Benito Mussolini

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Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician, one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism. Leading the National Fascist Party he was the prime minister of Italy under Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, from 1922 until 1943, when he was overthrown; rescued by German commandos, he then became the leader of the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to until his summary execution by members of the Italian resistance in 1945.

Quotes[edit]

For us the national flag is a rag to be planted on a dunghill. There are only two fatherlands in the world: that of the exploited and that of the exploiters.
Everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.
Blood alone moves the wheels of history.
Speeches made to the people are essential to the arousing of enthusiasm for a war.
Better to live a day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.
For my part I prefer fifty thousand rifles to five million votes.
Race? It is a feeling, not a reality. Ninety-five per cent, at least. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today.… National pride has no need of the delirium of race.
  • For us the national flag is a rag to be planted on a dunghill. There are only two fatherlands in the world: that of the exploited and that of the exploiters.
    • La Lotta di Classe (1910), while a socialist, paraphrasing French socialist Gustave Hervé, quoted in Mussolini in the Making (1938) by Gaudens Megaro
    • Variant translation: The national flag is a rag that should be placed in a dunghill.
      • As quoted in Aspects of European History, 1789-1980 (1988) by Stephen J. Lee, p. 191
  • Blood alone moves the wheels of history.
    • Speech in Parma (13 December 1914) quoted in Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg (2007) by Derek Swannson, p. 507
  • Some still ask of us: what do you want? We answer with three words that summon up our entire program. Here they are…Italy, Republic, Socialization. . .Socialization is no other than the implantation of Italian Socialism…
    • As quoted in Revolutionary Fascism, Erik Norling, Lisbon, Finis Mundi Press (2011) pp.119-120. Speech given by Mussolini to a group of Milanese Fascist veterans on October 14, 1944.
  • This is what we propose now to the Treasury: either the property owners expropriate themselves, or we summon the masses of war veterans to march against these obstacles and overthrow them.
    • As quoted by Mussolini as leader of the Revolutionary Fascist Party (1919) in Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin (1973) p. 83. From article in Mussolini’s Il Popolo d’Italia on June 19, 1919.
  • Lenin is an artist who has worked men, as other artists have worked marble or metals. But men are harder than stone and less malleable than iron. There is no masterpiece. The artist has failed. The task was superior to his capacities.
    • Popolo d'Italia (14 July 1920) "The Artificer and the Material," quoted in Mussolini in the Making (1938) by Gaudens Megaro, p. 326
  • We want an extraordinary heavy taxation, with a progressive character, on capital, that will represent an authentic partial expropriation of all wealth; seizures of all assets of religious congregations and suppression of all the ecclesiastic Episcopal revenues, in what constitutes an enormous deficit of the nation and a privilege for a minority; revisions of all contracts made by the war ministers and seizure of 85% of all war profits.
    • From Mussolini's Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Italian Combat Fasci), Il Popolo d'Italia newspaper, June 6, 1919. Speech published in Revolutionary Fascism, by Erik Norling, Lisbon, Finis Mundi Press (2011) p. 92.
  • Three cheers for the war. Three cheers for Italy's war and three cheers for war in general. Peace is hence absurd or rather a pause in war.
    • Popolo d'Italia (Feb. 1, 1921), quoted in The Menace of Fascism, John Strachey (1933) p. 65
  • We deny the existence of two classes, because there are many more than two classes. We deny that human history can be explained in terms of economics. We deny your internationalism. That is a luxury article which only the elevated can practise, because peoples are passionately bound to their native soil.
    We affirm that the true story of capitalism is now beginning, because capitalism is not a system of oppression only, but is also a selection of values, a coordination of hierarchies, a more amply developed sense of individual responsibility.
  • Italy is not a capitalist country according to the meaning now conventionally assigned to that term.
    • Address to the National Corporative Council (Nov. 14, 1933), in A Primer of Italian Fascism, edited/translated by Jeffrey T. Schnapp (2000) p 160.
  • I know the Communists. I know them because some of them are my children…
    • Speech quoted in The Three Faces of Fascism: Action Francaise, Italian Fascism, National Socialism by Ernst Nolte, Henry Holt & Company, Inc. (1966) p. 154. Speech given on June 21, 1921 in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies.
  • I declare that henceforth capital and labor shall have equal rights and duties as brothers in the fascist family.
    • As quoted in The Fate of Trade Unions Under Fascism, by Gaetano Salvemini, chapter 3: “Italian Trade Unions Under Fascism”, New York: NY, published by Anti-Fascist Literature Committee, 1937, p. 35.
  • Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective immortal truth … then there is nothing more relativistic than Fascist attitudes and activity... From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.
    • Diuturna [The Lasting] (1921) as quoted in Rational Man : A Modern Interpretation of Aristotelian Ethics (1962) by H. B. Veatch
  • Our program is simple: we wish to govern Italy. They ask us for programs but there are already too many. It is not programs that are wanting for the salvation of Italy but men and will power.
    • Speech at Udine (Sept. 20, 1922) "The Question of Regime. The Monarchy and Fascism," quoted in A History of Civilization (1955) by Crane Brinton, John B. Christopher, and Robert Lee Wolff, p. 520
  • Comrade Tassinari was right in stating that for a revolution to be great, for it to make a deep impression on the life of the people and on history, it must be a social revolution.
