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PostEamon de Valera's Admiration for Mussolini (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 05/03/21 4:19 am)
John E asked about Irish patriarch Eamon de Valera's admiration for Mussolini.
Mussolini said the following about Fascism:
1) I did not create Fascism. I took it from the unconscious of the Italians.
2) Fascism is an Italian phenomenon, exquisitely Italian, intimately connected with our history, psychology, traditions, and represents the culmination of a long and complicated political evolution. Without a sound knowledge of said evolution, without notes at the bottom of this great book, no correct analysis is possible. (3 August 1926)
In spite of the above, Italian Fascism spread all over the world. Practically every nation from the Americas to Europe, Africa, and Asia, including the Arab world, had their Fascist or para-Fascist groups and many Heads of State were inspired by some Fascist positive actions, including of course Eamon de Valera.
I have already mentioned in past WAIS posts that according to some historians the New Deal of FDR was inspired by the Fascist social program.
There are at least a couple of books treating this subject: Fascismi nel Mondo by Sergio Pessot and I Fascismi Sconosciuti by Maurice Bardeche.
In Ireland, the best-known organization inspired by Fascism was the Blueshirts of General Eoin O'Duffy.
O'Duffy in December 1934 participated in the International Fascist Conference at Montreux with representatives from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Lithuania. During the Spanish Civil War 700 Blueshirts participated in the "Cruzada" against the "Rojos."
The curse of Mussolini and of Italian Fascism came from their greatest admirer, Hitler. The German leader practically worshiped Mussolini and copied from him some exterior rituals and social reforms but his Nazi main postulates were quite different from Mussolini's. Regarding the Jewish question, Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews, while Mussolini even stated that among the Jews he had his best and most trustworthy friends.
The temporary alliance of Fascist Italy with Nazi Germany practically destroyed in most of the worldwide public opinion all the good that Mussolini and Fascism had and could have achieved.
JE comments: WAIS has explored nearly every aspect of the Spanish Civil War, but I never knew of the Irish Blueshirts on Franco's side. (It would be instructive to assemble a list of all the colored "shirt" movements of the early-mid 20th century--blue, brown, black, green. What, no pink?)
Channeling Mussolini here, Eugenio Battaglia raises an issue I'd like to explore further: can political systems ever be "organic," as in naturally suited to a particular culture? Is there any truth to this, or is it a mere rhetorical device?