Mussolini’s Failed Foreign Policy

Mussolini the Duce was over-confident in his abilities as the Fascist leader of Italy. By aligning with Germany, Mussolini greatly over-estimated both the role of Italy in the European power play and in his foreign policy negotiating ability. In his article “Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War”, Clark asserts that Mussolini was “no diplomat, and seemed incapable of taking a long-term view.” (( Clark, Martin. “Chapter 14 – Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War.” In Modern Italy 1871-1995, 280-300. 2nd ed. London and New York: Longman, 1996. (p. 280) )) Especially in comparison with Hitler and Stalin, who both were willing to sacrifice short-term public opinion for calculated long-term state-building, Mussolini and his sought after Roman revival come across as the weakest of the European powers in both the diplomatic and militaristic aspect of foreign policy.

Clark explains how Mussolini lost both the British and French as allies after competing with them over East African colonial territories. (( Clark, Fascist Diplomacy, p. 282 )) However, attempting to create a Rome-Berlin axis and seeking an ally out of Hitler proved to be his ultimate downfall. The Duce naively believed he could control Hitler and negotiate with him. When he successfully prevented Hitler’s initial invasion of Czechslovakia 1938, he blindly believed he had “single-handily avoided a world war”. (( Clark, Fascist Diplomacy, p. 283)) However, Hitler invaded Czechslovakia in 1939 despite Mussolini’s wishes. Hitler was no ally to Mussolini in the war at all.  Hitler’s interests were German interests and German interests alone. Mussolini did not realize the extent of Hitler’s nationalist and expansionist self-concerned goals until he invaded Poland and after that Denmark and Norway. ((Clark, Fascist Diplomacy, p. 284))  When world war finally did break out, Mussolini believed it would be a short-lived. The other dominating European powers were much more advanced than Italy in politics and military might, but Mussolini’s Fascist aims would not allow him to remain neutral. “His whole past, his whole propaganda, his whole regime had glorified war. Now there was one, and he had to join in.” (( Clark, Fascist Diplomacy, p. 285)) Therefore, in a further attempt to revive Roman greatness and power, Mussolini refused to sit idly by. He wanted to be remembered as a competitor and sought after power in anyway possible.

It was all in vain because the Italy army lacked morale, equipment, rations, transportation, and most other necessary supplies. This left Italy in a position of desperate dependence, forced to rely on ally Germany, who did not have much to spare because the German war effort was clearly the priority on the Eastern Front. The unsuccessful Italian war effort created an extremely unfavorable view of the Fascist party and Mussolini in his native Italy. Clark summarizes, “The party not only failed to boost morale, but positively lowered it. … Thus the party disintegrated from within.” ((Clark, Fascist Diplomacy, p. 292)) War for wars sake was not the answer for Mussolini. Do you believe the Fascist party would have retained a more favorable view domestically if Mussolini had not taken a side-line position in WWII and did not attempt to join alliances with Germany in the war?

Extreme Violence in the Nazi-Soviet War

In “States of Exception: the Nazi-Soviet War as a System of Violence, 1939-1945” Mark Edele and Michael Geyer analyze the mindset of war and the onset of extreme violence in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. The authors posit that the devastation and violence that accompanied the war was a result of the mutual hostility between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Additionally they argue that this war was fought “as a war on an interior and an exterior front” and that the escalation and radicalization of the war had a tremendous psychological impact on soldiers which further contributed to the prevalence of violence. ((Edele, Mark and Michael Geyer. “States of Exception.” In Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 348-350.)).

Several particularly interesting aspects discussed throughout this article were the ideas of an interior/exterior war and the thoughts and actions of soldiers in context to the “win and live or lose and die” mindset ((Edele and Geyer. “States of Exception.” 359.)). Both countries waged war internally against those they saw as inferior or detrimental to the cause. For the Soviet Union, it threatened extermination to individuals that did not adhere to their ideology. Similarly, Germany practiced such extermination policies on the Jewish population. Edele and Geyer cite that the Holocaust was the “pivotal aspect of this civil war of all-out extermination”. ((Edele and Geyer. “States of Exception.” 349)).

