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Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Identity
In 1883, Benito Mussolini was born into a politically active family greatly impacted his later affirmation to Fascism. His father was a radical anarchical-socialist who would read Das Kapital aloud to his family, and his mother was a pious Catholic schoolteacher. In denial with both concepts, he found his admiration for Fascism: anti-Marxist, anti-Liberal, and violently nationalistic. Mussolini decided to embark on a totalitarian regime after being emboldened by the success of Adolf Hitler. Most notably, in his ruling years, Mussolini became more virulently involved in imperialist conquests and government interventions in the economic system that ultimately boosted his downfall.
To begin with, Mussolini initiated imperialist military invasions that he believed would win over the public support. Ironically, in the late 1920s, Mussolini was engaged in amicable relationships with foreign powers, promising not to intervene with others’ sovereignty. This is exemplified by Franklin D Roosevelt’s comment on the dictator in 1929: “I am deeply impressed by this admirable Italian gentleman, who seemed intent upon restoring Italy and seeking to prevent general European trouble” (Bowdoin R. 14). Indeed, before the 1930s, Mussolini was occupied by internal solidification of power as his opponents, the liberals and socialists, attempted to undermine him. Nevertheless, after consolidating his absolute authority in Italy, he started to copy the pattern of  Adolf Hitler,  a teacher that shared the same expectations for the global political makeup. In his Encyclopedia Italiana, Mussolini proclaimed the necessity of territorial expansions, “the growth of empire … is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence. Peoples which are rising, or rising again after a period of decadence, are always imperialist: any renunciation is a sign of decay and death” (Renzi 29). To showcase the superiority of a totalitarian state, Mussolini decided to conquer the “barbaric” Africa. Neglecting the denouncement of League of Nations, Mussolini mobilized 10,000 troops across the Eritrea-Ethiopia border in 1935. The obvious advancement in weapons and technology allowed Mussolini’s army to sweep over the country within several days, followed by the complete surrender of the Ethiopian regime. The triumph drastically encouraged Mussolini to broaden his military visions — he withdrew from the League of Nations, lining up with Hitler to target weaker states in Europe, officially entering World War ii. In the midst, the nationalist sensations were pushed up to the pinnacle. In fact, the return of a strong dictator excited the Italian masses, and the continuous military victories have proven the unquestionable capability of Mussolini. 
Moreover, Mussolini embarked on efforts of economic government interventions, which greatly devastated the national economy. First, he disguised himself with a rather liberal economic view. He curtailed taxations, simplified the tax code, lifted tariffs, and encouraged trades with foreign countries. Between 1921 and 1925, the Italian economy grew more than 20 percent. Unemployment fell 77 percent (Gundle 2). The growth granted him a heroic public image, and encouraged him to pursue the governmental control of economy, what he believed would benefit the country most. In 1925, Mussolini started to form independent organizations to limit competition by controlling the production and distribution of a product or service. This extended to “businesses, banks, labor unions, farmers and professional people”(Jefferson 5). In account of interventions, imports and exports dramatically decreased, industrial productions became limited, and the rate of unemployment surged. Rather than halting the policy , the failure confirmed his belief that more interventions were necessary. “There was a jungle of overlapping bureaucracies where Mussolini’s orders were constantly being lost or purposely mislaid. Any fascist party official could issue an order purporting to come from Mussolini, as its authenticity was hard to check. By trying to control everything, he ended up controlling very little” (Wickham 3).  The lack of faith in government officials, combined with unemployed citizens stirred nationwide dissents toward Mussolini’s regime. 
The short period of national Fascism is a reminder to Italians that a charismatic dictator, who asserts power through military conquests and economic interventions, would not improve the wellbeing of the people. Instead, a leader the recognizes regional and class differences, who generally work for nationwide welfare of everyday people, is what Italy truly needs.

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Works Cited

Bowdoin R, Jasmine. “Benito Mussolini Biography.” The Biography , The Biography, 2 Sept. 2014, www.biography.com/people/benito-mussolini-9419443.

RENZI, WILLIAM A. “MUSSOLINI’S SOURCES OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT, 1914–1915.” History, vol. 56, no. 187, 1971, pp. 189–206. JSTOR, JSTOR, 

Gundle, Stephen, et al., editors. “The Aftermath of the Mussolini Cult: History, Nostalgia and Popular Culture.” The Cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italians, Manchester University Press, 2013, pp. 241–256. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt18mvkcv.20.

Jefferson, Houston. ” Fascists triumph in Italy.” The Guardian , 30 Oct. 1922, www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/30/mussolini-fascists-italy-archive-1922.

Wickham, Christopher John. “Italy.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 19 Sept. 2017, www.britannica.com/place/Italy/The-Fascist-era.