What Fascist Italy Reveals About Modern America

If you ask the average American to name ten things from World War II, Benito Mussolini won't often make the list. But "Il Duce" seized power long before Hitler, spent more than two decades reshaping Italy in his image, and coined that "Fascist" term we all yell these days. Isn't it strange that we never focus on Mussolini when we hearken back to WW2? Could he be a useful historical touchstone for understanding the present day? And did you know modern Italy is so steeped in Mussolini, its rising political stars CELEBRATE his brutal genocidal legacy?

On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by historian & scholar Ruth Ben-Ghiat and by comedian & podcaster Adam Tod Brown. They're taking a timely look at the most ignored fascist government of all time. They'll debunk common myths about Mussolini's train-centric reign. They'll reveal the shockingly brazen Mussolini acolytes in modern Italian politics, supported by Fascism's soccer subculture and normalized legacy. Also stick around for the shocking parallels between 2010s world leaders and Mussolini's 1920s quest to Make Italy Great Again.

Footnotes:

Ruth Ben-Ghiat on Twitter

Adam Tod Brown on Twitter

"Why Are So Many Fascist Monuments Still Standing in Italy?" by Ruth Ben-Ghiat (The New Yorker)

Trump isn't a madman. He's been following the authoritarian playbook since day one: Ruth Ben-Ghiat (NBC Think)

"5 Ways Donald Trump Perfectly Mirrors Hitler's Rise To Power" by Adam Tod Brown (Cracked)

Mussolini and On Time Trains (Snopes)

This Day In History: March 23, 1919: Mussolini founds the Fascist party (History)

section on Mussolini's "March On Rome" (starts p. 87) in The Anatomy Of Fascism by Robert O. Paxton (Google Books)

How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler (Smithsonian)

Italian Military Jokes (Know Your Meme)

Mussolini's Racial Policies In East Africa Revealed Italian Fascists' Ambitions To Redesign The Social Order (Slate)

Italian Bridges In The Ukraine (Hoover Institution)

Mussolini's great-grandson claims Facebook suspended his account (The Guardian)

Mussolini's great-grandson runs for a seat in the European Parliament (Washington Post)

This Wildly Popular Haircut Has a Serious Neo-Nazi Problem (Esquire)

Unpopular Opinion: Soccer Isn't a Sport, It's a Human Rights Crisis (Medium)

Soccer Isn't A Sport, It's A Human Rights Crisis (Unpopular Opinion podcast)

Fascism and Football: Death and Hatred in the Soccer Stadium (The Daily Beast)

Italian Soccer's Latest Response To Racist Fan Behavior Is Embarrassing (Deadspin)

FIFA Shutters Anti-Racism Task Force, Because There's No More Racism In Soccer (Deadspin)

Utah Jazz permanently bans fan after Russell Westbrook incident (CBS News)

MIGA: Italy's Trump, Matteo Salvini, Wants To Take Over Europe (The Daily Beast)

Italy's Salvini channels Mussolini in tweet on late dictator's birthday (CNN)

Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Once Talked About "Cleansing" The Roma And Migrants (BuzzFeed News)

Far-right Italy minister vows 'action' to expel thousands of Roma (The Guardian)

Matteo Salvini brushes off viral break-up with celebrity girlfriend (BBC News)

Footage of Italian boy who stood up to fascists goes viral (The Guardian)

German, Italian, Austrian ministers seek 'axis' on migrant policy (Reuters)

Rep. King met with far-right Austrians on trip funded by Holocaust memorial group (Washington Post)

Trump explains why he has no need for a dog at the White House (CNBC)

Court Backlog May Prove Bigger Barrier for Migrants Than Any Wall (New York Times)

Michael Cohen Worries There Won't Be 'Peaceful Transition Of Power' If Trump Loses In 2020 (Huffington Post)

Ivanka Trump wants to be president one day (Harper's Bazaar)