Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
With widespread unemployment, striking workers and general dissatisfaction with the government, Italy was on the verge of revolution after World War I. A new Fascist movement that promised to bring order grew increasingly popular. The Fascists' takeover of Rome, ponderously reported in The Post of Oct. 29, 1922, resulted in the appointment of their leader, Benito Mussolini, as prime minister the very next day -- although for some reason Mussolini is never mentioned by name in the story. In less than three years he would become Il Duce, dictator of Italy. An excerpt:
Although the fascisti of Rome contented themselves today with conferences at their headquarters, and news from the provinces showed all was quiet except in a few isolated cases, where the extreme nationalists occupied some public offices, precautionary measures were adopted by the authorities, and the cabinet of the premier, in spite of its resignation, discussed means of maintaining order. Street car traffic has been stopped, but automobiles, cabs and buses are running. All the buildings of the city are beflagged. The only place at which bloodshed has occurred since the fascisti began their movement for control is Cremona.
A new movement by the fascisti with the object of exercising pressure to obtain the formation of a cabinet in accordance with their desires is said to have been initiated in central Italy today.
After a long session, which began at midnight last night, the Facta cabinet issued a proclamation this morning announcing that it would maintain law and order at whatever cost. It was at first intended to institute martial law, but after the situation was given further consideration and reports of a less disquieting nature came from the provinces, the ministers thought it best merely to make their stand known to the public and to urge that order be maintained in the face of "insurrectionary attempts."
Victor Emmanuel, the newspaper declared, refused to sign the decree for a state of siege. An imposing demonstration by fascisti and nationalist citizens took place tonight in front of the Quirinal, the crowd enthusiastically acclaiming the king.
King Victor Emmanuel as yet has nominated no one for the task of forming a new ministry.
Genoa, Oct. 28 --
The Secolo prints a telegram from Rome announcing that the commander-in-chief of the fascisti troops had signed a mobilization order for all the chiefs of the movement to appear tomorrow at headquarters to receive special instructions. To avoid disorder, fascisti troops will be posted at strategic points and at railway crossings, while the station will be occupied by fascisti.
The newspaper says that concentration of fascisti is taking place.