    • Speech to the National Corporative Council (Nov. 14, 1933), in A Primer of Italian Fascism, edited/translated by Jeffrey T. Schnapp (2000) p.163.
  • Liberty is a duty, not a right.
    • Speech on the 5th anniversary of the Combat Leagues (24 March 1924) quoted in Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism (1991) by Tim Redman, p. 114.
  • Do not believe, even for a moment, that by stripping me of my membership card you do the same to my Socialist beliefs, nor that you would restrain me of continuing to work in favor of Socialism and of the Revolution.
    • Speech at the Italian Socialist Party’s meeting in Milan at the People’s Theatre on Nov. 25, 1914. Quote in Revolutionary Fascism by Erik Norling, Lisbon, Finis Mundi Press (2011) p. 88.
  • Socialism has to remain a terrifying and a majestic thing. If we follow this line, we shall be able to face our enemies.
    • As quoted in Il Duce: The Life and Work of Benito Mussolini, L. Kemechey, New York: NY, Richard R. Smith (1930) p. 54. Written just before taking editorship of the Italian Socialist Party newspaper Avanti in 1912.
  • The law of socialism is that of the desert: a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye. Socialism is a rude and bitter truth, which was born in the conflict of opposing forces and in violence. Socialism is war, and woe to those who are cowardly in war. They will be defeated.
    • As quoted in Il Duce: The Life and Work of Benito Mussolini, L. Kemechey, New York: NY, Richard R. Smith (1930) p. 56. Written just before taking editorship of the Italian Socialist Party newspaper Avanti in 1912.
  • Fascism entirely agrees with Mr. Maynard Keynes, despite the latter's prominent position as a Liberal. In fact, Mr. Keynes' excellent little book, The End of Laissez-Faire (l926) might, so far as it goes, serve as a useful introduction to fascist economics. There is scarcely anything to object to in it and there is much to applaud.
    • Universal Aspects of Fascism by James Strachey Barnes (1929), Williams and Norgate, London: UK, pp. 113-114.
  • Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands and an infinite scorn in our hearts.
    • Speech (1928), as quoted in The Great Quotations (1966) by George Seldes, p. 349
  • [Marx was] the magnificent philosopher of working class violence.
    • As quoted by Mussolini in From George Sorel: Essays in Socialism and Philosophy by John L. Stanley (1987) p. 4.
  • All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
    • Speech to Chamber of Deputies (9 December 1928), quoted in Propaganda and Dictatorship (2007) by Marx Fritz Morstein, p. 48
  • Religion is a species of mental disease. It has always had a pathological reaction on mankind.
    • As quoted by Mussolini in 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubtby James A. Haught (1966) p. 256. From a speech he made in Lausanne, July 1904.
  • Science is now in the process of destroying religious dogma. The dogma of the divine creation is recognized as absurd.
    • As quoted by Mussolini in 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubtby James A. Haught (1966) p. 256. Originally came from Mussolini’s essay l'Homme et la Divinité, 1904.
  • ...It was therefore not sufficient to create—as some have said superficially—an anti-altar to the altar of socialism. It was necessary to imagine a wholly new political conception,adequate to the living reality of the twentieth century, overcoming at the same time the ideological worship of liberalism, the limited horizons of various spent and exhausted democracies, and finally the violently Utopian spirit of Bolshevism.
    • My Autobiography, New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1928. Reprinted in Benito Mussolini, My Rise And Fall, Volumes 1-2 Da Capo Press, 1998 (p. 68-9)
  • Standing by me and helping my work as newspaper man were the Fascisti. They were composed of revolutionary spirits who believed in intervention. They were youths—the students of the universities, the socialist syndicalists—destroying faith in Karl Marx by their ideals.
  • My Autobiography, New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1928. Reprinted in Benito Mussolini, My Rise And Fall,

Volumes 1-2 Da Capo Press, 1998 (p.40).


  • My labor had not been easy nor light; our Masonry had spun a most intricate net of anti-religious activity; it dominated the currents of thought; it exercised its influence over publishing houses, over teaching, over the administration of justice and even over certain dominant sections of the armed forces. To give an idea of how far things had gone, this significant example is sufficient. When, in parliament, I delivered my first speech of November 16, 1922, after the Fascist revolution, I concluded by invoking the assistance of God in my difficult task. Well, this sentence of mine seemed to be out of place! In the Italian parliament, a field of action for Italian Masonry, the name of God had been banned for a long time. Not even the Popular party — the so-called Catholic party — had ever thought of speaking of God. In Italy, a political man did not even turn his thoughts to the Divinity. And, even if he had ever thought of doing so, political opportunism and cowardice would have deterred him, particularly in a legislative assembly. It remained for me to make this bold innovation! And in an intense period of revolution! What is the truth! It is that a faith openly professed is a sign of strength. I have seen the religious spirit bloom again; churches once more are crowded, the ministers of God are themselves invested with new respect. Fascism has done and is doing its duty.
    • My Autobiography (1928)
  • Fascism was not the protector of any one class, but a supreme regulator of the relations between all citizens of a state.
    • My Autobiography , New York: NY, Charles Scribner’s Sons (1928) p. 280
  • The citizen in the Fascist State is no longer a selfish individual who has the anti-social right of rebelling against any law of the Collectivity.
    • My Autobiography by Mussolini, New York: NY, Charles Scribner’s Sons (1928) p. 280.
