chapter  3
30 Pages

The Liberal State

Foreign and military policy were the key activities of the Fascist State. It was predictable that the Fascists, nursing the grievances of Versailles, would be expansionist, and fairly brutal in their methods. But Benito Mussolini was also erratic. He was no diplomat, and seemed incapable of taking a long-term view. Winston Churchill's famous remark in 1940, about Italy having entered the war because of one man, and one man alone, was true of many earlier decisions. In the winter of 1942-43, as the war was being lost and the Fascist regime was collapsing, the political and diplomatic manoeuvres naturally became more intense. The Fascist regime had fallen, as it had arisen, because of war. It had glorified High Politics; and it was overthrown by the monarch, and replaced by a marshal. The new government dissolved party, Grand Council, Special Tribunal and Chamber; the Militia, being armed, was merged into the army. In Rome, it was as if Fascism had never been.