Fascist and Anti-Fascist Propaganda in America: The Dispatches of Italian Ambassador Gelasio Caetani

by Pellegrino Nazzaro


This book is based on first-hand, original and archival documents uncovered in Italian and American national archives. It presents to the national and international audience of scholars and readers a clear view of the causes of the dissemination of Fascism in the United States from 1922 to 1930.

While some sectors of America's public opinion saw in Fascism an ideological movement which required alignment and conformity to Mussolini's doctrine and discipline, most Italian-Americans welcomed Fascism as a movement that emphasized Italian patriotism and a newly found national identity to be used as an antidote to and a defense against American nativism, xenophobia and the paranoid stigma that victimized the entire Italian-American community.

The book underscores that none of the activities of the Italian-American fascist associations organized in the United States appeared to have been politically oriented in scope. Contrary to some interpretations, still in vogue, fascism in America never assumed conspiratorial tones. Fascist organizations in the United States were plagued by factionalism, internal struggles and heterogeneity. Moreover, the presence in the United States of a strong and well organized anti-fascist movement, The International Anti-Fascist League of North America, prevented Fascism from developing into a network of efficient propaganda throughout the United States.

Beset by internal factionalism, personal feuds, ambassadorial and consular conflicts and frequent clashes with anti-fascist movements, fascism in the United States never emerged as a political ideology capable of creating an alternative to American Democracy.

This study details how in December 1929, Mussolini disbanded the Fascist League of North America. Thereafter, the period 1930-1940 saw a constant decline of Mussolini's myth in the United States. The visit of G.E. Modigliani to the United States, the anti-fascist opposition of L. Antonini and S. Romualdi and the Ethiopian War, among others, gave the decisive blow to the faltering fortunes of fascist propaganda in the United States. Italy's aggression against Ethiopia spurred a strong anti-fascist reaction in the United States, especially among the African American community. Therefore, Mussolini's fascism was viewed as an evil to prevent at any cost.

Fascist and Anti-Fascist Propaganda in America will be a critical addition for collections in History and Political Science.


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