Benito Mussolini outlines several essential characteristics of his preferred political ideology, Fascism, in what has become known as the Doctrine of Fascism. In this paper, Mussolini outlines his vision of the ideology, and explains the major issues that Fascism will address once it becomes the leading political system in Italy. Mussolini’s major points as outlined in the Doctrine included an extreme emphasis on nationalism, organization and modernization of the state, persistent focus on religion, life as a struggle, and the notion that individuals exist only for the improvement of society as a whole. Wolfgang Schieder, after reviewing the Doctrine of Fascism, explains Mussolini’s success based on it and clarifies what exactly Adolf Hitler adopted from the Italian Fascist ideology to incorporated into his own Third Reich.
One of the fundamental tenants in Mussolini Doctrine of Fascism is the strong sense of nationalism, which we wants the Italian people to embrace. As a result, he calls for a unification of all Italians over his Fascist regime. Mussolini truly thought that the Italian nation was preordained for greatness, and that the only way to fulfil this destiny was through extreme social cooperation under Fascism. To that end, Mussolini advocated a mass modernization of the Italian state, centralization of government and creation of a state in “spirit, not territory.” Mussolini wanted Italy to leave its mark on history through the fascist system, so his Doctrine emphasised cultural contributions such as art and philosophy. Mussolini believed that a nation’s power was derived from its people, who had to be “numerous, hard working, and well regulated” in order to succeed.
A further crucial element of Mussolini’s Doctrine was that he constantly stresses the role of the state and government in a Fascist state. As opposed to other political systems such as socialism, the state in a fascist society does not act as a mere “watchdog” or “night watchman,” simply protecting its citizens and facilitating material gains. Rather, the state according to Mussolini is the spiritual, moral and political apex of each human being. Its duties are to give a “concrete form to the political, juridical and economical organisation of the country” though a series of practical actions. Mussolini sees the state as an actual physical manifestation of all positive aspects of the human spirit, and furthermore acting as an “immanent conscience of the nation.” Moreover, The Doctrine of Fascism goes on to explain that through the state, human beings are transformed from primitive tribal beings to glorious emperors, gaining level of power that would be impossible to achieve as an individual or small group. Finally, Mussolini establishes that the only way for one to immortalize themselves, and be remembered within a nation was through beneficial contributions to the state.
One particular notion within the Doctrine that seems peculiar at first glance is the importance that Mussolini places on religion, specifically the Catholic Church. For such a modern and practical-based system, it seems rather surprising that Mussolini not only tolerates religion, but respects and facilitates its progression. Mussolini’s official reasoning for this is that similar to the state, religion is effectively a “manifestation of the spirit,” and so the Catholic Church and Mussolini’s fascism share this commonality. In actuality, the real reason Mussolini was so tolerant of the church likely goes far beyond that. Wolfgang Schieder, whose ideas will be developed further on, explains that Mussolini required the Church’s support in order to gain the unwavering support of the Italian people. Mussolini was considered the first national socialist to repair the damaged link between the state and church, and was rewarded for it with full support of the Pope and Catholic Church.
Mussolini was a man obsessed with the notion of...