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IV

So far as I am aware none of the twenty-three members of the British House of Commons who represented the Imperial Parliament at the International Parliamentary Conference in Rome believe that Fascism is needed or, if tried, would succeed in Great Britain or in any British community. Mussolini himself has declared that it is only justifiable in special circumstances. He has said that it thrives best “in the atmosphere where the need for its development is most urgent.” Most of the visiting parliamentarians knew Italy well both before and since the establishment of Fascism. There was not one of them whom I spoke to who was not enthusiastic about the improvement that had been effected in the conditions existing generally in Italy.

Soon after the return of the British parliamentary delegates to London, a letter was published in The Times signed by Sir Philip Dawson and Mr. P. J. Hannan, an Irishman born in Castlebar, who represents a division of Birmingham in the House of Commons. The letter described the transformation in the social and economic conditions of Italy during the ten years of Fascism. They both have known Italy before


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and since Fascism was established. They wrote of their visit:

“We found evidence of triumphant prosperity everywhere. The miserable mendicant who invaded town and country in pre-Fascist days has completely disappeared. Orderly cleanliness is the outstanding quality of town and country alike. The homes of the peasant population, scattered over intensely cultivated areas with their uniformity of colour and design, indicate the development of homely comfort and steadily advancing prosperity. Every patch of available land we saw was in process of cultivation or crop raising, and the industry of the rural population was apparent everywhere. New roads and old roads reconstructed will compare favourably with the finest highway of any country in Europe.… The physical and intellectual improvement of the mass of the people is phenomenal. It is part of the national policy to afford facilities for physical and educational training for the workers, which is extending its beneficial influence upon the character of the people from day to day. The organisation of youth is truly remarkable, and we witnessed at the great demonstration to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of Rome an array of organised boyhood and early manhood which could not be presented by any other country in the world. Italy affords an amazing example of the genius of constructive statesmanship.”

Many books—mostly biassed exaggerations of fact— have been written for and against Fascism in Italy.


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Professor Salvemini's “The Fascist Dictatorship in Italy” goes to as absurd an extreme in one direction as “Mostra Della Rivoluzione Fascista” does in the other. Reforms can rarely be brought about, even simple reforms in legislation, without some individuals being inconvenienced and frequently suffering hardship. During the early years of Fascism deeds were done by its supporters and its opponents that must be condemned. Excesses were undoubtedly committed and reprisals followed. Literally, thousands of Fascists in the early years of Fascism were imprisoned by the Fascist authorities for committing excesses. Following on two successive attempts on Mussolini's life in 1926, excesses occurred that resulted in the imprisonment of hundreds of Fascists, and hundreds of others were expelled from the ranks of the party. In fact, Mussolini himself took over the control of the Ministry of the Interior in order that his prestige and authority might be exercised to preserve order and enforce discipline.

Opponents of Fascism declare that Fascists destroyed liberty. The Fascists declare that they prevented the abuse of liberty, that they put an end to corruption, and that all they have done has been in the interests of the people. Prominent Fascists consider that it was the state of political affairs existing in Italy after the war that produced Fascism. No such conditions exist or have existed in Britain. Such is the opinion also of Mr. Winston Churchill, who said to the Fascists: “If I had been an Italian I am sure I should have been with you from the beginning to the end of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.”

In Italy Fascists thought the motto of revolutionary


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France, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” was not producing satisfactory results, so they substituted “Responsibility, Hierarchy, and Discipline.” Fascism is about a dozen years in power in Italy. Some say it is a mere temporary form of government created to deal with a great national crisis. Fascists believe that it will endure and be permanent. Time alone will prove which prediction is correct.

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