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Every so often some Berlusconi Bro praises Mussolini to some extent or another and invites a flurry of condemnation from the handshakeworthy set. This has just happened with Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament. And then, of course, there was Matteo Salvini’s approving quotation of the Italian dictator last year.

From what I can figure out, though, he really didn’t do anything wrong – at least not substantially more so than any other countries at the time.

  • A grand total of nine people were executed for political crimes during his entire rule from 1922-1943. These were handed out exclusively for murder and political terror.
    • For comparison, that’s around SIX orders of magnitude lower than for the USSR [~700,000 political executions firmly established; probably around a million overall]. Over those twenty years, evil Italian fascists executed someone about once every three years; heroic Soviets executed someone once every 15 minutes.
    • This is in the context of frequent assassination attempts against Mussolini (e.g. five in 1926 alone).
    • It’s also comparable to the rate of politicized executions in the Western democracies, e.g. Sacco and Vanzetti (1927) would doubtless qualify.
  • There were 4,500 people convicted of political crimes in Fascist Italy.
    • This compares to 4 million people convicted of political crimes in the Soviet Gulag from 1921-1953. Difference of three orders of magnitude.
    • Conditions in Italy were incomparably better. Gramsci wrote his books from a comfortable jail. The leader of the Italian Communists, Amadeo Bordiga, was sent into exile for three years, and was left in peace after his release. Reality is, Fascist Italy was a much nicer and safer place even for Communists than many actual Communist regimes.
    • The Western democracies did not imprison crimethinkers in any significant numbers, so Italy was worse in this respect. But the chasm between it and the Nazis/Soviets, vs. between the West, was much narrower.
  • But what about the Jews?
    • While they did just fine under the early Fascist regime, they started getting kicked out from areas like journalism and academia from the late 1930s, largely under Nazi pressure.
    • This is regrettable, but not even in the same universe as Nazi Germany itself; or for that matter the Soviet Union, where the old bourgeois and aristocracy – “former people” – were not just barred from areas like higher education (in favor of – yes – Jews*), but actively persecuted and eventually murdered. And even in the West, it is well known that were plenty of both formal and informal barriers to Jewish upwards mobility erected by America’s then WASP elites.
    • The Italian military under Mussolini specifically prevented Germans from deporting Jews in their zones of control in foreign countries such as France and Croatia, to say nothing of Italy itself. Deportations did not begin until the overthrow of Mussolini and Italy’s partial occupation by Nazi Germany.
  • Territorial aggression: Yes, Italy got greedy. But snapping up rival countries’ territories was fair game by the standards of 1930s Europe, including on the part of otherwise “fluffy” countries such as Poland that took full advantage of Czechoslovakia’s dismemberment in 1938.
  • Fascist Italy’s biggest actual crime – which, ironically, basically everyone ignores – may have been Yekatit 12, the extermination of about 20,000 of the Ethiopian intelligentsia after the attempted assassination of the head of the Italian occupation forces.
    • This is basically a week’s work for Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.
    • About a year’s work for Franco’s Spain, for that matter.
    • Comparable in magnitude to the Kenyan civilian casualties from the British suppression of the Mau Mau Uprising in the 1950s.

A German would have to be a psychopath to apologize for Hitler. A Russian would have to be not just a psychopath, but a cuckolded retard, to apologize for Lenin or Stalin.

A Spaniard can apologize for Franco, given the alternatives on offer, but it should come with many caveats. He did kill many, many more people than Mussolini, though most of this was in the context of a brutal civil war. Francoist Spain’s main saving grace and retrospective PR salvation with respect to Fascist Italy was that it did not end up allying with Hitler.

However, Italians have no particular need to be ashamed of Mussolini. Even if the claim that he made the trains run on time is an urban legend.

***

* Yury Slezkine in The Jewish Century (2004): “The art historian A. Anisimov wrote to a colleague in Prague (in November 1923), “Out of 100 applicants to Moscow University, 78 are Jews; thus, if the Russian university is now in Prague, the Jewish one is in Moscow.” The father of a student about to be “purged” for alien origins wrote to a friend or relative in Serbia: “Pavel and his friends are awaiting their fate. But it’s clear that only the Jerusalem academics and the Communists, Party members generally, are going to stay.” And according to the wife of a Leningrad University professor, “in all the institutions, only workers and Israelites are admitted; the life of the intelligentsia is very hard.”

 
• Category: History • Tags: Fascism, Italy, Mussolini 
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  1. Michelt says:

    This is complete nonsense and inexcusable. (And I am on the right wing of the right wing.)

    Anyone who claims the Duce was basically ok needs to read about what his soldiers did in Ethiopia.

    Poison gas against barefoot fighters.

    Killing all the monks in entire monasteries without provocation to humiliate and intimidate the Ethiopians.

    May he and his apologists burn in hell.

    • Agree: German_reader, Beckow
  2. @Michelt

    Explicitly mentioned as Fascist Italy’s likely worst crime. And this was in the context of Africans not really being people to *any* Europeans in the 1930s (or 50s).

