Blackshirts of Rome! I come among you to look you
firmly in the eyes, feel your temperature and break the silence which
is dear to-me, especially in wartime. Have you ever asked yourselves
in an hour of meditation, which every one finds during the day, how
long we have been at war. Not only eight months, as a superficial observer
of events might believe, not from Sept. 1, 1939, when through guarantees
to Poland, Britain unleashed the conflagration with a criminal and premeditated
We have been at war six years, precisely from Feb. 1, 1935, when the
first communiqué announcing the mobilization of Peloritana was
The Ethiopian war was hardly finished when from the other shore of the
Mediterranean there reached us appeals from General Franco, who had
begun his national revolution. Could we Fascisti leave without answer
that cry and remain indifferent in the face of the perpetuation of the
bloody crimes of the so-called popular fronts? Could we refuse to give
our aid to the movement of salvation that had found in Antonio Primo
de Rivera its creator, ascetic and martyr? No. Thus our first squadron
of airplanes left on July 27, 1936, and during the same day we had our
We have actually been at war since 1922-that is from the day when we
lifted the flag of our revolution, which was then defended by a handful
of men against the Masonic, democratic, capitalistic world. From that
day world liberalism, democracy and plutocracy declared and waged war
against us with press campaigns, spreading libelous reports, financial
sabotage, attempts and plots even when we were intent upon the work
of international reconstruction which is and will remain for centuries,
as the undestroyable documentation of our creative will.
With the outbreak of hostilities on Sept. 1, 1939, we had just finished
two wars which imposed relatively modest sacrifices in human life but
had forced us to make an enormous logistic and financial effort.
On another occasion-not to tire you with too many figures-our intervention
in the Falangist Revolution will be documented. This is why-and was
publicly declared in December, 1939-when the reckoning of accounts had
to be reached between two worlds which were inevitably antagonistic,
we preferred to have it retarded as long as necessary for us to replace
that which we consumed or ceded.
But developments in history, which sometimes are speeded up, cannot
be halted any more than the fleeting moment of Faust could be halted.
History takes one by the throat and forces a decision. This is not the
first time this has occurred in the history of Italy! If we had been
100 per cent ready we would have entered the war in September, 1939,
and not in June, 1940. During that brief period of time we faced and
overcame exceptional difficulties.
The lightning-like and crushing victory of Germany in the West eliminated
the eventuality of a long continental war. Since then the land war on
the Continent has ended and it cannot flare back. The German victory
was facilitated by Italian non-belligerency which immobilized heavy
naval, air and-land forces of the Anglo-French bloc. Some people who
today apparently think Italy's intervention was premature were probably
the same who then I deemed it too late.
In reality the moment was timely because if it is true that one enemy
was in the course of liquidation there remained the other, the bigger
one, the most powerful enemy number one against whom we are engaged
and against whom we will continue the struggle to the last drop of blood.
Having definitely liquidated Britain's armies on the European Continent,
the war could not but assume a naval, air and, for us, also a colonial
character. It is the geographic and historic order of things that the
most difficult and most faraway theatres of war are reserved for Italy.
War beyond the sea and in the desert. Our fronts stretch for thousands
of kilometers and are thousands of kilometers away. Some ignorant foreign
commentators should take due account of this. However, during the first
four months of the war we were able to inflict grave naval, air and
land blows to the forces of the British Empire.
Since 1935 the attention of our general staff has been focused on Libya.
All the work of the Governors who succeeded each other in Libya was
aimed at strengthening economically and militarily that large region,
transforming the former desert or desert zones into fecund land. Miracles!
This word is able to sum up what has been done down there. With European
tension becoming graver, and following the events of 1935 and 1936,
Libya, reconquered by Fascism, was considered one of the most delicate
points in our general strategic setup, since it could be attacked from
The effort carried out militarily to strengthen Libya is shown by these
Only during the period that goes from Oct. 1, 1937, to Jan. 31, 1940,
were sent to Libya 14,000 officers and 396,358 soldiers, and organized
two armies-the fifth and tenth. This latter had ten divisions. In the
same period were sent 1,924 cannon of all calibers and many of them
of recent construction and model; 15,386 machine-guns; 11,000,000 rounds
of shells; 1,344,287,275 bullets for light arms; 127,877 tons of engineers'
materials; 779 tanks with a certain percentage of heavy tanks; 9,584
auto vehicles of various kinds; 4,809 motorcycles.
