MUSSOLINI, Benito (1883-1945). Thirty-five typed articles signed (one with signature excised) written for publication in the American press, most n.d. [published 2 December 1928 - 28 October 1934], comprising thirty-three in English and two in Italian, altogether approximately 183 pages, 4to, almost all leaves initialled in autograph ('M'), five of the articles including cancellations and corrections in the hand of Margherita Sarfatti and twelve including corrections (mostly of English and punctuation) probably by William Randolph Hearst's New York editor (T.V. Ranck) and the head of the UP Bureau in Rome (Thomas B. Morgan), mostly typed on light paper, horizontal creases (some leaves slightly browned, occasional small splits in edges, paper clip stains).
MUSSOLINI SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: an original form of propaganda allowing him to appeal directly to American public opinion by his collaboration with the Hearst press. The articles, written in an easy or conversational style, blend topics of current interest to Americans with pro-Fascist propaganda, touching also on topical subjects such as the League of Nations, prohibition, the economic situation, demographic change, Antarctic exploration, aviation and technical advances, and plans for a European federation.
'The United States of America has it within her grasp to be the potential dictator of world policy. If she wished she could impose her will almost wherever she chose and settle for her own selfish aims the destiny of mankind'.
On the transformation of Italy through nine 'dynamic' years of Fascism: 'We have sown the seeds and will be able to reap the harvest in our own generation and even more in the generations to follow'.
On the participation of women in political life: 'My opinion about woman is that she is superior to man in the intrinsic qualities of intuition, adaptability, comprehension, goodness, generosity and above all love for the home and family ... What is wanting in woman is the capacity to scale the giddy heights which are reached by a few individuals whose sublime genius honors not only themselves but humanity at large ... Philosophers have always been and will always continue to be men'.
On prohibition: 'The problem of alcoholism, as understood in northern countries, does not exist in Italy, because our people never consume liquors or spirits. Italians consume wine exclusively, and wine is the product of western civilisation'.
On the 'Myth of the Man in the Street', 'a superstition which has now been superseded. It is nothing but a new travesty of the old myth of the citizen ... Fascism has substituted in Italy the corporative man, considered in his specific and noblest qualities, namely those which are derived from his work'.
Mussolini's access to the American press was the result of a masterly arrangement reached on his behalf by Margherita Sarfatti, his journalist colleague and former mistress, first in 1928 with the United Press (UP) Bureau chief in Rome, Thomas B. Morgan, and in 1931 directly with the William Randolph Hearst organisation.
Sarfatti had already profited from her authorship of Mussolini's 'autobiography' in 1925-1926. With Morgan's collaboration, she now proposed a stream of articles composed specifically for American readers, and ostensibly written by Mussolini himself. In this way 'a foreign dictator acquired direct access to the hundreds of papers in the United states (as well as dozens of other countries) served by the United Press. Not only was Mussolini given this privilege gratis, but he and Margherita were richly paid to take it' (P.V. Cannistraro and B.R. Sullivan. Il Duce's Other Woman, New York, 1993, page 358). In 1928 they and Morgan received from UP the then remarkable sum of $1,500 a month or $500 each. The articles appear to have been first written by Margherita, on subjects agreed with Mussolini, then translated into English by Morgan before being re-submitted to Mussolini for his final approval.
In 1931, by cutting out Morgan, Margherita negotiated with Hearst for an even more lucrative deal. The themes of the articles accorded with Hearst's own views, and the original typescripts, signed and initialled by Mussolini, were mailed to his New York editor, TV. Ranck. This arrangement continued until 1935 when Mussolini decided not to renew it.
The present thirty-five articles (of which seven also appeared in Italian in Il Popolo d'Italia) comprise a substantial proportion (nearly half) of all the articles which Mussolini contributed to Hearst's newspapers from November 1928 to May 1935.