  • The Fascist State has never tried to create its own God, as at one moment Robespierre and the wildest extremists of the Convention tried to do; nor does it vainly seek to obliterate religion from the hearts of men as does Bolshevism: Fascism respects the God of the ascetics, of the saints, of the heroes, and also God as seen and prayed to by the simple and primitive heart of the people.
  • The Doctrine of Fascism, June 1932. Quoted in Charles Floyd Delzell, Mediterranean Fascism, 1919-45 Springer, 1971
  • Above all, Fascism, in so far as it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism — born of a renunciation of struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put a man in front of himself in the alternative of life and death.
    • "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932), credited to Mussolini but ghostwritten by Giovanni Gentile; quoted in Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and the Resistance in Italy : 1919 to the Present (2004) by Stanislao G. Pugliese, p. 89
  • The Fascist accepts life and loves it, knowing nothing of and despising suicide; he rather conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest, life which should be high and full, lived for oneself, but above all for others — those who are at hand and those who are far distant, contemporaries, and those who will come after.
    • "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932)
  • State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management.
    • Quoted from “The Labor Charter: The Corporate State and its Organization”, promulgated by Mussolini's Grand Council of Fascism, Article 9, (April 21, 1927) Copy found in Mediterranean Fascism 1919-1945, Charles F. Delzell, The MacMillan Press, (1971) p. 122. Also in Benito Mussolini’s “Doctrine of Fascism”, published as “Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions” (1935), Rome: Ardita Publishers, p.135-136.
  • Fascism denies that numbers, as such, can direct human society. It denies that numbers can govern by means of periodical consultations: It asserts the unavoidable fruitful and beneficent inequality of men who cannot be leveled by any such mechanical and extrinsic device as universal suffrage.
  • "The Doctrine of Fascism", June 1932. Quoted in Marco Piraino, Stefano Fiorito, Fascist identity : political project and doctrine of facism. Lulu.com, 2009. (p. 107)
  • For Fascism, the growth of Empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, 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 of death. Fascism is the doctrine best adapted to represent the tendencies and the a people, like the people of Italy, who are rising again after many centuries of abasement and foreign servitude. But Empire demands discipline, the coordination of all forces and a deeply felt sense of duty and sacrifice.
  • "The Doctrine of Fascism", June 1932. Quoted in Paul O'Brien, Mussolini in the First World War: The Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014. Also in Peter N. Stearns, World History in Documents: A Comparative Reader. NYU Press, 2008.
  • Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.
    • "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932), quoted in The New York Times (11 January 1935)
  • If the 19th [century] was the century of the individual (liberalism means individualism), you may consider that this is the "collective" century, and therefore the century of the state.
    • "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1932)
  • Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State . . . . It is opposed to classical Liberalism . . . . Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual.
    • "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1935 version)
  • Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State.
    • “The Doctrine of Fascism” (1935 version), Firenze: Vallecchi Editore, p.15.
  • Speeches made to the people are essential to the arousing of enthusiasm for a war.
    • Talks with Mussolini (1932) by Emil Ludwig
  • Race? It is a feeling, not a reality. Ninety-five per cent, at least. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today.… National pride has no need of the delirium of race.
    • Talks with Mussolini (1932)
  • I have no love for the Jews, but they have great influence everywhere. It is better to leave them alone. Hitler's antisemitism has already brought him more enemies than is necessary.
    • Mussolini in conversation with the Austrian ambassador to Italy in 1932 over the then-predicted rise of Adolf Hitler to power in Germany. As quoted in Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews, Albert S. Lindemann, Cambridge University Press (1997), p466.
  • Three-fourths of Italian economy, industrial and agricultural, is in the hands of the state. And if I dare to introduce to Italy state capitalism or state socialism, which is the reverse side of the medal, I will have the necessary subjective and objective conditions to do it.
    • The Oxford Handbook of the Italian Economy Since Unification, by Gianni Toniolo, editor, Oxford University Press (2013) p. 59. Mussolini’s speech to the Chamber of Deputies on May 26, 1934.
  • I owe most to Georges Sorel. This master of syndicalism by his rough theories of revolutionary tactics has contributed most to form the discipline, energy and power of the fascist cohorts.
    • As Quoted in The New Inquisitions: Heretic-Hunting and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Totalitarianism, Arthur Versluis, Oxford University Press (2006) p. 39.
  • I don't like the look of him.
    • To his aide after Mussolini's first encounter with Hitler (1934), as quoted in The Gathering Storm (1946) by Winston Churchill
  • The Truth Apparent, apparent to everyone's eyes how are not blinded by dogmatism, is that men are perhaps weary of Liberty. They have a surfeit of it. Liberty is no longer the virgin, chaste and severe, to be fought for … we have buried the putrid corpse of liberty … the Italian people are a race of sheep.
    • Written statment (1934), quoted in Fascism and Democracy in the Human Mind : A Bridge Between Mind and Society (2006) by Israel W. Charny, p. 23
    • Variant translation: The truth is that men are tired of liberty.
    • Attributed to Mussolini in Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg (2007) by Derek Swannson, p. 507; similar remarks are also attributed to Adolf Hitler
  • Marx was the greatest of all theorists of socialism.
    • As quoted in Mussolini: A Biography by Denis Mack Smith (1983) p. 7. Original source: Opera Omnia di Benito Mussolini (OO) 1/102-3 (14 Mar. 1908), 135, 142.
