régime. The Monarchy and Fascismo._ I had intended to
repeat this speech at Naples, but I think that I shall have other things
to deal with there. Do not let us delay, therefore, about entering on
the delicate subject of régime.

Many of the controversies which were raised by the question of the
nature of my tendencies are forgotten, and everybody is convinced that
they were not formed suddenly, but represented a settled idea. It is
always like that. Certain attitudes appear improvised to the general
public, which is neither fitted nor obliged to follow the slow changes
which take place in a restless spirit desirous of making a profound
examination of certain problems. But there is inward pain and toil,
which is sometimes tragic. You must not think that the heads of Fascismo
do not know what this individual, and above all national, travail is.

The much-talked-of republican tendency had to be a kind of attempt at
separation from the many elements which had come to us simply because we
had won. These elements do not please us. These people who always side
with the victor, and who are ready to change their flag with a change of
fortune, must be looked upon with suspicion and carefully watched by the
Fascisti. Is it possible—here is the question—to bring about a profound
transformation in our political régime and to create a new Italy without
touching the monarchic system? What is the general attitude of the
Fascisti as regards political institutions? Our attitude does not commit
us in any sense. In truth, perfect régimes are only to be found in books
of philosophy. I think that it would have been disastrous for the Greek
city if the theories of Plato had been literally applied. A people
content under a republic never dreams of having a king. A people not
accustomed to a republic longs to return to a monarchy.

It was in vain that the Germans tried to make the Phrygian cap fit their
square heads. The Germans hate a republic, and the fact that it was
imposed by the Entente and that it has been a kind of _ersatz_, is
another reason for their hating it. So that, generally speaking,
political forms cannot be approved of or condemned for ever, but must be
examined from the point of view of their direct relation with the
mentality, the economic condition and the spiritual force of any
particular people. (A voice cries: “Long live Mazzini!”)

Now, I think that the régime can be largely modified without interfering
with the monarchy. In reality—and I refer to the cry of my friend—the
same Mazzini, republican and advocate of republicanism, did not consider
his doctrines incompatible with the monarchic aspect of Italian unity.
He resigned himself to it and accepted it. It was not his ideal, but the
ideal cannot always be realised.

We shall, then, leave the monarchic institution outside our field of
action, which will have other great objects, because we think that a
great part of Italy would regard with suspicion a change in the régime
which was carried thus far. We should have regional separatism, perhaps,
because it is always so. To-day there are many indifferent to the
monarchy who to-morrow would be its supporters, and who would find
highly respectable and sentimental reasons for attacking Fascismo, if it
had dared to aim at this target.

I do not think that the monarchy has really any object in opposing what
must now be called the Fascista revolution. It is not in its interests,
because by doing so it would immediately make itself an object of
attack, in which case we could not spare it, because it would be a
question of life or death for us.

Those who sympathise with us must not withdraw into the shade; they must
stay in the light. They must have the courage to remain monarchists. The
monarchy would represent the historical continuity of the nation; a
splendid task and one of incalculable importance.

On the other hand, the Fascista revolution must also avoid risking
everything. Some firm ground must be left, so that the people shall not
feel that everything is falling to pieces, that everything must be begun
again, because in that case the first wave of enthusiasm would be
followed by a wave of panic. Now everything is very plain. The
social-democratic superstructure must be destroyed.

_The State we want._ We must have a State which will simply say: “The
State does not represent a party, it represents the nation as a whole,
it includes all, is over all, protects all, and fights any attempt made
against her inviolable sovereignty.”

This is the State which must arise from the Italy of Vittorio Veneto. A
State which does not acknowledge that the strongest power is right;
which is not like the Liberal State, which, after fifty years of life,
was unable to install a temporary printing press so as to issue its
paper when there was a general strike of printers; a State which does
not fall under the power of the Socialists; which does not think that
problems can be settled only from the political point of view, as
machine-guns do not suffice if there is not the spirit behind to keep
them going. The whole armoury of the State falls to pieces like the old
scenery in an operatic theatre when it is not inspired by the most
deep-rooted sense of the necessity of the fulfilment of duty—nay, of a

That is why we want to remove from the State all its economic
attributes. We have had enough of the State railwayman, the State
postman and the State insurance official. We have had enough of the
State administration at the expense of Italian tax-payers, which has
done nothing but aggravate the exhausted financial condition of the
country. It still controls the police, who protect honest men from the
attacks of thieves, the masters responsible for the education of the
rising generations, the army which must guarantee the inviolability of
the country and our foreign policy.

It must not be said that the State thus shorn will remain very small.
No! It will remain very great, because it will still have all the
spiritual dominion, having given up only material power.

Citizens, I have placed my ideas before you as a whole, it is enough, to
my mind, for you to individualise them.

_To Friends and Enemies._ If this mentality of ours was not sufficient,
there are our methods, there is our daily activity, which we do not mean
to give up, though watching at the same time that it is not carried to
extremes, that it does not over-reach itself and so harm Fascismo. But
when I say these words, I say them with intention, because if Fascismo
was a movement like all the rest, the attitude of the individual or of
the group would have a relative importance. But blood has been shed for
our movement, and this must be remembered when there are attempts at
autonomy and lack of discipline. The recent dead must be thought of
before all things. It must be remembered that such autonomy and lack of
discipline serve to arouse the miserable instincts of the Socialists,
who, though subdued, still secretly hatch plots for revenge, a revenge
which we shall prevent by collective action and the avoidance of

After all, the Romans were really right; if you want peace you must show
yourself prepared for war. Those who are not prepared for war do not
have peace, and are defeated into the bargain. So we say to all our
enemies: “It is not enough for you to go planting the tricolour all over
the place. We wish to see you put to the proof. You will have for a
little while to undergo a sort of spiritual and political quarantine.
Your leaders, who might again infect us, must be sent where they can do
no harm.” Only by thus avoiding the lure of the mistaken idea of
quantity shall we succeed in saving the quality and the spirit of our
movement, which is no ephemeral one, since it has already lasted four
years, equal in this tempestuous century to forty. Our movement is still
in its prehistoric period and in process of formation; its real history
begins to-morrow. All that Fascismo has accomplished thus far has been
negative. Now it must begin to reconstruct. In this way its force, its
spirit and its nobility will appear.

Friends, I am sure that the Fascisti officers will do their duty. I am
sure, too, that the men will do theirs. Before proceeding to the great
task we must make an inexorable selection from the rank and file. We
cannot carry useless impedimenta; we are an army of _velites_, with a
rearguard of solid territorials. We do not wish to have untrustworthy
elements amongst us.

I salute Udine, this dear old Udine to which I am bound by so many
memories. Many generations of Italians who were the flower of our race
have passed by its broad ways. Many of its young men now sleep their
last sleep in the little isolated cemeteries of the Alps or beside the
Isonzo, now once again the sacred river of Italy.

Men of Udine! Fascisti! Italians! Take upon yourselves the spirit of
these our unforgettable dead and make of it the burning emblem of our
immortal country! (Loud applause.)


           Speech delivered at Cremona, 25th September 1922.

  Before forty thousand _contadini_ set free from the Social-Clerical
  yoke, who march past in military order in closely-following
  battalions, the leader’s eloquence is roused and elated, so that one
  seems to hear the very sound of joy bells ringing in his speech.

Fascisti and working men of Cremona and the provinces! As so often
happens, reality has surpassed the most brilliant expectations. Your
meeting, Fascisti of Cremona, is the most impressive that I have yet
attended. I have come among you to tell you how completely I am with
you, from your fine leader Roberto Farinacci to the last man in your
ranks. (Prolonged applause.)

Here in times long past great ideas were conceived. This was the
birthplace of Democracy, which had a period of glory before it became
crippled and enfeebled by the influence of Socialism. And in spite of
the profound differences of opinion which divided us after the war, I
must call to remembrance another noble figure of your fruitful land—I
speak of Leonida Bissolati. (Frantic applause.)

Those who, as the result of being led into false ideas by incorrect
information, talk about agrarian slavery, ought to come here and see
with their own eyes this crowd of genuine workers, people with shoulders
broad enough and arms strong enough to bear the weight of the increasing
fortunes of the nation. (Applause.)

Only the rabble could accuse us of being the enemies of the people, for
we are the sons of the people; we have known what manual labour is; we
have always lived among the working classes, who are infinitely superior
to the false prophets who pretend to represent them. (Unanimous and
prolonged applause.) But just because we are the sons of the people, we
do not wish to deceive them, we do not wish to mystify them or promise
them the unattainable, although we solemnly and formally pledge
ourselves to protect them and to vindicate their just rights and their
legitimate interests.

As I watched your procession passing—disciplined, ardent and exulting—as
I watched the little Balillas, who represent the still immature spring
of life, followed by the squadrons in the full flush of youth, and
finally the men in the vigour of manhood and even old men, I said to
myself that the series was complete since all phases of life, from the
first to the last, were represented.

Fascisti! Great tasks await us. That which we have accomplished is
nothing compared to that which awaits us. There is already a strong and
manifest contrast between the Italy of the cowardly politicians and the
vigorous healthy Italy which is preparing to give the death-blow to all
inefficiency and egoism and to clear away the infected strata of the
Italian community. (Loud applause, and cries of “Rome! Rome!”)

Our adversaries must not delude themselves. They thought in the
unfortunate year of 1919, when we here in Cremona and all over Italy
were no more than a handful of men, that Fascismo would only be a
passing phenomenon. Fascismo has now been alive four years, and it has
tasks enough to fill a century. Nor must our enemies deceive themselves
by thinking that they can break up our organisation, because we intend
to make it more compact, more solid, better equipped against all
emergencies; since, my friends, if a decisive blow is necessary, every
man from the first to the last will do his exact duty. In a word, we
want Italy to become Fascista. (Clamorous applause.)

That is simple and clear. We want Italy to become Fascista, because we
are tired of seeing her governed by men whose principles are continually
wavering between indifference and cowardice. And, above all, we are
tired of seeing her looked upon abroad as a negligible quantity.

What is that feeling which stirs you when you hear the song of the
Piave? It is that the Piave does not mark an end, it marks a beginning.
(Hear, hear!) It is from the Piave, it is from Vittorio Veneto, it is
from our victory—even if it was mutilated by a mistaken diplomacy—that
our standards move on!

It was on the banks of the Piave that the march was begun that cannot
stop until Rome is reached. (Enthusiastic applause.) And there are no
obstacles, either of men or things, that can prevent us from arriving

I wish to thank you, Fascisti of Cremona and people of this city, for
your reception. I know and like to think that it is not to me personally
that you pay this honour, but to the ideal, our cause, which has been
sanctified by so much blood shed by the flower of Italian youth. And
embracing my old friend Farinacci I mean to embrace all the Fascisti of
Cremona, to the cry of Long live Italy! Long live Fascismo!
(Enthusiastic applause.)


     Speech delivered at Milan at the “Sciesa” on 6th October 1922.

  At the seat of the local Fascista group “Antonio Sciesa,” Mussolini
  pays his tribute to the memory of her two dead who fell, as
  Garibaldi fell, during the days of August, and then devotes himself
  to the analysis of a well-matured plan, strategic and tactical, for
  the coming battle.

I agreed to come and speak to the “Sciesa” group this evening for three
reasons—first sentimental, second personal, and third political. For the
sentimental reason, because I wished to pay the tribute of my admiration
and profound devotion to our unforgettable and magnificent
fallen—Melloni, Tonoli and Crespi; the first two of your squad and the
last of the “Sauro.” I remember them perfectly. Then I agreed also
because of the way in which this group has interpreted this meeting.
Lastly, in view of the general attitude of suspense all over Italy at
this moment, I did not wish to let the opportunity slip for defining
certain points, a definition which is necessary in these difficult times
through which we are passing.

You feel, to judge from your silent and austere bearing, that if the
flesh is corruptible, the spirit is immortal. You feel that here in this
little hall this evening the spirits of our fallen are still with us. We
feel their presence, because the soul cannot die, and they fell in the
most heroic action yet accomplished by Fascismo in the four years of its
history. Many times when the Fascisti have gone forth to destroy with
fire and sword the haunts of the cowardly Social-Communist delinquents,
they have only seen the backs of the flying enemy, but the members of
the “Sciesa” squad and the two fallen, whom we remember, and all the
squadrons of the Milanese Fascio, went to the assault of the offices of
the _Avanti_ as they would have attacked an Austrian trench. They had to
scale the walls, break through barbed wire, burst open doors and face
the leaden hail which the enemy poured forth from their weapons. This is
heroism. This is violence. This is the violence of which I approve and
which I uphold, and which Fascismo—and I speak to the Fascisti of all
Italy—ought to make hers. Not little, individual, sporadic acts of
violence, but the great, wonderful, relentless violence of the decisive
hour. It is necessary, when the moment comes, to strike with the utmost
decision and without pity. You must not think that I wish to hide the
very strong sympathy I have for the Milanese Fascio, because my love,
above all, is for the cause. When a cause has been sanctified by so much
pure young blood, it must not, at any cost, become defiled in any way.
Our friends have been heroes, their action has been that of warriors,
their violence saintly and moral. We exalt them, we remember them, and
we will avenge them. We cannot accept the humanitarian, Tolstoyan moral
standard, the moral standard of slavery. In times of war we adopt the
formula of Socrates: “Overcome friends with kindness, overcome enemies
with evil.”

_Nation and State._ Our line of conduct is perfectly correct. Those who
do good to us will have good; those who do ill, ill. Our enemies cannot
complain, if being such, they are treated hardly, as enemies must be
treated. We are in an historical period of crisis which every day
becomes more acute. The general strike, which was averted by the
sacrifice of blood of the Fascisti, was an episode in this crisis.
Dissension lies between the State and the nation. Italy is not a State,
she is a nation, because from the Alps to Sicily there is the
fundamental unity of our race, our customs, our language and our
religion. The war fought from 1915 to 1918 consecrates this unity, and
if this is enough to characterise the nation, the Italian nation exists,
full of power and resource and impelled towards a glorious destiny.

But the nation must create for itself the State. And there is no State.
To-day the paper which represents Liberalism in Italy, the paper with
the largest circulation—and which, for this reason, by upholding absurd
arguments has done a great deal of harm at times—stated that there are
two Governments in Italy, and if there are two, there is one too many.
There is the Liberal Government and the Fascista Government; the State
of to-day and the State of to-morrow. “Wanted, a Government,” said the
_Corriere della Sera_. We agree, a Government _is_ wanted.

_The Lesson of Two Episodes._ Two occurrences during these last days—one
characteristic of our activity in the cause of humanity, the other of
our activity in the cause of national rights—have proved the superiority
of the Fascista over the Liberal State, and have shown that Fascismo is
capable and worthy to succeed that State.

At San Terenzo of Spezia, if all the dead were buried and the wounded
taken to the hospital, if the country was cleared of débris, and the
furniture and belongings safeguarded from the base attempts of human
jackals, if the soldiers had their supplies in good time, it was by the
activity of the Fascista State. And the mayor of Lerici—who is not a
Fascista—telegraphed his great gratitude, not to the Prime Minister, but
to us, as you learnt in the _Popolo d’Italia_.

This is a question of mercy, humanity and national solidarity. Let us
transfer our attention to Bolzano. Here it is a question of our rights
and the Italian law. Who stood up for those rights and imposed the
Italian nationality in a city which ought to be Italian? Fascismo. Who
banished Perathoner who for five years held in check five Italian
Ministers? Fascismo. It has been Fascismo that has given a school and a
church to the Italians in the Upper Adige and inspired them with the
sense of their own dignity. Who placed the bust of the king in the
Council Hall? The Fascisti. The Germans are astonished at seeing before
them all these young Fascisti, splendid physically and morally.
Inhabiting as they do without right our Italian soil, they seem to
wonder: “What Italy is this?” And we answer: “By the action of the
defeatist ministers and as a result of the unfortunate peace, you
Germans are accustomed to the Italy of Abba Garima; now you must
accustom yourselves to the Italy of Vittorio Veneto, which has force and
energy, and which says: ‘We are at the Brenner, and there we mean to
stay! We do not wish to go to Innsbruck, but do not imagine that Germany
and Austria can ever return to Bolzano!’”

This is the Fascista State which reveals itself to Italian eyes in two
typical moments of everyday history, the disaster of San Terenzo and the
occupation of Bolzano.

_For the Italy of To-morrow._ The citizens wonder which State will end
by dictating its law upon the nation. We have no hesitation in answering
that it will be the Fascista State. The _Corriere della Sera_ says that
something must be done quickly, and we agree. A nation cannot live
nursing in its bosom two States, two Governments, one in action and the
other in power. But what is the way to give the nation a Government? I
say Government, because when we say State we mean something more. We
mean the spirit and not merely the inert and transitory form. There are
two ways, gentlemen. If the whole of Rome was not suffering from
softening of the brain, they would summon Parliament at the beginning of
November, and having passed the Bill for Electoral Reform, make an
appeal to the electors in December. Because the crisis for which the
_Corriere_ asks could not alter the situation. Thirty crises in the
Italian Parliament as it is to-day would mean thirty reincarnations of
Signor Facta. If the Government does not follow this path, gentlemen, we
shall be obliged to take the other. You see our tactics are now clear.
When it is a question of assaulting the State it is no longer possible
to have recourse to little plots, of which the “to be or not to be”
remains a secret to the last. We must give orders to hundreds and
thousands of men, and it would be merely absurd to try to keep it
secret. We play an open game. We leave our cards on the table until it
is necessary to lift them; and we say: “There is an Italy which you
Liberal leaders no longer understand. You do not understand it because
your mind works on old-fashioned lines, you do not understand it because
Parliamentary policy has killed your spirit. The Italy which has come
from the trenches is strong, and full of life.”

_Fascismo, the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat._ It is an Italy which
deserves to begin a new period of history. There exists, therefore, a
dramatic contrast between the Italy of yesterday and our Italy. The
conflict appears inevitable. It is a question now of developing our
forces, summoning all our energies and strength, so that the conflict
shall end in victory for us—and, as a matter of fact, upon that score
there can be no doubt.

Now the Liberal State is a mask behind which there is no face, it is a
scaffolding behind which there is no building. There is force but there
is no spirit behind them. All those who ought to uphold it feel that it
is approaching the extreme limits of incompetence, impotence and

On the other hand, as I said at Udine, we do not wish to stake
everything on the game, because we do not present ourselves as the
saviours of humanity, nor do we promise anything special to the people.
We may even impose greater discipline and more sacrifices upon them. And
we shall make no difference between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie,
because there is an infected proletariat just as there is a bourgeoisie
still more infected. There is a part of the proletariat that must be
chastised in order that it may be redeemed afterwards, and there is a
part of the middle class which detests us and tries to throw our lines
into confusion, which finances anti-Fascista slander, which has hitherto
ignobly courted the anti-national forces, and for which I do not feel
one ounce of pity. We are surrounded by enemies, and those who are our
open foes, and who belong to the Bolshevist parties, have now perfected
themselves in the art of ambush and assassination.

_A Warning!_ But there are other insidious enemies who try to harm
Fascismo under cover of the tricolour and other similar emblems, who try
to insinuate themselves into our movement and to create simulacra of
organisations in order to weaken us just at the time when it is most
necessary for us to remain united. Now I must say that if we do not have
mercy upon those who attack us from behind hedges, neither shall we have
mercy upon those who attack us thus insidiously. When the clock of
history strikes the hours, we must speak as the peasants do, simply,
sincerely and loyally.

We have no great obstacles to overcome, as the nation is waiting for us,
the nation hopes in us and feels itself represented in us. Certainly we
cannot promise to plant the tree of liberty in the squares. We cannot
give liberty to those who would profit by it to assassinate us. The
shortsightedness of the Free State lies in this, that it gives freedom
to all, including those who use this freedom to overthrow it. We shall
not give this universal liberty, not even if it assumes the garb of
immortal principles. Finally, it is not electoral subterfuges which
divide us from Democracy. If people wish to vote, let them vote. Let us
all vote until we are sick of it! Nobody wants to suppress universal

_Policy needed._ But we shall carry out a severe and reactionary policy;
we are not afraid of doing so. If the representative organs of Democracy
say that we are reactionary it does not offend us, because what
distinguishes us from the Democrats is mentality and spirit. History
does not follow a given itinerary; it is made up of contrasts and all
kinds of vicissitudes, there are no centuries which are all light and no
centuries which are all darkness. It is not possible to transport
Fascismo out of Italy, as Bolshevism has been transported out of Russia.

The Italians can be divided into three categories: the indifferent, who
will stay at home; the sympathetic, who will have freedom of movement;
and the antagonistic, who will have their freedom restricted. We shall
make no promises. We shall not give ourselves out as missionaries who
bring the revealed truth.

But I do not think that our enemies will place serious obstacles in our
way. Bolshevism is defeated. Look at the Congress of Rome. What a
pitiful sight! When the leader of a congress behaves like the lawyer of
Busto, then you understand that we are upon the bottom rung of the
ladder. There was one Socialism, to-day there are four, and there is a
tendency towards further divisions. And not only this, but each of these
divisions claims to represent the authentic party. It is no wonder that
the proletariat scatters, discouraged and disgusted by the attitude of
Socialism. As I have already said, the day of Socialism is not only past
as a party, its philosophies and doctrines no longer stand. The Italians
and the Western peoples in general must burst with logical criticism the
grotesque bubble of international Socialism. Perhaps, looking at things
from an historical point of view, it is a struggle between the East and
the West, between the chaotic, fatalistic East (look at Russia) and us,
we people of the West, who cannot be carried away by flights of
metaphysics and require hard concrete realities.

_Let us flee from Imitations._ Italians cannot be mystified for long by
Asiatic doctrines, which are absurd and criminal in their practical
application. This is the essence of Italian Fascismo, which represents a
reaction against the Democrats who would have made everything mediocre
and uniform and tried every way to conceal and to render transitory the
authority of the State, from the supreme head to the last usher in the
law courts; consequently everybody from the King to the lowest official
has suffered from this false conception of life. Democracy thought to
make itself indispensable to the masses, and did not understand that the
masses despise those who have not the courage to be what they ought to
be. Democracy has taken “elegance” from the lives of the people, but
Fascismo brings it back; that is to say, it brings back colour, force,
picturesqueness, the unexpected, mysticism, and in fact all that counts
in the souls of the multitude. We play upon every cord of the lyre, from
violence to religion, from art to politics. We are politicians and we
are warriors. We are syndicalists and we also fight battles in the
streets and the squares. That is Fascismo as it was conceived at Milan,
and as it was and is realised. And, my friends, we must maintain this
privilege, and Fascismo must be kept up to this level of strength and
wisdom. We must not abandon ourselves to imitations, because that which
is possible in a particular agricultural region in a given time and
place is not possible here in Milan. Here the situation has been
dominated more by the spontaneous maturing of events than by men’s
violence or by circumstances. Here our domination becomes more and more

But, my friends, we must prepare ourselves with hearts free from
preoccupation for the tasks which await us. To-morrow it is probable,
almost certain, that the formidable burden of the direction of a modern
State will be on our shoulders. And it will be on the shoulders not only
of a few men, it will be on the shoulders of the whole of Fascismo.

_Towards a more Glorious Destiny._ And millions of eyes, many of them
malicious, and millions of men, many of them beyond our frontiers, will
be looking at us. They will want to see how we are organised, how
justice is administered in the Fascista State, how honest people are
protected, how we deal with the problems of the school and the army. And
the wrong-doing of any man, his error and his shame will react upon the
whole organisation of the State and of necessity upon Fascismo. Have
you, my friends, realised how formidable is the task which awaits you?
Are you spiritually prepared for it? Do you think that enthusiasm alone
is enough?—because it is not enough. It is necessary, because it is a
primitive and fundamental force in human nature, it is impossible to do
anything not inspired by intense passion or religious mysticism; but
that is not enough. Together with these must work the reasoning forces
of the brain. I think that in the case of a general crisis Fascismo
would have all that was necessary to impose itself and to govern, not
according to the ideas of demagogism, but according to the ideas of
justice. And then, by ruling the nation well, by leading her towards a
more glorious destiny, by conciliating the interests of all classes
without increasing the hatred of one and the selfishness of another, by
uniting the Italian people to face the world-task, by fulfilling with
patience this hard and cyclopean task, we shall inaugurate, thus, a
really great period in Italian history. Thus will our dead be made
immortal and their names written in the gold book of the Fascista
aristocracy. We shall point them out to the rising generation, to the
children who are growing up and who represent the eternal spring of
life. We shall say: “Great was the effort and hard the sacrifice, and
pure was the blood that was shed; and it was not shed to safeguard the
interests of individuals, class or caste, it was not shed in the name of
materialism, it was shed in the name of an ideal, of all that is most
noble, beautiful and generous in the human soul.” With the example of
our dead before you, I ask you to remember to be worthy of their
sacrifice and to examine daily your own activity. Friends, I have faith
in you. You have faith in me. In this mutual trust is the guarantee and
certainty of our victory. Long live Italy! Long live Fascismo! Honour
and glory to the martyrs of our cause! (Loud applause.)

                              WILL BREAK!”

             Speech delivered at Naples, 26th October 1922.

  At this, the final stage of the pilgrimage of the ever-swelling
  ranks of Italian youth, where the first trench is dug in preparation
  for the imminent assault of the “black shirts,” Mussolini in the
  morning, as politician, hurls his vehement reproach against “the
  three black souls,” the ministerial exponents of anti-Fascista
  reaction. In the afternoon he shows himself in the guise of a
  warrior, and, wearing the colours of Rome on his breast,
  contemplates thoughtfully his fifty thousand faithful crusaders in
  Piazza Plebiscito, who shout with one insistent voice, “To Rome! To

Fascisti and citizens! It may be, or rather it is almost certain, that
my eloquence will disappoint you, accustomed as you are to the
impetuosity and rich imagery of your own orators. But since I realise my
incapacity for rhetoric, I have decided to limit myself, when speaking,
to plain necessity.

We have gathered together here at Naples from every part of Italy to
perform an act of brotherhood and love. We have with us our brothers
from the borderland of betrayed Dalmatia, men who do not mean to yield.
(Applause, and cries of “Long live Italian Dalmatia!”) There are also
the Fascisti from Trieste, Istria and Venezia Tridentina, Fascisti from
all parts of Northern Italy, even from the islands, from Sicily and
Sardinia, all come together to affirm quietly and positively the
indestructibility of our united faith, which means to oppose strongly
every more or less masked attempt at autonomy or separatism.

Four years ago the Italian infantry, made great through twenty years of
work and hardship, the Italian infantry in which the sons of your
country were so largely represented, burst from the Piave and, having
defeated the Austrians, surged on towards the Isonzo, and only the
foolish democratic conception of the war prevented our victorious
battalions from marching through the streets of Vienna and the highways
of Budapest. (Applause.)

_From Rome to Naples._ A year ago at Rome, at one time, we found
ourselves surrounded by a secret hostility, which had its origin in the
misunderstandings and infamies characteristic of the uncertain political
world of the capital. (Hear, hear!) We have not forgotten all this.

To-day we are happy that all Naples—this city which I call the big
safety-reserve of the nation—(Applause.)—welcomes us with a sincere and
frank enthusiasm, which does our hearts good, both as men and Italians.
For this reason I request that not the smallest incident of any kind
shall disturb this meeting, for that would be a mistake, and a foolish
one. I demand also, as soon as the meeting is over, that every Fascista
not belonging to Naples shall leave the town immediately.

All Italy is watching this meeting, because—and let me say this without
false modesty—there is not a post-war phenomenon of greater interest and
originality in Europe or the world than Italian Fascismo.

You certainly cannot expect from me what is usually called a big speech.
I made one at Udine, another at Cremona, a third at Milan, and I am
almost ashamed to speak again. But in view of the extremely grave
situation in which we find ourselves to-day, I consider this an
appropriate opportunity to establish the different points of the problem
in order that individual responsibilities may be settled. The moment has
arrived, in fact, when the arrow must leave the bow, or the cord, too
far stretched, will break. (Applause.)

_The Solving of the Problem._ You remember that my friend Lupi and I
placed before the Chamber the alternatives of this dilemma, which is not
only Fascista but also national; that is to say, legality or illegality;
Parliamentary conquest or revolution. By which means is Fascismo to
become the State? For we wish to become the State! Well! By 3rd October
I had already settled the question.

When I ask for the elections, when I ask that they shall take place
soon, and be regulated by a reformed electoral law, it is clear to
everyone that I have chosen my path. The very urgency of my request
shows that the tension of my spirit has arrived at breaking point. To
have, or not to have, understood this means to hold, or not to hold, the
key to the solution of the whole Italian political crisis.

The request came from me; but it also came from a party consisting of a
formidably organised mass, which includes the rising generations in
Italy and all the best, physically and morally, of the youth of the
country; and from a party, too, which had a tremendous following among
the vague and unstable public.

But, gentlemen, there is more. This request was made upon the morrow of
the incidents of Bolzano and Trento, which had made plain to all eyes
the complete paralysis of the Italian State, and revealed, at the same
time, the no less complete efficiency of the Fascista State.

Well! In spite of all this, the inadequate Government at Rome puts the
question on the footing of public safety and public order!

_What we have asked the Government._ The whole question has been
approached in a fatally mistaken manner. Politicians ask what we want.
We are not people who beat about the bush. We speak clearly. We do good
to those who do good to us, and evil to those who do evil. What do we
want, Fascisti? We have answered quite simply: the dissolution of the
present Chamber, electoral reform, and elections within a short time
from now. We have demanded that the State shall abandon the ridiculous
neutral position that it occupies between the national and the
anti-national forces. We have asked for severe financial measures and
the postponement of the evacuation of the third Dalmatic zone; we have
asked for five portfolios as well as for the Commission of Aviation. We
have, in fact, asked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the War
Office, the Admiralty, the Ministries of Labour and of Public Works. I
am sure none of you will find our requests excessive. But to complete
the picture, I will add that I shall not take part with the Government
in this legal solution of the problem, and the reason is obvious when
you remember that to keep Fascismo still under my control I must of
necessity have an unrestricted sphere of action both for journalistic
and polemic purposes.

_A Ridiculous Answer._ And what has been the Government’s reply?
Nothing! No; worse than that, it has given a ridiculous answer. In spite
of everything, not one of the politicians has known how to pass the
threshold of Montecitorio in order to look the problem of the country in
the face. A miserable calculation of our strength has been made; there
has been talk of Ministers without portfolios, as if this, after the
more or less miserable experiences of the war, was not the culmination
of human and political absurdity. There has been talk of sub-portfolios,
too; but that is simply laughable! We Fascisti do not intend to arrive
at government by the window; we do not intend to give up this
magnificent spiritual birthright for a miserable mess of ministerial
pottage. (Loud and prolonged applause.) Because we have what might be
called the historical vision of the question as opposed to the merely
political and Parliamentary view.

It is not a question of patching together a Government with a certain
amount of life, but of including in the Liberal State—which has
accomplished a considerable task which we shall not forget—all the
forces of the rising generation of Italians which issued victorious from
the war. This is essential to the welfare of the State, and not of the
State only, but to the history of the nation. And then...?

_A Question of Strength._ Then, gentlemen, the question, not being
understood within its historical limits, asserts itself and becomes a
question of strength. As a matter of fact, at turning-points of history
force always decides when it is a question of opposing interests and
ideas. This is why we have gathered, firmly organised and strongly
disciplined our legions, because thus, if the question must be settled
by a recourse to force, we shall win. We are worthy of it. It is the
right and duty of the Italian people to liberate their political and
spiritual life from the parasitic incrustation of the past, which cannot
be prolonged indefinitely in the present, as it would mean the death of
the future. (Applause.)

It is then quite natural that the Government at Rome should try to
divert and counteract the movement; that it should try to break up the
Fascista organisation, and to surround us with problems.

These problems have the names of the Monarchy, the Army and

_The Acceptance of the Monarchy._ I have already said that the
discussion, abstract or concrete, of the good and evil of the monarchy
as an institution is perfectly absurd. Every people in every epoch of
history, given the time, place and conditions necessary, has had its
régime. There is no doubt that the unity of Italy is soundly based upon
the House of Savoy. (Loud applause.) There is equally no doubt that the
Italian Monarchy, both by reason of its origin, development and history,
cannot put itself in opposition to the new national forces. It did not
manifest any opposition upon the occasion of the concession of the
Charter, nor when the Italian people—who, even if they were a minority,
were a determined and intelligent minority—asked and obtained their
country’s participation in the war. Would it then have reason to be in
opposition to-day, when Fascismo does not intend to attack the régime,
but rather to free it from all those superstructures that overshadow its
historical position and limit the expansion of our national spirit? Our
enemies in vain try to keep this alleged misunderstanding alive.

_Fascismo and Democracy._ The Parliament, gentlemen, and all the
paraphernalia of Democracy have nothing in common with the monarchy. Not
only this, but neither do we want to take away the people’s toy—the
Parliament. We say “toy” because a great part of the people seem to
think of it in this way. Can you tell me else why, out of eleven
millions of voters, six millions do not trouble themselves to vote? It
might be, however, that if to-morrow you took their “toy” away from
them, they would be aggrieved. But we will not take it away. After all,
it is our mentality and our methods that distinguish us from Democracy.
Democracy thinks that principles are unchangeable when they can be
applied at any time or in any place and situation.

We do not believe that history repeats itself, that it follows a given
path; that after Democracy must come super-Democracy. If Democracy had
its uses and served the nation in the nineteenth century, it may be that
some other political form would be best for the welfare of the nation in
the twentieth. (Well said!) So that not even fear of our anti-Democratic
policy can influence the decision in favour of that continuity of which
I spoke just now.

_The Army._ As regards the other institution in which the régime is
personified—the army—the army knows that when the Ministry advised the
officers to go about in civilian clothes to escape attack, we, then a
mere handful of bold spirits, forbade it. (Prolonged applause.) We have
created our ideal. It is faith and ardent love. It is not necessary for
it to be brought into the sphere of reality. It is reality in so far as
it is a stimulus for faith, hope and courage. Our ideal is the nation.
Our ideal is the greatness of the nation, and we subordinate all the
rest to this.

For us the nation has a soul and does not consist only in so much
territory. There are nations that have had immense possessions and have
left no traces in the history of humanity in spite of them. It is not
only size that counts, because, on the other hand, there have been tiny,
microscopic States that have left indelible marks in the history of art
and philosophy. The greatness of a nation lies in the aggregation of all
these virtues and all these conditions. A nation is great when its
spiritual force is transferred into reality. Rome was great when, from
her small rural democracy, little by little, her influence spread over
the whole of Italy. Then she met the warriors of Carthage and fought
them. It was one of the first wars in history. Then, bit by bit, she
extended the dominion of the Eagle to the furthermost boundaries of the
known world, but still, as ever, the Roman Empire is a creation of the
spirit, as it was the spirit which first inspired the Roman legions to
fight. (Applause.)

_Our Syndicalism._ What we want now is the greatness of the nation, both
materially and spiritually. That is why we have become syndicalist, and
not because we think that the masses by reason of their number can
create in history something which will last. These myths of the lower
kind of Socialist literature we reject. But the working people form a
part of the nation; and they are a great part of the nation, necessary
to its existence both in peace and in war. They neither can nor ought to
be repulsed. They can and must be educated and their legitimate
interests protected. (Applause.) We ask them: “Do you wish this state of
civil war to continue to disturb the country?” No! For we are the first
to suffer from the ceaseless Sunday wrangling with its list of dead and
wounded. I was the first to try to bridge over the gap which exists
between us and what is called the Italian Bolshevist world.

_How Peace can be obtained._ To prove this, I have just recently signed
an agreement most gladly; in the first place because it was Gabriele
d’Annunzio who asked me to, and in the second place because it was, as I
thought, another step towards a national peace.

But we are no hysterical women who continually worry themselves by
thinking of what might happen. We have not the catastrophic, apocalyptic
view of history. The financial problem which is so much talked about is
a question of will-power. Millions and millions would be saved if there
were men in the Government who had the courage to say “No” to the
different requests. But until the financial question is brought on to a
political basis it will not be solved. We are all for pacification, and
we should like to see all Italians find the common ground upon which it
is possible for them to live together in a civilised way. But, on the
other hand, we cannot give up our rights and the interests and the
future of the nation for the sake of measures of pacification that we
propose with loyalty but which are not accepted in the same spirit by
the other side. We are at peace with those who ask for peace, but for
those who ensnare us and, above all, ensnare the nation, there can be no
peace until after victory.

_A Hymn to the Queen of the Mediterranean._ And now, Fascisti and
citizens of Naples, I thank you for the attention with which you have
listened to me.

Naples gives a fine display of strength, discipline and austerity. It
was a happy idea that led to our coming here from all parts of Italy,
that has allowed us to see you as you are, to see your people who face
the struggle for life like Romans, and who, with the desire to rebuild
their lives and to gain wealth through hard work, carry ever in their
hearts the love of this their wonderful town, which is destined to a
great future, especially if Fascismo does not deviate from its path.

Nor must the Democrats say that there is no need for Fascismo here, as
there has been no Bolshevism, for here there are other political
movements no less dangerous than Bolshevism and no less likely to hinder
the development of the public conscience.

I already see the Naples of the future endowed with an even greater
splendour as the metropolis of the Mediterranean; and I see it together
with Bari (which in 1805 had sixteen thousand inhabitants and now has
one hundred and fifty thousand) and Palermo forming a powerful triangle.
And I see Fascismo concentrating all these energies, purifying certain
circles, and removing certain members of society, gathering others under
its standards.

And now, members of the Fascio of all Italy, lift up your flags and
salute Naples, the capital of Southern Italy and the Queen of the

                                 PART V


            Speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921.

_Hon. Mussolini._ I am not displeased, gentlemen, to make my speech from
the benches of the Extreme Right, where formerly no one dared to sit.

I may say at once, with the supreme contempt I have for all nominalism,
that I shall adopt a reactionary line throughout my speech, which will
be, I do not know how Parliamentary in form, but anti-Socialist and
anti-Democratic in substance. (Approval.) In spite of this I am
audacious enough to affirm that I shall be listened to with advantage by
all sections of the Chamber. In the first place by the Government, which
will notice our position with regard to it. In the second place by the
Socialists, who, after seven years of changing fortunes, see before
them, in the proud attitude of a heretic, the man they excommunicated
from their orthodox church. They will listen to me, too, because, having
held their fortunes in the palm of my hand for two years, there may
still be some secret longings for me in the depths of their hearts!

I may also be listened to with interest by the Popular Party and the
other groups and sections. In fact, since I hope to define some
political aspects, and I may add some historical ones, of this extremely
powerful and complicated movement Fascismo, perhaps what I have to say
may have political consequences worthy of note.

I beg you not to interrupt me, because I shall never interrupt anybody,
and I add that from this moment I shall make sparing use of my freedom
of speech in this Assembly.

And now to the argument.

