"FASCISM OR — ? "
[To the Editor of TnE SPECTATOR.]
Sin,—Surely the widely-canvassed idea that the alternative to Signor Mussolini's regime is Communist chaos is without foundation in fact. A period of instability is likely to succeed, the downfall of any strong ruler ; but in the case of Italy at least two lines of possible development are clearly visible to all but the ignorant.
The most likely successor to Signor Mussolini—in the event of the latter succumbing to international pressure—is Marshal Badoglio. He has the confidence of the King ; he is immensely popular not only with the Army but with many thousan Is of ex-soldiers who remember his solicitude for the rank and file during the Great War ; he has a splendid reputation abroad. A military Directorate under his leadership would have the support of a large section of the Fascist population. It is an open secret that such a solution is already being discussed up and down Italy.
Short of Badoglio, it is by no means improbable that Mussolini falls without bringing the Fascist regime down in ruins about him. Some of his abler collaborators, such as Grandi and Balbo, would be able to carry on, though with increasing dilutions of the pure Fascist doctrine, for a con- siderable time. It should not be forgotten that the whole of the Fascist Grand Council with the exception of the Cianos, father and son, and of Signor Start-ace originally advised the Duce against plunging into war.
Communism in Italy is an exceedingly remote prospect." Why this bogey should impress even people in high places it is difficult to understand.—I am, Sir, yours faithfully',
87a Baker Street, London, W.1. RICHARD FREUND.