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Portuguese Journal of Social Science Volume 3 Number 2. Intellect Ltd 2004.


Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/pjss.3.2.91/0

Fascist Era Elites (2)


The Fascist ministerial elite
Goffredo Adinolfi University of Lisbon
Abstract

Keywords

In this study, Goffredo Adinolfi attempts to trace the political and professional profiles of the ministers who served under Mussolini between 1922 and 1943. He
succeeds in highlighting three of the principal characteristics of these governments:
the concentration of the main portfolios into the hands of Mussolini himself; the
existence of an ex-Nationalist ministerial elite within Mussolinis cabinets; and
the high degree of ministerial mobility of the remaining ministers. The problem of
the Cabinets importance as the only Fascist governmental body that met regularly
throughout Mussolinis twenty-year regime is only briefly touched upon.

Fascism
ministerial elites
Italy

The aim of this article is to attempt to determine the political and the socioprofessional background of Mussolinis ministers, and to attempt to uncover
to what extent each of them had decision-making autonomy. It must be
stressed that here we will make no attempt to examine the locus of power,
that is to say, we will not be seeking to discover where the true decisionmaking centre of the Fascist dictatorship was. What can be said with some
certainty, however, is that over time, and in a process that was to have
important consequences for the regimes succession, Mussolini attempted to
emasculate those who could overshadow him by centralizing decisionmaking to himself. There are three principal interpretations on this theme:
that which sees the principal decision-making centre in the National Fascist
Party (Gentile 2001); that which points towards authority that was ever
more centralized into the hands of Benito Mussolini (De Felice 1974); and
that which views the Council of Ministers as one of the fundamental centres
of political decision-making (Candeloro 2002b). As well as these three
options, we also have to consider the important role played by the Catholic
Church and, even more so, the influence of the King (Mack Smith 1989).
In order to analyse the twenty years of Mussolinis regime I will follow
Paul Lewiss periodization (Lewis 2002). The first phase of the Fascist dictatorship began in 1922 until 1925, and was characterized by electoral
reform and the end of coalition government. The second period, from
1925 to 1935, saw the construction of the Fascist regime and the outlawing of all opposition. The third phase, which extended from January 1935
to October 1939, saw the beginnings of the regimes decline and the construction of an alliance with Hitlers Nazis.1 The fourth and final phase,

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91

It is not only Lewis


(2002) who speaks of
the signs of decay in
the regime after
1935. Candeloro
(2002b: 36061) also
notes that the
support from the
masses that Mussolini
gained as a result of
the colonial war and
the economic
sanctions began to
weaken as a
consequence of the
Spanish Civil War, the
alliance between
Rome and Berlin and,
above all, because of
anti-Semitism.
Between 1937 and
1939 new anti-Fascist
groups were formed
amongst the youth,
with even Fascists
being divided in their
loyalties.

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We should note that


no law could enter
into force in Italy
without the Kings
consent.

These are the words


used by Mussolini
during the
presentation of his
government to the
Italian parliament:
Lascio ai malinconici
zelatori del supercostituzionalismo il
compito di dissertare
pi o meno
lamentosamente su
ci. Io affermo che la
rivoluzione ha i suoi
diritti. Mi sono
rifiutato di
stravincere. Mi sono
imposto dei limiti ...
Potevo fare di questa
aula sorda e grigia un
bivacco di manipoli.
Potevo sprangare il
parlamento e
costituire un Governo
esclusivamente di
fascisti. Potevo: ma
non ho, almeno in
questo primo tempo
voluto (Candeloro
2002a: 13).

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Page 92

which began in October 1939 and ended in July 1943, saw Italy enter the
Second World War and the final fall of the Fascist regime.
As opposed to the other dictatorships which, from the outset, sought to
break with the institutions that preceded them, Fascism had to exist
within Italys Constitution, the Statuto Albertino, without ever managing to completely eliminate it. This meant that Mussolini had to accommodate the institutions created by the Constitution: the Monarchy; the
Chamber of Deputies; and the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies - the only
elected body - was easily turned Fascist; the Senate, however, remained
largely aloof and passive (Musiedlak 2003). The Monarchys stance was
more ambiguous. Initially a loyal ally of Fascism, the King sought to distance himself from the regime only once Italy was on the verge of military
defeat: he then used his constitutional authority to appoint the head of
government to remove Mussolini from power.2

