Tuesday, October 28, 2014
To make himself more acceptable, Mussolini began moving noticeably to the right, voicing strong support for the monarchy and making common cause with the royalists of the nationalist party. The King, even in the fall of 1922, still expected Giolitti to return to power when a suitable political coalition could be formed. However, the other liberal politicians worked against this and Mussolini masterfully played them against the elderly statesman who had earlier squelched the forces of D’Annunzio in Fiume as Prime Minister. He secretly promised his support to Facta, Nitti and Salandra against Giolitti or even against each other. Meanwhile, the old wartime premier Orlando had come out as a supporter of the Fascists, thinking them manageable and preferable to the alternative of a Marxist revolution. More and more people were doing the same and Giolitti himself took no action to try to form a government himself to offer as an alternative. Whether out of fear, indecisiveness or the presumption that all must eventually come running to him for salvation, who can say? The fact is that in this time when leadership was needed, Giolitti did nothing. The liberals who like to condemn the King for eventually appointing Mussolini Prime Minister never like to, and rarely are expected to, explain where their leaders were and what alternative they put forward at the crucial time.
In any event, those who take issue with the King refusing to shoot down his black-shirted subjects in the streets like to imply that if he had done so, that would have been the end of it. But, what about all the parts of the country already effectively under Fascist control? Who can say that the movement would have stopped then and there? How do we know that the communists would not have seized the opportunity to launch their revolution and take power for themselves? Remember that there was still no decisive liberal leadership to take control of the situation. Salandra had agreed to form a government but, upon seeking support from De Vecchi and Dino Grandi of the Fascist Party, was told that Mussolini would settle for nothing less than the premiership. Plenty in the army spoke up for the Fascists, the leading industrialists in Milan sent messages of support and so Salandra willingly stepped aside in favor of Mussolini who, it should also be remembered, was originally appointed by the King as simply Prime Minister of a coalition government in which the Fascists were not the majority.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
met at Teano where the north and south of Italy, for the first time since practically the fall of the Roman Empire, came together under one flag, under one monarch.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Chateau de Chambery
(residents of the Dukes of Savoy, in what is now in France)
Palazzo Madama, Turin
(residence of Queen Christine Marie of France, regent for King
Carlo Emanuele II, later used by the Senate & High Court)
Palazzo Reale, Turin
(primary residence of the Kings of Piedmont-Sardinia)
Palazzo Carignano, Turin
(residence of the Savoy-Carignano branch of the Royal House)
Castello del Valentino, Turin
(former residence of Queen Marie Christine of France)
Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome
(primary residence of the Kings of Italy)
Monday, October 20, 2014
“The Pizza Parlor” opens with LeBeau preparing a feast in the barracks only to be interrupted by Sergeant Schultz who tells them that Colonel Klink is coming to inspect them and Colonel Hogan remarks that the Germans have been sending a number of officers to inspect their camp lately to learn from Colonel Klink because of his perfect record of never having had a successful escape. Klink arrives and informs them that Major Bonacelli is due shortly from “Capizzio” to study their security methods for use in his own prison camp. When taunted about telling a foreigner his secrets, Colonel Klink angrily reminds Hogan that, “…the Italians are our allies!” to which Hogan replies, “Don’t remind me, remind them”. A subtle nod to the fact that, at this stage in the war Italo-German relations were not at their most friendly and that many in Italy were never very comfortable about being allied with Germany. After the credits, Allied HQ tells Hogan that tensions between Germany and Italy are high and that the Allies are planning a major landing near Capizzio and that Hogan should try to get some information out of him. Hogan agrees but isn’t too hopeful, imagining Bonacelli to be a rough character.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
Unfortunately, many people have taken a very critical view of General De Bono and this seems, looking at the plain facts, to be rather unjust. His invasion of Abyssinia was a success, it simply did not proceed as rapidly as Mussolini wanted. General De Bono crossed into Abyssinian territory, captured several important positions, announced the abolition of slavery (something which is seldom recognized) and even accepted the surrender of the Ethiopian Emperor's son-in-law, some of whose troops even switched to join the Italian side. General De Bono advanced from the north out of Eritrea while General Graziani advanced from the south out of Italian Somaliland. There were to move methodically until all Ethiopian resistance was crushed between them. However, Mussolini wanted a swift, stunning sort of war which is not what General De Bono had in mind at all. Remembering well the horrific casualties of World War I, De Bono intended to fight a cautious and mostly defensive war in order to conserve the lives of his soldiers while inflicting greater losses on his enemies.
In the end, it all worked out and Ethiopia was conquered in an astonishing seven months time with Badoglio leading the Italian troops into the Abyssinian capitol. However, just because the new strategy worked, does not mean that De Bono's plan was necessarily wrong.
Monday, September 15, 2014
|The Battle of Goito|
For the Grenadiers of Sardinia, their greatest trial came in the Spring of 1943 when they were detailed to defend the city of Rome itself. As it turned out, they would be defending it from their former German allies after Marshal of Italy Pietro Badoglio requested an armistice with the Allies and the Germans attempted to take control of as much of Italy as possible. Along with the Sassari and Ariete divisions, the grenadiers fought the Germans in front of Rome for two days before being forced back to the Porta San Paolo. It fought on there with the remnants of other army formations as well as groups of civilian volunteers. Finally, after taking nearly 600 losses and with the King having been removed to the safety of Naples, the Italian troops gave up the fight, though not before handing their weapons over to the civilian population to aid in the resistance that soon sprang up against the German occupation. Some elements, such as a few battalions on the island of Corsica, however, refused to surrender and joined with other Italian units and the Free French to fight the Germans and drive them from the island. In 1944 the division was re-organized on Sardinia as part of the Italian Co-Belligerent Army that was loyal to the King and fought alongside the Allies against the Germans and Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic based at Salo. However, not long before the end of the war they were disbanded again to be amalgamated into the Cremona Combat Group.
|Grenadiers, pre-WW1 at home and colonial service|
|Prince Umberto in grenadier uniform|
|Grenadiers of Sardinia in World War II|
|Grenadiers of Sardinia in the Co-Belligerent Army|
|Grenadiers of Sardinia in modern times, on parade|