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I was taught that in the early twenties the Socialist and the Fascist parties programmes were more or less identical, except for just one nationalist clause in the Fascist party's programme.

Despite those parties being rivals, it actually made sense, since the Fascist party was born out of Social origins; strangely, though, I wasn't able to find those programmes.

Did such a thing really happen, or was I mis-taught?

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(originally posted at Politics, got no answer in almost 1 year, can't be migrated anymore, so reposting it here) – o0'. Nov 25 '13 at 13:55
I think this is perfectly on-topic here too. However, I believe this kind of situation is exactly what bounties are for. – T.E.D. Nov 25 '13 at 14:20
@T.E.D. I agree, but I fear that bounties on small sites are almost useless, since pro users will read all questions anyway. (I've posted about that in a meta once, but I can't find the post) – o0'. Nov 25 '13 at 14:40
@Lohoris I've gotten good response on some of my bounties, but admittedly it's a lot to give a big bounty when that would mean half of your reputation. – Lennart Regebro Nov 25 '13 at 14:59
@T.E.D. - if you look at the original, I explicitly promised a bounty if someone could find an answer (I didn't post one as it'd just expire with no answer and no use). Difficult questions like that on small sites don't always get helped by the bounty. – DVK Nov 25 '13 at 16:33

What I think happened here is a case of gradual exaggeration. Benito Mussolini, who started the Italian Fascist party, was a socialist. But he got kicked out of the socialist party for supporting Italian involvement in WWI.

Since he was no longer in the socialist party, he started his own organization, which eventually became the fascist party. Although the opinions of the fascists and the socialists differed in several respects, most of the fascist ideology was simply socialism. Therefore the opinions of the fascists and the socialists was quite similar in many respects.

A similar thing happened in Germany, where DAP, the German Workers Party, acquired some nationalist opinions and finally turned into NSDAP, the Nazi party.

The discourse, propaganda, opinions and target interest groups of the socialists and the Italian fascists and German nazis was very similar, although the socialists emphasized class while the Italian fascists and German nazis emphasized the nation. The politics they proposed was also very similar.

But by the time Mussolini actually formed the Fascist party, it was seven years since he was kicked out out the socialist party, and there was no reason for him to just take the socialist party's program and change it a bit. I also can find no support for this claim, and I think that would be more widely known if it was the case.

So, no, they did not share the same electoral programme as far as I can figure out. I did find the 1920 program of PSI, and the 1921 program of PNF, and they are not the same at all. But that doesn't prove anything, you would have to compare the program of PSI for all it's years with the programs of the several socialist parties in Italy during all their years, and to do that you probably need to go to Italy. :-)

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While I agree, this could definitely be improved with actual cites - even without progremme, you can quote Il Duce's opinions of fascism and socialism, for example. – DVK Nov 25 '13 at 16:35
Well, this is a good and informed speculation, but I was looking for the actual programmes, surely they must be written somewhere, or is there really the risk that they are lost? – o0'. Nov 26 '13 at 9:09
@Lohoris Sure, but which years? You'd need to compare all programmes for all parties for all years (there's three socialist parties in Italy during some of this time). – Lennart Regebro Nov 26 '13 at 11:26
You are quite right that it was Mussolini's opposition to the Italian Socialists' policy of neutrality in the war which caused his break with the party. The historian R.J.B.Bosworth believes that it was Mussolini's time spent as an Italian expatriate in Italy, before the first world war, mixing with the Italian community that had imbued him with feelings of nationalism. His father had been a blacksmith and a socialist, and the young Benito had grown up in the socialist way, and was passionately committed to revolution. – WS2 Mar 15 '15 at 23:14

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