ISJ Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

International Socialism, Autumn 1963


A. Gigante

No Insight


From International Socialism, No.14, Autumn 1963, p.36.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


A History of Italian Fascism
Federico Chabod
Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 25s.

The Italian edition of these lectures given at the Sorbonne bore the less striking title of Thirty Years of Italian History. It is certainly more apt.

For this book is no more than a recapitulation of events between the First and Second World Wars; and the most revolutionary of these, in the author’s opinion, was the overthrow of the Monarchy and the foundation of the democratic Republic. The Russian Revolution, on the other hand, seems to have not exerted any influence on the Italian people. The author is good enough to say: ‘It is typical of the times in which we live that (i) international problems often, play a decisive role in domestic politics (p.137) but the hopes thus raised are dashed with: ‘... historically this theory cannot be accepted but politically it is highly significant’. (p.148)

The Italian experience is done over in a typically middle class manner: Fascism came because of the ‘resentments of officers and men who heard insults hurled at them in the streets’. (p.21)

At one point, speaking of the revolutionary events of 1920-21, he writes, ‘the result was continuous strikes and disorders ... that is not the way to make a real revolution ... (p.39) ... strike followed strike in rapid succession ... (p.40) ... the workers occupied the factories’ (p 41). We read on, breathless, hoping to find out the way to make a ‘real revolution’, but it was denied us. Finally, do you know why Italy entered the war? Because ‘Mussolini lost all sense of proportion’. (p.79)

The publication of this book was an event of no particular significance in Italy. It may have a value as a chronicle of events, but as an analysis of why and how Fascism came to Italy, it’s useless. So far Tasca’s Birth and Rise of Fascism is still unchallenged as the standard work.

Top of page

ISJ Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 24 March 2010