How bad was Mussolini?

Just something I thought about.

We have quite a few statics showing deaths and how just evil Hitler and Stalin were but I know little about about the Italians and their record. Mussolini comes across as a bit of a sad individual easily led by Hitler but just how bad was he.?
 
Just something I thought about.

We have quite a few statics showing deaths and how just evil Hitler and Stalin were but I know little about about the Italians and their record. Mussolini comes across as a bit of a sad individual easily led by Hitler but just how bad was he.?
Well, when Signor Berlusconi made that remark that "Mussolini wasn't so bad" (think it was in the early 2000s), most Italian politicians came out against Berlusconi saying this. Although I always thought that one comment: "to split over that which unites us [hatred of fascism/Mussolini] is senseless". So, in other words, if a hatred for fascism is the only thing that ties Italians together, that doesn't say much about the Italian government's strength.

@isabella @Tarabas
 
Well, Mussolini absolutely despised anyone belonging to the Slavic race...

In the 1920s, Italian fascists targeted Yugoslavs, especially Serbs. They accused Serbs of having "atavistic impulses" and they claimed that the Yugoslavs were conspiring together on behalf of "Grand Orient masonry and its funds". One anti-Semitic claim was that Serbs were part of a "social-democratic, masonic Jewish internationalist plot".[3]

Benito Mussolini considered the Slavic race inferior and barbaric.[4] He identified the Yugoslavs (Croats) as a threat to Italy and viewed them as competitors over the region of Dalmatia, which was claimed by Italy, and claimed that the threat rallied Italians together at the end of World War I: "The danger of seeing the Jugo-Slavians settle along the whole Adriatic shore had caused a bringing together in Rome of the cream of our unhappy regions. Students, professors, workmen, citizens—representative men—were entreating the ministers and the professional politicians".[5]

In September 1920, Benito Mussolini stated:

When dealing with such a race as Slavic - inferior and barbarian - we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy.... We should not be afraid of new victims.... The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps.... I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians....
— Benito Mussolini, speech held in Pula, 20 September 1920[6][7]
As noted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mussolini's government, Galeazzo Ciano, when describing a meeting with the secretary general of the Fascist party who wanted an Italian army to kill all Slovenes:

(...) I took the liberty of saying they (the Slovenes) totaled one million. It doesn't matter - he replied firmly - we should model ourselves upon ascari (auxiliary Eritrean troops infamous for their cruelty) and wipe them out"

He authorized the use of mustard gas against the people of Abyssinnia....

Italian military forces used between 300 and 500 tons of mustard gas to attack both military and civilian targets,[124] despite being a signatory to the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning the practice. This gas had been produced during World War I and subsequently transported to East Africa. J. F. C. Fuller, who was present in Ethiopia during the conflict, stated that mustard gas "was the decisive tactical factor in the war."[125] Some historians estimate that up to one-third of Ethiopian casualties of the war were caused by chemical weapons.[126]

The Italians claimed that their use of gas was justified by the execution of Tito Minniti and his observer in Ogaden by Ethiopian forces.[127] However, the use of gas was authorized by Mussolini nearly two months before Minniti's death on 26 December 1935, as evinced by the following order:

Rome, October 27, 1935. To His Excellency Graziani. The use of gas as an ultima ratio to overwhelm enemy resistance and in case of counter-attack is authorized. Mussolini.[13]
After Minniti's death, the order was expanded to use of gas "on a vast scale":

Rome, December 28, 1935. To His Excellency Badoglio. Given the enemy system I have authorized Your Excellency the use even on a vast scale of any gas and flamethrowers. Mussolini

Those are among his worse sins, but I'm sure there are others people could enlighten you about.

Also, this thread belongs in After 1900
 
In Italy, during the 1970s, there emerged a veritable cottage industry of books and articles claiming that Mussolini not only made the trains run on time but also made Italy work well. All these publications, along with many conventional academic studies, have one thing in common: They say little if anything about the class policies of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. How did these regimes deal with social services, taxes, business, and the conditions of labor? For whose benefit and at whose expense? Most of the literature on fascism and Nazism does not tell us.
...
Within two years after seizing state power, Mussolini had shut down all opposition newspapers and crushed the Socialist, Liberal, Catholic, Democratic, and Republican parties, which together had commanded some 80 percent of the vote. Labor leaders, peasant leaders, parliamentary delegates, and others critical of the new regime were beaten, exiled, or murdered by fascist terror squadristi. The Italian Communist party endured the severest repression of all, yet managed to maintain a courageous underground resistance that eventually evolved into armed struggle against the Blackshirts and the German occupation force. In Germany, a similar pattern of complicity between fascists and capitalists emerged. German workers and farm laborers had won the right to unionize, the eight-hour day, and unemployment insurance. But to revive profit levels, heavy industry and big finance wanted wage cuts for their workers and massive state subsidies and tax cuts for themselves. During the 1920s, the Nazi Sturmabteilung or SA, the brownshirted storm troopers, subsidized by business, were used mostly as an antilabor paramilitary force whose function was to terrorize workers and farm laborers. By 1930, most of the tycoons had concluded that the Weimar Republic no longer served their needs and was too accommodating to the working class. They greatly increased their subsidies to Hitler, propelling the Nazi party onto the national stage. Business tycoons supplied the Nazis with generous funds for fleets of motor cars and loudspeakers to saturate the cities and villages of Germany, along with funds for Nazi party organizations, youth groups, and paramilitary forces. In the July 1932 campaign, Hitler had sufficient funds to fly to fifty cities in the last two weeks alone.
...
In both Italy in the 1920s and Germany in the 1930s, old industrial evils, thought to have passed permanently into history, re-emerged as the conditions of labor deteriorated precipitously. In the name of saving society from the Red Menace, unions and strikes were outlawed. Union property and farm cooperatives were confiscated and handed over to rich private owners. Minimum-wage laws, overtime pay, and factory safety regulations were abolished. Speedups became commonplace. Dismissals or imprisonment awaited those workers who complained about unsafe or inhumane work conditions. Workers toiled longer hours for less pay. The already modest wages were severely cut, in Germany by 25 to 40 percent, in Italy by 50 percent. In Italy, child labor was reintroduced.
...
In Italy during the 1930s the economy was gripped by recession, a staggering public debt, and widespread corruption. But industrial profits rose and the armaments factories busily rolled out weapons in preparation for the war to come. In Germany, unemployment was cut in half with the considerable expansion in armaments jobs, but overall poverty increased because of the drastic wage cuts. And from 1935 to 1943 industrial profits increased substantially while the net income of corporate leaders climbed 46 percent. During the radical 1930s, in the United States, Great Britain, and Scandanavia, upper-income groups experienced a modest decline in their share of the national income; but in Germany the top 5 percent enjoyed a 15 percent gain.

