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lundi, 02 janvier 2012

Fascism in Albania

Fascism in Albania





Ex: http://xtremerightcorporate.blogspot.com/

It is often stated as a fact that the Italian invasion of Albania was an unprovoked act of aggression by Mussolini who was simply trying to make some territorial acquisition of his own in order to keep pace with the expansion of his ally Nazi Germany. Although it may be often repeated, this is simply not true. Italy had very long-standing interests in Albania but the actual invasion was not something Mussolini had planned out ahead of time. In fact, it came at a very inopportune moment, the very same month that the Spanish Civil War ended, which had been a very hard-fought victory for the Italian forces. It was that same month, when the Italian economy had already been pushed to the limit by wars in Ethiopia and Spain that the Albanian government announced a moratorium on their debts to Italy. Mussolini informed the trumped-up King, Zog, that these debts would have to be repaid as agreed. Previously, Italy had been very friendly with Albania. They had expelled Greek troops from the country in World War I, preserving its independence, had signed a number of friendship and defensive treaties with them and, obviously, had loaned them considerable amounts of money.

Not surprisingly, another issue was Albania giving Italy access to her oil wells at Devoli. This was something that concerned Mussolini greatly as the League of Nations sanctions in Italy during the Ethiopian war had proven to him how much Italy depended on imported oil. The country had virtually no mineral resources of its own, but oil was the most vital necessity and Mussolini did not want Italy to be in a position where foreign powers could starve Italy of such a commodity in the future. There was also the fact that the world community, after the First World War, had pretty much recognized Albania as an Italian protectorate and the Italians had a long history in the region. The ancient Romans had settled on the shores of Albania even before they controlled the whole of the Italian Peninsula and the Republic of Venice had had extensive holdings in Albania. Moreover, the self-promoted King of the Albanians had used the money Italy poured into the country in return for access to oil in order to enrich himself, his family and his own circle of supporters while the rest of the population lived in mild to dire poverty.


King Zog, as he called himself (inventing an illustrious ancestry going back to Albanian historical heroes after promoting himself from politician to monarch) was far from an admirable figure or a pitiable victim of Fascist aggression. He had clawed his way to the top and, as his biographer Jason Hunter Tomes wrote, “unable and frankly unwilling to have much faith in any group of his people, Zog strove to keep all classes in unstable equilibrium. Through hours of hideously convoluted talk, he obsessively manipulated his assorted underlings (nearly all older than himself) in an effort to exercise personal control from seclusion”. He was a small-time, puffed up potentate who would be most remembered for making it into the Guinness Book of World records for being the heaviest smoker in the world, sucking down 225 cigarettes a day. His tyrannical rule kept liberal-minded Albanians upset while his abolition of Islamic law and marriage to a Catholic Hungarian-American outraged conservatives in the Muslim nation. His love for poker also did not endear him to the majority of his people (gambling being forbidden in the Muslim religion) and he was involved in numerous feuds and vendettas with rival clans so that he was guarded constantly and lived as a recluse, fearing to go out in public.

Much has been made of the assassination attempts on King Zog as a way of justifying his cowardly, reclusive behavior, but it doesn’t hold water. Mussolini was the subject of more than one assassination attempt and yet it never phased him in the least and he was always going out in public, constantly among his people, his soldiers, in Italy and across the empire. Zog was a cowardly, corrupt back-stabber with delusions of grandeur and that is all there is to it. Even with all of that though, Mussolini might have looked the other way. The breaking point was Albania reneging on her debts and then the information that came to light showing that Zog was conspiring with the Greeks to get him out of the financial pinch his own greed had put him in. The last thing Italy wanted was Greece getting a foothold in Albania again and throwing into jeopardy Italian access to Albanian oil wells and metal mines. When all of this came together, Mussolini had little choice but to act and order Italian armed forces to occupy Albania.


