People Who Said Positive Things about Mussolini

History is complicated. It is also stupid. When people are alive, we understand that they are complicated beings, full of contradictions. Sometimes they are virtuous and strong, other times evil and weak. The dead are not perceived that way. They must be either saints or demons.

History sees Mussolini as a demon. I think he deserves it. But as these quotes demonstrate, many people were more than willing to overlook his deficiencies. What future tyrants are the subject of current praise? What future saints are we denigrating today? History will tell.

And so, without further ado, here is a collection of people who said positive things about Mussolini.

Cole Porter
You're the top!
You're the Great Houdini!
You're the top!
You are Mussolini!
Original lyrics of "You're The Top" (1934)
Mahatma Gandhi
Unfortunately, I am no superman like Mussolini.
Vladimir Lenin
What a waste that we lost Mussolini. He is a first-rate man who would have led our party to power in Italy.
Winston Churchill
What a man! I have lost my heart!... Fascism has rendered a service to the entire world... If I were Italian, I am sure I would have been with you entirely from the beginning of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passion of Leninism.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
There seems to be no question that [Mussolini] is really interested in what we are doing and I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished and by his evidenced honest purpose of restoring Italy.
G. K. Chesterton
A modern man may disapprove of some of his sweeping reforms, and approve others; but finds it difficult not to admire even where he does not approve.
Thomas Edison
The greatest genius of the modern age.
Sigmund Freud
To Benito Mussolini, from an old man who greets in the ruler, the Hero of Culture.
George Bernard Shaw
Some of the things Mussolini has done, and some that he is threatening to do go further in the direction of Socialism than the English Labour Party could yet venture if they were in power.
Silvio Berlusconi
He never killed anyone, he sent people on holiday to confine them.
+5
Level 61
Sep 27, 2020
Interesting.
+3
Level 51
Sep 27, 2020
Very interesting!
+1
Level 30
Oct 14, 2020
Too much interesting
+3
Level 51
Sep 27, 2020
Cool!
+1
Level 56
Sep 28, 2020
I really dont know much about Mussolini, but what i do know, he seems like a pretty good guy. What was so bad about Mussolini?
+5
Level 50
Sep 28, 2020
Bad parts: Oppressive dictator; brutal imperialism; brought his country into WWII and became a lapdog for Hitler; poor military leader. Good parts: Prosperity and autarky through centrally planned and collectively managed economy; brought roads, bridges, canals, and electricity across the country; introduced public schools, raised literacy rates from under half to 74%; initiated Italy's first welfare and healthcare systems, eradicated diseases; living, working, and health conditions increased greatly; revived Italian culture through art, music and history. He really should not be demonized as much as he is in the American school system in my opinion. But whether you respect him or not, very interesting figure in history.
+16
Level 67
Sep 28, 2020
The economy might have been managed centrally, but definitely not collectively; literacy did grow under his rule, but at the same rate as before, and in 1921 (a year before he took power) was not under half but already at 65%; his infrastructure plan centred on reclaiming swamplands was a failure, starting off with an 8M ha objective, triumphantly announcing the completion of 4M, which then turned out to be 2M of which 1.5M had been completed by previous administrations; Italy's public health care system was initially established in 1888, with successive reforms culminating in a 1978 restructuring based on the British NHS; the pension and welfare system, originally set up in 1895 for public sector workers and military, was extended to all categories in 1919; living and working conditions went downhill: strikes and trade unions were outlawed, the working day for industrial workers was set at 10 hours plus mandatory overtime;
+13
Level 67
Sep 28, 2020
in work benefits only helped employers by reducing wage outgoings, in fact each household lost about 20% of its spending power between 1922 and 1940; Italian art, culture and history were stifled and exploited for propaganda purposes thanks to the MinCulPop. Whether you respect him or not, he's probably not demonised enough. P.S. We actually had the least punctual trains in Europe during his time.
+11
Level 83
Sep 29, 2020
A lot of these positives you mention are pretty inherent to any developing nation of the time. Other leaders would have done many of the same things, regardless of political affiliation. If anything he should be demonised even more. All the positive stuff he did is very quickly diminished when you see what happened to those who disagreed with him. Just read up on the fate of someone like Antonio Gramsci. Im so sick of this apologist rhetoric for brutal dictators just because they had some positive policies. You see the same praise for Pinochet's economic policies that completely ignores the huge increase in income inequality and that he had dissidents executed by being thrown out of helicopters.
+4
Level 72
Sep 29, 2020
It's sad that there's people who think that building a few infrastructures and improving a couple of (biased) statistics is enough to justify political executions, tortures, forced relocations and suppression of basic rights. Of course he must be demonized. He was a fascist bastard, and so are his supporters.
+4
Level 49
Sep 28, 2020
Fascist dictator of Italy. Ally of Nazi Germany.
+2
Level 80
Sep 28, 2020
::apt comparison to and warning against current leaders::
+2
Level 80
Sep 28, 2020
::ignorant objection to apt comparison, accidentally proving said point::
+9
Level 50
Sep 28, 2020
::Who are those current leaders, may I ask? ::
+6
Level 61
Sep 28, 2020
:: Why do you speak in between double colons? ::
+1
Level 30
Oct 14, 2020
::@ReyFer I don't know::
+24
Level 72
Sep 28, 2020
To be fair, the date where those quotes were said should be included. It seems probable that most of them were made before Mussoline showed his true colours, and the widespread oppression of his fascist ideology took its toll. So we should cut those men some slack.