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
  3. The pacification of Libya resulted in 80,000 deaths, and a further 100,000 people were driven from their homes.

    In addition to Yekatit 12, the Italians of course launched a war of aggressive conquest without pretext against a sovereign state and used chemical weapons in the war.

    I like the idea of Italians replacing Libyans and Ethiopes, but it’s something wrong by contemporary standards of morality.

    Italians, including of the based variety, would also be on firm ground to criticize Mussolini for his strategic errors. The invasion of Ethiopia, the alliance with Germany, Operazione E, the pathetic invasion of Greece, Armata Italiana in Russia, etc…

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    , @Asagirian
  4. Mitleser says:

    Conditions in Italy were incomparably better. Gramsci wrote his books from a comfortable jail.

    Isn’t that the Bioleninism guy?

    So what happened in the West, anyway? There’s one guy who thought about it very deeply. For a long, long time. Mostly because he was in jail so he had plenty of time to study the problem. I’m talking about Antonio Gramsci. He was a communist agitator in Italy who got caught by Mussolini, and was sentenced to rot in prison. During that time he thought a very reasonable problem. Why am I here? Why did I lose? Fucking Lenin did a coup d’etat and he won, now he has power. Now look at me, rotting in prison. What went wrong?

    His idea, which was hugely influential, and for good reason, was that the power structure wanted to keep being the power structure and you couldn’t just throw it away and replace it with your boys. You can try your chance in electoral politics, but there’s only so many resentful fucks who are willing to vote for the abolition of the very foundation of social life (property), at least in moderately prosperous Western countries. In these kind of places, if you want to take absolute power, you have to colonize the power structure very slowly. You have to influence their minds. You have to change the culture. This sounds very esoteric and spiritual but it’s not. Basically Gramsci argues that you gotta grab the press and the education system, and slowly but steadily do in every institution with some power what you do in a political party. Political parties work by hiring loyal people by preying on their low-status. Well, find a way into HR of every school, every newspaper, every government department, every judicial board. And to the very same thing. Run a distributed covert Leninist party. Until you run everything.

    If Mussolini had not doomed himself by allying with Hitler, his system would have been destroyed by future progressives anyway.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  5. @Anatoly Karlin

    And this was in the context of Africans not really being people to *any* Europeans in the 1930s (or 50s).

    This isn’t accurate. The bizarre idea that Africans were equal to whites and had some sort of right to govern themselves merely because they breathe oxygen did not exist, but human rights was an established concept and had been for decades as evidenced by the international outrage over Leopold’s Congo during the fin de siecle. During this time period it was debated whether or not to give the League of Nations control over Liberia or perhaps make Liberia an American colony in order to stamp out slavery, mutilation, torture, etc. in the country.

    The fascist response to this was that the established colonial powers were hypocritical in light of how their empires were built and that it was all a front to prevent competition from “young” and “proletarian” nations (one of Mussolini’s favorite concepts).

  6. songbird says:

    He did declare war on the US, which is crazy enough if you are Germany or Japan, but to do so when you are Italy…

  7. @Thorfinnsson

    I agree, poor phrasing. I recall it being shown on previous threads that the atrocities in the Congo Free State were greatly exaggerated, and almost all carried out by the Belgians’ local auxiliaries. And that’s probably the most extreme example of European “exterminationism” in Africa. The point I should have made less hyperbolically is that African lives were valued much lower than European ones, which is much less true today. Compare how many people know of Katyn vs. Yekatit 12.

    The pacification of Libya resulted in 80,000 deaths, and a further 100,000 people were driven from their homes.

    Good point. That should be added. Though this doesn’t seem cardinally different to the civilian casualty numbers in the Algerian War of Independence.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    , @Asagirian
  8. A German would have to be a psychopath to apologize for Hitler.

    No, all it takes for a German to defend Hitler is a belief that the rights of other peoples and nations don’t matter anyway (of course Hitler’s regime did have extremely negative effects on Germany herself in the end, but that wasn’t his original intention).
    The Italians defending Mussolini are basically doing the same…all the external aggression and the ugly things Italians did in their colonies (which may even have been of some interest to the Nazis, Himmler visited Libya in 1937 and was interested in Italian colonization efforts there) don’t matter, because Mussolini did some good things for Italians.
    Italy in the first half of the 20th century has a rather too good reputation imo, somehow little of the history is remembered except the war crimes Germans committed in Italy after September 1943. In reality Italy in the entire first half of the 20th century, even before fascism, was an expansionist state with a destabilizing effect on the international order, and its armed forces committed numerous war crimes (probably in Russia as well btw, which makes your defense of Mussolini all the stranger).

    • Agree: Thulean Friend
    • Replies: @songbird
    , @Anatoly Karlin
  9. @Mitleser

    While I admire spandrell’s Bioleninism articles, that Mussolini treated his Communists with kiddie gloves was long known to me.

    E.g. another example – Palmiro Togliatti was also exiled for a few years and then allowed to quietly leave for France and the USSR. (Disgusting how Russia still has a major city named after some foreign Communist).