The Albanian police and soldiers scattered pretty quickly after the Italian troops landed and King Zog issued, what the international media would later make famous, appeal to his people to rise up and resist the invaders. The problem was that the vast majority of Albanians were too poor to even own a radio so almost no one in his own country even heard him, though the media made sure plenty of people in France and Britain and the United States did, using it as an example of Fascist aggression against a weak, innocent, saintly little country. We assume those hard working Americans had no idea that the King they heard on the radio had never even seen an Italian soldier before he was racing toward the border in a fleet of limousines loaded down with gold bars, fancy furniture, designer suites and evening gowns, lavish jewelry and, of course, crates full of cigarettes. And the fact of the matter is that the occupation of Albania was not really much of an invasion or conquest. Only a handful of Italians were killed and most of the Albanian population came out to cheer their “conquerors” who had delivered them from the backward tribalism Zog had subjected them to. The Albanian people were not stupid and they could see as well as anyone that they were living in an impoverished backwater while Fascism had brought order, stability, jobs and economic efficiency to Italy.

Although no one would want to admit it today, about the only time Albania achieved any level of progress was during the years after Albania was annexed to the Italian Empire on April 16. It was only during those years that Albanian territory expanded to include almost all ethnic Albanians in the region, taking in the contested region of Kosovo, border areas of what is now Montenegro and others. Italian companies invested in Albania and there was a brief economic upsurge before the war brought everything to a standstill. What is more, not even all the Allies who would later feign outrage over the occupation of Albania objected at the time. Even so staunch an enemy of the Fascist government as the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden sent Mussolini a personal telegram immediately afterwards thanking him for his swift and correct action and assuring him of British support for the move which most felt surely headed off a much greater Balkan crisis if the corrupt King Zog had been allowed to continue on his way. The only major Allied power that was really upset by it was the French because they were afraid that the annexation of Albania had secured the eastern frontier of Italy leaving them free to focus on the west. They were, perhaps, nervous that Mussolini would next look to reclaim ethnically Italian areas under French control like Savoy, Nice and Corsica.


Also untrue is the claim by some that Albania during the Fascist period was totally controlled by Italians. The two viceroys during the period were Italians but the prime ministers of the Albanian government were all Albanians. The first had even been prime minister for Zog (even though the two hated each other which was typical). The next one had fought on the Turkish side against Italy in the Italo-Turkish War of 1912, yet after Albania was annexed he was given a seat in the Roman Senate. Likewise the last two were both born and raised ethnic Albanians, so these were not simply Italian puppets by any means. It was the Albanian government, everyone forgets, that voted to depose King Zog (who had fled the country anyway and was still running) and then voted for the union with Italy. The problem was the war, which had to occupy the full attention of Rome rather than domestic concerns in Albania or Italy. Unlike even Ethiopia, there was not time for much development or progress because the war was the primary focus. So many Albanians continued their feuding ways. Some cooperated, some resisted because they were communists and on the Allied side and some nationalists resisted as well, stupidly so, because it was only with Italian support that their goal of a “Greater Albania” pretty much came true. Of course they also fought each other most of the time also.

So what was the result? Without the Fascists overseeing things it all went to hell PDQ. After the Italian armistice in 1943 the Germans came in for a while, with the same result, some Albanians cooperating and others resisting and others fighting everybody. In the end, with the Allied victory came, of course, the Communist victory (which was World War II in a nutshell; making the world safe for communism) and Enver Hoxha became the new communist dictator of Albania. He had been a communist partisan, leader of an Anti-Fascism committee and all the usual stuff, an avowed Leninist puppet for the international Bolsheviks in Moscow pretty much. Some of his deluded followers even continued on and helped Tito take power in Yugoslavia, so they were helping the very people who were going to strip away all the territory they had gained thanks to the Italians (which of course they wanted to keep). Hoxha was a fawning sycophant for Joseph Stalin and when he finally figured out he had made Albania a puppet of Yugoslavia he reversed course and decided to be a puppet of Soviet Russia. This went so far that when Stalin died, Hoxha actually made all the Albanians get down on their knees and give thanks to the memory of their great Soviet “liberator”.

