…But in 1938, when Mussolini, at Hitler’s insistence , began to persecute Italy’s Jews, Marinetti published an open letter denouncing anti-Smitism in the arts.
The act took courage. But courage had never been Marinetti’s short suit. Thus, in World War II, now in his middle sixties- his Futurist Manifesto was published in 1909- he volunteered for duty on the Russian front and served there for twenty-three months. In 1944 he returned sick to Italy- or, rather, to the makeshift Republic of Salo, which the Germans had set up with Mussolini technically in charge. And there in Bellagio, by Lake Como, he died.
Marinetti’s very consistency had been his undoing: the rebel against history refused to learn from the violent history of his own time. Even after the cataclysm of 1914-18, he continued to defy any form of sense-common, rational, metaphysical or transcendental- and continued to extoll war and the baggage he created around it as an aesthetic that combined the sacrificial and cleansing qualities he jiggered onto it with the technological absurdity of the “new man” he saw emerging; a kind of trans humanism.
And throughout the Fascist period, as the arts in Italy sank ever lower in subservience to the all-powerful state, he dreamed of the eventual triumph of a natural “proletariat of gifted men” under the banner “power to the artists.”
Marinetti’s creature, futurism, began as a revolutionary movement with a radical program for renewal- and ended in Fascism. Why? Benedetto Croce described the futurist as using bully-boy tactics , “to impose their own opinions, to stop the mouths of those who disagree,” and this does yield an important clue, but the ultimate explanation is to be found in the profoundly reactionary nature of the movement itself. As G.M. Carsaniga wrote: “Futurism encouraged writers and artists to cut themselves off from history in order to cultivate morbid superhuman ambitions…Thus the natural outcome of Futurism was isolationsim in art and Fascism in politics.”
The metaphorsis of futurism into Fascism was,of course,a purely Italian phenomenon; but in 1940- by which time futurism was clearly passe-Anne Morrow Lindbergh was calling Fascism, and Nazism, the “wave of the future.” Five years later Mussolini and Hitler were dead and their works in ruins. The moral would seem to be two-fold: that history avenges itself on those who seek to suppress it; and that attempts to impose a future- any future- must come out badly.
(see link at end)…Few could say it better than Marinetti; if he considered the fascist movement to be this similar to futurism, clearly fascism seriously benefitted from futurism, both by the sharingpolitical and cultural ideals and in riding the coattails of such a successful movement.
“It was precisely because of its cultural orientation that Futurism was able to make an important contribution to modern politics” (Mosse 253). And although futurism did not succeed as a political party, it lived on through the movement that it helped to power, and in some ways even became. The fascist movement had a smooth transition to political office in Italy because its similarities to futurism allowed it to “appeal to the desperate and disillusioned elements of the organized working class, as well as to the disappointed nationalism of middle class intellectuals and ex-officers” . This Italian proletariat had been socially and culturally homogenized by the futurist movement, and when a true political force (rather than an artistic movement) fought for control of the country with a similar philosophy, it had little trouble gaining power. Therefore it is clear that the futurist movement played an important role in the rise of fascism in Italy. Read More:https://bu.digication.com/jdoty/Paper_2_First_Draft1