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    , @Asagirian
  10. @Anatoly Karlin

    Italian Libya had less than one-tenth of French Algeria’s population.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  11. Mitleser says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I can understand disliking Engels, but what is so bad about Togliatti?

  12. songbird says:
    @German_reader

    One could make the argument that the genesis of WW2 was really Hitler selling out ethnic Germans in the Tyrol to Mussolini.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  13. @German_reader

    No, all it takes for a German to defend Hitler is a belief that the rights of other peoples and nations don’t matter anyway (of course Hitler’s regime did have extremely negative effects on Germany herself in the end, but that wasn’t his original intention).

    There’s a minor difference between that (frankly, more or less universal to European nationalists at that time, and universal to Europeans in general wrt non-Europeans) and democide (which the USSR and Nazi Germany did, but Italy did not).

    In reality Italy in the entire first half of the 20th century, even before fascism, was an expansionist state with a destabilizing effect on the international order, and its armed forces committed numerous war crimes (probably in Russia as well btw, which makes your defense of Mussolini all the stranger).

    Italy was fighting a classical war in the USSR, not a race war. They would have exterminated its Communist elite (big loss… not), but had no designs on exterminating/enslaving Russians or any other peoples in Eastern Europe.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  14. Since AK is well indoctrinated by Americans, he can’t bring himself up to comparisons with US. You would have though that the one of the largest empires in history would be a good source of anecdotes about mass murder. But no, US official narrative is that US were pure like angels until maybe 1978, or maybe until Drumpf. All their victims were savages who deserved it, and AK can’t possibly compare Mussolini’s tally with FDR’s.

    I don’t know about other countries, but 1,500 civilians were killed in Bucharest, solely on one day (4/4/44), by the Peaceful FDR, his Peaceful Nazi-free Nation, and their bombs. Apparently, Romanians weren’t too keen to surrender to Papa Joe, and FDR thought this would help them.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    , @Pericles
  15. @Anatoly Karlin

    but had no designs on exterminating/enslaving Russians or any other peoples in Eastern Europe.

    Italian rule certainly wasn’t positive for the Slavs in the Balkan areas which Italy intended to colonize.

  16. @Dacian Julien Soros

    I don’t know about other countries, but 1,500 civilians were killed in Bucharest

    Maybe you should blame Antonescu for his enthusiastic participation in Hitler’s war.

    • Replies: @Anon
  17. Explicitly mentioned as Fascist Italy’s likely worst crime. And this was in the context of Africans not really being people to *any* Europeans in the 1930s (or 50s).

    Um, no. Most European nations didn’t get involved in the colonization of Africa, certainly the Eastern ones didn’t (as I never tire of reminding the SJWs who want to accuse “Europeans”, as a whole, of colonizing “Africans”, as a whole).

    I recall it being shown on previous threads that the atrocities in the Congo Free State were greatly exaggerated, and almost all carried out by the Belgians’ local auxiliaries. And that’s probably the most extreme example of European “exterminationism” in Africa

    German genocide against the Herero & Nama (40% death toll) is at least equally as extreme, although Namibia’s population was much much smaller than the Congo’s. In fairness to the Germans that crime may not have been ordered from the top and the general in charge was penalized afterwards, to some degree, I think.

    I’ve never heard that the Congo Free State atrocities were exagerrated, do you have a cite for that?

  18. @Hector_St_Clare

    I’ve never heard that the Congo Free State atrocities were exagerrated, do you have a cite for that?

    I don’t know of a specific study, but the chapters about the colonial era in David van Reybrouck’s Congo: The epic history of a people seemed convincing to me.
    Basically the argument is that it wasn’t intentional genocide, “only” brutal, profit-driven exploitation. And some of the numbers (10 million dead) thrown around today are likely to be massively exaggerated; the spread of diseases like sleeeping sickness (facilitated by the movement of people which the establishment of the colonial system entailed) also seems to have played a significant role for demographic losses, so it wasn’t just due to direct brutality.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  19. @Hector_St_Clare

    Most European nations didn’t get involved in the colonization of Africa, certainly the Eastern ones didn’t…

    If they were more powerful, and had, I doubt the Poles would have been significantly more respectful towards the national feelings (to the extent it is appropriate to even talk of them at that stage of Africa’s development) of the Togolese, or whatever.

    I’ve never heard that the Congo Free State atrocities were exagerrated, do you have a cite for that?

    There were a couple of seemingly informed discussions about it:

    * http://www.unz.com/akarlin/china-demographics/#comment-2441402
    * http://www.unz.com/akarlin/brussels-impressions/#comment-2235437

  20. Anonymous[151] • Disclaimer says:

    I think this is the position of a non-trivial number of Italians as well. Mussolini’s grand-daughter is a right-wing MEP there:

    Also a former Playboy model and certified MILF (albeit now looking a bit tragic due to excessive plastic surgery).

  21. @songbird

    That showed what a liar Hitler was when he made the treatment of Sudeten Germans a pretext for dismembering Chechoslovakia (which had faults, but Germans had democratic representation there), Italian treatment of the Austrians in South Tyrol was much worse, even after WW2.