Except for Berlusconi, of course. That's just an idiot.
+3
Level 50
Sep 28, 2020
Unfortunately Adolf and Mussolini get way more hate than they deserve, whereas counterparts who were equally- or even worse than they them are praised and left off scot-free.
+19
Level 65
Sep 28, 2020
Not sure why you're on first-name terms with Hitler, but I really really really don't like you saying that he gets "way more hate then he deserves." That's not a reasonable thing to say or think.
+1
Level 34
Oct 16, 2020
That is true. Hitler is responsible for the of 6 million innocent Jewish people in consecrations camps. They were shot, forced to dig their own graves, or forced to inhale poisonous gas, that would cause them to suffocate, and were sometimes burned, to avoid any traces of being found. I don't think someone who has that much hate in him, should have anybody on a first name basis with him. (I'm not calling KingEureka a hater, or comparable to Hitler. no matter what s/he has done, KingEureka, i respect your opinion, but can't say i agree with it)
+9
Level 80
Sep 28, 2020
yeah, really, in what way is Hitler not deserving of hate? He almost always gets held up as the most evil man in history, and you could make an argument that he's not really deserving of that particular title (not that he didn't do all he could to deserve it), but which of his contemporaries were worse and get let off?
+1
Level 53
Sep 28, 2020
I think there are a FEW people that come close to overtaking him as “Most Evil Person”, but I don’t think that means he isn’t evil. The other people are probably Stalin, Mao, Hirohito, bin Laden and MAYBE Columbus.
+9
Level 50
Sep 28, 2020
I never meant that Hitler does not deserve hate. He was an evil guy, did a lot of bad deeds. The guy I was talking about is Churchill and other British Colonists. And not to mention Leopard...
+3
Level 53
Sep 28, 2020
Leopold 100%. He used the DRC for his personal profit and entertainment.
+2
Level 56
Sep 30, 2020
I would say Stalin, Mao, and Leopold were all worse than Hitler, but that is just my opinion.
+4
Level 30
Sep 30, 2020
NO WAY Osama bin Laden. He is definitely not as bad as some people were. How about Blackbeard the pirate, he cut off people's hands. Or King Leopold II? with what he did to the Congo.
+4
Level 30
Sep 30, 2020
Ok, just saw that people already thought of Leopold II.
+4
Level 30
Sep 30, 2020
And Stalin was not worse than Hitler in my opinion. Ok ok, Stalin did kill many people but Hitler's holocaust was MUCH worse. He killed people just because they were Jews.
+1
Level 53
Sep 30, 2020
I didn’t say that they were worse, only that they got close to the levels of evil that Hitler was at. Blackbeard is also guilty of committing some pretty horrific acts also.
+1
Level 30
Oct 14, 2020
I researched this and how about Heinrich Himmler, Pol Pot, Ivan the Terrible, Nero and Vlad the Impaler.
+1
Level 73
Oct 21, 2020
+AbbyLW10 just because it didn't get a chapter in your textbooks doesn't mean Stalin wasn't worse. Under Hitler the average German didn't live in abject, horrifying terror and complete economic collapse like Soviets did. Hitler genocided Jews, and Stalin genocided the Ukrainians, the Kazakh, and three gazillion other ethnic minorities in the Caucasus and other areas. Remember that the Baltics, Belarus, and Ukraine were at first HAPPY when Hitler, a disgusting, sick animal, invaded them. That is how horrific Stalin was.
+23
Level ∞
Sep 28, 2020
@KingEureka is an Indian nationalist who generally doesn't subscribe to the Western consensus on a variety of topics. I strongly disagree with pretty much everything they say on the site. That said, its interesting and I think instructive to hear what people from non-Western countries have to say in an unfiltered way.
+14
Level 71
Sep 28, 2020
Same here. Even if I disagree with what King says, it is interesting and good to hear opinions from a variety of people with different backrounds.
+9
Level 50
Sep 28, 2020
Thanks for the compliment Dan :). I'm glad you're not deleting my comments often, even if you disagree ;)
+7
Level 62
Sep 28, 2020
