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Venturi, is one of Mussolini's inti- an idle dream to expect the Catholic mate counselors. The cardinal secre- clergy to take the initiative in the tary of state, Cardinal Gasparri, is struggle against Fascism. The parnotoriously anti-Fascist and the butt ish priests will keep to their churches, of intermittent press campaigns in standing aloof from politics, under the Fascist papers. But he does not the rigid control of the Vatican, as concern himself in Italian matters. long as the Fascist party retains its “Italy?” he repeats, rubbing his power. Only after the Fascist breakhands. "Italy belongs to another down will the parish clergy issue department.” The “other depart- freely from their churches, and try ment” is Monsignor Pizzarro, the to gather the peasantry again round state manager of the Fascist party in the church and withdraw them from the Vatican.
the influences of socialism. No Pope Pius XI forbids the clergy to church authority will then admonish involve themselves in political strife, them that “the Kingdom of Heaven as "the Kingdom of Heaven is not of is not of this world.” The parish
. this world”; thus the anti-Fascist clergy will certainly be acting in parish priests are bound to shut good faith. But the future will tell themselves in their churches and whether the peasantry will be naïve confine themselves to administering enough to forget the Fascism of the the sacraments. But any cardinal, pope in the anti-Fascism of the
bishop, or Jesuit who wishes to make parish clergy. a public demonstration in favor of Mussolini and his government is As for the army, here too we find assured that no superior authority about the same proportion of Faswill remind him that “the Kingdom cists and anti-Fascists as in all other of Heaven is not of this world.” population groups. The common
. Pius XI strongly condemns the soldiers, nearly all of whom are doctrines and methods of the Action workers or peasants, are strongly Française; but he mildly deplores the anti-Fascist. The junior officers, , identical doctrines and methods of actively in sympathy with Fascism the Italian Fascists, tactfully wrap- from 1919 to 1922, became in the ping his criticism in an abundance of main anti-Fascist in 1923 and 1924. personal praise of Mussolini. If the They were indignant at the claims of
. mass of the lower clergy were not the militia officers-adventurers tenaciously anti-Fascist, the pro- whose records were often stained Fascism of Pope Pius XI would be with abominable crimes—that they more decided and declared. But, in be treated on the same footing as the order not to shock too directly the regulars. After the murder of Matfeelings of his parish clergy, he is teotti the high military authorities constrained to dissimulate his pro- profited by the difficulties in which Fascism with formal reservations, Mussolini found himself to force him although in the decisive moments his to purge the militia of the most dismoves are always in favor of Fascist credited officers and to reserve all the policy.
higher ranks to retired officers of the With such a spiritual leader, it is regular army. This victory of regu
lars over irregulars provoked great Of course not every general of the discontent in the rank and file of regular army is affiliated with the militia and party.
Black Shirts. There are still some Many hope that the return of the who are loyal to their oaths. But militia to its original methods of un- what can these do against the disguised violence will aggravate the Fascists? They must
must obey the antagonism between the militia and orders of the minister of war, and the army. But while it is very the minister of war is Mussolini. likely that the irritation of the junior To conclude, I do not think that army officers against the officers of the generals will ever take the lead the militia still simmers below the against the militia; that is to say, surface, I do not think that this can against the Fascist party. There bring about any important develop- will always be subterranean friction ment. The junior officers will al- between the generals, who wish to conways obey their seniors, and this is as trol the militia, and the militia, which it should be. But the senior officers does not intend to be controlled; are nearly all pro-Fascist. They get but this friction will never take from Mussolini all they want. Mili- the form of open conflict, unless tary expenditure goes on increasing, Mussolini and the militia leaders are absolutely uncontrolled; pay and driven to some act of desperate folly. bonuses have reached a level that no If the king were to abandon his soldier could hope for under any passive attitude, the situation would other régime; the