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Tue Jul 6, 2021, 07:30 AM

From this morning's Heather Cox Richardson: Mussollini and the fascist racial hierarchies

(Reposted from https://www.democraticunderground.com/1017665699#post13)


Biden’s speech recalled that of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 5, 1944, upon the fall of Rome during World War II. It was Italian leader Benito Mussolini who articulated the ideals of fascism after World War I, envisioning a hierarchical world in which economic and political leaders worked together to lead the masses forward by welding them into a nationalistic, militaristic force.

In his 1944 speech, FDR was careful to explain to Americans how they were different from the Italian fascists. He talked about “Nazi overlords” and “fascist puppets.” Then, in contrast to the fascists’ racial hierarchies, FDR made a point of calling Americans’ attention to the fact that the men who defeated the Italian fascists were Americans from every walk of life.

And then he turned to how fascism treated its people. “In Italy, the people have lived so long under the corrupt rule of Mussolini that in spite of the tinsel at the top—you have seen the pictures of it—their economic conditions have grown steadily worse. Our troops have found starvation, malnutrition, disease, a deteriorating education, a lower public health, all byproducts of the fascist misrule.”

To rebuild Italy, FDR said, the troops had to start from the bottom. “[W]e have had to give them bread to replace that which was stolen out of their mouths,” he said. “We have had to make it possible for the Italians to raise and use their local crops. We have had to help them cleanse their schools of fascist trappings….”

He outlined how Americans had anticipated the need to relieve the people starved by the fascists, and had made plans to ship food grown by the “magnificent ability and energy of the American people,” in ships they had constructed, over thousands of miles of water. Some of us may let our thoughts run to the financial cost of it,” he said, but “we hope that this relief will be an investment for the future, an investment that will pay dividends by eliminating fascism, by ending any Italian desires to start another war of aggression in the future….”

FDR was emphasizing the power of the people, of democracy, to combat fascism not only abroad but also at home, where it had attracted Americans frustrated by the seeming inability of democracy to counter the Depression. They longed for a single strong leader to fix everything. Other Americans, horrified by FDR’s use of the government to regulate business, provide a basic social safety net, and promote infrastructure, wanted to take the nation back to the 1920s and in so doing had begun to flirt with fascism as well.

As he celebrated the triumph over democracy in Italy, he was also urging Americans to value and protect it at home.

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Reply From this morning's Heather Cox Richardson: Mussollini and the fascist racial hierarchies (Original post)
erronis Jul 2021 OP
abqtommy Jul 2021 #1
erronis Jul 2021 #3
Johnny2X2X Jul 2021 #2
erronis Jul 2021 #4

Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 07:42 AM

1. This is an excellent op. Thanks. One thing that continues to interest me is the fact that the

German fascists in WWII, stating that they aspired to a purified Aryan race, welcomed the support
of the brown-skinned Japanese, southern Italians and other non-Aryan groups. It's obvious to me
that ideology is more important to fascists than "race". We see the same thing today in the U.S.,
Europe, southeast Asia and Africa where it's the ideology, not "race" that's important.

We can deal with this problem now or later and it's already later than we think.

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 08:28 AM

3. Race will become important if they gain control. "And then they came for me...." n/t

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 07:51 AM

2. We've forgotten history

Or maybe not so much forgotten as willfully ignored. People today are unaware of what fascism looks like. People forget so easily that the Nazis and Italian Fascists didn't come to power preaching totalitarianism, they preached "freedom" and "patriotism", they targeted the other as obstacles to "freedom" and "love of country." Millions of "good Germans" thought their way would lead to peace and freedom globally, they were sure they were the righteous side, they were sure they were the ones fighting evil.

Today's fascism is even more subtle, because the ideas the America Right espouses are easy to mistake for American ideas, but they aren't. They are the anti-American party, they do not believe in our Democracy. Today's Republican Party is fighting against the idea of America, fighting against what the Greatest Generation fought for. They are not patriots, they are traitors, this needs to start being highlighted.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 6, 2021, 08:33 AM

4. I think the parties are going through another massive flip after the Civil War through the New Deal

HCR talks at great length (and with great wisdom) about the Republican party of Lincoln and the southern Democrats. And how they switched their positions, largely based on (in)equality and voting rights for all. Racism drove, and still drives much of what the now Republican party does.

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