The Bolshevik Revolution and the Rise of Italian Fascism

by A. James Gregor,

This article reviews the relationship between the Bolshevik revolution and that of Fascism. The central claim is that initially both revolutions were animated by Marxist inspiration. Both V. I. Lenin and Benito Mussolini were learned and committed Marxists. Both revolutions were a response to conditions that arose out of the Great War that between 1914 and 1918 involved all the major nations of Europe. Lenin insisted that Marxism demanded strict neutrality — and opposed Russia’s involvement in the war. Mussolini, in turn, became an advocate of intervention in the struggle against Germany. The Bolshevik revolution resulted with the collapse of Russian resistance to the German invasion. Lenin led the surrender. Mussolini opposed Bolshevism primarily because it had advocated surrender while Allied forces were still critically engaged with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Mussolini recognized Bolshevism to have been the product of military defeat and the disintegration of Russia’s defense and domestic security forces. He was convinced that Bolshevism could not have otherwise acceded to the control of Russia. Nonetheless, he was aware that Italians feared the possible advent of a form of Bolshevism and proceeded to mobilize citizenry around opposition to such an eventuality. Lenin’s efforts to incite a radicalization of socialism in Italy by inserting his agents into the environment precipitated a predictable response — and Fascism, having scant successes in the immediate period following its founding, suddenly began exponential growth. Without the threat of Bolshevism, there probably would not have been a successful Fascist movement in Italy, and the history of Europe might well have been different.

published in Vol 16 - No 2 - 2016 // General issue
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Advisory Board

  • Larry Diamond Stanford University
  • Tom Gallagher University of Bradford
  • Alena Ledeneva University College London
  • Michael McFaul Stanford University
  • Philippe Schmitter Stanford University
  • Helen Wallace London School of Economics and Political Science

Published by:

Societatea Academica Romana