Seeking a majority, 192225


During this first period, the Chamber of Deputies still played a major role
in Italian politics. After having been appointed Prime Minister, Mussolini
recognized the need to exercise caution and to maintain the equilibrium of
the political forces. Like many Italian governments before it, therefore,
Mussolinis first ministry was a coalition that included representatives of
the Popular Party, some Liberals, the Nationalists and, of course, the
National Fascist Party. However, it was in the Chamber of Deputies that
Mussolini succeeded in imposing his presence to become the leading arbitrator of Italian politics.3 The two main episodes of the period 192225
within both chambers of the Italian parliament were the passing of
Acerbos electoral law that led to the Fascists obtaining an overwhelming
parliamentary majority; and the repercussions resulting from the murder
of the outspoken Socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti - a man who had
publicly denounced the climate of violence that existed during the election
campaign. It was following Mussolinis speech of January 1925, during
which he accepted responsibility for Matteottis assassination, that the
construction of the Fascist regime began in earnest.
Mussolini chose his first ministers very carefully. At that time, an excessive presumption on his part could have resulted in the failure of the Fascist
revolution. The first government that Mussolini presented to the Chamber
of Deputies included only 14 ministers: 2 military, 2 Nationalists, 4 Liberals
and 4 from the Fascist Party. Of the 21 ministers who participated in the
government in these two years, 7 had been ministers in previous governments, 3 were military officers, 11 were members of the Fascist Party, 6 of
them joined the National Fascist Party after October 1922 (Table 4). Of the
ministers who were not members of the Fascist Party before 1922, 4 were
Liberals, 2 were Nationalists and 2 belonged to the Popular Party and 5
had no political background. Table 3 illustrates that the large majority were
law graduates (42 per cent), following a tradition that predated Mussolinis
rise to power (Cotta and Verzichelli 2002). From Table 5, we can see that
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28 per cent of the Cabinet were university professors. The next largest
groups were lawyers, with 23 per cent, and military men with 19 per cent.
It is also possible to note the relative continuity with previous governments
by the fact that 13 of the 21 ministers had been elected to the Chamber of
Deputies prior to 1921, and that only 3 of the ministers did not belong to
any of the two chambers of the Italian parliament (see Table 1).

These first years of government were marked by a large degree of


mobility, with 62 per cent of all ministers serving less than one year, 14
per cent serving two and 19 per cent three. Of all ministers, only
Mussolini served more than four years (see Table 9). The creation of the
National Economy Ministry, which combined the Agriculture, Industry
and Commerce ministries, saw Guiseppe de Capitani (a Liberal who later
The Fascist ministerial elite

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became a Fascist), Teofilo Rossi (Liberal) and Stefano Cavazzoni (a


member of the Popular Party, and later a Fascist) were removed from government and replaced by Aldo Oviglio, an important Fascist. In 1924 it
was the turn of the Liberal, Giovanni Colonna to be replaced by the
Nationalist turned Fascist, Costanzo Ciano, at the Ministry for the Post
Office. The amalgamation of the Finance and Treasury ministries saw the
substitution of yet another non-Fascist, the Popular Partys Vincenzo
Tangorra.
In conclusion, we should stress the evident caution with which
Mussolini chose his ministers, selecting people who were not compromised
by association with the violent episodes that were part of Italian politics
after 1919. The most significant figures were the ministers who had
belonged to the Nationalist Party before its union with the National Fascist
Party. These included Giacomo Acerbo (Prime Ministers under-secretary)
and Luigi Federzoni (Colonial Minister then Interior Minister). During the
course of these two years, the ministerial representation of Liberals halved
to three, Fascist representation increased by one to five while Mussolini
took temporary control of the Foreign Ministry.

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The construction of the regime, 192535


