Manual Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life

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Quadrumvir The March on Rome. Ras of Ferrara The Intransigent. The Aviator Undersecretary Douhets Disciple. The Colonizer Governor General of Libya Builder and Colonizer.

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Frondeur The Germanophobe. Fascist The Model Fascists Fascism. Soldier North African Commander. Soldier Death of a Hero. Minister Father of the Aeronautica. Aviator The Mediterranean Cruises. Aviator The First Atlantic Cruise.

Chicago renamed the former 7th Street "Balbo Drive" and staged a great parade in his honor. The Newfoundland Post Office overprinted one of their cent airmail stamps , that had been issued just two months previously, for the event: [9] General Balbo Flight, Labrador, The Land of Gold. New York gave a warm welcome to the pilots on Broadway Manhattan. Millions of people watched the parade of dozens of cars escorted by police horses along the streets of Manhattan.

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Mussolini has ended the era of humiliations. A road overlooking the bay used by the flying boats was renamed Balbo Drive, a name it still carries today. Mussolini looked to the flamboyant Air Marshal to be the condottiero of Italian ambition and extend Italy's new horizons in Africa. Balbo's task was to assert Italy's rights in the indeterminate zones leading to Lake Chad from Tummo in the west and from Kufra in the east towards the Sudan.

Balbo had already made a flying visit to Tibesti.

By securing the "Tibesti- Borku strip" and the "Sarra Triangle", Italy would be in a good position to demand further territorial concessions in Africa from France and Britain. Mussolini even had his sights set on the former German colony of Kamerun. Mussolini pictured an Italian Cameroon and a territorial corridor connecting that territory to Libya.

Italo Balbo, a complex and controversial figure, from Italy to Grant Park

Ultimately, control of the Suez Canal and of Gibraltar would complete the picture. As of 1 January , Tripolitania , Cyrenaica and Fezzan were merged to form the new colony and Balbo moved to Libya. At that stage, Balbo had apparently caused bad blood in the party, possibly because of jealousy and individualist behavior. Being appointed Governor-General of Libya was an effective exile from politics in Rome where Mussolini considered him a threat, [2] both for his fame and, more importantly, because of his close relationship with the possibly anti-fascist Crown Prince Umberto.

Italian newspapers reportedly could not mention Balbo's name more than once a month. Balbo was still well known in the United States for his visit to the Century of Progress exhibition.

Balbo commissioned the Marble Arch to mark the border between Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. It was unveiled on 16 March In , as the " Abyssinia Crisis " worsened, Balbo began preparing plans to attack Egypt and Sudan. As Mussolini made his intentions to invade Ethiopia clear, relations between Italy and the United Kingdom became more tense. Fearing a "Mad Dog" act by Mussolini against British forces and possessions in the Mediterranean , Britain reinforced its fleet in the region and also its military forces in Egypt.

Balbo reasoned that, should Britain choose to close the Suez Canal , Italian troop transports would be prevented from reaching Eritrea and Somalia. Thinking that the planned attack on Abyssinia would be crippled, Balbo asked for reinforcements in Libya. He calculated that such a gesture would make him a national hero and restore him to the centre of the political stage.

By 1 September , Balbo secretly deployed Italian forces along the border with Egypt without the British knowing anything about it. At the time, British intelligence concerning what was going on in Libya was woefully inadequate. In the end, Mussolini rejected Balbo's over-ambitious plan to attack Egypt and Sudan and London learned about his deployments in Libya from Rome. For Balbo, the agreement meant the immediate loss of 10, Italian troops; it was characterised by renewed promises of undertakings that Mussolini had previously broken and he could easily break again.

By the time of the " Munich Crisis ", Balbo had his 10, troops back.

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At this time, Italian aircraft were making frequent overflights of Egypt and Sudan and Italian pilots were being familiarised with the routes and airfields. There were distinct signs of German military and diplomatic co-operation with the Italians. A German Military Mission was present in Benghazi and German pilots were engaged in navigational training flights.

Balbo began road construction projects such as the Via Balbia in an attempt to attract Italian immigrants to Libya. He also made efforts to draw Muslims into the Fascist cause. In , Balbo was the only member of the Fascist regime who strongly opposed the new legislation against the Jews , the Italian "Racial Laws". Balbo was the only Fascist of rank to publicly criticize this aspect of Mussolini's foreign policy. He argued that Italy should side with the United Kingdom, but he attracted little following to his argument.

When informed of Italy's formal alliance with Nazi Germany , Balbo exclaimed:. You will all wind up shining the shoes of the Germans! He became responsible for planning an invasion of Egypt. After the surrender of France, Balbo was able to shift much of the men and materiel of the Italian Fifth Army on the Tunisian border to the Tenth Army on the Egyptian border. Italian anti-aircraft batteries defending the airfield misidentified the aircraft as a British fighter and opened fire upon it as it attempted a landing.

It was downed and all on board perished.

Segrè, "Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life" (Book Review) - ProQuest

Eyewitness general Felice Porro reported that the cruiser San Giorgio , serving as a floating anti-aircraft battery, began firing on Balbo's aircraft, followed by the airfield's antiaircraft guns. Rumors that Balbo was assassinated on Mussolini's orders have been conclusively debunked. Upon hearing of the death of Balbo, the Commander-in-Chief of the RAF Middle East Command ordered to dispatch an aircraft to drop over the Italian airfield the following note and a wreath of condolence:.

The British Royal Air Force expresses its sympathy in the death of General Balbo - a great leader and gallant aviator, personally known to me, whom fate has placed on the other side. Balbo's remains were buried outside Tripoli on 4 July In , Balbo's remains were brought back to Italy and buried in Orbetello by Balbo's family after Muammar Gaddafi threatened to disinter the Italian cemeteries in Tripoli. In , Benito Mussolini presented the city of Chicago with a monument to Balbo.


Balbo Drive is a well-known street in the heart of downtown. In , a campaign was launched to rename it. Wells , a leading Chicago journalist, anti-lynching activist and suffragette. Serving with Michele Bianchi d. Emanuela Florio m.

The Balbo Monument

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