Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beatification and Reconciliation

It became official this weekend in a ceremony at the Basilica of Santa Chiara in Naples that the last Queen of the Two-Sicilies, daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele I, is now Blessed Maria Cristina of Savoy. For more information, you can read a profile on Maria Cristina of Savoy, Queen of the Two-Sicilies. This was an extremely special occasion and one longed for by the people of Naples for many, many years. The Savoy princess who became their Queen was quite beloved by the common people, respected by all and was a shining example of Christian devotion, principles and compassion. It may also be that this occasion moved the House of Bourbon Two-Sicilies, which she was married into, to come together in reconciliation in another historic event last Friday.

On that day, the Duke of Noto (acting in place of the Duke of Calabria) and the Duke of Castro signed a document of reconciliation to end the feud between the two rival branches of the House of Bourbon Two-Sicilies which they represent. By this agreement, the heads of both branches of the family will be treated equally and will share leadership of the House. They will both represent the family together and the future succession will be undisputed since the Duke of Castro has no male children. The eldest son of the Duke of Noto, Prince Jaime, is also being prepared for a greater leadership role and is learning Italian. Now, in this case, some will undoubtedly raise the issue, held to by a small minority of separatists, about the restoration of the Kingdom of the Two-Sicilies. It is entirely a moot point as the House of Bourbon Two-Sicilies and the House of Savoy were themselves reconciled some time ago and the Bourbon heirs accepted the unification and independence of the Kingdom of Italy. Prince Ferdinando Pio, Duke of Calabria (the last undisputed head of the Bourbon Two-Sicilies family) recognized the place of the House of Savoy, visited HM King Vittorio Emanuele III and was made a Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation by HM King Umberto II of Italy in 1948. The Duke later gave the King the Collar of the Constantinian Order. It is also worth repeating that the leaders of the House of Bourbon Two-Sicilies have never called for the secession of the south and the break-up of the united Italy (as some northern groups have).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

