Grand Council of Fascism

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Grand Council of Fascism
Gran Consiglio del Fascismo
Lesser coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy (1929-1943).svg
Coat of Arms
AbbreviationGrand Council
Formation9 December 1928 (1928-12-09)
Dissolved25 July 1943 (1943-07-25)
Legal statusConstitutional body
HeadquartersPalazzo Venezia, Rome
King Victor Emmanuel III
Benito Mussolini

The Grand Council of Fascism (Italian: Gran Consiglio del Fascismo, also translated "Fascist Grand Council") was the main body of Mussolini's Fascist government in Italy, that held and applied great power to control the institutions of government. It was created as a body of the National Fascist Party in 1922, and became a state body on 9 December 1928. The council usually met at the Palazzo Venezia, Rome, which was also the seat of the head of the Italian government.[1] The Council became extinct following a series of events in 1943, in which Benito Mussolini was voted out of the Prime Ministry of Italy.

Powers of the Council[edit]

The session of the Grand Council of 9 May 1936, where the Empire was proclaimed.

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 Fasces 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 decrees 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[edit]

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.

The following day King Victor Emmanuel met Mussolini and informed him that General Pietro Badoglio would lead Italy, as Prime Minister. Mussolini was arrested immediately after the meeting.[2]

In September 1943 Mussolini was freed from imprisonment by German commandos 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.[3][4]

Members of the Council[edit]

The composition of the Council was revised and defined by a law of 14 December 1929. Its members, selected among the party's gerarchi, are below. Their vote on the 25 July 1943 motion to depose Mussolini is also given next to their name.

