Teaching French during the Mussolini dictatorship – a tool for the construction of a fascist identity?
[L’enseignement du français durant la dictature mussolinienne, un outil de construction de l’identité fasciste ?]
Textbooks are an important lever in foreign language teaching, especially in the periods before the advent of the internet and new technologies. It is a referent, symbolically and physically in front of the learner, a guide that holds the right and the truth. The fascist dictatorship in Italy (1922-1943) was no exception to this rule. In the context of a regime that revolutionised communication, school textbooks were very important, even those for the French language. This article proposes to illustrate the use of French textbooks for Fascist propaganda purposes around the following axes: the Fascist triptych, the concept of myth and the vision of France in school texts.
The aim of this research is to present a concrete case of mind manipulation by a means that is certainly not very common: using language textbooks (which should therefore be open to other cultures) to ethnocentrate the population and train them in the most radical nationalism.
Finally, we will try to draw a conclusion on the causes of these choices, and a real problematic, namely whether France was a model for fascism.
Key words: fascism, didactics, textbook, identity, Italy