“…The fascist violence was far more than just a tool of war. It was also an instrument of propaganda, a means of disseminating the ‘myth’ of the fatherland and generating a spirit of crusading idealism and fervour. As Mussolini declared in Naples on the eve of the March on Rome: ‘We have created our myth. A myth is a faith, a passion…Our myth is the nation, our myth is the greatness of the nation.” (page 426)
As I read through this chapter I found that my mind was continuously referring back to this quote by Mussolini. I was very interested to see that the fascism movement was described in this passage as “an instrument of propaganda” because in this time period where the country was severely divided and communication was limited, the use of propaganda allowed the fascist party to manipulate the information available to the public in order to aid the growth of fascism. I found that the idea of propaganda kept appearing in this chapter; within the numerous and subtle ways in which Mussolini conducted himself and the aggressive and very public displays of fascist ideologies, often carried out with violence, described by Mussolini as “a brutal necessity to which we have been driven” (page 427). This was a specific use of propaganda meant to justify the violence carried out by the fascist party, and as the ability to spread information grew with the development of newspapers and various publications, so did the ability of the fascists and Mussolini to spread various forms of propaganda that would eventually bring Mussolini and the fascist party to power.
As the ability to spread propaganda grew, so did the influence of the fascist party. Page 429 of this chapter describes that there were “five national newspapers, two journals, two journals and some eighty local newspapers all closely tied to the party’s central machinery in Rome.” Now with access to the use of local and national publications, Mussolini possessed the ability to mold the public image of fascism into one that represented, above all else, loyalty to the fatherland. His influence and beliefs spread, and he was eventually elected Prime Minister, and the fascist party was strongly in power. Mussolini’s new position as Prime Minister strengthened his influence and his power. He was described as possessing “an extraordinary capacity to feel his way around obstacles, wrong-footing his opponents by spinning a web of ambiguity that left them uncertain as to exactly what he was thinking or planning to do, and alternating threats with blandishments.”
Finally, this use of propaganda portrayed the fascist party as one that valued loyalty to the fatherland even, and especially, in the absence of liberty. Mussolini said “if by liberty is meant the right to spit on the symbols of religion, the fatherland and the state, then I – head of the government and Duce of fascism – declare this liberty will never be allowed!” (page 436). This quote not only demonstrates Mussolini’s loyalty to the fatherland, but also describes the idea of liberty as a movement of great disrespect and rejection of one’s country. With the use of propaganda – and by rejecting the ideas of the other political and social movements that were active in this time, and by ruling the country while he “carefully cloaked each move he made in political ambiguity,” – Mussolini was able to bring himself and the fascist party to power.
I included a link to a website I came across that describes the fundamental ideas behind fascism in a very interesting way. Here is the link so you guys can check it out:
Also, I included the websites and posts I wanted to share before but couldn’t because I still don’t know how to use the blog:
This is the image and the website from the Kent State University shootings that I mentioned last class: