@Davis: Oh, what a surprise.
@Kroisistan: Lol, that must've been in my head when I thought of the name. I had honestly not intended that.
@Milites: The mafia question is an issue all the factions will take positions over. It goes from the less violent ideas of the Social-Reformists to the outstraight war of Mussolini's National-Syndicalists.
Here's the last part of the prologue. The next parts will be in the game itself. My only regret is not making a proper sized version of the RSI's flag. If I had any graphic skills I'd just stick the Syndicalist logo in the middle of the Roman Republic's flag, though I'm lacking in those as you may guess
The March into the Future
With the declaration of the Socialist Republic of Italy, Austria-Hungary found its plans in Italy fast falling apart. A last ditch invasion of the Socialist Republic of Italy took place in mid-May, consisting of a force combined from the various states within the Italian Confederation and two elite Austro-Hungarian divisions. The invasion was a total disaster for the Austro-Hungarians, more due to the lack of coordination and morale from the invasion force than the skill of the revolutionaries.
Originally Posted by A letter from Gramsci to his mother in the Principality of Sardegna-Piemonte, intercepted by the government
The Commune of France quickly established relations with the new nation, sending advisors to help the Italians in their attempt to build a socialist order and the groundwork for a military to defend its borders. They certainly had their work cut out for them- aside from a few entrepreneurial landlords, the agricultural methods were by and large antiquated. Little agricultural machinery existed. Infrastructure in the region was pitiful aside from a few railroads leading to the ports. The vast majority of the populace, particularly among the peasantry, was illiterate. And of course, with the departure or deaths of most of the nobility in the region, some peasants attempted to take the place of the gentry and took control of the latifundia themselves, forcing the others to work under them in much the same way the nobles had done.
Through the course of much of the summer, a temporary collective leadership was set up while a Constituent Assembly was held in the Palace of Caserta at Naples. The palace was also open for the first time to the people to observe and participate in the debates to make their demands heard in the new government. A republican style of government was decided upon, with a unicameral parliament- the House of Commons. A President would be chosen as the Head of State, while the Chairman of the House of Commons would function as the head of government. However, going in line with the stance against notions of “bourgeois” democracy, the delegations to the House of Commons were to be derived from the workers’ and farmers councils- syndicates- across the nation, as opposed to campaigns by political parties.
A flag was created to indicate a new Italy, free of its monarchical past and forward looking. To that end the controversial choice was made to abandon the Italian tricolor in favor of an older Republican tricolor. The flag of the short-lived Roman Republic of 1798 was chosen as the inspiration due to it being first “Republican” government of modern times. The color scheme was black-white-red, as opposed to the green-white-red of the old Italian flag. The flag was touched up with the syndicalist designs- a cogwheel with a crossed torch and hammer.
The flag of the Roman Republic of 1798. The Socialist Republic of Italy in turn added the syndicalist symbols to the middle of the flag.
The flag of the Socialist Republic of Italy
A contentious issue during the constitutional debates was currency. Some of the more radical syndicalists and socialists felt that money should be abolished, while others felt that would have been unfeasible at that point in time. Eventually a motion to enter such a provision in the constitution was defeated and the lira was retained as the currency, for the time being.
In November, a final draft of the constitution was approved by the Constituent Assembly. The largest faction at the time were the Maximalists and pro-Lenin factions of the Italian Socialist Party, and the syndicalists, who joined ranks to successfully pass the constitution against the opposition of the reformists led by Turati. Amadeo Bordiga was chosen as the first President of the Republic while Palmiro Togliatti became the Chairman of the House of Commons. The affairs of the government would take place in the Congress of the Republic, or the former Royal Palace of Naples .
The Congress of the Republic
First Government of the Socialist Republic of Italy
President of the Socialist Republic of Italy: Amadeo Bordiga
Chairman of the House of Commons: Palmiro Togliatti
General Responsible for Diplomacy: G.M. Serrati
General Responsible for Industry and Agriculture: Angelo Tasca
General Responsible for Armaments: Arturo Labriola
General Responsible for the Police: Antonio Gramsci
General Responsible for Intelligence: Vittorio Vidali
General Responsible for the People's Military: Camillo Berneri
General Responsible for the People's Army: Umberto Marzocchi
General Responsible for the People's Navy: Francesco Maugeri
General Responsible for the People's Air Force: Mario Ajmone Cat
Amadeo Bordiga and Palmiro Togliatti
The two most pressing issues to the safety of the new nation were the Church and the Mafia. The Church had an incredible amount of influence among the peasants, and presented a potential “fifth column” of sorts in the event of a war with the confederation. Some of the prominent figures within the Republic advocated for a strong application of Atheism and a “people’s war” against the Church. Others advocated for a more secular approach to the Church, opting for a “kulturkampf” of sorts to combat the influence of religion among the populace . This platform eventually won out in the government and the presence of the church was tolerated- though heavily scrutinized by the intelligence services. The Vatican in turn took a position of silence on the new Republic, greatly frustrating the Austrians.
A mugshot of Cascioferro during a stint in jail in the United States
The mafia had quickly established black markets as the new government began to create a socialist-oriented economy, responding to the demands of certain citizens for goods that were difficult to acquire. The mafia also operated a lucrative human smuggling network that moved southern Italians to the north or to the western hemisphere. The mafia in Sicily also maintained connections with mafia families in the United States, furthering their black market and human smuggling operations. Though the exact power structure was unclear, it was believed that Vito Cascioferro was the strongest of all the bosses in Sicily. Cascioferro had originally been a member of the Fasci Siciliani in his youth, and ended up in New York after several adventures in the Mediterranean by September 1901. It is believed there he worked his way up within the mafia network, and returning to Sicily at some point in late 1904 and became a powerful figure in the mob network there. During the revolution, Cascioferro and other friendly families withdrew to the shadows, aiding the revolutionaries where they could eliminate rivals. The mafia then reemerged into their original activities, and would present the republic with its most prominent problem for years to come.
By the end of 1921, it was clear that the Commune of France and the Socialist Republic of Italy would be the only socialist nations in Europe. Uprisings in Germany failed to materialize while an attempted revolution in Hungary was foiled by the authorities. In Russia, the Bolsheviks lost their struggle when in September of 1921, both Petrograd and Moscow were captured from the Red Army by the German-assisted opposition forces . The notable members of the Bolsheviks were either killed during the course of the German intervention, or put to trial and later executed. Very few managed to escape. The Mensheviks had managed to set up a socialist republic in Georgia, though it chose a path of isolation. The news came as a shock to the Marxist elements in the Socialist Republic of Italy, as it now left the momentum of the socialist revolution to the syndicalists in France.
Aided by the Commune of France, the Socialist Republic of Italy began its path to industrialization. Infrastructure such as railroads, telephone, roads, radio, and much more began to sprout up in parts of the country. A massive restructuring of the education system took place, firmly placing it in a secular institution and promotion of the socialist ideals of the Republic. Alongside this was an expansion of the schools, spreading schools to areas which formerly none had existed and making it compulsory attendance. Factories began to pop up in the major cities and the creation of a larger and more dominant proletariat was encouraged. A proper military was formed alongside popular militias that formed the police in the Republic. All things considered though, the republic still had a ways to go. The industrial heartland of Italy was in the north, and it would take considerable effort to even minimize the gap. Furthermore there was the issue of resources- Southern Italy, though rich in agriculture in the mainland and mines in Sicily, would not be able to sustain a highly developed economy on its own. To that end it would have to rely on the Commune of France and other partners even more- autarky was out of the question.
The divisions in the revolutionary movement were inevitable however. Like in the Commune of France, the prominent politicians soon affiliated themselves to different platforms within the government. The two major divisions at the time were the Social-Reformists, led by Turati, and the Socialist-Syndicalist platform led by Bordiga and Togliatti. While the latter was stronger at the time, it still did not prevent a rather heated dispute between Antonio Gramsci and Angelo Tasca from taking center stage of the governments’ affairs.
Gramsci and Tasca
Tasca and Gramsci, along with Togliatti and Terracini- all friends- had established a clandestine newspaper called “L’Ordine Nuovo”, or The New Order in 1919. While originally intending to be an exploration of “socialist” culture, the newspaper soon found itself exploring political questions. Notably, it encouraged and supported “councils” formed by workers and peasants that, in Gramsci’s words, would be the germ of a future socialist society. Encouraged by developments in Russia (soviets) and the revolutionary tide in Italy, it spread propaganda among workers about these “councils”. The paper relocated itself to the Socialist Republic of Italy and continued much of the same discussion, though readers soon noticed the debate raging between Tasca and Gramsci. It started over a disagreement over the role of trade unions in the councils. Gramsci felt that Trade Union status should not be a condition for membership on the council, a position opposite of Tasca. Eventually it grew into even more fundamental disagreements over socialism and the potential of syndicalism, and reached into the chambers of parliament in September of 1925. Tasca, claiming a sign of weakness in Austria-Hungary, argued that a “war of revenge” should be started immediately to reclaim the rest of Italy. Gramsci accused Tasca of warmongering and a “fetish” for nationalism, stating that a war with Austria would only be suicidal. Their divisions over syndicalism also came to the forefront as economic reorganization was discussed regarding the creation of councils. Bordiga, in his capacity as president, attempted to defuse the situation. During a heated debate in the House of Commons though, Bordiga angrily interjected his displeasure with syndicalism and raised a defense of Marxism as the more correct position for socialism. The Commune of France, receiving reports of the debate from its observers in the House of Commons, now moved into action and worked on its political connections to restore stability.
After a series of political moves, Angelo Tasca eventually boarded a ship and went into a self-imposed exile in the Commune of France, citing death threats and a complete “bankruptcy” of political positions from the government in Naples. With Bordiga’s dismissal of Syndicalism and its backlash among the syndicalist factions, his prospects as a unifying president declined.
During the Second Congress of the Greater Italian Union in 1926, a vote was called in the chamber regarding his position as president. While a sizable number within the Marxist-oriented wing of the Socialist-Syndicalist union voted to retain, the entirety of the syndicalists voted against him. The Social-Reformist block also voted against Bordiga. With the vote clearly against him, Bordiga resigned. Palmiro Togliatti was elevated to the president of the republic, while the young Antonio Gramsci was elected the Chairman of the House of Commons. Gramsci then in turn attempted to appoint Bordiga as the General Responsible for Industry and Agriculture that Tasca had left vacant, but he refused the appointment, preferring the position as the head of the Socialist-Syndicalist delegation in the House of Commons.
The Commune of France now moved the Socialist Republic of Italy into a more syndicalist-friendly position as both of the leaders were open to some of the syndicalist’ platforms. The Commune of France had approved Gramsci’s endorsement of workers’ councils in L’Ordine Nuovo, and saw it compatible with the Commune of France’s “revolutionary industrial democracy” standpoint. While not as syndicalist as the Travailleur-Anarchist joint government in Commune in France would prefer, Togliatti and Gramsci were the only feasible option considering the power balance in Naples.
In the aftermath of the Second Congress, Benito Mussolini, a member of the Socialist-Syndicalist Union, unexpectedly formed his own faction, the National-Syndicalist Union. Mussolini declared his desire for a far more centralized system in both governance and economy, and claimed simultaneously claimed influence from the Marxist positions of Lenin and the orthodox syndicalist positions of Georges Sorel. Mussolini found that he had won over some disgruntled syndicalists from within the Socialist-Syndicalist Union that despised the Marxist “infestation” within the government, and approved of what they felt was Mussolini’s “realistic” approach in recognizing the power of Italian nationalism among the people.
Various newspapers were set up along with radio stations promoting the ideas of the republic and providing entertainment. Newspapers were where the majority of the political concerns flowed through them. The Social-Reformists ran “Avanti!”, once the old organ of the Italian Socialist Party and now firmly in the hands of Turati and his followers. The Socialist-Syndicalists created L’Unità to send out their own views. Benito Mussolini carried over his paper he created, Il Popolo d’Italia , to showcase the positions of the National-Syndicalists.The newspaper of record was the newly created “Liberazione” which talked about events in the world and allowed commentary from people not formerly aligned to any of the platforms within the republic. Other smaller papers, such as Gramsci’s L’Ordine Nuovo, also existed though were catered to a specific audience.
The republic was busy trying to catch up to the rest of the world. The world outside also changed drastically, in ways that directly impacted the Socialist Republic of Italy. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.
In April 1922, Emperor Charles I of Austria died, leaving his 11-year old son Otto the heir to the throne. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire was now in even more distress with this event. With its trouble in maintain its hegemony in the Italian Confederation and even within the regions inside the empire itself, the lack of a mature, competent Emperor sent Austria-Hungary into a period of political chaos that lasted until the Ausgleich negotiations in 1927 . This meant for the Socialist Republic of Italy a respite from Austro-Hungarian intrigues in the Italian peninsula. However, the Italian Confederation also reacted to the chaos to advance its own interests.
