Politics a l’Italienne

A September 1922 New York Times Magazine article quoted a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies calling the body “the voice of a democracy.” Future dictator Benito Mussolini would become Prime Minister the next month.

In fact, Mussolini would actually abolish the Chamber of Deputies entirely from 1939 to 1943, when he was deposed. The legislative body returned in 1946.

Even in September 1922, though, journalist Anne O’Hare McCormick sensed that Mussolini had potential to affect the entire nation:

The destiny of the country probably depends upon which of its two strongest and most picturesque statesmen shall finally prevail: Don Luigi Sturzo, the Savonarola from the South who dreams of a White International that shall pacify the world, or Benito Mussolini, the ex-Socialist from the North, who kindled and keeps burning the beacon fires of Fascismo. The one group has its weapon in the Church, the other in the ex-soldier.

Whatever happened to that other guy, Sturzo?

After Mussolini took power, Sturzo was exiled from Italy for many years: first to the United Kingdom from 1924-40, then the United States from 1940-46. After World War II ended, he returned to Italy in 1946, actually became a senator starting in 1952, and remained in the country until his death in 1959.

Politics a l’Italienne

Published: Sunday, September 10, 1922

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