Mussolini (1922-1943) and Hitler (1933-1945) both came to power constitutionally but a decade apart. By 1924 Italy was a totalitarian state while Hitler was in prison writing Mein Kampf- My Struggle. In each instance their totalitarian regimes replaced a failed democratic state. Like any raptor fascism always strikes when the prey is weakened. From afar Hitler had watched, doubtless in envy mixed with admiration but willing to learn, as Mussolini took control of the organs of the state- the police, judiciary, trade unions, universities, the cultural institutions and especially the public services. Hitler did likewise. But there was an awful difference-racism thrived in Germany and to our unceasing sorrow we know its fruits yet insist that the boats must be stopped.
By the late 1930s the face of Europe was about to be bathed in blood and its history was to change utterly. The price of World War 2 in tragedy was high but even tragedy can reap a rich harvest. After centuries, during which the European nations had waged war against their neighbours almost unceasingly, they laid down their arms and built a peaceful Europe. We need to ask why so many rejoice today in the troubles of a united Europe. To its east where fascism thrives, the raptor waits.