  • Thirty centuries of history allow us to look with supreme pity on certain doctrines which are preached beyond the Alps by the descendants of those who were illiterate when Rome had Caesar, Virgil and Augustus.
    • Speech at the 5th Levantine Fair (6 September 1934) in reference to German Nordicism; quoted in Hitler's Ten-year War on the Jews (1946) by the Institute of Jewish Affairs
  • I am not a collector of deserts!
    • Remark to Pierre Laval (Jan. 5, 1935) on a proposed Ethiopian border, quoted in Duce!: A Biography of Benito Mussolini (1971) by Richard Collier, p. 125
  • This is the epitaph I want on my tomb: "Here lies one of the most intelligent animals who ever appeared on the face of the Earth."
    • Remark to Galeazzo Ciano (Dec. 19, 1937) quoted in The Book of Italian Wisdom (2003) by Antonio Santi, p. 50
  • War is to man what motherhood is to a woman. From a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, I do not believe in perpetual peace.
    • Speech to the Chamber of Deputies (28 April 1939), quoted in The Military Quotation Book (2002) by James Charlton, p. 2
  • It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. It matters little who wins. To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I shall do.
    • Remark to Galeazzo Ciano (11 April 1940), quoted in Famous Lines : A Columbia Dictionary of Familiar Quotations (1997) by Robert Andrews. p. 330
  • The watchword is only one, categorical and challenging for everyone. It already flies across and lights the hearts from the Alps to the Indian Ocean: Winning! And we will win, in order to finally give a long period of peace with justice to Italy, to Europe, to the world. (From the declaration of war's announce, 10 June 1940)
  • You want to know what fascism is like? It is like your New Deal!
    • As quoted by Mussolini inMr. New York: The Autobiography of Grover A. Whalen by Grover Aloysius Whalen, G.P. Putnam’s Sons (1955) p. 188.
  • War is the normal state of the people.
    • "Duce (1922-42)" in TIME magazine (Aug. 2, 1943)
  • Better to live a day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.
    • Attributed in "Duce (1922-42)" in TIME magazine (2 August 1943)
    • Also quoted by Generale Armando Diaz in "Il pensiero dei leoni" in Il Carroccio. The Italian review (1922) attributed to graffiti by an unknown soldier [1]
    • Though not precisely a repetition of any of them, this is somewhat resembles far earlier remarks attributed to others:
    • An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.
      • Attributed to Alexander the Great, in The British Battle Fleet : Its Inception and Growth Throughout the Centuries to the Present Day (1915) by Frederick Thomas Jane
    • To live like a lion for a day is far better than to live like a jackal for a hundred years.
      • Tipu Sultan, as quoted in Encyclopedia of Asian History (1988) Vol. 4, p. 104
    • It is far better to live like a tiger for a day than to live like a jackal for a hundred years.
      • Tipu Sultan, as quoted in Tipu Sultan : A Study in Diplomacy and Confrontation (1982) by B. Sheikh Ali, p. 329
    • I should prefer an army of stags led by a lion, to an army of lions led by a stag.
      • Chabrias , as quoted in A Treatise on the Defence of Fortified Places (1814) by Lazare Carnot, p. 50
    • He has been frequently heard to say, that in this world he would rather live two days like a tiger, than two hundred years like a sheep.
      • Tipu Sultan, as quoted in A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultaun; Comprising a Narrative of the Operations of the Army under the Command of Lieutenant-General George Harris, and of the Siege of Seringapatam (London, G. and W. Nicol, 1800) by Alexander Beatson, pp. 153-154. [2] [3]
  • You cannot get rid of me because I am and always will be a socialist. You hate me because you still love me.
    • Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini: A Biography (1983) p. 8. As quoted by Mussolini after he was expelled from the Italian Socialist Party in 1914.
  • For my part I prefer fifty thousand rifles to five million votes.
    • Christopher Hibbert, as quoted in Benito Mussolini: The Rise and Fall of Il Duce (1965) p. 40
  • The Socialists ask what is our program? Our program is to smash the heads of the Socialists.
    • Article in Popolo d'Italia, quoted in "A History of Terrorism" (2001) by Walter Laqueur, p. 71
  • Silence is the only answer you should give to the fools. Where ignorance speaks, intelligence should not give advices.
    • The Lazio Speeches (1936), as quoted in The Book of Italian Wisdom by Antonio Santi, Citadel Press, (2003) p. 87.
  • We do not argue with those who disagree with us, we destroy them.
    • The Lazio Speeches (1936), as quoted in The Book of Italian Wisdom by Antonio Santi, Citadel Press, 2003. p. 88.
  • Believe, obey, fight.
    • Mussolini and Fascism (2003) by Patricia Knight, p. 46
  • The struggle between the two worlds [Fascism and Democracy] can permit no compromises. The new cycle which begins with the ninth year of the Fascist regime places the alternative in even greater relief — either we or they, either their ideas or ours, either our State or theirs!
    • "Fundamentals of critical argumentation" (2005) by Douglas Walton, p. 243
  • Fortunately the Italian people has not yet accustomed itself to eat many times a day, and possessing a modest level of living, it feels deficiency and suffering less.
    • Carol F. Helstosky, Garlic and Oil: Food and Politics in Italy (2006)
  • I am making superhuman efforts to educate this people. When they have learnt to obey, they will believe what I tell them.