These figures show that to the preparation of the Libyan defense we
devoted an effort which can be described as imposing. The same thing
can be said as far as East Africa is concerned, where we were prepared
to resist despite the distance and total isolation, which is a tribute
to the will and courage of our soldiers. The soldiers who are fighting
in the empire-without any hope of help-are farthest but therefore nearest
our hearts. Commanded by the born soldier the Viceroy is and by a group
of generals of great valor, the national and native soldiers will cause
great trouble to the enemy.
It was during October and November that Great Britain gathered and lined
up against us the mass of her imperial forces, recruited from three
continents and armed by a fourth. She concentrated in Egypt fifteen
divisions and a considerable mass of armored means and hurled them against
our lines in Marmarica where on the first line were Libyan divisions,
brave and faithful but unsuited to bear the attack of enemy machines.
On Dec. g a battle was thus started, which was only five or ten days
in advance of ours, and which brought the enemy to Bengazi.
We are not like the English. We boast that we are not like them. We
haven't elevated lying into a government art nor into a narcotic for
the people the way the London government has done. We call bread bread
and wine wine, and when the enemy wins a battle it is useless and ridiculous
to seek, as the English do in their incomparable hypocrisy, to deny
or diminish it.
One entire army-the Tenth-was broken up almost completely with its men
and cannon. The Fifth Air Squadron was literally sacrificed, almost
entirely. Where possible we resisted strongly and furiously.
Since we recognize these facts it is useless for the enemy to exaggerate
the figures of its booty. It is because we are certain regarding the
grade of national maturity reached by the Italian people and regarding
the future development of events that we continue to follow the cult
of truth and repudiate all falsification.
The events during these months exasperate our will and must accentuate
against the enemy that cold, conscious, implacable hate, hate in every
home, which is indispensable for victory.
Great Britain's last support on the Continent was and is Greece, the
only nation that did not want to renounce the British guarantee. It
was necessary to face Greece, and on this point the accord of all responsible
military leaders was absolute. I add that the operative plan, prepared
by the superior command of the armed forces of Albania, was unanimously
approved without reservations. Between the decision and the start of
action there was a delay of only two days.
Let it be said once for all that the Italian soldiers in Albania combated
superbly. Let it be said in particular that the Alpini wrote pages of
blood and glory that would honor any army. When the sufferings of the
march by the Julia division almost up to Metzovo are known all will
Neutrals of every continent who are spectators at the bloody clashes
between the armed masses must have sufficient shame to keep quiet and
not express libelous provocative opinions.
The Italian prisoners who fell into the hands of the Greeks are a few
thousand, most of them wounded. The Greek successes do not go out of
the tactical field and only megalomania has magnified them. The Greek
losses are very high and shortly it will be Spring, and as befits such
a season our season-beautiful things will grow. I say beautiful things
will be seen in every one of the four cardinal points.
Not less heavy are the losses we inflicted on the English. To state
as they do that their losses in the battle of sixty days in Cyrenaica
are not above 2,000 dead and wounded means adding a grotesque note to
the drama. It means attempting to exceed themselves as far as shameless
lies are concerned, which should seem difficult for the English. They
must add at least one zero to the figures of their communiqués.
From Nov. 7 to when English torpedo planes, which took off not from
Greek bases but from an aircraft carrier, succeeded with their coup
at Taranto, which we admitted, we met adversity in the war. We must
recognize this. We had gray days.
This happens in all wars, in all times. Think of the Punic Wars when
the Battle of Cannae threatened to crush Rome. But at Zama, Rome destroyed
Carthage and wiped it out from geography and history forever. Our capacity
to recuperate in moral and material fields is really formidable and
constitutes one of the peculiar characteristics of our race.
Especially-in this war, which has the world as its theatre and pits
continents directly or indirectly one against another. On land and sea
and in the air it is the final battle that counts. That we shall have
to fight hard is certain, that we shall have to fight long is also probable,
but the final result will be an Axis victory.
Great Britain cannot win the war. I can prove this logically and in
this case belief is corroborated by fact. This proof begins with the
dogmatic premise that although anything may happen Italy will march
with Germany, side by side, to the end.
Those who may be tempted to imagine something different forget that
the alliance between Italy and Germany is not only between two States
or two armies or two diplomacies but between two peoples and two revolutions
and is destined to give its imprint upon the century.
The collaboration offered by the Fuehrer and that which the German air
and armored units are giving in the Mediterranean are proof that all
fronts are common and that our efforts are common. The Germans know
that Italy today has on her shoulders the weight of 1,000,000 British
and Greek soldiers, of from 1,500 to 2,000 planes, of as many tanks,
of thousands of cannon, of at least 500,000 tons of military shipping.
Cooperation between the two armed forces occurs on the plan of comradely,
loyal, spontaneous solidarity. Let it be said for foreigners who are
always ready to libel that the comportment of German soldiers in Sicily
and Libya is under all respects perfect and worthy of a strong army
and a strong people brought up under severe discipline.