Hoxha was such a mindless, Stalinist ass hat that relations with the USSR soured when Khrushchev took over and tried to restore at least a little bit of sanity to things. Hoxha denounced Khrushchev as a sell-out but went on praising Stalin as practically a god. He finally drew closer to Mao and the Red Chinese who he thought had more Marxist purity than the Soviets. When China got tired of his insanity he had no choice but to turn back to Russia and even Yugoslavia again -so went the Albanian Communist search for a sugar-daddy. It wasn’t happening. China denounced Albania and so, in his time in power, not only had Hoxha brought oppression, poverty and death to his people, lost them most of their territory and regional standing, but in the whole communist world he had managed to piss off the Yugoslavs, the Soviets and the Maoists, leaving Albania absolutely alone. What an achievement. Under Hoxha and his communist idiots Albania had achieved only one thing; having the absolute lowest standard of living of any country in all of Europe. There was one more leader after him of the communist era who then became the first President of the post-communist era (typical of the Reds, just change your coat and carry on) and there still hasn’t been much improvement since.

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mercredi, 09 juin 2010

Giovanni Gentile: Fascism's Ideological Mastermind

Mussolini’s ‘Significant Other’

Giovanni Gentile: Fascism’s Ideological Mastermind


Ex: http://magnagrece.blogspot.com/

Professore Giovanni Gentile: the “Philosopher of Fascism.”

“Philosophy triumphs easily over past, and over future evils, but present evils triumph over philosophy.” – François de La Rochefoucauld: Maxims, 1665

In writing the history of a country or of an ethnos, all too often even the most well-meaning people are tempted out of patriotism to embellish the truth by either building up the good or omitting certain ‘unsavory’ facts about the past. On an emotional level this is understandable. After all, in a certain sense an ethnic group is a vastly extended family. The country, on the other hand, can be considered a sizable prolongation of the borders of one’s home. Who but the crassest enjoys speaking ill of home and family?

Nevertheless, if one wishes to strive for accuracy and objectivity in their writings, one must inevitably confront the specter of those who, during the course of their lives, engaged in actions that today go against the grain of established social mores. Otherwise, one risks being exposed to the charge of chauvinism (or worse).

It has been the stated purpose of this writer to show the reader how his people, the DueSiciliani, have carved out a place for themselves in this world in spite of the loss of their homeland, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, to the forces of the Piedmontese and their allies in 1861. Thus far, I and other like-minded folk posting on this blog have written of the commendable members of our people who have significantly added to Western Civilization through their contributions to the arts, sciences, philosophy (and even sports).

Men like Ettore Majorana, Salvator Rosa, Vincenzo Bellini and “the Nolan”, Giordano Bruno have unquestionably made this world better by being in it.

Similarly, we have written of those whose legacies provoke more ambivalent feelings. Men like Paolo di Avitabile and Michele Pezza, the legendary “Fra Diavolo”, led lives that to this day are considered controversial.

It now falls to this writer the hapless task of telling the tale of one of our own who went down “the road less traveled” to a decidedly darker place in the chapters of history – among the creators of 20th century totalitarian movements. As the reader will soon see, this journey cost him friends, a loftier place in the history books, and eventually his life!

Giovanni Gentile was born in the town of Castelvetrano, Sicily on May 30th, 1875 to Theresa (née Curti) and Giovanni Gentile. Growing up, his grades were so good he earned a scholarship to the University of Pisa in 1893. Originally interested in literature, his soon turned to philosophy, thanks to the influence of Donato Jaja. Jaja in turn had been a student of the Abruzzi neo-Hegelian idealist Bertrando Spaventa (1817-1883). Jaja would “channel” the teachings of Spaventa to Gentile, upon whom they would find a fertile breeding ground.

During his studies he found himself inspired by notable pro-Risorgimento Italian intellectuals such as Giuseppe Mazzini, Antonio Rosmini-Serbati and Vincenzo Gioberti. However, he also found himself drawn to the works of German idealist and materialist philosophers like Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and especially Georg Hegel. He graduated from the University of Pisa with a degree in philosophy in 1897.

