Galeazzo Ciano

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Galeazzo Ciano
Galeazzo Ciano01.jpg
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
9 June 1936 – 6 February 1943
Monarch Victor Emmanuel III
King of Italy
Prime Minister Benito Mussolini
Preceded by Benito Mussolini
Succeeded by Benito Mussolini
Personal details
Born Gian Galeazzo Ciano
(1903-03-18)18 March 1903
Livorno, Tuscany, Italy
Died 11 January 1944(1944-01-11) (aged 40)
Verona, Italian Social Republic
Political party National Fascist Party (PNF)
Spouse(s) Edda Mussolini Ciano
Children Fabrizio
Raimonda
Marzio
Profession politician, diplomat
Religion Catholic

Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari (pronounced [ɡaleˈattso ˈtʃano]; 18 March 1903 – 11 January 1944) was Foreign Minister of Fascist Italy from 1936 until 1943 and Benito Mussolini's son-in-law. On January 11, 1944 Count Ciano was shot by firing squad at the behest of his father-in-law, Mussolini, under pressure from Nazi Germany.[1] Ciano left a massive diary,[2] that has been used among others by William Shirer in his monumental The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and in the 4-hour HBO docu-drama Mussolini and I.

Early life[edit]

Gian Galeazzo Ciano was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1903. He was the son of Costanzo Ciano and his wife Carolina Pini; his father was an Admiral and World War I hero in the Royal Italian Navy (for which service he was given the aristocratic title of Count by Victor Emmanuel III), founding member of the National Fascist Party and re-organizer of the Italian merchant navy in the 1920s. The elder Ciano (he was nicknamed Ganascia, meaning "The Jaw") was not above making a private profit from his public office. He would use his influence to depress the stock of a company, after which he would buy a controlling interest, which would increase his wealth after its value rebounded. He owned among other holdings a newspaper, a farmland in Tuscany and other properties worth millions. As a result his son Galeazzo was accustomed to living a high-profile and glamorous life, which he maintained until almost the end. After studying Philosophy of Law, the younger Ciano had a brief experience as a journalist before choosing a diplomatic career, and served as an attaché in Rio de Janeiro. On 24 April 1930, he married Benito Mussolini's daughter Edda Mussolini, with whom he soon left for Shanghai where he served as Italian Consul. Back in Italy, he became the minister of press and propaganda in 1935.

Foreign Minister[edit]

Ciano (far right) standing alongside (right to left) Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Édouard Daladier, and Neville Chamberlain prior to the signing of the Munich Agreement.
Ciano arriving in Albania, April 1939

Ciano took part in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935–36) as a bomber squadron commander (his unit, 15ª squadriglia da bombardamento, was dubbed "La Disperata") where his future opponent Alessandro Pavolini served as lieutenant. Upon his highly trumpeted comeback as a "hero" he became Foreign Minister in 1936, replacing Mussolini. The following year he was allegedly involved in organizing the murder of the brothers Carlo Rosselli and Nello Rosselli, two exiled anti-fascist major activists killed in the French spa town of Bagnoles-de-l'Orne on 9 June 1937. In 1937, prior to the Italian annexation, Count Gian Galeazzo Ciano was an Honorary Citizen of Tirana, Albania.[3]

Ciano was skeptical of Mussolini's war plans and knew that Italy's armed forces were ill-prepared for a major war. When Mussolini formally declared war on France, he wrote in his diary "I am sad, very sad. The adventure begins. May God help Italy!" After 1939, Ciano became increasingly disenchanted with Nazi Germany and the course of World War II, although when the Italian regime embarked on the ill-advised "parallel war" alongside Germany, he went along fairly convinced, even through the terribly-devised Italian invasion of Greece and its subsequent setbacks. Prior to the German campaign in France in 1940 Count Ciano leaked a warning of imminent invasion to neutral Belgium. In late 1942 and early 1943, following the Axis defeat in North Africa, other major setbacks on the Eastern Front, and the Anglo-American assault on Sicily looming on the horizon, Ciano turned against prosecution of the doomed war and actively pushed for Italy's exit from the conflict. He was silenced by being removed from his post as Foreign Minister, an action which took place on February 5, 1943. Then he was offered the post of ambassador to the Holy See, and presented his credentials to the Pope on March 1.[4] In this role he could remain in Rome, to be watched closely by Mussolini. The Regime's position had become even more shaky with the coming summer, however, and court circles were already probing the Allies commands for agreements of some sort.

On the afternoon of 24 July 1943, Mussolini summoned the Fascist Grand Council to its first meeting since 1939, prompted by the Allied invasion of Sicily. At that meeting, Mussolini announced that the Germans were thinking of evacuating the south. This led Count Dino Grandi to launch a blistering attack on his longtime comrade. Grandi put on the table a resolution asking the king to resume his full constitutional powers—in effect, a vote leading to Mussolini's total ousting from leadership. The motion won by an unexpectedly large margin, 19-7, with Ciano voting in favor.

Mussolini did not think the vote had any substantive value, and showed up at work the next morning like any other day. That afternoon, Victor Emmanuel III, the King, summoned him to Villa Savoia and dismissed him from office. Upon leaving the Villa, Mussolini was arrested. For the next two months he was moved from place to place to hide him and prevent his rescue by the Germans.

Ultimately Mussolini was sent to Gran Sasso, a mountain resort in central Italy (Abruzzo). He was kept there in complete isolation until rescued by the Germans. Mussolini then set up a puppet government in the area of northern Italy still under German occupation called the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (R.S.I.).

