R. J. B. Bosworth

May 25, 2021

Mussolini and the Eclipse of Italian Fascism

From Dictatorship to Populism

Yale University Press 2021

A new and incisive account of how Mussolini pioneered policies which we would not label ‘populism’ in reaction to Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 —and thereby reinforced his role as a model for later authoritarian leaders

On the tenth anniversary of his rise to power in 1932, Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) seemed to many the “good dictator.” He was the first totalitarian and the first fascist in modern Europe. But a year later Hitler’s entrance onto the political stage signaled a German takeover of the fascist ideology. 

In this definitive account, eminent historian, Professor of History R.J.B. Bosworth charts Mussolini’s leadership in reaction to Hitler. Professor Bosworth shows how Italy’s decline in ideological pre-eminence, as well as in military and diplomatic power, led Mussolini to pursue a more populist approach: angry and bellicose words at home, violent aggression abroad, and a more extreme emphasis on charisma. In his embittered efforts to bolster an increasingly hollow and ruthless regime, it was Mussolini, rather than Hitler, who offered the model for all subsequent authoritarians. In short, Mussolini and the Eclipse of Italian Fascism: From Dictatorship to Populism (Yale University Press), is a must read for any scholar or lay educated reader interested in Mussolini and his regime.

R.J.B. Bosworth is Emeritus Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. He is a leading authority on Mussolini & 20th century Italian history and is the author of more than two dozen books on fascism and Italy’s twentieth-century experience. He lives in Oxford, UK.

Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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Charles Coutinho

Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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