Mussolini’s policemen

Behaviour, ideology and institutional culture in representation and practice

This book examines the careers and lives of regular Italian police personnel against the background of Benito Mussolini's rise to power and his attempted construction of a new fascist civilisation. It analyses how, and to what extent, the new regime transformed the existing structures and functions of the Italian police. The book explores the cultural environment in which Mussolini's policeman acted. In spite of notable levels of support for fascism among policemen, Mussolini's movement was hesitant in its relations with the police, particularly the institutions of the Interior Ministry. It analyses how effectively a fascist culture penetrated the police. The book contrasts the regime's official and much propagandised integration of the Public Security forces into the new political order with the ideological and professional shortcomings behind recruitment and training procedures. The professional tasks entrusted to the regular organs of the Interior Ministry Police and the Carabinieri at the level of the community and the type of relationships that arose are then examined. An assessment of the quality of performance of the regular police and the effectiveness of internal hierarchical structures governing them during the fascist years follows. The book reviews the profiles of the careers and lives of a selection of members of the Interior Ministry Police, with a view to consolidate an understanding of the various issues. Finally, it considers how the Italian police forces reacted to the gradual demise of fascism, underlining how their growing dissociation from the regime reflected its failure to engender lasting loyalty among personnel.

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