militia—the armed change forthwith. The generals hosguard of the Revolution—takes on tile to Fascism would have at last a itself the odium of all legal repres- legal command to obey, many of the sions and illegal violence, while the others would be tied by their oath of army has the beau rôle of remaining allegiance, and the mass of junior au dessus de la mêlée, thanks to the officers and common soldiers would official theory that it must take no rise. But it is vain to hope that the part in police operations but be used king will abandon his passive attionly in time of war. What interest tude. He is incapable of any act of would the army generals have in will. If a Fascist extraordinary taking the lead in order to change tribunal condemned him to death, such an agreeable state of things and no outside force came to set him To be sure, the militia gives rise to free, he would face the sentence scandal; every now and then some without emotion, or at most with house is burned down, some man is
that sudden nervous twitch of the murdered. But is it the fault of the lower jaw that is habitual to him; but generals of the regular army, if these he would never struggle actively acts of the militia go unpunished? against his fate. He feels the disThat is the business of the militia honor into which he has fallen, and officers, the police, the magistrates. suffers from it because he is wellEvery general of the regular army meaning. He hopes that an who is affiliated with the Black Shirts casion will present itself that will can honestly repeat the words of open the way for a return to the Cain: “Am I my brother's keeper?” constitution. But no outside cir
cumstance can be of any use to a ducing a state of apocalyptic expecman who has not the inward strength tation of some great coup by which which knows how to lay hold on cir- Mussolini will provide raw materials cumstances, or to create them if they and colonies for all those millions. are not present. Thus he falls from A clear-sighted French journalist, capitulation to capitulation, from Monsieur Naudeau, who is rather complicity to complicity, from shame sympathetic toward Fascism and to shame, seeking ever a position who last year made a careful investifrom which to organize resistance, gation of Italian conditions, deand never finding it. The first posi- scribed in “L'Illustration,” July 10, tion from which to resist is character, 1926, the state of frenzied exaltation and character is lacking to him. in which he found the Fascists, when There are kings who forswear them- he attended a demonstration selves passively, allowing their min- Milan in honor of Mussolini: isters to violate the constitution while "The crowd was carried away by comforting themselves with the il- wild enthusiasm. All the people lusion that they have thus shaken around me seemed genuinely to exoff all personal guilt. Ferdinand II pect a miracle. They appeared to of Bourbon, “Re Bomba,” belongs to be in the grip of emotion caused by this category; Victor Emmanuel III the direst suffering: they gave the of Savoy has no such defense. He impression of being assembled to is not a man, but a machine for sign- demand solemn reparation for jusing decrees. He is the roi fainéant tice which had been denied them. par excellence. He is the last of the Lads of fifteen or sixteen were the Merovingians.
excited of all. Suddenly
framed in electric light, in a burst of If no change is to be hoped for music, Mussolini appeared on a either from the clergy, from the third-floor balcony, majestic as a god army, from the industrialists, from of old. Then a great cry rose from
, internal dissension among the Fas- below. One would have thought cists, or from revolutionary organi- that a people crushed, ground down, zation, where can we look for the and maddened by injustice had incident which will overturn the caught sight of their savior whose Fascist system?
presence was a sure pledge of coming I am convinced that it will be deliverance. It was clear that in the found in foreign politics. This is the minds of the young men gathered weak point of the Fascist régime, and there a vast national purpose was from this point will come its disaster. awaiting accomplishment. By such
The whole Fascist propaganda means grandiose dreams are fostered aims at keeping the country in a in these ardent spirits who see in state of anxiety as to raw materials, Mussolini the man who shall imthe supply of which can be cut off at mediately realize their dreams." any moment, and as to the millions
Signor Federzoni wrote in Decemof men who, it maintains, can no ber, 1925, in “Rassegna Italiana”: longer live in Italy; and at the same “We would like to be loved, but we time this propaganda aims at pro- prefer to be envied and feared.”