MM Movie Review: Submarine Attack

“La Grande Speranza” (‘The Great Hope’) or in the English dubbed version, “Submarine Attack” or “Torpedo Zone” is a 1955 World War II naval drama about an Italian submarine in the North Atlantic on a standard war patrol but which, in the course of sinking Allied ships, collects a diverse group of survivors. It is a simple tale, well told (though the English dubbing leaves much to be desired and is best in the original Italian) with a very straightforward story. That is, if one can call it a “story” at all. There is not much to it really, however, it means to convey a simple message in a more subtle fashion, a message about war and peace and, as the original title indicates, a message of hope for the world that the problems between nations can be overcome. It was directed by Duilio Coletti and stars Lois Maxwell as British Lt. Lily Donald (the only woman in the film) who would go on to play Miss Moneypenny in fourteen 007 films, Renato Baldini as the Italian submarine captain (we are never told his name) and Folco Lulli as Nostromo, the First Mate. The film opens with a dedication to the men who lost their lives in the 91 Italian submarines that went to sea in World War II and never returned. We are also told at the outset that what follows is a true story, which it is, however not exactly. The events portrayed did occur but happened on various Italian subs at various times.
The submarine where our film takes place
We start with a submarine making an underwater attack on a freighter and then surfacing to pick up survivors. One man is injured, another is a very bellicose French resistance fighter and the other is a British woman, Lt. Lily Donald who, we learn later, is a war widow, having lost her fiancé at Tobruk at the hands of the Italians of course. Frenchie would be happy to get tossed back in the ocean and die for his country, but they are taken below and added to the collection of survivors the sub has already accumulated in the course of their war patrol. There is a British author of some note named Mr. Steiner who acts as spokesman, a Black American named Johnny Brown from Texas, a Dutch merchant captain and a rather odd, mercenary type fellow from South America. Everyone seems fine with their presence, though at least one Italian sailor notes that for every survivor taken on, the amount of breathable air decreases when the boat is forced to remain submerged due to enemy attack. Still, they all make the best of it and the survivors are not very restricted at all, conversing with the crew and being allowed to come up on deck for fresh air when on the surface.
The captain of the sub
Next night, the captain spots a ship, a large, armed, troop transport and the sub dives to make an underwater attack. However, when the torpedoes miss the captain decides to surface and take on the enemy vessel in an old-fashioned gunfight. They about have the ship finished off when aircraft appear and join in attacking the submarine. One of the Italians is hit by machinegun fire from an airplane but rather than being taken below, he insists on staying on deck to watch the captain sink the enemy vessel which is finally mortally wounded. As soon as he hears this, the wounded sailor passes away and as the captain gives the order to dive to safety, his body must be left behind. However, their diving planes have been damaged and are jammed in diving position, causing the sub to plunge deeper and deeper toward the limit when the water pressure will crush the hull like an empty tin can. Internal communications fail and all the while the Allied aircraft are continued to drop bombs on their position. They plummet deeper and deeper and blowing all ballast tanks and all auxiliary tanks has no effect. However, at the last minute, the diving planes are repaired and the boat is able to come to the surface.
Ready for surface action
We take some time out for some mundane activities, the crew missing home, the survivors dwelling on their state, a man getting a shave and so on. But, the next crisis breaks out when Frenchie attacks one of the Italian sailors and starts messing with the diving equipment in an effort to sink the sub. He is stopped of course and all is put back in order but some, like Lt. Donald asks the captain why the Frenchman was not punished. The captain only says that it is because he would have done the same if the roles had been reversed. After some more quiet time, the crew prepares special decorations and refreshments for Christmas, as a surprise for the captain. There is even a makeshift Christmas tree and some scarce champagne. The captain invites the enemy survivors to join the festivities, feasting, singing Christmas carols and even placing a tiny baby Jesus in a crèche. It is remarked upon, how the war seemed to have stopped and how this assortment of people, British, Italians, Americans and so on, can all get along despite their countries being at war (the Frenchman refuses to participate). This make it seem all the more bewildering when an Allied freighter is spotted and the Italian sailors swing into action to sink it.
Survivors on deck
The singing and dancing come to end as battle stations are manned and torpedoes are prepared. The sub races through the black, stormy night toward the target as the captain says if they can’t sink her before dawn, she will get away. They close in, fire two torpedoes and send the freighter to the bottom. A boat full of survivors finds the sub the next morning, the Italians being alerted to the new arrivals by the barking of a dog that was brought along. The survivors are Danish merchant sailors but the Italian sub has no more room for any more passengers and their lifeboat cannot make the 700 miles to the nearest port. The captain decides to shelter them in the conning tower on deck but warns them that, as unfortunate as it would be, if his submarine is attacked, he will have to submerge and the Danish survivors will be left to their fate. At one point, it looks as though this will happen, but, luckily for the Danes, the Allied warship turns away and the sub can remain on the surface. They make their way across the North Atlantic to the Azores, what the captain calls the “last hope” for the survivors who are exposed to the elements and suffer terribly from the wind and water. The other survivors below have pity on them and volunteer to take their place, rotating in turns below and on deck.
The Captain and Lt. Donald
At last, the submarine arrives at the Azores and the survivors are all put ashore, save for the Frenchman who must be taken back to base as a prisoner of war and the little dog who was given to the Italians by the Danes as a mascot. The Danish captain asks the Italian captain his name so that he can pray for him when he gets home. The Italian captain only replies, “pray for a sailor”. Donald has softened by this time and there is a short, touching moment as she leaves on the last boat to the shore while the Italian sailors stand on the deck of their submarine and wave goodbye before setting out to return to their patrol area and hunt for more Allied ships. Bring up “The End” title card and fade to black
Sailing toward neutral shores
“Submarine Attack” is a pretty humble, little movie. There is not much to it and we never get to know too much about any of the characters really. Again, it is meant to be a simple tale, well told, about humanity coming together in wartime and suggesting that if individuals can get along and remain compassionate even while their countries are at war, then, perhaps, there is hope for humanity after all. The transfer to DVD is not terribly good but it seems unlikely it will get better treatment in the future, being a mostly unknown film. It probably would not appeal to your average viewer and there are the occasional mistakes here and there, however, if one is a submarine enthusiast it is worth seeing simply for the setting. The movie was filmed on an actual Italian submarine of World War II vintage and so, seeing one in action was worth the ‘price of admission’ for me at least. There is probably not enough of a narrative and character work to interest most people, but it was worth it for me since films about the submarines of the Regia Marina are so rare and since the contribution of the Italian submarine force (which took a heavy toll on Allied shipping) is so often forgotten.
Resuming the hunt...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Great War in Italian Africa