Head of Government and Duce of Fascism
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Benito Mussolini portrait as dictator (retouched).jpg Benito Mussolini
(1883–1945)
14 December 1929 25 July 1943 13 years, 223 days Deposed
The Quadrumvirs
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Italio Balbo (cropped).jpg Italo Balbo
(1896–1940)
14 December 1929 28 June 1940 10 years, 197 days Died in Office
Michele Bianchi Portrait.jpg Michele Bianchi
(1883–1930)
14 December 1929 3 February 1930 51 days Died in Office
E. De Bono 04.jpg Emilio De Bono
(1866–1944)
14 December 1929 25 July 1943 13 years, 223 days Yes
Cesare Maria De Vecchi1.jpg Cesare Maria De Vecchi
(1884–1959)
14 December 1929 25 July 1943 13 years, 223 days Yes
President of the Senate
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Luigi Federzoni 1930s.jpg Luigi Federzoni
(1878–1967)
14 December 1929 2 March 1939 9 years, 78 days
Giacomo Suardo 2.jpg Giacomo Suardo
(1883–1947)
15 March 1939 25 July 1943 4 years, 132 days Abstention
President of the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations[a]
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
GiovanniGiurati.jpg Giovanni Giuriati
(1876–1970)
14 December 1929 19 January 1934 4 years, 36 days
Costanzo Ciano iii.jpg Costanzo Ciano
(1876–1939)
28 April 1934 26 June 1939 5 years, 59 days Died in office
Dino Grandi.jpg Dino Grandi
(1895–1988)
30 November 1939 25 July 1943 3 years, 237 days Yes
Minister of Agriculture and Forests
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Giacomo Acerbo.jpg Giacomo Acerbo
(1888–1969)
14 December 1929 24 January 1935 5 years, 41 days
Edmondo rossoni1.jpg Edmondo Rossoni
(1884–1965)
24 January 1935 31 October 1939 4 years, 280 days
Giuseppe Tassinari2.jpg Giuseppe Tassinari
(1891–1944)
31 October 1939 26 December 1941 2 years, 56 days
Carlo Pareschi (cropped).gif Carlo Pareschi
(1898–1944)
26 December 1941 25 July 1943 1 year, 211 days Yes
Minister of Corporations
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Bottai 37.jpg Giuseppe Bottai
(1895–1959)
14 December 1929 20 July 1932 2 years, 219 days
Benito Mussolini portrait as dictator (retouched).jpg Benito Mussolini
(1883–1945)
20 July 1932 11 June 1936 3 years, 327 days
Ferruccio Lantini.jpg Ferruccio Lantini
(1886–1959)
11 June 1936 31 October 1939 3 years, 142 days
Presidium of the European Youth Union Renato Ricci (cropped).jpg Renato Ricci
(1896–1956)
31 October 1939 6 February 1943 3 years, 98 days
Carlo Tiengo (cropped).jpg Carlo Tiengo
(1882–1945)
6 February 1943 19 April 1943 72 days
Tullio Cianetti (cropped).jpg Tullio Cianetti
(1899–1976)
19 April 1943 25 July 1943 97 days Yes
Minister of Finance
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Antonio Mosconi.gif Antonio Mosconi
(1866–1955)
14 December 1929 20 July 1932 2 years, 219 days
Guido Jung (cropped).jpg Guido Jung
(1876–1949)
20 July 1932 17 January 1935 2 years, 181 days
Paolo Ignazio Thaon.gif Paolo Thaon di Revel
(1888–1973)
17 January 1935 6 February 1943 8 years, 20 days
Giacomo Acerbo.jpg Giacomo Acerbo
(1888–1969)
6 February 1943 25 July 1943 169 days Yes
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Benito Mussolini portrait as dictator (retouched).jpg Benito Mussolini
(1883–1945)
14 December 1922 12 September 1929 6 years, 272 days
Dino Grandi.jpg Dino Grandi
(1895–1988)
12 September 1929 20 July 1932 2 years, 312 days
Benito Mussolini portrait as dictator (retouched).jpg Benito Mussolini
(1883–1945)
20 July 1932 9 June 1936 3 years, 325 days
Galeazzo Ciano (cropped).jpg Galeazzo Ciano
(1903–1944)
9 June 1936 6 February 1943 6 years, 242 days
Benito Mussolini portrait as dictator (retouched).jpg Benito Mussolini
(1883–1945)
6 February 1943 25 July 1943 169 days Deposed
Minister of the Interior
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Benito Mussolini portrait as dictator (retouched).jpg Benito Mussolini
(1883–1945)
14 December 1929 25 July 1943 13 years, 223 days Deposed
Minister of Grace and Justice[b]
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Alfredo Rocco.gif Alfredo Rocco
(1875–1935)
14 December 1929 20 July 1932 2 years, 219 days
Pietro De Francisci crop.gif Pietro De Francisci
(1883–1971)
20 July 1932 24 January 1935 2 years, 188 days
Arrigo Solmi.gif Arrigo Solmi
(1873–1944)
24 January 1935 12 July 1939 4 years, 169 days
Dino Grandi.jpg Dino Grandi
(1895–1988)
12 July 1939 5 February 1943 3 years, 208 days
AlfredoDeMarsico.jpg Alfredo De Marsico
(1888–1985)
5 February 1943 25 July 1943 170 days Yes
Minister of Popular Culture[c]
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Galeazzo Ciano (cropped).jpg Galeazzo Ciano
(1903–1944)
23 June 1935 11 June 1936 354 days
Dino Alfieri.jpg Dino Alfieri
(1886–1966)
11 June 1936 31 October 1939 3 years, 142 days
Alessandro Pavolini (cropped).jpg Alessandro Pavolini
(1903–1945)
31 October 1939 6 February 1943 3 years, 98 days
Gaetano Polverelli 2.jpg Gaetano Polverelli
(1886–1960)
6 February 1943 25 July 1943 169 days No
Minister of National Education
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Balbino Giuliano.gif Balbino Giuliano
(1879–1958)
14 December 1929 20 July 1932 2 years, 219 days
Francesco Ercole.jpg Francesco Ercole
(1884–1945)
20 July 1932 24 January 1935 2 years, 188 days
Cesare Maria De Vecchi1.jpg Cesare Maria De Vecchi
(1884–1959)
24 January 1935 15 November 1936 1 year, 296 days
Bottai 37.jpg Giuseppe Bottai
(1895–1959)
15 November 1936 5 February 1943 6 years, 82 days
Giacomo Acerbo.jpg Giacomo Acerbo
(1888–1969)
5 February 1943 25 July 1943 170 days Yes
President of the Royal Academy
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
Tommaso Tittoni 01.jpg Tommaso Tittoni
(1855–1931)
14 December 1929 16 September 1930 276 days
Guglielmo Marconi.jpg Guglielmo Marconi
(1874–1937)
19 September 1930 20 July 1937 6 years, 304 days Died in Office
Gabriele D'Anunnzio.png Gabriele D'Annunzio
(1863–1938)
12 November 1937 1 March 1938 109 days Died in Office
Luigi Federzoni 1930s.jpg Luigi Federzoni
(1878–1967)
21 April 1938 25 July 1943 5 years, 95 days Yes
President of the Special Court for the Defence of the State
Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of office 25 July 1943 Motion
Took office Left office Time in office
No image.svg Guido Cristini
(1895–1979)
9 December 1928 28 November 1932 4 years, 19 days
No image.svg Antonino Tringali Casanuova
(1888–1943)
28 November 1932 25 July 1943 10 years, 239 days No

Other posts[edit]

  • The Secretary of the National Fascist Party, who was also the secretary of the Council.
  • The Presidents of the Corporations: Industrialists, Farmers, Industrial Workers, Agriculture Workers.
  • The Chief of Staff of the MVSN.

The remaining members of the council were chosen by Mussolini himself, and each held appointments of three-year durations.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gran consiglio del fascismo". Enciclopedia on line (in Italian). Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana fondata da Giovanni Treccani S.p.A. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Bosworth, Richard J. B. (2010). Mussolini (New ed.). London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 9780340981733. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  4. ^ 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.
  1. ^ President of the Chamber of Deputies until 1939.
  2. ^ Minister of Justice and Worship Affairs before 1932.
  3. ^ Minister of Press and Propaganda before 1937.

Further reading[edit]

  • 2194 Days of War, Cesare Salmaggi & Alfredo Pallavisini (editors), Gallery Press, New York — ISBN 0831788852 (1977)