Mussolini and the Jews: What Inspired Fascist Anti-Semitic Policy in Italy?

Giorgia Ricciardi


Historically, Italy was considered among the least anti-Semitic states in Europe. Early in his rule, Benito Mussolini was clear in his aversion to anti-Semitism when he declared that there was no Jewish question and opposed the idea of biological racism promoted by the Nazi Party. He widely regarded Jews as being amiable, and worked closely with them in the Fascist party. However, throughout the course of his dictatorship, his treatment and rhetoric concerning the Jewish people drastically changed. This paper examines the history and transformation of Mussolini’s policies toward Italy’s Jewish population. Further discussed are Il Duce’s imperialistic vision and its effect on his racial laws. This paper de-emphasizes the alliance with Nazi Germany as a factor, maintaining that Mussolini’s imperialistic agenda, not influence from Hitler, fuelled the shift toward anti-Semitic policies in Italy.


Italy; Fascism; Il Duce; Benito Mussolini; Jews; anti-Semitism; racial laws


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

University of Victoria