  22. @Thorfinnsson

    “Italians, including of the based variety, would also be on firm ground to criticize Mussolini for his strategic errors. The invasion of Ethiopia, the alliance with Germany, Operazione E, the pathetic invasion of Greece, Armata Italiana in Russia, etc…”

    Yeah right. But that’s fascism: Not that rational, a bit loony and always on the wild side of life. – It was action, that brought satisfaction. And civilization which – – – – sting/k/s… Sigh – ask Dr. Freud – who was on the right too, as a young lad. But pssst: That’s a well-kept secret!

  23. Asagirian says: • Website

    The Western democracies did not imprison crimethinkers in any significant numbers, so Italy was worse in this respect. But the chasm between it and the Nazis/Soviets, vs. between the West, was much narrower.

    Just ask the anti-war dissidents during WWI.

    And according to Jews, McCarthyism was one of the worst things that ever happened.

    And Japanese internment in WWII. Not horrific but still hardly ‘liberal democratic’.

  24. Asagirian says: • Website
    @Michelt

    Mussolini’s imperialist venture was terrible. But what did US do to Korea, Guatemala, and Vietnam? And then to Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine?
    And during the Cold War, the US backed right-wing regimes in Latin America with blood in their hands.

    Also, British killed plenty in Africa and Asia. And French didn’t go easily in Vietnam and Algeria. Algerian War was esp bloody.

    None of this excuses Mussolini’s crimes, and he was really stupid to invade Albania and then Greece(where he was humiliated).

    Still, I don’t see Mussolini was worse than Bush II or Obama/Hillary. Or Albright who blithely said it was worth it to kill 500,000 children in Iraq.

  25. Asagirian says: • Website
    @Thorfinnsson

    Right, right, but look at US war in Philippines. Its way of war in Korea and Vietnam. It was near-genocidal at times.

    So, the question is “Was Mussolini worse?” By the standards of the time, no.

  26. Asagirian says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin

    And that’s probably the most extreme example of European “exterminationism” in Africa.

    Germans went pretty far in Namibia.

  27. Asagirian says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Italy was like the US in its human rights. Italian citizens were treated with leniency and allowed relative freedom. But foreigners could be terrorized.

    US is the same way. Americans in the US have rights(though eroding away), but US can turn entire nations into rubble with air power, drones, and use of Jihadis.

  28. fnn says:

    IIRC, the Italians legally ended slavery in Ethiopia. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to discover that it was a PR stunt.

    I remember coming across something years ago about Italian bad behavior in Albania during WW2. Retail stuff like torture by the occupation police.

  29. may have been Yekatit 12, the extermination of about 20,000 of the Ethiopian intelligentsia

    Can we safely assume that the official number is exaggerated by at least an order of magnitude?

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
  30. @songbird

    By the way, why, exactly, did Italy declare war on the US?

    For that matter, would anyone here like to answer this too: why did Germany declare war on the US? I’ve never been clear on this. Granted, it’s obvious FDR would have pulled some string to get that done anyway.

  31. @Asagirian

    Ron Unz had an excellent article about the purge of anti-war Americans during the 1940s

    http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-our-great-purge-of-the-1940s/

    • Replies: @fnn
  32. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    why did Germany declare war on the US?

    iirc Hitler thought the US was involved in the war against Germany anyway, due to lend-lease and US navy patrols in the western Atlantic (there had been clashes between US ships and German submarines already), so he wanted the opportunity to use Germany’s submarines against US shipping (and at first German submarines did have really spectacular successes because the US had taken few precautions, so it wasn’t a total miscalculation).
    Obviously a very serious mistake though, especially given the previous failure of Operation Barbarossa. But then at some point it must have become less about winning the war for Hitler anyway, and more about a grandiose exit and doing as much damage (especially killing as many Jews) as possible.

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
  33. Hitler did nothing wrong.

    • Agree: neutral
  34. @Hippopotamusdrome

    & @Karlin: Ethiopian “intelligentsia”…

    you’re joking, right?

    Right?? and BTW,

    2 of the 4 main Tribal groupings in Ethiopia

    fought on the side of the Italians, against the killer-klepto Salaisse. (They

    must have been the even stupider ones.)

  35. @German_reader

    Hitler declared war on the U.S. because he wanted a Japanese quid pro quo against Russia: 72 hours before the Pearl Harbor strike, the Russians defending Moscow launched a ferocious counter-attack against Army Group Center and, by December 11th, AG Center was in desperate shape and falling back. The Japs sold him short though, and stuck to their April ’41 Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviets. Japan and the Third Reich were at repeated strategic right angles 1937-42, and never able to get on the same page. That’s why the “Axis” lost: it

    never really existed.

  36. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    why did Germany declare war on the US?

    There are some who think it was in reaction to the leak earlier that week of the top secret US war plans, and even that FDR may have secretly orchestrated this to goad Hitler into his declaration of war.

    Who Leaked FDR’s War Plans?

