Mussolini's rhetoric on youth and the Opera Nazionale Balilla, 1926-1937

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University of New Brunswick


Italian Fascism was a unique and complex political construction of the twentieth century. It attempted to remodel Italian citizens and their daily lives according to Mussolini's ideals of virility and militaristic values. The regime's main goal was to create a nation that embodied the vitality of the Duce's speeches and would always be ready to serve the Fascist revolution. Fascist policies and reforms touched all political, economic, religious and educational realities of Italy in that period, but the reeducation of the youth was among the main goals of the totalitarian state. The Fascist state tried to create perfect followers of the regime and devoted supporters of Mussolini. This report will explore the relationship between the Fascist organization Opera Nazionale Balilla and the Italian youth. Through analysing Mussolini's speeches and the regime's concentrated efforts this report finds that Italian youth's universe of childhood was dramatically altered, and available alternatives to Fascist propaganda and social policies were drastically limited. These factors, coupled with the sacralisation of the Fascist political discourse resulted in an important degree of Fascistization of Italian youth.