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date: 23 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Squadrism characterized fascism in a decisive manner, furnishing it with a special impulse in its struggle against its political adversaries from its first beginnings until its taking of power. The roots of the squadrists were nourished by the war experience, especially so-called arditismo, the spirit that had driven young men who had fought as volunteers in assault units. The initial brigade or manipolo of squadrists was founded in Milan in the winter of 1918–19 by ex-arditi officer Ferruccio Vecchi, attracting men who were finding it difficult to resume civilian life. Bound to the charismatic figure of Benito Mussolini, the brigade acted as a bodyguard for the managing editor of the paper Il popolo d'Italia, with special fervour in defending the value of the war and in deprecating socialist pacifism. Among the movement's most significant figures was Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who led attacks against what he called ‘pro-Bolshevik’ rallies.

Keywords: squadrism, fascism, arditismo, Milan, Ferruccio Vecchi, socialist pacifism, Benito Mussolini, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

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