Football and Fascism: The National Game Under Mussolini
This is a cultural history of Italian Fascism viewed through the lens of soccer. The 1930s were the zenith of achievement for Italian football--Italy hosted and won the 1934 World Cup and retained the trophy in 1938. At club level, Calcio was reorganized into a national league, after which the first Italian club teams emerged to dominate European competition. It was at this time that Mussolini's party institutionalized soccer as a fascist game. Italian Fascism fully exploited the opportunities football provided to shape public opinion, penetrate daily life, and reinforce conformity. By politicizing the game, Fascism also sought to enhance the regime's international prestige and inculcate nationalist values. Football and Fascism is an original look at the appropriation of sport to serve political ends during a dark period of Italian history.