Mussolini’s nationalism as for Rome and in he used Rome as an example when trying to create a strong Italian nation. Jonathan Wheelwright states that nationalism can best be shown World War Two (WWII). It is clearly exhibited by Churchill, King, and Roosevelt, who use nationalism to unite a nation against its enemy. They felt it was important for this nation to unit in order to preserve the “Democratic civilization” their nation was founded on (2005, p. 1). Though, there is a very different picture Wheelwright paints when he talks about Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini, and this is: a nationalism that “fuels an expansionist and voracity the likes of which the world had never seen before” (2005, p. 1). It is this type of nationalism that caused Mussolini to bring a destructive force to other nations, but in hopes of making Italy an Empire.
Mussolini believed that Rome was an important and unforgettable component for the Italian Empire he wished to create, an Empire that would be united by that people it was founded and no outside influences. Jan Nelis states that classic antiquity, which is the influence of classic era figures on modern Italy, was an important belief of Mussolini, and one that he felt was vital to the expansion of Italy. From classic antiquity came the development of “Romanità or “Romanness” of the Italian people. As Italian Fascism grew, so did this connection to Romanità, which even became a cult like belief of Mussolini (2007, pp. 391-393). Mussolini seemed to be acting off the belief that from Rome’s successes and failures, Italy could learn to be a great Empire. Mussolini himself strived to be like Julius Caesar (Nelis, 2007, p. 395).
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Even Mussolini’s racist views seemed to stem from his connection to Rome. He believed that the “history of Rome would teach Italy how to become a great nation,” (Nelis, 2007, p. 397) and that Rome’s decline of power was because of its “[…] corruption of Dominant races in too much too frequent contact with inferior people” (Nelis, 2007, p. 398). Because of this view, he began to ban Jews from “public life” in order to preserve the pure Italian community (Nelis, 2007, p. 401).
Because of his love for ancient Rome, Mussolini believed that Christianity was a disease which turned out to be fatal for the acient Roman gods,” and these beliefs lead even more cult activities, in which he brought the worshipping of Roman gods back again (Nelis, 2007, p. 398). His nationalism lied with Rome. He felt that, with the changes he was making, Italy would become Rome and vice versa. This would make Rome and Italy equal and from this metamorphosis he created the motto “Roma omorte,” which means “Rome of Death” (Nelis, 2007, p. 399).
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Mussolini used the Punic Wars as an example of “national regeneration” and stated that he believe Italy should follow Rome’s example (Nelis, 2007, p. 399). The creation of a Roman Italy would benefit the Italian people because it would create a wise and strong imperial nation, whose discipline would allow them to rise above all others (Nelis, 2007, p. 403). Mussolini saw any type of war as a very valuable asset to the creation of the “New Italian people,” which he believed would be an elite group that rose above all others (Nelis, 2007, p. 409).
Mussolini tried to build a connection between himself and Caesar. He believed the death of Caesar to be a “disgrace for humanity,” and identified Caesar as the founder of Rome, instead of Caesar’s great nephew Augustus (Nelis, 2007, p. 406). In fact, the only importance Augustus had to Mussolini was in establishing a connection between Mussolini and Caesar (Nelis, 2007, p. 405). Mussolini even stated similarities between himself an Augustus, stating that they were both founders of an Empire, peace-bringers, and builders (Nelis, 2007, p. 405). Mussolini depicts himself as the all-knowing leader of Italy and believed that through “classical antiquity” he would watch a strong Italian nation flourish, conquer, and expand (Nelis, 2007, p. 415).
WWII would crush the hopes of Mussolini because as Hitler’s power grew, Mussolini began to have less and less control of Italy. WWII brought disaster to Mussolini, and, as this youtube video shows, Hitler’s plans for Germany did not benefit Mussolini’s “New Italy.” The creation of the Roman Italy ceased with the death of Mussolini.
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