- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 25 Feb 1932, p. 87-102
- Fox, Dr. William Sherwood, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Looking for the "real" Mussolini. Some columnists' jibes which illustrate popular opinion of Mussolini outside of Italy. Understanding Mussolini. A vision of the Old Italy out of which Mussolini has evolved and which, through his evolution, he has made over. Projecting a portrait of Mussolini against this historical background. The history, origins, and background of Mussolini. Some significant dates and events of Mussolini's activities. What Fascismo means, and what it stands for. A perusal of quotations from the speeches and writings of the Fascist leader, "Il Duce," as Mussolini is known to his partisans. What this Socialist really thinks of Capital and Capitalism. Mussolini's speeches on Italy's foreign policy. Mussolini's reforms. Mussolini as a mass of contradictions; the speaker's description.
- Date of Original
- 25 Feb 1932
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- Full Text
- MUSSOLINI AND THE NEW ITALY
AN ADDRESS BY DR. WILLIAM SHERWOOD FOX, B.A., M.A., PH.D., LL.D., F.R.S.C.
Thursday, February 25, 1932
MR. DANA PORTER, Vice-President, introduced the speaker.
DR. Fox: In referring to the chairman's flattering introductory remarks he expressed the fear that it would not fully meet the description. He felt much like the speaker who was introduced by the pastor of a colored church, and who was to preach an anniversary sermon. The visitor was introduced in words like these:--"This man who is brought to you today knows the unknown; he can think the unthinkable; and can unscrew the inscrutable." (Laughter.) He thanked the Chairman for his complimentary remarks concerning the University of Western Ontario, which was making its own contribution to Canadian higher education and Canadian life and citizenship in general, and in utmost harmony with the other Universities, notwithstanding statements regarding friction.
Doctor Fox continued
My first word is to ask you to approach the topic of this address with the attitude of students, not with the attitude of those who are already in the frame Of mind to censure or commend. I even venture to hope that you will accept as a brief statement of our aim a parody upon the well-known words of a great Italian of ancient times: "We come to study Mussolini, not to praise him." (Laughter.)
The policy of the modem historian is to endeavor to discover, if possible, the real as opposed to the traditional great men of history; to find, for instance, the real Napoleon, the real Bismarck, the real Gladstone. Professor Gildersleeve, of John Hopkins, my old master, a great Southerner and an intense American patriot, used to say by way of epigram: "There are two George Washingtons; George Washington, the Father of his Country, and George Washington, the profane Virginia ability, is actually two persons, if not many more: at least a glimpse of the real Benito Mussolini, who, in all probability, is actually two persons, if not many more: at least, there is Mussolini, the butt of the columnists' ridicule, and Mussolini, the child of an obscure Italian hamlet and the Remaker of Italy.
If we are to believe the "funny man of the colyum," Mussolini is a "regular divil." Out of curiosity I have made a little collection of columnists' jibes which illustrate popular opinion of Mussolini outside of Italy. Here are a few samples.
"Mussolini lets only married men emigrate. He likes to keep those who recognize no thumb but his." (Laughter.)
"The ruins of a Roman forum have been unearthed in London, and first thing those Britishers know- Mussolini will be claiming their capital as an Italian city."
"The probable reason why Rome wasn't built in a day is that Benito Mussolini wasn't there at the time." (Laughter.)
"If Mussolini should pass on his mantle to (the poet) D'Annunzio, Italy would simply he going from bad to verse." (Laughter.)
"Mussoliin's one regret these days is that there isn't another Mussolini he can slap in the face." (Laughter.)
"Probably they call him 'Muss' in the Rotary Club of Rome,,(Laughter) -and, the way he is trying to start one in Europe, it sounds appropriate."
Last of all:
"Oh, Italy, we love your art, Your songs have truly touched each heart. But when a warlike fist you shake, We sigh, 'Please sing, for heaven's sake.' (Laughter.)
The really funny thing about these jokes is that they are nothing but permutations and combinations of one and the same joke, namely, that Mussolini is a fool, a whole fool and nothing but a fool, who lives in the fool's paradise of his own egotism and entertains no thought that there may possibly he a great democratic day of judgment. It behooves us as honest citizens of the world to ascertain just what manner of man this Mussolini is. As every man's present cannot be explained without a knowledge of his past, we must, for a few minutes, thumb over the pages of Mussolini's history, but not until we have got a vision of the Old Italy out of which Mussolini has evolved and which, through his evolution, he has made over.