On the exterior front, soldiers engaged in incredibly violent acts. Beyond coercion and fear the Germany army created tactical policies based on the idea that people are more inclined to kill when “motivated by a concrete social unit” ((Edele and Geyer. “States of Exception.” 387-388)). The Soviet Union also used similar techniques to promote emotional ties among soldiers. Because of the high mortality rates, both armies used emotional bonds between soldiers to promote ideas of hatred, revenge and violence on the enemy who killed their comrade. These feelings dehumanized the enemy and many soldiers saw the enemy not as individuals but as “foul beasts, drunk with blood” ((Edele and Geyer. “States of Exception.” 390)). Both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union used the powerful combination of a dehumanized enemy and strong emotional ties between soldiers to further perpetuate such atrocities.

In a previous class when we discussed the Great Purges in Sheila Fitzpatrick’s article “A Time of Troubles”. At the end of the class we came to the conclusion that this type of state violence was a result of the Soviet state being hyper-rational. Can the type of extreme violence seen during the Nazi-Soviet War be explained rationally or logically? Why or why not? On a second note, what would you argue to be the main catalyst(s) for the escalation of violence during this period?

Understanding the Holocaust

In”Hitler and the Holocaust,” Ian Kershaw begins his historiography stating,

“Explaining the Holocaust stretches the historian to the limits in the central task of providing rational explanation of complex historical developments. Simply to pose the question of how a highly cultured and economically advanced modern state could ‘carry out the systematic murder of a whole people for no reason other than they were Jews’ suggests a scale of irrationality scarcely susceptible to historical understanding.” (Kershaw, Ian. “Hitler and the Holocaust.” In Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution, 237 – 281. Binghamton, New York: Vail-Ballou Press, 2008).

In both Kershaw’s and Nicholas Stargardt’s pieces, the central point is the discussion that currently surrounds the Holocaust. Many historians are and have discussed how anti-Semitism became a key component in the practice of government and what role Hitler played throughout the implementation of anti-Semitism on a national level. Both Kershaw and Stargardt discuss the different points that are made in the current controversy on the Holocaust. The two main arguments for the questions posed above are the ‘Hitlerist’ or ‘intentionalist’ point-of-view and the ‘structuralist’ or ‘functionalist’ point-of-view.

Intentionalists or ‘Hitlerists’ argue that Hitler was the central actor who planned the murder of the Jews. The ‘Hitlerist’ interpretation stresses Hitler’s personal anti-Semitic attitude and his notions of scientific racism, as well as his personal vendetta against Jews when it comes to blaming them for Germany’s defeat in WWI. Generally, the systematic killing of Jews in Europe was Hitler’s intention from the very beginning and was central to the ideology of the Nazi party. Functionalists or ‘structuralist’ view the bigger picture and take other factors and agents such as, timing that led to the eventual systematic killings of millions of Jews. Although, these two points defer from each other, according to Stargardt, historians have generally accepted that 1941 was a crucial year. Would you say the same?  Which argument do you find the most convincing – ‘structuralists’ or ‘intentionalists’? Why?


Italian Fascism: The Non-Authoritative Dictatorship

In Bosworth’s article “Everyday Mussolinism: Friends, Family, Locality and Violence in Fascist Italy”, ((Bosworth, R. J. B. “Everyday Mussolinism: Friends, Family, Locality and Violence in Fascist Italy.” Contemporary European History 14, no. 1 (February 2005): 23-43. the pervasive and totalitarian nature of the Italian Fascist regime is brought into question. Bosworth argues that even the Duce himself was aware of how ineffective his government was at implementing policy into change of everyday behavior. An anti-Fascist under current developed and was reoccurring without being institutionally controlled. ((Bosworth, Everyday Mussolinism, 28)) By examining multiple individual cases and examples, Bosworth successfully shows the multitude of ways the Italian public found opportunities to undermine Mussolini’s supposedly complete system of statist control. His view of the limited forcefulness of Fascism is summarized as, “a fragile influence, an ideology and a system which could readily enough be evaded. Its announced intention radically and permanently to change the Italian present, past and future was a long way from realization.” ((Bosworth, Everyday Mussolinism, 27)) Bosworth admits that the historiography in the field of the ordinary life of citizens under Italian Fascism is limited. He cites the works of Stalinist historian Fitzpatrick and Nazi historian Peukert as examples of quality writing including case studies of day to day existence concerning the Soviet Union and Germany that are not comparably present in Italian historical writing. ((Bosworth, Everdyday Mussolinism, 25))

In more ways than one, Mussolinism comes across as the weakest of the European totalitarian regimes of the 1930s. Especially in comparison with the clear danger present under Nazism and Stalinism, each which utilized a terrorist state police force, surveillance system, and camp system, Fascism seems the gentler of the three in term of prosecution of enemies of the state. In fact, Bosworth presents the Facist regime as so corrupted that it was actually easily manipulated by the populace. In Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Union, it was completely the opposite, with the public being controlled by the powerful administration.

