chapter  10
18 Pages

Mussolini as the Prototypical Charismatic Dictator Emillio Gentile

Fascism was the first twentieth century nationalist and revolutionary movement to create a totalitarian regime founded on a personality cult. In this sense, Benito Mussolini was the prototype of the charismatic dictators who populate the century’s history. Yet despite the fact that Mussolini emerged before other comparative figures, the problem of his charisma has not been studied extensively. Although there are studies of the Mussolini myth and the cult of the Duce, in comparative analyses of the various forms of charismatic leadership Mussolini has been a marginal presence when he has not been completely absent.1 Of course, analysis of the myth of Mussolini and the cult of the Duce necessarily involves making reference to the charismatic nature of his authority, but in existing studies such references do not go far beyond generalities.2