The chief fact that the student of the modem Italy must keep before him is that Italy the nation, never existed until 1870. Before that date, Italy was no more than a geographical title-the name of a peninsula. In 1870, the union of a number of petty kingdoms, principalities and duchies under the Royal House of Savoy created the Kingdom of Italy. So even the Old Italy of Mussolini's boyhood was after all only a Young Italy.
As a kingdom Italy begun her life encumbered by a bundle of burdens--a meagre accumulation of capital, a lack of a variety of natural resources, a shortage of technical skill, a deficiency of machinery, railways and ships, an appalling percentage of illiteracy, a surplus of dialects that divided the country, and, by no means least, a paralysing inferiority complex. But over against these liabilities she had two most valuable assets-an abundance of labor and a high degree of native intelligence.
The consciousness of nationhood gave her a new will and she set to work with zest to remove or reduce her burdens. The results were marvellous. By 1907, an illiteracy of 70 per cent. was reduced to 37 per cent. and the death rate from 30 per thousand to 16. The development of hydro-electric power on a large scale greatly reduced her imports of coal from abroad. Vast industrial centres were built up in the north, in such cities as Turin and Milan. Prosperity increased amazingly. However, strange to say it was the other nations and not Italy herself that realized her rapid progress and for that reason, while the other burdens were gradually lifted, the inferiority complex remained. This accounts for the hold that Marxian doctrine very early secured in Italy.
It was not until the Kingdom was nearly forty years old that this hampering complex began to disappear, and after that it went quickly. The enthusiasm of the Italian conquest of Tripoli in 1911 marked the completion of the change, and with it was born the national idealism that we now see and feel in Italy. This it is that brought the young men of the country into leadership in politics, manufacturing and commerce. This is the foundation upon which Fascism rests. Says a recent writer: "There can be no doubt of the youthful swagger of the new Italy. Entering it from France, you feel that you have suddenly entered a world full of young men." And 1 may add that there is no better illustration of this statement than my personal acquaintance, the new Grand Secretary of the Fascist Party, Achille Starace. When I met him he was the General of all the Fascist militia, 300,000 strong; he was still under thirty, and proudly called himself by his popular title-The Boy General.
In order to make the background of our study complete there are two other details we dare not omit. One is the supreme importance of the Mediterranean to Italy. Over the barrier of mountains behind her only a few exports and imports can move; indeed the railway traffic is not to be compared to the seaborne tariffs. The Mediterranean is to her at once breath, food, fuel, clothing and highway. While Britain holds Gibraltar, Malta and the Suez Canal; while Turkey stands watch over the Dardanelles. and while France frowns, be it ever so kindly, with ships and forts over Italy's western frontier, do you wonder that Italy is sensitive and often irritable?
The other detail is an inexorable fact of arithmetic. The Italian people, even without Mussolini's encouragement, are multiplying and replenishing the earth at an enormous rate. The increase in population is 400,000 a year. Italy is a small country and is almost filled. Where will this excess population go? At the most Tripoli can hold only 400,000 in alljust one year's production. The North American quota has closed the Western. gates. Practically only Brazil and the Argentine remain, but obviously the great problem of transportation involved is insoluble even if all the 400,000 wished to go to these countries-which they do not. Some day Italy's question-What shall we do with this surplus population?--will have to he answered. She cannot answer it alone. Grave danger lies in the inevitable prospect that other nations must help her find the answer.
Against this background let us project the portrait of Mussolini. Benito Mussolini was horn in a hamlet of the mountainous Romagna, south of Bologna. The people of the district are by nature a tribe of agitators and were among the earliest Socialists of Italy. Benito's father, a blacksmith and inn-keeper by trade, was imprisoned for his part in the first Socialist disturbances in the eighties. In contrast, his mother was a calm and discreet, though energetic woman; the fact that she was schoolmistress of the village accounts for the son's good initial education and for his unconquerable desire for intellectual development. The strong impress made upon him by both parents is what makes Mussoini unique among champions of the proletariat; though like his father a vehement agitator, like his mother he does his thinking upon a uniformly high plane and expresses himself lucidly and forcefully.
That "the child is father of the man" is literally true in Mussolini's case. He says of himself that he was a restless and pugnacious boy. He struck quickly, often hard. and gave and took many a black eye, as though forecasting his later political career. As a boy he would not endure bullying, and now as the Premier of Italy he allows no other nation even to seem to bully his country. He knew no fear except that of perfidy and treachery, but was always ready to pardon those who had offended him, provided they showed signs of penitence. One of his close political associates has told me that even to his enemies he is too generous, and very often he has offended the extreme Fascists by his refusals to countenance reprisals.