Agree with Quizmaster and HinesBrother. I'd also like to add that though I strongly disagree with KingEureka in regard to what he said about Hitler/Mussolini (and most of what he says in general), I agree with him that Churchill isn't treated in the West as he should be. Churchill definitely was better than Hitler (and probably Mussolini too), but he still said and did some incredibly terrible things, most notably playing a major role in causing a famine that ended up killing 2-3 million in British India. It makes me uncomfortable how much he's paraded around in Western countries today. Same deal with Leopold (to a lesser extent)--while he's not celebrated like Churchill, he is still ignored by many people in the West. I'm guessing most members of the public (in America at least) don't even know who he is.
+8
Level 65
Sep 28, 2020
@JWatson24 with all respect, the famine in British India seems to have been greatly caused as a result of the incompetence of local leaders in the Bengal Province, the Japanese occupation of Burma which limited food imports, and the scorch and burn policies intended to limit potential invaders' food access. While Churchill said some terrible things, and surely some of his actions had cause towards the famine, I do not think it is fair to place all the blame on him for the famine. Nowadays, Churchill is often demonised in certain circles and blamed for far more then he was actually in control of. To touch on the racist remarks by Churchill, most of the 'heros' that we celebrate today had very problematic elements to them, including Gandhi and Mandela. Humans are always very imperfect, but I believe it is necessary we have human faces from the past to look back upon, rather than just movements, which are largely unrelatable.
+6
Level 65
Sep 28, 2020
However, I absolutely agree that Leopold was a terrible person whose rule over the Congo, and the atrocities that took place within, should be better remembered than they are currently.
+7
Level 62
Sep 28, 2020
@Jiaozira I recognize that Churchill was not single-handedly responsible for the Bengal Famine. I also acknowledge that Churchill was a very successful wartime leader who was critical to protecting Britain and standing up to the Nazis. That being said, Churchill's administration still played a major role in redirecting grain shipments from Bengal while other colonies (such as Australia) received ample amounts of grain. He also showed a lack of care for the Bengalis suffering, saying they would "breed like rabbits" if given food. Besides the Bengal Famine, Churchill also promoted the use of extreme forms of torture during the Mau-Mau Uprising, advocated the use of mustard gas against the Kurds (although it seems that the orders weren't carried out), and deployed excessively violent troops in Ireland, among other things.
+6
Level 62
Sep 28, 2020
Also, in response to your comment about other "heroes" having problematic elements, it's true that people like Gandhi expressed racist, paternalistic views at times. However, the racial views of Gandhi don't hold a candle to the things Churchill said about just anyone who wasn't white. Obviously Churchill wasn't the absolute worst, which is why I still said he's better than Hitler and Mussolini, but Churchill is still much more problematic than many other historical "heroes" and his legacy definitely needs to be reevaluated in the West. (Please don't take this an attack though, I definitely think that your arguments are very much valid :)
+6
Level 65
Sep 28, 2020
For sure @JWatson24, and I think the same about your arguements. Figures like Churchill should always be subject to criticism, everyone deserves a hard second look and I think you make good points. I think that casual disagreements and discussions are a healthy thing, and I don't take it as an attack either. Thanks for your reply :)
+2
Level 49
Oct 3, 2020
I hate the Brits who colonised India!
+1
Level 52
Sep 30, 2020
Another thing about Hitler, he actually created a rescue mission to save Mussolini after he was overthrown by the Italian people. Admittedly it was because he wanted to have Italy remain in the hands of the Axis, but he did like Mussolini too.
+14
Level ∞
Sep 28, 2020
Speaking of quotes that people want to pretend don't exist, here's Gandhi's advice to the Brits on how to overcome the Nazis:

