Italy in the 1920's 07

Italy in the 1920’s Part 7

It is with these premises that Mussolini raises the alarm cry and announces the new policy, typical of fascism, of the defense and reintegration of the numerical entity of the nation at the service of the idea of ​​power. In his historic 1926 Ascension speech, which formulates this policy, he also gives its spiritual synthesis: “the fact is that the destiny of nations is linked to their demographic power”. This new and active conception of national history, as a function of demographic power, is now finding a wide following, at least ideal, in all civilized countries. Malthus’s squalid doctrine is superseded by an optimistic and reconstructive vision of human becoming and its civilization. But this vision is followed by thedemographic, politics, App.).

According to, this force applies in two directions: the fight against mortality and the stimulation of births. The action for the birth rate begins with nuptiality, which is favored in every way, being considered not only as a private affair of the citizens but also as a publicum munus, a basic element of national life. While progressive taxes and reduced rights for many public jobs affect celibates, rewards and concessions for marriages and preferences in employment are given to married citizens. But from marriage the protective action of the state extends above all to the protection of the mother and the new born. Already on December 10, 1925, a law had created the National Work for the protection of motherhood and childhood, with resolute social aims and with the direct participation of the state. It assists poor mothers and extends its protective action on young people up to the age of 18, ie on a mass of about 15 and a half million citizens. The results have not been slow to come. In 1935, for example, the people assisted, mothers and children, were 1,713. 978 with an expense of approximately 153 million lire. Yet first-year infant mortality dropped from 12.79 per cent of live births in 1922 and 9.99 per cent in 1934-35.

The work of child protection is complemented by a relief work of marine and mountain colonies for poor children directed by the fascist party. Begun in 1925 it has rapidly expanded, so much so that in 1936 it was already able to organize 3,821 colonies with 690,750 children.

This work is amplified in that of the Opera Nazionale Balilla which in 1937 was employed by the Party (see Fascism, App.).

This is one of the most substantial creations of the regime. Founded on three principles – assistance, education and preparation, in an integral sense, of the child for national life – it has a profound social and political significance, as well as demographic. It is inspired by the historical sense of the nation’s continuity and the political will of the regime’s perenniality, repairing all the fractures that may be created between one generation and the other in spiritual and political life. A revolutionary regime cannot concentrate entirely on the generation that created it without isolating itself in becoming national. The fascist regime therefore immediately turned to young people in the calculation that they will be the men, the responsible citizens of tomorrow. The National Balilla Opera, established with the law of April 3, 1926, it is the first political formation of the younger generations: it recruits children and young people from all social classes. At the end of 1937 it had over 6 million organized groups, mostly of peasant, worker and artisan families. It has a military framework, but an educational and professional action. From this demographic policy, fascism gradually passes, by natural stages, to a more resolute politics of race (v.race, App.).

The military framework and the warrior spirit of the political organization of fascism created the new base of the Italian armed forces. New armed forces arose directly from the fascist revolution with squadrismo, a typical Italian phenomenon of voluntarism derived from the action squads formed during the revolutionary ferment and transformed, after the March on Rome, into a regular militia, constituted by a decision of the Grand Council of January 12, 1923.

The tasks of this voluntary militia for national security, established by the decree of January 14, 1923, place it “at the service of God and of the Fatherland and under the orders of the Head of the government”, and engage it “in cooperation with the armed corps for the public security and with the royal army to maintain public order inside and to prepare and keep the citizens framed for the defense of Italy’s interests in the world “. The militia, fully framed and armed, like the other military forces, can now be considered, in addition to being a guard of the revolution, an active force in the defense of the state. It has heroically participated in the war operations in Libya, since September 1923, and in those of East Africa for the conquest of Ethiopia,

But this militia is organized in the overseas territories also as a nucleus of colonization. Since September 1934 it has been established in Libya as a territorial armed organization, divided into 4 legions, of which the first three are made up of Sardinian, Sicilian and Abruzzese peasants capable of colonial life and work. Armed colonization itself began in 1937 in the newly conquered lands of East Africa.

But all the armed forces have found in the regime their vigorous rebuilder and the exalter of their warrior spirit in which the whole national soul is shaped.

Especially extensive was the action of the restoration of the navy and the new air weapon. After 1918 the Italian navy had dispersed without adequate reconstruction according to the hard but precious experience of the world war. It was only after 1922 that the navy was renewed with an overall organic plan and developed by successive degrees.

Italy in the 1920's 07

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