_Italophobia on the Upper Adige._ In the speech from the throne, the
Hon. Giolitti made the Sovereign say that the barrier of the Alps was
entirely in our hands. I dispute the geographical and political
exactness of this statement. We have not yet, at a few kilometres from
Milan, the barrier of the Alps as the defence of Lombardy and the valley
of the Po.

I am touching on a delicate subject, but it is well known, both in this
Chamber and elsewhere, that in the Canton Ticino, which is being
Germanised and bastardised, there is springing up a nationalist vanguard
whom the Fascisti look on with favour.

What is the present Government doing to defend the Alpine barrier of the
Brenner and the Nevoso? Its policy, as regards the Upper Adige, is
simply lamentable and, though its representatives would doubtless be
extremely capable of running a kindergarten, I absolutely deny that they
have the necessary qualifications for governing a region where several
languages are spoken and the rivalry between the races is very bitter.
The Governor of Venezia Tridentina, for instance, has made a present of
the constituency of Gorizia to the Slovaks and of four German deputies
to the Italian Chamber; while the other belongs to that category of more
or less respectable people who are slaves to one so-called immortal
principle, which consists in maintaining that there is only one form of
good government in the world, and that it is applicable to all peoples,
at all times, and in all quarters of the globe.

Allow me to put before the Chamber the results of a few personal
enquiries I have made into the situation on the Upper Adige.

The political anti-Italian movement on the Upper Adige is monopolised by
the Deutscher Verband, an offspring of the Andreas Hoferbund, which has
its centre at Munich, and claims that the German frontier is not at the
Pass of Salorno but at the Bern Clause or Chiusa di Verona.

Now the representative of whom I have just spoken is responsible for
this German propaganda, because he has written the preface to a book
which states that the natural boundaries of Germany are at the foot of
the Alps towards the valley of the Po. In the first days of the military
occupation, immediately after the Armistice, this Italophobia was not
possible; but when, by a great misfortune, this governor was appointed,
the attitude of the people changed immediately and the submission
previously shown was succeeded by an insolent arrogance, which denied
the Austrian reverses and kept alive the desire for the return of the

At the sample fair organised by the Chamber of Commerce of Bolzano, a
nest of Pangermanism, all Italian firms were excluded, so much so that
the invitations were issued in German, and a Bavarian band played for
the whole duration of the fair!

I come now to the events of 24th April, when a Fascista bomb, justly
administered by way of reprisal, and for which I take upon myself the
moral responsibility—(Loud applause and comments.)—marked the limit to
which Fascismo intended that the German movement should go.

The demonstration of 24th April in the Tyrol was only a simultaneous
manifestation to the plebiscite which had been summoned that day beyond
the Brenner, because the Germans in the Upper Adige resort to these
subtle tricks of making the same manifestations under different guises.
In this way, when they publicly mourned the loss of the Upper Adige on
this side of the Brenner, on the other they did the same for the fallen
Austrian soldiers. When the Fascisti presented themselves at Bolzano,
they found the police helmeted and tasselled, and when they were
arrested, the enquiry was entrusted to Count Breitemburg, a notorious
member of the Deutscher Verband.

I will not linger over the cases of Malmeter, because they are more like
the chapters of a novel. But I cannot help mentioning one most curious

The Commissioner of Merano went to the commune of Maja Alta and was
received, not in the town hall, but in an old mansion house, where were
gathered the mayor and the councillors. The commissioner read the form
of the oath, and the mayor and the councillors, sitting down
immediately, put on their hats and burst out laughing. The commissioner
had hardly recovered from his surprise when the mayor rose to his feet
and began a storm of abuse against the King, Italy and the commissioner,
who, returning to Merano, requested the dismissal of this council. But
the Deutscher Verband interceded with the governor, who returned the
commissioner’s report, writing at the same time that it was not a good
thing to practise irredentism. And the representatives of the commune
remained as they were!

Since the period of mismanagement the Upper Adige is no longer
bi-lingual. The mayor himself refused to accept the evidence he had
asked for concerning the events of 24th April, because they were written
in Italian. These are small individual cases, but they serve to give an
idea of the whole situation.

At Megré the Italophobe president of the Young Catholics’ Club turned
out two young men because they presented their demands in Italian,
saying that that language would not do for his office and telling them
to keep it for themselves. And among all those competing for the office
of President of the Court of Appeal of redeemed Italian Trento, the one
selected was a man who in 1915 had resigned his magistracy in order to
serve as a “Kaiser-Jäger” volunteer under the Austrian flag. To-day this
man administers justice in the name of Italy! (Comments.)

If you imagine that the postal and telegraphic services in the Upper
Adige are in Italian hands, you are much mistaken. The Deutscher Verband
has control of all the communications and disposes of them at its
pleasure. Although 24th April was a holiday, the Pangermans and the
heads of the movement at Innsbruck were kept informed all along of the
development of events at Bolzano, while all communications with the
civil and military authorities were cut and the town completely isolated
from Trento and the rest of Italy for twenty-four hours. This is the

_What the Fascisti ask as regards the Upper Adige._ Gentlemen of the
Government, as regards the Upper Adige, we ask you for these immediate

1. The abolition of everything which reminds us of the Austro-Hungarian
Monarchy, even in outward form. Because I wish to say to the House that
it is useless to make compacts to prevent the return of the Hapsburgs
with the Austrian heirs, who are more Austrian than Austria, when we
leave a great part of Austria intact within our own boundaries.

2. The dissolution of the Deutscher Verband.

3. The immediate dismissal of the two Italian governors.

4. The formation of a united province of Trento with the administration
at Trento, and the strictest observance of the use of the two languages
in every act of public administration.

I do not know what measures will be adopted by the Government in these
cases, but I hereby declare, and I do so before the four German deputies
that they may repeat it and make it known beyond the Brenner, that there
we are and there we mean to stay at all costs. (Applause.)

_Giolitti_ (Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior). Upon this we
are all agreed. (Applause.)

_Mussolini._ I note with pleasure the explicit declaration the Prime
Minister has just made.


         Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921.

_Hon. Mussolini._ What is going to be our line of policy in view of the
vast field for disagreement which has been left by the peace treaty, or
rather peace treaties, all over the world?

I shall not touch upon the quarrel between Greece and Turkey, although
inconceivable complications may result if it is true, as is said, that
Lenin is an ally of Kemal Pasha and has already despatched the advance
guard of the Red army to Asia Minor. Neither shall I speak of Upper
Silesia, as I have not yet succeeded in defining the attitude of the
Government on this question. Egypt, again, I shall leave untouched. But
I cannot hold my peace about the fate prepared for Montenegro.

How is it that Montenegro has lost her independence? In theory she has
not lost it, but actually she lost it in October 1918. And yet Count
Sforza said that the independence of Montenegro was completely
guaranteed, first by the Treaty of London of 1915, which presupposed her
aggrandisement at the expense of Austria and the restitution of Scutari;
secondly, by the conditions laid down by Wilson for the Allies, which
safeguarded her existence with that of Belgium and Serbia; and thirdly,
by the decision of the Supreme Council of the Conference of January
1919, in which the right of Montenegro to be represented by a Delegate
at the Paris Peace Conference was recognised. Not only this, but when
Franchet d’Esperey entered Montenegro with Serb and French elements, he
gave out that he was governing in the name of King Nicholas.

When, however, King Nicholas, the Court and the Government wished to
return to Cettinge, France, in whose interest it was to create a
powerful Yugoslavia to counterbalance Italy in the Adriatic, informed
the Montenegrin Government that she would have broken off all diplomatic
relations had they done so.

What attitude did Italy adopt in this difficult situation? The Hon.
Federzoni spoke yesterday of a Convention that became a scrap of paper;
and it was this Convention of 30th April 1919. In it the relations
between Italy and Montenegro are clearly established. And this is what
it says: “Following upon the agreement made between the Italian Minister
for Foreign Affairs and the Government of Montenegro” (so there _was_ a
Government still in 1919), “represented by their Consul General at Rome,
Commander Ramanadovich, the Montenegrin Government will form a nucleus
of officers and troops, drawn from the Montenegrin refugees, and will
receive from the Italian Government the necessary funds in money for the
payment of the allowances of the officers and men.” Other conditions
follow, the last being: “The present Convention cannot be altered
without the common consent of both the Italian and Montenegrin

Now this Convention was destroyed after the death of King Nicholas.
Signs of disaffection were noticed among the Montenegrin troops, and the
commander asked for military aid from our Government, in order to
proceed to the work of elimination. A Commission was appointed, presided
over by Colonel Vigevano. This commission, which was to save the
Montenegrin army, was the chief cause of its disbandment. And not only
this—on 27th May the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs told the
Montenegrin Government that the troops must be disbanded or no more
funds would be forthcoming from Italy. And in this way the Convention of
30th April 1919 was violated, because in it it had been said that no
alteration was to be made without the common consent of the two
Governments, and this decision had never been accepted by the consul
general at Rome, who represented the Montenegrin Government. The fact is
that the Italian Minister had made use of the presence of the
Montenegrin army in Italy for political purposes, thinking thereby to
obtain better terms with Yugoslavia. This expectation not being
realised, the Montenegrin army, at a given moment, was cast aside like a
worn-out coat. The fact of the election of the Constituent does not
justify the tragic state of abandonment in which Italy left Montenegro,
because only twenty per cent. of the electors voted, and of those only
nine per cent. in favour of annexation by Serbia. The Serbian
authorities have introduced a real reign of terror in Montenegro and
have prevented the presentation of lists which might contain the names
of candidates favourable to the independence of the country.

But I hope Count Sforza will not think that the question of Montenegro
is a thing of the past. First, as he knows, the Montenegrin people are
still in arms against the Serbs, and secondly, the Italian people are
unanimous as regards this question. Even the Socialists, and I say it to
their honour, have several times declared in their papers that the
independence of Montenegro is sacred. The Universities of Padua and
Bologna have pronounced in favour of her independence, while the
Fascisti have presented a motion to this effect.

The shameful page which signs the death warrant of the Montenegrin
people must be redeemed by the adoption of our motion, because if you
bring the question once more before the Great Powers, so that another
plebiscite be summoned, I am certain that, under conditions of liberty,
anti-Serbian results will be returned.

                          D’ANNUNZIO AND FIUME

         Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921.

_Hon. Mussolini._ In the speech from the throne, the Alps which go
down to the Brenner were spoken of. Now we wish to know if these
Alps include Fiume or not. I deplore the fact that in this speech no
notice was given to the action of Gabriele d’Annunzio and his
legionaries—(Applause.)—without whom our boundaries to-day would be
at Monte Maggiore instead of at the Nevoso. Such a reference would
have been generous, as well as politically opportune.

I do not intend to enlarge upon the sacrifice of Dalmatia. My honourable
friend Federzoni spoke very eloquently on the subject yesterday. But I
was surprised when in that same speech from the throne it was affirmed
that Zara must be the advance guard of Italy on the opposite shores,
because Zara is crushed between the Slav sea and the Slav hinterland.

While upon the subject of the Adriatic, gentlemen, we Fascisti cannot
forget, we who speak for the first time in this hall, the attitude that
you adopted in the affair of Fiume. We cannot forget that you attacked
Fiume; and that when on 28th December General Ferrario said that he
could not suspend the order for the bombardment that would have levelled
that town to the ground, that general and the Government that gave him
the order compromised our national dignity more than a little. (Approval
on the Right.)

You put a knife to the throat of Fiume, but you did not solve the
problem. You sent a commander there with an amazing scheme for the
formation of a Government, which was to accept the conditions agreed
upon at Belgrade—accept, that is to say, the Consortium, which means the
near, if not immediate, destruction of the port of Fiume. Because you
are well aware that after the lapse of twelve years Porto Barro and the
Delta ought to go to Yugoslavia, and you have already handed them over,
because, if you had not done so, you would have been obliged to make
statements which have not been made.


         Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921.

_Hon. Mussolini._ I come now to another very delicate question that must
be faced, because it is historically necessary and because, in view of
the recent Pontifical Allocution before the Secret Consistory, it can no
longer be put off.

We must choose: the Government must decide what line it is going to take
up. Either it must adopt the English attitude in favour of the Sionists,
or that of Benedict XV. I do not think that I shall be boring the
Chamber if I run over the antecedents of this question.

On 2nd November 1917, the English Government declared itself in favour
of the creation in Palestine of a national centre for the Jewish race,
it being clearly understood that nothing would be done to offend the
rights, civil or religious, of the non-Jewish communities already
existing in Palestine or of the Jews in the rest of the world. Later the
Allied Powers agreed to this, and finally, in Article No. 222 of the
Peace Treaty, confirmed on 20th August at Sèvres, Turkey renounced all
her rights in Palestine, and the Allied Powers chose England as

Now it has come about, that while the civilised nations of the West have
not altered the common régime of liberty for the different religions, in
Palestine just the reverse has happened, and this in particular because
the administration of the State in embryo has been entrusted to the
political organisation of the Sionists.

But there have been Arabs in Palestine for ten centuries. There are
600,000 now, and 70,000 Christians, while the Jews only number 50,000.
In this way an extraordinarily interesting situation has been created.

The native Jews, who have lived for years under the shadow of the mosque
of Jerusalem, cordially dislike those immigrant elements which come from
Poland, Ukraine and Russia, on account of their extremely emancipated
ideas. They have already divided into three sections, one of which,
commonly known by its abbreviated name “Mopsy,” being already inscribed
in the Third International at Moscow as Communist Section.

I wish to say, however, that no anti-Semitism, which would be new in
this hall, must be read into my words.

I recognise the fact that the sacrifices made by the Italian Jews during
the war were considerable and generous, but now it is a question of
examining certain political positions and of indicating what line the
Government might eventually adopt.

An alliance between the Arabs and the Christians has now been
established in Palestine, and a party formed at the Conference of Jaffa,
which opposes by civil war all Jewish immigration. On the 1st and 14th
of May, serious disturbances occurred which resulted in some hundreds of
wounded and several deaths, including a writer of note.

Now, according to the _Bulletin du Comité des Délégations Juives_, page
19, it appears that the text of the English Mandate for Palestine must
be submitted to the Council of the Society of the League of Nations in
the next meeting at Geneva. I should wish the Government, in this
delicate situation, to accept the point of view of the Vatican.

This is in the interest of the Jews, who, having fled from the pogroms
of Ukraine and Poland, must not meet Arab pogroms in Palestine;
moreover, it is advisable that the Western nations should refrain from
creating a painful legal position for the Jews, since to-morrow those
same Jews, becoming citizen-subjects of those States, might immediately
form foreign colonies within them.


         Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921.

_Hon. Mussolini._ I do not wish to enlarge upon the question of foreign
policy, as I should then find myself out in the open, and I might ask
the Minister for Foreign Affairs what Italy’s position exactly is in the
face of the formidable conflicts which loom upon the horizon of
international politics. While Count Sforza is at the head of Foreign
Affairs in Giolitti’s Cabinet, we Fascisti cannot but find ourselves
among the opposition. (Comments.)

I shall pass now to an examination of the position of Fascismo with
regard to the various parties—(Signs of attention.)—and I shall begin
with the Communists.

Communism, the Hon. Graziadei teaches me, springs up in times of misery
and despair. When the total sum of the wealth of the world is much
reduced, the first idea that enters men’s minds is to put it all
together so that everyone may have a little. But this is only the first
phase of Communism, the phase of consumption. Afterwards comes the phase
of production, which is very much more difficult; so difficult, indeed,
that that great and formidable man (not yet legislator) who answers to
the name of Wladimiro Ulianoff Lenin, when he came to shaping human
material, became aware that it was a good deal harder than bronze or
marble. (Approval and comments.)

I know the Communists. I know them, because a great many of them are my
sons—I mean, of course, spiritually—(Laughter.)—and I recognise with a
sincerity that might appear cynical, that it was I who first inoculated
these people, when I put into circulation among the Italian Socialists a
little Bergson mingled with much Blanqui.

There is a philosopher[10] sitting among the Ministers who certainly
teaches me that the neo-spiritualistic philosophies continually
oscillating between the metaphysical and the lyrical are very dangerous
for small minds. (Laughter.) The neo-spiritualistic philosophies are
like oysters—they are palatable, but they have to be digested.

Footnote 10:

  Benedetto Croce, Minister of Public Instruction.

These, my friends or enemies....

(Voices from the Extreme Left: “Enemies, enemies!”)

_Mussolini._ Very well, then—enemies, swallowed Bergson when they were
twenty-five and have not digested him at thirty. I am very surprised to
see among the Communists an economist of the standing of Antonio
Graziadei, with whom I had great battles when he was a reformer and had
thrown aside Marx and his doctrines. While the Communists speak of the
dictatorship of the proletariat, of republics more or less united with
the Soviet, and other far-fetched absurdities of that kind, between them
and us there cannot be other than war. (Interruptions from the Extreme
Left. Comments.)

Our position is different as regards the Socialist Party. In the first
place we are careful to make a distinction between party Socialism and
the Socialism of Labour. (Comments on the Extreme Left.)

I am not here to overrate the importance of the syndicalist movement.
When you think that there are sixteen millions of working men in Italy
and of these hardly three millions belong to the syndicates, whether the
General Conference of Workmen, the National Italian Syndicate, the
Italian Workmen’s Union, the Confederation of Italian Economic
Syndicates, the White Federation or other organisations which do not
concern us, and that their membership increases and diminishes according
to the times; when you think that the really advanced and scrupulous
thinkers are a scanty minority, you will realise at once that we are
right when we do not overrate the historical importance of this movement
of the working classes.

But we recognise the fact that the General Federation of Workers did not
manifest the attitude of hostility at the time of the war which was
shown by a great part of the Official Socialist Party. We recognise,
also, that through the General Federation of Workers technical forces
have come to the front which, in view of the fact that the organisers
are in direct and daily contact with the complex economic reality, are
reasonable enough. (Interruptions from the Extreme Left and comments.)

We—and there are witnesses here who can prove the truth of my words—have
never taken up _a priori_ an attitude of opposition to the General
Federation of Workers. I add also that our attitude might be altered
later if the Confederation detached itself—and the political directors
have for some time considered the possibility of this being done—from
the political Socialist Party—(Comments.)—which is only a fraction of
political Socialism, and is formed of those people who, in order to act,
have need of the big forces represented by the working-class

Listen to what I am going to say. When you present the Bill for the
Eight Hours Day, we will vote in favour of it. We shall not oppose this
or any other measures destined to perfect our special legislation. We
shall not even oppose experiments of co-operation; but I tell you at
once that we shall resist with all our strength attempts at State
Socialism, Collectivism and the like. We have had enough of State
Socialism, and we shall never cease to fight your doctrines as a whole,
for we deny their truth and oppose their fatalism.

We deny the existence of only two classes, because there are many more.
(Comments.) We deny the possibility of explaining the story of humanity
in terms of economics. We deny your internationalism, because it is a
luxury which only the upper classes can afford; the working people are
hopelessly bound to their native shores.

Not only this, but we affirm, and on the strength of recent Socialist
literature which you ought not to repudiate, that the real history of
capitalism is beginning now, because capitalism is not only a system of
oppression, but a selection of that which is of most worth, a
co-ordination of hierarchies, a more strongly developed sense of
individual responsibility. (Applause.) So true is this that Lenin, after
having instituted the building councils, abolished them and put in
dictators; so true is it that, after having nationalised commerce, he
reintroduced the régime of liberty; and, as you who have been in Russia
well know, after having suppressed—even physically—the bourgeoisie,
to-day he summons it back, because without capitalism and its technical
system of production Russia could never rise again. (Applause from the
Right. Comments.)

Let me speak to you frankly and tell you the mistakes you made after the
Armistice, fundamental mistakes which are destined to influence the
history of your politics.

First of all you ignored or underrated the survival of those forces
which had been the cause of intervention in the war. Your paper went to
ridiculous lengths, never mentioning my name for months, as if by that
you could eliminate a man from life and history. You showed yourselves
worse knaves than ever by libelling the war and victory. (Loud approval
on the Right.) You wildly propagated the Russian myth, awakening almost
messianic expectation; and only afterwards, when you realised the truth,
did you change your position by executing a more or less prudent
strategic retreat. (Laughter.) Only after two years did you remember,
beside the sickle—a noble tool—and the hammer—no less noble—to place the
book—(Bravo!)—which represents the rights of the spirit over matter,
rights which cannot be suppressed or denied—(Bravo!)—rights which you,
who consider yourselves the heralds of a new humanity, ought to be the
first to inscribe upon your banners. (Great applause from the Extreme

                            SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

         Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 21st June 1921.

_Hon. Mussolini._ I come now to the Popular Party; and I wish to remind
it first that in the history of Fascismo there are no invasions of
churches, and not even the assassination of the monk Angelico Galassi,
who was killed by revolver shots at the foot of the altar. I confess to
you that there have been some chastisements and the sacred burning of
the offices of a newspaper which called the Fascisti a band of
criminals. (Comments; interruptions from the Centre.)

Fascismo neither practises nor preaches anti-Clericalism. It can also be
said that it is not in any way tied to Freemasonry; this, however,
should not be the cause of alarm which it is to some members of the
Popular Party, as to my mind Freemasonry is an enormous screen behind
which there are generally small things and small men. (Comments and
laughter.) But let us come to concrete problems.

The question of divorce has been touched on here. I am not, at bottom,
in favour of divorce, because I do not believe that questions of the
sentimental order can be settled by juridical formulæ; but I ask the
Popular Party to consider if it is just that the rich can obtain divorce
by going into Hungary, while the poor are sometimes obliged to be tied
all their lives.

We are one with the Popular Party as regards the liberty of schools. We
are very near them as regards the agrarian problem, for we think that
where small properties exist it is useless to destroy them; that where
it is possible to create them, they ought to be created; that where they
cannot be created, because they would be unproductive, other methods
must be adopted, not excluding more or less collective co-operation. We
agree about administrative decentralisation, provided, necessarily, that
autonomy and federation are not spoken of, because regional federation
would lead to provincial federation, and so on till Italy returned to
what she was a century ago.

But there is another problem more important than these incidental
questions to which I wish to draw the attention of the Popular Party,
and that is the historical problem of the relations between Italy and
the Vatican. (Signs of attention.)

All of us, who from fifteen to twenty-five drank deep at the fountain of
Carduccian literature, learned to hate “una vecchia vaticana lupa
cruenta” of which Carducci speaks, I think, in the ode _To Ferrara_; we
heard talk of “a pontificate dark with mystery” on the one hand, and on
the other of the sublime truth and the future in the words of the
poet-prophet. Now all this, confined to literature, may be most
brilliant, but to us Fascisti, who are eminently practical, it seems
to-day more than a little out of date.

I maintain that the Imperial and Latin tradition of Rome is represented
to-day by Catholicism. If, as Mommsen said thirty years ago, one could
not stay in Rome without being impressed by the idea of universality, I
both think and maintain that the only universal idea at Rome to-day is
that which radiates from the Vatican. I am very disturbed when I see
national churches being formed, because I think of the millions and
millions of men who will no longer look towards Italy and Rome. For this
reason I advance this hypothesis, that if the Vatican should definitely
renounce its temporal ambitions—and I think it is already on that
road—Italy ought to furnish it with the necessary material help for the
schools, churches, hospitals, etc., that a temporal power has at its
disposal. Because the increase of Catholicism in the world, the addition
of four hundred millions of men who from all quarters of the globe look
towards Rome, is a source of pride and of special interest to us

The Popular Party must choose; either it is going to be our friend, our
enemy or neutral. Now that I have spoken clearly, I hope that some
member of the party will do likewise.

Social Democracy seems to have a very ambiguous position. First of all
one wonders why it is called Social Democracy. A democracy is already
necessarily social; we think, however, that this Social Democracy is a
kind of Trojan horse which holds within it an army against whom we shall
always be at war.

                                PART VI


  We deem it superfluous to linger over a detailed analysis of the
  separate speeches delivered by Benito Mussolini after 1st November
  1922, the day on which, by the will of the people, he rose fully
  equipped to the dignities and responsibilities of power.

  Foreigners are to a great extent ignorant of the origin, the
  character and the evolution of the Fascista movement, owing to the
  lack of literature on the subject outside Italy. They have, however,
  already had the means of appreciating the qualities of strength,
  balance of mind, and foresight revealed from the very first by the
  Italian Fascista Premier. Although European public opinion may be
  logically entitled to an attitude of reserve in the face of the
  crisis of evolution and renovation through which Italy is passing,
  it is certain that the young President of the Council—of humble
  birth, and risen to power by a remarkable combination of
  circumstances—romantic, daring, ingenious, tempestuous—stands now
  the principal figure in the arena of world politics.


          Speech delivered in the Chamber, 16th November 1922.

_Hon. Mussolini._ Honourable Members,—(Signs of great attention.)—I
perform to-day in this hall an act of formal deference towards you for
which I do not expect any special gratitude.

I have the honour of announcing to the Chamber that His Majesty the
King, by a Decree of 31st October, has accepted the resignations of the
Hon. Luigi Facta from the office of President of the Council and of his
colleagues, Minister and Under-Secretaries of State, and has asked me to
form the new Ministry. On the same day His Majesty has appointed me
President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of the Interior and
of Foreign Affairs, etc.

For many years—for too many years—crises in the Government took place
and were solved by more or less tortuous and underhand manœuvres, so
much so that a crisis came to be regarded as a regular scramble for
portfolios, and the Ministry was caricatured in the comic papers.

Now, for the second time in the brief space of seven years, the Italian
people, or rather the best part of it, has overthrown a Ministry and
formed for itself an entirely new Government from outside, regardless of
every Parliamentary designation.

The seven years of which I speak lie between the May of 1915 and the
October of 1922. I shall leave to the gloomy partisans of
super-Constitutionalism the task of discoursing, more or less
plaintively, about all this. I maintain that revolution has its rights;
and I may add, so that everyone may know, that I am here to defend and
give the greatest value to the revolution of the “black shirts,”
inserting it intrinsically in the history of the nation as an active
force in development, progress and the restoration of equilibrium. (Loud
applause from the Left.) I could have carried our victory much further,
and I refused to do so. I imposed limits upon my action and told myself
that the truest wisdom is that which does not forsake one after victory.
With three hundred thousand young men, fully armed, ready for anything
and almost religiously prompt to obey any command of mine, I could have
punished all those who have slandered the Fascisti and thrown mud at
them. (Approval on the Right.) I could have made a bivouac of this
gloomy grey hall; I could have shut up Parliament and formed a
Government of Fascisti exclusively; I could have done so, but I did not
wish to do so, at any rate at the moment. Our adversaries remained in
their shelters and then quietly issued forth and obtained their freedom,
of which they are already taking advantage to set traps for us and
slander us, as at Carate, Bergamo, Udine and Muggia.

I have formed a Coalition Government, not with the intention of
obtaining a Parliamentary majority, with which at the moment I can
perfectly well dispense, but in order to gather together in support of
the suffering nation all those who, over and above questions of party
and section, wish to save her.

From the bottom of my heart I thank all those who have worked with me,
both Ministers and Under-Secretaries; I thank my colleagues in the
Government, who wished to share with me the heavy responsibilities of
this hour; and I cannot remember without pleasure the attitude of the
Italian working classes, who indirectly encouraged and strengthened the
Fascisti by their solidarity, active or passive. I believe also that I
shall be giving expression to the thoughts of a large part of this
assembly, and certainly of the majority of the Italian people, if I pay
a warm tribute to our Sovereign, who, by refusing to permit the useless
reactionary attempts made at the eleventh hour to proclaim martial law,
has avoided civil war and allowed the fresh and ardent Fascista current,
newly arisen out of the war and exalted by victory, to pour itself into
the sluggish main stream of the State. (Cries of “Long live the King!”
The Ministers and a great many deputies rise to their feet and applaud.)

Before arriving here we were asked on all sides for a programme. It is
not, alas! programmes that are wanting in Italy, but men to carry them
out. All the problems of Italian life—_all_, I say—have long since been
solved on paper; but the will to put these solutions into practice has
been lacking. The Government to-day represents that firm and decisive


       Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 16th November 1922.

_Hon. Mussolini._ Honourable Members,—Our foreign policy is the business
which chiefly concerns us at the present moment. I shall speak of it at
once, as I think that what I am going to say will dispel many
apprehensions. I shall not touch upon all the questions connected with
the subject, because, in this sphere as in all others, I prefer actions
to words.

The fundamental principle upon which our foreign policy is based is that
treaties of peace, once signed and ratified, must be carried out, no
matter whether they are good or bad. A self-respecting nation cannot
follow another course. Treaties are not eternal or irreparable; they are
chapters and not epilogues in history; to put them into practice means
to try them. If in the course of execution they are proved to be absurd,
that in itself constitutes the possibility of a further examination of
the respective positions.

I shall bring before the consideration of Parliament both the Treaty of
Rapallo and the Agreements of Santa Margherita, which are derived from

Agreed that treaties, when once perfected and ratified, must be loyally
carried out, I go on to establish another fundamental principle, which
is the rejection of all the famous “reconstructive” ideology. We admit
that there is a kind of economic union or interdependence among European
countries. We admit that this economic life must be reconstructed, but
we refuse to think that the methods hitherto adopted will succeed in
doing so. Commercial treaties concluded between two Powers—the basis of
the closest economic relations between nations—are of more value in the
reconstruction of the European economic world than all the complicated
and confused general plenary conferences, whose lamentable history
everybody knows.

As far as Italy is concerned, we intend to follow a policy which will be
dignified and at the same time compatible with our national interests.
(Loud applause.) We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of a policy of
foolish altruism, or of complete surrender to the desires of others. _Do
ut des._ For Italy to-day has a new importance which must be reckoned
with adequately, and this fact is beginning to be recognised beyond her
boundaries. We have not the bad taste to exaggerate our powers, but
neither do we wish to belittle them with excessive and useless modesty.

My formula is simple: “Nothing for nothing.” Those who wish to have
concrete proofs of friendship from us must give us the same. Fascista
Italy, just as she does not intend to repudiate treaties for many
reasons, political, moral and economic, does not intend, either, to
abandon the Allies—Rome is in line with London and Paris; but Italy must
assert herself and impose upon the Allies that strict and courageous
examination of conscience which has not been faced by them from the time
of the Armistice up to the present day.

Does an Entente still exist in the full sense of the word? What is the
position of the Entente with regard to Germany and Russia? with regard
to an alliance between these two countries? What is the position of
Italy in the Entente, of the Italy who, not solely by reason of the
weakness of her governors, lost strong positions in the Adriatic and the
Mediterranean, who did not obtain any colonies or raw materials, who is
literally crushed under the load of debts incurred in order to obtain
victory, and whose most sacred rights, even, were held in question? In
the conversations I intend to have with the Prime Ministers of England
and France, I mean to face clearly and in its entirety the question of
the Entente and Italy’s position within it.

As a result of this, alternatives will arise; either the Entente,
finding a way of settling her inward perplexities and contradictions,
will become a really solid homogeneous body, with evenly distributed
forces, with equal rights and equal duties, or her hour will have
struck, and Italy, regaining her freedom of action, will turn loyally
with a new policy to the work of safeguarding her interests.

I hope that the first eventuality will be realised, particularly in view
of the new uprising in the East and the growing intimacy between Russia,
Turkey and Germany. But, however it may be, we must get beyond
conventional phrases. It is time, in fact, to abandon diplomatic
expedients, which are renewed and repeated at every conference, in order
to deal directly with historical fact, by which alone it is possible to
decide one way or another the trend of events. Our foreign policy, which
aims at protection of our interests, respect of treaties and the
settling of our position in the Entente, cannot be described as
adventurous and imperialist, in the vulgar sense of the word. We want to
follow a policy of peace that will not, however, be at the same time

In order to refute the pessimists who expected catastrophic results to
follow upon the advent of the Fascisti to power, it is enough to remind
them that our relations with the Swiss are perfectly friendly, and that
a commercial treaty, already in the process of formation, will further
contribute towards strengthening them when it is completed; that they
are perfectly correct as regards Yugoslavia and Greece; we are on good
terms with Spain, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Roumania, and the other
Baltic States, where of late Italy has gained a great deal of sympathy,
and where we are trying to make commercial agreements; and on equally
good terms with the other States.

As far as Austria is concerned, Italy will keep faith as regards her
promises, and will not neglect to enter into economic relations with her
as well as with Hungary and Bulgaria.

We maintain, as regards Turkey, that what is now an accomplished fact
ought to be recognised as such at Lausanne, with the necessary
guarantees as to trade in the Straits, European interests and the
interests of the small Christian communities. The situation which has
arisen in Islam is going to be carefully watched. When Turkey has got
what belongs to her she must not try to obtain more. There will come a
day when it will be necessary to say, “Thus far and no further!” The
danger of complications in the Balkans, and in consequence in Europe in
general, can be avoided by firmness, which will have an increased effect
in proportion to the loyalty of the Allies’ conduct. We do not forget
that there are 44,000 Mohammedans in Roumania, 600,000 in Bulgaria,
400,000 in Albania, and 1,500,000 in Yugoslavia; a world which the
recent victory of the Crescent has exalted, at any rate secretly.

As far as Russia is concerned, Italy believes that the moment has come
to face the question of her relations with that country in their actual
reality; but this apart from internal conditions in that country, with
which we, as a Government, do not wish to interfere, since in our turn
we shall admit of no interference in our home affairs. In consequence we
are disposed to consider the possibility of a definite solution of the
situation. As regards the presence of Russia at Lausanne, Italy has
supported the most liberal point of view and does not despair of its
eventual triumph, although thus far she has only been invited to discuss
the single question of the Dardanelles.

Our relations with the United States are very good, and I shall make it
my care to see that they are improved, especially as regards a close
economic co-operation. A commercial treaty with Canada is on the point
of being signed. We are on cordial terms with the republics of Central
and South America, and especially with Brazil and the Argentine, where
millions of Italians live. They must not be denied the possibility of
taking part in the local political life around them, which will not
estrange them from, but rather bind them all the closer to their Mother

As for economic and financial problems, Italy will maintain in the
approaching conference at Brussels that debts and reparations form an
indivisible binomial.

In order to carry out this policy of dignity and regard for our national
interests, we need to have at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs a central
staff competent to deal with the new necessities of the national life
and of the increased prestige of Italy in the world. (Applause.)


       Same speech delivered in the Chamber, 16th November 1922.

_Hon. Mussolini._ Honourable Members,—The policy we shall follow as
regards the country itself can be summed up in three words: economy,
work and discipline. The financial problem is a fundamental one, the
balancing of the State Budget must be accomplished as soon as possible
by a régime of careful administration, intelligence in the use of money,
the utilisation of all the productive forces of the nation and the
removal of the trappings of war. (Loud applause.) For further
information as regards the financial question, which, though serious, is
open to rapid improvement, I refer you to my colleague Tangorra,[11] who
will give you information when the financial measures are discussed.

Footnote 11:

  Late Minister of Finance.

He who talks of work, talks of the productive middle classes in the
towns and in the country. It is not a question of privileges for the
first or for privileges for the second, but of the safeguarding of all
the interests which are in accordance with national production. The
proletariat which works, and whose well-being concerns us, though not
from weak demagogic motives, has nothing to fear, nothing to lose and
everything to gain from a financial policy which preserves the balance
of the State and prevents bankruptcy, which would have a disastrous
effect, especially among the humbler classes.

Our policy as regards emigration must free itself of an excessive
“paternalism,” while, at the same time, an Italian who emigrates must
know that his interests will be securely guarded by the representatives
of his country abroad. The growth of the prestige of a nation in the
world is in proportion to the discipline it shows at home. There is no
doubt that the internal condition of the country has improved, but it is
not yet as I should like to see it. I do not intend to indulge myself in
easy optimism. I am no lover of Pangloss. In the big cities, and in all
the towns in general, there is peace; instances of violence are sporadic
and peripheral; but, at the same time, these also must cease. The
citizens, no matter to what party they belong, shall have freedom of
movement; all religions shall be respected, with particular regard to
the dominant faith, Catholicism; statutory liberty shall not be
infringed and the law shall be made to be respected at all costs!

The State is strong and will prove its power equally where all classes
of citizens are concerned, including illegal Fascismo, because it would
now be irresponsible illegality and without any justification. I must
add, however, that almost all the Fascisti have submitted to the new
order of things. The State does not mean to abdicate for anyone, and
whoever opposes it must be punished. This explicit statement is a
warning to all citizens, and I know will be particularly pleasing to the
Fascisti, who have fought and won in order to have a State which would
make itself felt in every direction with inexhaustible energy. It must
not be forgotten that, besides the minority that represent actual
militant politics, there are forty millions of excellent Italians who
work, by their splendid birth-rate perpetuate our race, and who ask, and
have the right to obtain, freedom from the chronic state of disorder
which is the sure prelude to general ruin. Since sermons, evidently, are
not enough, the State will put the army it has at its disposal in order
by a process of selection and improvement. The Fascista State will form
a perfectly organised and united police force, of great mobility and
with a high moral standard; while the army and navy—glorious and dear to
every Italian heart—withdrawn from the vicissitudes of Parliamentary
politics, reorganised and strengthened, will represent the last reserve
of the nation both at home and abroad.

Gentlemen, from the last communication issued you will learn what the
Fascista programme is in detail with regard to each individual Ministry.
I do not wish, as long as it is possible to avoid it, to govern against
the wishes of the Chamber; but the Chamber must understand the peculiar
position it holds, which makes it liable to dismissal in two days or in
two years. (Laughter.) We ask for full powers, because we wish to take
full responsibility. Without full powers you know perfectly well that
not a penny—a penny I say—would be saved. By this we do not intend to
exclude the possibility of voluntary co-operation, which we shall
cordially accept, whether it be from deputies, senators or single
competent citizens. We have, every one of us, a religious sense of the
difficulty of our task. The country encourages us and waits. We shall
not give you further words but facts. Let us solemnly and formally
pledge ourselves to balance the Budget, and we shall do it. We wish to
have a foreign policy of peace, but, at the same time, it must be
dignified and firm; and we shall have it. None of our enemies, past or
present, need deceive themselves about the rapidity of our advent to
power. (Laughter; comments.) Our Government has a formidable hold upon
the hearts of the people and is supported by the best elements in the
country. There is no doubt that in these last days an enormous step has
been taken towards spiritual unity. The Italian nation has found herself
again, from the north to the south, from the Continent to those generous
islands which shall no more be forgotten—(Applause.)—from Rome to the
industrious colonies of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Gentlemen,
do not throw useless words at the nation; fifty-two requests to speak on
my lists is too much. Let us work, rather, with pure hearts and ready
brains to assure the prosperity and the greatness of the country.

And may God help me to carry my arduous task to a victorious end. (Loud
applause. Many deputies come down to congratulate the President.)

                          ITS FOREIGN POLICY”

                 Sitting of 27th November 1922, Senate.