In all three systems violence, fear, and nationalism was a reoccurring theme. However, the levels of public fear were clearly the lowest in Fascist Italy. In addition, trying to unify a country, as each regime did, while also attempting to create a hyper-controlled state was contradictory to the extreme and eventually led to the downfall of each dictatorship. The majority of the public eventually realized that the government could not be trusted with such highly opposing domestic goals. Bosworth gives the sense that this opinion was highest and most vocally expressed in Italy, where very few people took Fascism seriously and most attempted to carry out their lives and families’ traditions as normally as possible. Although Mussolini hoped to instill a strong, masculine, national Italian public life, his citizens rejected his hopes and emasculated the Fascist regime by retaining their distinct, individual, and regional Italian identities in contradiction with Mussolini’s proposed ‘one Italy’. ((Bosworth, Everday Mussolinism, 41)) If you were a citizen of an oppressive regime, under what circumstances and / or threats would it take for you to change your way of life or beliefs to appease the state?



Denunciation and the Great Purges

“…he ‘hunted for enemies everywhere with a magnifying glass’.” ((Sheila Fitzpatrick, “A Time of Troubles” in Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism; Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, 206)).

In Shelia Fitzpatrick’s “A Time of Troubles” she analyzed the impact the Great Purges had on everyday life and what mechanisms allowed the wide-spread terror to occur between 1937 and 1938. ((Fitzpatrick, “A Time of Troubles”, 199)). The Great Purges differed from earlier purges the Soviet Union experienced in that the term “enemy” was no longer associated with solely class. The classification of “enemy” became much broader and more difficult to identify. This broader characterization combined with flexibility of social identification and the ability to forge documents and family histories (as we discussed earlier in the semester) made individuals who would have been obvious targets for Soviet terror indistinguishable from others. The broader definition and atmosphere of suspicion created self-perpetuating mechanisms that caused the spread and escalation of the Great Purges in Soviet society.

Denunciation was one of the most notable mechanisms that allowed terror to proliferate. This public condemnation pitted colleagues against colleagues, workers against managers, communists against other communists of the same organizations. ((Fitzpatrick, “A Time of Troubles”, 207-208)). This was a result of competition, friction and power struggles between people and organizations to gain support from the government. In the Soviet Union during this time it became important not to “step on anybody’s toes”, even seemingly small incidents had the potential to become problematic. ((Fitzpatrick, “A Time of Troubles”, 208)). During the pinnacle of the Great Purges some people became professional denouncers as a way to protect themselves. Fitzpatrick uses an excellent example to illustrate this point. A senior soviet official secretly denounced many of his colleagues, after his death approximately 175 written denunciations were found in his apartment. ((Fitzpatrick, “A Time of Troubles”, 209)).

Fitzpatrick also discusses the role of newspapers in the spread of terror- To what extent do you think the Great Purges of 1937-1938 were prompted by newspapers? Do you think that the Great Purge would have reached the same heights without such media outlets? Additionally, Fitzpatrick states that the majority of the population had low levels of education. Would you argue that lack of education among the population quickened or slowed the spread terror during this period?

On a final and somewhat unrelated note, I also found it interesting how peasants rationalized the purges. The Great Purges were viewed by peasant as inevitable or unavoidable problems, comparable to disasters along the lines of floods, wars, poor harvests, famines and other “great misfortunes”. ((Fitzpatrick, “A Time of Troubles”, 192)).