Book recommendation:
 
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Well, Mussolini absolutely despised anyone belonging to the Slavic race...



He authorized the use of mustard gas against the people of Abyssinnia....



Those are among his worse sins, but I'm sure there are others people could enlighten you about.

Also, this thread belongs in After 1900
Didn’t he also commit some severe war crime in Libya ?
 
Well, Mussolini absolutely despised anyone belonging to the Slavic race...

Not exactly true, he was indifferent (even sometimes sympathetic) towards Poles and Poland (he advocated releasing captured Polish university teachers to Hitler, he mourned September Campaign and wanted Poland to enter Axis), so to him "Slavs" he talked about were first and foremost Southern Slavs.
 
Just something I thought about.

We have quite a few statics showing deaths and how just evil Hitler and Stalin were but I know little about about the Italians and their record. Mussolini comes across as a bit of a sad individual easily led by Hitler but just how bad was he.?
Bad enough to end up being shot, his body lynched and being hanged upside down like a piñata by the Italian people.

He proclaimed the racial laws in Italy introducing discrimination against Jews which ended up with about 8000 Italian Jews killed during the Holocaust.
 
Not exactly true, he was indifferent (even sometimes sympathetic) towards Poles and Poland (he advocated releasing captured Polish university teachers to Hitler, he mourned September Campaign and wanted Poland to enter Axis), so to him "Slavs" he talked about were first and foremost Southern Slavs.

Huh. I didn't know he was that friendly to Poland, but still, he despised members of the Slavic race living in what he thought was Italy's rightful territory, so that doesn't make much difference.


He proclaimed the racial laws in Italy introducing discrimination against Jews which ended up with about 8000 Italian Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Actually, while Mussolini did indeed proclaim anti-Semitic racial laws (after previously denouncing the idea of a 'Jewish Question' during the 1920s), Jews were relatively safe in Italy until September 1943, when Italy was invaded by Germany after the former's surrender to the Allies and the establishment of a Italian Social Republic which was basically a Nazi puppet state, with Mussolini only acting as a figurehead. From what I've read, Mussolini didn't much care about the Jews and only implemented the race laws to get into Hitler's good graces.
 
Actually, while Mussolini did indeed proclaim anti-Semitic racial laws (after previously denouncing the idea of a 'Jewish Question' during the 1920s), Jews were relatively safe in Italy until September 1943, when Italy was invaded by Germany after the former's surrender to the Allies and the establishment of a Italian Social Republic which was basically a Nazi puppet state, with Mussolini only acting as a figurehead. From what I've read, Mussolini didn't much care about the Jews and only implemented the race laws to get into Hitler's good graces.

If he was willing to send thousands to their death to earn good boy points from Hitler he clearly didn’t care much for them either.
 
If he was willing to send thousands to their death to earn good boy points from Hitler he clearly didn’t care much for them either.

Well, one could say Mussolini was a coward. Instead of standing up for his people, he wanted to keep wearing his proverbial laurel wreath for as long as he could.
 
Well, one could say Mussolini was a coward. Instead of standing up for his people, he wanted to keep wearing his proverbial laurel wreath for as long as he could.
A coward, or someone who didn’t value human life as much as personal gain, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
 
Wrong place huh?

Anyway, he ranks a solid 6 (wartime mass murderer) in Diego's scale of Dictators, not even close of Mao and Stalin, that are ranking 9 (Pragmatic Wiper of Peoples) or Hitler's 10 (Ideological Wiper of Peoples or Literally Hitler).

Italian Fascism was ruthless and nationalistic, but people could submit to Italy, become italianized and that way avoid further persecution, unlike Nazism that just aimed at killing conquered peoples. Obviously he was a murderer, I am not excusing him or his ideology, but he was more on the level of Saddan Hussein than that of Hitler or even Stalin.

Bad enough to end up being shot, his body lynched and being hanged upside down like a piñata by the Italian people.
Well, that has more to do with the fact that he decided to participate in a war that he didn't need to participate, when Italy was unprepared, and got wrecked in military and economic terms. If he had not entered WWII he would probably die of old age.
 
If he was willing to send thousands to their death to earn good boy points from Hitler he clearly didn’t care much for them either.
Ironically Mussolini was pretty similar to the mafiosi fascism fought against. For him if the price to pay for “the glory of Italy” was stripping 50,000 Italians of their rights he would do it. Business is business.
 
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