Last Testament of Benito Mussolini (1945)
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
No true Italian, whatever his political faith, should despair of the future. The resources of our people are immense. If we are able to find a common ground, we will regain our strength before any victor. For this common ground, I would give my life even now, willingly, so long as it is truly marked with real Italian spirit. After defeat, I will be furiously covered by spit, but later I will be cleansed with veneration. Then I will smile, because my people will be at peace with themselves. The worker who fulfills his social duty with no other hope than a piece of bread and the health of his family repeats, on a daily basis, an act of heroism. Labourers are infinitely superior to all false prophets who pretend to represent them. These false prophets have an easy time of it due to the insensitivity of those who have the sacrosanct duty of taking care of labourers. It is for this reason that I was, and am, a socialist. The accusation of inconsistency is without foundation. My behaviour has always been consistent in the sense of looking to the substance, not the appearance of things. I have adapted myself, socialistically, to reality. As the natural development of society proved more and more of Marx's predictions to be wrong, true socialism retreated from the possible to the probable. The only feasible socialism that can be truly implemented is Corporativism—a merging point, a place of equilibrium and justice, with respect for collective interests. The art of politics is very difficult, amongst the most difficult, because it works on matter that cannot be grasped, that wobbles and is more uncertain. Politics works on the spirit of men, which is much more difficult to define because it is subject to change. Most changeable of all is the spirit of Italians. When I am gone, I am sure that historians and psychologists will ask themselves how a single man was able to successfully lead a people like the Italian people. If I had accomplished nothing else, this single work of art would have been sufficient to prevent me from being forgotten. Others have been able to dominate with iron fists, not with consensus and agreement as I managed. My dictatorship was much milder than many democracies that are run by plutocracies. Fascism lost more men than its adversaries, and on 25th of July there were no more than thirty persons in exile. When it is written that we are the white guard for the bourgeoisie, it is the vilest of lies. I defended, and I state this with full conviction, workers' progress. Amongst the principal causes for the fall of Fascism I blame the deaf and merciless fight of certain financial and industrial groups who, in their mad egoism, feared and hated Fascism as the worst enemy of their inhuman interests. I must say for the purpose of justice, that Italian capital, the part which is legitimate and holds itself up with the ability of its industry, has always understood the needs of society, even when they required sacrifice to address new labour terms. The humble folk of labour have always loved me and love me still. All dictators have always made slaughter of their enemies. I have been the only mild one: a few hundred dead against several thousand. I believe I've ennobled dictatorship. Perhaps I emasculated it, but I rid it of instruments of torture. Stalin sits on a mountain of human bones. Is this bad? I don't regret to have done all the good I've done, even to my adversaries, even enemies who plotted against my life. I've done this through the provision of subsidies that were so frequent as to become stipends, as well as by saving their lives. But if tomorrow they will kill my men, what responsibility will I have for having spared them? Stalin is left standing and wins; I fall and lose. History only concerns itself with victors and the volume of their conquests; triumph justifies everything. The French Revolution is studied for its outcomes, while those who died with the guillotine are relegated to the obituaries. Nobody will be able to erase twenty years of Fascism from Italy's history. I have no illusion regarding my fate. They will not give me a trial, because they know that from a defendant I would become a prosecutor. They will probably murder me and then claim that I committed suicide, overcome by remorse. He who fears death has never lived, and I have lived, perhaps even too much. Life is nothing more than an intersection between two eternities: the past and the future. As long as my star shone, I was enough for all. Now that it fades, everybody is not enough for me. I will go where destiny will want me because I always did what fate requested of me. Fascists who will remain faithful to principles will need to be exemplary citizens. They must respect the laws that the people will give, and cooperate loyally with legitimate authorities to help them heal, as quickly as possible, the fatherland's wounds. Whomever will behave differently will demonstrate the he no longer supports the fatherland when he has to serve it from below. Fascists, in other words, will have to act out of passion, not resentment. From their behaviour will depend a speedier historical rehabilitation of Fascism. Because now it is night, but later, day will break.