chapter  1
16 Pages

The Concept and Theory of Charismatic Leadership Roger Eatwell

Fascism was the first twentieth century nationalist and revolutionary movement to create a totalitarian regime founded on a personality cult. The study of Mussolini's charisma brings with it several theoretical problems. This chapter presents the fascist political system as: a Caesaristic type of charismatic dictatorship which was integrated into an institutional structure based on a single party and on the mobilisation of the masses. The majority of Fascists would probably have been happy to see the back of the monarchy; it is true that this was the subject of discussions between Mussolini and his closest aides. Giovanni Zibordi, wrote that Mussolini had set up a 'dictatorship which has an individual basis, but also a collective psychological or even emotional basis'. Senior Fascists began to lose their faith and enthusiasm when Mussolini himself began blindly to believe in his own charisma and feel that he was an infallible genius.