_Hon. Mussolini._ Honourable Senators,—I have listened with deep
interest and attention to all the speeches touching upon various
subjects which have been delivered in this hall. The Ministers directly
concerned can answer to the different individual questions. I shall
limit myself to confuting some of the statements which can be said to be
of a general order. Of course if the vote of the Senate be unanimous, it
will please me—(Laughter.)—but you must not believe that unanimity
flatters me excessively. I entertain a thorough contempt for those who
have more or less clamorously sided with me in these last days. They are
so often the kind of people who follow the fair wind and are ready to
tumble headlong over to the other side when the wind changes direction.
(Laughter.) I prefer sincere enemies to doubtful friends.

Of the speeches delivered in this hall some have a particular
importance, as for instance that, generally optimistic, of Senator
Conti, which reminded me of the analogous speech, also optimistic,
delivered in the Chamber by the Hon. Buozzi. This favourable view of
economic conditions in Italy, coming thus from a head of the proletariat
and a head of the great Italian industries, is a curious coincidence and
certainly of good omen.

_A Neat Surgical Operation._ I owe a special answer to Senator
Albertini. I admire his firm faith in pure Liberalism, but I take the
liberty to remind him that Constitutionalism in England, Liberalism in
France, in fact all the ideas and doctrines which have in common the
name of Liberalism, spring out of a fierce revolutionary travail without
which, to-day, Signor Albertini would not, very probably, have been able
to pay these tributes to pure Liberalism.

How was it possible to find a way out of this internal crisis, which
every day was becoming more alarming and distressing? A temporary and
transitional Ministry was no longer possible. It did not solve the
problem, it hardly delayed it. Consequently in two, three or six months’
time at the most, with that mobility of opinions and desires that
characterised certain Parliamentary circles, we should have found
ourselves where we were at the beginning, with nothing gained but the
failure which would have aggravated the crisis. (Hear, hear!)

After having thought over the matter deeply, therefore, and having
clearly realised the ironic paradox, becoming every day more manifest,
of the existence of two States—one the actual State itself and the other
which nobody succeeded in defining—I said to myself at a certain moment
that only a neat surgical operation could make one compact State of the
two and save the fortunes of the nation.

Senator Albertini must not think that this decision was other than the
result of long meditation; he must not think that I had not well
considered all the dangers and risks of this illegal action. I willed it
deliberately. I dare to say more than this—I forced it on. To my mind
there was no other way except by revolution to revive a political class
grown enormously tired and discouraged in all its sections; and since
experience teaches something, or ought to teach something, to
intelligent men, I at once set limits and established rules for my
action. I have not gone beyond a certain point, I did not in the least
become intoxicated by victory, nor did I take advantage of it. Who could
have prevented me from closing Parliament? Who could have prevented me
from proclaiming a Dictatorship with two or three men? Who could
withstand me? Who could have withstood a movement which consisted not
only in 300,000 membership cards but in 300,000 rifles? Nobody. It was I
who, for love of our country, said that it was necessary to subordinate
impulse, sentiment and personal ambition to the supreme interests of the
nation; and it was I who put the movement at once on constitutional

I have formed a Ministry with men from all parties in the House. I did
not hesitate to include a member of the old Cabinet. I gave importance
to technical efficiency and paid no attention to political labels. I
formed a Coalition Ministry and I presented it to the Chamber. I asked
for its judgment and its vote and I found that Chamber a little changed.
But when I found out that not less than thirty-three orators had
presented thirty-six orders of the day, I said to myself that perhaps it
was not necessary to abolish Parliament, but that the country would be
glad to see it enjoying a holiday for a certain period. (Laughter.) I
have, therefore, no intention of dismissing the Chamber, of destroying
all the fruits of the Liberal revolution. I can boast of all this
philosophically from a point of view which might almost be called
negative. But philosophy must be silent in the face of political
necessity. Let us speak frankly! What is this Liberalism, this
Liberalism put into practice? Because if there is anyone who believes
that, to be a true Liberal, it is necessary to give some hundreds of
irresponsible people, fanatics and scoundrels, the power of ruining
forty millions of Italians, I refuse absolutely to give them this power.
(Applause.) Gentlemen, I have no fetishes, and where the interests of
the country are concerned the Government has the right to intervene. If
it did not do so, it would be inadequate the first time and the next
time suicidal.

_Respect for the Constitution._ I do not intend to deviate from the
Constitution or to improvise. The example of other revolutions has shown
me that there are some fundamental principles in the life of the people
that must be respected. (Hear, hear!) I do not intend that national
discipline shall be any longer merely a word. I do not intend that the
law shall be any longer a blunt weapon. (Hear, hear!) I do not intend
that liberty shall degenerate into licence. I do not intend, either, to
remain above the fray among those who love, who work for, and who are
ready to sacrifice themselves for the nation, or, on the other hand,
among those who are ready to do the reverse.

It was for just such a foolish “Rolandism” that this last Government
failed. One cannot remain above the fray when the moral forces which are
the foundation of the national community are at stake; and nobody can
say that a national policy, understood thus, is reactionary. For me all
these names of Left and Right, of Conservative, Aristocracy and
Democracy are so many empty academic terms. They serve occasionally to
distinguish, but more often to confuse.

I shall not follow an anti-proletariat policy, for reasons national, and
other than national. We do not want to oppress the proletariat; we do
not want to drive it back into humiliating conditions of life. On the
contrary we want to elevate it materially and spiritually; but not
because we think that the masses, the populace, could create a special
type of civilisation in the future. Let us leave this kind of ideology
to those who profess themselves to be ministers of this mysterious
religion. The reasons for which we wish to follow a policy of
proletarian welfare are quite different. They lie in the interests of
the nation; they are dictated by the reality of facts, by the conviction
that no nation can be united and at peace if twenty millions of workmen
are condemned to live in humiliating and inadequate conditions of life.
And it may be, nay, it is certain, that our labour policy—or rather
anti-demagogic policy, because we cannot promise the paradise we do not
possess—will ultimately prove to be much more useful to those same
working classes than the other policy which, like an oriental mirage,
has hypnotised and mystified them into a vain attitude of waiting.

_The Military Organisation of Fascismo._ “What will you do with the
military organisation of Fascismo?” I have been asked. This military
organisation gave Rome an imposing spectacle. There were 52,000 “black
shirts,” and they left Rome within the twenty-four hours prescribed by
me. They obey. I dare even to go further and to say that they have the
mysticism of obedience! I do not intend to disperse these exuberant
forces, not only for the sake of Fascismo itself, but in the interests
of the nation. What I shall impose upon Fascismo is the discontinuance
of all the acts for which there is now no necessity—(Hear, hear!)—those
small, individual and collective acts of violence which are rather
humiliating to everyone, which are often the result of local situations
and could with difficulty be associated with the big problems of the
different Italian parties. I am sure that what might be called “illegal
Fascismo,” now happily on the decline, will soon end altogether. This is
one of the conditions of that pacification to which my friend Senator
Bellini alluded; but in order that this pacification may succeed, the
other side must also cease their ambushes and acts of violence.

_Foreign Policy._ I thank the Senate for not having dwelt too much on
foreign policy. I am particularly glad that Fascismo has universally
accepted with enthusiasm my firm decision as regards the application of
treaties, because if I do not allow illegality in internal policy, still
less shall I allow it in foreign affairs. (Hear, hear!) So let it be
clear to all inside this hall and out. Foreign policy will be in the
hands of one man alone, of the man who has the honour of representing
and directing it; because there cannot be an unlimited division and
diffusion of responsibility, and foreign policy is too difficult and
delicate a matter to be thrown as occupation to those who have nothing
better to do. (Laughter.)

I can then tell the Hon. Barzilai that I shall keep the Ministry for
Foreign Affairs for myself. At bottom the Ministry of the Interior is a
Ministry of Police, and I am glad to be the head of the police. I am not
in the least ashamed of it. On the contrary, I hope that all Italian
citizens, forgetting certain atavisms, will recognise in the police one
of the most necessary forces for the welfare of our social existence.
But, above all, I intend to follow a line of foreign policy which will
not be adventurous, while, at the same time, it will not be
characterised by self-sacrifice. (Strong approval.) Certainly miracles
are not to be expected in this field, as it is impossible to cancel in a
conversation, even in a dramatic one of half an hour, a policy which has
been the result of other conditions and of another period of time.

I think that foreign policy should have as its supreme aim the
maintenance of peace. This is a fine ideal, especially after a war that
has lasted four years. Our policy, therefore, will not be that of the
Imperialists who seek the impossible, while, at the same time, it will
not necessarily rest upon the negative formula according to which one
should never have recourse to force. It is well to keep the possibility
of war in sight; it cannot be discarded _a priori_, because in that case
we should find ourselves disarmed with the other nations in arms. (Great

But I have no illusions, for, in accordance with my temperament, I
disdain all easy optimism. People who see things through rose-coloured
spectacles make me laugh; I often pity them. I think, however, I have
already succeeded in something, and in no small thing either, which will
have no small results. That is to say, I think I have succeeded in
making the Allies and other peoples of Europe, who had not yet attained
a true vision of Italy, see her as she really is. Not as something
vaguely prehistoric, not the Italy of monuments and libraries—all most
respectable things—but Italy as I see her born under my eyes, the Italy
of to-day, overflowing with vitality, prepared to give herself a new
lease of life, pregnant with serenity and beauty; an Italy which does
not live like a parasite on the past, but is prepared to build up her
own future with her own forces and through her own work and martyrdom.

This is the Italy which has now flashed, be it ever so vaguely, before
the eyes of the representatives of other nations, who henceforward must
be convinced, whether they wish it or not, that Italy does not intend to
follow in the wake of others, but intends to vindicate her rights with
dignity, and with no less dignity to protect her interests. (Approval.)

_God and the People._ I have been admonished in turn by all those who
have spoken in this hall. They have said to me: “The responsibility
which you take is enormously heavy.” Yes! I know it and I feel it.
Sometimes, intensified by a deep and vibrating expectancy, it almost
crushes me. At these times I have to gather all my force, to arm myself
with all my determination, in order to keep before me the interests and
the future of our country. Well I know that it is not my interests that
are at stake. Certainly, if I do not succeed I am a broken man. These
are not experiments that can be tried twice in a lifetime. But my person
is of little value. Not to succeed would not mean much to me personally,
but it would be infinitely serious for the nation. (Hear, hear!) I
intend to take the helm of the ship, and I do not intend to yield it to
anybody. But I shall not refuse to take on board all those who wish to
form my crew, all those who wish to work with me, who will give me
advice and suggestions, who will, in a word, give me their invaluable
and indispensable co-operation.

In the other Chamber I invoked the help of God. In this—and I hope my
words will not be taken as mere rhetoric—I shall invoke the Italian
people. In doing this I might feel that I was walking in the steps of
Mazzini, who made a union between God and the people. But if, as I hope
and earnestly desire, the people will be disciplined, laborious, and
proud of this their glorious country, I feel I shall not fail to arrive
at my goal! (Ovation; the Ministers and many Senators advance to
congratulate the orator.)


  Speech delivered in London, 12th December 1922, before the Fascisti.

Fascisti! You must feel that in this last month the Italian people have
raised themselves considerably in the eyes of all the other nations.
Everybody knows now that a new and vigorous Italy was born in those
historic days of October. Remember that the revolution was great, but
that it is not over, indeed that it has hardly begun. Hard tasks and
heavy responsibilities await us. I remain the head of Fascismo, although
the head of the Government. Beneath these official clothes, which I wear
as a duty, I shall keep the Fascista uniform, just as I wore it before
His Majesty when he summoned me to form a new Cabinet.

Fascista Italy, I assure you, is in very strong hands. All our enemies
know that every attempt at revolt will be inexorably crushed. The old
Italy is dead and will not come to life again. The men who gave their
lives in the war will prevent it; those who fell in the Fascista war, no
less sacred and necessary, will prevent it; the living will prevent it.
We, here and everywhere, are ready for any battle so that we may uphold
the foundations of our race and of our history. The time has come to
face serenely the sons of other nations. The era of renunciations and
obligations is past; the head of the Government tells you this. You
asked me to come here upon this occasion of the inauguration of the
London section of the Fascista Party. I present you with your banner;
keep it as you keep alive the flame of that faith for which so many fine
young men have died, keep it for the fortunes of Italy and Fascismo.


  Speech delivered 2nd January 1923, upon the occasion of the
  Ministerial Reception in Palazzo Chigi at Rome, in answer to the
  Hon. Teofilo Rossi, Minister of Industry and Commerce, who had
  concluded his address to the President by saying: “The victorious
  Greeks returning from Troy through the storm cried: ‘Nil desperandum
  Teucro duce et auspice Teucro.’ We in our turn will say: ‘_Nil
  desperandum_ while at the helm of the State there is a man like
  Benito Mussolini.’”

Dear Colleagues,—Let me first of all say how happy I am that we should
have met in these magnificent rooms which furnish evidence of the
strength and beauty of our race, and are also a testimony of our
victory, as, if I am not mistaken, these were the apartments of an
enemy’s Embassy.[12]

Footnote 12:

  Palazzo Chigi, at present Ministry for Foreign Affairs, formerly was
  the seat of the Austrian Embassy to the Quirinal.

I was very much touched by the words spoken just now by our colleague
Rossi. The nation as a whole is not deceived, and follows with brotherly
sympathy the work of our Government. It is aware of the difficulties we
have to overcome: difficulties which arise from the double work of
demolition and reconstruction which we have undertaken simultaneously.
The nation, little by little, is being restored to order. There are more
than ten thousand communes in Italy, and there is no reason to fear a
catastrophe because there is a quarrel, without any particular positive
importance, in one of them during the critical days of Saturday and

All this does preoccupy me, however, and I intend by every means
possible to get the nation back into a state of general discipline that
will be above all sects, factions and parties.

There was an Italian people who had not yet become a nation; the travail
of fifty years of history and, above all, the last war has made them a
nation. The task in history which awaits us is this: to make a State of
this nation, that is to say, a moral idea which is personified and
expressed in a system of individual, responsible hierarchies composed of
men who, from the first to the last, feel it a pride and a privilege to
fulfil their duty.

This work, seen from the standpoint of historical development, cannot be
completed in two months and probably not even in two years. But this is
the direction in which our Government is working, and every decision we
make and every act we achieve is guided by the necessity of establishing
one united State, which will be the only depositary of our history and
of the future and the strength of the Italian nation.

It is a difficult and arduous undertaking. But life would not be worth
living if we did not face these tasks, and if we had not the
satisfaction of having met them all the more serenely for their

No! I am certain that we shall not frustrate the legitimate hopes of the
Italian people. We can and we will adopt a policy of wisdom and severity
towards the people and towards ourselves. We must foster the ideals of
the nation, and deal relentlessly with the slightest manifestation of
lack of discipline.

I, too, should like to quote from the tales of ancient Greece. When the
Spartan mothers presented their departing sons with their shields, it
was with these words: “Either with this or on it.” Now I should like our
programme to be inspired by this idea, for with this programme, and with
this only, shall we win.

Through our efforts, our work and our suffering will rise that powerful,
prosperous and peaceful Italy of which we dream, which we long for and
desire to see! Long live Italy!


 Speech delivered at Rome, 15th January 1923, before the members of the

_The Prime Minister._ Honourable Colleagues,—The most important event of
these last few days in the international world has been the French
advance on the Ruhr. It is well to establish clearly the attitude of
Italy with regard to this advance, since, for political reasons and also
for reasons connected with the Stock Exchange, it has purposely not been
properly estimated.

It is necessary to go back to the Conference of Paris, and the rejection
of Bonar Law’s proposals on the part of Italy, France and Belgium, in
order to understand the line of conduct adopted by the Italian
Government. It is a fact that each one of the Powers in the Entente has
taken up an attitude of its own, due to its own particular conditions.
Without taking into consideration the Americans, who have withdrawn
their troops from the Rhine, this is the position of the Powers.

England has not joined with France, but has not decided, at any rate up
to the present, to recall her troops from German soil, nor has she
changed in her friendly attitude towards France, as was set forth by the
most recent communications from the Foreign Office.

France, interested in the problem of reparations, has, upon the basis of
the deliberations of the Commission appointed to enquire into this
question, sent into the Ruhr a Board of Control for the production of
coal and, later, troops for the purpose of protection.

Belgium has afforded France some military co-operation and undivided
political support.

Italy has only given political and technical support, sending her
engineers to the Ruhr. Our country could not isolate herself without
committing a very grave mistake. She could not exclude herself entirely
from any operation of control taking place in a region of coalfields,
and, therefore, of fundamental importance in European and Italian

As regards the project for a continental alliance directed against
England, such an idea simply does not exist. The Italian Government
never suggested such a thing, and, in any case, would never have been
able to consider the possibility of a continental union against England,
both on account of her importance in the economic life of the Continent
and of existing relations between Italy and that country.

It is true, on the contrary, that the Italian Government had advised
France to limit, as far as possible, the military character of the
advance in the Ruhr district, and not to reject all possibilities of
agreement in this burning question. But if this understanding, which
would give peace to Europe, were to be realised, it is the opinion of
Italy that it could not come about without the co-operation of England.
Italy, which has no coal, cannot afford the luxury of renunciations and
isolation, but it is as well to make it clear—because it is the
truth—that Italian policy upon this occasion, as upon all others, is
inspired by considerations of a general nature, as decided in the
Memorandum of London, for the protection of Italian interests and of
European economics generally. The Italian Government thinks that if
there is a possibility of agreement—and it works in this direction—it
would be a grave mistake on the part of Germany to refuse it.

It seems as if a _détente_ between the French command and some of the
industrial magnates of the Ruhr district has already taken place. As for
the mass of the workmen, it appears as if they do not intend to put
insuperable difficulties in the way of the work of control.

The payment of the quota for the 15th January is postponed until the end
of the month. There are, therefore, fifteen days of useful time,
sufficient to mend the situation. It does not seem improbable that the
French will support the Italian project presented at London upon the
subject of reparations.

As for the attitude of the Soviet Government, it appears to be very
circumspect, and has not changed from that previously manifested, though
only in words, towards the German proletariat.

From Lausanne comes satisfactory news. I have the pleasure of announcing
that, in some of the very delicate questions which seemed to be leading
to a rupture, such as that of minorities, if an agreement has been
reached, it has been due to the wise and level-headed work of the
Italian Delegation.

(Without discussion, the declarations of the Prime Minister are
unanimously approved.)

_The Great Fascista Council._ My colleagues in the Cabinet will
certainly have read with attention the deliberations of the Great
National Council of the Fascisti, and have noticed the importance of
their character.

It is an essentially political organisation, which, however, does not
encroach in any way upon the sphere of action of the Government,
represented by the Cabinet. In fact none of the legislative measures
passed or to be passed by the Cabinet were made the subject of
discussion by the Fascista Council. All its decisions are of a purely
political nature. Thus they have definitely settled the character of the
national militia. They have constituted the organisation which is to
establish relations between Fascisti and Nationalists, as well as those
between Fascismo and the other parties which loyally co-operate with the
Government and the organisations of employers already in existence
before the formation of the analogous Fascista groups.

Important also is the vote by which the associations of ex-soldiers
(including the disabled) who have entered the sphere of the State have
been asked to give men for the purposes of administration. The
declaration of loyal devotion to the Monarchy is both magnificent and
solemn, and dispels every little misunderstanding of interested dabblers
in politics on that score, for whom the warning that closed the
proceedings of the Great Council came opportunely—the warning, that is
to say, that the Government—note, the Government—will inexorably crush
every attempt at direct or indirect opposition to its authority.

The Great Fascista Council has also sent messages to the working people
of Italy, who are in the process of re-establishing active discipline
amongst themselves, and who accept the provisions of the Government,
even the hardest, because they are sure that they are inspired by purely
national necessity.

Thus the essentially historic function of the Great Fascista Council at
this moment is clearly outlined. The Council will support and safeguard
the action of the Government, and perform in the party and in the nation
the work of general political orientation which must serve as a base for
the work of the Government itself. (The Council of Ministers approves
the declarations of the Prime Minister.)

                        THE GOVERNMENT OF SPEED

 Speech delivered at Rome, 19th January 1923, at the headquarters of the
                         Motor Transport Company.

_Hon. Mussolini._ I warmly thank Commendatore De Cupis and all the
workmen—I was going to say my colleagues—for the warm welcome I have
received. If my minutes were not numbered, I should like, here in the
presence of the “controllers of the steering wheel,” to sing the praises
of speed, in this the epoch of speed. The times in which we live no
longer allow of a sedentary egoistical life; everything must be on the
go, everybody must raise the standard of his activity, both in the
offices and in the factories where the work is done—(Applause.)—and the
Government, which I have the honour to represent, is the Government of
speed, that is to say, we get rid of all that is stagnant in our
national life.

Formerly the bureaucracy dozed over deferred decisions, to-day it must
proceed with the maximum of rapidity. (Applause.) If we all go ahead
with this energy, good-will and cheerfulness we shall surmount the
crisis, which for that matter is already partly overcome.

I am pleased to see that Rome also is waking up and can offer us sights
such as these works. I maintain that Rome can become an industrial
centre. The Romans must be the first to disdain to live solely upon
their memories. The Coliseum and the Forum are glories of the past, but
we must build up the glories of to-day and of to-morrow. We belong to
the generation of builders who, by work and discipline, with hands and
brains, desire to reach the ultimate and longed-for goal, the greatness
of the future nation, which will be a nation of producers and not of


    Speech delivered at Rome, 23rd January 1923, before the Cabinet.

_The Prime Minister._ Honourable Colleagues,—Since the last meeting of
the Cabinet, the situation on the Ruhr has become more complicated, and
this also from the social point of view, as the result of the closing
down of the factories and the outbreak of strikes in the mines and
public services of the occupied zones.

In order to understand the attitudes of the different Powers and the
fact that these attitudes have not undergone any changes worthy of note,
it is necessary to summarise briefly the events of these last few days
of high tension, political and economic.

The period of time granted for the Moratorium having elapsed on 15th
January, France and Belgium have caused a Mission of Control to be sent
to the mines in the Ruhr district, escorted by protecting troops, and
have extended the area of territory occupied in the Ruhr district as far
as Dortmund. On 16th January the French Government gave notice that the
industrial magnates on the Ruhr had declared that they had received
orders from the German Government not to hand over any more coal. The
German Minister for Foreign Affairs himself communicated these
instructions to our Ambassador at Berlin.

France and Belgium were not, therefore, receiving any more coal, even
when payment was made in advance. In the face of the German resistance,
the French and Belgian troops have proceeded to requisition the coal
deposits at the pitheads, the factories and the railway stations, and
have also taken other serious steps of a political and military order.
Italian experts, sent only to take part in economic operations of
control, received orders to limit their co-operation to that which
concerned coercive measures of a political nature.

Such an attitude was clearly faced and decided in Paris. On the strength
of the decision made on 26th December by the Commission of Reparations,
which reported the failure of Germany, as regards Italy also, to supply
wood, France and Belgium decided to proceed to the exploitation of the
Crown and Communal forests in the Rhine territory. Germany had, besides,
made it known that coal supplies and cattle would be refused to France
and Belgium, by way both of reparation and restitution.

The Commission of Reparations in its decision of 16th January verified
this intentional failure on the part of Germany from the 12th January,
and notified it to the Government. As a result of this, France and
Belgium decided to take possession of the west customs frontier of
Germany in the occupied zone. The Italian Government took over control
of the customs and also of the forests, this being included among the
measures which the Italian Memorandum had reserved as a security in the
case of the concession of the Moratorium; but it asked the French
Government what was going to be the extent to which the action was to be
carried. The French Government replied that the occupation of the Ruhr
was not of a military character, but was for the protection of French
technical bodies, which were very numerous in the occupied area. The
Italian Delegate, who was already on the High Commission of the Rhine,
which directs the exploitation and also the control of the mines, has
received orders to take part in those deliberations which have an
economic and financial character, and to abstain from attending those
which are political.

As I said before, the attitudes of the Great Powers have not altered to
any great extent. England seems officially uninterested in what happens
on the Ruhr, but this has not prevented the English Representative on
the Rhine High Commission from declaring in the name of his Government
that he will be present at the deliberations, abstaining from recording
his vote when he thinks it best; but he adds, also, that his Government
will not oppose the carrying out of the provisions in the zone occupied
by the English troops which still remain on the Rhine. As you see, it is
not England’s intention to accentuate the difference between her policy
and that which is, at present, adopted by France.

Mediation on the part of Italy was spoken of, which might have led later
to a direct Anglo-Italian intervention, both at Berlin and Paris. An
offer of real mediation does not exist, and could not be made without
the certainty that it would be accepted with a certain favour. It would
be a grave mistake to expose Italian policy to a failure of this sort.
It is a fact that the Italian Government did warn the Germans of the
danger of the blind-alley situation in which she has voluntarily placed
herself, and in which she seems determined to stay. She also called the
attention of France, in a friendly manner, to the complications, not
only economic but also political and social, which might arise from the
occupation of the Ruhr.

_The Work of the Italian Government._ Matters standing thus, the Italian
Government cannot at present change its attitude, because no step it
took now would alter the general situation or exercise a preponderating
influence in the decisions of the Governments most involved. The opinion
of the Italian Government is that the situation on the Ruhr has not yet
reached the stage at which a solution must necessarily be found, and
only when that moment arrives will it be able, perhaps, to have an
influence on the situation itself.

As for the Moratorium which President Poincaré has decided to propose to
the Germans, in view of the fast approaching date of payment, 31st
January, it is worthy of note that it will include some of the points
made in the Italian Memorandum of London, namely the two years’
Moratorium and the German internal loan.

As far as America is concerned, having once withdrawn her troops from
the Rhine, she has not altered her policy of neutral inactivity.

One understands that the events in the Ruhr district have caused a
general uneasiness over the whole of Europe, especially in the countries
which form the Little Entente. Rumours which spoke of mobilisation and
the concentration of troops upon some of the frontiers have proved
unfounded and exaggerated. As regards Russia, beyond reports of certain
political activities on the part of the Third International, carried on
with a view to taking advantage socially of the events on the Ruhr,
there is no definite news of serious preparations for military
intervention on a large scale. At Lausanne, the reaction of the
situation on the Ruhr is being felt, and is arousing an increased
intransigence on the part of Turkey.

To sum up: The policy of Italy must be inspired first of all by the
defence of her own interests, though, at the same time, due note must be
taken of considerations and needs of a general order. It is a question
whether, by a more exact valuation of the conditions put forward in the
Italian Memorandum of London, the grave complications which exist to-day
would not have been avoided. At any rate the Italian Government will
take careful and speedy measures to avoid any further difficulties and
re-establish as soon as possible a release of tension throughout Europe,
which might make it possible to face the problem of reparations and
debts under other conditions.

(The Cabinet at the end express entire approval of the line of foreign
policy adopted by the Prime Minister.)


    Speech delivered at Rome, 1st February 1923, before the Cabinet.

_The Prime Minister._ With reference to foreign affairs, the situation,
as far as Italy is concerned, cannot be said to have altered much in the
interval which has elapsed between the last Cabinet meeting and to-day.

The German resistance on economic grounds has provoked aggravation of
the measures—both military and political—which are being taken by France
and Belgium, but from which Italy, following her previous line of
conduct, has kept apart.

The complications which were—or could have been—feared, so far have not
occurred. Fresh factors have not entered into the close duel which is
being fought on the Ruhr. Russia has not altered her attitude as a
State, although the dominating party continues to give clamorous verbal
demonstrations of solidarity with the German proletariat.

The serious disquietude which had been manifested by the Powers of the
Little Entente is diminishing. There had been rumours—more or less
without foundation and spread, perhaps, with the object of producing
complications—of plans for repeating in Hungary what France had done on
the Ruhr, which were attributed to one State or another. These have
given Italy the opportunity of confirming and clearly establishing her
attitude of opposition to any movement which could extend the conflict
to other zones or give the opportunity of attacking the validity of the
treaties of peace already concluded.

The Italian Government has been and is following attentively the coal
situation on the Ruhr, above all as regards its reaction on other
events. I can say that all internal measures, reduction of the train
services, including those from abroad, and contracts for fresh supplies,
have been quickly and diligently carried through, because, whatever may
happen, no paralysis of our industrial activity or of our communications
must result. In connection with the supplies of raw materials, I have
the pleasure to announce to the Cabinet that the Italian Government has
succeeded in concluding a favourable agreement with the Polish
Government for oil.

As I said last time, the events on the Ruhr have had the most serious
consequences in the developments at the Conference of Lausanne, which
has now arrived at its last stage. The Italian Delegation has carried
out successful work there with the object of obtaining peace in the

The Italian Government has not been among the last to recognise the
legitimate rights of Turkey, and thinks to-day that it would not be in
her interests to entrench herself in a position of absolute
intransigence. It may be that Turkey has not realised the extensive
programme that was laid down by the Grand National Assembly of Angora,
but it cannot be denied that a great part of that programme has been put
into execution, since the Turks from Angora have returned not only to
Smyrna but to Constantinople and Adrianople, and have got their way, it
can be said, in questions of the highest importance, such as that of the
domination of the Straits and that of Capitulations.

Taken as a whole, although the general situation continues to be very
critical, there seems to be a small ray of light upon the horizon. The
action of the Italian Government is directed decidedly towards a policy
of general peace.

As regards the question of Memel, the Italian Government has pursued a
temperate policy, inspired by principles of equity and justice. It is
not possible to do less than recognise the rights of Lithuania over that
port, but the Lithuanian Government cannot be allowed to substitute
itself for the Allied Powers in deciding its fate.

We, then, have remained in an attitude of solidarity with the Allies in
the measures taken for facing the situation there. But we have, on the
other hand, tried effectively to reduce those measures to the necessary
minimum, avoiding those of such a nature as to provoke further


           Chamber of Deputies. Sitting of 6th February 1923.

_The Prime Minister._ Honourable Members,—I do not think that it is
worth while losing time in a general discussion upon the qualities of
men, good and bad, and upon the question as to whether the war of 1914
will be the last or the one before the last. That would be perfectly
idle and would only lead to academic discussions. Let us, instead, turn
our attention more practically to the Project of Law which I have

The Convention of Washington was closed a year ago. Now the delay in the
ratification of the treaty on the part of Italy has already had
ambiguous and, I should almost say, unfavourable consequences in the
international world. It will be a good thing, then, to proceed at once
to complete this act.

The Conference at Washington shared the fate of all the conferences. It
opened with great hopes, flashing before our eyes the possibility of
eternal peace. Then the concrete results frustrated these hopes. I
confess that I do not believe in perpetual and universal peace. In the
life of the peoples, notwithstanding ideals—noble and worthy of
respect—there exist the permanent factors of race, and the greatness and
decadence of nations, which lead to differences often only settled by a
recourse to arms. Now it is not a case of weighing these conventions
with a view to peace; they represent a breath, a pause, and it is
useless to enquire if they have been laid down for idealistic or for
business reasons. In any case I declare that Italy did well to adhere to
this Convention. If she had not done so, we should have appeared in the
eyes of the world as Imperialists and jingoists, which is far from what
we have in our hearts and minds. The fact that the Government asks the
Chamber for this ratification gives an idea of the general trend of the
Fascista foreign policy. (Applause.)

(The ratification of the Treaty is approved of without discussion, only
the Communists being against it.)


The National Government, which has worked indefatigably for three months
to set the country going upon the path to better fortunes, has in these
days signed the Convention for the laying of cables which are to put our
country into communication with you, who represent it in the numerous,
rich and patriotic colonies beyond the Atlantic.

The enthusiasm for this work, so necessary to our life as a great
nation, seemed at one time to have died down, but to-day with the rise
of youth upon the scenes of Italian politics, that which it seemed would
be relegated to some remote future has been transformed into a concrete
and almost immediate reality. It is not you, who suffer almost more than
any the pangs of homesickness for our adored country, who need to be
shown the usefulness and necessity of this undertaking, which will be
carried through in the shortest space of time possible. It will render
frequent, daily and, above all, free the communications between the
forty million Italians who live in our beautiful peninsula and the six
millions who live beyond the ocean. All the Italians who can give
financial and moral support must co-operate so that the undertaking may
succeed. The Italian Government does not appeal in vain to its emigrant
citizens, because it knows that distance makes the love of their country
stronger and more intense.

The cables, which in two or three years will bind together Italy and the
Americas across the boundless ocean, are like a gigantic arm which the
country stretches out to her distant sons to draw them to her and to
make them share more intimately her griefs and her joys, her work, her
greatness and her glory.


  ROME, _6th February 1923_.


   Prefatory remarks to the Deputies, 8th February 1923, accompanying
    the Project of Law presented by the Hon. Mussolini, Minister for
                  Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister.

_The Prime Minister._ Honourable Members,—Last November I began my
statement to Parliament of the programme of the National Government as
regards foreign policy with the following words:

“The fundamental principle upon which our foreign policy is based is
that treaties of peace, once signed and ratified, must be carried out
whether they are good or bad. A self-respecting nation cannot follow
another course. Treaties are not eternal or irreparable; they are
chapters and not epilogues in history; to put them into practice means
to try them. If in the course of execution they are proved to be absurd,
this in itself may constitute the new element which may open the
possibility of a further examination of the respective positions.”

The preceding Government had undertaken to present to Parliament the
Agreements concluded at Santa Margherita, and signed at Rome on the 23rd
October last. This undertaking I now fulfil.

These Agreements, contrary to what has been stated by someone, do not
contain any new political pledges on the part of Italy, but regulate the
relations between the Commune of Zara and the surrounding territory of
Dalmatia, make clear some recognised rights on the part of citizens who
are Italian by option, and endeavour, by means of friendly agreements,
to find a possibility of giving and assuring a peaceful and industrious
life to the troubled city of Fiume.

Owing to the way in which it is drawn up—whether on account of its
diffuseness in those clauses which touch upon territorial questions, and
its brevity in others, or whether on account of the seeming precedence
given to the task of the commissions which ought, according to the
letter of the treaty itself, to proceed exclusively to the settlement of
territorial questions, while for the commissions to which were entrusted
the settlement of other questions, limits were established, _a priori_,
of a certain amplitude (Art. VI.)—the Treaty of Rapallo has given
Yugoslavia the opportunity of maintaining that it was necessary first to
effect the evacuation of the territories over which the sovereignty of
the Serbo-Croat-Slovak Kingdom had been recognised, and then of
proceeding to the stipulations of the agreements for the regulation of
the new relations between the two countries.

They tried to justify this with arguments of a political nature. That is
to say, they saw, in the first place, that the opposition met with in
various Italian political spheres to the transactions concluded at
Rapallo had stirred up the discontent and opposition of the Yugoslavs to
the treaty; secondly, that the suspended execution of the Territorial
Clauses, evidently attributed to some Italian parties, had given the
impression to the Yugoslavs that Italy did not want to proceed to the
carrying out of the treaty; thirdly, that, in consequence, the
parliamentary opposition to a policy of friendliness towards Italy had
become very marked, and rendered extremely difficult the adoption of
direct provisions for the favourable regulation of these relations; and
lastly, that if, instead, the prearranged course had been followed—that
of proceeding, say, first to the evacuation of the territories—a radical
change of position would have been realised, which would have allowed of
the conclusion of more favourable agreements.

In Italy, on the other hand, the discontent was increased by an idea,
entertained by many, that the new State, which had also arisen as the
result of Italy’s victorious war, ought to give to the citizens, and in
Italian interests, privileges no less great than those granted by the
Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, not taking into account that a national
State, newly formed, may have particular exigencies and
susceptibilities. The contrast of such opposite tendencies ended by
creating in the relations between the two countries an atmosphere of
uneasiness, which has at times reached an acute stage. And in Italy, the
intransigence of some circles found justification, above all, in the
weakness of the Governments, inasmuch as they had ground for fearing
that all our rights would be trodden underfoot the moment we no longer
had tangible securities in our hands. By the Agreements which are now
handed to us, the Government of Belgrade has recognised the necessity of
determining the régime which will have to regulate the reciprocal
relations of the new boundaries before passing to the definite execution
of the Territorial Clauses.

As for the substance of the Agreements, it is my conviction that their
greater or less efficacy will depend upon the spirit in which they are
carried out, because never, perhaps, has it been so true, as in this
case, that the most perfect pacts become empty formulas if a doubtful or
hostile spirit is brought to their execution.

I observe, in conclusion, that the uncertainty which has been manifested
in the foreign policy of Italy as regards the Treaty of Rapallo has
created a situation unfavourable to her, often preventing her from
taking a decided attitude, which would have been in her interest, in
most essential questions of a general nature, and making her appear in a
light contradictory to her position as a Great Power.

My intense, though brief, experience of Government has shown me that it
is not possible to carry out a strong foreign policy without having
decisive and clearly defined attitudes as regards the other States.

Italy must get away from this weak situation, must regain her full
liberty and efficiency of action also in this sphere. We shall,
therefore, carry out the treaty resolutely and loyally, exacting its
scrupulous observance. We shall watch over this as is our right and
duty. And we wait for time to pass definite judgment upon the soundness
and the fate of to-day’s Conventions.

With this understanding, I ask you, Honourable Members, to approve of
the following Project of Law:

“Full and entire execution is given to the Agreements and Conventions
signed at Rome on 23rd October 1921, between the Kingdom of Italy and
the Kingdom of the Serbs, the Croats and the Slovenes for the execution
of the Treaty of Rapallo of 12th November 1920.”


          Chamber of Deputies. Sitting of 10th February 1923.

_The Prime Minister._ Honourable Members,—With the approval of the
Agreements of Santa Margherita, there came to an end what might be
called “the Foreign Policy week” of the Italian Government; a week that
might also be called pacific, since it began with the ratification of
the Convention of Washington, which represents a pause in the great
naval armament, and ends with the approval of the Agreements of Santa
Margherita, which are the consequence of the Treaty of Rapallo already
ratified and partly carried out.

In closing this week of the life of Parliament, I realise that the
Chamber has done good work, and that it has during this session
undoubtedly raised, in some ways, its prestige in the country.
(Comments.) The questions with which the Chamber has dealt are large;
they are not concerned with treaties and bills of minor importance, as
some have said.

I refuse to embark, as was attempted on the Left, upon the usual
discussions of a general character which do not conclude anything. While
I am on this bench, the Chamber will not be changed into an electoral

_No Discussion._ There is nothing to discuss as regards home policy;
that which happens, happens because it is my direct and clear desire and
in accordance with my precise orders, and for which I naturally assume
full personal responsibility. (Comments.)

It is useless, therefore, to go to the police officials, because the
orders are mine. It does not affect me to know of the existence of a
plot, in the sense usually attributed to that word; this will be settled
by competent authorities. But there are those who thought that they
would fight with impunity against the State and Fascismo. By now they
must be disillusioned; and they will be more so in the future. The
difference between the Liberal and Fascista States consists precisely in
this: that the Fascista State does not defend itself only, but attacks,
and those who intend to slander it abroad and to undermine its authority
at home must be warned that their manœuvres bring with them unforeseen
consequences. The enemies of the Fascisti must not be surprised if I
treat them severely as enemies.