“Imperialist” Violence vs. “Developmental” Violence: The Violent Societies of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union

One of the primary characteristics and areas of study on European dictators of the interwar period is the use and degree of violence in these regimes. In Christian Gerlach’s and Nicolas Werth’s chapter in Beyond Totalitarianism on “State Violence – Violent Societies,” the role that violence played in Nazi Germany in Stalinist Soviet Union respectively, as well as past historical interpretations of state violence within these regimes are assessed with a focus on the methods of violence, the degree of the violence, the role of the state, and the incorporation of ideologies ( (Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth, “State Violence- Violent Societies” in Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, ed. Michael Geyer and Sheila Fitzpatrick (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 133) ). Gerlach and Werth argued that state violence is much more complex than the systematic killings that were seen in concentration camps and gulags. Throughout the chapter, Gerlach and Werth investigated state violence at a smaller degree and concluded that in both regimes, “initiative from below” and public participation/ support were important key components of such violence for the sake of creating a perfect society that would benefit the state through a mass consensus within the collective population. (Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth, 172).

According to Gerlach and Werth, mass violence in Nazi Germany is characterized as a form of “imperialist” violence, while mass violence in Stalinist Soviet Union was characterized as “developmental violence”(Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth, 179). The difference in mass violence between both regimes reflects on different case studies discussed by Gerlach and Werth. The discussion on “socially harmful elements” in the Soviet Union and “asocials” in Nazi Germany supports the idea that mass violence was “developmental” or “imperialist” in the respective dictatorships. In Nazi Germany, different social subgroups were persecuted as “asocials,” people who were accused of deviant behavior. By 1939, “asocials” were categorized as Gemeinschaftsfremde and Gemeinschaftunfahige, “alien to the community” and “socially unfit” (Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth, 144). It is important to note the use of diction in describing those who were targets of exclusion and eventually mass violence. By stating that “asocials” were “alien” to  the “people’s community,” it antagonizes them and creates a divide between native Germans and those who are not considered to be part of a “greater Germany.” For this reason, Gerlach and Werth argue that mass violence in Nazi Germany is characterized as a form of “imperialist” violence since it was externally driven considering that most victims were people residing on Nazi-occupied territories.

In the Soviet Union, those who were perceived as “socially dangerous” and “socially harmful” were deprived of rights that were granted to “good” Soviets, those who were involved with the collective good of the nation and the party. Mass violence in the Soviet Union eventually targeted those who were “socially harmful” to the state in an effort to create a harmonious and conflict-free society. Amir Weiner added in his article, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory in a Socialist Utopia: Delineating the Soviet Socio-Ethnic Body in the Age of Socialism,” that state violence in the Soviet Union was internally driven and sought to rid Soviet society of “divisive and obstructing elements.” Weiner stated that, “the Soviet state emerged and operated within an ethos aptly named by Zygmunt Bauman as the ‘gardening state,’ which appeared ever more universal in the wake of the Great War. This cataclysmic event brought to fruition the desires for a comprehensive plan for the transformation and management of society, one that would create a better, purer, and more beautiful community through the removal of unfit human weeds” ( (Weiner, Amir. “Nature, Nurture, and Memory in a Socialist Utopia: Delineating the Soviet Socio-Ethnic Body in the Age of Socialism.” The American Historical Review 104, no. 4, 1999,  pp. 1116.) ) Considering that most societies of the interwar period aimed towards perfecting their populations and creating an organized and controlled society, can’t “developmental violence” also apply to Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany? Do you agree with Gerlach and Werth or do you think that both “imperialist violence” and “developmental violence” could be applied to all three regimes? Is the aim of mass violence, as discussed in both readings, to create utopian societies?

Public Works vs. Nature and the Back to the Land Movement

The Great Depression ravaged the economies of the United States and Germany. In an attempt to recover the United States and Germany implemented public works projects to improve not only unemployment rates, but also industry levels and infrastructure. These projects were also used as forms of government propaganda to revive national pride. In Schivelbusch’s chapter on public works he highlights public projects of the United States and Germany as well as the less successful public works attempts of the Soviet Union and Fascist Italy.

In 1933, FDR signed a legislative act that created the Tennessee Valley Authority. The goal of the TVA was to promote regional development in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky as well as other disenfranchised portions of the South. (( Wolfgang Schivelbusch. “Public Works” in Three New Deals. (New York: Picador, 2006) 153.)). This project sought to integrate technology and agriculture to develop water resources, such as building dams, and to promote land reform that focused on reforesting areas and improving soil quality. ((Wolfgang Schivelbusch. “Public Works” in Three New Deals, 156)).