The ten years from 1925 to 1935 were central in the life of the Italian
Fascist regime. After having obtained a stable majority in the Chamber of
Deputies, and having approved the fascist laws (fascistissime), the National
Fascist Party (PNF) became the only legal party. With great diplomacy,
Mussolini managed to contain all of his possible adversaries: the
Monarchy, with the appointment of the ministers who were close to the
King; Confindustria (the industrial association) and the Church, with the
signing of the concordat in 1929. It was also the time when Mussolini
clarified the relationship between the party and the state, with the state
being favoured. He placed significant internal curbs on the party, ordering
the prefects to take firm action against the Fascist ras who did not agree
with Mussolinis policies.4 Whilst loyal to the Duce, the Chamber of
Deputies was subordinated to the executive, and was only allowed to deal
with issues delegated to it by the government. The Council of Ministers
now had the authority to introduce laws.5 Finally, the Fascist Grand
Council, the central driving organ of the Fascist revolution that was born
with Mussolinis government, was granted constitutional status.
During these years of relative tranquillity, the government structure
became less cumbersome and the number of ministers declined from 16 to
12. The concentration of power into the hands of Mussolini enabled the
rapid construction of the regime, the principal architect of which was
Alfredo Rocco - a former Nationalist who served as Minister of Justice for
seven years. It should be recalled that this period represented the apogee of
Mussolinis power, and that he always had to consider the other powers
that existed within the Italian state. The number of ministers who had
fought in the First World War increased from 28 per cent to 48 per cent,
and the number of non-Fascists declined from 61 per cent to 25 per cent.
All government ministers of this period had been either deputies or senators in the past (see Table 4). As a consequence of the reduction in the
number of ministries, the number of ministers also declined: there were
only 31 during the entire ten-year period (see Table 1), with an average
term of office of 5.3 years, an increase on the 3.2 year average of the first
period of the Fascist regime. The geographical origins of these ministers is
also significant, with 58 per cent coming from the north, 32 per cent from
the south, and only 10 per cent from the centre of Italy (Table 2). There
was very little continuity with governments from the Liberal era, with only
Giovanni Lanza remaining in government at the Colonial Ministry until
1926. The average age of ministers declined sharply: while during
192225 it had been 51 years, by the period 192535 it had come down
to 43 years. Fascism had broken completely from the generation that had
preceded its arrival in power.
The number of ministers with university degrees during this period
increased slightly from 67 per cent to 68 per cent (Table 3). While the percentage was similar, the type of degree was very different. While previously 43 per cent of government ministers had law degrees, by 192535
The Fascist ministerial elite

95

Speaking to party
members, Mussolini
said: il partito non
che una forza civile e
volontaria agli ordini
dello Stato. Il partito
lorganizzazione capillare del regime ... esso
arriva ovunque. il
partito con la massa
dei suoi gregari che d
autorit allo stato. Il
capo della provincia
ha ai suoi ordini tutte
le forze periferiche
nelle quali si esprime
lo Stato e il partito,
quindi anche il partito,
quindi anche il segretario provinciale che
assume la sua
funzione di vero e proprio funzionario extra
ruolo della regia
prefettura (Acquarone
1995: 16364).

Until July 1943, the


Council of Ministers
met each month:
Prima dellinizio dei
lavori il Presidente del
consiglio rileva che
troppo spesso accade
che i singoli Dicasteri
non ottemperino alle
disposizioni che fanno
loro obbligo di comunicare alla Presidenza
del consiglio ed agli
altri ministri gli
oggetti che intendono
presentare allesame
del Consiglio stesso.
Su proposta del
Presidente del
consiglio si delibera
che nessun oggetto
potr essere iscritto
allordine del giorno
di una tornata del
Consiglio dei ministri
se non stato comunicato in exstenso al
Ministro delle finanze
cinque giorni prima
della tornata stessa ed
alla Presidenza del
consiglio dei ministri
7 giorni prima (ACS,
Archivio Centrale
dello Stato, Atti del
consiglio dei ministri,
19231926, 10
October 1925).

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this had declined to 23 per cent. Political science graduates accounted for
6 per cent of government ministers during this second period of Fascism,
where previously they had been entirely absent. Another group that was
newly represented in government during these years were engineering
graduates, who now made up 13 per cent of ministerial appointments.
The number with humanities degrees, which previously amounted to 5
per cent, increased to 9 per cent. Finally, the number of military officers in
government declined from 19 per cent to 16 per cent - a consequence of
Mussolinis continuing lack of confidence in the militarys loyalty, a mistrust that was also evidenced by his decision to assume direct responsibility for the Ministries of War, Air Force and Navy for most of the decade.
The ministers professional background also changed quite significantly (Table 5). The percentage of university professors increased from 29
per cent to 32 per cent, with the majority of these (30 per cent) being law
professors, followed by engineering professors (20 per cent), then professors of history, humanities, economics and geology. The other professions
represented were: journalism (16 per cent), the military (13 per cent), professional politicians (6 per cent), lawyers (3 per cent), and engineers and
civil servants (each approximately 3 per cent). What is most surprising is
the low proportion of ministers who came from the civil service, especially
given their important role in the transmission of power. Within the Fascist
regime, it became very difficult to separate the ministers main profession
from their political profession. In 1931, the majority of ministers were
around 40 years old, meaning that most of them had studied, fought in
the First World War (48 per cent), and immediately afterwards joined the
Fascist movement. Some of them had abandoned their university courses
in order to volunteer to fight and later to enter politics.
Quite often, the ministers, before they assumed responsibility for their
ministry, were nominated to the position of under-secretary (55 per cent)
(Table 4). Of all ministers, 74 per cent were responsible for a single ministry, while 16 per cent controlled two, and 6 per cent had been in charge
of three (Table 9). To place this data into context, we ought to recall that
only three ministers served Mussolini for more than 10 years: Guiseppe
Bottai (Ministry of Corporations and National Education); Costanzo Ciano
(the Nationalist who served as Minister of Posts and Communications);
and Dino Grandi (Foreign Minister and Minister of Justice). Other ministers who served for relatively shorter periods of 59 years included:
Alfredo Rocco (another Nationalist who served as Minister of Justice);
Achille Starace (Secretary of the PNF); Giovanni Giuriati (Minister of
Public Works); Luigi Federzoni (the Nationalist Minister of the Colonies
and Interior Minister); and Emilio de Bono (Colonial Minister) (Table 8).
The remaining ministers stayed in office for very short periods: 16 per cent
for 02 years, and 52 per cent for 25 years. This data demonstrates the
importance of the Nationalists, a party that amalgamated with the
Fascists to form the PNF in February 1923, in Mussolinis government.