Besides his father and mother there were other strong formative influences cast about his years of boyhood and youth: among books, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Macchiavelli's political writings, and will you believe it?--the writings of Julius Caesar; among people, Professor Vilfredo Pareto of the University of Geneva.
It is often said that Mussolini is uneducated. That is quite untrue in both senses of the word. After leaving his mother's village school he attended a church college in Faenza, then a teacher's institute and later on taught school. Naturally, an ordinary village school-board could not understand so stirring a personage as he was, and he was therefore summarily dismissed from his post. He then turned to Switzerland, the haven of political agitators, and attended in succession the Universities of Lausanne, Geneva and Zurich, picking up a meagre living by doing all sorts of odd jobs, and sometimes almost starving. Wherever he went he associated with the radicals arid, of course, drew the attention of the political authorities upon him. Banished from Lausanne, he went to Geneva; banished from Geneva he went to Zurich; banished from Zurich he went back to Italy, a prisoner in chains.
It is said that "a rolling stone gathers no moss." Mussolini is an exception to the rule, for in Switzerland the teachings of Pareto, the economist, struck to him permanently. From Pareto he acquired a certain manner of political thinking, a manner based upon what Pareto termed "the theory of the imponderable." "Pareto, when, after exhaustive experiment and study, he had arrived at a conclusion, regarded this conclusion not as indubitable and final, but merely as provisional and to he used tentatively as a basis for further enquiry!' No doubt this accounts for Mussolini's apparent shiftiness of policy. The fact is that he thinks a thousand times quicker than the rest of us. Despite an otherwise active life Mussolini found time in Switzerland to learn French thoroughly and to acquire a working knowledge of English, German and Spanish.
But the end of his education was not yet. Back to schoolteaching he went, but he was no sooner in his job than he was out again, a conservative school-board once more objecting to his political independence and to his soap-box oratory. But even then he was learning something, for during this period he secured private tutoring in Greek and Latin from a priest. His next step was to become a Professor of French in a private college, but apparently, in a moment of professorial absent-mindedness, he led the peasants of the district in a strike, and lost his job accordingly. (Laughter.)
Life is often compared to a game of chess. Mussolini's life, however, is more like a hockey-game where the moves are like lightning. Next we find him in Austria; and at very significant move it was for him, for there he took a position as Secretary of the Socialists of the Trentino, that southeastern corner of Austria as it then was--inhabited by a large population of "unredeemed Italians", as they were called before the War. His sojourn here explains his attitude and outbreak toward Germany.
Returning to Italy, Mussolini began his career as Editor of Socialist journals--The Class Struggle; The Avanti (or Forward, the chief organ of the Italian Socialists); of a weekly, Utopia; and, after resigning from the Avanti, of his own paper, II Popolo d'Italia (The Italian People). judging by this long list one might easily infer that, in common phrase, he was "some Socialist". On the contrary, the Socialists never felt he was really one of them, and at the same time he was unacceptable to the Conservatives. In fact, socially and politically, he was neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. Though he called himself a Socialist, and vigorously championed the cause of the proletariat, he refused to accept Marx's materialism and anti-capitalistic economics. From the outset he stood for education and culture as the natural right of the common people. He was never content to recite current Socialistic creeds and formulas as though they were a final gospel, but always claimed the right to think his way beyond them and thus make progress. Unlike the average Socialist, he would not condemn all war, and he actually advocated Italy's campaign in North Africa in 1911. No wonder he was anathema to the typical international Socialist.
His changing attitude toward the Great War reveals his character better than does anything else. Before Germany invaded Belgium he openly demanded absolute neutrality on the part of Italy, under the threat of a rebellion of the proletariat. He had his way. Curiously, very soon afterward we find him commending the Socialists of Belgium for arming against Germany. In September he was ready to think of "a relative neutrality" as the duty of Italy. Before long, he declared himself in favour of joining the Allies should Western civilization he seriously threatened. Then, like a bolt from the blue, he resigned from the Avanti, started his own new paper, II Popolo d'Italia, and in his first editorial advocated war. The air in Milan was almost blue with the imprecations and abusive epithets hurled at Mussolini by the Socialists. "Traitor! Hireling! Assassin!" He was immediately read out of the Party, and the Avanti, as if thus it could damn him to all eternity, refrained from mentioning his name for five whole years, because that would have been advertising him.
