Bianchi, Michele

(1883–1930)
   Born in Belmonte Calabro (Calabria), Bianchi came to be known as a firebrand syndicalist (and interventionist regarding World War I) in the heady days of organizing the field workers in the Po Valley. When he tossed in his lot with Benito Mussolini at the first Fascist rally at Piazza San Sepolcro in Milan, he retained the reputation for fanatical devotion to his syndicalist principles. He was chosen for membership on the first central committee of the Partito Nazionale Fascista/National Fascist Party (PNF), of which he became the first secretary general. His relations with other Fascist leaders were often strained, however. It was apparently Bianchi, as party secretary, who urged the March on Rome on an indecisive Mussolini. During the Fascist coup in October 1922, Bianchi telephoned Rome pretending to be the prefect of Perugia reporting that only surrender to the Fascists could avert serious bloodletting. Prime Minister Luigi Facta took this seriously and finally began the process of organizing resistance to Fascism, publicizing a decree requesting emergency powers that resulted in the immediate dissolution of some Fascist bands. The king refused to countersign the decree, however, thereby ensuring the victory of Mussolini. Before his sudden death in 1930 Bianchi became a PNF parliamentary deputy and, in 1929, minister for public works, a position he used to Calabria’s advantage.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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