The ‘pre-history’ of Italian Fascism
Though Italian Fascism was to a great extent a child of Its time, it did not suddenly appear from nowhere. It had roots in pre-First World War political and cultural movements, and also in the war itself. Moreover, its success cannot be properly understood outside the broader context of Italy’s political, economic and social development following its emergence as a unified state in the middle of the nineteenth century. Denis Mack Smith, for example, sees it as the logical consequence of all the weaknesses and defects of the Liberal state created at unification, and above all the failure after unification to bridge the gap between ‘legal’ Italy, the rulers, and ‘real’ Italy, the ruled (Mack Smith, in A.W.Salamone, 1970, pp. 103-1 1). Fascism was not inevitable in this historical context, but it would have been impossible without it.