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Peak and decline, 193539


The period 193539 marked the beginnings of the Fascist regimes
decline. Its decline was determined by several factors, amongst which were
the introduction of anti-Semitic laws and the colonial war, which, besides
not providing any solutions to the problems that they were intended to
resolve, left Mussolinis Italy in a very complicated position in Europe. On
the other hand, the ease and manner in which Hitler achieved power in
Germany was the cause of great surprise to the Duce. Ignoring the advice
of several of his better counsellors, Mussolini moved ever closer and
became ever more subordinate to the Nazi leader. The year 1935 also
marked the beginning of a decade of wars, for as well as the continuing
colonial conflicts, Italy was involved in the Spanish Civil War (1936) and
Albania (1939) before its tragic entry into the Second World War with the
Italian invasion of Greece (1940).
From a more general point of view, we can see that the ministers of
this period were older in comparison with those of the decade up to
1935 (Table 1), with an average age of 49. However, this was also the
period during which ministers tended to remain in government longest.
Acerbo (Nationalist) and Bottai remained in Mussolinis Cabinet for over
10 years, while Benni, Ciano, Cobolli, Gigli and Starace served for 510
years, with the remaining ten ministers serving less than 5 years. The
percentage of those who had fought in the First World War increased a
little, from 48 per cent to 53 per cent (Table 4). Of all the ministers, 69
per cent controlled a single ministry during this period, while 25 per
cent had been at the head of two. The number of minister also increased
with the creation of the Ministries of Propaganda and Agriculture.
While the Cabinet consisted of 12 ministries in 1925 it had now
increased to 17. Mussolinis tendency to select ministers from the north
of the country became more pronounced, with this area now supplying
65 per cent of all ministers, while those from the central areas of the
country reduced from 32 per cent to 17.5 per cent. The proportion of
ministers with university degrees increased from 68 per cent to 76 per
The Fascist ministerial elite

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During the years prior


to Mussolini taking
Italy into war, he
accentuated his leadership whilst also
seeking to reduce his
ministers and party
members into simple
executors of his will.
He was caught
between his jealousy of
Hitler and the conviction that Italy needed
to remain faithful to its
alliance with Germany.
He stopped holding
meetings of the Fascist
Grand Council. He
could not do this with
the Council of
Ministers, however,
because the Council
represented the
government and
needed to approve
decrees. Nevertheless,
as he became ever
more intolerant of the
Councils criticisms,
the meetings ceased to
be discussions
(Candeloro
2002b: 116).
Mussolini believed
that a pronouncement
from the Grand
Council was necessary
for the strengthening
of his position vis--vis
the King and, at the
same time, it could
prevent any attempt
by the more intransigent Fascists who
wished to impose a
party dictatorship and
form a much stronger
alliance with
Germany. On the
night of 24 July,
Mussolini was taken
by surprise by the success of Grandis order
of the day which
granted command of
the armed forces, and
final political decisionmaking authority to
the King ... These are
the reasons for the
Duces behaviour at
that fateful meeting of
the Grand Council
(Tranfaglia
2003: 78183).