    • As quoted in The Tyrants: 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006) by Clive Foss ISBN 1905204965
  • I bequeath the republic to the republicans and not to the monarchists, and the work of social reform to the socialist and not to the middle class.
    • Joshua Muravchik, as quoted in Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, Encounter Books (2002) p. 170.
  • Shoot me in the chest.
    • Mussolini's last words (28 April 1945), as quoted in "Mussolini" by Peter Neville,(2004) p. 195


Disputed[edit]

  • Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.
    • This misunderstanding of the meaning of 'corporazione' spread rapidly in the United States after appearing in a column by Molly Ivins (24 November 2002). It is repeated often and sometimes attributed to the "Fascism" entry in the 1932 Enciclopedia Italiana, but does not appear there. See "Mussolini on the Corporate State" by Chip Berlet which discusses the corporazione - councils of workers, managers and other groups set up by the Fascist Party to control the economy and everyone in it.
      • Corporazioni equals craft-guilds and it is a form of union grouped by professions. This was originally a way to "protect" workers from strong economic powers, and it worked well in this, but subsequently evolved in a political instrument to control worker's mass.
  • It may be expected that this will be a century of authority, a century of the Left, a century of Fascism.
    • Jane Soames’s authorized translation of Mussolini’s “The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism,” Hogarth Press, London, (1933), p. 20. Reprinted in “Living Age,” 1933, pp. 235-244, quote on p. 241, New York City, entitled “The Doctrine of Fascism.” Also see the original copies from the 1933 and 1934 edition of Jane Soames's authorized translation. [4].
    • It is probable that in this quote from "The Doctrines of Fascism", the word 'right' was erroneously changed to 'Left'. From the original text: "un secolo di «destra», un secolo fascista", where Italian 'destra' means English 'right'. (In Italian, 'Left' would be 'la sinistra', or 'di sinistra' for leftist.)
    • Numerous other scholarly translations read as follows or similar using "right." " …political doctrines pass, but humanity remains; and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority, a century of the Right, a century of Fascism."
    • See the original official Italian government English translation text here: [5] This version in English is available in print at numerous public libraries.


Misattributed[edit]

  • If I advance; follow me! If I retreat; kill me! If I die; avenge me!
    • Attributed to Mussolini by G. K. Chesterton in G. K's Weekly (1925), and later appearing in "Duce (1922-42)" in TIME magazine (2 August 1943), this actually originates with Henri de la Rochejaquelein (1793), as quoted in Narrative of the French Expedition in Egypt, and the Operations in Syria (1816) by Jacques Miot
  • The best blood will at some time get into a fool or a mosquito.
    • Austin O'Malley, in Keystones of Thought (1914), p. 27

Quotes about Mussolini[edit]

The regime had created an imaginary Spartan country, in which all men had to make believe they were heroic soldiers, all women Roman matrons, all children Balilla… ~ Luigi Barzini
Alphabetized by author
  • The regime had created an imaginary Spartan country, in which all men had to make believe they were heroic soldiers, all women Roman matrons, all children Balilla (the Genoa street urchin who started a revolt against the Austrian garrison in 1746 by throwing one stone). This was done by means of slogans, flags, stirring speeches from balconies, military music, mass meetings, parades, dashing uniforms, medals, hoaxes, and constant distortions of reality. The Italians woke up too late from their artificial dream, those still alive, that is, hungry, desperate, discredited, the object of derision, cornuti e mazziati, or "cuckolded and beaten up," governed as in the past by contemptuous foreigners in a country of smoking ruins and decaying corpses, in which most things detachable had been stolen and women raped.
  • Like all self-respecting revolutionaries, Mussolini considered himself a Marxist. He regarded Marx as the ‘greatest theoretician of socialism’ and Marxism as the ‘scientific doctrine of class revolution.’
    • Zeev Sternhell with Mario Sznajder, Maia Asheri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 197.
  • As the elections were being held, he published in Gerarchla a disquisition on Machiavelli. He had, he remarked, just re-read the Florentine writer's corpus, although, he added modestly, he had not fully plumbed the secondary literature in Italy and abroad. Machiavelli's thought was, Mussolini announced,more alive now than ever. His pessimism about human nature was eternal in its acuity. Individuals simply could not be relied on voluntarily to 'obey the law, pay their taxes and serve in war'. No well-ordered society could want the people to be sovereign. Machiavelli’s cynical acumen exposed the fatuity of the dreams of the Enlightenment (and of Mussolini’s own political philosophy before 1914).
    • R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini , "Chapter Eight: Government 1922-24" (2002) p. 192.
  • Some of the things Mussolini has done, and some that he is threatening to do go further in the direction of Socialism than the English Labour Party could yet venture if they were in power.
    • Letter from G. Bernard Shaw to a friend 7th Feb, 1927.
  • [Mussolini was] farther to the Left in his political opinions than any of his socialist rivals.
    • George Bernard Shaw as quoted in Socialism and Superior Brains, Gareth Griffith, Taylor and Francis e-Library (2003) p. 253. Shaw made this statement in the Manchester Guardian in 1927.
  • A modern man may disapprove of some of his sweeping reforms, and approve others; but finds it difficult not to admire even where he does not approve.
  • What a man! I have lost my heart!... Fascism has rendered a service to the entire world... If I were Italian, I am sure I would have been with you entirely from the beginning of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passion of Leninism.
