Francesco Giunta

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Francesco Giunta (21 March 1887 - 8 June 1971) was an Italian Fascist politician.

Early fascist career[edit]

Born in the Tuscan town of San Piero a Sieve, he started his career as a lawyer. He served as a machine gun captain in World War I.[1] An early member of the Italian fascist movement, he was the leader of fascio in Florence before being sent to Trieste in 1920 to work under Gabriele D'Annunzio.[2] Under the direction of D'Annunzio he became the propaganda chief in Fiume.[3]

He became one of the organizers of Fascism in the Julian March (Venezia Giulia), the easternmost region of Italy, acquired from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after 1918. He worked with Benito Mussolini to set up a number of Fascist squads that attacked a group of allegedly separatist Slovenes in northern Istria.[3] As a Fascist leader (ras) of Trieste, he built up an early mass support base for the Fascist movement.[4] In July 1920, he led the squad that burnt down the Narodni dom, the community centre of the Slovenes in Trieste.[5] Giunta gained fame in March 1922 when he followed the example of D'Annunzio by staging a coup in the Free State of Fiume with 2000 followers and by doing so laying down the foundations for the official Italian takeover in 1924.[6] In October 1922, he commanded the Fascists from the Julian March on the March on Rome. His leading position in the early years of fascism came despite his Freemasonry, a movement to which Mussolini was bitterly opposed.[7]

Under Mussolini's government[edit]

He became national secretary of the National Fascist Party in succession to Michele Bianchi in 1923 and oversaw the move towards an increasingly diminished role for the party rank and file as Mussolini consolidated his government.[8] Replaced by Roberto Farinacci the following year, Giunta settled into an undersecretary's role in the cabinet office.[9] In this role he was pivotal in signalling one of the future intentions of Italian foreign policy when he stated in an April 1933 visit to Malta that he was on Italian soil and that the future of the island lay in complete union with Italy.[10]

Dalmatia[edit]

In February 1943, he succeeded Giuseppe Bastianini as the Governor of Dalmatia. A fervent anti-Yugoslav since the times of his activity in the South Slav-inhabited Julian March, Giunta brought a number of his old colleagues from Trieste with himself. His regime became noted for its brutality against the local Croat population, and a fierce repression of the Yugoslav partisan movement present in the area.[11]

Accusations of war crimes[edit]

After World War II, Yugoslavia demanded the extradition of Giunta, so that he could be tried for war crimes committed in Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav demand was rejected by both Italy and the Allies. Giunta settled in Rome, where he died in 1971.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alan Kramer, Dynamic of destruction, 2007, p. 302
  2. ^ Paul H. Lewis, Latin Fascist Elites, 2002, p. 17
  3. ^ a b C.P. Blamires, World Fascism - A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 239
  4. ^ S.J. Woolf, Fascism in Europe, 1981, p. 48
  5. ^ DOMOV - Fašisti so v Trstu zažgali Slovenski narodni dom
  6. ^ Paul H. Lewis, Latin Fascist Elites, 2002, p. 31
  7. ^ Nicholas Farrell, Mussolini: A New Life, p. 134
  8. ^ Adrian Lyttelton, The Seizure of Power, 2004, p. 183
  9. ^ Maria Wyke, Julius Caesar in Western Culture, 2006, p. 257
  10. ^ Manfred Pfister & Ralf Hertel, Performing National Identity , 2008, pp. 173-4
  11. ^ Jozo Tomasevich, War and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945, 2001, pp. 136-7
Political offices
Preceded by
Giuseppe Bastianini
Governor of Dalmatia
14 February 1943 – 10 September 1943
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
Triumvirate
Secretary of the National Fascist Party
15 October 1923 – 22 April 1924
Succeeded by
Quadrumvirate