As regards the speech of Filippo Turati, my old fighting scent did not
deceive me when a few days ago I refused the advances which came to me
from that quarter through Gregorio Nofri, who, having been in Russia,
felt the overpowering necessity of becoming anti-Bolshevist. Strayed
sheep do not enter my fold. I am still faithful to my old tactics. I do
not seek anybody. I do not refuse anybody. I put faith above all in my
own forces. This is why, lately—after the meeting of the Great Fascista
Council—I desired that there should be a closer union with those parties
with which, fighting on national ground, friendly relations can be
established for common work. But all this, let it be said at once, has
not been done for parliamentary purposes, but for the sake of cohesion,
unity and the pacification of the country.

I agree wholly with that which the Hon. Cavazzoni said yesterday with
regard to the eight-hour day. I declared, before a meeting of eight
hundred printers, that the eight-hour day represents an inviolable
conquest on the part of the working classes. To-day there are those who
dream of setting on foot a long discussion because opposing ideas are
attributed to this and that member of the Cabinet. I give definite
notice that the Government, in one of its forthcoming meetings, will
decide once and for all the question of the eight-hour day. This having
been said, and I hope that everybody will understand also the sense of
all I have not said, I pass on to the subject of foreign policy.

_A Circumspect Policy of Activity._ In the meantime, I cannot accept the
statement of the Hon. Lucci, who makes out that I am original. In the
first place, he must give me time. In the second, there is no
originality in foreign affairs, and I refuse to be original, if this
originality would result in the slightest damage to my country.
(Applause.) And I cannot accept, either, his too idealistic point of
view. I see the world as it really is, that is to say, a world of
unbounded egoism. If the world was Arcadia, it would be pleasant to
amuse oneself with nymphs and shepherds; but I do not see anything of
all this, and even when the more or less respectable standards of great
principles are displayed, I see behind them interests which seek for a
footing in the world. If all foreign policy were brought into the region
of pure idealism, it would certainly not be Italy who would refuse to
join in. But it is not so; hence all that the Hon. Lucci says belongs to
the music of the most distant spheres. (Laughter.)

When I first took up my position on this bench, there was a moment of
trepidation in certain sections of international politics. It was
thought that the advent to power of Fascismo would mean, at the very
least, war with Yugoslavia. After a few months, international opinion is
fully reassured. The foreign policy of Fascismo cannot be, especially in
these historic times, other than extremely circumspect, though at the
same time very active.

The nation, having issued from the splendid and blood-stained travail of
the war, is now fully intent on the work of building up its political,
economic, financial and moral life. To compel it to make an effort which
was not absolutely necessary, would be to follow an anti-national and
suicidal policy. At London, as at Lausanne, Italian foreign policy has
pursued this direction; at Lausanne, above all, the work of the Italian
Delegation has been highly appreciated. If peace was not concluded
there, it was not the fault, in any way, of Italy.

On the other hand, it is not good to speak too pessimistically of the
development of affairs in the Eastern Mediterranean. It must not be
thought that a certain harmless showing of teeth, sometimes the result
of reciprocal restlessness, means the beginning of a war. I think that
if Greece is prudent and the Entente remains firmly united—as in the
case of their ships in the port of Smyrna—that Turkey too, since she has
realised a large part of the programme laid down at Angora, will become
reasonable. There is no reason, therefore, to fear military
complications in Europe. Still Italy will keep a careful look-out that
the disturbances resulting upon the events in the Ruhr district shall
not have serious consequences among the countries of the Danube basin.

The situation on the Ruhr is stationary. I declare once again that Italy
could not have followed a different line of policy. The time for fine
gestures is past, as they are useless. The attitude which was advocated
by certain elements on the Left would have been equally useless. We
could not have prevented the French from marching on the Ruhr, and we
might have encouraged the German resistance. Also the other plan of our
mediation could not have been carried out, because no mediation of any
kind is possible if it is not asked for and welcomed. (Applause.)
Besides, England has limited herself to non-technical participation in
the operations on the Ruhr, but has not pushed her difference of opinion
with France to the point of withdrawing her troops from the Rhine. It is
opportune to add that France has not asked us, up to now, for formal and
concrete assistance. Should this happen, it is evident that Italy should
reserve to herself the right of exposing all the complex system of the
relations between the two countries. (Loud applause.)

_The Last Phase of the Adriatic Drama._ As to the Agreements of Santa
Margherita, of which the Chamber is asked to approve, they represent the
last phase of our sad and lamentable Adriatic drama. I could here reply
in detail, I could show the Hon. Chiesa, for example, how only
yesterday, 9th February, I received a telegram from Belgrade to this
effect: “The Ministry of Yugoslavia communicates that orders have been
sent to the authorities of Spalato that the premises of the school shall
be evacuated and put at the disposal of the school itself, and that the
house which adjoins the Church of Santo Spirito shall be emptied and
handed over.” I could correct other inaccuracies, but it is not my
business, it is not worth while to descend to the discussion of detail.
I am always of the opinion that this Convention must be carried out in
order to test it. At the same time, I do not feel like defending, at too
great a length, a treaty of which I did not approve when it was
concluded, and which I still hold to be, as regards a great many of its
clauses, absurd and harmful to Italian interests. But matters, to-day,
stand thus: either the treaty must be definitely enforced or denounced.
Since, in present conditions, it cannot be denounced, for that would
mean the reopening of all difficulties, there remains nothing but its
loyal and scrupulous application on our part, as loyal and scrupulous as
the application on the part of Belgrade will have to be. (Applause.)

To wait indefinitely for events which may occur is the worst of systems
at this moment. It is necessary to put an end to a situation which has
become unbearable and which gave us all the disadvantages without
assuring us of what might be the advantages of clearly defined
relations. Moreover it is difficult to understand why the Treaty of
Rapallo, of all the treaties which have been made from the beginning of
history, should be the only one irreparable and perpetual. No treaty has
ever withstood new conditions of affairs developed by the progress of
time. The essential thing, to my mind, is to place ourselves in such a
position that an eventual revision will enable us to vindicate our
eternal rights with dignity and power. (Applause.)

_The Government in favour of Fiume and Zara._ By the application of the
Agreements of Santa Margherita the Fascista Government gives a solemn
proof of its probity, its spirit of decision and of absolute loyalty.
Belgrade must do the same. Yugoslavia must take into account the
intrinsic value of this act, and follow, where the Italians who remain
in Dalmatia are concerned, a policy of freedom and judicious action; as
a policy which would tend to suppress the Italian element in Dalmatia
would not be tolerated by the Fascista Government. (Applause.) By the
ratification of these Agreements the Government offers Yugoslavia the
opportunity of furthering the economic relations between the two

The Government, which has already done all it can, within the limits of
its possibilities, for Fiume and Zara, will continue to work with the
utmost energy and diligence for these two cities. The evacuation of
Susak having been carried out—and of Susak only, because the Delta and
Porto Baros will still be occupied by our troops until Fiume has become
juridically a perfect State—Italy will continue to interest herself in
the fate of Fiume, so that she may be restored in a short time to her
ancient splendour.

As for Zara, her destiny is serious and difficult, and I, for one,
understand the tragedy of that city and the suffering of all the
Italians scattered in Dalmatia up as far as Cattaro. But Zara, the
sentinel of Dalmatia, is ready to bear, with the spirit of absolute
national discipline, the completion of the last act of the Adriatic

The Government will meet its needs immediately, because Zara must live,
because Zara beyond the Adriatic represents one of the most vital
portions of the Italian people. And the people of Zara and Dalmatia may
be sure that the Government will watch over their fate with the most
loving care. These are not merely words spoken to help them through this
difficult time; deeds will follow them.

As for public, national opinion, it is unanimous in feeling that these
Agreements had to be applied in order that Italy might be free in the
ever closer international competition, free to carry out a policy of
defence of her interests and free to influence with increasing activity
the course of events. I think that the best part of the Italian people
agree in this line of home and foreign policy. (Applause.)


               Sitting of the Senate, 16th February 1923.

_The Prime Minister._ Honourable Senators,—After having written the
prefaces and the introductions to the Bills, and after the speech made
in the other branch of Parliament, I do not think that there remains
much to say.

The very rapidity of the discussion itself bears witness to the fact
that all these treaties and agreements are already, in a certain sense,
superseded. By this I do not wish to deny their importance, but it is a
question of treaties and conventions of some time back, and life to-day
moves at a very great rate. I do not disguise the fact that in
continuing the eternal theory of conferences, people have reason to show
a certain scepticism about the likelihood of results. (Laughter.)

_Why Italy intervenes._ Senator Crespi tried to carry the discussion
on to general ground—the burning ground of debts and reparations. He
demands new pacts; but there are none. Perhaps there cannot be any.
With reference to a recent appeal for Italy’s intervention in this
matter, if responsible members of Governments, and especially those
engaged or interested in the conflict, turned to Italy, the only
nation in the world which, at this moment, is following a policy of
peace—(Applause.)—I should not hesitate one moment in answering the

There is a new factor, Senator Crespi, which it would be a good thing to
take into consideration, though it is one which tends to stifle rather
than arouse enthusiasm. It is that England and the United States have
come to an agreement. England has undertaken to pay her debts to
America. It is no good, therefore, for us to entertain too many
illusions about the likelihood of a cancellation of our debts. It would
be perfectly just, I think, from the strictly moral point of view; but
the criteria and principles of absolute morality do not as yet guide the
relations of the peoples. (Approval.)

It was said in a foreign Parliament that Italy had attempted to mediate
between France and Germany. No such attempt was ever made. My duty was
to make investigations in the European capitals, and I have done so. But
having gathered that there was no possibility of proceeding in that
direction, I drew back, as to continue would have been a great mistake.
I think, however, that the crisis has reached its culminating point. It
is a question now of knowing whether the Entente still exists and still
will exist. (Comments.)

I do not think that I shall be revealing secrets if I say here what
meets the eye of anyone who reads the daily news in the papers. Not a
single event has occurred, not a single question arisen, without the
problem of the unity of action of the Entente having been brought
forward. Of necessity in this political situation there can be no
improvised action and still less originality. All foreign policies, not
excluding that of Russia, which is simply terrifying in form and method,
are of a cautious and circumspect nature at this moment. There is no
reason why Italy should follow a different course. When it is a question
of the interests of our nation and of forty million inhabitants who have
the right to live, it is necessary to be careful about improvisations,
and it is necessary to take into account that, besides our wishes, there
are also the wishes of others.

If we had coalfields; if we had in some way solved the problem of raw
materials; if we could dispose of large reserves of gold in order to
keep up the value of our money, we could follow a given policy, even one
of generosity towards Germany. But we cannot afford the luxury of
prodigality and generosity when we have to toil to carry on life, when
we have to summon all our energies to avoid falling into the abyss.

And so you will agree with me, Honourable Members, that Italy could not
keep aloof from that which is taking place on the Ruhr, could not
deprive herself of participation in an economical and technical
capacity. It is always better, in my opinion, to be present, because
sometimes complicated problems find unexpected solutions. It was not
possible to run the risk capriciously of not being present, in the
event—not at all improbable—of an economic agreement, as regards iron
and coal, between Germany and France. (Applause.)

_Zara and Dalmatia._ Coming to the Agreements of Santa Margherita, I
understand perfectly the grief and anguish expressed in the words of
Senators Tamassia and Tivaroni. Undoubtedly sentiment is a great
spiritual force, both in the lives of individuals and of peoples, but it
cannot be the one dominating influence of foreign policy.

It is necessary to have the courage to say that Italy cannot remain for
ever penned up in one sea, even if it is the Adriatic. Beyond the
Adriatic there is the Mediterranean and other seas which can interest
us. The Treaty of Rapallo was, in my opinion, a lamentable transaction,
which was the result of a difficult internal situation and of a foreign
policy which was not marked by its excessive autonomy. And here allow me
to repeat that a strong and dignified foreign policy cannot be carried
out if the nation does not present a daily example of iron discipline.
(Approval.) I do not think that these Agreements of Santa Margherita
sign the death warrant of Zara and Dalmatia. With the last concessions
we have saved the use of the Italian language for our brothers there.
Now I think it was Gioberti who said that where the language is spoken
there is the nation. For this reason, if these brothers of ours can
speak, write and learn in their mother tongue, I think that already one
of the foundations of their Italian nationality is saved.

For a decade the Italians of Zara and Dalmatia have resisted the furious
attempts at denationalisation made by the Hapsburg Monarchy. In those
days Italy could not give active assistance to those brothers; now you
see that she has another realisation of herself. Those brothers of ours,
who might have felt themselves forgotten if the Agreements of Santa
Margherita were applied by another nation, cannot feel the same when the
definite and necessary application of the Treaty of Rapallo is carried
out by the Government over which I have the honour of presiding and of
which the members are those who won the victory. (Applause.) We firmly
believe that the strict and scrupulous application of the Agreements of
Santa Margherita on our part, as well as on the part of Yugoslavia, will
save the Italian character of Zara and Dalmatia. There is no need for me
to repeat that treaties are transactions, and are like the steps of an
equilibrist. No treaty is eternal and perpetual; all that is happening
to-day under our eyes gives us clear warning.

_The Question of Fiume._ We shall then carry out these Agreements
immediately and loyally. It must not be thought that the Third Zone is a
kind of vast continent, and that in it we have immense forces. It is a
question of the territory round Zara and a group of islands; all told,
we have only 120 policemen, 18 custom-house guards, and 20 soldiers. At
Susak we have a battalion of infantry. It will be a case of turning them
back to the line of Eneo, because until it is known what is to become of
Fiume, Porto Baros and the Delta, they will remain under the control of
Italian troops. (Applause.) What is this Arbitration Commission? It
represents an attempt to bring about the existence of that more or less
vital creature, first conceived at Rapallo, known as the Independent
State of Fiume. (Laughter.) One thing is certain, at any rate, and that
is that there are three Italians on the Commission. And another thing is
certain, and that is that it is not absolutely necessary for Fiume to
become a new province of the realm. That there should actually be a
prefect at Fiume is to me a secondary matter; the important thing is
that Fiume shall keep her spirit sound and intact, that she shall remain
Italian, and that such means shall be found that shall make her a city
which lives in itself and for itself and not only through the largess of
the Italian State. (Loud applause.)

The Government, which sometimes makes deeds precede words, has already
taken steps for the provision of Zara, economically, politically and
spiritually. The same has been done for Dalmatia. It is necessary to
admit frankly that since the coming of the Fascista Government the
Yugoslavs have been less intransigent with regard to us. There is no
doubt that the definite carrying out of the Treaty of Rapallo is the
cause of great grief to the citizens of Fiume and Zara, of Dalmatia and
many in the old kingdom.

(Cries of “It is true.”)

_Mussolini._ At other times there might perhaps have been difficulties.
But the Government over which I have the honour of presiding does not
hesitate; it faces difficulties, I was almost going to say seeks them. I
intend to regulate as soon as possible all that more or less successful
heritage of foreign policy left me by my predecessors. It is no good
being alarmed by what happens. I have what I dare to call a Roman
conception of history and life. Things must never be thought to be
irreparable. Rome did not believe in the irreparable, even after the
battle of Cannæ, when she lost the flower of her generation. On the
contrary, you will remember that the Senate went out to meet Terentius
Varro, who, having wished to undertake the battle against the advice of
Paulus Æmilius, was certainly one of those responsible for the defeat.
Rome fell, and rose up again; she marched slowly, but she marched; she
had a goal to reach, and she intended to reach it. Italy, our Italy, the
Italy which we carry in our hearts, and which is our pride, must be like
this; the Italy which accepts her destiny when it is imposed, by hard
necessity, but only while she prepares her spirit and her forces to
overcome it some day. (Loud and prolonged applause, many Senators
advance to congratulate the Prime Minister. Silence being once more
established, Mussolini continues.)

I propose that the Senate, having concluded the discussion suspended
yesterday evening, should be adjourned. I do not know for how long. The
Government must be left free to work and to prepare work for the Chamber
and the Senate.

Meanwhile, I feel the necessity of thanking the President, who has
directed the proceedings with that tact and high wisdom for which he is
known. I am glad that the Senate, in approving of these political and
commercial treaties—which are two aspects of the same policy—has thus
brought to a conclusion a part of our foreign policy. I beg the
President to accept the expression of my profound admiration.

_Tittoni, President of the Senate_, replies, reciprocating the words of
the Prime Minister and praising his spirit and his patriotic faith. He
pays tribute to the way in which the Hon. Mussolini has assumed, with a
firm hand, the direction of public interests.


          Speech delivered before the Cabinet, 2nd March 1923.

_The Prime Minister._ Honourable Colleagues,—The situation on the Ruhr
has remained stationary during these last weeks. While the two
disputants seem to settle themselves more rigidly in their respective
positions of passive resistance on the part of Germany and active
pressure on the part of Belgium and France, England has not changed her
attitude of benign disapproval and Italy has neither increased nor
reduced the number of technical experts representing her on the Ruhr. So
far there has not arisen the new factor which would lead, in one sense
or the other, to the solution of the crisis. This new factor could
consist either in a direct proposal made by one disputant to the other,
or in a request for mediation, or in the modification, on a political
basis, of the aims which France says she has in view—aims of an economic
nature, which so far have not gone beyond the limit of the payment of
reparations—or else in an increase of the opposition of England which
would lead to the withdrawal of her troops from the Rhine.

It seems, however, clear—notwithstanding the solicitations of an element
of the advanced democracy—that England maintains her attitude of
circumspect waiting, without impatience or precipitation. The war, which
at the present moment has for its theatre the basin of the Ruhr, is one
of attrition, and it may yet last for some time, in spite of the general
expectation all over Europe of a rapid conclusion. As I have already
said both in the Senate and the Chamber, Italy will not refuse her
assistance in any attempt that may be made to render normal the
situation in Central Europe as soon as possible, and of this she has
given tangible proof in the help afforded, before any other country, to
Austria. The solidarity which Italy was bound to show towards France
upon the common ground of reparations, has given rise to projects of
greater importance, which might have been interpreted in certain circles
as having been directed against other Powers or to the exclusion of some
one of them. An official declaration on the part of the Government has
established the truth of the matter. The campaign in certain papers has
not been approved of and still less authorised. That it is very
opportune that friendly and cordial relations should exist between Italy
and France is the sincere conviction of my Government. It is very much
to be desired that the economic relations between these two neighbouring
countries shall be intensified and strengthened, and the Government has
worked in this direction in concluding the recent commercial agreement.
But this has nothing to do with a real treaty of alliance, as has been
suggested in certain sections of public opinion. The Fascista Government
intends on the whole to follow a line of foreign policy as far as
possible autonomous, and it could never adhere to alliances which did
not protect the interests of Italy in the highest degree and which did
not constitute a solid guarantee of peace and prosperity for Italy in
particular and Europe in general.

Fascista Italy cannot and will not adhere to a system of alliances which
does not take into account these fundamental premises. For her to pledge
herself in any way definitely while the Entente is still in a state of
crisis, and there are still many obscure points in the general situation
in the world, would be unpardonable.

_Turkey and Peace._ No reliable news has hitherto reached us as to the
intentions of the Government at Angora concerning the acceptance or
non-acceptance of the projected treaty presented by the Allies to the
Turkish Delegation at Lausanne. Information is contradictory, because,
whereas on the one hand it is said that, in spite of the moderating
influence of Mustapha Kemal and Ismet Pasha, the Assembly of Angora has
shown itself adverse to some of the conditions already accepted by the
Turkish Delegation at Lausanne and intends to re-discuss the projects of
the treaty, article by article; on the other hand, especially from
British quarters, it is continually said that the Turks seem favourably
disposed towards the rapid conclusion of peace.

Whatever may be the decision of the Government at Angora, it must be
remembered that, once the deliberations of the Assembly are at an end,
the Turks will, by means of the Secretary-General of the Conference, who
remains for the present at Lausanne, give a definite reply to the Allies
concerning eventual requests and proposals.

Between the Governments at Rome, London and Paris there is in
consequence an active diplomatic correspondence in progress with the
object of establishing the common line of action to be adopted by the
Allies in certain important questions, such as that of Capitulations and
those concerning the Economic Clauses, as well as the course to be
adopted in the eventual resumption of the work of the Conference, if the
Turkish proposals are such as to furnish a serious basis for discussion.
The British Government is showing itself to be very rigid in this
respect and seems not to wish to allow discussion upon other than these
three points:

(_a_) The formula of the Turko-Grecian reparations.

(_b_) The formula of the judicial guarantees for foreigners.

(_c_) Economic Clauses.

As regards the first, it is a question of putting in the hands of an
Arbitration Commission the reciprocal claims of the two countries, since
the Turks do not even admit that the Greeks have any claims to present.
For the second, it is a question of finding a formula which will provide
more efficient guarantees for foreigners where the searching of private
houses and arrests are concerned; and as regards the third, of resuming
the discussion and negotiations upon all economic questions and of
handing them over to another commission to be dealt with apart from the
treaty of peace.

The Italian Government is fully convinced of the necessity of bringing
about the conclusion of this peace in order that grave dangers, derived
from the actual situation in the East, may be avoided, and in order that
normal conditions, favourable to the free exercise of trade and
industry, may be re-established. Although we are resolute in demanding
from Turkey the acceptance of the really moderate conditions proposed by
the Allies, we do not think, however, that every and any request, not
connected with the three points mentioned above, made by Turkey, should
be excluded _a priori_, but rather that the possibility of examination
without preconception should always be considered where some
well-defined and limited proposal is concerned.

As to procedure, the British Government would be inclined towards the
renewal of the discussion at Constantinople, while the Italian
Government, realising the dangers which would menace the success of the
negotiations in the surroundings of the Turkish capital, would prefer
that it should take place at Lausanne with a limited gathering of
technical delegates.

In any case it will not be possible to make a definite decision about
this before knowing the answer of the Turkish Government, which is to be
decided by the vote of the Grand Assembly.

_Memel and the Polish Frontier._ The question of Memel has been solved
in theory, and it is not probable that in practice overpowering
obstacles will be met with, since in the solution the rights of both the
Lithuanians and the Poles have been taken into account.

This incident has afforded an opportunity of examining generally the
still uncertain position of Poland with regard to her boundaries. It
seemed to the Italian Government that such uncertainty was pregnant with
dangers, and that it was of the utmost importance to arrive, as soon as
possible, at the recognition of the frontier, the delimitation of which
is reserved for the Allied Powers by the Treaty of Versailles.
Consequently, at the Conference of Ambassadors at Paris, the Government
proposed that such a delimitation should be proceeded with at once, a
proposal which, not having appeared at first to meet with the approval
of the other representatives, has recently been presented again by the
French Government, and to which we, for the sake of consistency, have

As far as the boundaries between Lithuania and Poland are concerned, we
should have preferred the League of Nations to have been called upon to
pass an opinion, so that the largest number of States possible should be
interested in guaranteeing the decision. Our Allies, however, having
drawn attention to the fact that the procedure of the League of Nations
is of a length and tediousness which, at the present moment, it is
better to avoid, we have also adhered on this point to the French
proposal to hand the question over to the Conference of Ambassadors.

We truly hope that Poland and Lithuania will accept the decisions which
the Conference of Ambassadors thinks it just to make. And this is one of
those typical cases in which Poland and Lithuania must take into account
the inevitable necessity of sentiment yielding to reason.

_The Problems of the Adriatic. Fiume; Abbazia; Zara._ The Italian
Delegation and part of that of Yugoslavia have already arrived at
Abbazia. At present work has not begun, but will begin as soon as
possible. At our request the Government at Belgrade has replaced Admiral
Priza by Signor Rybar as her representative. The accusations against
Admiral Priza, as a participator in the legal proceedings which led to
the condemnation and death of Nazario Sauro, are well known. The
Government at Belgrade showed itself to be appreciative of the eminently
moral reasons for our objection and consented to the substitution—even
at the cost of facing the criticism of the Italophobe opposition—with a
good-will which seems an excellent omen for the future.

Our Delegation, too, to the Commission for the Evacuation of the Third
Zone is already at Zara, and since the Yugoslav Delegation has also
arrived, work can begin at once.

An incident which occurred the night before last, when abuse of Zara and
Italy was shouted from a passing Yugoslav steamer within sight of that
port, has already evoked spontaneous and immediate apologies from the
Yugoslav consul to our prefect. But I have urged Belgrade to prevent
such deplorable, although unimportant, incidents from occurring again.

I must say that, hitherto, the Yugoslav Government has shown itself to
be animated on the whole by excellent feeling, and loyally co-operates
in seeking to smooth the way in this period of important and delicate
negotiations which has just begun.

As for the attitude of the national elements at Zara and Fiume, they
remain inspired by a high sense of discipline and recognition of the
necessity of subordinating private interests to the general welfare of
the nation.

_The Conference of the Südbahn._ The work of the Conference of the
Südbahn for the purpose of technical and administrative reorganisation
has made sufficient progress. Both the States interested and the company
have presented their proposals for amendments, in which they try,
without interfering with the basis of the projects under discussion, to
lessen the financial burden.

The project of the agreement concerning through traffic, which contains
regulations guaranteeing the regularity of the organisation of the
railways, facilities for the customs and sanitary services, and the
setting in order of the international stations, as well as regulations
regarding the railway rates of the through trains, has already been
discussed. The States have shown themselves to be of one opinion with
regard to the intentions of the project, which tend to unite in a
special convention all the different regulations which have issued from
the treaties of peace and the projects of the Convention concluded at
Barcelona and Portorose.

The project, moreover, is directed particularly towards reviving the
powers of the Convention of Berne in respect of international traffic.
The scheme of agreement for the technical and administrative
reorganisation of the Südbahn admits the possibility of direct control
on the part of the State as well as on the part of the company. It aims
also at the maintenance of that unity of commercial direction which,
without offending the sovereignty of the States with regard to tariffs,
will allow of international traffic and the direct despatching of goods,
and will take into account the special exigencies of trade which require
particular measures and which, not being prejudicial to the States, will
be advantageous as regards the economic relations between them.

The work of the Conference will probably last another week on account of
the complicated and difficult character of the various financial,
technical and administrative problems to be solved.


  Opening address delivered in Rome at the Palazzo Chigi, on 6th March
              1923, before the members of the Conference.

Gentlemen,—I am particularly glad to open this meeting and welcome
cordially the delegates of the Kingdom of the Serbs, the Croats and the
Slovenes. I attach great importance to this meeting and to its results,
which I am confident will be excellent.

You know that at Abbazia the Adriatic question is being settled, so that
at the present time the field may be cleared of those special problems
which up to to-day have not permitted an understanding with Yugoslavia.

Along with that of Abbazia, this meeting, convened with the object of
linking together more closely commercial relations between the two
countries, attains a great importance. Italian public opinion and the
Fascista Government consider that, together with political relations,
there must be close and profitable economic ties.

I am certain that the Italian delegates will make every effort to arrive
at this agreement and I do not doubt that the Yugoslav Delegation will
do the same. This will be in the common interest of the two countries.


  Speech delivered at the Ministry of Finance on 7th March 1923, where
  Mussolini officially handed over to the Minister, Hon. de Stefani,
  the Budgets of Home and Foreign Affairs, to be revised in accordance
  with a decision of the Council of Ministers.

Honourable Ministers, Colleagues, Gentlemen,—It might be asked, Why such
fuss, why so many soldiers for a ceremony which could be described as
purely administrative, such as the consignment of my two Budgets to the
Finance Minister? We must answer this question thus: For various
motives, some more plausible than others. The solemnity which
accompanies this ceremony serves to demonstrate the immense importance
the Government attaches to a rapid restoration of financial normality.
We have formally promised to make a start towards balancing the State
Budget, and with this promise we wish to keep faith at whatever cost. We
must be convinced that if the whole falls, the part falls too; and that
if the economic life of the nation falls in ruin, all that is in the
nation—institutions, men, classes—is destined to suffer the same fate.

And why these soldiers? To show that the Government has strength. I
declare that, if possible, I want to govern with the consent of the
majority of the people, but whilst waiting for this consent to be
formed, to be nourished, to be strengthened, I collect the maximum
available force. Because it may happen, by chance, that force may aid in
rediscovering consent, and, at any rate, should consent be lacking,
force still remains. In all the measures—even the most drastic—the
Government takes, we shall put before the people this dilemma: either
accept them from a high spirit of patriotism or submit to them. This is
how I conceive the State, and how I understand the art of governing the

I am glad to find myself before you—(continued the President, turning to
the officials of the Ministry of Finance present at the
ceremony)—because the Minister has spoken very favourably to me of the
high officials of the Ministry of Finance. He told me that some of you
often work up to sixteen hours a day. Well done! Those are long hours,
but it is a splendid example. But if they were not sufficient, it would
be necessary to work even twenty hours. Only thus, gentlemen, shall we
rise up out of the sea of our present difficulties and reach the shore.

We must inculcate in our spirit a sense of absolute discipline. We must
consider that the money of the Treasury is sacred above everything else.
It does not rain down from Heaven, nor can it even be made with a turn
of the printing press, which, if I could, I would like to smash to
pieces. It is made out of the sweat, it might be said of the blood, of
the Italian people, who work to-day, but who will work more to-morrow.
Every _lira_, every _soldo_, every _centesimo_ of this money must be
considered sacred and should not be spent unless reasons of strict and
proved necessity demand it. _The history of peoples tells us that strict
finance has brought nations to security._ I feel that each one of you
believes in this truth, which is fully proved by history.

With this conviction I bid you farewell. (Applause.)

                        TO ITS FULL EFFICIENCY”

   Speech delivered at the Palazzo dell’ Esposizione in Rome, on 18th
    March 1923, before the International Congress of the Chambers of

Gentlemen,—The Government over which I have the honour to preside and
which I represent is glad to welcome you to Rome and offers you a
deferential and cordial greeting, which I extend also to the foreign
representatives, who have wished to honour us by their presence. The
fact that your important Congress is held in the capital of Italy, only
five months after the events which gave the control of public affairs to
the youthful forces of war and of victory is the best declaration to the
world that the Italian nation is rapidly returning to the full normality
of her political and economical life. In a meeting like this I shall not
linger on the former, but shall briefly dwell on the latter subject.

The economic policy of the new Italian Government is simple. I consider
that the State should renounce its industrial functions, especially of a
monopolistic nature, for which it is inadequate. I consider that a
Government which means to relieve rapidly peoples from after-war crises
should allow free play to private enterprise, should renounce any
meddling or restrictive legislation, which may please the Socialist
demagogues, but proves, in the end, as experience shows, absolutely

It is, therefore, time to remove from the shoulders of the producing
forces of every nation the last remains of that machinery which was
called the trappings of war and to examine economic problems, no longer
with a state of mind veiled by the influence of particular interests, as
they had to be examined during the war. I do not believe that the
aggregate of forces, which in industry, in agriculture, in commerce, in
banking, in transportation may be called by the world-name of
capitalism, is near its downfall, as certain doctrinarians belonging to
the Social-Extremists have claimed. One of the great historical
experiences of which we have been witnesses proves that all the systems
of associated economics which do away with private initiative and
individual effort fail more or less pitifully in a short time. But free
initiative does not exclude an agreement between groups, which will be
realised all the easier when there is a loyal protection of each
separate interest. Your Chamber of Commerce follows exactly this
programme of enquiry, and of stabilisation, of co-ordinating and
conciliating the various interests. You are here in Rome to discuss the
best means to revive the great currents of trade which, before the war,
had increased general wealth and brought all people to a high standard
of living. These are weighty and delicate problems which often cause
discussions of a political and moral nature. To solve them we must be
guided by the conviction that _it is not the economic system of Europe
alone that we have to restore to its full efficiency_, but that there
are also countries and continents which may offer a field for a larger
economic activity in the near future. It is not without significance
that the powerful Republic of the United States has sent such a large
number of her representatives to Rome. It means that, if official
political America still keeps an attitude of reserve, economic America
feels that she cannot remain indifferent to what may or may not be done
in Europe.

There is no doubt that Governments—beginning with mine—will examine with
the utmost care and give due weight to the decisions which are arrived
at by this Congress. (Loud cheers.)

                      AND STILL CURSE AT THE WAR”

   Speech delivered on 29th March 1923, in Milan, at Villa Mirabello,
                       before blind ex-soldiers.

My dear Comrades!—When a little time ago one of your officers told me
that you never grumbled at the war, even when Italy seemed overwhelmed,
I was not surprised because only those who profited by the war grumbled
and still grumble, cursed and still curse at the war. Those who have
performed their duty do not grumble, do not curse, but accept their
sacrifice with Roman simplicity and austerity.

When I am amongst the maimed I live again the greatest days of our war.
And I declare to you that a Government which did not bear you in mind
would be unworthy, and would only be worthy of being overthrown by the
fury of the people.

But the Government which I represent is entirely formed of men who have
fought from the Stelvio to the sea of Trieste, and such men cannot
ignore the sacrifices accomplished.

I express to you here this morning all my brotherly sympathy and
admiration as an ex-soldier, as a man, as an Italian, and I embrace you
all. And by this act I intend to honour and exalt all those who
contributed to the greatness of the mother country by the deeds
accomplished and by the shedding of their blood. (Applause.)


   Speech delivered at Arosio, near Milan, on 30th March 1923, before
                ex-soldiers suffering from shell-shock.

Fellow-Soldiers,—I did well to accept your courteous invitation, in the
first place, as it always gives me great pleasure to offer to my
comrades of the trenches the proof of my fraternal sympathy as a
soldier, as a man, as an Italian, and as the head of the Government.

As I said yesterday to the blind ex-soldiers at Villa Mirabello, so I
say to you. The Government intends to protect you, intends to satisfy
your requests, to defend your material and moral rights.

Your invitation has given me the opportunity to see this splendid work,
which represents the results and the harmonious synthesis of faith in
your undertakings and of noble love for our country.

Everything that is done for the maimed and for ex-soldiers is a small
thing in face of the sacrifice of so many Italians who gave their life
on the battlefields or who shed their blood.

What is done here is not only a manifestation of piety, it is an
expression of national solidarity and of conscientious patriotism.
Because patriotism is not formed by mere words, it is formed by deeds,
by example, by showing oneself worthy before one’s own conscience of the
quality of being Italian.

The Government intends to exalt all the forces of the country, all the
moral forces arising from our victory; it means daily and
disinterestedly to defend all those who by their deeds and their blood
have contributed to this glorious victory. (Applause.)


         Speech delivered before the Cabinet on 7th April 1923.

_The Abbazia Conference._ Colleagues,—The Commission appointed according
to the Agreements of Santa Margherita, which met, as is known, on 1st
March, started its work by the arrangement for the evacuation of Susak,
which took place on the following day. It is opportune here to note that
the Italian Delegation wished to express to the world and to the Italian
troops its gratitude for the courteous and chivalrous behaviour during
the whole occupation of Susak.

The Commission decided, at that time, a provisional settlement for
communication and traffic between Fiume and Susak, which was made
effective for two months, in view of the eventuality of the prorogation
of the sittings of the Commission. The frontier traffic between Castua
and the adjacent territories was also organised.

With reference to the military operations, the Serbo-Croatian-Slovak
Delegation has at once recorded an objection, on the grounds that with
the evacuation of Susak, it did not consider that that stipulated by the
Agreements of Santa Margherita had been carried out, seeing that the
Delta and Porto Sauro remained occupied by Italian troops. Against this
assertion the Italian Delegation replied that Italy had carried out to
the letter the provisions of the Agreements of Santa Margherita, which
refer purely and simply to the evacuation of Susak.

Apart from this objection, the Commission has continued its work and the
Italian Delegation has put forward a project for a Consortium in the
port of Fiume between the three interested States. Such a project, in a
general way, attributes to Fiume the character of an international port,
leaving the possibility of the enjoyment of special privileges and
guarantees to each of the contracting States for a freer development of
the traffic which affects them. With regard to such a project, the
Serbo-Croatian-Slovak Delegation has put forward its objections,
presenting on its own account a draft of a project, according to which
the Sauro Basin and the Delta would be excluded from the port of Fiume
and assigned exclusively to Yugoslavia.

The Italian Delegation has formally declared that it could not accede to
any pact whatsoever which, destroying the unity of the port of Fiume,
would irremediably damage the future of the new State, and, in answer to
the objections raised by the Serbo-Croatian-Slovak Delegation to the
Italian project, our Delegation has presented another plan, in which
full consideration was given to the said exceptions. But, in the course
of the following discussion, the points of view of the two Delegations
could not be reconciled. The sittings were suspended on 24th March, to
be resumed shortly.

_The new Lausanne Conference._ Following the counterproposals put
forward by the Government of Angora, the British Government has convened
in London an Inter-Allied meeting in order to examine what modifications
to the drafting and the substance of the Peace Treaty presented to the
Turks on the 30th of last January may be possible. The Allied
Representatives at this meeting have decided to invite the Turks to
resume as soon as possible at Lausanne the discussion with the Allied
experts and have at the same time come to an agreement as to the line of
conduct to follow in such a discussion.

In the text of the reply sent to the Government of Angora, which has
been published, the Allies have deemed it opportune to insert some
remarks and objections on certain points of special importance, as for
example that regarding the removal of the Economic Clauses asked by the
Turks, to which the Allies cannot accede; that concerning some part of
the judiciary declarations and the Turkish demands relative to
substantial modifications of the Territorial Clauses already agreed
upon, such as that of Castelrosso, whose restoration to Turkey could not
be countenanced.

It is to be hoped that the good-will that both parties have the
intention of displaying in the imminent negotiations of Lausanne may
bring about speedily the conclusion of peace in the East, which
corresponds with the warmest wish and interest of the Italian

_Italo-Polish Relations._ Mr. Skrzynski came to Milan to express to me
the gratitude of Poland for the friendly attitude of Italy in the
determination of the Polish frontier, which took place recently.
Expressing a personal view, I mentioned to him the advisability of a
larger extension of autonomy to the population of Eastern Galicia. I
profited by the occasion to examine with the Minister for Foreign
Affairs some concrete points, which, with regard to oil and coal,
concern more closely our commerce. I recognised with satisfaction the
friendly disposition which animates the Polish Government and I was
struck with the impression that whenever important Italian enterprises
should wish to develop their activity in Poland, they would find there
the best of welcomes. The representatives of some Italian firms of
standing, moreover, are now already in negotiation at Warsaw, and the
results, I hope, will in a short time confirm the favourable attitude of
the Polish Foreign Minister.

_The Visit of the Austrian Chancellor Seipel._ In the conversations I
had at Milan with the Austrian Chancellor, both parties expressed the
reciprocal desire and interest to improve further relations between the
two countries. The Chancellor has warmly thanked the Italian Government
for the helpful action on behalf of Austria and has asked our support
for the satisfactory solution of all problems which might contribute to
the economic reconstruction of the Republic. I gave favourable
assurances and, consequently, have accordingly hastened the negotiations
already begun for a commercial agreement and I have had examined
numerous questions which had been dragging on unsolved for some time.