At the first call for volunteers Mussolini enlisted as a private among the mountain troops, fought the Austrians as vigorously as he had fought his political enemies at home, distinguished himself as a daring, fearless soldier and at length was seriously injured, sustaining forty wounds through the bursting of a mortar. His war-diary is a wonderful book, full of philosophy, poetry, stimulating economic and political thought, as well as of burning patriotism. One regiment stationed near his own presented him in camp with a memorial couched in these words: "To Benito Mussolini, who hearkened to the voice of the smoking ruins of Belgium, and of invaded France, and who asserted the rights of humanity against brute force. With the admiration of true Italians, and with the affection of his fellow-soldiers." That a document of this nature should be presented spontaneously to an obscure private is proof of the innate qualities of the man that would some day exalt him far above his native obscurity. The tactit prophecy has been amply fulfilled.
But mortars and cannon could not kill Mussolini. After the war it seemed as if his forty wounds had multiplied his energy and activity just that many times, if that were possible. And his great strength was sorely needed. He found himself between two enemies, which, like the upper and the nether millstones, were threatening to crush Italy and himself between them-Bolshevism, the one, and stupid. senile parliamentarianism, the other. The old-fashioned and senile professional politicians he accused of making no effort to readjust the returned soldiers to civilian life, and of not attempting any measure of social reform. In the eyes of Italians, the most convincing and damning charge was that these old "moss backs" had caused Italy, though a partner in a victorious war, to lose lamentably in the peace that followed. Without doubt, Mussolini's patriotic stand in this respect is historically the first cause of his rise to popularity and power.
Now I must bore you with a few dates. MY apology for this is that these dates are dramatic. Bolshevism first broke out in Italy on February 18th, 1919, and Fascism was instituted just a month and five days later. In, September, 1920, the Socialists seized the factories of Italy and two Fascists were executed for resistance. In 1921 occurred. or rather, exploded, the great railway strike, followed almost instantaneously by the general strike. Here, then, was the great opportunity for carrying out the promise or threat made by the Fascists at their congress in Rome in 1920: "Fascism will substitute itself for the State when the State conclusively shows itself unable to suppress disorder." In May, 1921, they nominated candidates for the General Election, and to the amazement of everybody won, thereby thirty-three seats, Mussolini winning one of them. In September of 1922 he was offered a ministry without portfolio in the cabinet, but declined. Now that the world knows Mussolini as one of the great masters of man, it is humorus indeed to think of his ever having been offered a minor post. However, in the very next month his turn came.
To be exact, on October 20, 1922, in Naples he ordered his Black Shirts to march on Rome. Their rallying cry was simple, but stirring: "Only one passion inspires us: to contribute to the salvation and to the greatness of our country." As they drew near Rome, an army ludicrous in numbers and equipment, Facta, the Prime Minister, asked the King to proclaim martial law. Be it said to the unbounded credit of the King that he used his limited prerogative promptly and properly. "No, Mr. Premier," said he in effect, "Emphatically no, and instead I shall ask for your resignation, and shall offer your post to Benito Mussolini." On October 29th, 1922, Mussolini received and accepted the offer, and on leaving Milan for Rome that night said to his friends at the train, in his characteristic way, "Tomorrow Italy will not have a Ministry; she will have a Government." The government that he inaugurated at noon on October 30th has been described by a Fascist sympathizer not as a revolution like the French Revolution, but rather as "an uprising of vindicators of moral values which had been trampled in the dust." It is my own conviction that despite many acts of Mussolini and his fellow Fascists that we may rightly censure, they were, at least at the outset, truly "vindicators of moral values" that had been forgotten by Bolshevist and Conservative alike.
Now, so much for Mussolini for awhile. But what about that curious thing the Italians call Fascismo? What does the name mean, and what does it stand for?
Primarily, Fascism is an organized attempt to realize once more in Italian politics the effective power formerly exercised by the heads of the old Roman Republic, and later of the Roman Empire. The symbol of power of the ancient authorities was the bundle of rods and axes borne by the lictors; from these bundles, or Fasces, comes the name Fascismo.
