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100 Years ago....

Fascists march on Rome

Oct 30, 1922

Benito Mussolini, the Duce of the Fascists, is today the dictator of Italy, a position won for him by 24,000 of his black-shirted men who marched on Rome from Naples. Their leader was not with them. He was waiting in Milan, prepared to flee to Switzerland if the march should fail.

There was little opposition, however; the blackshirts were met with cheering crowds and King Victor Emmanuel summoned Mussolini to Rome, sending a special train for him. Government troops blew up the tracks and he had to finish the journey in an open car.

He swaggered in the Quirinal Palace spattered with mud but triumphant. The King gave in to him because he was convinced that any opposition would mean an all-out civil war and the fall of the Royal House. They appeared together three times on the palace balcony, to the cheers of the throng. The crowd's enthusiasm seemed to indicate that the Italians are delighted at the prospect of being ruled by a strong leader.

Article from "Chronicle of the 20th Century" ISBN 1 872031 80 3

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