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cent, with law graduates being the largest proportion, increasing from
23 per cent to 41 per cent. The number of lawyers occupying ministerial
positions also increased, from 3 per cent to 12 per cent, while university
professors and journalists accounted for 29 per cent and 18 per cent of
ministers, respectively.
Not one of the ministers of this period had had any governmental experience prior to Mussolinis rise to power (see Table 1). A much larger proportion, 71 per cent of all ministers, had originally entered government as
under-secretaries. Most surprising, however, is the large increase in the
number of ministers who had joined the PNF after 1922 - up to 47 per
cent from 26 per cent during the previous period - and the proportion of
those who had previously been members of the Italian parliament, which
declined from 100 per cent to 88 per cent (see Table 4).

The end of the regime, 193943


The period of continual wars that began in 1935 reached its dramatic
peak between 1939 and 1940. This was the time of the Patto di Acciaio
(Pact of Steel) between Rome and Berlin. Moreover, 1939 was the last year
that the Fascist Grand Council met prior to the fateful meeting of 25 July
1943, when it dismissed the Duce. This suggests that either none of the
ministers had the courage to speak against Mussolinis policies, or that the
Duce no longer wished to listen to his counsellors advice.6 On the eve of
the war, Mussolini had decided upon non-belligerency, with many believing that a policy of neutrality was the safest course for a country that was
not prepared for such a large-scale conflict. However, in 1940 Mussolini
decided to enter the war on the side of the Nazis. Guiseppe Bottai described
the reaction of the Council of Ministers during these dramatic days:
Council of Ministers. A wholly decadent institution: its decisions are, for
the main part, surprising, or they are of little importance or general indifference (Bottai 2001: 183). In the same manner in which the PNF
pushed Mussolini up until 1935, it was also the party, or rather the Fascist
Grand Council, that decreed the end of the regime at its meeting on the
night of 24 July 1943. Once more, Mussolini expected to receive its
support in the face of the increasingly frequent criticism he was receiving
from both the armed forces and the Monarchy. Instead, the Grand Council
sided with his critics.7
The period 193943 was characterized by Mussolinis rise to absolute
power, by the alliance with Nazi Germany and, obviously, by the Second
World War. The average age of government ministers during these years
was only 44, five years younger than during the previous period. The
number of ministers was increased from 17 to 22, largely as a consequence of the overhaul of government that took place in February 1943
(see Table 1). As a consequence of this, the average duration of a ministerial career fell from 6.7 years to 4.4 years. Only 52 per cent of all ministers
during these years entered government as under-secretaries, much fewer
than during the previous period. The number of First World War veterans
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declined from 53 per cent to 35 per cent. The same was true with the proportion ministers who had not been party members prior to 1922, falling
from 47 per cent to 8.69 per cent (Table 4). As many as 42 per cent of
ministers remained in government for less than 2 years, with a further
37.5 per cent holding office from 2-5 years (Table 8). Only three ministers
remained in office for more than 5 years, with only two - Bottai and
Grandi - serving for more than 10 years. Almost 80 per cent of the ministers led only one ministry during their time in government (Table 9). The
governments of these years also had the lowest proportion of ministers
with university qualifications of the entire regime, with only 52 per cent
holding degrees, of which 26 per cent held law degrees. Professionally, 18
per cent of ministers were university professors, while 9 per cent were military officers. Most surprising, however, is the fact that 27 per cent of ministers during these years had no professional career prior to entering
politics (Table 5).
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Even though the comparisons are not


straightforward, we
should note that the
Portuguese
dictatorship had 100
ministers during its
41year existence,
while Francos Spain
had 120 ministers in
37 years. The average
age of Portuguese
ministers was 47, and
in Spain it was 51.
Much more difficult is
the comparison
between the present
Italian Republic and
the preceding Fascist
regime. Between
1946 and 1992, the
average length of time
that a minister
remained in
government was 3.5
years (Cotta and
Verzichelli 2002).
Given that two years
is insufficient time in
which to understand
the operation of the
complex ministerial
machinery, it is clear
that power passed to
the civil service. The
bureaucracys
oversight powers
always represented an
almost unsurmountable problem for
Mussolini, especially
since the civil service
had the authority to
issue decrees that did
not have to pass
through either the
Duce or the Council of
Ministers: As was frequently the case, the
bureaucracy
continued in this
manner, without paying much attention to
the Duces
instructions. As a
result, he had to send
even more
instructions (1937) ...
The results were not
good, because the
Duce had to send the
instructions for a
third time on 10 May
1939 (Acquarone
1995: 8182).

