In Benito Mussolini’s What is Fascism, the dictator attempts to define Fascism by casting it against what he sees as changing world politics. He describes Fascism to be the new man’s type of government, a drastic shift away from the 19th and 20th century’s swing towards liberalism and democracy. He breaks Fascism also from the supreme left of Marxism. He goes on to describe Fascism as a fast, warmongering – along with an exceedingly nationalistic core – belief system.
Overall, Mussolini’s message comes across very similar to his Italian acquaintance, F.T. Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto in its aggressive warmongering and nationalistic message. Mussolini immediately describes the “manly” Fascist ideal of war as a perpetual means not to an end but instead to as an integral part of a political institution. In historical perspective, this idea of the Fascist war as a necessary part of Mussolini’s new direction for Italy is another sharp change from Italy’s previous policies. Prior to the war in Europe, Italy had been unable to show any regional dominance or evidence of successful imperialism. Mussolini, in his concluding remarks of his work, discusses this idea of expansion. His attempts to suppress the Libyan revolts and take Ethiopia were both examples of his attempts for regional hegemony in Africa. While it was obviously followed by World War II, these early imperialist tendencies set the example for which he argues so clearly argues for.
Overall his work describes a strict clamp down on individual freedoms and a severely increased importance of the state and its needs. The warmongering part, similar to the Futurist ideal is only one facet of the Fascist ideology used to increase Italian power. This drastic shift from the rest of Western Europe towards an idea of “perpetual peace” with a league of nations calls into question the Italian motivation to become so radical. The idea of Fascism as a change away from the left and the right calls into question the deeper social cultural situation of Italy at the time for both the genesis and peoples’ rallying around this system.