It is to be hoped that, the last difficulties having been removed, the
Commercial Treaty may be signed within a few days. The Clauses of the
Portorose Conventions, signed and not ratified by the contracting
parties, will be included in it. The Chancellor has asked that the small
Austrian properties in Italy and the historical Austrian Institute in
Rome should be restored to Austria, as was done for Germany. While I
declared myself favourable to his requests, I have, for my part,
reminded him of the situation of Italian property in Austria and have
obtained from the Chancellor satisfactory assurances concerning this and
other subjects. With reference to the Conventions signed at the
Conference of Rome, some of which have notable importance for Italy, the
Chancellor has promised to proceed to their ratification without further

_The Commercial Relations with Austria._ The negotiations with Austria
are being conducted with a spirit of the greatest good-will on both
sides, in order to arrive in a short space of time at an agreement which
should establish regular and profitable relations between the two
countries and also after the first period, during which the economic
relations between the two States are regulated by the Treaty of St.
Germain. If some difficulty still remains, this is due in the first
place to the fact that it is not the case of negotiating pacts which,
with regard to their application and their consequences, could remain
restricted to the exchanges between the two neighbouring States, but are
destined to have a repercussion also on our relations with the other
States which, for their imports into Italy, enjoy the “most favoured
nation” clause.

This fact, independently of the specially favourable conditions by which
certain important industries, competing with ours, are working in
Austria, compels us to be very cautious in adhering to the many Austrian
requests, and all the more that, for financial and other reasons,
Austria is herself not in a position to meet our demands to the extent
which is essential to us. The two Delegations have, however, already
arrived at an agreement on most of the questions which have been the
subject of reciprocal demands, and now certain controversies remain to
be solved which, although they offer the greatest interests for both
sides, it is to be hoped may be solved with satisfaction to all.

Special attention has been paid by the two Delegations to the study of
the questions relative to the traffic through the port of Trieste and
the regulation of the frontier traffic for the protection of the
interests of the populations of the zone near the frontier of the two
States. On this subject agreement may be said to be complete.

_The Commercial Treaty with Yugoslavia._ The negotiations with
Yugoslavia, which should lead to the regulation of all the economic and
financial questions still pending between the two States, have been
conducted so far on the Treaty of Commerce, which, except for the part
concerning the Italian proposals on the tariffs, may be said to be
already agreed upon by the two Delegations. With reference to the other
subjects under examination, of which only a small part has been possible
to discuss at the same time as the negotiations for the Commercial
Treaty, the Yugoslav Delegation is now awaiting further instructions
from Belgrade. Besides the commercial negotiations I have mentioned,
there are others proceeding for a Commercial Treaty with Spain.
Negotiations will shortly be opened for commercial agreements with Siam,
Finland, Esthonia, Lithuania, Lettonia and Albania.

(After a short discussion, in which several Ministers participated, the
Cabinet approved the declarations of the Prime Minister.)


  Speech delivered at the Palazzo Municipale on 2nd June 1923, to the
                         _contadini_ of Rovigo.

Fascisti,—How shall I find adequate words to thank you for this
magnificent welcome? A few moments ago your mayor gave voice to the
greeting of the city and the province. To-day I have passed through your
fertile lands, furrowed by rivers, exploited by your tenacious work. All
Italy must be grateful to this industrious people, who, too, having
realised the beautiful and supreme interests of the nation, has now all
the more the right to be treated with greater friendship and

I know that I am speaking to an assembly where workers are certainly in
enormous majority. Well, I say to them with calm words and with a still
calmer conscience that the Government which I have the honour to
represent is not, cannot, and will never be against the working classes.
(Loud applause.) Six months of Government are still too few for a
programme to be carried through, but, to my mind, they are sufficient to
give an idea of its _directives_ which to-day are precise and sound.
_Mine is not a Government which deceives the people._ (Applause.) We
cannot, we shall not, make promises if we are not mathematically sure of
being able to fulfil them. The people have been too long deceived and
mystified for the men of our generation to continue this low trade.

We have traced a furrow, very clear-cut and deep, between that which was
the Italy of yesterday and that which is the Italy of to-day. In the
latter, all classes must have a sphere of action for their fruitful
co-operation. The struggle between classes may be an episode in the life
of a people, it cannot be the daily system, as it would mean the
destruction of wealth, and, therefore, universal poverty. The
co-operation, citizens, between him who labours and him who employs
labour, between him who works with his hands and him who works with his
brains, all these elements of production have their inevitable and
necessary grades and constitutions. Through this programme you will
attain a state of well-being and the nation prosperity and greatness. If
I were not sure of my words I would not utter them before you on such a
solemn and memorable occasion. (Applause.)

(At this point of the speech an aeroplane piloted by Ferrarin was
executing some daring evolutions just above the Palazzo Municipale, from
where Mussolini was speaking. The Prime Minister stopped for a few
seconds following Ferrarin’s evolutions, then went on:)

Fascisti! The other day I was passing in one of those aeroplanes over
your town. That flight was profoundly significant, as it was meant to
show that six months of tenure of office have not yet nailed me down
into my Presidential easy chair and that I, as you, as all of you, am
still ready to dare, to fight, if necessary, to die, so that the fruits
of the great Fascista revolution may not be lost!

Long live Fascismo! Long live Italy! (Loud applause.)


 Speech delivered at Padua at the first Women’s Fascista Congress, on 2nd
                                June 1923.

Ladies,—If I am not mistaken, this, which is inaugurated here to-day, is
the first Women’s Fascista Congress of the “three Venices.” The title
and the field covered by this first Congress of yours are full of
profound significance. Fifty years ago one could not speak of the “three
Venices”! Venice herself, after the magnificent years of heroism of 1848
and 1849, was still held by the shackles of foreign slavery. In 1866 we
liberated Venice, one of the Venices. Fifty years afterwards we
liberated the other two—that which has as its boundary the devoted and
impregnable Brenner, and the other which has as its boundary the not
less devoted nor less impregnable Nevoso.

Fascisti do not belong to the multitude of fops and sceptics who mean to
belittle the social and political importance of woman. What does the
vote matter? You will have it! But even when women did not vote and did
not wish to vote, _in time past as in time present, woman had always a
preponderant influence in shaping the destinies of humanity_. Thus the
women of Fascismo, who bravely wear the glorious “black shirt,” and
gather round our standards, are destined to write a splendid page of
history, to help, with self-sacrifice and deeds, Italian Fascismo.

Do not trust the little stuffed owls, the yelling monkeys or, indeed,
any representative of the lower zoological orders, who believe they
practise politics, but could be called by a more infamous name. Do not
believe those who talk of crises within the ranks of Fascismo;—these are
details, mere episodes in the great event, and they, after all, concern
men, not masses. When Fascisti have not to strike the enemy, they can
well afford themselves the luxury of internal quarrels. But if the enemy
should begin to raise his head again and intensify the character of his
more or less stupid opposition, then Fascisti will again become solidly
united. Then “Woe to the vanquished!” (Applause.) And since the
opportunity is propitious, I would like to tell you, women of Fascismo,
and the Fascisti of all Italy, that the attempt to sever Mussolini from
Fascismo or Fascismo from Mussolini is the most useless and grotesque
attempt that could be conceived. (Applause.) I am not so proud as to say
that I who speak and Fascismo are one; but four years of history have
now clearly shown that Mussolini and Fascismo are two aspects of the
same thing, are two bodies and one soul or two souls in a single body. I
cannot forsake Fascismo, because I have created it, I have reared it, I
have strengthened and I have chastened it, and I still hold it in my
fist, always! It is, therefore, quite useless for the old screech-owls
of Italian policy to pay me their foolish court. I am too shrewd to fall
into this ambush of the commercial mediocrities of village fairs. I can
assure you, my dear friends, that all these little vipers, all these
cheap politicians will be bitterly disillusioned.

To think that I could become brutalised in Parliamentary bureaucracy is
to believe an absurdity. Although I come from the working class, I have
a spirit too aristocratic not to feel disgust for low Parliamentary
manœuvres. We shall continue our march vigorously (added the Hon.
Mussolini, raising his voice), because this has been imposed on us by
destiny. We shall not turn back, nor shall we even mark time. I have
already said that we did not want to push matters to extremes only to
see ourselves driven back by the swing of the pendulum. I prefer, as I
wrote in an article, which aroused some interest—I prefer to march on
continually, day by day, in the Roman way, in the way of Rome who is
never reconciled to defeat; of Rome who welcomed Terentius Varro coming
from Cannæ, although she knew that he had given battle against the
opinion of Consul Paulus Æmilius and was, in a certain degree,
responsible for the defeat; of Rome who after Cannæ forbade matrons to
sally forth, so that their grief-stricken bearing should not shake the
strength of the citizens; of this Rome who re-wrote continually the
chapters of her history, who found in every ill-success the incentives
to endurance, to steadfastness, to strengthen her spirits, to harden her
nerves, to light the flame of passion! This is the Rome of whom we
dream; the Rome in whom all hierarchies are respected, those of
strength, beauty, intelligence, and human kindness; the Rome who struck
hard at her enemies, but then raised them up again and made them share
her great destiny; the Rome who left the utmost liberty to the beliefs
of her subject-peoples, provided only that they obeyed her!

Giuseppe Mazzini used to say that power is but the unity and
perseverance of all efforts put together. Well, Italian power, Fascista
power, the power of all the new generations which expand in this superb
spring of our life and history, will be the result of the unity of our
efforts, of the tenacity of our work. After all, what do Fascisti ask
for? They are not ambitious or factious. They have the sense of
limitation and of their responsibility. And I am sure of interpreting
your thought, the deep craving of your soul, if I say that Fascisti,
from the first to the last, from the leaders to the led, ask only one
thing: To serve with humility, with devotion, with steadfastness, our
beloved Mother Country, Italy! (The speech was greeted with enthusiastic


     Speech delivered at the University of Padua on 3rd June 1923.

Mr. Chancellor, Professors, My Young Friends,—It is not I who honour
your University, it is your University which honours me, and I must
confess that, although on account of my laborious dealings with men I am
a little refractory to emotions, to-day, being among you, I feel deeply

We have known each other for some time, from 1915, from the days of that
May always radiant. I remember that the students of Padua hung up at the
doors of this University a big paper puppet representing a politician
about whom I do not wish to express any opinion now. But that act meant
that the youth of the University of Padua did not want to hear about
ignoble diplomatic bargains—(Applause.)—did not want to sell its
splendid spiritual birthright for a more or less wretched mess of
pottage. The University of Padua, the students, who were not degenerate
descendants of those Tuscan students who went out to die at Curtatone
and Montanara, wished then to be the vanguard, to take up their post in
the fighting line, carrying with them the reluctant ones, chastening the
pusillanimous, overthrowing the Government and going out to fight, to
sacrifice and death, but also to honour and glory.

From that time I know that among you there are faithful followers and
that this University among all the others is truly an active centre of
faith and of intense patriotism. If I look back for a moment to the
rolling by of centuries, I recognise in this University a great fountain
at which thousands of men of all countries, of all generations, of all
races, have quenched their thirst.

The Government which I have the honour to represent repudiates, at any
rate in the person of its chief, the doctrine of materialism and the
doctrines which claim to explain the very complex history of humanity
only from the material point of view, to explain an episode, not the
whole of history, an incident, not a doctrine. Well, this Government
prizes individual, spiritual and voluntary qualities, holds in high
esteem the Universities, because they represent so many glorious strong
points in the life of the people. In fact I do not hesitate to state
that if Germany has been able to resist the powerful influence of
Bolshevism, it is due, above all, to the strong University traditions of
that people.

A people with an ardent spirit and with genius like ours is necessarily
a well-balanced and harmonious one. The Government understands the
enormous historic importance of Universities, has a respect for their
noble traditions and wishes to raise them to the heights of modern
exigencies. All this cannot be done at once, as everything cannot be
accomplished in six months. All that we are doing at present is to clear
the ground from all the débris which the rotten political caste has left
us as a said inheritance. (Applause.) How could a Government composed of
former soldiers ever disparage Universities? It would not only be absurd
but criminal! From the Universities have come out by the thousands
volunteers and by tens of thousands those magnificent warriors who used
to assault the enemy’s trenches with a superb contempt of death. They
are our comrades whose memory we bear engraved in our hearts. You will
write their names on your gates of bronze, but their memory will be more
imperishably engraved in our spirit. We cannot forget them, as we cannot
forget that out of the Universities came by thousands the “black
shirts,” those “black shirts” who, at a given moment, put an end to the
inglorious vicissitudes of Italian politics, who took by the throat with
strong fingers all the old profiteers who appeared, to the exuberant
impatience of the new Italian generations, always the more inadequate
for their paralysing decrepitude. (Applause.) Well, so long as there are
Universities in Italy—and there certainly will be for a long time—and so
long as there are young men to attend these Universities and to become
acquainted with the history of yesterday, thus preparing the history of
to-morrow, so long as there are such young men, the doors of the past
are definitely shut. I guarantee it formally! But I add further that _so
long as these young men and these Universities exist, the Nation cannot
perish and it cannot become a slave, because Universities smash fetters
without forging new ones_. (Applause.) If to-morrow it were again
necessary, either for causes arising within or without the frontiers, to
sound again the trumpet of war, I am sure that the Universities would
again empty themselves to re-populate the trenches. (Loud applause.)

And now that you have rejuvenated me by twenty years, I would like to
sing with you the “Gaudeamus Igitur.” After all, Lorenzino dei Medici
was right when he sang: “How beautiful is youth!” Well, my young
friends, there can never be for us as individuals the certainty of the
morrow, but there is the supreme and magnificent certainty of the morrow
for us as a nation and as a people.

And with the students’ hymn, let us utter in Latin a simpler word,
_Laboremus_. To work with dignity, with probity and with cheerfulness,
to assault life with earnestness and to meet it as a mission, trying to
fulfil the categorical injunction left us by our dead. They command us
to obey and to serve, they command us discipline, sacrifice and

We should really be the last of men if we failed to do our clear duty.
But we shall not fail. I who hold the pulse of the nation and who
carefully count its beats, I who sometimes shudder in the face of the
heavy responsibilities which I have assumed, feel in me a hope, nay a
vibration, of a supreme certainty which is this: that, by the will of
the leaders, by the determination of the people, and by the sacrifice of
past, present and future generations, Imperial Italy, the Italy of our
dreams, will be for us the reality of to-morrow. (Loud applause.)


            Speech delivered at the Senate on 8th June 1923.

Honourable Senators,—The speech that I have the honour of delivering
before your illustrious Assembly may appear analytical, because in it I
propose to touch on several questions and to speak decisively upon
several problems, especially with regard to internal policy.[13] By this
I do not delude myself to be able to convince those who are my opponents
in _malâ fide_, nor to disperse completely the small opposition which
nourishes itself on detail, and is the effect of personal temperament.

Footnote 13:

  The speech on Internal Policy here referred to will follow this one on
  page 306.

You will not be surprised if I begin with foreign policy, even if it
happens that this is the field in which serious and founded opposition
does not exist, and it may be legitimately said that our policy is
endorsed unanimously by the nation.

As I have already said on other occasions, the foreign policy of the
present Government is inspired by the necessity for a progressive
revaluation of our diplomatic and political position in Europe and in
the world. It is a fact that, except for territorial acquisitions
bounded by the Brenner and the Nevoso, frontiers wrested by long and
bloody wars, Italy was excluded in the Peace of Versailles and other
successive treaties from all other benefits of an economic and colonial
nature. Solemn pacts signed during the war have lapsed and have not been
replaced. The position of inferiority assigned to Italy has weighed and
still weighs heavily on the economic life of our people. It is useless
to dwell upon recriminations of the past. We must rather seek to regain
the ground and time lost. There is no doubt that from October to to-day
the situation has notably improved.

The other Powers, whether allied or not, know that Italy intends to
follow an energetic and assiduous policy for the protection of her
natural and vital interests, intends to be present wherever, directly or
indirectly, they are at stake, because this is her right and her
definite duty; but at the same time she is in favour of that line of
conduct in general policy which tends to bring back as quickly as
possible to a normal state the economic situation of our continent.
Italy, who too is marching rapidly towards her readjustment, sees this
re-birth continually disturbed by general outside factors. There is,
therefore, a definite Italian interest in hastening the pacific solution
of the European crisis.

_The Position of Italy and Reparations._ All such crises, since the
Treaty of Versailles onwards, have been dominated by the one problem:
Reparations. In the face of this problem the fundamental position of
Italy is as follows:

1. Germany can and must pay a sum which now seems universally fixed and
which is very far from the many hundreds of milliards talked of on the
morrow of the Armistice;

2. Italy could not tolerate territorial changes which would lead to a
political, economic or military hegemony in Europe;

3. Italy is prepared to bear her quota of sacrifice, if it is necessary
to obtain what is called European reconstruction;

4. The Italian Government maintains to-day more than ever, above all
after the last German Note, that the problem of reparations and that of
Inter-Allied debts are intimately connected and are in a certain sense

There is no doubt that the occupation of the Ruhr has contributed to
render the crisis of the Ruhr extremely acute, and therefore to a
certain extent hastened a solution.

It will not be inopportune to recall, considering the rapidity of
events, that the French and Belgians went to the Ruhr on account of the
declarations of a series of failures of the supplies in kind by Germany,
admitted also by England, at any rate as regards that of wood, and the
failure of the Conference of Paris.

It is certainly worth while to fix exactly in their essential lines the
main features of the Italian, English and German projects, in order to
have a picture of the situation as regards its agreements and
divergencies, and to see what conjectures we can form as to a possible
settlement. This will also serve to explain why Italy was not able to
accept the Bonar Law scheme at Paris, and why she had to reject the
recent Cuno-Rosenberg Memorandum.

The Italian project reduced the German debt to fifty milliards of gold
marks, proposed a moratorium of two years, during which Germany would
continue the supply of reparations in kind, accepted the distribution of
German payments according to the quotas fixed at Spa, by which the
Italian quota was put at five milliards of gold marks, fixed the payment
of one part of the “C” bonds by means of the security given by the other
ex-enemy States, used the remainder of the “C” bonds to settle the debt
to America, agreed to the taking of economic pledges as a guarantee of
the German payments, and finally, as regards the payments of the
reparations owed by Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary, asked for a pledge
for the acceptance of the proposals which England had deferred putting
forward—proposals, that is, of annulling those debts.

The Italian quota of reparations, which the Italian project fixed at
five milliards of gold marks, was thus reduced in the English project to
less than half; whilst cancelling the bonds, it partly abolishes to our
detriment German solidary responsibility for minor ex-enemy debts and
rendered impossible the execution of the agreement of March 1921, which
ensures important advantages to Italy upon the basis of the “C” bonds.
The larger percentage reserved on the seventeen milliards, representing
the interest of the moratorium capitalised to 1923, could not be used
for the payment of American debts, in consideration of the aleatory
nature of these seventeen milliards.

I do not recall all this to reopen discussions, but only to make clear
the main outlines of that which was and remains a noteworthy attempt to
find a solution for this grave problem; an attempt which contains worthy
elements which can be usefully taken up again in case of a definite

The conclusion of an agreement between England and America on the
problem of debts—the work of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr.
Baldwin, to-day Prime Minister, followed shortly after the presentation
of the English project.

Any idea of this debt being itself cancelled, or even of a simple
compensation through the payment of reparations, is excluded from this
agreement. The obligation to pay, although facilities may be accorded
concerning both the number of years in which it must take place and the
interests due, is solemnly affirmed and put into execution. In England
the Speech from the Throne strongly emphasised this agreement. Even
taking into account the diversity of economic strength and the totality
of sacrifices borne, it could not remain without effect upon the
importance of the whole question for the other European Powers.

_Analysis of the German Project._ If we compare the English and Italian
projects with the German, the inacceptability of the latter appears
evident. As is known, one of the fundamental points of the last German
project concerns the consolidation of the actual debt of Germany,
especially in kind, at the figure of twenty milliard gold marks, with an
additional ten milliards, the payment of which depends upon the decision
of an International Commission. Deducting the interest, these twenty
milliards are reduced to fifteen, and the sums necessary must be found
by international loans; and in the very probable eventuality that by
1927 the twenty milliards have not been subscribed, an annuity will be
paid which represents five per cent. interest plus one per cent. for the
redemption of the loan. Finally, in the German project any provision or
regulation for the guarantees demanded is lacking. The total German
debt, which in the English and the Italian projects is fixed at the
figure of fifty milliards, in the German project is reduced to less than
a third, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine in it the
Italian quota and the sacrifice demanded from Italy.

In view of the representations, especially of England and Italy, Germany
has recognised her proposals as insufficient, and yesterday the German
Ambassador, Neurath, presented to me the new German Note, on the
contents and nature of which I cannot pronounce an opinion for evident
reasons, as in consequence of this Note diplomatic action with all the
Allies must be taken up. I will only say that the German Note no longer
demands the preliminary evacuation of the Ruhr as a condition for
negotiation. This might make us believe in a renunciation on the part of
Germany of that passive resistance, the utility of which—even for German
aims—appears ever more doubtful, and whose cessation would help towards
a more rapid attainment of a solution.

_Italy and Hungary._ But the problem of reparations is not only
Franco-German, it is also Hungarian, Bulgarian and Austrian.

It is useful to define the stage which has been reached with regard to
these ex-enemy countries. The total of the Hungarian reparations, which
is fixed by the Treaty of Trianon, has not yet been determined by the
Reparations Commission, and Hungary up to to-day has only furnished
limited supplies in kind. The Hungarian Government, alleging the
disturbed economic and financial conditions of the country caused by the
serious depression of the krone, has recently put forward the necessity
to contract a foreign loan, which, if it is to succeed, should be
guaranteed by the custom duties, by the tobacco monopoly, and, if needs
be, by other resources. Hence arises the necessity for such resources to
be freed for an adequate period from the claims of reparations. A
Memorandum precisely to this effect has been recently presented by the
Hungarian Minister in Paris to the Reparations Commission.

The Italian Government, having examined the question from a technical
point of view, has deemed it indispensable to concede to Hungary the
temporary relinquishment of certain resources, so that she may proceed
to her own economic restoration by means of loans to be contracted
abroad. Italy has, therefore, shown herself favourable to the above
Hungarian request, with the addition of certain conditions necessary to
guarantee her own rights, on which point she is in agreement with the
British Government.

_Agreement with Bulgaria for Payment._ With reference to Bulgarian
reparations, Italy, Great Britain and France came to an agreement on
21st March with the Bulgarian Government to facilitate the payment of
her debt of 2250 million gold francs fixed by the Treaty of Neuilly, by
dividing it in two parts; one of 550 millions to be paid by instalments
beginning in October of this year, and the other 1700 millions not to be
claimed before thirty years.

Bulgaria has pledged herself by this agreement to reserve for the
regulation of her debt the revenues of her customs and has already
passed a law to this effect. The agreement has also been approved by the
Reparations Commission, with the reservation of our rights for the
reimbursement of the expenses of the army of occupation. In fact,
negotiations are proceeding with the Bulgarian Government for the
regulation of this credit, which enjoys the privilege of priority over
other reparations.

Our Government, animated by favourable dispositions as regards all that
concerns the settlement of obligations arising from the war, has had no
difficulty in accepting such an agreement.

_The Loan to Austria._ Fulfilling the pledge taken by its predecessors
in the Protocol of Geneva of 4th October 1922, the Italian Government
has co-operated with the Governments which are signatories of the
Protocol, in order that the loan in favour of Austria should have a
large and ready success. For this purpose the Government has consented
to postpone for twenty years, which is the duration of the War Loan, her
credits against Austria for the recovery of damages and for bonds of
food supply, has given her own guarantee for twenty-five per cent. of a
maximum loan of 585 million gold kronen, and has authorised Italian
banks to contribute directly to the loan up to the maximum of 200
million lire, including the sixty-eight which Italy had previously lent
to Austria, and which, by the terms of the Protocol of Geneva, should
have been repaid in cash.

Putting off for a further period the exaction of Austrian reparation,
and giving a guarantee and a direct and substantial contribution to the
loan in favour of Austria, the Italian Government has wished to offer
her co-operation towards the political independence and territorial
integrity of the Austrian Republic to which the Protocol of Geneva
refers, and to which the United States of America also wish to
contribute, confidently subscribing for the first time to a European

_Relations between Italy and Yugoslavia._ Italy’s political line of
conduct towards the States of the Little Entente and in general towards
the States recently created is substantially inspired by the necessity
of exacting the respect and the scrupulous fulfilment of the treaties,
because, given the present contingencies, only such a policy can produce
quick and pleasing results with regard to an economic settlement of the
Danubian States which would contribute to the larger one of Central
Europe. On several occasions the friendly and moderate policy of Italy
has followed such a course with satisfactory results.

With reference to such a policy the relations between Italy and
Yugoslavia have a special importance. The clear attitude taken by the
Government with regard to Yugoslavia by proceeding to the definite
enforcement of the Treaty of Rapallo has strengthened our legal
position, and we are able to rest any further development of our policy
on a solid basis. The enforcement of the Agreements of Santa Margherita,
which has been necessarily laborious owing to the large extent of the
field covered, can be said, however, to proceed on the whole
satisfactorily. In spite of the initial difficulties encountered in any
exceptional régime, the economic system of the so-called “special zone
of Zara” is already in force for the evacuation of the remaining
Dalmatian territories, and the various organisations for the regulation
of all the intricate questions arising out of the Agreements have been

_Fiume._ But naturally the most important question to solve is that of
Fiume. As is known, it offers the gravest difficulties, since, in order
to ensure the future of the commercial life of the town, there must be
solved many complex problems of an economic nature which are often in
opposition to those of a political character. Undoubtedly the recent
long Parliamentary crisis in Yugoslavia, which for a considerable time
forced the Government of Belgrade to confine its attentions almost
exclusively to internal problems, has heavily weighed against the
rapidity of the solution of such a question.

That Government has repeatedly acquainted us with its wishes to solve
the question in a satisfactory way as regards the sentiments and the
interests of Italy, and has also frankly made known to us the real
difficulties with which the Government is faced in asking the
populations interested to accept a solution in agreement with the
Italian point of view.

_Italo-Yugoslav Commission._ With a view to ensure an atmosphere of
greater quiet to the Italo-Yugoslav Commission, the Government of
Belgrade has, in the meantime, agreed to transfer the seat of the
Commission to Rome. The Yugoslav Delegation has arrived, and between it
and the Italian Delegation, which is fulfilling its duty with a high
sense of patriotism and political probity, preliminary meetings are
taking place with the object of fixing certain fundamental points before
resuming official discussions, so that the latter may proceed with the
necessary speed without lapsing into a deplorable stagnation, which
would be otherwise inevitable in such an arduous task.

_The Conference of Lausanne and the definite Cession of Castelrosso to
Italy._ The Conference of Lausanne, which after the well-known
suspension of last February resumed its proceedings on 23rd April, is
slowly completing them through the no small difficulties of various
kinds caused by the delicacy and complexity of the questions under
examination. The course followed by the Italian Delegation under any
circumstance has always been inspired by the most calm and impartial
attitude, and its efficacy has been recognised and generally appreciated
at its just worth.

Italy cannot help considering as her vital interests the speedy
restoration of a normal state of trade in the East, as well as the
economic development and general progress of all the peoples living on
the shore of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Although all the questions under discussion have not yet been solved at
Lausanne, on some of them, however, which more directly affect our
country, an agreement, satisfactory on the whole, has been reached. The
Government of Angora has explicitly withdrawn the objection regarding
the cession of the island of Castelrosso to Italy, the possession of
which on our part could in no way justify an eventual suspicion of
Italian aggressive aims with regard to Turkey. Our flag, which has
already been saluted from the moment it appeared in the island as a
symbol of peaceful well-being, will in the future continue to protect a
population which by plebiscite has entrusted itself to us.

_The Juridical Protection of Foreigners in Turkey._ The Italian
Government has also obtained the cancellation of those clauses, with
regard to our colonies in North Africa, which the agreements concluded
after the Libyan War had left in existence, and at the same time the
interests of Libyan subjects residing in Turkey, whose rights have been
equal to those of Italian citizens, were opportunely protected.

From the opening of the Conference the question of the juridical
protection of foreigners has been of the greatest importance. The
Conference has agreed in fixing the limits of such protection, including
it in a formula which establishes for a period of five years the
appointment on the part of the Turkish Government of foreign judges, who
are authorised to receive complaints of the sentences and of the
proceedings of Turkish magistrates.

At Lausanne there still remain under discussion certain important
questions of general interest, such as those relative to the management
of the Ottoman Public Debt and others of an economic nature, which I
hope may be quickly solved.

_Relations between Italy and Russia._ The present relations with Russia
are regulated by the Italo-Russian and Italo-Ukraine Agreements of 26th
December 1921. A few days ago the projects for the conversion into law
of the Royal Decree of 31st January 1922 were presented to Parliament,
by whom the said agreements had been approved, though some opposition
had been offered to their practical application. This opposition gave
the Russians a pretext for violating the agreement. We mean to remove
these obstacles in order to render easier the economic relations between
the two countries and pave the way for an understanding resting on a
wider basis without excessive illusions, but also without dangerous

Relations between the two countries, which possess different economic
systems, present enormous difficulties. They are, however, not
unsurmountable if on both sides there is a good-will to overcome them.
Italian policy towards Russia is clear and cannot give rise to

The presentation before Parliament of these decrees represents another
proof of our intentions and gives us the right to expect from the
Government of Moscow the scrupulous fulfilment of the pacts, the
execution of the pledge taken to abstain from any act hostile to our
Government, and from whatsoever direct or indirect propaganda against
the institutions of the kingdom.

_Relations between Italy and the United States._ I do not think it is
necessary, considering the brevity of this speech, to enter into further
detail. I will only say that the relations between the United States and
Italy are particularly cordial, and I am glad to add that both the
Government and the American people have fully understood the new
political situation in Italy.

_Relations with Poland and other Countries._ The initiative of Italy for
the definite determination of the Polish frontiers has cemented even
more closely the bonds of cordial friendship which have united the two
countries for centuries. Their collaboration continues to be
strengthened on economic as well as on political grounds. In these last
days the Polish Government has placed important orders with Italian

The conversations and the personal relations I have had with the
Ministers of Austria, of Roumania, of Hungary, the recent journey of
H.M. the King of England, the commercial treaties concluded and to be
concluded, are other signs of that progressive revaluation of our
diplomatic position which I referred to at the beginning of this speech.

_Improvement of the Diplomatic and Consular Services._ The Fascista
Government, always with the object of this revaluation, as soon as it
came into power instructed its representatives abroad to direct their
policy outside the confines of the country to the renewed life of Italy,
and to face immediately the problem of the means and the men for that
end. In fact, the administration of Foreign Affairs, in the face of so
many difficulties from outside, already possessed a great difficulty in
her own constitution, due to the scanty number of its elements. The
tools of our work, which is so delicate abroad, had to be renewed, and
rendered suitable, as regards the increase in number of officials and
the new conditions of Italy, for the momentous task which they are
required to perform.

Instructions have, therefore, been given with effect from the first days
of November for the reorganisation of the competition for the Diplomatic
and Consular Services, and for Interpreters.

In conclusion I wish to repeat that Italian foreign policy, while it
intends to safeguard national interests, wants at the same time to
constitute a factor of equilibrium and peace in Europe, and by such a
policy I think I interpret the tendencies and the needs of the Italian
people. (Applause.)

                         “THE INTERNAL POLICY”

   Speech delivered at the Senate on 8th June 1923, after the one on
                      Foreign Policy (see p. 293).

Honourable Senators,—The problems of public order are problems of the
authority of the State. There is no real authority in the State if
public order is not perfectly normal. Public order and authority of the
State are, therefore, two aspects of the same problem. I ask you if
conditions have improved or become worse since last October.
(“Improved!”) Some of you give an affirmative answer. I, too, say they
have improved. Although, naturally, I am far from being pessimistic and,
therefore, from being discontented, I feel that nothing ever goes well
enough. But, Gentlemen, when one speaks of public order, one must make
comparisons. Even if they are disagreeable, they are necessary. Unrest,
uneasiness and sedition are phenomena to be found not only in Italy. If
we glance beyond our frontiers we have reason to repeat that, if Messene
weeps, Sparta does not laugh! Look at the vanquished peoples and note
what happens in Austria and in Germany. Look at the victorious peoples
and you will see that only yesterday there was a strike of public
officials in Belgium, which has cost the Treasury hundreds of millions
of francs. If, then, you glance at the neutral countries, at Spain, you
will find there, too, that life is not excessively bright and easy. All
this I say for those who, at every small revolver shot fired in one of
the twenty thousand villages of Italy, think they have been wounded by a
17–inch shell!

_A Significant Comparison._ But, above all, it is worth while to look at
Italy and consider, on one side, her conditions in the years 1918–20 and
in the period following 1920–21. The dominating events of the former two
years are the occupation of the factories, the permanent strike of the
officials belonging to public organisations, carried out in rotation,
and by a displacement of all the powers of State authority (Assent.);
and, although the incident is extremely painful, one must recall to mind
that in the rank and file of that same glorious army of ours occurred an
episode at Ancona which proves how deeply sedition had worked its way
into the body of the Italian State.

The dominating event of the following two years is the punitive Fascista
expedition. Fascisti, from sheer necessity, went out to the assault of
the towns in large armed bodies. To-day all this is over. To-day the
officials of public organisations do not and will not strike. (Assent.)
When the Fascista employees of the Post and Telegraph Offices came to me
to protest because my colleague, the Hon. Colonna di Cesaro, had
punished them, I told them that if I had been Minister of Post and
Telegraphs I should have punished them twice, and I added that, just
because they were Fascisti, they would have to recognise the necessity
for a strict discipline. (Assent.)

_The State renewed._ The conditions of public order reached their zenith
of disintegration during the latter part of the year. In August there
was the anti-Fascista strike, which completely paralysed the State. This
had no effect; the Fascista forces, in its stead, obtained success. And,
from that time, I said that the two must be made one, and that since
that State was destitute of all the attributes of virility, while there
was a State in power which was rising with great strength and capable of
imposing discipline on the nation, it was indispensable for the rising
State to substitute itself, by a revolutionary movement, for the other
State which was declining. The August anti-Fascista strike was followed
by the Fascista occupation of the towns of Bologna and Bolzano. The
authority of the State was a complete ruin. There are no more reports of
labour conflicts in the papers now.

_The Chamber and the Conflicts._ I am sufficiently impartial to say that
in these last days there has been a slight recrudescence of trouble.
What is its cause? I tell you quite frankly: the reopening of the
Chamber. (Laughter.) The Chamber is the place of questions. By the
spectacle it offers to the nation it sows seeds of conflict and discord
amongst the impulsive and excitable masses.

Further, the attitude of a section of Italian Liberalism is a very
welcome piece of good fortune for the subversive elements, because they
constitute for them unhoped-for, unexpected allies, who blow enormous
bubbles, which I promise myself to prick with the pin of logic and
sincerity before closing my speech. (Assent.) Then perhaps there is
this, that certain gentlemen, when they found out that they had not to
fear the law of Fascismo or that of the Government, which is slower
because it is bound to move in accordance with legal procedure, resumed
their bold attitude.

_Elimination of the Subversive Elements._ The measures adopted to
restore public order are: First of all the elimination of the so-called
subversive elements. There was much clamour after the hauling in of the
nets, but in reality it was only a very small affair. Of two thousand
who were arrested, those who are still in gaol do not reach the figure
of one hundred and fifty. They are in the hands of the judges. They were
elements of disorder and subversion. On the morrow of each conflict I
gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest possible number of
weapons of every sort and kind. This confiscation, which continues with
the utmost energy, has given satisfactory results. (Assent.) I had to
repress every illegal act.

_The High Grades of the National Militia._ There was another problem
with regard to the National Militia: namely the necessity of filling the
superior posts, to which had to be appointed men coming from the army
with a large personal military experience; this necessity had to be
harmonised with the gratitude due to the small heads of Fascista
“squadrismo,” the body which, by leaving thousands of glorious dead, had
crushed the subversive demagogic elements.

We have solved this problem. All the ranks of superior officers above
those of “Seniore” have been assigned to the officers coming from the
regular army; all the inferior grades and those of sub-officers have
been given to military men, to “squadristi” who had previously seen
military life.

Moreover, statistics are always worth more than speeches. Ninety-seven
per cent. of the officers of the Militia having a rank superior to that
of “Seniore” come from the officers of the regular army. Out of about
two hundred and thirty officers superior to the rank of “Seniore,” six
are decorated with the Military Order of Savoy, two with Gold Medals,
one hundred and thirty with Silver Medals, eighty with Bronze Medals.

As this is a day of explanations, even at the risk of abusing your
patience, I must read the list of rewards bestowed on the Chiefs of the
National Militia. _General Cesare De Bono_, Field Marshal of the regular
army: three Silver Medals, special promotion for war services, “Croce di
Guerra.” _General Gandolfo_, Field Marshal of the regular army: two
Silver Medals, special promotion for war services. _Hon. Cesare Maria De
Vecchi_: four Silver Medals, two Bronze Medals, two “Croci di Guerra.”
_Italo Balbo_: one Silver Medal, one “Croce di Guerra.” _Gustavo Fara_,
the general well known through all Italy: one Gold Medal, two Silver
Medals, special promotions for war services. _Stringa_, Major-General of
the regular army: three Silver Medals, one Bronze Medal, disabled in the
war. _Ozol Clemente_, Major-General in the regular army: two Silver
Medals, “Croce di Guerra.” _Ceccherini_, Major-General in the regular
army: three Silver Medals, two Bronze Medals. _Zambon_, Major-General of
the regular army: Silver Medal and Bronze Medal. _Guglielmotti_,
Major-General of the regular army: two Silver Medals.

After these follow:

_Giuriati_, with two Silver Medals; _Acerbo_, with three Silver Medals
(voices: “Bravo!”); _Caradonna_, with three Silver Medals; _Finzi_, with
a Silver Medal and two “Croci di Guerra.”

Not to embarrass the modesty of my friends, I shall not continue to read
the list of these officers of the National Militia,—(Laughter.)—but this
is enough to prove to you that this is a serious institution. And I add
that every day it becomes more so, because I mean that it shall be so,
because all its chiefs mean it.

It might be asked of us: “Why does the Militia remain?” I shall tell it
to you at once: for a very simple reason, to defend Fascismo at home and
also abroad. The word “abroad” might alarm you. Well, I tell you that
abroad there is a difficult atmosphere for Italian Fascismo. Difficult
for the parties of the Right, which, being formed of national elements,
cannot feel enthusiasm for a movement that exalts our national
qualities; difficult for the parties of the Left, because those elements
are our adversaries from the social point of view, knowing that the
Fascista movement is clearly anti-Socialist. It is well, therefore, that
it should be known that there is in Italy a mighty army of volunteers to
defend that special form of political organisation called Fascismo.

The Militia, moreover, has the object of enabling the army to do its own
work. The army must fight, must get ready for war. It must not do police
work, especially of a political nature, except under absolutely
exceptional circumstances, of which now I do not wish to think, even
hypothetically. As an example I can tell you that last night, upon my
personal instructions, a whole section of Leghorn was blockaded. Well,
one hundred carabineers and three hundred black shirts sufficed, whilst
the army, the official troops, were sleeping peacefully in their
barracks, as was their duty and their right. Moreover, believe me, so
long as in Italy they know that, besides some tens of thousands of
faithful carabineers, there is this enormous force, attempts at revolt
or at sedition will never be dared.

_Modifications to the Statute Law._ Finally, and this is a manœuvre of
the last few days, have burst forth in Italy the bold defenders of the
Statute, of Liberty and of Parliament. (Laughter.) It seems, listening
to these gentlemen, who had for a long time forgotten the existence of
the Statute, even as a simple historical document,—(Laughter.)—that the
Statute runs a serious risk and that one cannot even discuss nor examine

Well, I think that none of you can consider Camillo Cavour as a
Bolshevist and a Fascista of 1848. Everybody knows that the
Constitutional movement of Piedmont was the work of Cavour. Everybody
knows how the political Constitution was granted. At Genoa a tumult
arose against the Jesuits, believed supporters of Absolutism. A
Commission of Genoese went to Turin and asked for the expulsion of the
Jesuits and the calling out of the Civic Guard. But Cavour answered:
“This is too little, the times are ripe for something more!” Cavour
wrote in his paper, _Il Risorgimento_: “The Constitution must be
demanded.” And this was promulgated on the 4th of March. In its preamble
it says: “The Statute is the fundamental, perpetual law of the
Monarchy.” Four days afterwards the first Constitutional Ministry of
Coalition was formed with the Moderate Balbo and the Democratic Pareto.

The phrase “The Statute is the fundamental, perpetual and irrevocable
law of the Monarchy” had wounded the ears of the Democrats. Cavour
hastened to interpret it in a relative sense. It is worth while to
listen attentively to this paragraph of Cavour. “How is it possible,” he
said, “how can it be expected that the legislator would have wished to
pledge himself and the nation not to make the slightest direct change,
to bring the smallest improvement to a political law? But this would
mean the removal from the community of the power of revising the
Constitution; it would mean the deprival of the indispensable power of
modifying its political form according to new social exigencies; this
would be such an absurd idea that no one of those who co-operated in the
making of this fundamental law could conceive it. A nation cannot
renounce the power of changing by legal means its common law.”

After a short time history had to register a first violation of the
Statute, which assumed or presumed that, in order to become a member of
Parliament, it was necessary to be an Italian citizen. On the 16th of
October there was a division between the Right, amongst which there were
the Moderates and the Municipals, and the Left, to which belonged the
Democrats, called the “burnt heads,” and the Republicans. On the
following day these two parties were agreed in unanimously proclaiming
above the Statute that all Italians could belong to the Subalpine
Parliament. The first to benefit by this violation of the Statute was
Alessandro Manzoni; but he declined the mandate by a letter which
represents a fine example of correctness and political probity.

Nobody, Gentlemen, wishes to overthrow or destroy the Statute, which
rests solidly on firm foundations; but the inhabitants of this building
from 1848 up to to-day have changed. There are other exigencies, other
needs. There is no longer the Piedmontese Italy of 1848! And it is very
strange to notice among the defenders of the Statute those who have
violated it in its fundamental laws, those who have curtailed the
prerogatives of the Crown, those who wanted the Crown to be entirely
outside the politics of the nation, and to become a dead institution.
(Loud applause.)

_The Abolition of Parliament?_ They say that this Government does not
like the Chamber of Deputies. (Comments.) They say that we want to
abolish Parliament and deprive it of all its essential attributes. It is
timely to say that the collapse of Parliament is not desired by me, nor
by those who follow my ideas. Parliamentarism has been severely affected
by two phenomena typical of our days: on one side Syndicalism, on the
other Journalism. Syndicalism gathers by its various organisations all
those who have special interests to protect, who wish to withdraw them
from the manifest incompetence of the political Assembly. Journalism
represents the daily Parliament, the daily platform where men coming
from the Universities, from Science, Industry, from the experience of
life itself, dissect problems with a competence that is very seldom
found on the Parliamentary benches.

These two phenomena typical of the last period of capitalist
civilisation are those which have reduced the enormous importance which
was attributed to Parliament. To sum up, Parliament can no longer
contain all the life of the nations, because modern life is
exceptionally complicated and difficult.

But this does not mean that we wish to abolish Parliament. We wish
rather to improve it, to make it more perfect, make it a serious, if
possible a solemn institution. In fact, if I had wished to abolish
Parliament, I would not have introduced an Electoral Reform Bill. This
Bill logically presupposes the elections, and through these elections
there will be deputies—(Laughter.)—who will form Parliament. In 1924,
therefore, there will be a Parliament.

But must the Government be towed along by Parliament? Must it be at the
mercy of Parliament? Must it be without a will, or a head before
Parliament? I cannot admit that.

_The Great Fascista Council._ They say that Fascismo has created
duplicate institutions. These duplicates do not exist. The Great
Fascista Council is not a duplicate of the Council of Ministers or above
it. It met four times and never dealt with problems which concerned the
Council of Ministers. With what, then, did the Great Fascista Council
deal? In the February meeting it devoted itself to the National Militia
and Freemasonry; it paid a tribute to the Dalmatians and to the people
of Fiume, and dealt with Fascismo abroad. In the March meeting it
arranged the ceremony for the anniversary of the foundation of Rome and
dealt with Syndicalism. In its fourth meeting it devoted itself to the
Congress of Turin and again to Syndicalism.

All the great problems dealing with State administration, with the
reorganisation of armed forces, with the reform of our judiciary
circuits, with the reform of the schools, all the measures of a
financial nature have been adopted directly by the responsible body, the
Council of Ministers.

And then what is the Great Fascista Council? It is the organ of
co-ordination between the responsible forces of the Government and those
of Fascismo. Among all the organisations created after the October
revolution, the Great Fascista Council is the most characteristic, the
most useful, the most efficient. I have abolished the High
Commissioners, because they duplicated the Prefects and also embarrassed
the authority of the latter, who alone have the right to wield
authority. But I could never think of abolishing the Great Fascista
Council, not even if to-morrow by chance the Council of Ministers were
composed entirely of Fascisti.

_Our Magnanimity must not be taken advantage of!_ This Government, which
is depicted as hostile to liberty, has been perhaps too generous. The
October revolution has not been bloodless for us; we have left dozens
and dozens of dead. And who would have prevented us from doing in those
days that which all revolutions have done, from freeing ourselves once
for all from those who, taking advantage of our magnanimity, now render
our task difficult? Only the Socialists of the newspaper _La Giustizia_,
of Milan, have had the courage to recognise that if they still exist
they owe it to us, who did not wish that, in the first moments of “The
March on Rome,” the “black shirts” should be stained with Italian blood.
But _our generosity_ must not be taken advantage of!

_Nobody must hope for a Crisis in Fascismo. The Membership of Fascismo._
But nobody must hope for a crisis in Fascismo, which is and will remain
simply a formidable party. If you happen to notice that in one of its
innumerable sections in Italy there is dissension, do not thus draw the
conclusion that Fascismo is in a state of crisis. When a party holds the
Government in its hands it holds it, if it wishes to hold it, because it
possesses formidable forces to use to consolidate its power with
increasing strength. Fascismo is a Syndicalist movement which includes
one million and a half of workmen and _contadini_, who, I must say in
their praise, are those who give me no trouble. There is, moreover, a
political body which has 550,000 members, and I have asked to be
relieved of at least 150,000 of these gentlemen. (Laughter.) There is,
still, a military section of 300,000 “black shirts,” who are only
waiting to be called. These bodies are all united by a kind of moral
cement, which might be called mystic and holy, and through which, by
touching certain keys, we would hear to-morrow the sounds of certain

_The Associations which are included in Fascismo._ They ask us: “Will
you then camp out in Italy as an army of enemies which oppress the
remainder of the population?” Here we have the philosophy of force by
consent. In the meanwhile I have the pleasure to announce that imposing
masses of men who deserve all the respect of the nation have joined
Fascismo, such as the Association of the Maimed and the Disabled, the
National Association of Ex-soldiers. In the wake of Fascismo, moreover,
are also included the families of the fallen in war. There are a great
many members coming from the people in these three Associations, whilst
there is a great solidarity amongst these disabled ex-soldiers and
families of the fallen in war. They represent millions of people, and,
in the face of this collaboration, must I go and simply seek all the
fragments, all the relics of the old traditional parties? Must I sell my
spiritual birthright for a mess of pottage which might be offered to me
by those who have followed no one in the country? (Loud assent.) No! I
shall never do this.

_The Collaboration I welcome._ If there is anybody who wishes to
collaborate with me, I welcome him to my house. But if this collaborator
has the air of a controlling inquisitor, or of the expectant heir, or of
the man who lies in ambush, with the object of being able at a given
moment to record my mistakes, then I declare that I do not want to have
anything to do with this collaboration. (Bravo!)

Besides, there is a moral force in all this. What was the cause after
all which affected Italian life in past years? Italy was passing through
a transformation. There were never definite limits. Nobody had the
courage to be what he should have been.

There was the bourgeois who had Socialistic airs, there was the
Socialist who had become a bourgeois up to his finger tips. The whole
atmosphere was made up of half tones of uncertainty. Well, Fascismo
seizes individuals by their necks and tells them: “You must be what you
are. If you are a bourgeois you must remain such. You must be proud of
your class, because it has given a type to the activity of the world in
the nineteenth century. (Approval.) If you are a Socialist you must
remain such, although facing the inevitable risk you run in that
profession.” (Laughter.)

_Taxation and the Discipline of the Italian Population._ The sight which
to-day the nation offers is satisfactory, because the Government
exercises a stern and, if you like to say so, a cruel policy. It is
compelled to dismiss by thousands its officials, judges, officers,
railway men, dock-workers; and each dismissal represents a cause of
trouble, of distress, of unrest to thousands of families. The Government
has been compelled to levy taxes which unavoidably hit large sections of
the population. The Italian people are disciplined, silent and calm,
they work and know that there is a Government which governs, and know,
above all, that if this Government hits cruelly certain sections of the
Italian people, it does not do so out of caprice, but from the supreme
necessity of national order.

_The Government is One._ Above this mass of people there are the
restless groups of practising politicians. We must speak plainly. In
Italy there were several Governments which, before the present one,
always trembled before the journalist, the banker, the grand master of
Freemasonry, before the head of the Popular Party, who remains more or
less in the background,—(Applause.)—and it was enough for one of these
ministers _in partibus_ to knock at the door of the Government, for the
Government to be struck by sudden paralysis. Well, all this is over!
Many men gave themselves airs with the old Governments; those I have not
received, but have reduced them to tears. (Assent.) For the Government
is one. It knows no other Government outside its own and watches
attentively, because one must not sleep when one governs, one must not
neglect facts, one must keep before one’s eyes all the panorama, notice
all the composition and decomposition, the changes of parties and of
men. Sometimes it is necessary, as a tactical measure, to be
circumspect; but political strategy, at least mine, is intransigent and

_My only Ambition is to make the Italian People Strong, Prosperous,
Great and Free._ I should have finished; in fact I have finished, but I
must still add something that concerns me a little personally. I do not
deny to citizens what one might call the “Jus murmurandi”—the right of
grumbling. (Laughter.) But one must not exaggerate, nor raise bogies,
nor have one’s ears always open to dangers which do not exist. And,
believe me, I do not get drunk with greatness. I would like, if it were
possible, to get drunk with humility. (Approval.) I am content simply to
be a Minister, nor have I ambitions which surpass the clearly defined
sphere of my duties and of my responsibilities. And yet I, too, have an
ambition. The more I know the Italian people, the more I bow before it.
(Assent.) The more I come into deeper touch with the masses of the
Italian people, the more I feel that they are really worthy of the
respect of all the representatives of the nation. (Assent.) My ambition,
Honourable Senators, is only one. For this it does not matter if I work
fourteen or sixteen hours a day. And it would not matter if I lost my
life, and I should not consider it a greater sacrifice than is due. My
ambition is this: I wish to make the Italian people strong, prosperous,
great and free! (The end of the speech is hailed by a frantic and
delirious ovation. All the Senators rise, and the Tribune applauds
loudly, whilst the great majority of the Senators go to congratulate the
Hon. Mussolini.)

(The sitting is adjourned.)


 Speech delivered from the Palazzo della Prefettura at Sassari (Sardinia)
                            on 10th June 1923.

Citizens of Sassari! Proud people of Sardinia! The journey which I have
made to-day is not, and should not be interpreted as, a Ministerial
tour. I intended to make a pilgrimage of devotion and love to your
magnificent land.

I have been told that, since 1870 to to-day, this is the first time that
the head of the Government addresses the people of Sassari assembled in
this vast square. I deplore the fact that up to this day no Prime
Minister, no Minister, has felt the elementary duty of coming here to
get to know you, your needs, to come and express to you how much Italy
owes you! (Applause.)

For months, for years, during the long years of our bloody sacrifice and
of our sacred glory, the name of Sassari, consecrated to history by the
bulletins of war, has echoed in the soul of all Italy. Those who
followed the magnificent effort of our race, those who steeped
themselves in the filth of the trenches, young men of my
generation—proud and disdainful of death—all those who bear in their
heart the faith of their country, all those, O men of the Sassari
Brigade, O citizens of Sassari, pay you tribute of a sign, of a
testimony of infinite love. (Applause.)

What does it matter if some lazy bureaucrat has not yet taken into
account your needs? Sassari has already passed gloriously into history.
I was grieved to-day when I was told that this town has no water. It is
very sad that a city of heroes has to endure thirst. Well! I promise you
that you will have water; you have the right to have it. (Applause.) If
the National Government grants to you, as it will grant, the three or
four millions necessary for this purpose, it will only have accomplished
its duty, because while elsewhere young men with broad shoulders worked
at the lathe, the people of Sardinia fought and died in the trenches.

We intend to raise up again the towns and all the land, because he who
has contributed to the war is more entitled to receive in peace.

A few days ago, on the anniversary of the war, I went by aeroplane to
the cemeteries of the Carso. There are many of your brothers who sleep
in those cemeteries the sleep which knows no awakening. I have known
them, I have lived with them, I have suffered with them. They were
magnificent, long-suffering, they did not complain, they endured, and
when the tragic hour came for them to advance from the trenches they
were the first and never asked why. (Loud applause.)

The National Government which I have the honour to direct is a
Government which counts upon you, and you can count upon it. It is a
Government sprung forth from a double victory of the people. It cannot,
therefore, be against the working classes. It comes to you so that you
may tell it frankly and loyally what are your needs. You have been
forgotten and neglected for too long! In Rome they hardly knew of the
existence of Sardinia! But since the war has revealed you to Italy, all
Italians must remember Sardinia, not only in words, but in deeds. (Loud

I am delighted, I am deeply moved by the reception which you have given
me. I have looked you well in the face, I have recognised that you are
superb shoots of this Italian race which was great when other people
were not born, of this Italian race which three times gave our
civilisation to the barbarian world, of this Italian race which we wish
to mould by all the struggles necessary for discipline, for work, for
faith. (Applause.)

_I am sure that, as Sardinia has been great in war, so likewise will she
be great in peace._ I salute you, O magnificent sons of this rugged,
ferruginous, and so far forgotten island. I embrace all of you in
spirit. It is not the head of the Government who speaks to you, it is
the brother, the fellow-soldier of the trenches. Shout then with me:
Long live the King! Long live Italy! Long live Sardinia!

(An enthusiastic ovation greeted the last words of Mussolini.)


  Speech delivered at Cagliari (Sardinia) on 12th June 1923, from the
                       Palazzo della Prefettura.

Citizens! Black shirts! Chivalrous people of Cagliari! Of late I have
visited several towns, including those which belong to the place where I
was born. Well! I wish to tell you, and this is the truth, that no town
accorded me the welcome you gave me to-day. I knew that the town of
Cagliari was peopled by men of strong passions, I knew that an ardent
spirit of regeneration throbbed in your hearts. The cheers with which
you welcomed me, the crowd crammed into the Roman amphitheatre, all this
tells me that here Fascismo has deep roots. I thank you, therefore,
Citizens, from the depth of my heart.

I have come to Sardinia not only to know your land, as forty-eight hours
would not be enough for that purpose, and still less would they be
enough to examine closely your needs. I know them; statesmen have known
them for the last fifty years. Those needs are already before the
nation, and if up to to-day they have not yet been solved, this is due
to the fact that Rome was lacking that iron will for regeneration which
is the pivot, the essence of the Fascista Government’s faith in the
future of our country. (Applause.)

Passing through your land, I have found here a living, throbbing limb of
the mother country. Truly this island of yours is the western bulwark of
the nation; is like a heart of Rome set in the midst of our sea. Amongst
all the impressions I have received in coming here, one has struck my
heart. I was told that Sardinia, for special local reasons, was
refractory to Fascismo. Here, too, there was another misunderstanding.
But from to-day the cohorts and the legions, the thousands of strong
“black shirts,” the syndicates, the _fasci_, the whole youth of this
island is there to show that Fascismo, representing an irresistible
movement for the regeneration of the race, was bound to carry with it
this island where the Italian race is manifested so superbly.

I salute you, Black shirts! We saw each other in Rome and the groups
coming from Sardinia were cheered in the capital. You bear in your
hearts the faith which at a given moment drove thousands and thousands
of Fascisti from all the cities, from all the villages of Italy, to
Rome. (Applause.)

Nobody can ever dream of wrenching from us the fruit of victory that we
have paid for by so much blood generously shed by youths who offered
their lives in order to crush Italian Bolshevism. Thousands and
thousands of those who suffered martyrdom in the trenches, who have
resumed the struggle after the war was over, who have won—all those have
ploughed a furrow between the Italy of yesterday, of to-day and of

Citizens of Cagliari! You must certainly play a part in this great
drama. You, undoubtedly, wish to live the life of our great national
community, of this our beloved Italy, of this adorable mother who is our
dream, our hope, our faith, our conviction, because men pass away, maybe
Governments, too, but Italy lives and will never die! (Loud applause.)

To-day I have visited the marvellous works of the artificial Lake Tirso.
They are not only a glory to Sardinia, they represent a masterpiece of
which the whole nation may be proud.

I feel, almost by intuition, that Sardinia also, too long forgotten,
perhaps too patient, Sardinia to-day marches hand in hand with the rest
of Italy. Let us then salute each other, O Citizens!

After this speech of mine, which was meant to be an act of devotion, a
bond of union between us, let us salute each other by shouting: Long
live the King! (Cheers.) Long live Italy! (Cheers.) Long live Fascismo!
(Loud cheers.)


 Speech delivered at Iglesias (Sardinia), at the Palazzo Municipale, on
                            13th June 1923.

Citizens of Iglesias! Black shirts! Fascisti! Your welcome, so cordial
and so enthusiastic, surpasses any expectation. Iglesias has really been
the cradle of Sardinian Fascismo. From here sprang the first groups of
black shirts; it was, therefore, my definite duty to come and get into
touch with you.

You deserve that the Government should remember you, as in this island
there is a large reserve of faith and ardent patriotism: I go back to
Rome with my heart overcome with emotion.

Since Italy has been united this is the first time that the head of the
Government is in direct touch with the people of Sardinia.

One thing only I regret, and that is that the shortness of my visit has
not given me an opportunity of seeing more of your beautiful land. But I
formally pledge myself to come again and visit your towns and your
villages. As the head of the Government I am glad to have found myself
amongst industrious, quiet and truly patient people, who have been too
long forgotten, indeed almost considered as a far-away colony.

It is well it should be known that Sardinia is one of the first regions
of Italy, and it should be known, too, that she gave the largest
contribution of lives to our glorious victory.

As the head of the Government I am glad to find myself among the heroic
black shirts and to have seen the splendid flourishing conditions of
Fascismo, which will bring a complete regeneration to your land.

Here (said the Hon. Mussolini, putting his hand on the standard of
Iglesias, which was hoisted near him)—here is the standard, the symbol
of pure faith. I kiss it with fervour, and with the same fervour I
embrace you, O magnificent people of Sardinia. (Loud applause.)

                              IMPRISON US”

 Speech delivered at Florence from the balcony of the Palazzo Vecchio, on
                             19th June 1923.

Black shirts of Florence and Tuscany! Fascisti! People! Where shall I
find the necessary words to express the fullness of my feelings at this
moment? My words cannot but be inadequate for the purpose. Your solemn,
enthusiastic welcome stirs me to the depths of my heart. But it is
certain that it is not only to me that you pay this extraordinary
honour, but also, I think, to the idea of which I have been the
inflexible protagonist.

Florence reminds me of the days when we were few. (Deafening applause.)
Here we held the first glorious meeting of the Italian “Fasci di
Combattimento.” You remember, we had often to interrupt our meeting to
go out and drive away the base rabble. (“Bravo!” Frantic applause.) We
were few then! Well, in spite of this huge crowd here assembled, I say
that we are still few, not with regard to the enemies who have been put
to flight for ever, but with regard to the enormous tasks that lie
before our Italy. (Applause.) I said that our enemies have been put to
flight, as we shall no more do the honour of considering as enemies
certain corpses of the Italian political world—(“Bravo!”)—who delude
themselves that they still exist simply because they abuse our
generosity. Tell me, then, Black shirts of Tuscany and of Florence, were
it necessary to begin again, should we begin again? (Deafening applause
and cries of “Yes! Yes!”) This loud cry of yours, more than a promise,
is an oath which seals for ever the Italy of the past, the Italy of the
swindlers, of the deceivers, of the pusillanimous, and opens the way to
“our” Italy, the Italy whom we bear proudly in our hearts, who belongs
to us who represent the new generation who adore strength, who is
inspired by beauty, who is ready for anything when it is necessary to
sacrifice herself to struggle and to die for the ideal.

I tell you that Italy is going ahead. Two years ago, when the bestiality
of the red demagogy raged, only twenty aeroplanes entered for the
Baracca Cup. Last year they were thirty-five; this year, up to now,
ninety. And as we have regained the mastery of the air, so we do not
want the sea to imprison us. It must be, instead, the way for our
necessary expansion in the world. (Great applause.)

These, O Fascisti, Citizens, are the stupendous tasks which lie before
us. And we shall not fail in our aim if each of you will engrave in his
own heart the words by which is summed up the commandment of this
ineffable hour of our history as a people: “Work,” which little by
little must redeem us from foreign dependence; “Harmony,” which must
make of the Italians one family; “Discipline,” by which at a given
moment all Italians become one and march hand in hand towards the same

Black shirts! You feel that all the manœuvres of our adversaries tending
to sever me from you are ridiculous and grotesque. And I hope it will
not seem to you too proud a statement if I say that Fascismo, which I
have guided on the consular roads of Rome, is solidly in our
hand—(“Bravo!”)—and that if anybody should delude himself in this
respect I should only need to make a sign, to give an order: “_A noi!_”
(Deafening applause.)

Raise up your standards! They have been consecrated by the sacred blood
of our dead. When faith has thus been consecrated it cannot fail, cannot
die, _will not_ die! (Prolonged applause.)


   Speech delivered on 19th June 1923, at Florence, in the historical
      Salone dei Cinquecento, where the Municipal Council solemnly
       bestowed on Mussolini the freedom of the city of Florence.

Mr. Mayor, Councillors, People of Florence, the capital for many
centuries of Italian art,—You will notice that—on account of the honour
which you pay me—I feel moved. To be made a citizen of Florence, of this
city which has left such indelible traces on the history of humanity,
represents a memorable and dominating event in my life. I do not know if
I am really worthy of so much honour. (Cries of “Yes.” “May God preserve
you for the future of our Italy.” Applause.)

What I have done up to now is not much; but oh! Citizens of Florence, my
determination is unshakable. (“Bravo!”) Human nature, which is always
weak, may fail, but not my spirit, which is dominated by a moral and
material faith—the faith of the country.

From the moment in which Italian Fascismo raised its standards, lit its
torches, cauterised the sores which infected the body of our divine
country, we Italians, who felt proud to be Italians—(“Bravo! Bravo!”
Applause.)—are in spiritual communion through this new faith.

Citizens of Florence! I make you a promise, and be sure I shall keep it!
I promise you—and God is my witness in this moment of the purity of my
faith—I promise you that I shall continue now and always to be a humble
servant of our adored Italy! (Prolonged applause.)


  Speech delivered in Rome on 25th June 1923, from Palazzo Venezia, in
      commemoration of the anniversary of the Battle of the Piave.

Fellow-Soldiers!—After your ranks, so well disciplined and of such fine
bearing, have marched past His Majesty the King, the intangible symbol
of the country, after the austere ceremony in its silent solemnity
before the tomb of the Unknown Warrior, after this formidable display of
sacred strength, words from me are absolutely superfluous, and I do not
intend to make a speech. The march of to-day is a manifestation full of
significance and warning. A whole people in arms has met to-day in
spirit in the Eternal City. It is a whole people who, above unavoidable
party differences, finds itself strongly united when the safety of the
common Motherland is at stake.

On the occasion of the Etna eruption, national solidarity was
wonderfully manifested; from every town, every village, one might say
from every hamlet, a fraternal heart-throb went out to the land stricken
by calamity.

To-day tens of thousands of soldiers, thousands of standards, with men
coming to Rome from all parts of Italy and from the far-away Colonies,
from abroad, bear witness that the unity of the Italian nation is an
accomplished and irrevocable fact.

After seven months of Government, to talk to you, my comrades of the
trenches, is the highest honour which could fall to my lot. And I do not
say this in order to flatter you, nor to pay you a tribute which might
seem formal on an occasion like this. I have the right to interpret the
thoughts of this meeting, which gathers to listen to my words as an
expression of solidarity with the national Government. (Cries of
assent.) Let us not utter useless and fantastical words. Nobody attacks
the sacred liberty of the Italian people. But I ask you: Should there be
liberty to maim victory? (Cries of “No! no!”) Should there be liberty to
strike at the nation? Should there be liberty for those who have as
their programme the overthrow of our national institutions? (Cries of
“No! no!”) I repeat what I explicitly said before. I do not feel myself
infallible, I feel myself a man like you.

I do not repulse, I cannot, I shall not repulse any loyal and sincere

Fellow-soldiers! The task which weighs on my shoulders, but also on
yours, is simply immense, and to it we shall be pledged for many years.
It is, therefore, necessary not to waste, but to treasure and utilise
all the energies which could be turned to the good of our country. Five
years have passed since the battle of the Piave, from that victory on
which it is impossible to sophisticate either within or beyond the
frontier. It is necessary to proclaim, for you who listen to me, and
also for those who read what I say, that the _victory of the Piave was
the deciding factor of the war_.... On the Piave the Austro-Hungarian
Empire went to pieces, from the Piave started its flight on white wings
the victory of the people in arms. The Government means to exalt the
spiritual strength which rises out of the victory of a people in arms.
It does not mean to disperse them, because it represents the sacred seed
of the future. The more distant we get from those days, from that
memorable victory, the more they seem to us wonderful, the more the
victory appears enveloped in a halo of legend. In such a victory
everybody would wish to have taken part!

_We must win the Peace!_ Too late somebody perceived that when the
country is in danger the duty of all citizens, from the highest to the
lowest, is only one: to fight, to suffer and, if needs be, to die!

We have won the war, we have demolished an Empire which threatened our
frontiers, stifled us and held us for ever under the extortion of armed
menace. History has no end. Comrades! The history of peoples is not
measured by years, but by tens of years, by centuries. This
manifestation of yours is an infallible sign of the vitality of the
Italian people.

The phrase “we must win the peace” is not an empty one. It contains a
profound truth. Peace is won by harmony, by work and by discipline. This
is the new gospel which has been opened before the eyes of the new
generations who have come out of the trenches; a gospel simple and
straightforward, which takes into account all the elements, which
utilises all the energies, which does not lend itself to tyrannies of
grotesque exclusivism, because it has one sole aim, a common aim: the
greatness and the salvation of the nation!

Fellow-soldiers! You have come to Rome, and it is natural, I dare to
say, fated! Because Rome is always, as it will be to-morrow and in the
centuries to come, the living heart of our race! It is the imperishable
symbol of our vitality as a people. Who holds Rome, holds the nation!

_The “Black Shirts” buried the Past._ I assure you, my fellow-soldiers,
that my Government, in spite of the manifest or hidden difficulties,
will keep its pledges. It is the Government of Vittorio Veneto. You feel
it and you know it. And if you did not believe it, you would not be here
assembled in this square. Carry back to your towns, to your lands, to
your houses, distant but near to my heart, the vigorous impression of
this meeting.

Keep the flame burning, because that which has not been, may be, because
if victory was maimed once, it does not follow that it can be maimed a
second time! (Loud cheers, repeated cries of “We swear it!”)

I keep in mind your oath. I count upon you as I count upon all good
Italians, but I count, above all, upon you, because you are of my
generation, because you have come out from the bloody filth of the
trenches, because you have lived and struggled and suffered in the face
of death, because you have fulfilled your duty and have the right to
vindicate that to which you are entitled, not only from the material but
from the moral point of view. I tell you, I swear to you, that the time
is passed for ever when fighters returning from the trenches had to be
ashamed of themselves, the time when, owing to the threatening attitudes
of Communists, the officers received the cowardly advice to dress in
plain clothes. (Applause.) All that is buried. You must not forget, and
nobody forgets, that seven months ago fifty-two thousand armed “black
shirts” came to Rome to bury the past! (Loud cheers.)

Soldiers! Fellow-Soldiers! Let us raise before our great unknown comrade
the cry, which sums up our faith: Long live the King! Long live Italy,
victorious, impregnable, immortal! (Loud cheers, whilst all the flags
are raised and waved amidst the enthusiasm of the immense crowd in the


               Speech by the American Ambassador to Rome.

  On the 28th June 1923 the Italo-American Association held in Rome a
  banquet in honour of Mr. Richard Washburn Child, American Ambassador
  to Italy, and of the Hon. Mussolini, President of the Italian
  Council. The two distinguished guests delivered the following
  speeches,[14] which have a special importance, both with regard to
  Fascismo and to Italo-American relations.

Footnote 14:

    The two speeches have been courteously given at his request to
    Baron Quaranta di San Severino for publication by the American
    Ambassador, Richard Washburn Child.

  The object of this meeting was clearly explained by the Hon. Baron
  Sardi, Italian Under-Secretary of State for Public Works, in an
  appropriate address to the illustrious guests (published in full by
  the Bulletin of the Library for American Studies in Italy, No. 5),
  in which, after having thanked them in the name of Senator Ruffini,
  President of the Association, still detained on account of important
  duties in Geneva, and also in the name of the other members, for the
  honour they conferred on the Society by their presence, went on to
  lay stress on the purpose for which the Association exists, namely,
  to promote a better reciprocal understanding between the American
  and Italian peoples through the manifold activities of their
  respective countries.

  The Hon. Sardi announced that during the summer months of this year
  courses of preparation will be inaugurated again for American
  students who wish to come and visit our country and study our
  language, literature and history, while for next October, under the
  patronage of the American Ambassador and the Italian Premier, with
  the co-operation of American and Italian professors, special
  industrial and commercial courses are in preparation. The American
  students will be able to benefit by the use of the valuable library
  of the Association, which is daily enriched by the competent work of
  Commendatore Harry Nelson Gay and his collaborators.

  The Hon. Sardi, after referring to the fraternity of arms, which
  during the Great War brought together the soldiers of Italy and
  America, said that, having returned now to the peaceful spheres of
  industry and culture, these forms of effort contribute strongly to
  cement between the two countries that spiritual fraternity which
  arises out of a better mutual acquaintance with the respective
  virtues and qualities and a clearer realisation of our aspirations.

  The orator concluded by expressing the wish that the Italo-American
  Association, by the indissoluble union of cultured minds, might be
  able to intensify the bonds already uniting the United States of
  America and Italy.

Mr. President and Gentlemen,—It is my privilege to propose a toast to
the King and to the spirit of an Italy now stronger and more united than
ever before.

I wish to express the earnest hope that my country and yours will
continue to stand together in upholding ideals which make men strong
instead of tolerating those which make men weak.

During the last eight months Italy has made an extraordinary
contribution to the whole world by raising ideals of human courage,
discipline, and responsibility. I would be unfaithful to my beliefs and
to those of hosts of Americans if I failed to acknowledge the part
played by your President of Council, Mussolini, with the people of
Italy, in giving to all mankind an example of courageous national
organisation founded upon the disciplined responsibility of the
individual to the State, upon the abandonment of false hopes in feeble
doctrines, and upon appeal to the full vigorous strength of the human

We have heard a great deal in the last few years about the menace which
war brings before the face of the world. I am confident that my people
and your people are willing to act together to contribute anything
possible to reduce the dangers of war, but I hold the belief, and I
think your Premier holds the belief, that worse menaces than war now
oppose the progress of mankind. Folly and weakness and decay are worse.

These menaces of weakness are often fostered by men of good intentions,
who talk about the need to rescue mankind and about the necessity to
establish the rights of mankind.

I want to see leaders of men who, instead of teaching humanity to look
outside themselves for help, will teach humanity that it has power
within itself to relieve its own distress. I want to see leaders who,
instead of telling men of their rights, will lead them to take a full
share of their responsibilities.

I do not doubt that the spirit of benevolence is a precious possession
of mankind, but a more precious possession is the spirit which raises
the strength of humanity so that benevolence itself becomes less of a
necessity. He who makes himself strong and calls upon others to be
strong is even more kind and loving of the world than he who encourages
men to seek dependence on forces outside themselves or upon
impracticable plans for new social structures. I do not doubt the good
faith of many of those who put forth theories of new arrangements of
social, economic and international structure, but they may all be sure
that more important than any of these theories is individual
responsibility and the growth and spread of self-reliance in the home
and in the nation.

I do not doubt that we, Italians and Americans, have a full appreciation
of the pity which we ought to confer upon weak or wailing groups or
nations or races which clamour for help or favour; but I trust that,
even in the competition of peace or war, I shall be the last ever to
believe that weak groups or nations or races are superior or are more
worthy of my affection than those who mind their own business with
industry, strength and courage, and stand upon their own strong legs.

I do not question the motives of many of those who, feeling affectionate
regard for the welfare of their fellow-men, hope for a structure of
society in which international bodies shall hand down benefactions to
communities, and communities shall hand down benefactions to
individuals. I merely point out that some nations, such as yours and
mine, are beginning to believe that these ideas come out of thoughts
which, though easily adopted, are the offspring of a marriage of
benevolence with ignorance. In any structure of society which can
command our respect and our faith the current of responsibility runs the
other way. The doctrine that the world’s strength arises from the
responsibility of the individual is a sterner doctrine. The leaders of
men who insist upon it are those who will be owed an eternal debt by

The strength of society must come from the bottom upward. The world
needs now more than anything else the doctrine that the first place to
develop strength is at home, the first duty is the nearest duty. A
strong co-operation of nations can only be made of nations which are
strong nations, a strong nation can only be made of good and strong

When one makes the _fasces_, the first requirement is to find the
individual rods, straight, strong and wiry, such as you have found, Mr.
President, and so skilfully bound together in the strength of unity. But
if they had been rotten sticks you could not have made the _fasces_.
Unity in action would have been impossible. The rotten sticks would have
fallen to pieces in your fingers.

Mr. President, what the world needs is not better theories and dreams,
but better men to carry them out. The world needs a spirit which thinks
first of responsibilities before it thinks of rights. It was this spirit
which you have done so much to awaken into new life in Italy.

Not long ago I heard a speech made by a foreigner in Italy who is used
to dealing with economic statistics. He was trying to account for the
new life in Italy on the basis of comparative statistics. I told him he
could not do it until he could produce statistics of the human spirit. I
told him he could not account for everything in Italy until he could
reduce to statistics that wonderful record of the human spirit which in
scarcely more than half a century has created the new Italy. I told him
he would have to account for the number of Italians who in 1848 and
1859, in the Great War and 1923, had a cause for which they were willing
to die. I told him that I was always a nationalist before I was an
internationalist, and I would go on being a nationalist, believing in
the spirit of strong and upright and generous nationalism, and believing
not in theorising nations or whining peoples, but in nations and peoples
who develop a national spirit so finely tempered that they offer to the
world an example of organisation, discipline and fair play, because they
themselves are upright and strong men and can contribute valuably to
international co-operation. I said to him that when he could produce
statistics on human virtues and human spirit he would be nearer to
understanding what made progress in the world. I asked him if he had
figures to show the difference between nations which breed men who are
ready to die for their beliefs and nations which produce no such men. I
asked him to put his figures back in his pocket and go out and talk to
the youth of Italy.

Mr. President, the youth of Italy, as in any other country, are the
trustees of the spirit of to-morrow. It is a fact which goes almost
unnoticed, that the training of masses of youth in the spirit of
discipline and fair competition and of loyalty to a cause is largely to
be found in athletic games. It is a fact which almost always is
forgotten, that nations of history or those of to-day which have engaged
in athletic games are the strong nations, and those which have had no
athletics are the weak nations. It is a fact almost neglected that
nations which can express their spirit of competition in athletics are
the nations which have the least destructive restlessness within and are
the most fair and, indeed, are the most restrained in their dealings
with other nations.

Athletic games teach the lesson that every man who competes must win by
reason of his own virtue. No help can come from without. There is no
special privilege for anyone. He who wins does so by merit alone.
Athletic games, whenever they are carried on by teams, teach the lesson
that the individual must put aside his own interests for the good of his
group. There must be a voluntary submission to discipline and absolute
loyalty to a captain in order to avoid the humiliation of
disorganisation and defeat.

Athletic games are not for the weak and complaining, but for the strong
and for the lovers of fair play.

Finally, they furnish oft-repeated lessons of the truth that when flesh
and muscles and material agencies seem about to fail, human will and
human spirit can work miracles of victory.

Because I believe in these ideals for my own country and for yours, I
offer through you, for the purposes which the Olympic Committee of Italy
will set forth, a small but friendly token of my deep interest in the
youth of Italy. (Loud applause.)


Mr. Ambassador,—The discourse which your Excellency has pronounced at
this reunion strengthens the bonds of sympathy and fraternity between
Italy and America, and has profoundly interested me in my capacity as an
Italian and as a Fascista. As an Italian, because you have spoken frank
words of cordial approval of the Government which I have the honour to
direct. I have no need to add that this cordiality is reciprocated by me
and by all Italians. There is no doubt that the elements for a practical
collaboration between the two countries exist. It is only a question of
organising this collaboration. Some things have been done, but more
remain to be done.

