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date: 19 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article describes crime and fascist repression in Italy during the rule of Benito Mussolini. It explores the character of Mussolinian totalitarianism and the issue of an alleged continuity between the policing practices of the Liberal and fascist regimes. In terms of its repressive techniques, the dictatorship retooled instruments and organizations that the Liberal state had forged in its social crisis or under the urgent requirements of running the war after 1915. For almost all combatants, the weakness of opposition to the national war effort meant that policy in regard to domestic security could focus on espionage matters. Only in Italy did government have to deal with active and widespread popular hostility to the conflict, organized and run by ‘maximalist’ socialists, with their own deep social roots. To confront this threat, the Liberal state instituted the so-called Sacchi decree against any public show of ‘defeatism’.

Keywords: fascist repression, dictatorship, Benito Mussolini, Italy, Mussolinian totalitarianism, socialism, espionage

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