Mussolini was British agent

This video is called Mussolini, Italy’s Nightmare.

Another video used to say about itself:

The last days in the life of fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his family are told from the point of view of his ill-fated son-in-law Galeazzo Ciano.

From British daily The Guardian:

Recruited by MI5: the name’s Mussolini. Benito Mussolini

Documents reveal Italian dictator got start in politics in 1917 with help of £100 weekly wage from MI5

* Tom Kington in Rome
* Tuesday 13 October 2009 20.15 BST

History remembers Benito Mussolini as a founder member of the original Axis of Evil, the Italian dictator who ruled his country with fear and forged a disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany. But a previously unknown area of Il Duce‘s CV has come to light: his brief career as a British agent.

Archived documents have revealed that Mussolini got his start in politics in 1917 with the help of a £100 weekly wage from MI5.

For the British intelligence agency, it must have seemed like a good investment. Mussolini, then a 34-year-old journalist, was not just willing to ensure Italy continued to fight alongside the allies in the first world war by publishing propaganda in his paper. He was also willing to send in the boys to “persuade” peace protesters to stay at home.

Mussolini’s payments were authorised by Sir Samuel Hoare, an MP and MI5’s man in Rome, who ran a staff of 100 British intelligence officers in Italy at the time.

Cambridge historian Peter Martland, who discovered details of the deal struck with the future dictator, said: “Britain’s least reliable ally in the war at the time was Italy after revolutionary Russia‘s pullout from the conflict. Mussolini was paid £100 a week from the autumn of 1917 for at least a year to keep up the pro-war campaigning – equivalent to about £6,000 a week today.”

Hoare, later to become Lord Templewood, mentioned the recruitment in memoirs in 1954, but Martland stumbled on details of the payments for the first time while scouring Hoare’s papers.

As well as keeping the presses rolling at Il Popolo d’Italia, the newspaper he edited, Mussolini also told Hoare he would send Italian army veterans to beat up peace protesters in Milan, a dry run for his fascist blackshirt units.

“The last thing Britain wanted were pro-peace strikes bringing the factories in Milan to a halt. It was a lot of money to pay a man who was a journalist at the time, but compared to the £4m Britain was spending on the war every day, it was petty cash,” said Martland.

“I have no evidence to prove it, but I suspect that Mussolini, who was a noted womaniser, also spent a good deal of the money on his mistresses.”

After the armistice, Mussolini began his rise to power, assisted by electoral fraud and blackshirt violence, establishing a fascist dictorship by the mid-1920s.

His colonial ambitions in Africa brought him into contact with his old paymaster again in 1935. Now the British foreign secretary, Hoare signed the Hoare-Laval pact, which gave Italy control over Abyssinia.

“There is no reason to believe the two men were friends, although Hoare did have an enduring love affair with Italy,” said Martland, whose research is included in Christopher Andrew’s history of MI5, Defence of the Realm, which was published last week.

The unpopularity of the Hoare-Laval pact in Britain forced Hoare to resign. Mussolini, meanwhile, built on his new colonial clout to ally with Hitler, entering the second world war in 1940, this time to fight against the allies.

Deposed following the allied invasion of Italy in 1943, Mussolini was killed with his mistress, Clara Petacci, by Italian partisans while fleeing Italy in an attempt to reach Switzerland two years later.

Martland said: “Mussolini ended his life hung upside down in Milan, but history has not been kind to Hoare either, condemned as an appeaser of fascism alongside Neville Chamberlain.”

See also here.

The French cabinet on February 7, 1910, announced plans for a major naval expansion. France would appropriate $28,000,000 over the next decade to establish a fleet numbering nearly 200 vessels: here.

At a congress of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) held in Milan this week in 1910, the divisions among prominent right-wing members, reformists led by party head Filippo Turati and left-wing “maximalists,” reached a new intensity, with the left prevailing against the standing practice of electoral cooperation with the capitalist Republican party. This led to the resignation of a number of members of parliament, both PSI and Republican: here.

Mussolini’s 1935 Ethiopia war: here.

15 thoughts on “Mussolini was British agent

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  9. Milan, May 23 [1917]: Military bloodbath ends antiwar rebellion

    On May 23, the Italian army forcibly crushes an upheaval of protesting workers, mainly women, in Milan, the capital of Lombardy. Fifty people are killed, 800 arrested. A few weeks earlier, bread riots had erupted in Turin, and a wave of strikes and demonstrations spread throughout the bigger towns and industrial centers of Italy, with protests in Sestri Ponente, Terni, Piombino, Naples, Livorno, Prato and other cities and towns.

    The workers have every reason to protest: long working hours and miserable pay go together with food shortages and inflation. In comparison to pre-war times, the purchasing power of an average working family in Milan has fallen by a third (in Florence -48 percent, in Rome -40 percent, in Naples -51 percent). Since men are enlisted as soldiers, women and children have to work for their survival. Between 1915 and 1918, nearly 200,000 mostly young women and 60,000 children were engaged in war-related work.

    As many peasants have been sent to the trenches, reduced agricultural production aggravates economic scarcity. Taverns are selling bread by thin slices, rationed to no more than 80 grams per person. Malnutrition and hunger are linked to illnesses like tuberculosis, cachexia and “Spanish influenza.” The number of civilian deaths nearly equals the number of war deaths among Italian soldiers.

    The discontent turned into open rebellion. The developing protests immediately took on a political character and demand an end to the war, with slogans like “We want peace,” “Lay down your guns,” “Down with the war” and “Leave the trenches.”

    In early May, the movement reached the outskirts of Milan, where female textile workers were the first to go on strike. Peasants from nearby Gallarate and Busto Arsizio marched into town, and female farmers joined the industrial workers in calling for an immediate end to the war. To avert a general strike, the right-wing Boselli government declared a state of siege. The next day the army marches into Milan and crushes the rebellion.


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