Mussolini did more than dictate America’s stiff-armed gesture: He imposed the gesture along with robotic chanting to the flag in government schools (socialist schools) as had been the practice in the USA since 1892. On January 31, 1923, the Ministry of Education imposed a mechanical incantation to the flag in schools and the creepy scene was immortalized by the photographer Stefano Stagnoli in his photograph “The Promise to the Fatherland.”
Mussolini learned the American stiff-armed salute when he was a socialist, and he learned of it from the socialist Gabrielle D’Annunzio, who learned it from old early movies (from the USA) that utilized the widespread use of the gesture in the United States’ Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag (the practice had been occurring for about three decades in the USA -from 1892).
A web search for “Gabriele d’Annunzio was also a socialist” (or in Italian “Gabriele d’Annunzio fu anche socialista”) reveals his socialist history (Don’t bother with Wakipedia, as it will never tell readers that Gabriele d’Annunzio was a socialist. Wikipedia does not want anyone to know. The rest of the web reveals what wakipedia hides). Few know that the poet was deputy of the Socialist Party, and even a candidate in 1900. He set up the short-lived Italian Regency of Carnaro in Fiume with himself as Duce. D’Annunzio’s socialist ideals emerged in Fiume when he coauthored a constitution. The constitution established a socialist state with nine sectors of collectivization to represent the different sectors of the economy (workers, employers, professionals), and a tenth (D’Annunzio’s invention) to represent the “superior” human beings (heroes, poets, prophets, supermen). It established a Technical Council of Labour. The Carta also declared that music was the fundamental principle of the state.
Mussolini was inspired by D’Annunzio’s socialist sectors. As Mussolini began his fascitization of socialism, he also adopted the American stiff-armed salute and the accompanying robotic group-speak already prevalent under U.S. socialism. The ritual is shown in the book “Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy” by Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi (2000), p. 110 in a photograph with this notation: “Figure 15. Schoolchildren saluting the flag (“The Promise to the Fatherland,” by Stagnoli).” The book appears to be available online at http://s1.downloadmienphi.net/file/downloadfile4/270/1393937.pdf
The author Falasca-Zamponi appears to be unaware of the use of the gesture in the U.S. from 1892, and the author appears to be unaware of the discovery by the historian Dr. Rex Curry that the USA’s Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the salute/gesture along with the ritual chanting to the nation’s flag (from 1892).
Falasca-Zamponi also perpetuates widespread ignorance about the mis-named Roman salute myth. She appears to be unaware that the gesture was NOT an ancient Roman salute, and that the so-called “Roman salute” myth arose because Francis Bellamy was from the city of Rome in the state of New York (not in Italy).
Articles from as far back as 2004 explain how Dr. Curry’s work debunked Falasco-Zamponi regarding the “Roman salute” myth and the origin of the gesture.
Mussolini “honored” the city of Rome in the state of New York by presenting the city with a statue of the Capitoline wolf. The statue remains on display in Rome, NY.
Achille Starace, the Italian Fascist Party secretary, pushed for measures to make the use of the Roman salute generally compulsory, denouncing hand shaking as “bourgeois” (using stereotypically socialist language).
OPEN LETTER to: Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi
author of Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy (2000)
Was the USA’s Pledge of Allegiance the origin of the stiff-armed “Fascist” salute/gesture? I read your book and you do not appear to be aware of the discovery by the historian Dr. Rex Curry that the USA’s Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the salute/gesture along with the ritual chanting to the nation’s flag (from 1892). Were you even aware of USA’s use of the gesture from 1892?