Trains on Time

            One way to gain the support of people a tyrant is trying to lead is to do something that benefits those people. Second best would be to tell them you did something to benefit them even if you didn’t.

            After the “March on Rome” on 10/28/1922 which appointed Mussolini Prime Minister, Mussolini needed to convince Italians that fascism was actually a beneficial system working for them. This spawned the myth of fascist efficiency. The train was the symbolic representation of this efficiency. Word was spread that Il Duce had turned the dilapidated Italian railway system into an efficient watch-like well-oiled machine.

            It was true the rail system had fallen into disrepair during World War I, but much of its subsequent improvement had already taken place before 1922 and Mussolini’s ascension to power. And those who lived in Italy during the 1920’s attest to the fact that the trains’ adherence to timetables was more of a myth than a fact. Now it has become a sardonic example that even in the worst of circumstances something good may come out of it, by saying, Yes…, and Mussolini made the trains run on time!”