He completed his advanced studies at the University of Florence, eventually beginning his teaching career in the lyceum at Campobasso and Naples (1898-1906).

Benedetto Croce

Beginning in 1903, Gentile began an intellectual friendship with another noted philosopher from il sud: Benedetto Croce. The two men would edit the famed Italian literary magazine La critica from 1903-22. In 1906 Gentile was invited to take up the chair in the history of philosophy at the University of Palermo. During his time there he would write two important works: The Theory of Mind as Pure Act (1916) and Logic as Theory of Knowledge (1917). These works formed the basis for his own philosophy which he dubbed “Actual Idealism.”

Giovanni Gentile’s philosophy of Actual Idealism, like Marxism, recognized man as a social animal. Unlike the Marxists, however, who viewed community as a function of class identity, Gentile considered community a function of the culture and history in a nation. Actual Idealism (or Actualism) saw thought as all-embracing, and that no one could actually leave their sphere of thinking or exceed their own thought. This contrasted with the Transcendental Idealism of Kant and the Absolute Idealism of Hegel.

He would remain at the University of Palermo until 1914, when he was invited to the University of Pisa to fill the chair vacated by the death of his dear friend and mentor, Donato Jaja. In 1917, he wound up at the University of Rome, where in 1925 he founded the School of Philosophy. He would remain at the University until shortly before his murder.

After Italy’s humiliating defeat at the disastrous Battle of Caporetto in November, 1917, Gentile took a greater interest in politics. A devoted Nationalist and Liberal; he gathered a group of like-minded friends together and founded a review, National Liberal Politics, to push for political and educational reform.

Gentile’s writings and activism attracted the attention of future Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Immediately after his famous “March on Rome” at the end of October, 1922, Mussolini invited Gentile to serve in his cabinet as Minister of Public Instruction. He would hold this position until July, 1924. Surviving records show that on May 31st, 1923 Giovanni Gentile formally applied for membership in the partito nazionale fascista, the National Fascist Party of Italy.

With his new cabinet position Gentile was given full authority by Mussolini to reform the Italian educational system. On November 5th, 1923 he was appointed senator of the realm, a representative in the Upper House of the Italian Parliament. Gentile was now at the pinnacle of his political influence. With the power and prestige granted him by his new office, he began the first serious overhaul of public education in Italy since the Casati Law was passed in 1859.

Gentile saw in Mussolini’s authoritarianism and nationalism a fulfillment of his dream to rejuvenate Italian culture, which he felt was stagnating. Through this he hoped to rejuvenate the Italian “nation” as well. As Minister of Public Instruction Gentile worked laboriously for 20 months to reform what was most certainly an antiquated and backward system. Though successful in his endeavor, ironically, it was the enactment of his plan that caused his political influence to wane.

In spite of this, Mussolini continued to grant honors on him. In 1924, after resigning his post as Minister, “Il Duce” invited him to join the “Commission of Fifteen” and later the “Commission of Eighteen” basically in order to figure out how to make Fascism fit into the Albertine Constitution, the legal document that governed the state of Italy since its formation after the infamous Risorgimento in 1861.

On March 29th, 1925 the Conference of Fascist Culture was held at Bologna, in northern Italy. The précis of this conference was the document: the Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals. It was an affirmation of support for the government of Benito Mussolini, throwing a gauntlet down to critics who questioned Mussolini’s commitment to Italian culture. Among its signatories were Giovanni Gentile (who drew up the document), Luigi Pirandello (who wasn’t actually at the conference but publicly supported the document with a letter) and the Neapolitan poet, songwriter and playwright Salvatore Di Giacomo.

