Mussolini - The Cult of the Duce

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The Cult of the Duce During Mussolini’s regime the Italian society, contrary to appearance, was not politically unified society. The organizations of the regime mobilized great masses of people, and the towns of every region in Italy were frequently packed with crowds glorifying the “Duce.” As Anthony L. Cardoza, a history professor who specializes in Modern European History at Loyola University of Chicago, portrays him in his book, Benito Mussolini: The First Fascist, Mussolini forced his political ideas on the weak Italian society. The masses nearly always took part in political demonstrations as if in a ritual, circulation of news and information was always controlled by censorship, and any comparison of ideas was extremely limited. Cardoza describes Mussolini very clearly “as the charismatic founder and leader of the world’s first Fascist regime.” The author further states that Mussolini provided the prototype for a new kind of dictator that inspired Hitler and other who dominated the first half of the twentieth century. Mussolini easily achieved total power in Italy for more than twenty years with his charisma, “his extensive use of the mass media to construct an image of the leader” , and his manipulation of Italian bureaucracy. As Cardoza points out, without Mussolini’s tactical skills, charisma and ruthlessness it would be difficult to imagine the Fascist coming to power and ruling for so long in Italy. If we want to examine the Mussolini myth then we should go back to his years as a leader of Italian socialism. Among Italian socialists, Mussolini could command attention by fascinating the crowd. He was one of the foremost national leaders, and he acquired great popularity as a journalist and editor of the Socialist Party daily, Avanti! Cardoza mentions that Mussolini went from a provincial agitator to the highest rank of the Italian Socialist
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