Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life by Claudio G. Segre

By Claudio G. Segre

Pioneering aviator, blackshirt chief, colonial governor, confidante and heir-apparent to Benito Mussolini, the speeding and charismatic Italo Balbo exemplified the beliefs of Fascist Italy through the Twenties and 30s. He earned nationwide notoriety after global conflict I as a ruthless squadrista whose blackshirt forces overwhelmed socialist and alternate union businesses. As Minister of Aviation from 1926 to 1933, he led across the world heralded mass trans-Atlantic flights. whilst his aerial armada reached the U. S., Chicago commemorated him with a Balbo road, manhattan staged a ticker-tape parade, and President Roosevelt invited him to lunch. As colonial governor from 1933 to 1940, Balbo remodeled Libya from backward colony to version Italian province. To many, Italo Balbo looked as if it would include a noble imaginative and prescient of Fascism and the recent Italy.

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Even those who rejected the more fanciful interpretations of the incident wondered. Balbo was an experienced pilot and war veteran. How had he gotten himself into such a dangerous and foolish situation? With all its ironies and tragicomic aspects, Balbo's flaming death over Tobruk was very much in tune with his lifehis "fascist" life. Balbo was from Ferrara, and proud of it. 2 Ferrara lies at the southeastern edge of the lush, monotonous Emilian plain of Northern Italy. The lagoons of Venice are located a little more than 100 kilometers to the northeast; the red-tiled roofs and towers of Bologna lie 50 kilometers to the southwest.

He had shifted from Page 15 revolutionary syndicalism to the Fasci d'Avanguardia, whose program was more nationalist and expansionist. The group lasted only about a year, during which time Italo accompanied his brothers to the meetings in Via Torino. He also contributed a few paragraphs to the organization's weekly newspaper, La Giovine Italia, which was aimed at university students. Academically, Italo's Milanese year ended successfully. During the summer of 1912 Italo passed his grammar school examinations.

The leaders of these demonstrations ranged from poseurs such as Gabriele D'Annunzio to assorted revolutionary syndicalists such as A. O. Olivetti, Filippo Corridoni, and Michele Bianchi, to ex-anarchists such as Massimo Rocca. The ex-socialist newspaper editor Benito Mussolini emerged as a major figure at this time. Such a mixed crew agreed only that the war provided opportunities for new political alignments and perhaps even for the revolution that so far had eluded them. As Mussolini's Popolo d'Italia concluded, the revolutionary interventionists had got into the same train by accident and were bound for different directions.

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