It has become common among students of totalitarianism to dismiss Benito Mussolini as an incompetent braggard whose every effort finally met with ridiculous failure. Indeed, if there were any comic aspect of World War II, it was provided by 11 Duce trying to be an imperialist. His abortive invasion of Greece, Hitler's rejection of his offer to contribute Italian troops for the invasion of Russia and his continual posing for photographers with arm raised and lower lip jutting out give one the impression that Mussolini was a theatrical ham the world would always have difficulty taking seriously.

Any realistic appraisal of the Italian fascist regime leads to the conclusion that Mussolini was a failure and that his very limited abilities were greatly to blame. Nevertheless, the failures of fascism should not be permitted to obscure 11 Duce's one great personal triumph, for here he succeeded where all of his political predecessors had failed. Mussolini resolved the longstanding and complex "Roman Question." The nature of that question, Mussolini's method of solving it and subsequent Italian church-state relations are the subject of this study.



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