Broadly speaking, the Fascists are the best men of the younger generation of Italians, and by the best I mean the best educated, the most self-sacrificing in their patriotism and the most industrious. The organization exists, on the one hand, to oppose and suppress Bolshevism, and, on the other, to effect in Italy that kind of social and economic revolution which, for example, the English-speaking peoples have gained by slower and more constitutional means. Certain over-enthusiastic Fascists declare Fascism to be a method of government applicable to any nation; personally, I do not believe it; 1 am strongly of the opinion that it should he regarded as Italian only, and its success estimated solely in its effect upon Italy.
Now it should not he a matter for surprise that the energetic creator of political theory and practice like Fascism has unwittingly started a great many other theories and practices also. Although the Fascists seem to be solely men of action, they are in fact very passionate theorists. Carried away by the immensity of the Fascist movement, they are imbued with the idea that the whole world of human thought is being hurried by Fascism into a new era. Hence in Italy one finds set forth in unparelleled verbosity all sorts of new theories. There is the theory of Fascist Art (mostly theory as vet), the Fascist theory of Education (fundamentally a pretty sound one, too), the theory of Fascist culture, and, as a climax, a theory of Fascist ethics, fortunately based on the Roman theory of the days of Cato. Naturally, a mass of ideas of this kind cannot spread themselves without artificial means; hence a great Fascist journalism has sprung up, probably the greatest propagandist press the
world has ever known in any country in time of peace. Above and behind this is an argus-eyed Fascist censorship from whose scrutiny no pamphlet, no paper, no magazine, no book can escape. All this is the spontaneous outgrowth of a single original shoot, the Fascist political movement, planted in the garden of Italian society by the master gardener, Mussolini.
The attitude of Fascism toward certain vexing questions can best he understood by a perusual of quotations from the speeches and writings of the Fascist leader, II Duce, as Mussolini is known to his partisans.
For instance, Fascism's employment of force has been vehemently censured. But the Fascists themselves say they have resorted to force chiefly as the only method with which to combat another force, that of Bolshevism, and that it is used only as a temporary means for the purpose of bringing peace to a distracted country. As Mussolini himself said: "The nation needs peace in order to recover, to restore itself, to fulfill its highest destinies. You do not understand, you do not wish to understand, that the country wishes to work without being disturbed." There is the case in a nutshell. And, mark you, these are words that Mussolini used in warning some of his too enthusiastic Fascists not to go to excess in their exercise of force in maintaining peace. However, even Mussolini himself,, so far as an outsider can judge, does not seem to realize the lesson of history that they who put themselves into power by force find it hard to relinquish force.
According to Mussolini, Fascism's attitude toward imperialism has been misunderstood. Listen to the leader's own statement: "We must make plain once for all what we mean by Imperialism. Imperialism is the law of life, eternal and unchanging. At bottom it is nothing but the need, the desire, the will to expand, felt by every individual and by every nation with vitality. It is the methods employed which differentiate one form of imperialism from another. Imperialism need not necessarily he aristocratic. and military; it can, on the contrary, be democratic, pacific, spiritual."
This, I take it, is, to us at least, a new conception of imperialism. Assuredly it needs interpretation, and we shall find it partly in the Italian temperament, partly in the character of Mussolini himself. Now, if the Italian is anything he is rhetorical and dramatic. Like a fisherman he does not intend to exaggerate, but nevertheless according to our standards he does exaggerate, but his fellow Italians know just the degree of discount to apply to the overstatement. (Laughter.) If we assume the Italian point of view we can understand pretty clearly what Mussolini's words and actions really mean so far as they are Italian. But we must also realize what they mean so far as they are his own. Facing a disunited Italy Mussolini says and does many things which are designed to rally all Italians about a common interest., whether that interest be a grievance against another nation or a serious policy affecting Italy alone. However, when he talks of Italian imperialism, his words are not all mere rhetoric, for always in the back of his mind there are those ominous figures---400,000 surplus population each year. In declaring against war Mussolini is truthful, 1 verily believe, but I sometimes fear that his manner of kindling the flame of imperialism. may, despite his honest intentions to the contrary, start a fire which at a time of crisis cannot be put out. It is comforting to know that just now he is doing less than formerly to fan the flame.
What this Socialist really thinks of Capital and Capitalism makes very interesting reading.
"I do not intend to defend capitalism or capitalists," he wrote. "They, like everything human, have their defects. I only say that their possibilities of usefullness are not yet ended. Society has already assimilated some portion of Socialistic doctrines, which it has been able to adopt without evil results. Capitalism has borne the monstrous burden of war and today still has the strength to shoulder the burdens of peace. It is not simply and solely an accumulation of wealth; it is an elaboration, a selection, a coordination of values, which is the work of centuries."
