Download On the Fiery March: Mussolini Prepares for War by G. Bruce Strang PDF

By G. Bruce Strang

Through the Thirties fascist dictator Benito Mussolini reached the belief that Italy confronted a transparent selection: extend its energy on the rate of the British and French Empires or face stagnation and decline. He believed that the regimes within the democratic West wouldn't be capable of comprise their inherent hostility towards fascist dynamism, whereas their demographic and political weaknesses supplied the chance for the more youthful, demographically virile fascist Italy to carve a brand new empire within the Mediterranean prestige quo.Through his intervention within the Spanish Civil warfare and his makes an attempt to problem French strength in Europe and British imperial domination of the center East and East Africa, Mussolini sought to decisively swap Italy's long-standing place because the least of the nice Powers. even supposing the Pact of metal didn't regularly functionality easily, Mussolini remained unswerving to its ideas, finally throwing Italy into the second one global conflict, the place he may belatedly detect that his regime had signally did not arrange his legions for combating in a contemporary battle.

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These soldiers, tempered by combat in the Great War, were, in Mussolini’s eyes, a breed apart. Their valor and their consciousness of Italy’s national power had created a new elite—the trincerocrazia. 93 He gloried when labeled a militarist. He argued that “the doctrine, the nation, the people that subordinates to military necessities all the rest of material and moral life of individuals and the collectivity are militarist. ’”94 In 1934, as minister for war, he enacted a law that decreed every Italian citizen was a soldier and should be educated militarily from age eight.

Cavagnari’s assessment emphasized the massive British superiority in battleships of fifteen to two, with all of the Royal Navy’s capital ships carrying superior armament to the two 1912-vintage Italian dreadnoughts. Similarly, Britain could deploy four times as many cruisers as could Italy. The Regia Marina had no aircraft carriers and an ineffective air arm, meaning that Italy could do little to threaten British control of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. 111 Despite Cavagnari’s stark predictions, Mussolini had refused to back down from a confrontation with Britain, and Italy’s temporary weakness merely served to whet the Duce’s appetite.

It has happened. It can happen. 78 His solution to this perceived problem was to emphasize the development of rural over urban areas. 80 Mussolini’s odd beliefs regarding productivity and demographics help to explain his failure to develop a fully modern army during the late 1930s; he apparently believed his own rhetoric that military power lay simply in the strength of 8 million bayonets. 81 28 ON THE FIERY MARCH Mussolini also applied his demographic theories to external affairs. In his view, demographic stagnation in a country signaled its political and moral decadence.

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