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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 10 July 28, 1943

Mussolini Resigns?

page 3

Mussolini Resigns?

At this period in the war the headlines scream Mussolini's resignation. This sudden news leaves most of us in a dilemma of mingled feelings. It is assuredly difficult to know what to think. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? or doesn't it matter a dam?

The immediate reaction, it seems, has been that this is a very desirable event heralding the freedom of Italy from the heel of Fascist dictatorship and all that it stands for.

The general tenor of our daily press reports indicate that Victor Emmanuel, the Grand Old Man of Italy, who has always been clandestinely anti-Mussolini, has appointed General Bodaglio to the supreme command in the face of Musso's resignation. Bodaglio's praises are sung in no uncertain terms by "The Evening Post." "An able administrator, a diplomat above the average, demanding loyalty and honesty in undertakings in which he is concerned. A man who is believed to have opposed the alliance with Germany and tried to resist the Nazification of Italy." A very pretty portrait indeed?

Look at the Facts.

It is, however, necessary to strip these coloured reports of wishful thoughts and examine them in the light of the material situation.

The Italian people, never very taken by their "glorious mission" in this war, have suffered considerably at the hands of the Italo-Nazi plans. The whole war situation at the present time, the German setback in the Soviets, their expulsion from Africa, the recent continued large scale bombings of German and Italian territories and the Allied landing on Sicily fit together to make a very glum picture, and offer no future to the Italian bourgeousie. These facts, together with their effect on the never enthusiastic Italian people, indicate the likelihood of early capitulation of Italy.

The British, Russian and American decision as typified at the "Casablanca Conference." is for the "unconditional surrender" of the Axis partners. The peoples of the Allied countries look forward to and expect the strict adherence of their Governments to this decision—that there can be no compromise, no honourable peace with the fascist bandits.

Hot Spot.

This decision of the Allies in the face of the impending collapse of Fascist Italy leaves the Italian ruling class in a "hot spot." We have had a whisper of this position some two weeks ago, with the peace feelers sent out to President Roosevelt by the Italian ruling class, using the Vatican as the stooge. It is now clear that the ruling class, fearing Mussolini's capitulation, are making a desperate attempt to create a situation which will enable them to make a separate and honourable peace with the Allies. Mussolini and the fascist hierarchy has been deposed, and in their places an apparently anti-Mussolini-Fascist front of Victor Emmanuel and Bodaglio.

Mussolini has gone, but the real power of Fascism, the finance-capitalist oligarchy, remains intact, hoping to retain power by presenting this seemingly more respectable duet as a bait to entice the Allied Governments to consider a separate peace. Such a peace would be a stab in the back for the Italian people and facility for the Fascist sponsors to continue their exploitation and oppression.

We must not be fooled by this ruse. Our armies in Sicily have been received as friends—in Italy the underground anti-Fascist movement of freedom-loving Italians is gathering strength for the day of deliverance. We, the allied peoples, must not fail them.

The defeat of the Fascist military machine must be followed by unconditional surrender and the Italian people permitted to determine their own form of government.