I will not surprise your Excellency if I point out, without going into
particulars, a problem which concerns us directly. I speak of the
problem of emigration. I limit myself only to saying that Italy would
greet with satisfaction an opening in the somewhat rigid meshes of the
Immigration Bill, so that there could be an increase in Italian
emigration to North America, and would greet with similar satisfaction
the employment of American capital in Italian enterprises. As a
Fascista, the words of your Excellency have interested me because they
reveal an exact understanding of the phenomenon and of our movement, and
constitute a sympathetic and powerful vindication of it. This fact is
the more remarkable because the Fascismo movement is so complex that the
mind of a stranger is not always the best adapted to understand it. You,
Mr. Ambassador, constitute the most brilliant exception to this rule.
Your discourse, I say, contains all the philosophy of Fascismo and of
the Fascismo endeavour, interwoven with an exaltation of strength, of
beauty, of discipline, of authority, and of the sense of responsibility.
You have been able to show, Mr. Ambassador, that in spite of the
numerous difficulties of the general situation, Fascismo has kept faith
to its promises given before the “March on Rome.” The time intervening
since those promises were made has been short, so that only a stupid
person would pretend that the work is already completed. I limit myself
to saying that I find corroboration by your Excellency that it is well

I am certain, Mr. Ambassador, that all Italians will read with emotion
the words which you have pronounced on this memorable occasion. I ask
you especially to believe this. I have heard, just now, not a discourse
in the manner and strain of an ordinary conventional speech, but a clear
and inspiring exposition of the conception of life and history which
animates Italian Fascismo. I do not believe that I exaggerate when I say
that this conception finds strong and numerous partisans even on the
other side of the ocean, among the citizens of a people who have not the
thousands of years of history behind them which we have, but who march
to-day in the vanguard of human progress. In this affinity of
conceptions I find the solid basis for the fraternal understanding
between Italy and America. The announcement that you, Mr. Ambassador,
are giving a wreath of gold to the Italian youth who will be victor in
the next Olympic competition games will win the hearts of all Italian
athletes, and of these there are, as you know, innumerable legions.

I thank your Excellency in the name of Italian youth, almost all of whom
have put on the “black shirt,” especially the young athletes, and, at
the same time that I encourage the Italo-American Society to persevere
in the execution of its splendid programme, I declare that my Government
will do whatever is necessary to develop and strengthen the economic and
political relations between the United States and Italy.

I raise my glass to the health of President Harding and the fortunes of
the great American people. (Loud applause.)


  Speech delivered 2nd July 1923 in Rome, at the Palazzo Venezia,
  before the schoolboys of Trieste, Nicastro, Castelgandolfo, Vetralla
  and Perugia and their masters, who were accompanied by
  representatives of the Roman “balillas,” and had come to Rome to pay
  homage at the tomb of the “Unknown Warrior,” before which they laid
  a wreath of beaten iron and kneeling repeated the oath of love and
  loyalty to the King and the Country. The Hon. Mussolini with the
  Minister of War, General Diaz; the Under-Secretary of State for the
  Presidency, Hon. Acerbo; General De Bono, the Director General of
  Police; Signor Lombardo Radice, the Director General of Primary
  Schools, and other officials, greeted them. The Hon. Mussolini thus
  addressed the meeting:

On this radiant morning you have offered the capital a magnificent
spectacle. Romans, having lived through many millenniums of history, are
rather slow in being impressed by events and are not easily to be
carried away by excessive enthusiasm. They have certainly however been
filled to-day with admiration at this scene of promising youth which has
been offered them by the schoolboys here gathered from all parts of
Italy and especially from the “Venezia Giulia,” particularly dear to the
heart of all Italians. It was well said that in the dark pre-war days
the schools of the National League and in general the schools entrusted
to Italian masters represented the centre around which were nursed the
hopes and the faith of the Italian race. I am glad to express to you the
feelings of my brotherly sympathy. I am pleased to add that the National
Government, the Fascista Government, holds in high esteem the scholarly
characteristics and has deep respect for the teachers of all grades, of
all schools.

The Fascista Government feels and knows that the _greatness of the
country, to which all of us must consecrate the best of our energies,
will be achieved by the new generations_.

You (continued the Hon. Mussolini, turning especially to the masters),
you must be the artificers—as you show you are—of this great Italian

The task falls on you of blending together in increasing intimacy the
intellectual life of the Italians who were slaves to Austria with that
of the Italians who rose and sacrificed themselves by hundreds of
thousands to break their fetters.

You passed before the Unknown Warrior, and you certainly gathered his
spirit; take it to Trieste near the other great spirit of him who was
the forerunner of your liberation and of ours: Guglielmo Oberdan! (Loud


      Speech delivered 3rd July 1923, at the Council of Ministers.

Honourable Ministers and Colleagues,—From my last detailed declarations
of Foreign Policy made at the Senate up to to-day the salient events of
international politics are the following:

_The Bulgarian Coup d’état._ The first is the Bulgarian _coup d’état_,
following which the opponents of the Fascista Government fell into
certain paradoxical misunderstandings. The end of Stambuliski and the
advent of Zankoff aroused a certain ferment in some of the countries of
the Little Entente. Italy at once took a moderating action in the right
quarters and the complications feared were averted.

_The Treaty of Lausanne._ The signing of the Peace Treaty of Lausanne
seems imminent.

_The Situation in the Ruhr._ In the last few days the situation in the
Ruhr has become aggravated. On one side the passive resistance
continues; on the other, the occupation is extended and intensified by
measures of a nature increasingly political and military. A general
repercussion of this crisis, which seems to have reached its acute
stage, is felt by the European exchanges, which are all falling, not
excluding the English sovereign, as compared with the dollar.

The attempt made by the Pope, so noble in its humanitarian and European
aims, has not modified the situation. On the day after the letter to
Cardinal Gasparri there was, on the part of the French, Poincaré’s
speech, which had the unanimous approval of the Senate, and, on the same
day, the fearful act of “sabotage” which cost the lives of many Belgian
soldiers. All this does not represent a _détente_ but an aggravation of
the situation.

In the meanwhile, following the solution of the Belgian crisis, it has
been possible to resume diplomatic action. Italy participates directly
in it, and as soon as she sees the problem on its way to complete
solution, will signify her consent to those propositions of the
Memorandum of London, from which none of the projects presented
afterwards has departed, that is to say: connection of the problem of
Reparations with that of Inter-Allied debts; sufficient moratorium to
Germany; the fixing of a definite amount; rational scheme for payment;
solid guarantees of an economic nature and, hence, renunciation on the
part of France of the territorial occupation of the Ruhr.

As for passive resistance, the Italian Government thinks that it is not
in Germany’s interest to prolong it, because she cannot hope to weaken
France nor can she delude herself that she may obtain outside help.

It is certainly necessary urgently to hasten the possibility of an
agreement, as the occupation of the Ruhr has weighed heavily on the
economic life of Europe, delaying its recovery.

_Fiume._ As to the question of Fiume, representations have been made to
Belgrade so that negotiations might be conducted more equably, in view
of the situation of the town and of the necessity of putting on a normal
footing the relations between the two countries. (The Council approves
the declarations of the Hon. Mussolini.)

                       THE ELECTORAL REFORM BILL

     Speech delivered at the Chamber of Deputies on 16th July 1923.

Honourable Gentlemen,—I should have preferred to speak to this Assembly
on that question of Foreign Policy which at this moment interests Italy
and fills the world with excitement: I mean the Ruhr. I should have
proved that the action of Italy is autonomous, and is inspired by the
protection of our interests and also by the need generally felt to get
out of a crisis which impoverishes and humiliates our continent.
(Assent.) I promise myself to do so shortly, if the Chamber does not
have the whim to-day of dying before its time. (Laughter and prolonged
comments.) My speech will be calm and measured, although fundamentally
forceful. It will be composed of two parts: one that I should like to
call “negative,” and another which I shall call “positive.”

After all, I am not sorry that the discussion has gone, little or far,
beyond the limits in which it could have been confined. The discussion
on the Electoral Bill has offered opportunity to the Opposition to
reveal itself, to move, from all its sections, from all its benches, to
an attack against the policy and the political system of my Government.
It will not surprise you, therefore, if, although not entering into
details of all the speeches, I pick out from what has been said by the
principal speakers those arguments and those propositions which I must
definitely refute.

_Warning to the Popular Party._ As the speech by the Hon. Petrillo was
favourable to the Government, it is not worth while to busy ourselves
with it. (Laughter.)

I shall give my attention to the speech delivered by the Hon. Gronchi,—a
speech fine as regards its form, and perhaps still finer as regards its
contents. The Hon. Gronchi has once again offered the Government a
collaboration of convenience, as in those _mariages de convenance_ which
do not last or which end in ceaseless yawns. (Comment.)

Your collaboration, Gentlemen of the Popular Party, largely consists of
details omitted. Your party, too, shows the same weakness. You should
set to work and clear them up.

I do not know for how long these elements who wish to collaborate
legally with the National Government can still remain united with your
party, together with those who would wish to do so but cannot, because
their inmost feelings do not allow them this step and this
collaboration. You certainly know me well enough to understand that, as
far as political discussion goes, I am intransigent. The small fry of
the two-fifths and of the three-quarters or some other fraction of this
electoral arithmetic does not interest nor concern me. Politics cannot
be compared to a retail business. (Assent and comment.) To be or not to
be! I am such a poor electoralist that I could even let you have the
thirty or forty deputies who satisfy you; but I do not give them to you,
as this would be immoral, because it would represent a transaction which
must be repugnant to your conscience, as it is to mine. (Assent and
comment.) In fact, I cannot accept a kind of Malthusian collaboration!
(Laughter and approval.)

_The Russian and the Italian Revolutions both tend to overcome all
Ideologies._ The speech delivered by the Hon. Labriola was certainly
powerful. He said that Ministerial crises are a substitute for
revolution. He should have said “Ersatz,” because substitutes, since
the war, are of German origin. That is too like the opinion of a
herbalist to be accepted. It may be that the want of Ministerial
crises leads to revolution, but here you have an example that shows
how excessive Ministerial crises lead also to revolution. But, above
all, it astounded me to hear the Hon. Labriola still employ the old
vocabulary of second-class Socialist literature, speaking of
bourgeoisie and proletariat—two entities clearly defined and
perpetually in a state of antagonism. It is certainly true that there
is not one bourgeoisie, but there are, perhaps, twenty-four or
forty-eight bourgeoisies and under-bourgeoisies. The same can be said
of the proletariat. What relation can there be between a workman of
the “Fiat” factory—specialised, refined, with tendencies and tastes
already bourgeois, who earns thirty to fifty lire a day—what relation
can there be between this so-called proletarian and the poor peasant
of Southern Italy, who despairingly scrapes his land burnt by the sun?
(Assent and comments.)

The Hon. Labriola has said that only the proletariat can give itself the
luxury of a dictatorship. This is a mistake which is proved and can be
proved. The only example of dictatorship is offered us by Russia. But
the Hon. Labriola has written dozens of articles to prove that
dictatorship does not exist in Russia and that dictatorship is not “of”
but “upon” the proletariat. All those who govern the Russian States are
professors, lawyers, economists, literary men, men of talent; that is to
say, men coming from the professional classes, from the bourgeoisie.

The fault which the Hon. Labriola lays on us, finding an analogy between
the methods and the evolution of the Russian and of the Italian
revolution, does not exist. And here I make a simple statement of
historical order. It is a fact that both revolutions tend to destroy all
the ideologies and in a certain sense the Liberal and Democratic
institutions which were the outcome of the French Revolution.

_Italy pulled herself together after Caporetto, because the necessary
Discipline of War was imposed on her._ During the last few days use and
abuse of a polemic method have been made, that of unearthing the
writings and opinions of the past to employ them as a weapon in the
present dispute. This is a very wretched system which I am going to use
against those who have adopted it.

In his speech the Hon. Alessio has stated that the defeat of the Central
Empires was due to the deficiency of their representative organs. This
is a totally one-sided explanation. There has been a war; millions of
men have fought against the Central Empires and defeated them. Another
mistake is to say that after Caporetto Italy pulled herself together
because she had regained her liberty. Nothing of the kind! The reason is
that the necessary war discipline was imposed upon her. (Loud applause
on the Right.) I am not one of those who think that Caporetto was due
entirely to the disintegration of the country in rear of the fighting
front. It was a military reverse in its causes and development; but
there is no doubt that the atmosphere of the country, an atmosphere of
leniency and of excessive tolerance, has produced disturbing moral
phenomena which must have contributed to our reverse.

_The Dawn of Italian Risorgimento came from the Bourgeoisie of Naples._
The other statement made by the Hon. Alessio, that the Italian
Risorgimento represented the efforts of the Italian lower classes, is
superficial. Alas! it is not so. The Italian lower classes were absent
and often hostile to it. The first dawn of the Italian Risorgimento came
from Naples, from that bourgeoisie of intelligent and gallant
professional men which in Southern Italy represents a class
historically, politically and morally well-defined. (Applause and
assent.) Those who at Nola in 1821 hoisted the standard of revolution
against the Bourbons were two cavalry officers. All the noble
martyrology of the Italian Risorgimento is formed out of elements of the
bourgeoisie. Nothing is sadder than the useless sacrifice of the
Bandiera brothers. And when you think of the tragedy of Carlo Pisacane
you are thrilled! (Applause.) I should like to deny that Giuseppe
Mazzini himself can be included in Democracy. His methods were certainly
not democratic. He was very consistent in his aims, but how many times
was he not incoherent and changeable in his means?

_The Expedition to the Crimea really prepared the way for the Unity of
Italy._ And what about Cavour? I think that the event which really
prepared the way for the unity of the country was the expedition to the
Crimea,—(Comment.)—which represents one of the most noteworthy in
history. I recall it because it shows how in solemn hours the decision
is left to one man, who must consult only his own conscience. (Applause
and comment.) When General Dabormida refused to sign the Treaty of
Alliance with France and with England, Cavour, on the same evening of
the 1st of January 1855, signed it without consulting Parliament or the
Council of Ministers, and signed it above all at his discretion without
imposing any condition whatsoever. It was a stroke of rashness that you
might call sublime. Cavour himself recognised it, and when writing to
Count Oldofredi, he said: “I have taken a tremendous responsibility on
my shoulders. It does not matter. Let happen what may. My conscience
tells me that I have fulfilled a sacred duty!”

When the soldiers of the small and valiant Piedmont were on the point of
leaving, the discussion in the Subalpine Parliament took place, and
Angelo Brofferio, a kind of Cavallotti of the time,—(Comment.)—accused
Cavour of not having a definite political line of conduct. It is really
worth while to read part of this speech, because it closely recalls the
speeches which during the present week have been made in this hall.

“Our Ministers,” said Angelo Brofferio, “represent all ideas and all
convictions. At one time they become Conservatives and withhold the Jury
from the Press; another time they ape the Democrats and raise cries
against usurpations of Rome; still another time they throw off the mask
and become retrogrades in order to unite with Austria!”

Angelo Brofferio ends with these really singular words: “Where is in
this system respect for convention and for constitutional morality?”
and, referring to the Treaty, he added: “May God preserve us from that
sinister eventuality! But if you agree to this Treaty, the prostitution
of Piedmont and the ruin of Italy will be accomplished facts!”

It is curious, also, that another powerful ideologist, certainly sacred
to the memory of all Italians, Giuseppe Mazzini, was very much against
this Treaty, even to the extent of calling “deported” the Piedmontese
soldiers who were leaving for the Crimea and of inciting them to desert!
But Garibaldi, a far more practical leader, had an intuition of the
fundamental importance of the Treaty of Alliance between Piedmont and
Western Powers. “Italy,” said Garibaldi, “should lose no opportunity of
unfurling her flag on the battlefield which might recall to European
nations her political existence.”

To-day you certainly all agree in recognising that history has shown
that Angelo Brofferio was in the wrong and Camillo Benso, Count of
Cavour, was entirely in the right. (Assent.)

_The Moral Unity of the Italian People._ The speech delivered by the
Hon. Amendola is, after that of the Hon. Labriola, more worthy of being
analysed. He said: “The Italian people are affected by a moral and
spiritual crisis, which is certainly connected with our intervention,
with the war, and with the after-war period,” and he concluded by
suggesting that it is necessary to give to this Italian people its moral
unity. Well, we must be clear. What means “moral unity of the Italian
people”? A minimum common denominator, a common field for action, in
which all the National Parties meet and understand each other, a general
levelling of all opinions, of all convictions, of all parties? For me it
is sufficient that moral unity should exist in certain decisive hours of
the life of the people. We cannot expect to have it on all days and on
all questions. On the other hand I firmly believe that this moral,
fundamental unity of the Italian people is already at work. We ourselves
see it realised, perhaps not so much by our political work as by the
war, which has made Italians know one another, and has thrown them
together, making of this small peninsula of ours a kind of family.

Many local boundaries which separated provinces and regions have
disappeared. Now we must complete the work. The Hon. Bentini, speaking
of the freedom of the Press, to which subject we will return later,
quoted the episode of Garibaldi and Dumas. I fully approve the answer
given by Garibaldi. But I ask you—if the newspaper _Indipendente_ had,
by chance, published news concerning the movements of the Garibaldian
troops or discrediting the military action, do you think that Garibaldi
would not have suppressed that paper? (Assent and comment.)

_We have the Power—we shall hold it and defend it against all!_ But in
the speech by the Hon. Bentini, what is particularly singular is the
confusion between tactics and political strategy. To-day it is possible
to win many battles and the war can be lost or won. What happened? You
had brilliant tactical results, but afterwards you had not the courage
of undertaking what was necessary to reach the final goal. You conquered
a great many outlying communes, provinces and institutions, and you did
not understand that all this was perfectly useless if, at a given
moment, you had not become masters of the brains, of the heart of the
nation,—(Interruptions on the Extreme Left.)—if, that is to say, you had
not the courage of making use of a political strategy. To-day your
chance is over, and do not delude yourselves!

History offers certain chances only once. (Assent on the Extreme Right.)
But to understand this law it is necessary, Honourable Gentlemen, to
keep before you two very simple considerations, and they are these:
there has been a war which has shifted interests, which has modified
ideas, which has exasperated feelings, and there has also been a
revolution. To make a revolution it is not necessary to play the great
drama of the arena. We have left many dead on the roads to Rome and
naturally anybody who deludes himself is a fool. _We have the power and
we shall hold it. We shall defend it against anybody!_

The revolution lies in this firm determination to hold power! (Assent
and comment.)

_The Italian People under the Domination of a Liberticidal Government,
groaning under the Fetters of Slavery?_ And now I come to the practical
side of the discussion.

They speak of liberty. But what is this liberty? Does liberty exist?
After all, it represents a philosophical and moral concept. There are
various manifestations of liberty. Liberty never existed. The Socialists
have always denied it. The liberty of work has never been admitted by
you. You have beaten the blackleg when he presented himself at the
factories when the other workmen were on strike. (Applause:
interruptions by the Extreme Left.)

But then is it really true and proved that the Italian people are under
the domination of a liberticidal Government, and groans in the fetters
of slavery? Is mine a liberticidal Government?

In the social field, No! I had the courage to transform the eight hours
day into a law of the State. (Comments on the Extreme Left.) Do not
despise this victory; do not undervalue it. (Assent.) I have approved
all the social and pacifist Conventions of Washington. What has this
Government done in the political field? It is said that Democracy lies
where suffrage is widened. Well, this Government has maintained
universal suffrage. And, although Italian women, who are intelligent
enough to exact it, had not done so, I have given it, be it only as
regards the municipal elections to from six to eight millions of women!
No exceptional laws were passed,—(Comments on the Extreme Left.)—and the
regulation of the Press is not an exceptional law.

You forget a very simple thing, that the revolution has the right of
defending itself. (Approval from the Right: comments.) Is there in
Russia liberty of association for those who are not Bolshevists? No! Is
there liberty of Press for them? No! Is there liberty of meeting, of
vote? No! (Applause: comments on the Extreme Left.) You who are the
defenders of the Russian régime have not the right to protest against a
régime like mine, which cannot, even distantly, be compared with that of
the Bolshevists. (Approval on the Right: comments on the Left.)

I am not, Gentlemen, a despot who remains locked up in a castle
protected by strong walls. I circulate freely amongst the people without
any concern whatsoever, and I listen to them. (Loud assent.) Well, the
Italian people, up to now, have not asked for liberty. (Assent on the
Right: comments on the Extreme Left.) At Messina the population which
surrounded my carriage said: “Take us out of these wooden huts.”
(Assent.) In Sardinia—(you will notice that I am speaking of a region
where Fascismo has not tens of thousands of followers as in Lombardy)—in
Sardinia, at Arbatax, men came to me with drawn faces; they surrounded
me and, pointing out to me a track with a putrid river among the marshy
reeds, said to me: “Malaria is killing us!” They did not speak to me of
liberty, of the Statute, of the Constitution. It is the emigrants of the
Fascista revolution who create this idol which the Italian people, and
now, too, foreign public opinion, has largely dismantled. (Loud applause
on the Right.)

Every day I receive dozens of Committees, and hundreds of applications
are flung on my desk, in which one might say that the urgent needs of
each of the eight thousand communes of Italy are represented.

Well, why should all those not come to me and say: “We suffer because
you oppress us”? But there is a reason, a fact to which I wish to draw
your attention. You say that the ex-soldiers fought for liberty. How
does it happen, then, that these ex-soldiers are in favour of a
liberticidal Government? (Applause.)

Are force and consent antagonistic elements? Not at all! In force there
is already consent, and consent is force in itself and for itself.

But tell me, have you found on the face of the earth a Government, of
whatsoever kind, which claimed to make happy all the people it governed?
But this would mean the squaring of the circle! Whatever Government, be
it even directed by men participating in the Divine wisdom, whatever
measure it takes, will make some people discontented. And how can you
check this discontent? By force! What is the State? It is the police.
All your codes of law, the laws themselves, all your doctrines are
nothing if, at a given moment, the police by their physical strength do
not make felt the indestructible weight of the law. (Comments and

_We do not want to abolish Parliament._ They say that we want to abolish
Parliament. No! It is not true. First of all, we do not know what we
could substitute for it. (Comment.) Parliaments, the so-called Technical
Councils, are still in the embryonic stage.

Maybe they represent some principles of life. With such subjects one can
never be dogmatic or explicit; but, in the face of to-day’s state of
affairs, they represent only attempts. Maybe that in a second stage it
may be possible to allot to these Technical Councils a portion of the
legislative work.

But, Gentlemen, I beg you to consider that Fascismo is in favour of
elections. That is to say, it calls for the elections, in order to
conquer the communes and the provinces. It has called for them in order
to send Deputies to Parliament; it does not, therefore, seek to abolish
Parliament. On the contrary, as I said before and I repeat it, the
Government wants to make of Parliament a more serious, if not more
solemn institution: it wants, if possible, to bridge over that hiatus
which undeniably exists between Fascismo and the country.

_Fascismo is not a transitory Phenomenon. Do not hope that its Life will
be short!_ Gentlemen, we must follow Fascismo, I will not say with love,
but with intelligence. There must be no illusions. How many times from
those benches it was said that Fascismo was a transitory phenomenon! You
saw it. It is an imposing phenomenon which gathers in its followers, one
might say, by millions. It is the largest mass party which has ever
existed in Italy. It has in itself some vital, powerful force, and since
it is different from all others, as regards its extent, its
organisation, its discipline, do not hope that its life be short!

To-day Fascismo is going through the travail of a profound
transformation. You will ask: “When will Fascismo grow up?” Oh! I do not
wish it to grow up too soon! (Laughter.) I prefer that it should
continue still for some time as it is to-day till all are resigned to
the _fait accompli_, and have its fine armour and its virile warlike

There is a fact which is rapidly transforming the essence of Fascismo.
The Fascista Party, on one side, becomes a Militia, and, on the other,
becomes an administration and a Government. It is incredible what a
change the head of a “squadra” undergoes when he becomes an alderman or
a mayor. He understands that it is not possible to attack abruptly the
Communal Budgets without preparation, but that it is necessary to study
them and devote himself to the administrative part, which is a hard,
dry, and difficult task. (Applause.) And as the communes conquered by
Fascisti number now several thousands, you will conclude that the
transformation of Fascismo into an organ of administration is taking
place and will be soon an accomplished fact.

_Liberty must not be converted into Licence, and Licence I shall never
grant!_ You ask: “When will this moral pressure of Fascismo end?” I
understand that you are anxious about it. It is natural, but it depends
on you. You know that I should be happy to-morrow to have in my
Government the direct representatives of the organised working classes.
I would like to have them with me; I would like also to entrust them
with a Ministry which requires delicate handling, so as to convince them
that the administration of the State is a thing of the utmost complexity
and difficulty, that there is little to improvise, that _tabula rasa_
must not be made, as in some revolutions, because afterwards it is
necessary to rebuild. You cannot take a corporal of the division of
Petrograd and make of him a general, because afterwards you have to call
in a Brusiloff! (Comment.) To sum up, so long as opponents exist who,
instead of resigning themselves to the _fait accompli_, contemplate a
reactionary movement, we cannot disarm. But I say further that the last
experience after your attempt at the strike of last year must also have
convinced you by now that that road will lead you to ruin; whilst, on
the other hand, you ought to take into account, once and for all, if you
have in your veins a little Marxist doctrine, that there is a new
situation, to which (if you are intelligent and watch over the interests
of the classes you say you represent) you should conform. And, moreover,
Colombino, who is a friend of Ludovico d’Aragona, can say if I am an
enemy of the working classes. I dare him to deny my statement that six
thousand workmen belonging to the Italian Metallurgic Consortium work
to-day because I helped them and because I did my duty as citizen and
head of the Italian Government. (Comment and assent.)

But liberty, Gentlemen, must not be converted into licence. What they
ask for is licence, and this I shall never grant! (Loud applause and
comment.) You can, if you wish, organise and march along in processions
and I shall have you escorted. But if you intend to throw stones at the
carabineers or to pass through a street where it is forbidden to do so,
you will find the State which opposes you, if necessary by force. (Loud
applause on the Right: comment on the Left.)

_Close Analysis of the Electoral Reform Bill._ But this Electoral Law
which harasses us so much: is it really a monster? I declare it to you
that, were it a monster, I should like to hand it over at once to a
museum of monstrosities. (Laughter.) This law, of which I have traced
the fundamental lines, but which afterwards has been successively
elaborated by my friend the Hon. Acerbo, and re-elaborated by the
Commission, I do not know whether for better or for worse,—(Much
laughter.)—is a creation, and, like all creations of this world, has its
qualities and defects. One must not condemn it as a whole; it would be a
great mistake.

You must consider—I say this to you with absolute frankness—that it is a
law for us;—(Comments.)—but it involves principles which are
ultra-democratic—that of the State election schedule; that of the
national constituency, which was the vindication of Socialism, as just
now Constantino Lazzari recalled. You say that the struggle is
impersonal, that the elections will cause unrest. But who tells you that
the elections are near? (Laughter: prolonged comments.) The working of
this law is such that a fourth part of the seats is guaranteed to the
minorities, while I think that, calling the elections by the present
law, the minorities would, perhaps, be further sacrificed. (Assent and
comment.) At any rate the impersonality of the struggle withholds from
the same struggle that character of harshness which might preoccupy from
the point of view of public order. As things stand to-day, elections
held on the uninominal constituency or even on the proportional basis
would certainly lead to excesses. (Assent.)

_The Government cannot accept Conditions. Either you give it your
Confidence or deny it._ I declare that I shall not call elections until
I am sure that they will be held in independence and order. (Comment and
applause.) I add that while on principle I am, and I must be,
intransigent, I entrust myself, in a certain sense, as regards technical
discussion, to the competent elements. In this hall there are very many
competent elements. They will say how this law can be even more abused
or improved. (Comment.) But this is the business of the Chamber, and the
Government declares to you that it does not refuse to accept those
improvements which would render easier the exercise of the right to

This concerns in a certain sense the Popular Party, which must decide
for itself. I have spoken plainly, but I must say not as plainly as has
been spoken from those benches. The Government cannot accept conditions.
Either you give it your confidence or you deny it. (Assent and comment.)

_On your Vote will depend in a certain sense your Fate!_ I agree with
all the speakers who have declared that the country wishes only to be
left alone; to work in peace with discipline. And my Government makes
enormous efforts to achieve this result and will go on, even if it has
to strike its own followers, because, having wished for a strong State,
it is only just that we should be the first to experience the
consequences of strength. (Loud applause.) I have also the duty of
telling you—and I tell you from a debt of loyalty—that on your vote
depends in a certain sense your fate! Do not delude yourselves, even in
this field, because nobody gets out of the Constitution—neither I nor
the others—as nobody can suppose that he is not amply guaranteed
according to the spirit and the letter of the Constitution. (Comment.)
And then, if things are thus, I tell you, take into account this
necessity. Do not let the country have once again the impression that
Parliament is far from the soul of the nation and that this Parliament,
after having manœuvred for an entire week in a campaign of opposition,
has achieved sterile results at the end. Because this is the moment in
which Parliament and country can be reconciled. But if this chance is
lost, to-morrow will be too late, and you feel it in the air, you feel
it in yourselves. And then, Gentlemen, do not hang on political labels,
do not stiffen yourselves in the formal coherence of the parties, do not
clutch at bits of straw, as do the shipwrecked in the ocean, hoping
vainly to save themselves. But listen to the secret and solemn warning
of your conscience; listen also to the incoercible voice of the nation!

(The last words of the speech of the Hon. Mussolini, which had been
listened to all through with the greatest attention by the Assembly and
the Tribunes, are greeted by frantic, repeated applause by the benches
of the Right, by the Centre and by many Deputies of the Democratic Left.
The ovation lasts for a long time and is intensified by that paid by all
the Tribunes.

When the applause is over, all the members of the Government shake hands
with the President of the Council, while from the benches of the Right
all the Deputies come down to congratulate the Hon. Mussolini, amongst
them the Hon. Fera, ex-Minister of Justice, and the ex-Prime Ministers,
the Hon. Giolitti, the Hon. Salandra, the Hon. Orlando, and the
President of the Chamber, the Hon. De Nicola, who exclaims: “It is the
finest speech in the annals of Parliamentary history.”)

The sitting is suspended for half an hour. When it is resumed at 8.10
the Hon. Mussolini agrees to accept the order of the day proposed by
Larussa, viz.:

“_The Chamber, reaffirming its confidence in the Government, approves
the principles contained in the Electoral Reform Bill, and passes to the
discussion of the Articles of the project._”

At 11.10, the operation of voting having been completed, the result is
proclaimed, viz.: “_The Chamber of Deputies votes in favour of the
Government by a large majority._”

(The sitting is adjourned.)

                        GRECO-ALBANIAN FRONTIER

  On the 27th of August, General Enrico Tellini, President of the
  International Commission for the Delimitation of the Greco-Albanian
  Frontier, the medical officer, Major Luigi Corti, and Lieutenant
  Mario Bonacini, members of the Mission, were atrociously murdered in
  Greece, while motoring from Janina to Santi Quaranta.

  In consideration of preceding assassinations, of all the concordant
  information from different sources gathered on the scene of the
  massacre, and of the persistent campaign of libel and instigation on
  the part of the Greek Press against Italy and the Italian Military
  Mission, the Royal Government (the Stefani Agency informs us) has
  come to the conclusion that the moral as well as implicitly the
  material responsibility of the massacre falls on the Greek
  Government. On these grounds the head of the Government, certain of
  interpreting the sense of indignation of the whole Italian nation,
  has instructed Commendatore Montagna, Minister at Athens, to present
  to Greece the following Note containing Italy’s demands.

_Hon. Mussolini’s Note_ to Greece demands on behalf of Italy:

1. Apologies in the most ample and official form, to be presented to the
Italian Government at the Royal Italian Legation at Athens through the
highest Greek authority;

2. Solemn funeral ceremony for the victims of the massacre, to be
celebrated in the Catholic Cathedral at Athens, with the presence of all
the members of the Greek Government;

3. Honours to the Italian flag to be paid by the Hellenic Fleet in the
bay of the Piraeus to one of our naval divisions, which will proceed
there purposely, and this by means of a salute of twenty-one shots fired
by the Hellenic ships, whilst the Greek Fleet flies the Italian flag
from the masthead;

4. A strict inquiry will be held by the Greek authorities on the scene
of the massacre, with the assistance of the Royal Military Italian
Attaché, Colonel Perrone, for whose personal safety the Hellenic
Government holds itself absolutely responsible. Such an inquiry will
have to be conducted within five days of the acceptance of these

5. Capital punishment of the guilty;

6. Indemnity of fifty million Italian lire (about £500,000)—to be paid
within five days of the presentation of this Note;

7. Military honours to the remains of the victims upon their embarkation
at Prevesa on Italian warships.


  ROME, PALAZZO CHIGI, _29th August 1923_.




 Abbazia, Conference of, 269, 271, 278–9, 281

 Absolutism, 311

 Acerbo, Signor, 310, 343;
   on Electoral Law, 360

 Adige, Upper, 109, 111;
   effect of Austro-German union on question of, 125;
   Germans in, 109, 131;
   Fascismo and, 164;
   Italophobia on, 184–7

 Adler, Fritz, 98

 Admiralty, Fascisti demand the, 174

 Adrianople, 241

 Adriatic, eastern shore of, 59;
   Sauro and the, 74;
   National Vindications and, 89;
   Zara and the, 257;
   Abbazia Conference, 269

 Ægean, Bulgaria’s right to a port on the, 125

 Albania, rebels in, 21;
   as a centre of unrest, 125;
   Commercial Agreement with, 283;
   massacre of Italian delegation at Janina, 363

 Albertini, Senator, 219–20

 Alessio, Signor, 350

 Alliance, Austro-German, 12;
   Triple, 22;
   Republican, 101;
   Continental, against England, 231;
   Cavour and Treaty of, with France and England, 351

 Alps, the, 60;
   National Vindications and, 89;
   Brenner, 107, 192;
   Julian Alps, 107;
   Dinaric Alps, 120, 127

 Alsace, 100

 Amalfi, 113

 Ambassadors, Conference of, 268

 Ambris, Alcesto de, 9

 Amendola, 352

 America, cables to, xviii;
   intervention of, in the war, 53.
   _See also_ United States

 American students, facilities for, in Italy, 335

 Ancona, 307

 Andreas Hoferbund, 185

 Angell, Norman, 11

 Angora, National Assembly of, 241;
   Turkish aspirations, 254;
   Allied reply to Government of, 280

 Arbatax, malaria in, 356

 “Arditi,” 74;
   the Association of, 92

 Armenia, oil wells of, 96

 Army, Italian, and Fascismo, xii

 Arosio, speech 30th March 1923 at, 277

 Arpigati, Captain Arturo, 42

 Association, of Fighters, 87, 92, 99;
   of Arditi, 92;
   of Volunteers, 92;
   of Garibaldians, 92;
   of Maimed and Disabled, 316

 Athens, Fascismo and “eterie” of, ix

 Austria, 12;
   Italy and the Austro-German Alliance, 12;
   Austro-German militarism, 16;
   preparations in, against Roumania, 20;
   demand for repudiation of Triple Alliance, 22;
   Republic of, 124;
   dual monarchy, 187, 249;
   Commercial Treaty between Italy and, 284;
   reparations, 295;
   loan to, 299

 Austrian Institute, 281

 Austro-Hungarian monarchy, 187, 249

 _Avanti_, xvi, 3, 4, 9, 87, 162

 Bainsizza, 28

 Balbo, Italo, xiii, 310

 Baldwin, Mr. Stanley, 296

 Balillas, 159, 343

   Balkan zones of Austria-Hungary, 9;
   Roumania, 20;
   Valona, 21, 118;
   Bulgaria, 125;
   seeds of war in, 125;
   Treaty of Rapallo, 125 _et seq._;
   Montenegro’s independence, 189 _et seq._;
   Turkey’s success at Lausanne, 213

 Bandiera brothers, 351

 Baracca Cup, 329

 Barbarossa, 27

 Barcelona, 270

 Barzilai, 224

 Battisti, Cesare, 48, 89, 134

 Bazzi, 69

 Bebel, 26

 Belgium, martyrdom of, 12, 14;
   neutrality, 23;
   undertaking not to sign separate peace, 19;
   colonies, 90;
   ex-President Wilson and, 189

 Belgrade, Fiume and the agreement concluded at, 193

 Bellini, Senator, 223

 Benedict XV., Palestine and, 194;
   on Ruhr crisis, 345

 Bentini, 353

 Berchtold, Count, 19, 20

 Berne Convention, powers of, respecting international traffic, 270

 Bernhardi, von, 26

 Bernstein, Edward, and Versailles Treaty, 99

 Bersagliere Regt., 11th, Mussolini joins, xvi

 Bessarabia, 20

 Bezzi, Ergisto, 18, 88

 Bianchi, Michele, xiii

 Bismarck, 9

 Bissolati, Leonida, 158

 Black Shirts, Nationalists and, 148;
   revolution of, a force for progress, 208

   speech of 24th May 1918 at, 37;
   speech of 3rd April 1921 at, 134;
   University of, and Montenegrin independence, 191;
   Fascista occupation of, 308

   Mussolini saves Italy from, xiv;
   textile workers’ strike, 68;
   failure of, in Italy, 73, 167;
   Mussolini’s fight against, 87, 101;
   Florence under, 103;
   Bolshevist element in Italian Socialism, 116;
   in Trieste, 117, 121;
   of Russia, 129, 147;
   the Bolshevist State and the Liberal State, 139;
   Fascismo and, 166, 179;
   the Italian Bolshevist world, 178;
   Germany’s resistance to influence of, 290;
   Italian losses in crushing, 324;
   freedom of the Press and, 355

 Bolzano, xiii, 163–4; 173, 185, 187, 308

 Bonacini, Lieut. Mario, murder of, 363

 Bono, General Cesare de, xii, xiii, 309, 343

 Bordiga, General, 105

 Bourbons, 75, 351

 Bourgeoisie, Fascismo and the, 165;
   Risorgimento and, 50

 Breitemburg, Count, 186

 Brenner, the:
   Battisti and, 74;
   Bezzi and, 88;
   Italy in possession of, 107;
   as bulwark against Germany, 110;
   Paduan valley and, 125;
   as Italy’s northern boundary, 136;
   defence of, 184;
   Mussolini’s declaration to German deputies respecting, 188;
   Versailles Treaty and, 293

 Brest-Litowsk, Treaty of, 44

 Brofferio, Angelo, 351–2

 Brussels Conference, 1923, 214

 Bucharest, Peace of, 44

 Budapest, Danube Confederation and, 124;
   peace of justice, and occupation of, 149, 172

 Budget, Italian State, 215, 272–3;
   Communal, 358

 Bulgaria, 10, 125, 213;
   reparations, 295, 299;
   _coup d’état_ in, 345

 Buozzi, 219

 Burian, 20

 Cables, conventions relative to, xviii

 Cagliari, speech of 12th June 1923 at, 323

 Canada, Commercial Treaty with, 214

 Cannæ, 288

 Capitulations, the, 241, 266

 Caporetto, speech after, 30;
   causes of disaster of, 32;
   anti-war demonstrations after, 34;
   national crisis following, 43;
   German calculations after, 45;
   Rapallo and, 126;
   Pact of Rome and, 126;
   Fascismo and, 135;
   discipline of war and, 350

 Carabineers, xvii, 359

 Caradonna, 310

 Carducci, 37

 Carli, 99

 Carso, 28;
   Italian sentiment for the, 35;
   Corridoni’s death, 48;
   insurrection against Trieste on, 118;
   commemoration ceremony, 120

 Carthage, 177

 Castelrosso, 280, 302

 Castua, 278

 Catholicism, Mussolini on, xii

 Cattaneo, 53

 Cavallotti, 351

 Cavazzoni, 252

 Caviglia, General, 129

 Cavour, Camille, 311;
   Crimean expedition and, 351

 Ceccherini, Maj.-General, xii, 310

 Central America, cable to, xviii

 Central Empires, 9;
   war desired by, 27, 72

 Cervantes, 114

 Cettinge, 190

 Chamber of Deputies, Fascista Government and the, 313

 Chiesa, 255

 Child, Mr. Richard Washburn, speech at Rome by, 335

 Chiusa di Verona, 185

 Cicerin, Commissioner of Foreign Affairs, Russia, 44

 Ciccotti, Ettore, on Italian Fascismo, ix

 Cinque Giornate, 28;
   speech before the
 monument of, 58;
   Austrian threat to city of, 135

 Cipriani, Amilcare, 5

 Civil Law Codes, reformation of, xvii

 Class struggle, Mussolini on, 285

 Clémenceau, 32, 40, 56;
   on concessions in Asia Minor, 96

 Clemente, Maj.-General Ozol, 310

 Coalition Ministry, 221

 Coliseum, 234

 Colombino, 359

 Colonna di Cesaro, 307

 Columbus, Christopher, 50

 Commerce, Chambers of, International Congress of, 274 _et seq._

 Commercial Treaty:
   with Switzerland, 212;
   with Canada, 214;
   with France, 265;
   with Yugoslavia, 271, 282;
   with Austria, 281

 Committee of Understanding and Action, 93

 Committee of Wounded and Disabled Soldiers, 51

 Communes, Italian, ix

 Communism, x, 116, 334

 Comunale, Bologna, speech at the, 37

 Constantine, King, 125

 Constitution, the, and the Government, 361

 _Contadini_, adherents of Fascismo, 316

 Conti, Senator, 219

 Continental alliance. _See under_ Alliance

 Convention, of Washington, 243, 251;
   for Italo-American cables, 245

 _Corriere della Sera_, 163–4

 Corridoni Club, 92

 Corridoni, Filippo, 48, 59, 71, 88

 Corsica, Italians of, 137

 Corti, Major Luigi, murder of, 363

 Cremona, speech at, 25th Sept. 1922, 158

 Crespi, Senator, 161, 258

 Crimea, expedition to the, 351

 Crispi, Francesco, 108 n.

