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Mussolini in the First World War : The Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist - Professor Paul O'Brien

Mussolini in the First World War

The Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist

Paperback Published: 1st November 2004
ISBN: 9781845200527
Number Of Pages: 224

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How did Benito Mussolini come to fascism? Standard accounts of the dictator have failed to explain satisfactorily the transition from his pre-World War I 'socialism' to his post-war fascism. This controversial new book is the first to examine closely Mussolini's political trajectory during the Great War as evidenced in his journalistic writings, speeches and war diary, as well as some previously unexamined archive material. The author argues that the 1914-18 conflict provided the catalyst for Mussolini to clarify his deep-rooted nationalist tendencies. He demonstrates that Mussolini's interventionism was already anti-socialist and anti-democratic in the early autumn of 1914 and shows how in and through the experience of the conflict the future duce fine-tuned his authoritarian and totalitarian vision of Italy in a state of permanent mobilization for war. Providing a radical new interpretation of one of the most important dictators of the twentieth century, Mussolini in the First World War will appeal to anyone who wants to learn more about the roots of fascism in modern Europe.

Industry Reviews

'An important study of the young Mussolini, this book shows us the future fascist leader in a new light, helping us to understand better why Italy turned to fascism and how Mussolini himself - still a socialist firebrand in 1914 - became the champion of the Italian Right. This study will become essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the development of the fascist movement and its duce.' Paul Corner, Professor of European History, University of Siena 'This book makes a real contribution to our knowledge of the birth of fascism in Italy. Hitherto, historians have ignored Mussolinis experience as combatant in the First World War. Paul OBrien has identified a major gap in the research, and he argues cogently for the crucial role of Mussolinis war experience. This provocative, but carefully argued, book is a welcome application of the new cultural history of the Great War and will be essential reading for those seeking to understand the origins of fascism.' Alan Kramer, co-author of German Atrocities 1914 'O'Brien offers a convincing case that Mussolini moved from socialism to a Jacobean nationalism and generic populism that had as its main targets, not the capitalist bourgeoisie, but the Italian Socialist Party and Giovanni Giolitti. Far from having been an eager and willing soldier, the future Duce showed little desire to enlist... O'Brien's most interesting argument deals with Mussolini's war injuries. He argues that an examination of the medical records does not indicate a serious injury; instead, he was hospitalized from April to August 1917 with a case of neurosyphilis and the records were tampered with to cover this up.' Journal of Modern Italian Studies 'Paul O'Brien's book presents the reader with a series of interesting and thought-provoking accounts and interpretations concerning the figure of Mussolini and, by extension, Fascism as a whole.' Saverio Battente, Modern Italy

List of Figuresp. vii
Abbreviationsp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Stating the Programme: November 1918-June 1919p. 11
Man of Straw: July 1914-May 1915p. 31
Mind and Matter: May-November 1915p. 59
Digging In: November 1915-June 1916p. 87
Disenchanted Warrior: July 1916-February 1917p. 107
War and Revolution: March-October 1917p. 123
Victory Imagined: October 1917-November 1918p. 141
Envisioning Fascism: October 1917-November 1918p. 163
Conclusionp. 183
Bibliographyp. 189
Indexp. 201
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781845200527
ISBN-10: 1845200527
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st November 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 15.9  x 1.22
Weight (kg): 0.34