Fascist Propaganda

About the Images

The following citations are for the images shown above, left to right, illustrating books and other works included in the exhibit “Italian Life Under Fascism” in the Department of Special Collections in 1998.

  1. Il Travaso delle Idee. Rome, 3 February 1924 and 22 August 1943.
    • A comical, satirical propaganda magazine — “the official organ of intelligent people” — founded in Rome in 1899. The issue for 1943 is replete with viciously racist and anti-American propaganda; in an earlier era, when Fascism was not yet fully totalitarian, Il Travaso was able to poke gentle fun at Mussolini and his party.
  2. A.C. Puchetti. Il Fascismo Scientifico. Piccola Biblioteca di Scienze Moderne. Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1926.
    • An early attempt to treat the various aspects of Fascism — legal, economic, moral, sociological — on a serious scholarly plane. The book is signed by the author, a Paduan lawyer and member of the local aeronautical club.
  3. Confederazione Nazionale Fascista degli Agricoltori. Agenda Agricola 1934-XII. Rome: RamoEditoriale degli Agricoltori, 1934.
    • An annual agenda produced by the Fascist party for farmers and merchants and providing a broad array of information on agricultural products and machinery and advice on successful farming in general. Mixed in with the practical illustrations and instruction is much Fascist propaganda with apposite quotations from Mussolini.
  4. Prigioniera nel Mare. Rome: Istituto Romano di Arti, 1940.
    • Propaganda pamphlet making the case that Italy is a prisoner in the Mediterranean because it lacks control over Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, and the Dardanelles.
  5. 1918 = 1943?; Burro o Cannoni?; Parla il Duce; Seduta Atlantica; Come Combattono gli Italiani; Ritirate Strategiche; Vogliamo e Dobbiamo Tacere.
    • A colorful assortment of Fascist propaganda pamphlets from the early 1940s, seemingly oblivious to the reverses of Italy’s forces abroad, intense aerial bombardment of its cities, and Mussolini’s imminent fall from power. The materials gathered here attack the Atlantic Alliance, extol the leadership of the Duce, and praise the fighting qualities of the Italian soldier. The small pamphlet 1918 = 1943? draws unrealistic distinctions between the disastrous German situation at the end of World War I and the supposedly flourishing one in 1943. Burro o Cannoni? argues that the masses, and especially youth, prefer cannons to butter because fierce competition for the world’s resources makes any other choice impossible.

Additional Exhibit Items

The following items were part of the original exhibit in the Department of Special Collections but are not pictured above.

  • R. Prefettura di Padova. Manifesto. 1922.
    • Issued before the Fascists’ March on Rome, a government manifesto appeals to all Italians to remain calm and to refrain from violence, strikes, and acts against society during this difficult period.
  • P.N.F. Il Gran Consiglio nei Primi Cinque Anni dell’Era Fascista. Rome: Libreria del Littorio, [1927].
    • History of the first five years of the Fascist Grand Council. Long subservient to the Duce, in a final, ironic gesture the Council removed him from power on 25 July 1943.
  • P.N.F. Foglio D’Ordini. Rome, 23 March 1928.
    • No. 46 in a series of ordinances and directives in the life of the Fascist Party. The present manifesto, issued on the ninth anniversary of the party’s founding, declares that its veteran members — 80,000 strong — await new recruits to their ranks.
  • P.N.F. Iscrizzione.
    • Two membership cards for the Fascist party for 1932 and 1940 (years X and XVIII of the Fascist Era). The numbered cards list profession and date of inscription in the party, in these cases 1921 and 1922. Also exhibited is an identification card issued to a public school worker of Parma and attesting to his membership in the Dopolavoro, a Fascist recreational “after work” organization.
  • II Popolo d’Italia. 28 October 1932.
    • Special issue of a daily founded by Mussolini, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome and pointing to achievements of the decade in industry, architecture, aeronautics, and other fields.
  • Ministero dell’Interno. Elezioni Politiche. 1934.
    • An official manifesto placed in all voting places for the election of Fascist government officials, with the list of names headed (in large type) by Mussolini. Two ballots are included, one for “yes” (in green and red) and one for “no” (in black and white). From the color of the ballot, presiding functionaries could determine, in a blatant act of intimidation, how citizens voted. These two voting forms are blank.
  • S. Gaddini. Per L’Autarchia Alimentare del Nostro Paese. Rome and Milan: Grafica I.G.A.P., 1939.
    • A propaganda publication for disseminating information on the improvement of agricultural production, as decreed by Mussolini at the seventeenth Concorso Nazionale per la Vittoria del Grano. In this case, more intense use of calcium cyanamide fertilizer promises the “victory” of a great wheat harvest, and even such an agricultural pamphlet bears the symbols and slogans of the regime.
  • Fascismo Contro Bolscevismo. Rome: Centro di Studi e di Azione per l’Ordine Nuovo, 1942.
    • Illustrated album of Fascist propaganda chronicling the battle against Communists in Italy from before the March on Rome through the disastrous invasion of Russia by Axis powers.
  • Franco Nasi. La Marcia Su Roma. Special commemorative insert in the Domenica del Corriere. Milan, n.d.
    • The March on Rome (29 October 1922) that brought Mussolini to power is the subject of this photographic album, one in a series devoted to “decisive days of our century.” On the cover, Mussolini is flanked by his “Quadrumvirs.”