There is in the Fascist mentality a the free and democratic countries, strange mixture of megalomania and among which Italy then stood, persecution mania. On the one hand, emerged victorious from the awful they are convinced that all neighbors ordeal. are threatening Italy; on the other,
All these contradictions and questhey are ever threatening all their tions have no importance for the neighbors to prevent them from Fascists. In the state of apocalyptic threatening Italy. On the one hand, expectation in
which they are they are angry because Italy is not plunged, they are thoroughly sure possessed of raw materials, and is that Mussolini will solve all probunder the control of Great Britain, lems, will overcome all contradicwhich holds the gates of the Medi- tions, will answer all questions. terranean, at Gibraltar and Suez; on This fanaticism is a great danger the other, they threaten to make for Italy and for world peace. Even war to acquire the territories which if the leaders of the Fascist party are contain raw materials and to break not fanatics but merely wish to down those gates. But how can arouse fanaticism among their folthey make war without raw mate- lowers, they arouse at least a dangerrials? How can they break down ous fanaticism. One day these folthose gates if the British Empire is lowers will break away from the stronger than Fascism? At control of the men who exploited moment they aspire to lift the Italian their fanaticism, and will demand nation to greatness and to glory; deeds, not words. at the next they maintain that in an They hold the government without anarchical country such as Italy a opposition, since they have supdictator is necessary, to impose pressed by force every opposition in discipline on the people by means of the press, in associations, in the terrorism. They do not ask them- Chamber. The root of the danger selves: “If to-morrow the dictator lies precisely in this. The Fascists, calls this people to the colors for a having demolished every opposition war, will he be able to send them to in the internal polity, have to find death by means of castor-oil? In a other obstacles against which to diswar against nations, which are charge their excitement. And not trained by the spontaneous discipline finding these obstacles in their own of liberty, could victory ever go to a country, they have to seek them country, like Italy to-day, split up abroad. Dictatorship and war, as by the Fascists into a minority of history shows, always go together. masters to whom everything is per- Dictatorship results in war-as an mitted, and a minority of slaves, de- outlet for internal troubles, if for no prived of all rights and protected by other reason. no moral law?” The experience of But when an international crisis the World War showed that czarist arises, fair-minded men throughout Russia, kaiserist Germany, the Aus- the world must not charge the tria of Francis Joseph, all of them Italian nation with the responsibilautocratically or almost autocrati- ity, which is the burden only of the cally ruled countries, collapsed; while armed minority that gags and stifles
the Italian nation. When Mussolini is pushed by domestic difficulties to make in his foreign policy a blunder bigger than the blunder of Corfu, bigger than the shameful Garibaldi blunder, then all other governments will be compelled to preserve the peace of the world. Then they will deal with Mussolini, and with the Fascist militia likewise, as they did with Wilhelm II and the German army in November, 1918. They will declare that they refuse to have anything to do with Mussolini and that they wish to deal only with the Italian people after it has been restored to liberty. War will not be needed in order to make this step successful. This impulse, of an emotional origin, will set in motion against the dictatorship the whole of the Italian people, and the dictatorship will collapse.
I hope with all the strength of my heart that Mussolini is still alive and still in power when the crisis comes.
If Mussolini were removed from the scene before the failure of the whole Fascist régime, Fascism would lose its great propagandist. Among his possible successors none will ever equal him in dramatic instinct and theatrical inventiveness. None will ever hold such immense sway over the hosts of militiamen and Black Shirts. No one else would be in a position to hold at one time the posts of minister of the interior, minister of war, and commander of the militia. The attempts at disorder, which would follow the death of the Duce, would give the king more than sufficient reason to declare martial law throughout Italy. A ministry of generals would take the place of Mussolini's cabinet.
And the new man to whom the militarist-capitalist alliance would pin their faith is even now ready and waiting. He is Signor Federzoni, minister of the colonies in the Mussolini cabinet from November, 1922, to June, 1924, and minister of the interior from June, 1924, till November, 1926, when Mussolini forced him to leave the Ministry of the Interior and return to the Colonial Ministry. As early as 1910, Signor Federzoni was the spokesman of the iron industry and the military and naval staffs. At this time Mussolini was preaching the wildest revolutionary anti-militarism. In the new political situation the militia, without Mussolini, would have to accept subordination to the regular military authorities and would be easily kept in check. The press would have a little more freedom to breathe. Fresh elections, duly controlled, would allow the Chamber of Deputies to regain a certain appearance of working. And this diminution of illegal violence and legal pressure would be trumpeted on all sides as the end of Fascism. Victor Emmanuel III would pass down to history as "the restorer of Italian liberties."
But all this would be nothing but deception and mockery. Fascism would not have ended, but only those more brutal forms of violence which do Fascism more harm than good.
Mussolini-as cannot be too often repeated-was not the creator of the Fascist régime. The Fascist régime is an alliance of big capitalists and high military authorities of which Mussolini is the figurehead and propagandist, even though, as chief