It was that last name that provoked a bitter dispute between Gentile and his erstwhile friend and mentor, Benedetto Croce. Responding with a document of his own on May 1st, 1925, the Manifesto of the Anti-Fascist Intellectuals, Croce made public for all to see his irreconcilable split (which had been brewing for some time) with the Fascist Party of Italy…and Giovanni Gentile. In his document he dismissed Gentile’s work as “…a haphazard piece of elementary schoolwork, where doctrinal confusion and poor reasoning abound.” The two men would never collaborate again.

From 1925 till 1944 Gentile served as the scientific director of the Enciclopedia Italiana. In June of 1932 in Volume XIV he published, with Mussolini’s approval (and signature) and over the Roman Catholic Church’s objections, the Dottrina del fascismo (The Doctrine of Fascism). The first part of the Dottrina, written by Gentile, was his reconciling Fascism with his own philosophy of Actual Idealism, thereby forever equating the two.

Giovanni Gentile approved of Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Though he found aspects of Hitler’s Nazism admirable, he disapproved of Mussolini allying Italy with Germany, believing Hitler’s intentions could not be trusted and that Italy would wind up becoming a vassal state. His views on this were shared by General Italo Balbo and Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini’s son-in-law and Foreign Minister. Nevertheless, Gentile continued to support Mussolini. Since he recognized that Italy was a polity but not a nation in the true sense of the word, he believed “Il Duce’s” iron-fisted rule to be the only thing sparing the Italian pseudo-state from civil war.

With the collapse of Italy’s Fascist regime in September, 1943 and Mussolini’s rescue by Hitler’s forces, Gentile joined his emasculated master in exile at the so-called Italian Social Republic; an ad hoc puppet state created by Hitler in an ultimately futile attempt to shore up his rapidly crumbing 1,000-year Reich. Even then, he served as one of the principal intellectual defenders of what was obviously a failed political experiment.

On April 15, 1944 Professore Giovanni Gentile was murdered by Communist partisans led by one Bruno Fanciullacci. Ironically, he was gunned down leaving a meeting where he had argued for the release of a group of anti-Fascist intellectuals whose loyalty was suspect. He was buried in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence where his remains lie, perhaps fittingly, next to those of Florentine philosopher and writer Niccolò Machiavelli.

As one might imagine, after his death Gentile’s name was scorned if not forgotten entirely by historians. In recent years, however, scholars have begun to re-examine his legacy. Political theorist A. James Gregor (née Anthony Gimigliano), a recognized expert on Fascist and Marxist thought and himself an American of Southern Italian descent, believes that Gentile actually exerted a tempering influence on Italian Fascism’s proclivities towards violence as a political tool. This, he argues, is one (of several) of the reasons why Mussolini’s Italy never indulged in the more draconian excesses of Hitler’s regime.

Even his former friend and colleague Benedetto Croce later recognized the superior quality of Gentile’s scholarship and the quantity of his publications in the history of philosophy. Yet he differed sharply from him in political ideology and temperament. While both men forsook any loyalty to i Due Sicilie in favor of the pan-Italian illusion of the Risorgimento, they disagreed mightily as to the nature of the Italian state and to what course it should pursue.

For Gentile the actual idealist, the state was the supreme ethical entity; the individual existing merely to submit and merge his will and reason for being to it. Rebellion against the state in the name of ideals was therefore unjustifiable on any level. To Gentile, Fascism was the natural outgrowth of Actual Idealism.

Croce the neo-Kantian, on the other hand, argued forcefully the state was merely the sum of particular voluntary acts expressed by individuals (who were the center of society) and recorded in its laws. To Croce, Gentile’s metaphysical concepts regarding the state approached mysticism.

Thus, while both men have sadly been largely forgotten, even in the intellectual circles they once traversed, Croce’s legacy survives in a much better light than the man he once called friend.

Niccolò Graffio

Further reading:

  • A. James Gregor: Giovanni Gentile: Philosopher of Fascism; Transaction Publishers, 2001.
  • Giovanni Gentile and A. James Gregor (transl): Origins and Doctrine of Fascism: With Selections from Other Works; Transaction Publishers, 2002.
  • M.E. Moss: Mussolini’s Fascist Philosopher: Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered; Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2004.