Pope Pius XI, elected pope in 1922 after the death of Pope Benedict XV
Pope Pius XI was aware of the disorder plaguing the Austro-Hungarian Empire and saw it as a perfect opportunity to further the Vatican’s interests in the Confederation. Raising the motto “Pax Christi in regno Christi”, he began to encourage a new order in Italy, avoiding both the evils of syndicalism and free-market capitalism. He proposed a common community of Italians working together in works for the Church and moving beyond the nobility feuds that had plagued the Confederation until then. With Austria-Hungary struggling with its own problems and the decentralization brought out with the Augsleich negotiations of 1927, Pope Pius XI actively pushed for this agenda without much opposition from Vienna. He won a victory when in 1930, a group of like-minded Cardinals gained control of the Vatican. From there, Pope Pius XI launched his final plan- a centralization of the weak confederation. His agitation in the previous years paid off when the nobility had consented to the move, and the Confederation turned into a more centralized Federation, with the Vatican at the reigns of the government. The Pope had his own ambitions, and strongly felt that from the ruins of the Great War, the vile atheism of syndicalism, the excess of the monarchies, and the failures of secularism in the few republics, that there was a possibility to finally create a community of Catholics, under the enlightened guidance of the Vatican of course. Naturally, he turned his attention to the new republic, and in a marked contrast to the previous position of silence, had begun to condemn the actions of the republic.
In 1925 a small strike in south Wales escalated into a full-blown rebellion in the United Kingdom. The rebellion, much like the one in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, spread with remarkable speed among the discontent workers in the United Kingdom. A considerable portion of the military defected to the strikers and within days a civil war burned through the isles. Eventually, the monarchy, government, and much of the nobility fled into exile in Canada, establishing a government in exile similar to that of the French in North Africa. On October 25, John MacLean declared the creation of the Union of Britain. The Socialist Republic of Italy and the Commune of France quickly recognized the Union of Britain, which in turn also joined the Syndicalist International formed by the two. It however opted not to join the military alliance between the Commune of France and the Socialist Republic of Italy.
The overseas colonies of the British rapidly collapsed into rebellion, as states either declared independence or were taken over by the German Empire. The so-called Jewel of British Empire, India, fractured into three states- a pro-British Delhi Sultanate, an anti-British alliance of Indian nobility in the south, and in the eastern ramparts of Bengal, a socialist faction took control and declared the People’s Republic of Bengal . The three states made their intentions clear on unifying the peninsula under their rule and their opposition to one another.
The republic continued to progress into the 1930s. Industrialization and land reform was accelerated, and Gramsci’s plans for combating the Mafia that he formulated as General Responsible of Police were implemented fully. While the mafia was not eliminated, its presence was certainly diminished. In 1931, the now-called “Anarcho-Syndicalist” platform led by Gramsci and Togliatti fended off attempts by the Social-Reformists and National-Syndicalists in the Third Congress of the Greater Italian Union. By 1935, the reorganization of the country’s economy was mostly complete. Looming in the future however, was to further the industrialization to catch up with the developed world and prepare for the inevitable war with their brothers in the north.
 This “Royal Palace” is not to be confused with the Palace at Caserta, which was converted into a museum. It may be recalled that the royal family had a total of four residences in Naples alone.
 These are the listings of the prominent ministries, though it does not cover the sub-ministries such as the General Responsible for Transportation, to which Mussolini was appointed.
 The government opted for a two-prong assault, one through educating the youth and another by encouraging more radical minded clergy to take over churches where they can. The Italian Federation, after consolidating itself, took similar measures against the prominence of socialist thought in trade unions, encouraging instead the creation of “White”, or pro-Catholic trade unions.
 The original provisional government of Alexander Kerensky and its supporters made peace with the forces of the White Army and agreed to fight against the Red Army together. It was only through the intervention of the German military that this opposition was able to do so, however.
 Il Popolo d’Italia was created by Mussolini in 1914 after he was forced out of his position in the Italian Socialist Party’s paper, Avanti! He returned to the paper following Italy’s surrender in the Great War and upon hearing of the events unfolding in the south, used it as a tool to gather volunteers for his march southwards. He was allowed to set up the paper in the new republic following the victory, though was forced out of the top position after it was found he was using the paper to smear an opponent within the Social-Reformist platform, Giacomo Matteotti. His loyalists still continued to run the paper, which allowed him to use it as an organ for the National-Syndicalist platform.
 In 1927 when disorder was threatening to tear the Austro-Hungarian Empire apart, the Kaiser intervened and had the Austrians renegotiate the original Ausgleich of 1867. The new agreement further decentralized the empire, granting greater autonomy to its subjects in Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia and Moravia, and Galicia. It also marked the end of the “equal” partnership between Germany and Austria, as Germany now moved to take an even more dominant position on the continent and relegated Austria to a client.
 The People’s Republic of Bengal would later become the Bharitya Commune in 1930, marking its pan-Indian aspirations.