The struggle for Africa in World War I is a subject not widely known. Among those who are aware of it, most are familiar with the campaigns by the Allies to seize control of the German colonies in Africa; Togoland, Kamerun, German Southwest Africa and most especially German East Africa where a small band of German colonial troops held out until the end of the war, evading or defeating forces vastly superior to their own. Yet, these were not the only areas of Africa touched by the Great War and the focus on Germany diverts attention away from another of the Central Powers that had big plans for African expansion and that was, of course, the Ottoman Empire. If the Great War had gone in favor of the Central Powers the Ottoman Empire was anxious to reclaim control of North Africa and East Africa from Egypt-Sudan to the Horn of Africa. Although the British were successful in stopping the Turkish efforts to invade Egypt, the Turks were energetic in forging alliances with Islamic groups already in rebellion in northern and eastern Africa against the friends and armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy.

Even before war broke out in Europe, Italian colonial forces were engaged in North Africa, fighting against Sanussi rebels. Italy had gained the three north African provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan after defeating the Ottoman Empire in a war in 1911-1912 and ever since there had been periodic rebellions in the form of attacks on Italian settlements and Italian farmers mostly by members of the Sanussi sect, a tribe and religious order of the Sufi branch of Islam. The Sanussi had been fighting the French in Chad but moved to attack the Italians as soon as the three provinces were handed over to Italy by the Turks. Ultimately, of course, these three provinces would be grouped together by Italy and named Libya, restoring the old Roman title for the area. Since most know it as that, for the sake of simplicity this region will be henceforth referred to as Libya here even though it would not become the official name until 1934. In February of 1914 the Italians began an offensive against Sanussi camps and punitive raids continued until late in the year. However, the number of Italian colonial forces was limited and these were stretched over an immense area.

In August, an Italian column was attacked and defeated by Sanussi rebels at Bir al-Fatia. Subsequently, there was a massive uprising in Fezzan, home of the Sanussi holy city of Kufra. The “supreme leader” of the Sanussi was, at this time, Ahmed Sharif as-Senussi and he would lead or direct his forces in attacks on the French, Italians and British throughout this period. The rebellion became so severe that the Italian forces had to withdraw to Tripolitania by early 1915. To make matters worse, the “Dervishes” of Italian Somaliland in East Africa were becoming increasingly aggressive and clashing with Italian or Italian-allied Somali forces in 1915. These so-called “Dervishes” were the followers of the “Mad Mullah” (who was actually not a mullah at all) Muhammad Abd Allah Hassan. Already, in 1914, he had caused considerable problems for the British in British Somaliland, defeating or at least bloodying British colonial forces in a number of clashes before moving across the border into Italian territory. Meanwhile, back in north Africa, a see-saw campaign, similar to what would later be seen in World War II was unfolding.

Early March, 1915 saw Italian troops defeat (or disperse without much actual combat) a large Sanussi force gathering in southern Tripolitania. Eager to follow this up, a large Italian column set out eastward in the hope of crushing the Sanussi rebellion in the area of Surt. However, on April 28-29 they were soundly defeated by a massive rebel attack at Abu Zinaf. The tide of war swung back in favor of the rebels and from May to June they had besieged Italian garrisons at Banu Walid and Tarhunah, preventing all relief efforts by other Italian forces. May also saw the formal entry of the Kingdom of Italy into the First World War on the Allied side. This had positive and negative effects for the war in Africa. While, Italy gained allies who were as equally threatened in the region, it also meant that Italian military strength would have to be concentrated almost entirely on the border with Austria with the result that the already hard-pressed troops in the colonies would be reduced to a bare minimum. In the summer, another attempt to relieve the siege of Banu Walid failed and when the garrison, driven to desperation, tried a breakout they were overwhelmed. Southern Tripolitania was abandoned  and by October all Italian forces in Cyrenaica as well were withdrawn to the coast.

