The beginning of 1914 brings the start of World War I and a split in European Socialism. Traditional socialists believed in the primacy of class over country and followed the "Red" socialism, or Communist ideals, of Karl Marx. But, so-called "Yellow Socialists" believed that the traditional views had become stagnate and had not advanced the cause of the proletariat, or workers class. They felt the creation of a classless, nationless mob would reduce the living standards of everyone, including the workers they sought to help. While still believing in the cause of advancing the proletariat, they sought a new form of socialism that had the state heavily regulate both business and labor for the benefit of society as a whole. World War I brought this new approach to the forefront.
Traditional "red" socialism had become stagnate...
Socialists in Great Britain, France, Germany and Austria tended to follow the new "yellow" approach to socialism, feeling patriotic fervor and seeking their country's entry into the war. Italian socialists were divided, with prominent members such as Alceste De Ambris, Filippo Corridani and Angelo Oliviero Olivetti supporting Italy's entry into World War I, while the party itself took a more traditional view and opposed their country's involvement.
World War I would be a revolutionary war...
Mussolini, at first, supported his party's position, writing an article in 1914 entitled "Down With The War. We Remain Neutral!" But, his views changed with further study and review of the issue. He began to see opportunities for both himself and his fellow socialists. First, he saw the chance to liberate thousands of Italians from Austro-Hungarian rule, as well as to bring down the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern dynasties, whom he felt had oppressed socialism within their realms. He further accused the Central Powers of being imperialist and said their overthrow, as well as the repression of Ottoman Turkey, would create conditions favorable to the working class. He also predicted that the mobilization of troops needed for the war would lead to a social revolution in Tsarist Russia, ending that authoritarian monarchy. For Mussolini, World War I would be a revolutionary war that would unite all Italians and socially change Europe in favor of the lower working classes. His new views caused him to be expelled form the Italian Socialist Party, but his allegiance never faded. He would later claim that he never abandoned his Left Wing ideals stating, "Do not believe, even for a moment, that by stripping me of my membership card you do the same to my Socialist beliefs, nor that you would restrain me of continuing to work in favor of Socialism and the Revolution."
Samuel Griswold is a lifelong student of history and politics, whose studies have given him unique insights into the true nature of totalitarianism in all of its aspects... Fascism, Communism and Socialism. As an American Jew, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, he's lived by the pledges "Never Forget" and "Never Again." But, for him, these pledges mean to never let the policies that led to the Holocaust happen again. To prevent fascism from thriving, we must know how to see and define it. That is the purpose of FightingFascism.com, to draw attention and rally opposition to current fascist policies and governments.