Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]

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The Western Mail March 22nd 1932

 MUSSOLINI HAS SPOKEN

 HOW HE HAS TRANSFORMED ITALY. 

By GARETH JONES

Mussolini has spoken.  One word from him and Cabinet Ministers fall like ninepins.  This week he has dismissed five of the most outstanding men in the Italian Cabinet, and the unexpectedness of the decision can be judged from the fact that, although I was in Rome within the last fortnight, not a single foreign observer even suspected that such a great change was to take place.

This action typical of the Italy of today, which is subjected to discipline and obedience by the Duce.  In each branch of Italian life Mussolini has acted with vigour and ruthlessness.

Take railways.  In the beginning of this month I crossed the French-Italian frontier near the Mont Cenis Pass and travelled through Turin to Genoa and Rome.  Every inch of the railway track on this journey was electrified, for Mussolini is now carrying out a great programme of railway building.

Effect on Welsh Miners

Through this electrification of the railways Mussolini has adversely affected the livelihood of many South Wales miners, tippers, and sailors, for the Italian State Railways become less dependent on imported coal.

Looking out of the train between the frontier and Rome, one could see that every patch of land was cultivated and that up to the vary fringe of the mountains the peasants had planted wheat or vegetables.  Mussolini is fighting fox the full use of Italian soil, against the crowding of the masses in the great cities.  A typical expression of his desire to foster agriculture is the following Fascist quotation: “The dark and mysterious earth yields other gifts than harvests: it gives birth to renunciation, sell-sacrifice, and industry, the loftiest and noblest expressions of the human spirit; Fascism seeks and finds in the fields the purest and freshest spiritual reserves of the nation, and gathers and diffuses these forces to revive new energy and poetry in the soul of the people.”

His “Liberal “Policy.

Mussolini is building roads, bridges, canals, and viaducts in many parts of Italy.  He aims at a re-building of his native country, and it is remarkable that his programme follows the lines laid down by the Liberal party in Great Britain.  What irony that the enemy of Democracy should be carrying out the policy advocated by British Liberals!

This programme is being carried out by Mussolini in the same spirit in which he has dismissed his Ministers, and it reveals his impetuous, energetic nature.  He will brook no rivals.  Grandi, the Foreign Minister, who had aroused the admiration of diplomats in all continents, must now go.  Mosconi, the Minister of Finance, is dismissed, and his place is taken by Signor Guido Jung, an energetic, much traveled man, who received me in Rome a fortnight ago.  Little did I think that this keen, grey-haired man who faced me would within fourteen days be Finance Minister of Italy.

The Searchlights.

Mussolini has through his Dictatorial methods aroused great opposition.  One evening a German foreign correspondent and I, having dined together near the Italian Foreign Office, walked out of the restaurant, looked up, and saw searchlights flashing across the sky. “Do you know what that is?” asked the journalist.

“Those searchlights are to prevent anti-Fascist aeroplanes, coming from France and manned by Italian exiles, from dropping a bomb on the Palazzo Venezia, or from dropping pamphlets against Mussolini on the streets of Rome.” Communism also is growing in the North of Italy.

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