- (1903–1944)The son of one of Benito Mussolini’s intimate advisors, Galeazzo Ciano married Edda, the only daughter of the Duce and his favorite child. His fortunes in party and government circles quickly rose. By 1936, he had been made a count as well as foreign secretary, a post that he retained until February 1943. In some interpretations, while the war in Ethiopia was meant to assuage the wounds remaining from Italy’s 1896 humiliation at Adowa, the “crusade” in Spain to assist Franco was desired by Count Ciano and his circle of younger Fascists similarly to prove their mettle. In the Fascist Grand Councilmeeting of 25 July 1943, Ciano was among those supporting the resolution to put the armed forces under royal control, thereby ending Mussolini’s role. Significantly, neither the police nor the militia intervened to prevent this coup, and Fascism’s founder was imprisoned at Gran Sasso. After Mussolini’s liberation by German paratroopers and subsequent installation at Salo, the Duce had Ciano and a dozen others arrested, tried, and executed by a firing squad, prompting Winston Churchill’s comment that his admiration for Mussolini had grown the moment that “he had his sonin-law shot.” Perhaps Ciano’s major contribution to posterity was the diary that he kept beginning in 1936. Parts had been secreted away by Edda, who made them available to publishers after the war. Their account of Ciano’s steadily growing doubts about Mussolini’s mental stability have proved an important source for historians.
Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. Mark F. Gilbert & K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
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