Federzoni, Luigi


Federzoni, Luigi
(1878–1967)
   Born in Bologna, Federzoni became the leader of the Italian nationalist association in 1910, which campaigned for Italian colonial expansion. Together with Enrico Corradini, in 1911 Federzoni founded the influential weekly L’idea nazionale, in which he published a famous attack on freemasonry in April 1913.
   Federzoni became a parliamentary deputy in 1913 but nevertheless enrolled in the armed forces in 1915. In 1922 he became minister for the colonies in Benito Mussolini’s first government. Following the disappearance of Giacomo Matteotti in June 1924, Federzoni was one of four ministers who resigned from Mussolini’s government, publicly requesting that the Fascist leader seek “national conciliation.” Afew days later, however, Mussolini made Federzoni minister for the interior, a post that he was forced to resign in 1926 after public criticism following two attempts on Mussolini’s life, which made his position untenable. He was minister for the colonies once more until 1929.
   Federzoni held several prestigious offices in the 1930s. He was president of the Senate from 1929 until 1939, editor of the Fascist literary periodical Nuova antologia, and, from 1938, the president of the Accademia d’Italia. A member of the Fascist Grand Council, he was one of 19 Fascist leaders who signed the motion put by Dino Grandi asking King Victor Emmanuel III to resume his powers, thus isolating Mussolini who, on the same afternoon (25 July 1943), was put into “protective custody” by order of the king and, after provisional imprisonments, was incarcerated on Gran Sasso in the Abruzzi mountains. After the ex-Duce was liberated (12 September) by German commandos and established in the northern city of Salo, a half-dozen of the Grandi motion signers were tried for treason, Federzoni among them. He was condemned to death but managed to flee to Portugal. For his role in Fascism’s rise he was sentenced to life imprisonment after liberation in 1945 but was amnestied, and after a period of exile in Portugal and Brazil, he returned to Italy. He spent the last two decades of his life peacefully writing his memoirs. He died in Rome in 1967.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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