Mauro Canali (Università di Camerino)
Spencer Di Scala (University of Massachusetts Boston)
ll delitto Matteotti, by Florestano Vancini, 1973
The barbaric murder of Matteotti, committed on 10 June 1924, marked the end of the so-called ‘legalistic’ period of the Mussolini administration. Prior to that date, Mussolini had been skillful in navigating between conflicting pressures.
On the one hand he continued to display a purely formal respect for the political procedures and the institutions of the liberal state, on the other, he was encouraging the use of violence and was establishing his own secret police to intimidate the most active anti-Fascist leaders.
Giacomo Matteotti, uncompromising opposition leader, had denounced publicly this state of affairs, violence, intimidation and corruption in the 1924 elections. Moreover, he had begun to uncover Mussolini’s shady deals with Standard Oil over the monopoly in Italian territories. After his death Italy entered the dictatorship that became the blueprint of European totalitarianism.
With the creation of the Matteotti Brigade that fought along the Anglo-American forces in the liberation of Italy, Matteotti’s views on democracy and the liberal state became a symbol of resistance. In 1947 the Italian Constitutional Assembly honored his name in proclaiming the constitution of the Italian Republic