One of Germany’s public works project was the construction of the Autobahn. Like the United States this construction project also implemented newly-developed technology aimed at modernizing the country. Soon after Hitler rose to power, he planned the construction of a network of highways throughout Germany, with portions to be completed by 1935. ((Wolfgang Schivelbusch. “Public Works” in Three New Deals, 172)). The planners of the Autobahn placed great emphasis on the road’s relationship to the surrounding landscape. They seemed to endorse that the road should emphasize the uniqueness of the landscape and fit in seamlessly with the road’s surrounding terrain, however whether this goal was propaganda or represented actual intentions is something historians debate. ((Wolfgang Schivelbusch. “Public Works” in Three New Deals, 174-175.)). The use of such vague vocabulary by head planners, such as Todt, led to misunderstandings between the differences of “landscape creation” verses landscape preservation. For example, people who protested the construction of the Autobahn for conservation reasons were characterized by the Autobahn planning committee as “faint-hearted nature lovers”. ((Wolfgang Schivelbusch.  “Public Works” in Three New Deals, 176-177.)).

Do you think that Todt’s definition of “landscape creation” (pgs 176-177) contradicted the aims of the back-to-the-land movement as Schivelbusch discusses in chapter 4?

Fascist Italy and Behavior of Individuals

“The Fascist State” by Christopher Leeds describes the ways in which Mussolini and the Italian Fascist Party attempted to mold Italian society.

“Our whole way of eating, dressing, working and sleeping, in short all our everyday habits, must be changed” ((Christopher Leeds, “The Fascist State” in Italy under Mussolini, London: Wayland Publishers, 52.)) .

This passage is particularly important to the article because it highlights the depth in which the fascist government and Mussolini sought to modify Italian society and change individuals’ behavior. However, as Leeds suggests they were not able to successfully do so. This was in part due to the fact that the regime lacked tangible policies to accomplish specific goals ((Christopher Leeds, “The Fascist State”, 35.)) . This article challenged preexisting ideas I had about fascism in Italy and the impact it had on lives of individuals.
The regime intervened on a wide array of themes within Italy’s cultural sphere including sport, leisure behavior, and customs. Sports were of great importance and were used as a form of propaganda for the state, much like that of the Nazi Regime. All clubs, groups and societies were brought under control of the Fascist regime in an attempt to control the behavior, activities and thoughts of all citizens. Fascist leaders also thought it was necessary to modify traditional Italian customs that reflected or were introduced during times when Italy was occupied by France (Napoleon) and Spain ((Christopher Leeds, “The Fascist State”, 52)). Despite attempts to control all aspects of the private sphere of individuals, the Italian population as a whole did not undergo a dramatic transformation. In fact, such government invasion of private life aggravated most Italians.
Why do you think the behavior of Italians remained largely unaffected by the changes imposed by the State? How does Italy’s social sphere compare to that of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany?

Frameworks of Social Engineering

How can we truly go about with categorizing populations? In the case of Stalin’s USSR and Nazi Germany, populations were categorized by class and race respectively. Chapter 6 of Beyond Totalitarianism, Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum examine the different “radical recategorizations” of the populations in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. <Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum, “Frameworks for Social Engineering: Stalinist Schema of Identification and the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft,” in Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, ed. Michael Geyer and Shelia Fitzpatrick (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)> Browning and Siegelbaum discuss both the Stalinist schema of identification and the Nazi ideal of Volksgemeinschaft and conclude that the need to reach a utopian and ideal society, justified imposing categorizations to better identify “enemies of the state.” In order to categorize populations, identification plays in big role in make categories that have to do with race and class. According to Browning and Siegelbaum,

“The Bolsheviks, without much controversy, identified the landless (batraki) and poor (bedniaki) among the peasantry as proletarians even if many of them did not identify themselves as such.”