 Cucco, 28

 Cuno-Rosenberg Memorandum, 295

 Curtatone, 289

 Cyrus, 38

 Czechoslovakia, Italy’s relations with, 213

 Dabormida, General, 351

   Rismondo on, 74;
   National Vindications and, 89;
   Italian minorities of, 96;
   and the victory of Vittorio Veneto, 107;
   Croats of, 118;
   Treaty of Rapallo, 125, 262;
   education of Italians of, 131;
   care of Italian
 residents, 132;
   sufferings of Italians in, 136;
   Italian unity and, 144;
   betrayed, 171, 192;
   Santa Margherita Agreements, 247, 256, 260–1

 Dalmine, speech 20th March 1919 at, 63

 Dante, 60, 77, 114, 133

 D’Annunzio, 77, 114;
   Mussolini at Fiume with, 103;
   proclamation to the Croats, 104;
   legionary occupation of Fiume, 119, 192;
   the Fiume tragedy, 128–9, 141

 Danube Confederation, 124

 Danubian States, economic settlement of, 300

 D’Aragona, Ludovico, 359

 Dardanelles, 214, 241

 Death duties, xvii

 De Bono, Cesare. _See_ Bono, de, General Cesare

 Debt, national, xviii;
   Italian war, 259

 Debt funding agreement, Anglo-American, 259, 296

 Debts, inter-allied, and reparations, 294

 Deffenu, 88

 Del Croix, Carlo, 129

 Delegation, Italian massacre of, at Janina, 363

 Delta, the, 193, 262, 278

 Democracy, meaning of, 36;
   syndicalism and, 148;
   Fascismo and, 167–8, 176;
   and suffrage, 355

 Democrats, 92

 De Nicola, President of the Chamber, 362

 Deutscher Verband, 185–7

 _Deutschland über Alles_, 21

 Diaz, General, 343

 Dictatorship, proletariat and a, 349

 Dinaric Alps, 120, 127

 Diplomatic and consular services, 305

 Dock-workers, Fascisti, 82

 “Dolomites of Italian Thought,” the, 114

 Dortmund, 235

 Dumas, 353

 Dunkirk, attack on, 19

 Eastern Mediterranean. _See under_ Mediterranean

 Economic policy, 274

 Economy, Ministry of National, xvii

 Edvige, xvi

 Eight Hours Day Bill, xvii, 198, 354

 Electoral Reform, xvii, 101, 165, 314, 347, 359–60, 362

 Elementary schools, religious instruction in, xii

 Emigration, 341

 Employers and employed, co-operation between, 285

 Eneo, 262

 England, Russian expectation of financial aid from, 19;
   Italian confidence in, 46;
   D’Annunzio’s _coup_ at Fiume and, 104;
   mandate in Palestine, 194–5;
   continental alliance against, 231

 Entente, the:
   French and British soldiers at the Piave battle, 59;
   Italy’s position and, 211–12;
   the Ruhr advance and, 230;
   Greco-Turkish affairs and, 254;
   continued existence of, 259

 Entente, Little, 124, 238, 240, 300, 345

 d’Esperey, Franchet, 189

 Esthonia, xviii, 283

 Etna, eruption of, 331

 Europe, economic system of, 275

 Exchanges, European, 345

 Ex-soldiers, blind, 277;
   National Association of, 316

 Facta, Signor, 165, 267

 Fara, Gustavo, General, xii, 310

 Farinacci, Roberto, 158

 Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, 103, 328

 Fascio of Fighters, 92;
   demands of, 132

 Fascio Nazionale dei Combattenti, x

   part of general historical development of nations, ix;
   rise of, x;
   and the Army, xii;
   “March to Rome,” xii;
   progress of, xiii;
   Mussolini summoned to form cabinet, xiii;
   official song of, xiv;
   symbol, xv;
   syndicalism of, 63, 177;
   aims and programme of, 92, 150;
   tasks of, 108 _et seq._;
   patriotism of, 112;
   sincerity of, 114;
   not conservative, 115;
   Communism and, 116, 196;
   attitude of, towards Socialism, 116, 196 _et seq._;
   demagogism and, 119;
   problems of foreign policy, 121 _et seq._, 149 _et seq._;
   attitude towards the peace treaties, 124;
   demands of Italian Fascio of Fighters in matters of foreign policy,
   birth of, 135;
   imperialism of, 136;
   not essentially violent, 138, 156;
   in the Socialist crisis of 1921, 139;
   attitude in the 1921 elections, 139;
   Fascista Day, 141;
   and the Monarchy, xi, 152;
   the Fascista revolution, 154;
   attitude of, towards State economic attributes, 155;
   and the bourgeoisie, 165;
   and the proletariat, 165;
   and democracy,
   and the New Provinces, 183;
   demands regarding the Upper Adige, 187;
   attitude towards the Popular Party, 201 _et seq._;
   and the Vatican, 201–3;
   and Social Democrats, 203;
   military organisation of, xv, 223;
   domestic policy, 215;
   emigration and, 215;
   foreign policy, 251;
   Yugoslavian policy, 253;
   women of, 286;
   attempt to sever Mussolini from, 287;
   strength and adherents of, 316;
   associations included in, 316;
   Sardinia and, 324;
   Parliament and, 357;
   not a transitory phenomenon, 357;
   an organ of administration, 358;
   liberty, not licence, under, 358;
   and the constitution, 361

 Fascista Council, Great, xv, 232–3, 314

 Fascista Government, work of, xvii;
   beginnings of, 163–4, 173;
   “Government of speed,” 234;
   policy respecting Fiume and Zara, 256;
   foreign policy, 265, 293 _et seq._

 Fascista Party, National, xiv;
   military organisation, xv;
   numbers and adherents, 316

 Fascista revolt, 76

 Fascista State, 169, 173

 Federation, of Labour, General, 106, 110;
   of Seamen, 106

 Federzoni, Signor, 190, 192

 Fera, Signor, ex-Minister of Justice, 362

 Ferrara, speech of 4th April 1921 at, 75

 Ferrari, Giuseppe, 78

 Ferrarin, 133, 285

 Ferrario, General, 192

 Fiat factory, 349

 Fighters, National Association of, 87, 92, 99;
   Fascio, 92

 Finance, Ministry of, 272–3

 Finland, xviii, 283

 Finzi, 310

 Fiume, 53, 74;
   National Vindications and, 89;
   Tardieu and, 96;
   Mussolini visits D’Annunzio at, 103;
   international relations and D’Annunzio’s occupation of, 104;
   Italian acquisition of, 111;
   Hungary and, 125;
   the tragedy of, 128;
   the war between General Caviglia and, 129;
   the Fascio of, 131;
   economic annexation of, demanded by the Fascisti, 132;
   sympathy of Fascista for, 136;
   Italian unity and, 144;
   General Ferrario, 192;
   the Belgrade Agreement, 193;
   Agreements of Santa Margherita and, 248;
   Arbitration Commission, 262;
   Abbazia Conference,
   difficulties of Yugoslav Government, 301;
   representations to Belgrade, 346

 Florence, speech 9th Oct. 1919 at, 103;
   speeches 19th June 1923 at, 328–9;
   of the Middle Ages, 113

 Foreign Affairs, Ministry of, Fascisti demand, 174

 Foreign policy, 121, 132, 149, 251, 278, 293, 345

 Forli, xvi

 Forum, the, 234

   Italy’s neutrality in 1914, 12;
   undertaking not to conclude a separate peace, 19;
   heroism of, 45;
   attitude of, towards Fiume question, 104

 Franche-Comté, 21

 Frankfurt, Treaty of, 9

 _Frankfurter Zeitung_, 21

 Freedom of the Press, 353, 355

 Freemasonry, 201, 314, 318

 Galassi, Angelico, 201

 Galicia, 20;
   Eastern, 280

 Galileo, 77, 114

 Gandolfo, General, 309

 Garibaldi, 14, 27, 77, 114, 134;
   “red shirts” of, 145;
   Piedmont and, 352;
   and Dumas, 353

 Gasparri, Cardinal, 345

 Gay, Harry Nelson, 335

 Geneva, Protocol of;
   loan to Austria, 299;
   territorial integrity of Austria, 300

 Genoa, 113, 311

 Gentile, Senator, xii

 George V., King of England, visit of, 304

 Georgia, 133

   Italy’s neutrality between Triple Entente and Austro-German Alliance,
   dependence on Austria, 20;
   and Belgium, 22;
   Prussian militarism, 23, 60;
   “Wilsonites” in, 54;
   imperialist, doomed, 60;
   war desired by, 72;
   reparations problem, 124;
   Upper Adige question and, 125;
   resistance in the Ruhr, 240;
   reparations, 294

 Gioberti, 261

 Giolitti, revelations of, 12;
   adherents of, in upper bureaucracy, 106;
   Italian intervention in the war and the followers of, 107;
   attitude towards Upper Adige question, 188;
   congratulates Mussolini, 362

 Giordani, Giulio, 134

 “Giovinezza” (Youth), xiv

 Giulietti, Captain, 104

 Giuriati, 310

 _Giustizia, La_, 315

 Goethe, 114

 Gorizia, 48;
   Italophobia in, 184

 Grappa, 120

 Graziadei, Antonio, 196–7

 Graziani, General, xii

 Greco-Albanian frontier, massacre of the Italian delegation for
    delimitation of the, 363

 Greece, 10;
   Italian relations with, under Fascista Government, 212;
   Italian note to, respecting Janina massacre, 363–4

 Grodno, 123

 Gronchi, speech on Electoral Reform by, 348

 Guardie Regie, abolition of, xvii

 Guesde on Socialist nations, 14

 Guglielmotti, Maj.-General, 310

 Hapsburg, House of, domination of, prevented by the war, 89;
   war let loose by, 100;
   attempt of, to present navy to Yugoslavs, 126;
   Upper Adige and, 185, 187

 Harden on Germany’s desire for war, 26

 Harding, President, 279

 Heraclea coal mines, 96

 Hermada, 48

 High Commissioners, 315

 Hindenburg, 36

 Hohenzollerns, the Germany of the, 26, 36;
   passing of militarism with the, 60;
   domination of, prevented by the war, 89;
   Socialists and the, 99;
   war let loose by the, 100

 Holland, colonies of, 90

   preparations against Roumania, 20;
   Fiume and, 125;
   Popular Party and, 201;
   economic relations with, 213;
   reparations, 295, 298.
   _See also_ Austro-Hungarian monarchy

 Iglesias, speech 13th June 1923 at, 326

 Immigration Bill, 341

 Imperial Italy, 292

 _Indipendente_, 354

 Inter-allied debts, 294, 346

 Internal policy, 306 _et seq._

 “Internationals,” German, 26

 Internationalism, 11

 Islam, situation in, 213

 Isonzo, fording of the Upper, 31;
   Caporetto and the, 32;
   Italian sacrifices beyond the, 48;
   destruction of the Hapsburg empire, 107;
   obligation of Italy to pass the, 111;
 boundaries and the, 127;
   Italian army’s advance towards, 172

 Ismet Pasha, 266

 Istria, Slavs in, 131;
   Fascisti from, 171

 Italian-Croat brotherhood, 104

 Italian Proletariat, Assizes of the, 105

 Italo-American Association, 336

 Italo-American Society, 342

 Italo-Russian Agreement, 303

 Italo-Ukraine Agreement, 303

 Italo-Yugoslav Commission, 301

   Socialist Party, 3, 23, 93;
   Triple Alliance, 22;
   no ground for remaining neutral, 23;
   Battisti, Sauro and Rismondo on destinies of, 74;
   and the Brenner, 74;
   and the Adriatic, 74;
   and Dalmatia, 74;
   Socialist Union, 92;
   Liberal leaders out of touch with, 165;
   Monarchy of, 176;
   Convention with Montenegro, 190;
   agreements with Yugoslavia, 251;
   universities of, 291;
   position of, respecting reparations, 294;
   War Loan and credits to Austria, 299;
   relations with Russia, 303;
   relations with United States, 304;
   Crimean expedition and the unity of, 351

 Jaffa, Conference of, 195

 Janina, 363

 Japan, conflict between U.S. and, 121–2

 Jerusalem, conquest of, 100;
   Polish immigrants, 195

   English mandate in Palestine, 194 _et seq._;
   sacrifices by Italian Jews in the war, 195

 Journalism, Parliamentarism and, 313

 Judiciary Circuits, 314

 Jugoslavia. _See_ Yugoslavia

 Kaiser, the, 66

 Kemal, Mustapha, 150, 189, 266

 Kerensky, 33

 Klopstock, 114

 Labour, Asiatic Utopia and, 82

 Labour, General Confederation of, 106, 110;
   Fascisti demand Ministry of, 174

 Labriola, 348–9, 352

 Lansing, Mr., on Dalmatian question, 96

 Larussa, order of the day on Electoral Reform proposed by, 362

 Lausanne Conference, recognition of Turkey’s successes by, 213;
   safeguarding of European and Christian interests by, 213;
   Russian representation at, 214;
   Italian delegation, 232, 241, 254;
   Ruhr and, 241;
   Turkey’s legitimate rights, 241;
   questions of the Straits and of capitulation, 241;
   Angora Government and, 266;
   Turks invited to new, 279;
   cession of Castelrosso, 302;
   Treaty of Lausanne, 345

 Law, Mr. Bonar, proposals of, at Conference of Paris, 230, 295.

 Lazzari, Constantino, on Election Law, 360

 League of Nations, the:
   disabled Italian soldiers and, 52;
   ex-Pres. Wilson and, 52–4;
   no substitute for victory, 54–5;
   Germany and, 55;
   Renan’s prediction falsified, 55–6;
   Internationalism, 56;
   difficulties in establishing, 56;
   dream of, founded on ruins of the old world, 60;
   Fascismo and, 132;
   Palestine mandate and, 195;
   Polish-Lithuanian boundaries, 268

 League, National, 343

 Legnano, 27, 45

 Lenin, effect of gospel of, on Italy’s working classes, ix;
   results in Russia of gospel of, 44;
   and Tuscany, 103;
   Bolshevism of, preferable to other forms, 129;
   Milan and, 136;
   an ally of Kemal, 189;
   production and the Communism of, 196;
   reactionary policy of, 199

 Lerici, Mayor of, 163

 Lettonia, 133, 283

 Levanto, Fascista programme described at, 150

 Liberal State, the:
   weakness of, 154;
   superiority of Fascista State over, 163;
   devoid of spirit, 165;
   necessity for broadening, 175

 Liberticidal Government, 354–7

 Liberty, 358

 Libyan subjects, 303

 Lithuania, commercial treaty with, xviii, 283;
   Wilna question and, 123;
   rights of, to Memel, 242, 268;
   Polish-Lithuanian boundaries, 268

 Little Entente. _See_ Entente, Little

 Lombardy, iron foundries of, 79;
   Fascismo in, 356

 Lombroso’s classification of men, 54

   Treaty of (1915), 189;
   Mussolini’s speech, 12 Dec. 1922 in, 227;
   Ruhr advance and Italian memorandum of, 231, 238, 346;
   Italian foreign policy at, 254;
   Inter-allied meeting at, on draft Peace Treaty with Turkey, 279

 Lorenzino dei Medici, 291

 Lorraine, reconquest of, 100

 _Lotta di classe, La_, 3

 Lucci on Mussolini’s foreign policy, 253

 Ludendorff, 36

 Lupi, Dario, xii

 Macedonia, Bulgaria’s right to, 125

 Machiavelli, 38

 Maeterlinck, 38–9

 Maltoni, Rosa, xvi

 Manzoni, Alexandro, 313

 Marconi, 133

 Margherita, Santa, Agreements of. _See_ Santa Margherita

 Marx, Karl, 24, 27, 197, 359

 Materialism, Mussolini on, 290

 Mazzini, 53, 77;
   Socialism of, 78;
   the Risorgimento, 145;
   advocate of Republicanism, 153;
   on power, 288;
   Democracy and, 351;
   Crimea expedition and, 352

 Medals, 309

 Mediterranean, compensation in, for loss of Sebenico, 96;
   Socialists and the, 115;
   a centre of world civilisation, 122;
   Italian policy in Eastern, 125;
   Italy as leading power on the, 141–2, 150;
   Italian losses in, 211;
   Greco-Turkish affairs in Eastern, 254;
   Italian interests in Eastern, 302

 Melloni, 161

 Memel, 241–2, 268

 Memorandum of London. _See_ London

 Menotti Serrati, Giacinto, 9

 Merano, commissioner of, and Upper Adige, 186

 Merrheim, 94

 Messina, 356

 Metallurgic Consortium, Italian, 359

 Metz, 53

 Michael, Grand Duke, 33

 Michelangelo, 114

 Milan, Mussolini’s speeches at:
   25th Nov. 1914, 3;
   25th Jan. 1915, 18;
   8th April 1918, 49;
   20th Oct. 1918, 52;
   11th Nov. 1918, 58;
   23rd March 1919, 87;
   22nd July 1919, 92;
   5th Feb. 1920, 67;
   24th May 1920, 71;
   6th Oct. 1922, 161;
   6th Dec. 1922, 79;
   29th March 1923, 276;
   30th March 1923, 277

 Militarism, Austro-German, 16.
   _See also under_ Germany

 Militia, National, xvii, 309

 Miliukoff, 33

 Mincio, the, 111

 Ministerial departments, reduction of, xvii

 Minorities and the Electoral Law, 360

 Mirabello, Villa, blind ex-soldiers at, 276–7

 Misiano, 129

 Mohammedans, 213

 Moltke, 9

 Mommsen, 202

 Monarchy, the, Statute Law and, 312.
   _See also under_ Fascismo

 Montagna, Commendatore, Janina massacre and, 363

 Montanara, 289

 Montemaggiore as Italian boundary, 127

 Montenegro, independence of, 125, 189, 191

 Monte Nero, 110

 Monte Santo, 28

 “Mopsy,” 195

 Moratorium for reparations, 235–6, 238

 Morgagni, 114

 Moscow, Third International at, 195

 “Most favoured nation” clause, 282

 Mussolini, Arnaldo, xvi, 69

 Mussolini, Benito:
   leader of the Fascio Nazionale dei Combattenti, x;
   summoned to form cabinet, xiii;
   saves Italy from Bolshevism, xiv;
   the “Duce,” xv;
   career, xv, xvi;
   family, xvi;
   foreign policy, xvii;
   his legislative and administrative work, xvii;
   character, xix;
   expulsion from Socialist Party, 3;
   editor of _Avanti_, xvi, 3;
   _La lotta di classe_, 3;
   against reformism, 3;
   agitator for intervention in the war, 9 et seq.;
   editor of _Il Popolo d’Italia_, 37;
   antipacifist, 58;
   Fascista friend of the people, 63;
   the “Fascista,” 87;
   sane conception of problems of foreign policy, 108;
   against revolutionary policy regarding Fiume, 128;
   triumph, 134;
   Fascista Member of Parliament, 183;
   Prime Minister, 207;
   Note to Greece on Janina massacre, 363–4.
   _See also_ Fascismo.

 Naples, speech of 26th Oct. 1922 at, 171;
   Risorgimento and the bourgeoisie of, 150

 Napoleon, 114

 National League. _See_ League, National

 National Militia. _See_ Militia, National

 National Vindications, the, 89

 Naval disarmament, 243

 _Neues Deutschland_, 21

 _Neue Zurcher Nachrichten_, 22

 Neuilly, Treaty of, 123, 299

 Nevoso, the, 120, 136, 184, 192, 286, 329

 Nicholas, King of Montenegro, 189, 190

 Nitti, Signor, 106

 Nofri, Gregorio, 252

 Nola, the Risorgimento and, 351

 North African colonies, 303

 North America, Italian emigration to, 341

 Oberdan, Guglielmo, 344

 Oldofredi, Count, 351

 Olympic Games, 340, 342

 Order, measures to restore, 308

 Orlando, Cantiere, of Leghorn, xiii

 Orlando, Signor, 362

 Ortigara, 110

 Ottoman Public Debt, 303

 Padua, speeches:
   2nd June 1923 (Women’s Congress), 286;
   3rd June 1923 (at the University), 289

 Palestine, 194–5

 Pangermanism, xiii, 21, 44

 Pareto, 312

 Paris Conference, Montenegrin independence and the, 189;
   failure of, 295

 Parliament, Government of Fascisti and, 208, 221, 313, 357;
   speech in, on Treaty of Rapallo and Agreements of Sta. Margherita,
   Sub-Alpine, and Cavour, 351

 Parma, speech 13th Dec. 1914 at, 9

 Passive resistance, 346

 Perathoner, Herr, xiii, 164

 Petrillo, 347

 Petrograd, tyranny at, 33

 Piave, the Germans on, 31, 32, 45;
   Italian resistance on, 48, 59;
   the “arditi” and, 74;
   Austrian empire destroyed on, 111, 135, 332;
   a starting point for the Fascisti in their march to Rome, 160;
   deciding factor of the war, 332

 Piedmont, Cavour and the constitutional movement of, 311, 351–2

 Pisacane, Carlo, 78, 351

 Po, Valley of (Valle Padana), 42, 125;
   Socialist exploitation of the masses in, 134;
   Upper Adige question and, 184

 Poincaré, M., 346

 Poland, xviii, 100, 123, 195, 213;
   boundaries, 268, 280, 304;
   Italian relations with, 304

 Pontifical Allocution, Zionism and the, 194

 _Popolo d’Italia_, founded, xvi;
   German-Swiss and the, 21;
   Mussolini and, 37;
   Treaty of Rapallo criticised by, 125–6

 Popular Party, strike of textile workers belonging to, 68;
   annual day of, 141;
   Fascismo and the, 183, 201–3, 318;
   Electoral Reform Bill and, 347, 361

 Porta Pia, breach of, 108, 144

 Porto Baros, 193, 256, 262

 Portorose Conventions, 270, 281

 Porto Sauro, 278

 Portugal, colonies of, 90

 Post and Telegraph Offices, 307

 Potsdam, 59

 Prefects, 315

 Press, the, 313;
   jury and, 352;
   freedom of, 353

 _Principe_, the, 38

 Priza, Admiral, 269

 Proletariat, Italian, intervention and the, 16;
   Assizes of the, 105

 Proudhon, 10

 Prussia, 9, 36, 50

 Public services, industrialisation of, xvii

 Public Works, Ministry of, Fascisti demand, 174

 Quadrumvirate meeting, xiii

 Quaranta di San Severino, Barone Bernardo, 335

 Radice, Signor Lombardo, 343

 Raffaello, 114

 Railways, 270

 Ramanadovich, Commander, 190

 Rapallo, Treaty of, 123–4;
   opinion of Central Committee of the Fascio on, 125;
   why Italy signed, 126;
   Dalmatia and, 127, 130;
   mentioned in Parliament, 210;
   Agreements of Sta. Margherita presented to Parliament, 247;
   evacuation of territories claimed by Yugoslavia and, 248;
   Italian foreign policy regarding, 249;
   ratification, 251;
   revision of, 256;
   application of, 261;
   enforcement of, 300

 Red Cross, German, 21

 Reggio Emilia, Congress of, 3

 Regguzoni, 88

 Religious instruction in elementary schools, xii

 Renan, 55

 Reparations Commission, 236, 298

   decision of Reparations Commission, 26th Dec. 1922, 236;
   decision 12th Jan. 1923, 236;
   failure of Germany to supply wood, 236;
   Italian delegate’s mandate, 236–7;
   Turko-Grecian, 266;
   Italy and, 294;
   Italian project, 295;
   owed by Austria, Bulgaria and Hungary, 295;
   Italian quota of, 295–6;
 project, 297;
   German Note on, 297;
   Treaty of Trianon, 298;
   Allies’ agreement with Bulgaria, 299;
   loan to Austria, 300.
   _See also_ Inter-allied debts

 Republican Alliance, electoral reform and the, 101

 Republican Party, intervention and the, 24;
   aims of Fascismo and the, 92

 Revolution, French, ix, 14, 349;
   Fascista, 354

 Rhine, German threat to Italy from, 45;
   American withdrawal, 230;
   Ruhr advance, 230;
   exploitation of forests, 236

 Rismondo on Dalmatia, 74

 Risorgimento, Italian, 111, 144–5, 150–1

 _Risorgimento, Il_, 312

 Roccatagliata, Ceccardi, 18

 Rodzianko, 33

 Romanoff, House of, 33

 Rome, Pact of, 126

 Rome, Government of, and Government at Fiume, 128;
   Bolshevist Congress of, 167;
   Fascista march on, 171

 Rome, speeches of Mussolini at, 24th Feb. 1918, 30;
   21st June 1921, 183;
   16th Nov. 1922, 207;
   2nd Jan. 1923, 228;
   6th Jan. 1923, 82;
   15th Jan. 1923, 230;
   19th Jan. 1923, 234;
   23rd Jan. 1923, 235;
   1st Feb. 1923, 240;
   6th Feb. 1923, 245;
   8th Feb. 1923, 247;
   10th Feb. 1923, 251;
   16th Feb. 1923, 258;
   2nd March 1923, 264;
   6th March 1923, 271;
   7th March 1923, 272;
   18th March 1923, 274;
   7th April 1923, 278;
   8th June 1923, 293;
   8th June 1923, 306;
   25th June 1923, 331;
   speech by American Ambassador, 28th June 1923, 335;
   Mussolini’s reply to American Ambassador, 340;
   2nd July 1923, 347;
   3rd July 1923, 345;
   16th July 1923, 347;
   Internal Congress of Chambers of Commerce at, 274

 Romulus, 38

 Ronchi, legions of, 128

 Rossoni, Edmondo, xi

 Rothermere, Lord, on Mussolini’s work, xiv

 Roumania, intervention of, 19;
   Italian relations with, 213;
   Mohammedans in, 213

 Rovigo, speech at, 2nd June 1923, 284

 Ruffini, Senator, 335

 Ruhr, Italian policy in the, 230–1, 238–9, 254;
   Memorandum of London,
   German Government’s orders as to coal deliveries, 235;
   Reparations Commission’s report on Germany’s failure, 336;
   Moratorium, 236–7;
   control of mines, 236;
   English representative on Rhine High Commission, 237;
   Italian mediation, 237, 259;
   America’s neutrality, 238;
   Little Entente and, 238, 240;
   Lausanne Conference, 238, 241;
   Russia and, 240;
   train services and, 241;
   passive resistance, 264, 346;
   French object, 264;
   English attitude, 264;
   reasons for occupation of, 295;
   extension of occupation, 345;
   European exchanges, 345

 _Ruskoie Slovo_, admission of Russian vacillation in, 19

 Russia, commercial treaty with, xviii;
   undermined by revolution, 12;
   Entente and financial difficulties of, 19;
   Leninist policy at Brest-Litowsk, 43;
   Agrarian revolution, 123;
   the Baltic States, 123;
   Panslavism, 123;
   disagreement over Wilna and Grodno, 123;
   fate of Poland, 123;
   Russian Jews and Palestine, 195;
   relations between Italy and, 303;
   liberty of association and, 355;
   freedom of the Press in, 355

 Rybar, Signor, 269

 Sabotino, 28

 St. Germain, Treaty of, unsatisfactory to the victors, 123;
   Austrian Republic and, 124;
   Austro-Italian economic relations and, 282

 Salandra, Signor, his formula of “sacred egoism,” 16;
   congratulates Mussolini, 362

 Salorno, Pass of, 185

 Salute, Fascista, xv

 San Terenzo, 163

 Santa Margherita, Agreements of, 210;
   purpose of, 247 _et seq._;
   approval of, 251;
   Adriatic question and, 255–6;
   application of, by Italian Government, 256;
   effect of, on Zara and Dalmatia, 260–1;
   Abbazia Conference, 278; enforcement of, 300

 Santi Quaranta, 363

 Sardi, Baron, 335

 Sardinia, soldiers of, 120;
   Fascisti of, 171; the post-war needs of, 321;
   Fascismo and, 324;
   Mussolini in, 320, 323, 326;
   malaria, 356

 Sassari, speech 10th June 1923 at, 320

 Sasseno, occupation of, 20

 Sauro Basin, 279

 Sauro, Nazario, 269

 Savoy, Upper, Switzerland, 21;
   House of, and Italian unity, 176;
   Military Order of, 309

 Scala, the, 25, 59

 Schappner, 21

 Schools, reform of, 314

 Sciesa, Antonio, 161

 Sea, Federation of the, 104

 Seamen, Federation of, 106

 Sebenico, 96

 Seipel, 281

 Serbia, 10, 12;
   against separate peace, 19;
   integrity of, safeguarded, 189

 Serbo-Croat-Slovak Delegation at Abbazia, 278

 Serrani, 88

 Serrati on Tuscany, 103

 Sesto San Giovanni, speech at, 1st Dec. 1917, 25

 Sèvres, Treaty of: not satisfactory, 123;
   results of possible failure of, 150;
   Palestine Mandate, 194

 Sforza, Count, on Montenegrin independence, 189, 191

 Siam, commercial treaty with, xviii, 283

 Silesia, Upper, 123, 189

 Sionism. _See_ Zionism

 Skrzynski, 280

 Smyrna, 124;
   Entente and, 254

 Social-Bolshevism, 108

 Social-Communists, 161

 Social Democrats, 203

 Social-Extremists and economic policy, 275

 Socialism, 5;
   Italian, 97;
   co-operation with useless, 99;
   State, 198

 Socialist Party, Italian:
   Mussolini’s expulsion from, 3;
   irredentism and, 15; intervention and, 27;
   Dalmine strike and, 63;
   condemnation of, 69;
   working class and, 70;
   anti-Italian nature of, 73;
   Fascismo and, 92;
   membership roll, 93, 105;
   Leninist Socialists, 101;
   in 1913, 97;
   Turati, 105;
   Bolshevist element in, 116–7;
   Fascisti and, 139, 154;
   party Socialism and Socialism of Labour distinguished, 197

 Socialist Union, Italian, 92

 Socrates, 135, 162

 Soldiers, Committee of Wounded and Disabled, 51

 Soviet, in Italy, 97;
   in Russia, 123;
   Fascista policy towards, 133;
   Italian Communists and the, 197;
   attitude towards German proletariat, 232

 Spa, conference at, 295

 Spain, commercial treaty with, xviii, 283;
   conditions in, 306

 Spalato, 255

 Sparta, Fascismo and “krypteia” of, ix

 Stambuliski, 345

 _Stampa_, the, 97

 Statute Law, the, 311–12, 356

 Stefani, de, xviii, and Budgets, 272

 Stelvio, 276

 Straits, the. _See_ Dardanelles

 Strike, anti-Fascista, 307

 Stringa, Major-General, 310

 Sturck, 98

 Südbahn Conference, 269–270

 Sudekum, 99

 Suffrage, universal, 355

 Susak, 256, 262, 278

 Switzerland, Mussolini expelled from, xvi, 21, 22

 Syndicalist organisation of Bologna, 37;
   of the Fascista, 148, 178

 Syndicalism, 9, 63, 148, 178, 313–14

 Syndicalist corporations, xi

 Syndicalists, in Parma, 9;
   of Bologna, 37;
   in Dalmine, 63;
   Syndicate of co-operation, 69;
   Fascista syndicalism, 63, 148, 178;
   Fascista syndicates, 81;
   in Italy generally, 197

 Syndicate, of Co-operation, 69;
   Fascista, 81;
   National Italian, 197;
   Confederation of Italian Syndicates, 197

 Tacitus, 44

 Tamassia, Senator, 260

 Tangorra, 215

 Tardieu, 95

 Taxation, 317

 Theseus, 38

 Tellini, General Enrico, murder of, 363

 Ticino, Canton, 136, 184

 Timavo, 48

 Tirso, Lake, 324

 Tittoni, Senator, 263

 Titus, 37

 Tivaroni, Senator, 260

 Tokyo, circulation of _Our Next War With the United States_ in, 122

 Tolstoy, 114, 118

 Tonoli, 161

 Toscanini, 133

 Transylvania, 20

 Trento, Fascismo in, xiii;
   Italian aims and, 53;
   statue of Dante at, 60;
   reconquest of, 100;
   acquisition of, 111;
   Socialists and, 118;
   Fascisti of, and Fiume, 131;
   elections, 173;
   Fascisti demands concerning, 187

 Treves, 14

 Trianon, Treaty of, 123;
   Hungarian reparations, 298

 Trieste, 25;
   Giacomo Venezian and, 48;
   Adriatic aspirations, 59;
   reconquest of, 100;
   speech of 20 Sept. 1920 at, 108;
   Risorgimento, 111;
   Socialists and, 118;
   military sacrifices of 1915, 120;
   speech of 6 Feb. 1921 at, 121;
   Fascisti of, and Fiume, 131;
   Fascisti of, and separation, 171;
   frontier traffic, 282

 Triple Alliance, 12, 22, 23

 Triple Entente, 12, 15, 16

 Tripoli, war in, 14

 Turati, Filippo, 69, 105, 252

 Turin, 43

 Turkey, 10;
   Treaty of Sèvres, 125;
   Kemal Pasha, 150;
   juridical protection of foreigners, 302–3;
   Libyan subjects resident in, 303;
   Ottoman debt, 303.
   _See also_ Lausanne Conference

 Tuscany, 328

 Udine, speech of 20 Sept. 1922 at, 143

 Ukraine, 195, 303

 United States, internationalism and the, 46;
   democracy of, 49, 110;
   intervention of, 49, 51;
   relations with, 214;
   representatives of, at Economic Congress, 275;
   agreement with Britain on debt, 296;
   Austrian loan and, 300;
   Italian relations with, 304, 335 _et seq._

 Unity, basis of, 93, moral, of the Italian people, 352–3

 Universal suffrage, 355

 Universities, Padua, 289;
   of Italy, 291

 Unknown Warrior, tomb of, 331, 343, 344

 Utopia, the Asiatic, 82

 Valona, 20, 117, 118

 Vanzette, 79

 Vatican, the, 202

 Vecchi, Cesare Maria de, xiii, 310

 “Venezia Giulia,” 343

 Venezia Tridentina, 171

 Venezian, 134

 Venice, 113, 286

 Venizelos, 125

 Verdi, 77

 Versailles, 56

 Versailles, Treaty of:
   revision of, 99, 100;
   indemnity under, 124;
   Italy excluded from economic and colonial benefits, 293

 Victor Emmanuel III., King, xii

 Vidali, 88

 Vienna, 11;
   Danube Confederation, 124;
   occupation of, 149, 172

 Vigevano, Colonel, 190

 Vinci, Leonardo da, 114

 Vittorio Veneto, 75, 77;
   vindication of fruits of, xvii, 107, 151, 154, 160, 164;
   greatness of victory of, 110;
   Austria crushed at, 135;
   Fascista Government, the Government of, 333

 Votes for Women, 286

 War Office, Fascisti demand, 174

 War, revolutionary, 23

 Warsaw, Italian firms and, 280

 Washington Conference on Disarmament, xviii, 243;
   social and pacifist Conventions of, 355

 Waterloo, 5

 Wells, H. G., 41

 White Federation, 197

 Wilna, 123

 Wilson, Woodrow, 28, 52, 126, 189

 Woman’s Fascista Congress, 286;
   suffrage, 355

 Workers, General Federation of, 198

 Working classes, post-war rights of, 63;
   intervention and the, 69;
   Fascismo and the, 75;
   Fascista Government’s policy towards, 80

 Workmen, Italian Union of, 66, 69

 Yellow immigration, 121

 Yugoslavia, pact of Rome, 126;
   Isonzo and, 127;
   Porto Barro and the Delta, 193;
   Mohammedanism in, 213;
   the Adriatic question, 255;
   Abbazia Conference, 269;
   commercial treaty, 271, 282.
   _See also_ Fiume;
     Rapallo, Treaty of

 Zagabria, 127

 Zahn, 21

 Zambon, Maj.-General, 310

 Zankoff, 345

 Zara, 53, 59;
   Treaty of Rapallo, 125, 262;
   Fascismo and, 136;
   Adriatic question and, 192;
   Agreements of Sta. Margherita, 247, 260–1;
   Fascista Government and, 256–7;
   “Special zone of Zara,” 301.
   _See also_ Yugoslavia

 Zocchi, Fulvio, 9

                               PRINTED BY
                            IN GREAT BRITAIN


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. All items mentioned in the ERRATA were corrected.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 3. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 4. Footnotes were re-indexed using numbers.
 5. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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