Obviously, a major change had taken place and that was that the Ottoman Empire had begun to arm the rebels in the hope of eventually retaking their former provinces and reestablishing control of northern Africa. In spite of the fact that, at the time, Italy was only at war with Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire was effectively waging a proxy war against the Italians and Germany was also helping them do it, using German U-boats to smuggle weapons to the Libyan insurgents. In retaliation, on August 21 the Kingdom of Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire (Italy would not declare war on Germany until the following year). By the end of 1915, things looked bleak for the Italian position in north Africa. There had never been much of a real presence in Fezzan and Italian forces in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica had been forced to abandon their interior positions and concentrate their modest forces on the coast in the major towns and port cities. 1916, however, would open with another change in fortunes for the Italians in Libya. In the early months, alarmed by the radicalism of the rebels, the coastal population rallied to the side of the Italians in Tripolitania and Jabal Nafusah. Sanussi control was restricted to the area east of Wadi Zamzam. On February 1, 1916 the Italians were able to strike back for a change and wipe out a Sanussi rebel column.

Lij Jasu
As the year war on and the tide seemed to be turning in Libya, events were growing worse in East Africa. The “Mad Mullah” Muhammad Abd Allah Hassan formed an alliance in May with Emperor Lij Jasu of Ethiopia who had reportedly converted to Islam. Both hoped to achieve their goals of expansion across the Horn of Africa by allying with the Ottoman Empire, placing Ethiopia and Somalia under the spiritual authority of the Ottoman Sultan, the Caliph of Islam. The “Mad Mullah”, the Ethiopian Emperor and the Ottoman Turks formed an alliance to wage war against the British, French and Italian presence in the region. The Ottomans had already been smuggling weapons into the area from southern Arabia across the Gulf of Aden. However, neither of their two allies were in total control of any country or colony. Hassan was already a wanted man by both Britain and Italy and the flirtation with Islam by Lij Jasu did not go over well in Ethiopia. Forces opposed to him declared him deposed and Ethiopia descended into another civil war. Italy rushed reinforcements to Eritrea, the oldest Italian colony in the region, to maintain security and plans were drawn up for a more vigorous colonial strategy.

In May of 1916 Italian troops launched a counter-offensive in Libya with an amphibious landing at Ras al-Muraysah in Cyrenaica that results in the recapture of al-Bardi after which another Italian column, in a joint operation with the British, destroy a major Sanussi camp near Darnah. The British became involved since, with the outbreak of World War I, the Sanussi leader Ahmed Sharid as-Senussi had invaded Egypt, capturing Sallum and provoking the British to strike back and take the Sanussi threat more seriously. Now, however, the Allies were advancing and later that month Italian forces retook Zuwarah in Tripolitania. They were so successful that, by July, the Sanussi agreed to meet for talks with the British and Italians about making peace. Some decide to lay down their arms but others do not and in early 1917 the Italian forces resumed their offensive, clearing the rebels west of Tripoli and completely retaking southern Tripolitania. At the same time, in East Africa, the “Mad Mullah” attacks the Sultan Uthman of Obbia who is allied with Italy but the forces of the Sultan soundly defeat him.

Back in Libya, the Sanussi finally agree to come to terms with Italy and Great Britain, promising to recognize their authority and cease hostilities. However, some rebel groups simply denounce the Sanussi leadership that made the agreement and carrying on fighting anyway. Because of this, retaliation against these post-peace agreement rebels would often be quite severe. Throughout the rest of the year the restoration of Italian rule over Tripolitania continued at a steady pace while in East Africa the Sultan of Obbia launched his own counter-offensive against the “Mad Mullah”, winning another victory. 1918 saw an unbroken string of Italian victories across Libya with the rebels only managing to launch one major attack which was repelled by the colonial troops while taking heavy losses. In East Africa, the much vaunted threat of a Muslim takeover of the Horn of Africa came to nothing as local forces friendly to Italy proved capable of handling things on their own in Somalia while in Ethiopia, the deposed Emperor Lij Jasu ended up fighting for his own throne rather than waging a war of conquest against the French, British and Italian colonies.

