Fascism - its birth: why and how

The phenomenon of fascism is a “black” chapter of the italian modern history. A part of the italian population remind this period like a epic o e, full of renovation and progress. Others have felt betrayed by this party.

What we can simple conclude with this reasoning: in a period of economic depression movements of people can easily transform themselves in a violent party, despite the good intentions which give birth to the movement itself.

Italy after the Great War

The effects of the Great War on the Italian economy and society was dramatic. The trade balance figures for 1919 revealed that exports covered only 36% of imports. The cost of living was 4 times higher than in 1913.

The following problems were threatening the stability of Italy:

  • The huge increase in the public debt;
  • The need to convert to easy and immediate production processes those industrial sectors which during the war had reached exceptional levels of profit;
  • The difficulties to cope with rising prices decreased while wages and salaries of civil servants were blocked by the State;
  • The demobilization of the army to relieve public finances with automatic increase of the unemployed.

At the time of the armistice there were over 3,000,000 men under arms and 500,000 prisoners in the hands of the Austrians. The rapid demobilization produced 2,000,000 unemployed by the end of 1919.

The Red two years

Never before had appeared more concrete in Italy the possibility of revolution. In 1919 he recorded a number of strikes in industry and agriculture.

The soaring prices caused by the international economic situation and debts of Italy, had the spark in La Spezia on 11 June 1919 following the lock-out of traders to protest against the increase in consumption tax. Between June and July the movement spread rapidly from northern to central-south, where the police force opened fire, the clash was radicalized.

Between September and November of 1919, the farmers of central and southern spontaneously began the occupation of land not cultivated or poor. Along the entire peninsula, a violent class struggle flared up in forms that took on the appearance of a real civil war.

Inside the Socialist Party sought to overthrow the capitalist system. Making use of social tensions, it cuased the increase of violence and the occupation of the factories. The outcome of this showdown certainly brought some economic benefits to the workers, but unions left much they were able to get.

The strikes of 1919 and 1920, led by socialists, created waves of resentment among the middle classes, who saw a disturbance in the unrest and a threat to their status. The public education system also continued to churn out graduates without at the same time to provide himself an outlet in the appropriate professional field. Unemployment, inflation and widespread expectations that the war had generated among all social classes had created an explosive situation.

On 29 July 1920, the anarchist Bruno Filippi detonated several bombs in Piazza Fontana in Milan, Via Paleocapa, then to the Palace of Justice in Milan. The most serious took place on the evening of March 23, 1921, when a bomb exploded in the theater Diana in Milan, causing the death of 21 spectators and injuring hundreds more.

The next day, other fifteen people hundred dead and wounded.

From Lenin were arriving messages inciting terrorism. The order was to be relentless in an exemplary manner, encouraging the mass terror. The idea was: “Shot without asking anything to anyone and without delay.” In Italy there were underprivileged masses who aspire to a more equitable social justice, they made their own signs that came from the East

The Government was not able to intervene effectively to annihilate the violence and restore order.

In three years it changed by seven governments.

All this shows the serious crisis that gripped the “liberal state” and its ability to control a situation of civil war that was going day by day growing more and more bloody.

Beams of Combat

The seats have against fighters was the first big mistake of the Socialist and Social communist then. From these veterans, spontaneous, born the first teams veterans to oppose the actions of those “red”. So the first clashes occurred between not “fascists” and “red”, as fascism was not yet born.

In fact, the “tow Combat” saw the light March 23, 1919. At that time, the conference will give the fascists of the first hour, a hundred “loyalists” including Balbo, De Bono, Bianchi and De Vecchi, future Quadrumviri the March on Rome, and about two hundred members who observe and listen.

The first actions of “clear brand fascist” occurred after November 17 of that year, when the heavy electoral defeat suffered by the movement Mussolini.

In the early fighting the Fascists were submerged by the large number of opponents and many of his speeches of Mussolini and were disbanded for the serious injuries caused by “red”.

Much of the fascists and their nationalist allies came from a long, hard military discipline: they were so accustomed to obey in a hierarchical manner. On the contrary, on the other hand, disorder reigned absolute, especially among anarchists discipline was despised, and consequently it was possible to win the squares and the favor of the peasants, tired of the abuse to which they were subjected by the arrogance of the “red co” .

The country was tired of disorders and blood, he longed to return to normal. This phenomenon is evidenced by the consensus which soon acquired the movement Mussolini. In a short time the syndicates could count on about 400 thousand farmers and members of 200 thousand workers.

Concerned by the threat of communism Bolshevik bourgeois reaction recognized in the fascist squads proletarian vanguard in defense of the nation as much of the property. During the “two red years” the dominion of the organizations of workers and peasants, methods intolerant of the left in the defense of workers' rights, which often resulted in blatant forms of abuse, had come to dramatize the political struggle, making it seem imminent Bolshevik revolution .

The middle classes felt well protected by the “healthy reaction” of the squads. The liberal state thought that the squads had the lesser evil and allowed fascism to take root in the social fabric becoming the guarantor of political pacification.

The Fascist Party become national

In the elections of 15 May 1921, the tow Combat obtained more than 700,000 votes and win 35 seats in Parliament. On November 11, 1921 in Rome during the Third Congress of the tow Combat is founded the National Fascist Party (PNF). In October 1922, the PNF had 300,000 subscribers at the end of 1923 had become 783,000. And already in the next general election in 1924 was voted by the plank fascist Italian 4,305,936.

The PNF Program: an ambitious one

Here are the basic ideas:

  • Fascism is made in the Political Party to strengthen its discipline and to identify its “creed”.
  • The country is not a simple sum of individuals living nor the instrument of the parties to persue their purposes, but an organism comprising the indefinite series of generations of which the individual elements are transient, is the supreme synthesis of all tangible and intangible assets of the race.
  • The state is the legal embodiment of the nation.
  • The Institutes politicians are effective forms as national values ​​will find expression and protection. The values ​​of the individual self and those common to most individuals, expressed in organized collective persons (households, municipalities, corporations, etc.)., Should be promoted, developed and defended, again as part of the nation to which they are subordinate.
  • The dominant form of social organization in the world is the National Society and essential law of life in the world is not the unification of the various companies in a single immense Society: “Humanity,” as he believes the internationalist doctrine, but the fruitful and , desirable, peaceful competition between the various National Societies.

The State

  • The state should be reduced to its essential functions of political and legal.
  • The state must invest in capacity and responsibility of associations giving also to professional and economic corporations voting rights in the body of the National Technical Tips.
  • They must be limited to the powers and functions currently assigned to the Parliament. The competence of the Parliament of the problems that affect the individual as a citizen of the state and the state as an organ of realization and protection of the supreme national interests of competence of the Board of National Technical problems that relate to various forms of activities of individuals in their As a manufacturer.
  • The state is sovereign and that sovereignty can not and must not be affected or diminished by the Church to which you have to ensure the widest freedom in the exercise of his spiritual ministry.
  • The National Fascist Party makes one's attitude in front of the shapes of individual political institutions, the moral and material interests of the nation understood in its reality and in its historical development.

The Corporations

According to the fascist point of view:

  • The corporations should be promoted according to two fundamental objectives:
    • As an expression of national solidarity;
    • As a means of development of production.
  • The corporations do not have to tend to drown the individual in the community arbitrarily leveling capabilities and strengths of the individual, but rather to enhance them and develop them.
  • The National Fascist Party aims to shake the following postulates in favor of the working classes and clerical:
  • The enactment of a state law that enshrines the day for all employees 'legal' average of eight hours, with the possible exceptions recommended by the need for agricultural or industrial.
  • A social legislation up to date with today's needs, especially as regards injuries, the disability and old age both agricultural and industrial workers.
  • A representative of the employees in the operation of every industry, as far as regards staff.
  • The expectations of the management of industries or public service trade union organizations that are morally worthy and technically prepared.
  • The spread of small properties in those areas and for those crops that are productive.

Domestic politics

The goals of the Fascist Party are here summarized:

  • The National Fascist Party aspires to the honor of the Supreme Government of the country, in restoring the ethical concept that governments must administer public is not already in the interests of the parties and patronage but in the supreme interest of the nation.
  • It should be restored the prestige of the National State and that the State fails to attend indifferent to rock out and the excessive power of the forces that undermine or at least threaten to weaken materially and spiritually the team, but he is jealous guardian and defender and propagator of the national tradition, feeling national, the national will.
  • The freedom of the citizen has a dual limit: in the freedom of other people in the legal and sovereign right of the nation to live and develop.
  • The State shall promote the development of the nation, not monopolizing, but by promoting each work intended to advance ethical, intellectual, religious, artistic, legal, social, economic, physiological national community.

Foreign Policy

  • Fascism does not believe the vitality and the principles underlying the so-called League of Nations, as not all nations are represented, and those that are there are on an equal footing.
  • Fascism does not believe the vitality and efficiency of the international red, white or other color, because it is formalistic and artificial constructions which collect a small minority of individuals more or less convinced in comparison with the vast masses of the people who are living, progressing or regressing, end to determine shifts in interests in front of which all the buildings are internationalist destined to fall, as the recent experience of historical documents.
  • The expansion of commercial and political influence of international treaties should strive to further spread italianity in the world.
  • International treaties to be reviewed and changed in those parts which are inapplicable palesate and then set to the requirements of the national and global levels.
  • The State shall promote the Italian colonies in the Mediterranean and overseas institutions with economic, cultural and rapid communications.
  • The National Fascist Party advocates a policy of friendly relations with all the peoples of the near and far.
  • The defense and the development of Italy abroad are entrusted to an Army and a Navy adequate to the needs of its policy and the efficiency of other countries, and diplomatic bodies including their function and supplied of culture, spirit and yes means to express in the symbol and the substance of the size of Italy before the World.

Domestic economy

These are the immediate objectives of the National Fascist Party:

  • Budgetary consolidation of the state and local public bodies, also by means of stringent economies in all the parasitic organisms, or plethoric and expenses that are not strictly required for the good of individuals or necessity of a general nature.
  • The administrative decentralization in order to simplify the services and to facilitate the evacuation of the bureaucracy, while maintaining the resolute opposition to any political regionalism.
  • The strict protection of taxpayers' money, suppressing any aid or favor, by the State or other public entities, in Consortia, Cooperatives, Industries, patronage and the like, incapable of his own life and not essential to the nation.
  • Simplifying tax the body and the distribution of taxes according to a criterion of proportionality, without partisanship for or against this or that category of citizens, and not according to concepts of progressivity spogliatrice.
  • Opposition to demagoguery financial and tax to discourage initiatives or isterilisca sources of savings and domestic production.
  • The termination of the policy of public works abboracciati granted for electoral reasons and also for alleged reasons of public order, or at least not profitable for their own distribution sporadic and piecemeal.
  • The formation of a plan of public works under the new economic needs, technical, military, country plan that proposes primarily to: complete and reorganize the Italian railway network, bringing together the best regions redeemed to the lines of the peninsula as well as to internal communications part of the peninsula, especially longitudinal ones from south to north across the Apennines; accelerate to the extent possible, the electrification of railways and in general the hydropower arranging the mountain basins also in favor of industry and agriculture; fix and extend the road network, especially in the South where this is a necessity for a preliminary ruling to the resolution of many social and economic problems; establish and strengthen maritime communications with the mainland on the one hand and the Islands and the eastern shore of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean our Colonies on the other, and between the north and south of the Peninsula itself, both as an aid to the rail network, both to encourage Italians to navigation and concentrating the costs and efforts in a few ports of the three seas, providing them with all the modern tooling , resist and fight against local particularism that, especially in the field of public works, are due to dispersion of efforts and an obstacle to the great works of national interest.
  • Returning to private industrial companies whose management the State has proved unsuitable: especially telephones and railways (encouraging competition between the main lines and distinguishing these from the local lines esercibili with different methods).
  • Waiver of the monopoly of the Post and Telegraph so that private enterprise can integrate and replace the service of the state.

The March on Rome

The October 22, 1922 Mussolini had already prepared a proclamation for the moment of insurrection. The only thing missing was a test to see the ability to move a sufficient number of men by rail, concentrating on the outskirts of Rome. For this purpose he had a fifth column in a key position in the government Facta: Vincenzo Riccio, head of the State Railways. Riccio agreed to provide the trains needed to transport the “black shirts”.

Mussolini decided to convene the Fascists in Naples for a conference to be held on October 24, which rehearsal of the march on Rome. There he hoped to test the reaction of the Roman authorities to his offer of assumption of power.

In Naples, arrived shortly after midnight on October 24, accompanied by his three loyal Marinelli, Bianchi and Acerbo. At the station there were waiting for two quadrumvirs, Balbo and De Bono, who accompanied them to the Hotel Vesuvius to prepare to march on Rome. The first part of the plan was working well. There had been some doubt about the situation of the trains, but Riccio, as promised, had already delivered the special trains were arriving without incident from all parts of Italy.

The San Carlo theater was decorated with flags and banners fascist. When Mussolini, who was wearing shirt and pants blacks and gray leggings, made his entrance, a bugler sounded the alert: the fascist leaders and notables sang Neapolitan Youth! “We fascists” said Mussolini placing his hands on her hips and raising her head, “we do not intend to come to power through the back door”. The black shirts with his chest covered with medals lifted their helmets of the Great War. “We fascists do not intend to give up our birthright of formidable ideal for a miserable portion of soup ministerial”.

In the afternoon, about sixty thousand fascists led by their hierarchs took to the streets of Naples swept by light rain. In the fading light of dusk, with a last ray of sun that illuminated the dark clouds, Mussolini spoke to the fascist militias gathered in the huge square. “I will speak with all the solemnity required by the moment, or the government will give us, or we'll get him dropping out of Rome. It is not a matter of days, but of hours. “Mussolini wore across his black shirt a wonderful band with the colors yellow and red of Rome. Gradually echoed through the square a rhythmic chorus: “Rome! Rome! Rome. ”

That night, in the hotel room Vesuvius, Mussolini informed his generals on the final details of the operational plan. At midnight between 26 and 27 would be passed to the command Quadrumvirate, where all the fascists would have to pay obedience without question. At midnight between 27 and 28 steps would be taken to the mobilization of the entire army with orders to take possession of the public buildings of the main Italian cities, wherever it was possible. At the same time three columns of men would be concentrated in the start of the march itself: in Tivoli, about thirty kilometers east of the capital, on the Via Tiburtina, in Monterotondo, on the Via Salaria, less than 50 km north of Rome , in Santa Marinella, on the Via Aurelia, 56 km north-west of Rome.

On the morning of 28 October the three columns were to march on the capital to force Facta to resign, allowing Mussolini to take power by a government dominated by the fascists. But the orders were categorical: avoid collisions with the regular army, the Blackshirts were supposed to show its sympathy and respect to all the regular troops they encountered.

Mussolini was sure that the threat of a civil war would have caused a crisis of government, allowing the King to form a new government with a strong participation fascist, including at least six ministers in black shirt. The meeting ended at the Hotel Vesuvio in Naples with no special ceremonies only a few handshakes and a few words of encouragement spoken by Mussolini.

It called for the regional leaders to deliver their orders secret mobilization. Italy was divided into two zones, each under the command of a commander of proven military capabilities. Every master had twenty-five thousand pounds and the greeting “Good-bye to Rome.”

The commanders would have had much to do in very short time: we needed a great effort to gather the departments of the Fascist militia in all areas of the country, especially in the South, he had to organize the cavalry, create departments of the Red Cross set up a system supplies, spread appeals to recruit key personnel such as cooks.

At two in the afternoon of the 25th Mussolini left Naples for the capital. There, waiting for the night train to Milan, he would bring forward the conspiracy in consultation with several key characters come to the Termini station to speak with him.

Facta called a meeting of the council of ministers, most of whom opposed his resignation; especially Taddei, Minister of War, who said that the army was quite ready to face whatever fascist onslaught. Soleri, Interior Minister, assured the government that the police were ready to arrest the fascist leaders across the country. Instead of resigning, the ministers resumed their departments available to Facta, suggesting to do everything possible to resist the fascist threat.

Facta telegraphed to Vittorio Emanuele to return as soon as possible in the capital. At eight in the evening of the 27th, getting off the train in Rome, the king was in a foul mood. He showed his irritation and impatience ministers to Facta came to welcome him, reproaching them for having allowed such a deterioration of the situation. At that point Vittorio Emanuele insisted that Rome was to be defended at all costs. No fascist weapons would have to enter the capital.

Reassured by the firmness of the King, the government seemed determined to resist the fascists. Barbed wire and machine gun posts were placed at strategic points in the city, put the heavy artillery in position at the entrance and at the very bridges, cavalry and trucks armed with machine guns were stationed around the royal palace and the Ministry of Interior. The prefects were ordered to be ready to stop the fascist leaders.

Around midnight the news that came to the Ministry of the Interior began to be alarming: in the central prefectures and railway stations were stormed by the Fascists, especially to Florence, Pisa and Perugia, where the Blackshirts had come into action in advance.

Concerned by these developments, Facta rushed by Taddei, the Ministry of War. They decided to entrust to military control of public order, starting from 12.30 pm of the 28th. To protect Rome would be undermined railway lines in the major towns near the capital, as Chiusi, Orte and Civitavecchia.

Facta then went to the King with the draft of the declaration of a state of siege and a proclamation to the Italian people, in which the government claimed “his supreme task of defending the state at all costs, by any means, against anyone violating the laws. ”

Facta returned to the Ministry of the Interior with the approval of the king and declared that he would stay in his place at the cost of life. “This is an uprising” he said. “We will crush it.” So he summoned a meeting of the Council of Ministers to be held at five in the morning at the Interior Ministry, the Interior Ministry.

In Milan, Mussolini established the headquarters of the uprising in his offices of the People of Italy, where he had accumulated newsprint for special editions. Other reels of newsprint were stacked around the building, forming barricades formed by the armed guard squads.

A hundred kilometers north of Rome, in the city of Perugia, the Quadrumvirate Balbo, De Bono, De Vecchi and Michele Bianchi had established his headquarters at the Hotel Sangallo. At midnight on the 27th Quadrumvirate issued orders for a general mobilization of the Fascist militia.

Many of the highest echelons of the army, including the Marshal of Italy Armando Diaz (which was attributed the authorship of the Italian victory in World War I), immediately declared their support for the Fascist cause. The Duke of Aosta, commander of the 3rd Army and viceroy on the field in time of war, arrived in Perugia to keep in touch with the high command fascist. Five general in the regular army (Fara, Ceccherini, Magiotto, Zamboni and Tiby) took command of the various fascist columns that had to march to Rome from Civitavecchia, Valmontone, Monterotondo, Mentone, Tivoli and Santa Marinella. From midnight the fascist forces were everywhere in motion. On the black shirts of cotton, wool or silk worn over trousers and shoes army had been pinned golden cords. Framed in columns with water bottles, backpacks and blankets rolled up on his shoulders, the fascists were armed with muskets in different ways, rifles, revolvers, daggers, hand grenades and batons. Other departments were discovered crammed onto trucks provided by the army, four-wheeled vehicles with cabs discoveries that bounced heavily on the dusty roads roaring with their horns.

The trains were summarily requirements, the railway staff by men of the Fascist militia. On the wagons was drawn at best the word “ROME”, in addition to the ubiquitous slogan “I do not care” and the names of the teams. Men in black shirt leaned out of the windows of the cars waving pennants. The fascists who were not on trains or on the streets, they were busy to attack public buildings in the city occupying and guarding the railway stations, post offices, armories, almost always with the consent of local authorities.

Throughout the night and early hours of the morning telegrams poured in to the Ministry of the Interior reported that the names of cities and prefectures occupied by fascist or military garrisons who fraternized with the black shirts.

At five in the morning the Facta government met at the Interior Ministry, the Interior Ministry. The general citizens, aide-de-camp of the king, declared that if he was not declared a state of siege, the king would have abdicated, leaving the country. Therefore it was decided to declare a state of siege at 12 am, oct 28th. But no one knew how to formulate the decree, so we began a frantic search to find a copy of the decree of the kind promulgated. At 7.10 am in the morning the prefects and military commanders were ordered to use any means to prevent further occupations of public buildings and arrest the leaders and promoters of the insurrection. Forty minutes later he was sent to all the prefects of Italy a telegram announcing the entry into force of the state of siege as of noon, 28th.

In cities all non military traffic was banned. Troops patrolled the main roads were created and cords around the periphery of the capital.

What's Near Perugia, the headquarters of the Quadrumvirate, the royal army troops surrounded the city, ready to execute any order. In the Hotel Sangallo the quadrumvirs had rolled out the cards of the campaign, according to the positions of the fascist troops. When, shortly after 8 pm , there came to them the news of the state of siege in the room dropped a painful silence. At nine o'clock in the morning of the 29th, Louis Federzoni, the only nationalist group, phoned Mussolini in Milan to ask for instructions. He was told that the Duce would accept whatever decision the Quadrumvirate had taken.

Even Milan, despite the pro-Fascist prefect, was firmly in the hands of the army. Mussolini could circulate only with the consent of the armed forces patrolled the streets. At one point, the prefect Lusignoli was forced even to inform Mussolini that he could be under an obligation to arrest him. At the Ministry of the Interior Facta was still in a meeting with his government, trying repeatedly to reach the king by phone. Vittorio Emanuele was approached by General Diaz, Pero and Giraldi. They were able to convince the King that in the event of armed conflict with the fascists, the army would have done his duty, but perhaps it would be wiser not to put it to the test and it was not certain that they would agree to shoot the former comrades in arms, led by army generals covered with medals.

The King had already decided not to risk neither throne nor the civil war. He repeated to Facta that it would be impossible to prevent the occupation of Rome without resorting to civil war, and that many provinces had already fallen into the hands fascist.

With a historic turnabout, the King refused to sign the decree a state of siege that Facta had prepared.

At 11 his entire cabinet resigned. At 11.30 am an official statement announced that the state of siege was lifted.

At the news of the withdrawal, the fascists of Rome began to gather in front of the Palazzo del Quirinale to applaud the king. The Blackshirts moved crammed onto trucks under the drizzling rain and ordered the inhabitants of the city to hoist the tricolor on all the buildings. The black shirts and blue shirts of the nationalists were running through the streets clinging to cars opened by pressing the horn, while detachments of fascists came marching with the arm in the ancient Roman salute, singing Youth! It formed a crowd of people watched and commented.

In Milan, Mussolini issued a press in special issues of the People of Italy, in which he declared that most of central and northern Italy was in the hands of the fascists, who had occupied the prefectures and stations.

At 16 the representative monarchy Mussolini, De Vecchi, went to the king. Pursing her lips, the king asked the quadrumvirato fascist if he would accept a solution Salandra with four ministries for the fascists. When Federzoni was able to communicate by telephone with Milan, Mussolini explained that it made no sense to mobilize tens of thousands of black shirts only to form a government Salandra.

The king, who had read the text of interceptions carried out by the censors on telephone conversations between Mussolini and his cohorts, he knew how things really were and instructed the general citizens to send the following telegram: “His Majesty the King Vittorio Emanuele III please to come to Rome immediately. He intends to offer the task of forming a new government. ”

Mussolini had the suitcases ready. The Duce of Fascism headed to the impressive Central Station in Milan wearing a gray coat again, with gray spats and bowler hat. It was the evening of 29th of October and it was still raining. Mussolini clutched under his arm a book on the Italian victory at Vittorio Veneto in the Great War: he planned to donate it to the king.

Thousands of people had gathered at the station and the immediate surroundings. Someone threw flowers and admirers leaned out of the carriages of the other trains to watch and applaud Mussolini who headed the Express to Rome. Mussolini's brother, Arnaldo, led a multitude of fascist Milan to the sleeper while Mussolini responded to the greetings of the Blackshirts in service on the train and the station chief said: “I want to start on time. From now on, everything has to run like clockwork. ” On the morning of the 30th of October he entered the train to Civitavecchia. Hundreds of people chanted Youth!

About the campaign lay a fine mist and cold. Mussolini changed in the compartment, wearing borrowed clothes: pants blacks with stripes and jacket dovetail required by the Protocol, which he wore over a black shirt and white spats treated with talc.

At 10.30 am the train pulled into the old Roman station of Termini, where a limousine awaited him real. In the palace of the Quirinal the little king in full uniform, complete with sword, was waiting to greet the new prime minister. Now in the presence of the sovereign, Mussolini bowed and shook the royal hand. That same afternoon Mussolini formed his government. At 7.30 pm led the list of ministers to the king.

The Government of Mussolini

On the morning of October 31st, the new cabinet was sworn into the hands of the King That same day the fascists centered around Rome entered the capital and some teams, or because they caused or were caused because they had to support the clashes with the subversives in the popular neighborhoods. The teams combined, were passed in review by Mussolini, then went in procession to pay homage to the Altar of the Fatherland and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Finally filed under the Quirinale, where the balcony at all displeased, was overlooking the Sovereign with his wife.

Fascism was in power.


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