"I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered."

+4
Level 30
Sep 30, 2020
ok, I TOTALLY disagree with that. Letting yourself fall toward the Nazis in ABSOLUTELY EVERY possible way.
+1
Level 70
Oct 1, 2020
What's the context here? What was he trying to achieve with that statement? Sounds to me like a combination of extreme pacifism with a hating jab against the British (which I think is understandable), but it still sounds like a somewhat useless comment.
+1
Level 30
Oct 14, 2020
he could be being sarcastic
+1
Level 56
Sep 28, 2020
Salazar too!
+9
Level 83
Sep 29, 2020
Its irresponsible to not include dates with these quotes. You're basically just providing effective material for fascist apologists. Perhaps talking about the origins of fascism in Italy before it become synonymous with Nazi Germany would be helpful too. Ignoring historical chronology makes this a pretty pointless blogpost. It's no revelation that some people who seem alright turn out to be very bad when their true character is revealed. Im sure you can find plenty of glowing quotes about Jimmy Savile and all the charity work he did.
+3
Level 34
Oct 4, 2020
I agree
+1
Level 52
Sep 30, 2020
For someone one called, "the most hated man in Italy", there's a lot of non-Italians that liked him!
+1
Level 61
Oct 5, 2020
How did this blog turn into a heated political discussion about dictatorships, famines, and wars?
+4
Level 47
Oct 6, 2020
Whenever a political discussion arises, many JetPunk users decide to input their beliefs. After that, others disagree. and it becomes a full-scale debate.
+1
Level 51
Oct 10, 2020
which is one of the reasons why I love jetpunk
+1
Level 30
Oct 14, 2020
agree
+1
Level 64
Oct 11, 2020
You forgot about Juan Domingo Perón, argentinean nationalist president (1946 - 1955) with authoritarian features inspired by the Italian corporative system of government (Mussolini´s system). He had very nice things to say about Benito, just google it! Btw, Very nice one, absolutely love history!!
+1
Level 58
Oct 13, 2020
I don't know all of these people, but the ones I do are mostly "good people (saints)". What strikes me is that Berlusconi is added on this list. Isn't it obvious that a far-right politician might like a fellow far-rightsy? I feel like this is like if Trump would say good things about say Robert E. Lee. It would not astound us. Nobody would wonder.
+1
Level 58
Oct 21, 2020
Although I understand your point, I think it's worth noting that Robert E. Lee was not a politician, and nor was he "far right" - in fact, he was a democrat. However, more presidents than Donald Trump have complimented Lee, including Obama, Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Nixon and Eisenhower.