Italian rule was restored and secured across the Italian African colonies. However, peace would not be permanent and it would take another major campaign before Libya was pacified in 1932. Ahmed Sharif as-Senussi left Libya in 1918 for the Ottoman Empire via Austria-Hungary, leaving the peace negotiations with his cousin Mohammad Idris who would, for a short time, become King of Libya after World War II. In Ethiopia, Lij Jasu (or Iyasu V) was deposed in favor of his aunt Empress Zewditu who kept him safe and tried to have him reconciled with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which had excommunicated him. However, Empress Zewditu was suppressed by Haile Selassie who made himself Emperor and finally had Lij Jasu killed during another war with Italy. The “Mad Mullah” took his fight back to British territory, was soundly defeated and died of influenza in 1920.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Roman Ireland

For a very long time, many of the stalwart defenders of historical orthodoxy have maintained that, while the ancient Romans were aware of the island of Ireland, they certainly never conquered it or even visited it. Today, however, this long-held assumption is being challenged and, with recent archaeological discoveries, it is becoming increasingly clear that not only did the Romans visit Ireland but that they had an established presence there. Of course, we know that the Romans knew of Ireland, it appears on Roman maps and was called, by the Romans, Hibernia which is today part of the title of one of the largest Irish ethnic social groups. That is well established, however, many people have fiercely clung to the belief that the Romans never controlled Ireland or any part of it. To some degree, there may also be some nationalistic vanity at work here and it would not be the first time. For example, ask any German about the old Roman Empire (not the German one they call the First Reich) and they will invariably boast of how Germania was never conquered by the Romans in all their centuries of history. Well, that is true, the Romans never conquered the entirety of what we know as Germany, however it has been emphasized to such an extent that many are ignorant of the fact that the Romans actually did conquer a great deal of Germania at various times, even most of it. So, it may also be that some similar sort of national pride (mistaken though it may be) is at work in Ireland and this might explain the resistance so many have shown to the facts of Roman-Irish contact.

The ancient Greeks, we know, were aware of Ireland and the Roman Republic knew of it long before Roman power came anywhere near to the island. Julius Caesar mentioned Ireland in his writings during his campaign in Britain and other Roman authors wrote about the island and its people as well, displaying an awareness of Ireland but also a near total lack of actual facts about the place. However, all of that began to change with the reign of Emperor Claudius when the Roman legions conquered Britain in 46 AD. It now seems most likely that it was during the reign of Claudius, after the conquest of Britain (which is to say as far as the future wall of Hadrian or roughly modern-day England) that the Romans invaded Ireland as well. Archaeologists have unearthed Roman coins, decorative accessories and other items at various locations and not just the extreme south coast as one might expect. The most significant find was 15 miles north of Dublin at Drumanagh where what has been described as a Roman fort or a trading post for Roman Britain was unearthed. The evidence would suggest it was a fort and settlement.

Naturally, those who resist the idea of the Romans having any significant contact with Ireland have tried to explain away the many Roman artifacts by claiming that Drumanagh was the site of an Irish trading post and that Irish merchants brought back Roman items from Britain. This story, while possible, does not stand up to scrutiny. Roman sources point to not only contact with Ireland through trade but a military expedition. Tacitus wrote about an invasion across the Irish Sea undertaken by General Gnaeus Julius Agricola from Britain and that Agricola conquered numerous tribes of people who were completely alien to the Roman world of that time. This, combined with the archaeological evidence, suggests that not only did the Romans trade with Ireland and visit Ireland but that considerable Irish territory was brought under Roman control. The fact that this was not something long known to be true can be explained in a number of ways. Such outposts on the extreme frontier of the known world were always the most lightly held by the Roman Empire, the natives of the Italian peninsula would have found the climate highly undesirable and there was no great wealth available for the taking either. All are potential reasons for why the Romans did not more firmly establish themselves in Ireland or set down much about the enterprise for posterity.