  • Mussolini is a brilliant thinker whose philosophy, though unorthodox, flows out of the true European tradition. If he is a myth-maker, he is, like Plato's guardians, conscious that "the noble lie" is a lie.
    • Richard Crossman in Government and the Governed: A History of Political Ideas and Political Practice (1939)
  • [Mussolini] “has always retained a great admiration for Bolshevism, though he presented himself to the public as an antidote to Bolshevism.
    • Francesco Saverio Nitti, Bolshevism, Fascism and Democracy, former Prime Minister of Italy (1919-1920), (1927) p. 73.
  • The greatest genius of the modern age.
    • Thomas Edison, as quoted in Pound in Purgatory : From Economic Radicalism to Anti-semitism (1999) by Leon Surette, p. 72
  • To Benito Mussolini, from an old man who greets in the ruler, the Hero of Culture.
    • Sigmund Freud, in a 1933 dedication sent in a gift copy of the book Warum Krieg? which he had co-written with Albert Einstein, as quoted in Fascist Spectacle : The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini's Italy (2000) by Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi, p. 53; Photo of dedication
  • Still, the democratic governments are jabbering about these things, while Germany and Italy continue to pour in thousands of trained soldiers. It should be obvious to the blind that not only Hitler and Mussolini but Mr. Blum and Mr. Baldwin are in league in their intentions to crush the anti-fascist struggle and to drown in the blood of the Spanish people the maginificent beginnings of a new social structure.
    • Emma Goldman, Letter to Mark Mratchny, 1937, quoted in Vision on Fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution, edited by David Porter, 2006, (p. 186).
  • Once in power, Mussolini, established the model totalitarian state. Having smashed the organisations of the workers, the way was prepared for a savage attack on the standards of the masses in the interests of Big Business. The main brunt of fascism was borne by the working class, against whom it is aimed above all. With their weapons of struggle broken, with the establishment of scab company unions, the conditions were created to drive down the wages and lower the standards of living of the workers. The Labour unions were crushed. Shop stewards' representation in the factories was abolished. The right to strike ended. All Union contracts were rendered void. The employer reigned supreme in the factories once again. He became at the same tune, the "leader" of his employees. Any attempt to strike, any resistance to the wishes of the employer, was "punished with ferocious, penalties by the State. To challenge the employer was to challenge the full force of the State. In the words of the fascists: strikes are crimes "against the social community".
    • Trotskyite Communist Ted Grant,The Menace of Fascism", 1948. [6]
  • [Mussolini] was the only man who could have brought about the revolution of the proletariat in Italy.
    • Leon Trotsky as quoted in Il Duce: The Life and Work of Benito Mussolini, by L. Kemechey, New York: NY, Richard R. Smith (1930) p. 47.
  • [Mussolin is] a man no less extraordinary than Lenin . . . of a greater reach than all the statesmen of the day . . . not a socialist from the bourgeoisie; he never believed in parliamentary socialism.
    • Georges Sorel as quoted in Myth of the Nation and Vision of Revolution: Ideological Polarization in the Twentieth Century, Jacob L. Talmon, University of California Press (1981) p. 451. Originally from Jean Variot in L'Eclair, (September 11, 1922), and Propos de Georges Sorel (1935)
  • Mussolini is a great executive, a true leader of men, and the great works he has accomplished are his genuine fortifications to a high place in history and in the hearts of his people.
  • The Brown shirt would probably not have existed without the Black shirt. The march on Rome in 1922 was one of the turning points of history. The mere fact that anything of the sort could be attempted and could succeed, gave us impetus... If Mussolini had been outdistanced by Marxism, I don’t know whether we could have succeeded in holding out. At that time National Socialism was a very fragile growth. As I walked with him in the gardens of the Villa Borghese, I could easily compare his profile with that of the Roman busts, and I realized he was one of the Caesars. There's no doubt at all that Mussolini is the heir of the great men of that period.
    • Adolf Hitler, 21-22 July, 1941. Quoted in Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944: Secret Conversations Edited by Hugh Trevor-Roper and Gerhard L. Weinberg. Enigma Books, 2013.(pp.9-10).
  • I have myself seen in a dozen different episodes in Italy how very popular the Duce is with the majority of the people; and there is no denying the unparalleled achievements of this man and of Fascism—the innumerable new factories, the construction of new houses and schools and hospitals, the great colonial enterprise and many more; when one recalls the deplorable state of Italy at the time of the Duce’s assumption of power, one realises the magnitude of his achievements.Over and above all this he overcame Bolshevism, not by military force, but by superior intellect, and it is him we have to thank for showing for the first time, by his decisive defeat of the inner power of Bolshevism, that even in this twentieth century it is possible to recall a people to a sense of purely national pride.
    • Adolf Hitler, 24th July 1942. Quoted in Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944: Secret Conversations Edited by Hugh Trevor-Roper and Gerhard L. Weinberg. Enigma Books, 2013 (p.447).
  • By 1938, Mussolini could confidently assert that ‘in the face of the total collapse of the system [bequeathed] by Lenin, Stalin has covertly transformed himself into a Fascist.’
    • A. James Gregor, The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics, Princeton University Press (1974) p. 132
  • Mussolini began as a disciple of Lenin and did not so much repudiate Marxism-Leninism as become a self-declared “heretic.” Thus one of Mussolini’s groups of thugs called itself the Cheka, after Lenin’s secret police.
