Born in Rome, he served as a volunteer in World War I, and met Mussolini in 1919, helping him establish the Fasci in Rome, and later becoming editor of Il Popolo d'Italia's Roman edition. A law graduate, he sat in the Italian Chamber of Deputies after 1921. Bottai was active in the October 1922 March on Rome that brought the fascists to power, being responsible for the violent actions of the Blackshirts under his command (who killed several persons as the March met with protests).
In 1923, Bottai founded the Critica fascista magazine, and in 1926-1929 was deputy secretary of the Corporations (the reshaped Chamber of Deputies under Mussolini's command), issuing the Carta del Lavoro legislation.
After the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Bottai was also the first Italian Governor of Addis Ababa for twenty-two days (between May 5 and 27 1936). He was Italy's minister of Education 1936-1943, the editor of several journals, and the Mayor of Rome, initiating a number of anti-democratic and anti-semitic measures. Bottai also ordered Jewish teachers and students removed from Italy's schools and universities.
Opposition to Mussolini
Increasingly disenchanted with the Duce's leadership during World War II, Bottai sided with 19 other members of the Grand Council of Fascism, and supported Dino Grandi's July 1943 move to oust Mussolini. For that reason, he and Grandi (who had fled first to Spain, then to Portugal) were both sentenced to death in absentia by Mussolini's revived Italian Social Republic in the Verona trial (held from January 8 to January 10, 1944). Meanwhile Bottai had entered the French Foreign Legion, where he remained up to 1948, taking part in Allied campaigns in France and Nazi Germany.
An amnesty in 1947 enabled Bottai to return to Italy. Once back there, he edited the political journal A.B.C. in Rome, where he died in 1959. In 1995, the proposal to name a street in Rome after him caused controversies, and was later abandoned.
- Trade organisation in Italy under the act and regulations on collective relations in connection with employment
- Economia fascista (1930)
- Grundprinzipien des korporativen Aufbaus in Italien (1933)
- Esperienza corporativa (1929-1935) (1935)
- Corporazioni (1935)
- Scritti giuridici in onore di Santi Romano ... (1940)
- Funzione di Roma nella vita culturale e scientifica della nazione (1940)
- Pagine di critica fascista (1915-1926) (1941, edited by F. M. Pacces)
- Romanità e germanesimo : letture tenute per il Lyceum di Firenze (1941, edited by Jolanda de Blasi)
- Von der römischen zur faschistischen Korporation (1942)
- Köpfe des risorgimento (1943)
- Contributi all'elaborazione delle scienze corporative : (1939-XVIII--1942-XX) (1943)
- Vent 'anni e un giorno, 24 luglio 1943 (1949). Republished as Vent'anni e un giorno (24 luglio 1943) (1977).
- Legione è il mio nome (1950). Republished as Legione è il mio nome : il coraggioso epilogo di un gerarca del fascismo (I memoriali) (1999, edited by Marcello Staglieno)
- Scritti (1965, edited by Roberto Bartolozzi and Riccardo Del Giudice)
- Diario, 1935-1944 (1982, edited by Giordano Bruno Guerri )
- Carteggio 1940-1957, correspondence between Bottai and Don Giuseppe De Luca; edited by Renzo De Felice and Renato Moro (1989)
- La politica delle arti: Scritti, 1918-1943 (1992, edited by Alessandro Masi).
- Quaderni giovanili: 1915-1920 (Atti testimonianze convegni) (1996).
- Incontro con Bottai by Mario Carli and Bruno D'Agostini (1938)
- Giuseppe Bottai, un fascista critico : ideologia e azione del gerarca che avrebbe voluto portare l'intelligenza nel fascismo e il fascismo alla liberalizzazione by Giordano Bruno Guerri (1976 - Republished as Giuseppe Bottai, fascista, 1996).
- Bottai : il fascismo come rivoluzione del capitale (1978, edited by Anna Panicali)
- Scuola e la pedagogia del fascismo by Maria Bellucci and Michele Ciliberto (1978).
- Giuseppe Bottai e la riforma fascista della scuola by Rino Gentili. (1979)
- Bottai tra capitale e lavoro by Amleto Di Marcantonio (1980)
- Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890 by Philip Rees (1990)