Grand Council of Fascism
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|Grand Council of Fascism
Gran Consiglio del Fascismo
President of the Council
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The Grand Council of Fascism (Italian: Gran Consiglio del Fascismo) was the main body of Mussolini's Fascist government in Italy. A body which held and applied great power to control the institutions of government, it was created as a party body in 1923 and became a state body on 9 December 1928. The council usually met at the Palazzo Venezia, Rome, which was also the seat of head of the Italian government.
Members of the Council
Its members, selected among the party's gerarchi, were as follows:
- Benito Mussolini (9 December 1928 – 25 July 1943)
- President of the Senate
- President of the Chamber of Deputies, from 1939 the Chamber of Fasci and Corporations
- Agriculture and Forestry
- Foreign Affairs
- Justice (formerly Justice, Home Affairs and Worship)
- National Education
- Press and Propaganda (later of Popular Culture)
- The Presidents (appointed by Mussolini) of the Royal Academy of Italy, of the special court of state emergency and defense, and those of the Corporations; Industrialists, Agriculture Workers, Industrial Workers, and Farmers. The Nobel Physics laureate inventor-technologist Guglielmo Marconi was the President of the Academy of Italy, making him a council member.
- The Chief of Staff i.e. commander of the MVSN
- The Secretary of the National Fascist Party, who was also the secretary of the Council.
- Various people chosen by Mussolini himself, who each held appointments of three-year durations.
Powers of the Council
Essentially, the council held these powers:
- The power to elect the Fascist Party deputies, the nomination for the Party Secretary and other party leaders, the approval of the party statutes and the power regarding the party's policy.
- The power to elect the Crown's line of succession including the choice of the heir to the throne, the right of the crown, the power to choose possible successors to the Prime Minister, the power to choose the function and membership of the Grand Council, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies (later the Chamber of Fasci and Corporations), the power to decide the rights and powers of the Prime Minister, international Treaties, and foreign affairs.
The Grand Council meetings were convened by the Prime Minister himself, and all decree and laws could only be legalized after receiving his approval. In contrast to the Führerprinzip government model in Nazi Germany, the Grand Council retained the power to recommend that the King of Italy remove the Prime Minister from office. As all the former governing institutions had been subordinated to the Fascist party, the Council was the only check on Mussolini's power.
Overthrow of Mussolini
The Allies invaded Sicily in July 1943. Grand Council member Dino Grandi proposed a vote of no confidence in Mussolini as leader of the Council and the party. A vote was held on the night of 24-25 July 1943 and passed with 19 votes for, 8 against and one abstention. Among the 19 votes of no confidence were those of Mussolini's son-in-law Galeazzo Ciano, who had been former minister of foreign affairs, and the influential marshal Emilio De Bono.
In September 1943 Mussolini was freed from imprisonment by the Germans and helped to regain power in northern Italy. He had Ciano, De Bono and three others arrested and tried for treason on 8 January 1944 in Verona. They were executed by firing squad three days later.
- "Gran consiglio del fascismo". Enciclopedia on line (in Italian). Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana fondata da Giovanni Treccani S.p.A. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- Shirer, William L. (1959). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (2011 ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 997. ISBN 9781451642599. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- Bosworth, Richard J. B. (2010). Mussolini (New ed.). London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 9780340981733. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- De Grand, Alexander J. (2000). Italian Fascism: Its Origins & Development (Third ed.). Lincoln, NV: University of Nebraska Press. p. 136. ISBN 0803266227. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- 2194 Days of War, Cesare Salmaggi & Alfredo Pallavisini (editors), Gallery Press, New York — ISBN 0831788852 (1977)