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Conclusions
The Italian dictatorship lasted from October 1922 until 25 July 1943. In
little over twenty years, a total of 74 ministers had served 3.2 years each in
government on average, demonstrating the frequent ministerial reshuffles
that were a characteristic of Mussolinis regime (Table 1).8 Nevertheless,
when we consider only the major portfolios: Interior, Justice and Foreign
Affairs, the average duration of ministerial occupation increases significantly to 6.5 years. This signifies, on the one hand, that there was continuity in the most senior ministries, while, on the other hand, the continuity
within the other ministries was guaranteed through the various directorsgeneral - that is to say, the bureaucracy. The civil service was a power that
constantly preoccupied Mussolini, a force that acted as a regulator on the
dictatorship right up until the end.9
Throughout his dictatorship, Mussolini personally held on to some of
the most important portfolios: he was Interior Minister for 19 years;
Foreign Minister for 11 years; War, Navy and Air Minister for 14 years;
Minister for Corporations for 7 years; Colonial Minister for 4 years; and
Minister of Public Works for little less than a year. Two considerations
were uppermost in his mind. First, the Interior Minister was connected to
the network of prefects, who were the governments real representatives
throughout Italy, and who were above the ras (the local PNF bosses).10
The second consideration was related to the average duration of ministerial careers (3.2 years). Another consideration was related to the importance of the political decisions, which were shared between the Grand
Council, which, despite being Fascisms revolutionary driving force,
lacked any continuity particularly after 1935, and the Council of
Ministers, which had to approve all laws and which constituted the only
collegiate body to hold regular monthly meetings during the whole Fascist
era. It is difficult to establish a hierarchical relationship between these two
bodies.
We also ought to note the fundamental importance of those ministers
who had belonged to the Nationalist Party (see Table 11). This party was
formed by conservatives and intellectuals in the wake of the colonial crises
at the end of the nineteenth century. If, on the one hand, the first Fascists
were considered to be more trustworthy, the Nationalist ministers were
more involved in the construction of the regime. Alfredo Rocco was the
true architect of the totalitarian regime, while Giovanni Gentile was its
most important intellectual, being responsible for education reform and,
later, being in charge of the Italian Encyclopaedia project. The importance
of the Nationalists is also visible statistically, with Nationalist ministers
averaging five years in office, one-and-a-half years more than the overall
average. Relative to the number of Nationalists in the regime, above all in
matters related to ideology, this constitutes proof that Fascisms origins
were not limited to the immediate post-First World War period, but that
they can be traced back to the failures of the Liberal state at the end of the
nineteenth century.
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10 As was the case in


France, Italys prefects
were the
governments
representatives in the
various localities.
They reported directly
to the Ministry of the
Interior.

We should also note that Fascisms political classes broke, in a brutal


manner, with the politicians of Liberal Italy (Table 1). With the exception
of the first period (192225), the large majority of ministers were chosen
from amongst the first Fascists. This was a completely new political class
that was comprised of men with a shared identity that was based on their
experiences during the First World War and of the first Fascist movement.
An analysis of the profiles of the ministers prior to their appointment to
government, we see that almost none of them had served as civil servants
(Table 5). In terms of professions, the greater part of the government was
formed by professors (26 per cent), lawyers (14 per cent), military officers
(11 per cent), and professional politicians (12 per cent). In stark contrast
to Liberal Italy, it is not possible to determine a single dominant professional class amongst Fascist-era ministers (Cotta and Verzichielli 2002).
We can, however, state that Nationalist ministers formed a central
segment of the ministerial elite: with the exception of Costanzo Ciano, who
was educated in the military academy, they all had university degrees, and
65 per cent of them were university professors.
Archival sources consulted
Archivio Centrale dello Stato, Roma
Archivio della Camera dei deputati, Roma
Works cited
Acquarone, A. (1995), Lorganizzazione dello stato totalitario, Turin: Einaudi.
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Suggested citation:
Adinolfi, G. (2004), The Fascist ministerial elite, Portuguese Journal of Social Science
3: 2, pp. 91102, doi: 10.1386/pjss.3.2.91/0

Contributor details
Goffredo Adinolfi is a contemporary history doctoral candidate at the State
University of Milan, Italy, and a Junior Visiting Fellow at the University of Lisbons
Institute of Social Science. His thesis is a study of the propaganda used by Salazars
New State. At the University of Lisbon he is participating in the project on southern
European authoritarian elites.
E-mail: goffredoadinolfi@hotmail.com

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Goffredo Adinolfi