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“A mob of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists, hurling tear gas and stench bombs, today attacked a meeting of 500 women held here under the auspices of the International League for Peace and Freedom." (Photo: Wikicommons)

“A mob of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists, hurling tear gas and stench bombs, today attacked a meeting of 500 women held here under the auspices of the International League for Peace and Freedom." (Photo: Wikicommons)

Far Right Urging of Jailing of Political Rivals Linked in History With Bombings

If you don’t believe me about the connection, consider a few news articles from the 1920s and early 1930s, as the Fascists came to power in Italy and increasingly agitated in Germany

Juan Cole

 by Informed Comment

The mass right wing parties of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s were led by charismatic leaders who whipped up the hatreds of mobs by denouncing immigrants and ethnic and religious groups as threats to the nation and as terrorists and saboteurs.

Somehow when politicians set such a tone, in which alternative political leaders and movements are not just seen as a legitimate loyal opposition, but are depicted as criminal traitors who must be locked up, one thing that happens is that bombs start to go off, planted by members of the far Right parties.

If you don’t believe me about the connection, consider a few news articles from the 1920s and early 1930s, as the Fascists came to power in Italy and increasingly agitated in Germany:

Jan. 4, 1925, AP, Rome: “Despite the order of the Government, the Fascisti have been holding imposing processions in different parts of the country. At Pisa rioting followed a parade, crowds invaded and devastated the local Freemasons’ Lodge. Republican headquarters and the offices of the anti-Fascisti newspaper Messagerio. At Giugliano, near Naples, a bomb was exploded at the house of Mayor Prof. Tagliatela . . . Premier Mussolini, returning to the vehement Fascist style of oratory, which he had abandoned when he became head of the Government, Saturday thrilled the opening session of the Chamber of Deputies by delivering a speech in which he declared, “Within 24 hours of this speech I assure you that the situation will be cleaned up and the air will again be breathable.”

Aug. 26, 1929, NYT: Princeton, N.J.: “An attempt was made to blow up the home of an anti-Fascisto member in Princeton this morning, climaxing the two months’ conflict between the supporters of the Mussolini government and its opponents in the local Italian colony. A stick of dynamite was placed in a cellar window at 333 Witherspoon Street . . . Four leaders of the Fascist group were arrested later, as it was charged that they had been heard threatening to kill [Salvatore] Forte [the occupant of the house]. . . Clashes between the Fascist and anti-Fascist groups have been occurring for two months. A street fight, in which concealed weapons were found on the participants, and several assaults and attempted assaults have marked the controversy.

September 11, 1929, The Scotsman, Berlin: “The police have made a lightning descent upon the lairs of the political desperadoes who for the past nine months have been terrorising towns and villages in Northern Germany with their bomb outrages. Yesterday and to-day they effected 22 arrests in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Berlin, and are hot on the tracks of further persons suspected of implication in this conspiracy of violence. They have also secured a perfectly new bomb of the usual make which was ready to be placed in the doorway of some official building . . . Responsibility of Fascists . . . The Allied authorities are keeping a close watch on the activities of the National Socialistic German Workers’ Party in occupied territory. The bomb outrages carried out in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany, [are] alleged to be the work of this party . . .

Dec. 30, 1929, NYT, London: Threats, supposedly from Fascisti, to blow up the New York publishing house of G. P. Putnam’s Sons if that company publishes a book by Francesco Nitti exposing Italy’s prison conditions, was received today by George Palmer Putnam of that firm . . .

Jan. 19, 1933, NYT: Frankfurt-am-Main: “A mob of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists, hurling tear gas and stench bombs, today attacked a meeting of 500 women held here under the auspices of the International League for Peace and Freedom . . . a man jumped up and read a resolution adressed to President Paul von Hindenburg demanding the death sentences for all persons objecting to war. When he had finished Nazis hidden in the gallery launched their stench and gas attack.”


© 2021 Juan Cole
Juan Cole

Juan Cole

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His newest book, "Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires" was published in 2020. He is also the author of  "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East" (2015) and "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East" (2008).  He has appeared widely on television, radio, and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. 

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