  • Long live Mussolini! Long live socialism!
    • Quote from Italian communist Nicola Bombacci before being shot with Mussolini in 1945. Quoted in Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism by Joshua Muravchik, (2002) p. 171.
  • Stalin will never make socialism; rather Mussolini will.
    • Nicola Bombacci as quoted in Mussolini, R.J.B Bosworth, New York: NY, Bloomsbury Academic (2011) p. 511, originally from the Fascist newspaper La Verità (March 1945).
  • What a waste that we lost Mussolini. He is a first-rate man who would have led our party to power in Italy.
    • Vladimir Lenin, addressed to a delegation of Italian socialists in Moscow after Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922, as quoted in "Third World Ideology and Western Reality" (1986) by Carlos Rangel, p. 15
  • Benito Mussolini is a Magnificent Beast. No apology is needed for an expression which the Duce himself would have found correct, and which fits like a glove — a boxing glove.,
  • [Mussolini] brought a radical Marxist strand to the [Avanti!] ]newspaper, soon doubling its circulation. With a growing audience, Mussolini redoubled the urgency of his utopian propaganda; ‘private property is theft’ and should be abolished as Italy moved through the phase of collectivism forwards to the ultimate goal of communism.
    • Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini: A Biography, New York: NY, Vintage Books (1983) p. 23
  • Mussolini had been envious of the bolsheviks and for a while fancied himself as the Lenin of Italy.
    • Denis Mack Smith, Modern Italy: A Political History, University of Michigan Press (1997) p. 284.
  • One hears murmurs against Mussolini on the ground that he is a desperado: the real objection to him is that he is a politician. Indeed, he is probably the most perfect specimen of the genus politician on view in the world today. His career has been impeccably classical. Beginning life as a ranting Socialist of the worst type, he abjured Socialism the moment he saw better opportunities for himself on the other side, and ever since then he has devoted himself gaudily to clapping Socialists in jail, filling them with castor oil, sending blacklegs to burn down their houses, and otherwise roughing them. Modern politics has produced no more adept practitioner.
    • H. L. Mencken, in "Mussolini" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (3 August 1931), also in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy : New Selections from the Writings of America's Legendary Editor, Critic, and Wit (1994) edited by Terry Teachout, p. 34
  • You protest, and with justice, each time Hitler jails an opponent; but you forget that Stalin and company have jailed and murdered a thousand times as many. It seems to me, and indeed the evidence is plain, that compared to the Moscow brigands and assassins, Hitler is hardly more than a common Ku Kluxer and Mussolini almost a philanthropist.
  • Even if [in defining 'fascism'] we limit ourselves to our own century and its two most notorious cases, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, we find that they display profound differences. How can we lump together Mussolini and Hitler, the one surrounded by Jewish henchmen and a Jewish mistress, the other an obsessed antisemite?
    • Robert O. Paxton, "Five Stages of Fascism." The Journal of Modern History, Vol 70 no. 1 (March, 1998)
  • The sweeping social changes proposed by Mussolini's first Fascist program of April 1919 (including the vote for women, the eight-hour day, heavy taxation of war profits, confiscation of church lands, and workers' participation in industrial management) stand in flagrant conflict with the macho persona of the later Duce and his deals with conservatives.
    • Robert O. Paxton, "Five Stages of Fascism." The Journal of Modern History, Vol 70 no. 1 (March, 1998)
  • Mussolini would be totally forgotten today if some of his lieutenants in the provinces had not discovered different vocations -- bashing Slovenes in Trieste in July 1920 and bashing socialist organizers of farm workers in the Po Valley in fall and winter 1920-21. Mussolini supported these new initiatives by the ras, and his movement turned into something else, thereafter prospering mightily.
    • Robert O. Paxton, "Five Stages of Fascism." The Journal of Modern History, Vol 70 no. 1 (March, 1998)
  • Neither Hitler nor Mussolini took the helm by force, even if they used force earlier to destablize the liberal regime and later to transform their governments into dictatorships.
    • Robert O. Paxton, "Five Stages of Fascism." The Journal of Modern History, Vol 70 no. 1 (March, 1998)
  • Mussolini was the greatest man of our century, but he committed certain disasterous errors. I, who have the advantage of his precedent before me, shall follow in his footsteps but also avoid his errors.
    • Juan Perón. Quoted in "Argentina, 1943-1979: The National Revolution and Resistance" by Donald C. Hodges.
  • Mussolini had once belonged to the Bolshevik wing of the Italian Socialist party and still in 1924 confessed admiration for Lenin, while Trotsky was quoted as saying that Mussolini was his best pupil.
    • Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini: A Biography, New York: NY, Vintage Books, (1983) p. 96.
  • Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal. It was Mussolini's success in Italy, with his government-directed economy, that led the early New Dealers to say "But Mussolini keeps the trains running on time."
    • Ronald Reagan. Time in 1976. Reagan adviser Jude Wanniski has indicated that, in 1933, New Dealers as well as much of the world admired Mussolini’s success in avoiding the Great Depression.
  • Yes, all Africa remembers that it was Litvinov who stood alone beside Haile Selassie in Geneva, when Mussolini's sons flew with the blessings of the Pope to drop bombs on Ethiopian women and children.
    • Paul Robeson, Paul Robeson Speaks: The Negro and The Soviet Union (1978), p. 238
  • Mussolini was a reluctant fascist because, underneath, he remained a Marxist, albeit a heretical one.
