Show Less
Restricted access

The Anarchist-Individualist Origins of Italian Fascism

Series:

Stephen B. Whitaker

The anarchist origins of Italian fascism are vividly described in this multiple biography of four anarchists who demonstrated extreme individualist tendencies. Leandro Arpinati began his political career as an anarchist, but went on to lead the Bologna fascists and become Mussolini’s Minister of the Interior and the «Second Duce of Fascism.» Massimo Rocca was the extreme anarchist-individualist who goaded Mussolini into openly declaring his stance in favor of intervention in the First World War. Maria Rygier was a leader among the Bologna anarchists who reshaped the revolutionary ideas of the left in terms acceptable to the right. Torquato Nanni helped fuse the left wing of Fascism to the right wing of Bolshevism. All were friends of the young Mussolini, but were among the first to express disillusionment with fascism. By 1934, they had been arrested for «anti-fascist activities» and forced into external or internal exile. Despite Arpinati’s and Nanni’s participation in the Resistance a decade later, communist partisans assassinated them on the day of Liberation in April 1945. This book’s analysis of the motives behind their assassination leads to conclusions about the use of the Myth of the Resistance as a paradigm for government in postwar Italy. It also suggests a model by which political parties have been appended to major personalities according to the degree to which they opposed fascism.