    In December 1941, someone leaked America’s top-secret blueprint for war for all the world—even Hitler—to see

    . . . F.D.R.’s War Plans!,” screamed the front-page banner headline in the Tribune’s Thursday, December 4 edition. Smaller headlines proclaimed, “Goal Is 10 Million Armed Men” and “Proposes Land Drive by July 1, 1943, to Smash Nazis.” The Tribune’s sister paper, the Washington Times-Herald, played the story big, too.

    The secret military plan was a “blueprint for total war on a scale unprecedented in at least two oceans and three continents, Europe, Africa, and Asia,” Manly wrote, and he reported that July 1, 1943, was the date fixed for an Allied invasion of Europe. The plan called for a U.S. armed force of 10 million men, more than seven times the strength at the time, with five million slated to be deployed to Europe. The War Department admitted that Britain and Russia alone could not beat Hitler, Manly noted, and that victory would require the United States to enter the war. An ecstatic McCormick congratulated Manly and the rest of the Tribune’s Washington bureau on what he called “perhaps the greatest scoop in the history of journalism.”

    . . .

    More recently, in 1987, historian Thomas Fleming advanced the intriguing theory that President Roosevelt himself orchestrated the leak as a way to goad Hitler into declaring war on the United States.

    The president knew that only American military intervention could defeat Hitler. He suspected Japan would soon attack American territory, probably the Philippines, and that would get the country into war in the Pacific—but not in Europe. Only a German declaration of war against the United States would suffice. Hitler’s treaty with Japan required Germany to declare war if the U.S. attacked Japan but not if Japan attacked America, so the president needed to convince Hitler that the United States was his true enemy, Fleming believed. As fascinating as this theory is, however, there is no hard evidence to support it.

    The identity of the person who leaked the Victory Program will likely never be known with certainty. All the players are gone, and no deathbed confession has surfaced. The story will endure as one of World War II’s last unsolved mysteries, a fertile ground for educated conjecture by scholars and history buffs alike, and a reminder of the bitter political divisions that wracked the country before America joined the world at war.

    https://www.historynet.com/who-leaked-fdrs-war-plans.htm

    Fleming’s book, which I have read and found very interesting, is The New Dealers’ War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the War Within World War II. He also has an interesting book on US involvement in WWI, The Illusion of Victory. He is no fan of either Wilson or FDR.

  37. songbird says:
    @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    It is a puzzle, but still somewhat telling how it was the same day as Germany. Similarly, it is somewhat odd how they fielded men against the Soviet Union, especially when you consider that Mussolini did not seem to like Hitler, at least at first.

    The text of the Italian declaration is interesting. It seems to single out FDR. (Somewhat mirroring the Allies trying to single out Hitler) It also mentions “250,000,000 men” as being part of the Tripartite Pact. (Seems deliriously high?)

    What could possibly be the motivation? I think it was largely a case of Mussolini ‘s personality. In France, he seems to have wanted to have a seat at the negotiating table, which required commitment of forces. Basically, he wanted to have his hand on the post-war pencil drawing lines on the map.

    This view combined with Italy’s weak performance in the war questions the wisdom of Germany having Italy as an ally – it would complicate any peace settlement. But, perhaps, Hitler thought the Italian navy was important.

    I think there is a lesson hidden in this somewhere for modern politics. Hubris of the elites and how they form spheres where they lock shields. One wonders if Franco was much smarter, or was just motivated by the Spanish Civil War to remain neutral.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  38. @songbird

    One wonders if Franco was much smarter, or was just motivated by the Spanish Civil War to remain neutral.

    According to Stanley Payne’s biography, Franco had rather deluded ideas of a massive rearmaments programme and entering the war at an opportune moment, to make Spain a great power again (iirc he was also at least vaguely anti-British, like many Spanish nationalists; Spain not only sent the Blue Divison to Russia, they also let German submarines refuel and refit in Spanish ports). But that didn’t happen, because Spain’s economy was too weak and had been devastated by the civil war, because Hitler didn’t offer enough (Franco wanted territory in North Africa, but Hitler felt good relations with Vichy France were more important) and because it finally became obvious that Germany was probably going to lose the war. So Franco was probably just lucky, not especially wise. But for much of the early part of WW2 he was very interested in entering the war on the German side (even if he had apparently been somewhat disturbed by the German attack on Poland whose regime of Catholic authoritarians he considered similar to his own).

    • Replies: @utu
    , @fnn
    , @Turgot
  39. utu says:
    @German_reader

    Didn’t Hitler say that he rather go to a dentists and have a tooth extracted than having to negotiate with Franco?

    • Replies: @German_reader
  40. @utu

    I don’t know about that exact quote, but he certainly wasn’t impressed by Franco, iirc he considered him merely a Catholic reactionary (not a racial revolutionary like himself).

    • Replies: @utu
    , @utu
    , @Anarcho-Supremacist
  41. King Leopold III made roughly 60 million francs from the Congo Independent State, 24 more million francs went to the Begian State after the handover in 1908.

    Costs of administration, defense and transport however were roughly 210 million francs. The Belgian government ended up with Leopold’s debts and bearing the bulk of the costs of running the colony.

