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Benito Mussolini

King Vittorio Emanuele III

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Mussolini and the King apparently grant a military promotion

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, 1883-1945, Fascist dictator of Italy, and Vittorio Emanuele III, 1869-1947, King of Italy during World War I and World War II.  Partially printed Document Signed, Mussolini and Vittorio Emanuele, 9½" x 14½", Rome, December 9, 1926.  In Italian; not translated.

This vintage document is a nice, bright one that is printed and signed on only one side of the page and therefore would be perfect for framing and display.  It is untranslated, but it appears to be a military promotion.  King Vittorio Emanuele III has signed it in his typical huge, 6¼" signature, and Mussolini has countersigned beneath it with a 1¾" signature.  Both have boldly signed in black fountain pen.

Vittorio Emanuele III became King of Italy upon the assassination of his father, Umberto I, in 1900.  Italy maintained official neutrality when World War I started in 1914, but eventually Vittorio Emanuele concluded that entering the war on the side of the Allies offered Italy the the best opportunity for territorial gain.  He was instrumental in Italys renunciation of its tentative alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary after Italy successfully negotiated post-war territorial concessions from the Allies in the secret 1915 Treaty of London.

Mussolini, a former Socialist newspaper editor, broke with the Socialists over the issue of Italy's entry into World War I.  In 1919, he founded the Fasci di Combattimento, and Fascism became an organized political movement later that year. Two years later, Mussolini was elected to parliament as a conservative.  The liberal government generally failed to intervene when the Fascisti formed armed squads of war veterans to terrorize Socialists and Communists.  Facing anarchy, Vittorio Emanuele invited Mussolini to form a new government.  In October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest premier in Italian history.

Using strict censorship, by the mid-1920's Mussolini became a dictator.  He dissolved all other political parties and required all journalists to be registered Fascists.  Italy was a police state. 

Mussolini's absolute control of the press allowed him to foster the image of Il Duce—the Leader—a man who never slept, was always right, and could solve all the problems of politics and economics.

When the League of Nations opposed Italy's war against Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935–1936, Mussolini sought an alliance with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, which had withdrawn from the League in 1933.  In 1938, he effected race laws that barred Jews from becoming teachers, lawyers, and journalists, banned them from attending state schools and universities, and required them to forfeit much of their propertylaws that Vittorio Emanuele, who because of Mussolinis regime became both Emperor of Ethiopia and King of Albania, was strongly criticized for signing.  In May 1939, Mussolini cemented his alliance with Germany when he made the "Pact of Steel."  In June 1940, he declared war on Britain and France, and by the end of 1941 he had also declared war on the Soviet Union and the United States.

Following Italian defeats on all fronts and the 1943 Anglo-American landing in Sicily, most of Mussolini's colleagues, including his son-in-law, turned against him at a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council.  Vittorio Emanuele stripped Mussolini of his power, and Mussolini was arrested as he left the palace.  The Germans rescued him several months later, and under their protection he established the Italian Social Republic, a Fascist state, in northern Italy.  Vittorio Emanuele left Italy for exile in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1943.

On April 27, 1945, Mussolini and his mistress were caught by Italian partisans.  The next day they were both executed. Their bodies were hanged, upside down, in Piazzale Loreto in Milan.

In 1946, a slim majority of Italians approved abolishing the monarchy.  Vittorio Emanuele III, who never formally abdicated or renounced his rights, remained in exile.  He died in 1947.

This is a fine specimen.  The paper is very white for its age.  The document has docketing stamps and notations, scattered small pinholes at the left, slight wrinkling at the lower left, and minor paper loss in the left edge where the sheet has been removed from a book.  None of these touches either of the signatures.

Unframed.  Click here for information on custom framing this piece.


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The watermarks do not appear on the actual document.



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