September 23, 2016
Allan Massie: ‘If some admired Hitler, far more admired Mussolini’
Allan Massie writes:
In 1933 Churchill called him “the greatest law-giver among living men” and declared that he “has shown to many nations how they can resist the pressures of Socialism and has indicated the path that a nation can follow when courageously led.” In 1932 the British Tory newspaper, the Morning Post, while expressing reservations about dictatorship, judged that “History will be able to write the name of Mussolini among those of the noblest Romans who ever existed.” So general was the admiration for Il Duce that he even got into musical comedy, Cole Porter writing “You’re the top! You’re the Great Houdini! You’re the top! You’re Mussolini!” As late as 1937 Churchill praised Mussolini’s “amazing qualities of courage, comprehension, self-control and perseverance.” Some saw through him, of course, but on the political right especially, admiration of Mussolini and his Fascist regime was common.