Dr. Dawg

Italian notes: apropos of nothing...

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The vibrant city of Milan holds the lessons of recent history in plain sight. Above is a monument to fifteen partisans shot by the Fascists in 1944, their bodies displayed in the Piazzale Loreto as a warning to others who might be tempted to oppose Benito Mussolini, at that point only nominally in charge of a Nazi puppet-state in Lombardia.

In his heyday, Mussolini, so the story goes, made the trains run on time. That was a convenient lie, but he did oversee the building of grandiose train stations like this one:

Milan train station.jpg

Made Prime Minister of Italy in 1922, Mussolini set about concentrating executive power in his office until finally he was no longer responsible to parliament. He passed legislation with little opposition, glorified war and militarism, crushed the unions, and undertook a massive programme of privatisation.

Fate caught up with him in 1945. He and several supporters were shot by anti-Fascists and their bodies were taken to the same Piazzale Loreto where the partisans had been put on display a year earlier. Il Duce is the one in the middle.


Tomorrow Ms Mew and I fly to Sicily, where Mussolini had ordered a crackdown on crime. His lieutenant there, Cesare Mori, was given a completely free hand: in a telegram, Mussolini wrote:

Your Excellency has carte blanche, the authority of the State must absolutely, I repeat absolutely, be re-established in Sicily. If the laws still in force hinder you, this will be no problem, as we will draw up new laws.

I am looking forward to my first dinner in Taormina, and an eventual trip to Mount Etna and other points of interest.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on May 8, 2012 1:08 PM.

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