Fascist socialization
The Congress of Verona in November 1943 was the only congress of the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Republican Fascist Party
Republican Fascist Party
The Republican Fascist Party was a political party led by Benito Mussolini during the German occupation of Central and Northern Italy. It was founded as the successor of former National Fascist Party as an anti-monarchist party...

, the successor of the National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
The National Fascist Party was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism...

. At the time, the Republican Fascist Party was nominally in charge of the Salò Republic, a small fascist state set up in Northern Italy after the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 entered Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. The Salò Republic was in fact a German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 puppet state
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

 and most of its internal and external policies were dictated by German military commanders. Nevertheless, Italian fascists
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 were allowed to keep the trappings of sovereignty. It was under these conditions that they organized the Congress of Verona, ostensibly for the purpose of charting a new political course and rejuvenating the Italian fascist movement.

Proposals made at the Congress

The Congress produced several statements, proposals and decisions, most of which were never implemented due to the ongoing war
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the German occupation. According to historian Peter Neville, the fascist delegates at the congress were well aware of their lack of any real political power, so they made intentionally unrealistic or dishonest promises, knowing that they would never have to carry them out. Significantly, Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, the founder and leader of Italian Fascism, was not present at the congress. He only sent a letter to the delegates, which was read as part of the opening ceremony.

Of the decisions made at the Congress of Verona, the most important - and the one with the greatest practical impact - was the transformation of Italian fascism into a republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

an movement, after it had supported the monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 of King Victor Emmanuel III for 21 years. The decision was motivated by the fact that the king had arrested Mussolini and made peace with the Allies just months before the congress; in fact it was this action that forced the fascists to flee to Northern Italy and try to set up a new state there. The king was therefore a traitor in their eyes.

The Congress of Verona also made a series of sweeping promises that represented an almost total departure from previous fascist policy. It promised to introduce a democratic
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 government elected on the basis of popular sovereignty, to convene a Constituent Assembly that would draft a new constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, to allow freedom of the press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

, to create an independent judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 that would investigate corruption and abuses under the previous fascist government, to hand over uncultivated land to poor farmers, to bring some key industries under state ownership and to institute profit sharing in many other private industries. These latter economic policies were meant to represent a "Third Position
Third Position
Third Position is a revolutionary nationalist political ideology that emphasizes its opposition to both communism and capitalism. Advocates of Third Position politics typically present themselves as "beyond left and right", instead claiming to syncretize radical ideas from both ends of the...

" between capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and Marxist socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...


However, none of these promises were kept. The head of state remained unelected, the Constituent Assembly never met, free speech continued to be restricted as before, and a Special Tribunal was set up to convict enemies of fascism rather than investigate government corruption. The proposed "third way" also failed to materialize. In key industries private shareholders still played a central role, workers' rights were severely limited, and trade unions had no power.

Historians disagree about the purpose of the promises made at Verona. One theory is that the Republican Fascist Party was intentionally trying to show confusion about its policies and objectives; by this time there was a strong backlash in central and southern Italy against anything associated with fascism, and the fascists in the north could try to direct popular anger in the south against an idea or policy merely by associating themselves with that idea or policy.
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