Virginio Gayda

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Virginio Gayda (12 August 1885 – 14 March 1944)[1] was a prominent Italian fascist and journalist during the reign of Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party.

Gayda came to prominence as editor of Il Giornale d'Italia during the 1930s and 40's. Contemporary reportage in the press of Allied countries characterised him as a propagandist who was willing to write anything to support the regime of Benito Mussolini.[2] Dr. Seuss lampooned Gayda, saying that "If you were to ask me, which you haven't, whom I consider the world's most outstanding writer of fantasy, I would, of course, answer: 'I am.' My second choice, however, is Virginio Gayda."[3]

Despite this, Gayda twice came into conflict with Mussolini.[4] In the first incident, in a 1939 article titled "Che farà l'Italia?" ("What Will Italy Do?") written when Germany invaded Poland, Gayda cast doubt on the wisdom of Italy entering the world war on the side of Germany. Mussolini, who was at that time planning to enter the war, criticised this article strongly. Mussolini raised no publicized objection when Gayda warned against the likelihood of a swift victory one week after the June 1941 Axis invasion of Russia began.[5] But on 17 February 1943 Gayda provoked the second incident when he stated in Il Giornale d'Italia that the Axis powers had difficulties in this war of resilience. Since the Allies were understood to have greater industrial power than the Axis, this was seen as a tacit admission that defeat was likely. As a result, Gayda did not appear in Il Giornale d'Italia again until 23 March. Gayda was replaced as editor of Il Giornale d'Italia by A. Bergamini after the fall of the fascist regime on 25 July 1943.

He was killed by allied bombing at home on 14 March 1944, reportedly whilst studying English - "the language of Churchill and Eisenhower" - in preparation for the arrival of the Allies.[6]


  1. ^ GAYDA, Virginio, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 52 (1999), Para. 1, - accessed here: on 6 February 2013
  2. ^ "Press Agent For Mussolini - A Tough Job: Italian editor Virginio Gayda is a cynic who must love or hate according to orders, but who has made an art of his work" The Milwaukee Journal, P.24, 19 September 1941
  3. ^ "Dr. Seuss: cartoon from 30 January 1941" - retrieved from on 6 February 2013
  4. ^ GAYDA, Virginio, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 52 (1999), Para. 22 - accessed here: on 6 February 2013
  5. ^ The Montreal Gazette, 1 July 1941, p.6
  6. ^ Cesare De Simone, Venti angeli sopra Roma, p. 313. De Simone ipotizza, maliziosamente, che Gayda si preparasse all'imminente arrivo (4 giugno 1944) delle truppe alleate a Roma: «[...] probabilmente aveva capito che i tempi stavano rapidamente mutando e aveva deciso di imparare la lingua di Churchill e di Eisenhower». Sullo stesso episodio vedi anche Paolo Monelli,

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