It is also true, though not popularly known, that long before the travels of St Patrick there were Christians in Ireland and this further establishes that at least partial Roman control over Ireland must have lasted from the time of Emperor Claudius until well into the period when the Roman Empire became an officially Christian empire. Many historians now also agree that the Romans helped an embattled Irish chieftain to regain his throne and this would be entirely in keeping with Roman policy as local rulers of client-states were fairly common throughout Roman history in both the imperial and republican periods. Taken altogether, there can be little doubt that Ireland was a part of the Roman world and at least somewhat of a part of the Roman Empire. This is still more evidence that the boast that the Roman Imperium spanned the world was no idle boast. After all, as well as Ireland, the Romans did get quite a way into Germany, even Denmark (the earliest Danish nobility were of Roman descent) and we know that Roman ships sailed the Baltic Sea. It all stands as testimony to the earliest days of western civilization when the culture that originated on the Italian peninsula spanned the known world.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

An Italian King of Spain

On this day in 1871 Amedeo I, son of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy, became the King of Spain. Although a rather reluctant monarch, he accepted the Spanish throne out of a desire to restore Spain as a country and to fulfill the vision of his father to spread the House of Savoy across the Mediterranean area, to make Italy the heart of a new sort of Roman empire consisting of allied kingdoms united by the Savoy dynasty. It seemed to be coming together with King Amedeo's sister Maria Pia across the border as Queen consort of Portugal and another sister, Maria Clotilde, married into the Bonaparte family of the French Second Empire (though it had recently fallen). A great deal of attention and Italian support was also being given to the Greeks in their struggle for independence from the Turks. At the time, the Savoy star was rising without doubt and with Spain in such trouble, many saw an Italian monarch as the ideal solution. The idea was to bring Spain together on the path of moderate, constitutional government and economic progress. Unfortunately, the deep divisions in Spanish society proved impossible to overcome, particularly after the death of General Juan Prim, the chief support of the Duke of Aosta to be King of Spain. When King Amedeo I declared Spain "ungovernable" and abdicated his throne to return to Italy, Spain fell victim to its first republic which, thankfully, was so inept that it died a quick death.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Messaggio di fine anno del Principe Amedeo di Savoia Duca d'Aosta


l’anno che sta per concludersi verrà ricordato anche perché, dopo secoli, un Pontefice ha rinunciato al suo ministero manifestando umiltà ma anche determinazione e senso di responsabilità, di cui i governanti tutti dovrebbero tenerne conto, gesto che collego al Re Umberto II che, dopo gli anni della Luogotenenza e del Regno,affrontò la via dell’esilio, con spirito di sacrificio, nell’interesse supremo della Nazione.

Quello che maggiormente mi preoccupa è la crisi economica che attanaglia e rende difficile la vita politica e sociale del nostro popolo. Auspico che il Governo decida di affrontare, senza indugi, le inderogabili necessità di tante famiglie in difficoltà,dei giovani disoccupati, dei pensionati ridotti alla miseria e abbia la volontà politica di rilanciare la produzione, sì da creare nuovi posti di lavoro e, con essi, una maggiore tranquillità economica. E’ quanto mai necessaria la pacificazione nazionale, ancora latente, in modo da consentire al Parlamento di fare tutte quelle indispensabili riforme di cui la Nazione abbisogna per renderla al passo con i tempi ed in linea con le democrazie più progredite. Auspico venga meno l’esilio per i Re e le Regine d’Italia, memoria storica per tutta la Nazione, tuttora sepolti all’estero.