"In these latter days we hear much pro and con about public ownership!' Mussolini has his opinions about this also.
"State ownership: It leads only to absurd and monstrous conclusions: state ownership means state monopoly, concentrated in the hands of one party and its adherents, and that state brings only ruin and bankruptcy to all laborers, townsmen, mankind .... This is a fact, proved by the experience of Russia, where state ownership produced a centralized tyranny. Property, after it has been nationalized, goes back into the hands of groups and individuals. Truly Socialism has a history full of paradox !"
Perhaps nothing is so disturbing to non-Italians as the reports that appear in the press from time to time of Mussolini's speeches on Italy's foreign policy. Undoubtedly it is the fair thing to have regard for his studied utterances rather than those which he has made in apparent heat and for Italian consumption only. Incidentally, in the quotation I am about to give, one gets an idea of his educational policy. I may add that, funadmentally, his whole policy is educational.
"I hold that, having broken the pride, which was one not of words alone, of Italian Bolshevism, Fascism ought to become the watchful guardian of our foreign policy. I think that Fascism ought to train up a generation of new men, without provincialism or local feeling, who would 'feel' the Italian problem, who would hold it to be a problem of self-consciousness, of expansion, of Italian prestige, in Europe and in the world, and, to attain this object, would adapt both minds and methods. If Italy wishes to play a guiding part in the destinies of the world, if Italy has the pride which she ought to have, she should prepare herself now; she should assemble a band of technical experts, of students who would bring both devotion and efficiency to the examination of special questions, and at the same time she ought to awaken amongst the great mass of Italians an interest in foreign policy. Only by these means can Italy become a great nation, and, what is even more important, while presenting herself to the outside world as one united and complete whole, preserve and safeguard her political unity at home. It is necessary to force Fascism to change its front, and to turn it away from bitter local quarrels in order that it may become the motive power of our foreign policy. A hard and ungrateful task, but a necessary one."
Now to bring a long story near to an end, what has this dynamo of a man accomplished? I shall not enumerate his many reforms for you know them as well as I do. All I shall say is this: over and above all of his achievements that have been reported he has been working, and still is working, upon two projects which are fundamental in character and greater than anything else he has undertaken; one in which he aims to get Italy to grow enough food to feed herself, and the other an attempt to establish compulsory education for all classes of citizens.
But what picture of this notable Italian will you carry away in your memory? I have purposely refrained until the present from commenting upon his physical appearance, largely in order to pique your curiosity. He is a man of normal medium height and build. Upon seeing him there are three things that will strike you immediately and with great force--the shape of his head, his eyes, his manner of movement. No other word than "intellectual" describes his head, although the psychologists say you cannot use the word in that way. And then his eyes! Oh, how he uses those piercing black orbs! They are, indeed, a very large part of his political capital,, and he exploits them to the limit like a "movie" actor. His movements represent a combination of the two most contradictory things: impulsiveness and caution; speed and deliberateness. They betray a man who is capable of intense unselfish concentration and who, nevertheless, is at times afflicted with an abnormal self-consciousness. 'Indeed, Mussolini is a mass of contradictions, the great human paradox of our times. He is both genuine and a poseur; he is both modest and haughty; he is both calculating, and hotheaded; generous and austere; tender, yet brutally candid; national and yet international; both Socialist and Capitalist. Moreover, he is quite conscious of his own contradictions (which most of us are not) (Laughter.) We must remember this in measuring the man, his works and his words. Mussolini's one thought and ambition is to recreate and develop a strong united Italy. His model for the nation is ancient Rome at her greatest; his model for himself is Julius Caesar, in his aspect as Reformer and Leader and as author of Bellum Gallic. In every way and in every thing he is seeking first of all the advancement and the legitimate glory of his own country.
But we must not rate him as a purely selfish nationalist, for in his endeavors to redeem his beloved Italy from anarchy and from economic and spiritual ruin at the same time he saved all of Western civilization from these very same calamities. There is no doubt that the one human being who is responsible for the stemming of the tide of Bolshevism in its westward flow is Mussolini. But, you will ask, should Fascism therefore not he invoked for the political and economic healing of all the Western nations? My emphatic reply is, No, for in such a case as that we should each of us want to be a Mussolini. (Loud applause.)
The thanks of the club were voiced by the chairman.