    (Calculations from a source which cites Jean Stengers).

    The reward for the Belgian people were many statues commemorating how they were ripped off by their King.

    Not worth it.

  42. fnn says:
    @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    FDR ordered a mass sedition trial of some thirty ant-war and pro-Axis defendants in 1944 who were not engaged in espionage:
    https://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Great_Sedition_Trial_of_1944

  43. fnn says:
    @German_reader

    I think the main idea behind getting Spain to enter the war was seizing Gibraltar and closing off the Med to the Royal Navy.

  44. Is there a good summary of the railroad situation before and after Mussolini’s rise? Evola said a lot of his backers were very pleased with improvements in the line from Milan to the Alpine resorts.

  45. I somewhat disagree with this framing. I don’t think that Mussolini’s rule should only be compared with governance in other nations; it should also be compared with Italian governments before and after his rule, which are arguably more relevant. I don’t know enough about Italian history to make such a comparison in detail, but I suspect that it would be much less favorable to Mussolini than a comparison with Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR.

    Mussolini tried to play history like a Paradox game, which was a bad idea. As I’ve argued previously, wars in general often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict, and it’s much easier, both tactically and geopolitically, to fight a war to defend the status quo than it is to fight one to change it. Mussolini’s decisions weren’t as foolish at the time as they seem in retrospect—it certainly looked like Britain and France were on the ropes in 1940, and it was not clear when, if at all, the US would enter the war. But I think a valuable lesson of history is that there are more ways you can’t predict that a war can go wrong than there are ways you can’t predict it will go right.

  46. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    For that matter, would anyone here like to answer this too: why did Germany declare war on the US?

    German_reader’s response was quite accurate, but for more detail you might want to read the relevant chapter in Ian Kershaw’s Fateful Choices.

  47. utu says:
    @German_reader

    I found it here:

    http://ww2today.com/23-october-1940-hitler-meets-franco-at-hendaye
    He was a difficult man to pin down. Famously Hitler is alleged to have said that he would “rather have three or four teeth pulled” than go through another meeting with him. During the early part of the war Spain offered some practical support to Germany but as the tide turned Franco shifted his allegiances.

    And here
    https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/213287.pdf

  48. utu says:
    @German_reader

    I found it here:

    http://ww2today.com/23-october-1940-hitler-meets-franco-at-hendaye
    He was a difficult man to pin down. Famously Hitler is alleged to have said that he would “rather have three or four teeth pulled” than go through another meeting with him. During the early part of the war Spain offered some practical support to Germany but as the tide turned Franco shifted his allegiances.

    And here
    https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/213287.pdf

  49. The Funny thing is the Italian Facists were Civic Nationalists.

    • Replies: @Hyperborean
  50. His alliance with Hitler was very dumb(I know hindsight is a bitch) compared to how Franco handled the situation. Shoot growth in Italy was not that impressive compared to other places and post war Italy.

  51. @German_reader

    Hitler was so pissed at Franco he thought that he ultimately supported the wrong side and it would have been better had the Reds won the civil war.

  52. @Anarcho-Supremacist

    The Funny thing is the Italian Facists were Civic Nationalists.

    It is a bit simplistic to apply the ideology of a different era and country.

    • Replies: @neutral
  53. neutral says:

    This is regrettable

    No it is not, by going after the jews it shows that Mussolini was a good leader for Italy (unless you think that having jews rule your country is a good thing).

  54. neutral says:
    @Hyperborean

    I also highly doubt that the original Italian fascists would have support the current max influx of Africans because they would eventually assimilate into Italian culture. Hitler had the completely correct awareness what the future held regarding the non white world overwhelming the white world, which is why it was so necessary to fight. Mussolini or Franco just did not think this could ever happen.

    Even the likes of Stalin or Mao, I cannot believe they would have supported their lands becoming majority black because all that mattered was their workers revolution.

  55. Pericles says:
    @Dacian Julien Soros

    I always thought the US-Phillipine war (1896-1902) was odd, and now mostly forgotten. Yet estimated at 200,000 dead brown people, a respectable number for the times. I assume this was round the time when the US started to flex its imperial muscles.

  56. Gruben says:

    Many Italians praise Mussolini for his destruction of the mafia and its influence in Sicily. They accuse the US that they, after the US-invasion of Sicily, put the different mafias back in power in southern Italy. There is an ongoing discussion in Italy about the truth of this matter.

  57. urquhart says:

    Mircea Eliade on Mussolini’s death:

    I have seen the photographs from Piazza Loretto in Milan; the profile of Mussolini beside his mistress who was shot with him; then the picture of him hung up by his feet. My last fragment of esteem for the Italian people has disappeared.

    A race of stooges, traitors, and pimps. Some five thousand workers in Milan filed past Mussolini’s corpse, and each one declared his anti-Fascist sentiments, kicking Il Duce as he hung upside down. They had the courage to do this, of course, because they were kicking a corpse. What were these anti-Fascist workers of Milan doing for the past twenty years? How many plots, how many insurrections?