Italiani, è necessario cooperare fraternamente. Il Governo deve essere attento e responsabile nella gestione della spesa pubblica ed essere a disposizione dei cittadini senza gravarli con tassazioni inique. L’avvenire della nostra Patria è sempre nei miei pensieri. La Casa che ho l’onore e l’onere di rappresentare è vicina a tutti voi, non dimenticando i Soldati che, all’estero, sono impegnati in difficili operazioni
di pace e, anche a nome di mio figlio Aimone, desidero far pervenire a tutti i più fervidi auguri, auspicando che il 2014 possa essere l’anno della rinascita morale e materiale dell’Italia.

Buon Natale e Buon Anno 2014 !

Da Castiglion Fibocchi, 25 dicembre 2013

 Amedeo di Savoia

Messaggio di fine anno del Principe Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia

Cari Italiani,

seguendo una consuetudine particolarmente cara al mio Augusto Genitore, S.M. il Re Umberto II, esco dal silenzio per condividere alcune riflessioni e soprattutto per formulare a Voi e alle Vostre famiglie l’augurio più sincero per un felice e prospero anno nuovo.

La crisi e il disagio sociale recentemente manifestatosi nel nostro Paese attraverso nuove forme di protesta ci pongono davanti alla necessità di un governo forte e di una maggioranza sufficientemente coesa per intraprendere le riforme attese da troppi anni, senza avere timore di ricorrere a elezioni anticipate qualora ve ne fosse necessità.
Travolti dalla frenesia della contemporaneità, non dobbiamo dimenticare che le risorse del nostro popolo sono infinite e lo abbiamo dimostrato in tanti momenti difficili della nostra storia. Per questo, è più che mai necessario che la politica riconsegni la parola «speranza» al nostro vocabolario, come ci ha recentemente ricordato il Santo Padre Francesco.
La speranza è il nutrimento della nostra giornata: un importante messaggio che sarà doveroso richiamare anche in vista di Expo2015.

Il Santo Natale è trascorso senza che i nostri due marò Massimiliano Latorre e Salvatore Girone abbiano avuto la possibilità di riabbracciare i propri cari, sopportando nell’adempimento del proprio dovere l’umiliazione e il sacrificio.
Desidero far giungere loro, attraverso queste poche righe, il mio memore saluto: Casa Savoia vi è vicina e attende con trepidazione il giorno del vostro ritorno in Patria!

Con l’inizio del nuovo anno, inizieranno in Europa le celebrazioni per il centenario della Prima Guerra Mondiale che per il nostro Paese cadranno nel 2015.
Non posso sottrarmi da un appello affinché questa ricorrenza non sia trascurata, augurandomi che la nostra classe politica non rimanga insensibile nei confronti delle precarie condizioni dei numerosi sacrari
militari oggi dimenticati. Questi sacelli, infatti, sono un memoriale di pietre vive della nostra storia e dei nostri valori.
La Grande Guerra è presente in tutte le case attraverso i ricordi e le testimonianze dei nostri padri. Siamo dunque orgogliosi di Vittorio Veneto e del Piave! Nessuno può pensare di cancellare queste pagine di sofferenza e di gioia.
In vista di queste celebrazioni, a nome di tutta la mia Famiglia, concorde nella richiesta, rivolgo un fervido appello affinché, entro il 2015, il Re della Vittoria, S.M. Vittorio Emanuele III, possa finalmente riposare nel Pantheon di Roma, insieme agli altri Sovrani che ancora sono sepolti in terra d’esilio.

Rivolgo un particolare pensiero alla Sardegna, recentemente colpita da una drammatica alluvione e ringrazio quanti, nel nome della mia Casa, si sono immediatamente mobilitati per portare assistenza, conforto e sollievo ai più bisognosi. Forza Paris!

Non posso concludere questo messaggio senza rivolgere uno speciale augurio all’Arma dei Carabinieri, voluta dal mio Avo Vittorio Emanuele I, nei secoli fedele, che quest’anno celebrerà il bicentenario della propria fondazione. In loro, l’Italia migliore.

A Voi ed a tutte le Vostre famiglie, ai militari in Patria e all’Estero, ai Servitori dello Stato Civili e Militari, a tutti i miei cari concittadini, formulo i migliori auguri di prosperità e di felicità per il nuovo anno.

Vittorio Emanuele