  • There seems to be no question that [Mussolini] is really interested in what we are doing and I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished and by his evidenced honest purpose of restoring Italy.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt to US Ambassador to Italy Breckinridge Long, Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. ''Three New Deals : Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939. Macmillan. 
  • I don't mind telling you in confidence that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman.
    • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as quoted Wolfgang Schivelbusch (2006). Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939, Metropolitan Books, p. 31
  • Mussolini was a Marxist ‘heretic'.
    • A. James Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979, p. xi.
  • Mussolini spoke of himself as an 'authoritarian' and 'aristocratic' Socialist; he was elitist and antiparliamentarian, and he believed in regenerative violence. Like the revolutionary syndicalists (and, in a different manner, Lenin), Mussolini believed that only a special revolutionary vanguard could create a new revolutionary society.
    • Stanley G. Payne A History of Fascism 1914-1945, The University of Wisconsin Press (1995) p. 83
  • Mussolini told the young man of his admiration for Communism—‘Fascism is the same thing’ [as Communism].
    • As quoted in The Politics of Upheaval: 1935-1936 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. III), Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., New York: NY, Mariner Book: Houghton Mifflin Co., (2003) p. 147. Mussolini’s 1931 statement to Alfred Bingham, the son of a U.S. Republican Senator.
  • The meeting between Chesterton and Il Duce occurred in 1929, ten years before the war, at a time when, whatever his other faults, Mussolini had reintroduced a mark spirit of optimism and freshness to an Italy that had formerly been pessimistic and stagnant. Throughout the 1920s, Chesterton thought he saw in the Italian leader qualities that might have offset certain evils in Britain. It is important to keep in mind that whatever the misreadings of fascism, Chesterton always had some quite specific British problem in view when he praises Mussolini.
    • Robert Royal, in "The Pearl of Great Price", his Introduction to "The Resurrection of Rome" (1930) by G. K. Chesterton in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton (1990) by Vol. XXI, p. 272
  • Even as the Fascist leader, Mussolini never concealed his sympathy and admiration for Communism: he thought highly of Lenin’s ‘brutal energy,’ and saw nothing objectionable in Bolshevik massacres of hostages. He proudly claimed Italian Communism as his child.
    • Richard Pipes, Russia Under The Bolshevik Regime, New York: NY, Vintage Books (1995) p. 252.
  • For Chesterton… British public rhetoric was more than a mere style: "The motive is the desire to disguise a thing even when expressing it." To his mind, the dictator's words, even if his actions were as bad or worse than those of the parliamentarians, were morally and stylistically superior. At least they said openly what was being done openly. The British rhetoric, for Chesteron, was one with the decayed British liberalism that allowed exploitation of workers by plutocrats who were never rebuked by government or the courts. If nothing else, Mussolini's language was a bracing alternative.
    Gazing back across the horrors of World War II, it is hard for us to imagine how good men like Chesterton, whatever their objections to British liberalism, could admire Mussolini, though several prominent intellectuals and politicians did. Many of us have family members or friends who fought or died to stop the fascist darkness, and we find it difficult to sympathize with Chesterton's desire to be fair to Mussolini. Mussolini's thuggish violence, of course, Chesterton and others rejected. But their admiration was an index of the scale of reform they thought needed.
    • Robert Royal, in "The Pearl of Great Price", his Introduction to "The Resurrection of Rome" (1930) by G. K. Chesterton in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton (1990) by Vol. XXI, p. 274
  • Given the opportunity, Mussolini would have been glad as late as 1920-21 to take under his wing the Italian Communists, for whom he felt great affinities: greater, certainly, than for democratic socialists, liberals and conservatives. Genetically, Fascism issued from the 'Bolshevik' wing of Italian socialism, not from any conservative ideology or movement.
    • Richard Pipes Russia Under The Bolshevik Regime, New York: NY, Vintage Books (1995) p. 253
  • From 1912 to 1914, Mussolini was the Che Guevara of his day, a living saint of leftism. Handsome, courageous, charismatic, an erudite Marxist, a riveting speaker and writer, a dedicated class warrior to the core, he was the peerless duce of the Italian Left.
  • In the tragic days of Mussolini, the trains in Italy ran on time as never before and I am told in their way, their horrible way, that the Nazi concentration-camp system in Germany was a model of horrible efficiency. The really basic thing in government is policy. Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy, but good administration can never save bad policy.
    • Adlai Stevenson, Speech to the Los Angeles Town Club, Los Angeles, California (11 September 1952); Speeches of Adlai Stevenson (1952), p. 36.
  • Two years after its inception, fascism was in power. It entrenched itself thanks to the facts the first period of its overlordship coincided with a favorable economic conjuncture, which followed the depression of 1921-22. The fascists crushed the retreating proletariat by the onrushing forces of the petty bourgeoisie. But this was not achieved at a single blow. Even after he assumed power, Mussolini proceeded on his course with due caution: he lacked as yet ready-made models. During the first two years, not even the constitution was altered. The fascist government took on the character of a coalition. In the meantime, the fascist bands were busy at work with clubs, knives, and pistols. Only thus was the fascist government created slowly, which meant the complete strangulation of all independent mass organizations.
    • Leon Trotsky, "How Mussolini Triumphed" in What Next? Vital Question for the German Proletariat, 1932 [7].

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