Death[edit]

Ciano, having been dismissed from his post by the new government, attempted to find shelter in Germany, alongside Edda and their three children, but the Germans returned him to R.S.I. agents and he was then formally arrested for treason. Under German and Fascist pressure, Mussolini had Ciano tried. After the Verona trial sentence, a Fascist firing squad, at a shooting range in Verona on 11 January 1944, executed Ciano and others (including Emilio De Bono and Giovanni Marinelli) who had voted for Mussolini's ousting. The executed Italians were tied to chairs and shot in the back as a further humiliation. Ciano was effectively executed for dissenting against Il Duce's will. His last words were "Long live Italy!" [5]

Ciano is remembered for his famous Diaries 1937–1943, a daily record of his meetings with Mussolini, Hitler, von Ribbentrop, foreign ambassadors and other political figures that proved embarrassing to the Nazi leadership and the Fascist diehards. Edda tried to barter his papers in return for his life with the help of factions in the German high command; Gestapo agents helped her confidant Emilio Pucci rescue some of them from Rome. Pucci was then a lieutenant in the Italian Air Force, but would find fame after the war as a fashion designer. When Hitler vetoed the plan, Edda hid the bulk of the papers at a clinic in Ramiola, near Medesano and on 9 January 1944, Pucci helped her escape to Switzerland with the 5 diaries covering the war years.[6] The diary was first published in English in London in 1947, edited by Malcolm Muggeridge, for the years 1939-1943. The complete English version was published in 2002.

Children[edit]

Gian Galeazzo and Edda Ciano had three children:

  • Fabrizio Ciano, 3º Conte di Cortellazzo e Buccari (Shanghai, 1 October 1931 – San José, Costa Rica, 8 April 2008), married to Beatriz Uzcategui Jahn, without issue. Wrote a personal memoir entitled Quando il nonno fece fucilare papà ("When Grandpa had Daddy Shot").
  • Raimonda Ciano (Rome, 12 December 1933 - Rome, 24 May 1998), married to Nobile Alessandro Giunta (1929 -), son of Nobile Francesco Giunta (Piero, 1887–1971) and wife (m. Rome, 1924) Zenaida del Gallo Marchesa di Roccagiovine (Rome, 1902 – São Paulo, Brazil, 1988)
  • Marzio Ciano, (Rome, 18 December 1937 – 11 April 1974), married to Gloria Lucchesi

In popular culture[edit]

  • A number of films have depicted Ciano's life, including Mussolini and I (1985) in which he was played by Anthony Hopkins.
  • Raúl Juliá played Ciano in the 1985's television mini-series, Mussolini: The Untold Story.
  • In Serbia there is proverb : "Living like count Ciano" - describing a flamboyant and luxurious life (Živi ko grof Ćano/Живи ко гроф Ћано)

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Galeazzo Ciano, Ciano's Diary, 1939-1943, edited and with an introduction by Malcolm Muggeridge, foreword by Sumner Welles, translated by V. Umberto Coletti-Perucca, London and Toronto: William Heinemann Ltd., (1947).
  • Ciano's diplomatic papers: being a record of nearly 200 conversations held during the years 1936–42 with Hitler, Mussolini, Franco; together with important memoranda, letters, telegrams etc. / edited by Malcolm Muggeridge; translated by Stuart Hood, London: Odhams Press, (1948).
  • Galeazzo Ciano, Diary 1937–1943, Preface by Renzo De Felice (Professor of History University of Rome) and original introduction by Sumner Welles (U.S. Under Secretary of State 1937–1943), translated by Robert L. Miller (Enigma Books, 2002), ISBN 1-929631-02-2
  • The Ciano Diaries 1939–1943: The Complete, Unabridged Diaries of Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1936–1943 (2000) ISBN 1-931313-74-1
  • Giordano Bruno Guerri – Un amore fascista. Benito, Edda e Galeazzo. (Mondadori, 2005) ISBN 88-04-53467-2
  • Чиано Галеаццо, Дневник фашиста. 1939–1943, (Москва: Издательство "Плацъ", Серия "Первоисточники новейшей истории", 2010, 676 стр.) ISBN 978-5-903514-02-1
  • Ray Moseley – Mussolini's Shadow: The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano, (Yale University Press, 1999) ISBN 0-300-07917-6
  • R.J.B. Bosworth – Mussolini (Hodder Arnold, 2002) ISBN 0-340-73144-3
  • Michael Salter and Lorie Charlesworth – "Ribbentrop and the Ciano Diaries at the Nuremberg Trial" in Journal of International Criminal Justice 2006 4(1):103–127 doi:10.1093/jicj/mqi095
  • Fabrizio Ciano – Quando il nonno fece fucilare papà ("When Grandpa had Daddy Shot"). Milano: Mondadori, 1991.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Moseley, Ray (2004). Mussolini : the last 600 days of il Duce (1. ed. ed.). Dallas: Taylor Trade Publ. p. 79. ISBN 1589790952. 
  2. ^ Ciano, Caleazzo (2002). Diary, 1937-1943 (1st complete and unabridged English ed. ed.). New York: Enigma Books. ISBN 1929631022. 
  3. ^ Municipality of Tirana
  4. ^ Pius XII speech at the presentation of credentials (in Italian)
  5. ^ "Mussolini’s Daughter’s Affair with Communist Revealed in Love Letters". The Telegraph. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  6. ^ McGaw Smyth, Howard (1969). "The Ciano Papers: Rose Garden". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 23 April 2008. Detailed CIA account of Ciano's last weeks and how his papers escaped Italy – good source if anyone wants to expand this article
Italian nobility
Preceded by
Costanzo Ciano
Count of Cortellazzo
1939–1944
Succeeded by
Fabrizio Ciano
Political offices
Preceded by
Benito Mussolini
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
1936–1943
Succeeded by
Benito Mussolini