    The whole affair is disgraceful. Mussolini tries to save himself instead of committing suicide. Mussolini is caught along with the entire Fascist-Republican government, although there still existed in Italy a German army of almost a million men, in the process of surrendering. It was possible to capture him because he was betrayed. He was betrayed because he was surrounded by Italians.

    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Kaiju
  58. Pericles says:
    @Hector_St_Clare

    I’ve never heard that the Congo Free State atrocities were exagerrated, do you have a cite for that?

    The numbers don’t seem to add up. See the comments pointed out by AK for more details.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  59. 5461 says:

    So if scores were not killed – directly executed – then it is OK, then?

    I assume you are familiar with Italy gaining a lot of territory from the Austrian Empire after the WW1. Unfortunately for Italians these territories were occupied not only by Italians but also by Slovenes and Croats living there among and side by side with Italians for centuries.

    I do agree that the policy of forced assimilation is not a fascist specialty, and it started way before and lasted long after the defeat of facsisim; but was especially intense and cruel in the period between the two wars.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italianization#Istria,_Julian_March_and_Dalmatia for further reading.

  60. @Thorfinnsson

    It was the 1700s that maybe saw the first national-scale abuse-of-colonials human rights proceeding, brought by famous conservative writer and MP Edmund Burke (1729-97), against Governor-General of India Warren Hastings, the impeachment proceedings of Hastings lasting for 7 years, 1788-95, and ultimately greatly distracted by the French Revolution

  61. Mikhail says: • Website

    Reminded of the old adage, concerning how the victors often dominate the historical overview. Note how the Red Habsburg Tito is generally treated, relative to Il Duce.

    • Replies: @Toronto Russian
  62. Pericles says:
    @Pericles

    To add a bit to those comments:

    My rule of thumb is that a modernist, brutal war reduces population by 5-10%. The Black Plague killed off “30-60%” of the population of Europe (W). The infamous Thirty Years’ War killed eight million (W) or possibly less (“One estimate based on the frontiers of Germany in 1870 gives a population of [the Holy Roman Empire of] some 15–17 million around 1600, declined to 10–13 million around 1650 (following the Thirty Years’ War).”, W). That is something like 25-33%. The ‘African World War’ in Congo killed roughly 5% of the population (W).

    So, King Leopold and his guys killing off 50% or 10 million of the CFS inhabitants, in a colonial setting in a vast jungle at that, seems implausible. See the old comments for why 20 million CFS inhabitants is likely to be a gross overestimate too.

  63. Kaiju says:
    @urquhart

    What about those 700000 gallant soldiers who surrendered on the Kiev pocket? What could you infer about the national character of Russians from that?

    • Replies: @Adam
  64. Anon[393] • Disclaimer says:
    @German_reader

    I am sure someone else with your smarts could find equally plausible excuses to defend Nero, Hitler, or Netanyahu.

    How is Antonescu’s “attack on America” an excuse for a massacre of 1,500 innocents? All able men were thousands of kilometers away. At that time, Bucharest was a town of women, children, and Jews. The oil was 100 km to the North.

    Maybe Antonescu was hiding WMDs? Perhaps he was an undemocratic tyrant, unlike Dyadya Joseph?

    Also, FYI, it’s not like Antonescu had much of a choice. Romania had been promised protection by France and UK – not by Germany, yet neither of the guarantors gave a damn when Romania was quartered by its neighbors. That was all prior to Antonescu. What was Antonescu to do? Send Romanian soldiers to die for France and UK?

    • Replies: @German_reader
  65. Mulegino1 says:

    The demonization of the perceived “right wing dictators” vis a vis the communist totalitarians and the liberal oligarchies (a.k.a. “democracies”) always was a matter of optics and a post-enlightenment/kosher bias against anything that smacked of monarchism, clericalism, reaction, or economic nationalism as opposed to internationalism. Hitler is simply the head boogeyman in the Manichean comic book world of the Twentieth century, and anyone associated with him- however tenuously- must share the opprobrium.

    The truth is that the “dictators” were pikers- I would even say, relatively benign pikers- compared to the Soviets, the British and the Americans, all of whose governments murdered and destroyed upon scales which dwarfed anything realistically imputed to the Third Reich and its dictatorial associates. (The US continues to do so to this day.)
    This Judeophilic turning of history upon its head has lead to perhaps the greatest lie of the past millennium.

    • Agree: neutral
  66. Beckow says:
    @Michelt

    War is hell. An aggressive war is the ultimate crime, all other crimes follow from it. That was the view of the Nuremberg tribunal after WWII.

    Mussolini, and younger Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Brezhnev, Bush, Clinton, Saddam Hussein, etc… have all started unprovoked, aggressive wars. In most cases with no personal consequences. That is clearly a big issue because a lack of consequences leads to irresponsibility, hubris and eventually a kind of infantilism with advanced tools (roughly the current state in the West).

    Mussolini deserved what he got, his fate is not the issue. But there is no current mechanism to hold the ‘winning‘ leaders accountable. That creates an incentive not to lose under any circumstances, only losers are held accountable. When societies lose the ability to police themselves internally, it becomes a downward spiral.

