The Tragic Myth of America’s 2021 “March on Rome”


  • Stephen Blinder Georgetown University



The parallels between the January 6th, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the so-called “March on Rome” of October 1922, are unmistakable, from Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini’s leadership styles to their non-participation in the actual coup attempts to the unwavering commitment of their most zealous followers to the respective causes. Indeed, comparisons between these two figures and events have led scholars to refer to the events on January 6th as a “Half-Baked March on Rome” or an “abortive March on Rome,” among other similar references. While historically convenient and rhetorically appealing, however, these associations risk downplaying the requisite conditions that allowed the March on Rome to result in a successful coup but which never manifested in the buildup to January 6th or its actualization. Moreover, referring to January 6th within the context of the March on Rome minimizes the distinct possibility that the former was but the precursor to an eventual triumphant American iteration of the March on Rome. By using the March on Rome as a conduit through which to examine the January 6th, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, this paper seeks to properly place the latter within the context of significant revolutionary events of the past and thereby explore its role in the broader arc of American democracy's future.






Social Sciences & Humanities