REVIEW of REVIEWS

Does Duce Want Fight?

Mussolini’s Speeches Foreshadow Military Activities— Complete Reorganization.

FREDERICK PALMER September 1 1926
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Does Duce Want Fight?

Mussolini’s Speeches Foreshadow Military Activities— Complete Reorganization.

FREDERICK PALMER September 1 1926

Does Duce Want Fight?

Mussolini’s Speeches Foreshadow Military Activities— Complete Reorganization.

FREDERICK PALMER.

INTO a Rome tortured and harried by every form of political instability and economic threat, marched an army of men attired in black shirts and hailing the Eternal City with the ancient salute of the Praetorian Guards. At their head marched the modern Napoleon—Mussolini.

With his arrival came a re-awakened and inspired Italy. Strikes and minor revolutions vanished as the smoke before the wind; political rivals were literally kicked out of office and to those whom he could not vanquish in rhetorical combat he administered the sardonic punishment of castor oil.

That Mussolini has once more restored Italy to the rank of a major power there can be no shadow of doubt. Now, with industries running at the apex of production, with an entire nation converted to the doctrine of fierce, unceasing labor, will he, in a search for industrial expansion, endeavor to force his Kultur on other nations? Frederick Palmer, writing in World’s Work gives us his reason for thinking _that the doughty Duce will. He says:—

Industrial expansion is not only the salvation of overcrowded Italy, not only more food for more mouths, but it also means more war power when munitions are so essential to military success. Already, it is reported, Mussolini’s plan of preparedness assures sufficient arsenals and munition factories and reserves of raw material to make her independent of imported munitions in case of war.

He is reorganizing the army on expert modern lines. Promotion awaits the energetic ánd able. The elderly and inefficient who now have no political influence to which they appeal to keep their place, have been weeded out. It is to be an army strictly for the business of war.

The famous Bersaglieri cease to be light infantry and become cyclists and machine gunners. Light artillery is being increased and heavy artillery decreased; for the new army is to be a mobile army, ready for prompt movement overseas. The staff, brains of the army, which was emasculated after the World War, is being re-established with ample and chosen progressive personnel. Tanks and armored cars are to be a separate branch. There is to be a mobilization inspection office for every division, and active manoeuvers.

No retired Majors or Colonels are to be recalled to service in war when they are out of touch with modern methods. Picked young men from the higher schools will have to undergo training to become reserve officers, ready for instant call. There will be ten military schools, including military colleges. The pay of officers is to be increased. Former socialist, Mussolini wants officers of a higher social plane, an officers’ caste. Officers who have not sufficient independent income may not marry unless their wives have dowries. All this, and much else, follows the plan of the Prussian military machine.

The Navy is having the same overhauling. Powerful submarines are being built; target practice and manoeuvers are thorough, and failure penalized. Mussolini would be ready in ships to cover the overseas movement of his army, and ready in the air, too. The air program of the Italian Army calls for a force second only to that of France by 1931. To-day it is third in Europe.

When Mussolini speaks of himself in the third person, as Caesar wrote, the Italian people like it, although the rest of the world grins. It is the Italian people to whom he appeals. He is not asking for votes in Vermont or Texas, but acclaim from the Alps to the Sicilian shore. Read his speeches from time to time and his words are revealed as winged for the occasion and emotionally constructive as his labors are materially constructive when he turns away from the balcony to his desk.

“I declare to you that when these cannon thunder, it is really the voice of the fatherland that speaks. It is then that we should humbly bare our heads.

“We need land, for we are too numerous for our present territories.”

Again, he spoke of his visit to Tripoli as “a manifestation of a nation that derives its blood from Rome and that shall carry Rome’s triumphant and immortal fasces to every shore of the Afric sea. It is the hand of destiny that guides us back to our ancient possessions. No man can defy destiny, and above all, no man can resist our unshakable will.” And at Milan last October he said:

“I have a rendezvous. When the time comes I shall tell you the place and you will come. I know you will be there with me.”

Against this we may set his declaration that his imperialism has in view only the peaceful development of Italy. We may grant his sincerity in this respect as we granted that of Napoleon and Bismarck. Napoleon, placing the crown on his head, would stabilize Europe in a new hegemony centering around his throne. He had his legions and victory behind his good intentions. But he had to use his legions again. Mussolini has his legions and has given the promise of victory. Can he escape using his legions for fulfilment?