  67. @Anon

    Also, FYI, it’s not like Antonescu had much of a choice.

    His unusual enthusiasm for Hitler’s war which he regarded as a race war against Slavs was his choice, most of Germany’s other allies weren’t invested to the same degree in the project. Romanian forces also managed to kill a few hundred thousand Jews all on their own, which was also very unusual.
    Of course that doesn’t mean those killed by American bombing deserved their fate, I reject views of WW2 bombing as just punishment. But still, one has to see things in perspective. I’m profoundly anti-American, but one has to admit that in the context of WW2 the US was one of the better actors (though hardly flawless).

    • Replies: @utu
    , @neutral
  68. Mussolini’s biggest crime was trying to run a total state with italians in it.

    You can get sth done with germans with these methods, but they’re the most domesticated human breed.

    The conditions that Italian Army fought under Ciano were inexcusable, it approaches the polish level of disgrace.

    Hitler’s War by Irving touches on these subjects.

  69. @Haxo Angmark

    Do you have any sources for the statement that the Japs sold Hitler short? And German-Japanese relations in general? Just curious – sounds interesting.

  70. Adam says:
    @Kaiju

    There was no love for the Bolsheviks among common Soviet soldiers, and rightfully so. Only when the genocidal intentions of the Nazis became clear did the mass surrenders began to stop and after that point the fighting spirit of the Russian and Ukrainian soldiers became legendary.

    • Replies: @Kaiju
  71. utu says:
    @German_reader

    I’m profoundly anti-American

    I put some hope in German anti-Americanism.

    http://www.unz.com/ldinh/heart-of-darkness-germany/#comment-3040960

  72. neutral says:
    @German_reader

    Yet you are profoundly pro jew.

  73. Turgot says:

    “including on the part of otherwise “fluffy” countries such as Poland that took full advantage of Czechoslovakia’s dismemberment in 1938.”

    Well this is quite dishonest. First of all what Poland did was just a tiny, tiny land grab, that’s not even imperialism of Germany, Soviet Union, Italy, Britain or France. And then besides that – this piece of land was taken in 1920 by the Czechs during the polish-bolshevik war https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish%E2%80%93Czechoslovak_War

  74. Turgot says:
    @German_reader

    disturbed by the German attack on Poland whose regime of Catholic authoritarians

    those were freemasons, socialists, irreligious chauvinists

  75. @Mikhail

    But the Tito rule was a golden age for Yugoslavians, especially Macedonians who ended up much richer than they would be in communist Bulgaria. OK, I only heard about that time from rural Macedonians so it’s one-sided, but it was overall positive and sounded like a different world from the Soviet life under Brezhnev. Peasants weren’t forced into kolkhoz for one, and actually earned a lot selling their produce. There was a lot of freedom and the biggest thing – no ethnic wars that would wreck the region both before and after.

  76. Kaiju says:
    @Adam

    Then why did the Whites lose the civil war if the Reds were that disliked?

  77. “politicized executions in the Western democracies, e.g. Sacco and Vanzetti (1927) would doubtless qualify”

    Sacco and Vanzetti were almost certainly guilty. Upton Sinclair was told by their lawyer that they were. He kept quiet because he thought he’d be an outcast on the left and maybe even killed.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170215072403/http://articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/24/local/me-sinclair24

    “The story was “Boston,” Sinclair’s 1920s novelized condemnation of the trial and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrants accused of killing two men in the robbery of a Massachusetts shoe factory.

    Prosecutors characterized the anarchists as ruthless killers who had used the money to bankroll antigovernment bombings and deserved to die. Sinclair thought the pair were innocent and being railroaded because of their political views.

    Soon Sinclair would learn something that filled him with doubt. During his research for “Boston,” Sinclair met with Fred Moore, the men’s attorney, in a Denver motel room. Moore “sent me into a panic,” Sinclair wrote in the typed letter that Hegness found at the auction a decade ago.

    Alone in a hotel room with Fred, I begged him to tell me the full truth,” Sinclair wrote. ” … He then told me that the men were guilty, and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them.

    Hegness paid $100 for the box containing Sinclair’s confessional letter and tucked it away in a closet — where it gathered dust. Now, after stumbling upon it again, he plans to donate it to Sinclair’s archives at Indiana University, where it will join a trove of correspondence that reveals the ethical quandary that confronted Sinclair — papers that even some scholars of the author weren’t aware of…

    Other letters tucked away in the Indiana archive illuminate why one of America’s most strident truth tellers kept his reservations to himself.

    “My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book,” Sinclair wrote Robert Minor, a confidant at the Socialist Daily Worker in New York, in 1927.

    “Of course,” he added, “the next big case may be a frame-up, and my telling the truth about the Sacco-Vanzetti case will make things harder for the victims.”

    He also worried that revealing what he had been told would cost him readers. “It is much better copy as a naive defense of Sacco and Vanzetti because this is what all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my public,” he wrote to Minor.”

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