Again the New York Times reported that in early July, an estimated five hundred fascists and anti-fascists clashed during a ceremony honoring Italian hero, General Garibaldi the Liberator at Stanten Island, New York. In response Duffield’s article and Congress’s actions, Mussolini and Italian ambassador Nobile Giacomo de Martino issued a statement to the United States claiming “neither Premier Mussolini, nor Fascism, nor the Fascist League of North America has never opposed or attempted to thwart the Americanization movement.”
The following day on October 26, 1929, a resolution passed with the backing of Senator Heflin of the Foreign Relations Committee demanding that Secretary of State Stimson release all details of the Fascist League for Senate investigation. In an effort to achieve those goals, officials in Rome directly appointed Italian fascists to lead Italian-American immigrant organizations. Members of Congress ordered Secretary of State Henry L. During the fighting, fascists used whips, bottles and stones as weapons. Stimson to investigate the Fascist League and testify before the Committee on Foreign Relations. The Heflin Resolution declared “It is essential that the Senate be fully informed of the facts with respect to these allegations, and the political activities of Fascist organizations in the United States.”
New York Times, “Six Men Stabbed in a Fascist Riot,” August 17, 1925.
Before the decade of the 1920s came to a close, Italian fascism in the United States lost much of its early appeal and legitimacy. Mussolini’s goal of consolidating Italian-American organizations under a single entity for the purpose of influencing American politics and business relations ended in failure. American industrialists and businessmen not only viewed socialists and labor unions with disdain, but as threats to their personal prosperity. Under the leadership of Count Ignazio Thaon di Revel, members of the Fascist League of North America sought out perceived political enemies. The disbanding of the Fascist League of North America marked the end of an era for Italian-Americans and the United States.. During the 1920s, the U.S. Fighting broke out among those at the meeting. During the fighting, six men were stabbed and eight patrol cars had to be called to quell the violence.
Marcus Duffield, “Mussolini’s American Empire: The Fascist Invasion of the United States,” Harper’s Magazine, 159, (1929): 661-662.
Duffield stated that the fascist campaign “not only involves frequent violations of American citizenship rights, but also is in ceaseless conflict with our attempt to assimilate the Italian element.” Duffield went on to write “the actual purposes of the League are the Italianization of Italo-Americans and crushing of anti-Fascists, always with an eye to obtaining man power and money for the next war.”
United States Congress and the Disbanding of the Fascist League
Duffield’s article received wide attention from American readers, forcing members of the United States Congress to act. The New York Times reported in May 1925, that fascists and anti-fascists clashed with clubs and bricks in the streets of Philadelphia. In his article, Duffield claimed that “part of Mussolini’s empire, from his point of view, lies within the United States.” Throughout the article, Duffield highlighted the violent activities and agenda of the Fascist League.
Benito Mussolini and Italian-Americans
New York Times, “Denies Italy Demands Fealty of Emigrants,” October 25, 1929.
The Fascist Party and the United States
The Fascist League of North America under Revel’s leadership continued to use violence to compel Italian-Americans to remain loyal to the fascist cause and quash opposition until 1929.
Initial Reactions of the American Government in Response to Fascist Violence
During the same period, the United States government tried to avoid confrontation with the fascists in the United States. For the purpose of cohesion and control, most fascist led Italian-American organizations subordinated under the direction of the Fascist League of North America.
On August 17, 1925, a group of black-shirts led by Revel himself, tried to break up a meeting of Italian anti-fascists in Newark. However, The use of violence by the Fascist League of North America resulted in a tarnished reputation among the general public and loss of fascist legitimacy among prominent Americans by the end of the 1920s.
Fascist Violence in the United States
1925 marked a decisive shift in tactics of Italian fascists operating in the United States. These attitudes in part allowed the Fascist League to operate in the United States unimpeded until 1929, when an article brought unwanted public attention to fascist violence.
Fascists Lose Credibility in the Eyes of the American Public
In 1929, anti-fascist Marcus Duffield published and article in Harper’s Magazine with incriminating evidence against the Fascist League. Many officials within the Department of State, Department of Justice, and Labor Department claimed the Fascist League “believed in law and order” and was “thoroughly anti-Bolshevik (communist).” Many prominent Americans clung to the idea that fascism provided the key to stability and investment in Italy.
In the early years of Mussolini’s fascist regime, Mussolini wanted to establish strong ties with Italian-Americans and Americans with influence. officials to act. Victims included women and children, some of whom participated in the fighting.
New York Times, “Heflin Asks Data on Fascist League,” October 16, 1929.
New York Times, “Fascisti and Foes Fight,” May 24, 1925.
As a result of the controversy caused by di Revel’s actions in the Fascist League and the Foreign Relations Committee’s investigation, Mussolini authorized Ambassador Martino to disband the Fascist League of North America on December 22, 1929.
New York Times, “Fascisti and Reds in Two Riots here Over Garibaldi Fete,” July 5, 1925.
Allen Cassels, “Fascism for Export: Italy and the United States in the Twenties,” The American Historical Review, 69, no.3 (1964): 710-711.
In many instances, socialists, labor unions, and anti-fascists bore the brunt of Fascist League violence. government viewed the first two groups with suspicion. The use of violence by Count Ignazio Thaon di Revel and exposure of the Fascist League’s activities to the American public forced U.S
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