The Italian fascio is best translated as “band” or “league,” a term shared by a variety of Italian activist groups in the early twentieth century. Benito Mussolini bound the “Fasci” indelibly to the modern understanding of “fascism” when he and about a hundred radical nationalists and syndicalists formed the “Fasci Italiani de Combattimento” in 1919 to “declare war against socialism” (Paxton 2004; Payne1995). Starting with an attack on the office of the Socialist party newspaper, the fascists grew in power as, backed by landowners, they attacked socialists across Italy, killing as many as 900 people between 1920 and 1922. After this violent campaign, Italy’s king invited Mussolini to lead the government, ultimately disbanding parliament and criminalizing opposition parties.

During the same era, the anti-Semitic German National Socialist (Nazi) party also attacked socialists and communists in the streets while forming political alliances with existing conservative nationalists, finally coming to …

This essay may be found on page 110 of the printed volume.

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