This passage struck me the most because it demonstrates the power of the state and its capability to play the role of the “identifier.” In addition, this passage brings many things into question. How do was a proletarian defined as? Better yet, what if many did not identify as such? Similar to Nazi Germany, who was Jewish and who identifies as such? In terms of race, to what extent was someone of Aryan descent or how far can individuals trace back to the Jewish traditions of their families? One important point that I would make about this passage is the idea of human agency. Human agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices and to act in the world. When it comes to identity, it is difficult to categorize individuals in an effort to create a utopian society, because human agency will always exist. Although the state may assume the right to inscribe identity and place the population under categories, does order within these authoritarian societies have the potential to prevail?

Mussolini: Rome Revived or Rome Reviled?

Is a politician’s image imposed externally, by admirers and critics located domestically as well as abroad, examining the politician within his respective surrounding context and time period? [Bottom-up] Or, on the other hand, does a ruler paint his own political picture, a self-created phenomenon, descending internally from the ruler himself? [Top-down] This is the question that R. J. B. Bosworth examines in a chapter of his 1998 publication, “Mussolini the Duce: Sawdust Caesar, Roman Statesman or Dictator Minor?”. Truly, as Bosworth illuminates based on multiple academic’s opinions of Benito Mussolini during and after his reign of power, a politician’s image is both a combination of self-determining propaganda and external popular evaluation.

Mussolini ruled as a charismatic leader, relying upon his positive public image to reinforce his extremist Fascist party ideology and state. While the Duce’s dictatorship and personality paled in comparison to Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia (hence the Dictator Minor label), all three rulers shared in common a tendency toward the ‘Great Man’ approach. This approach to history evaluates a leader based on his heroism as the determining force of his historical impact. As Bosworth asserts, normally this approach to analyzing history is “well out of favor” but “to some extent, however, the history of Fascism and, more generally, that of twentieth-century European politics, is an exception to that rule.” ((B.J.B Bosworth, “Mussolini the Duce; Sawdust Caesar, Roman Statesman or Dictator Minor?” The Italian Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives in the Interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism, London: Arnold, 1998, 74. 59 ))

Bosworth examines how over the course of Mussolini’s dictatorship from 1922 – 1943, the effective influence of Mussolini’s fascist rule lost power parallel to the decline of what Emilio Gentile calls, ‘the imagined Mussolini’. Passerini accepts Gentile’s view “that Fascism brought mythical thought to power.” (( Bosworth, “Mussolini the Duce”, 61. )) Other historians, throughout Bosworth’s article, refer to this grandiose conception of Mussolini as ‘the myth of Mussolini.’ When Mussolini rose to power, he did so under the pretense of embodying the values of the Italian public, as a “medium of a mass age.” (( Bosworth, “Mussolini the Duce”, 62. )) Public reverence for the heroic dictator reached levels of deep religious awe; Mussolini’s call for a New, collectivist, Italy resonated deep in the Risorgimento national spirit. Italy was traditionally a diverse and separated country, even after the Italian Unification of the 19th century  – Could Mussolini finally be the leader destined to bring together the Italian people into a united nation? Mussolini capitalized on the declining pre-modern Catholic papal influence to replace with a modern religious appreciation of the secular state. But after 1925, when Mussolini decided against ruling by the Italian Constitution and created his own pseudo-legal totalitarian state, public adoration turned to public crucifixion.

Especially when Mussolini – always an an advocate of aggression rejecting the doctrine of pacifism – joined the WWII offensive in June 1940, with a false consolation to the Italian masses that it would be a short-lived dispute, public opinion of him really fell out of favor when increasing global military conflict created a sense of betrayal within the Italian people. Bosworth extols this concept, “Figures blessed or afflicted by charisma may, of course, be hated as well as loved. Prayers to the good Mussolini were matched by anathemas to the evil one.” (( Bosworth, “Mussolini the Duce”, 65 )) While the Duce may have been a master propagandist in his own right, his pervasive slogan, ‘Mussolini is always right’ will go down in history as an ironic catchphrase, as his resonant historical image, in the words of Bosworth, is as war-time Europe’s “failed dictator.” (( Bosworth, “Mussolini the Duce”, 59 ))

Based on your understanding of each of the dictator’s cult of personality and their respective states (Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, Stalin’s Communist Russia, and Hitler’s Nazi Germany), do you believe that Bosworth’s concluding assessment of Mussolini’s “image of a failed dictator, at least in contrast with Hitler and Stalin” (( Bosworth, “Mussolini the Duce”, 59 )) is an accurate evaluation?