Benito Mussolini and Napoleon the Traits of Dictators
The average reign of a dictator is 12.5 years of brutality upon their subjects. The rule of Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini lasted from 1922 to 1943. Mussolini acted like any other dictator in his time and, for crimes against his people, was killed on April 28, 1945. Napoleon would exceed Mussolini in crimes against his own subjects. Unlike Mussolini, Napoleon would survive the duration of his reign in recorded history. The tyrannical rule of Mussolini In Italy and Napoleon from Animal Farm resemble each other with the violation of Republican Rule, self-determination, and their utter control exerted upon their countrymen.
The beginning of every dictator is almost universal, seizing power from the state and the people. For Mussolini, this universal principle of dictators applies with his own grab for power. Mussolini is famous for his March on Rome(Historic World Leaders), where thousands of Fascist Blackshirts marched to seize power for Mussolini. The Democratic Government of Italy at the time crumbled fearing civil war with the fascists. With the backing of King Victor Emmanuel III, Mussolini was proclaimed Prime Minister of Italy. The seizure of power with Napoleon on Animal Farm would not be as smooth as it was for Mussolini in Italy. Napoleon needed a force like Mussolini with his Fascist Blackshirts so he procured nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn(Orwell 53). These dogs would be the muscle for Napoleon, he used them to oust Snowball and thus seized power on Animal Farm. Even when dictators seize power it may crumble if their power is not consolidated.
The consolidation of power may be the most important part of any dictators success, for without support from their subjects their reign will fall. Propaganda is a staple of dictators through history and appears in both Animal Farm and Italy. Mussolini and Napoleon both use slogans as a major form of propaganda in their respective states. Mussolini made good use of the slogan Mussolini is always right(People of the Holocaust), to indoctrinate the children and people of Italy. This is a rare example in which Napoleon and Mussolini are Identical, Boxer uses the slogan Napoleon is always right(Orwell 56). The slogan is then adopted by Napoleon’s regime and encouraged the slogan to be used by the other animals. Then by using these slogans the children and dumber animals were fooled into believing such fabrication. Now a mere speck of the propaganda these dictators used it shows how they secured the people’s support with every minor victory in their career, solidifying power. Mussolini and Napoleon could indoctrinate the majority of their people to Fascism and Animalism, but there would still be dissidents to crush.
Apparent in both regimes insurgents would arise that could not be indoctrinated to the ideology of the regime. Mussolini from the beginning of his career used political killings to eliminate those who opposed him. In the case of Giacomo Matteotti, a Socialist member of the Italian Parliament was brutally murdered by fascist thugs on the order of Mussolini. Though Mussolini denied any involvement he ordered it but he encouraged it and was blamed for it. The public with a wave of revulsion swept across Italy and threatened to topple Mussolini from power(Historic World Leaders) showed the difficulty of such killings for Mussolini. Napoleon would never have such problems with extrajudicial killings like Mussolini in Italy. Napoleon ordered the killings of any animals that stood in his way and executed them swiftly and brutally without evidence. And so the tale of confessions and executions went on until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon’s feet(Orwell 84), the brutality cannot be underestimated but even as this happened the animals did nothing allowing it to continue. Though the difference in the process of killings Napoleon and Mussolini both used extermination to secure the remainder of their power by removing the dissidents. Thus Mussolini and Napoleon would never be challenged in their rule except for foreign powers.
The similarities between Napoleon and Mussolini cannot be understated in terms of their brutality. Napoleon and Mussolini both shared a meteoric rise to power their ends would be quite different. Though Mussolini may have fallen there is nothing to suggest that Napoleon will not fall either, in time. The consolidation of power will last for years but eventually, like Mussolini, Napoleon will be overthrown no matter the subjugation of the animals by Napoleon. The vicious propaganda of these states and the power it wields will fail as Napoleon’s power crumbles. The final act in the consolidation of a dictator is brutal killing which they both shared in different ways. The final days of Napoleon will never be known but for Mussolini his end would be in 1945, showing that the right of man is to be free. These dictators may one day fade from the memory of humanity, but Orwell’s lesson will undoubtedly live on against tyranny for which should not be forgotten.
- “Benito Mussolini.” People of the Holocaust, Gale, 1998. Biography In Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K2422000042/BIC?u=imcpl21460&sid=BIC&xid=f65ef1a6. Accessed 11 Oct. 2018.
- Commire, Anne, editor. Historic World Leaders. Gale, 1994. Biography in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/pub/0HOZ/BIC?u=imcpl21460&sid=BIC. Accessed 11 Oct. 2018.
- Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New American Library, 1996.
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