Follow me now please:
First, in war potentiality Germany not only did not decrease after seventeen
months of war, but increased in gigantic proportions. From the standpoint
of human losses, they have been at a minimum if compared with the masses
in action. Losses of materials were more than compensated for by immense
booty and were absolutely insignificant.
The unity of political and military command in the hands of the Fuehrer-he
who once was simple soldier and volunteer Adolf Hitler-gives to the
operations an enthusiastic, irresistible, revolutionary and therefore
National Socialist rhythm that begins with the highest generals and
goes to the humblest soldiers. Britain will realize that once again.
Second, German armaments are in quality and quantity infinitely superior
to those available at the start of the war. Germany has not yet brought
to the limit the employment of her human forces. For Italy it is just
the same. We have at present under arms more than 2,000,000 men, but
within the year we will, if necessary, reach, 4,000,000.
Third, while during the World War Germany was isolated from Europe and
the world, today the Axis is master of the Continent and allied with
Japan. The Scandinavian world (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark) is
directly or indirectly inside the German orbit. The Danubian and Balkan
world cannot ignore and does not ignore the Axis, Hungary and Rumania
have joined the Tripartite Pact. Occupied France, Belgium, Holland and
Luxembourg are, like the Scandinavian and Danubian worlds, within the
orbit of Germany. In the Mediterranean Italy is allied with a friendly
Spain. There remains Russia, but her fundamental interests advise her
also to follow in the future a good-neighbor policy with Germany. Europe
therefore, with the exception of Portugal, Switzerland and, for a little
while yet, Greece, is all outside the orbit of Britain and against Britain.
Fourth, with this situation things are diametrically opposed to conditions
from 1914 to 1918. Then the blockade was a terrible weapon in the hands
of Great Britain. Today this is a broken weapon because, from being
a blockading nation, Britain became blockaded by the Axis air and naval
forces and will increasingly be blockaded until catastrophe comes.
Fifth, the morale of the Axis people is infinitely superior to the morale
of the British people. The Axis fights in certainty of victory, while
the British fight because, as Lord Halifax said, they have no other
choice. It is highly ridiculous to count on the eventual moral breakdown
of the Italian people. This will never happen. To speak of a separate
peace is idiotic.
Churchill has not the least idea of the spiritual forces of the Italian
people or of what Fascism can do. We can understand Churchill's ordering
the shelling of industrial plants at Genoa to disrupt work, but to shell
the city in order to break down its morale is a childish illusion. It
means that the British do not at all know the race temperament of the
Ligurian people in general and the Genoese in particular. It means that
they are ignorant of the civilian virtues and proud patriotism of the
people who gave the fatherland Columbus, Garibaldi and Mazzini.
Sixth, Great Britain is alone. This isolation pushes her toward the
United States, from which she urgently and desperately seeks aid. The
industrial power of the United States certainly is great, but for aid
to be useful supplies must safely reach England and also be of such
quantity as not only to replace the destruction already inflicted and
that which will come to the industrial plants of Britain, but also to
bring about superiority over Germany. This is impossible because Germany
now works with the men, machines and raw materials of the entire European
Seventh, when Great Britain falls, then the war will be ended, even
if by any chance it should die out slowly in other countries of the
British Empire. Unless-and it is possible-these countries, where already
something is fermenting, do not Teach their independence once the metropolitan
area is conquered. This would bring about a change not only in the European
political map, but also in the world's map.
Eighth, in this gigantic struggle Italy has a first-class job. Our war
power also improves daily in quality and quantity. Two of the three
great ships damaged at Taranto are already in the way of complete repair.
Technicians and workers toiled day and night, giving a convincing demonstration
not only of their professional capacity but also of their patriotism.
When the war is over, in the world's social revolution that will be
followed by a more equitable distribution of the earth's riches, due
account must be kept of the sacrifices and of the discipline maintained
by the Italian workers. The Fascist revolution will make another decisive
step to shorten social distances.
Ninth, that Fascist Italy dared measure herself against Great Britain
is a matter of pride that will live through the centuries. It was an
act of conscious daring. People become great by daring, risking and
suffering, and not by placing themselves by the wayside in parasitic
and vile expectancy. The protagonists of history can revindicate their
rights, but simple spectators never can.
Tenth, to beat the Axis, Great Britain's armies would have to land on
the Continent, invade Germany and Italy and defeat their armies, and
this no Englishman, no matter how insane and delirious by the use and
abuse of drugs and alcohol, can even dream of.
Let me say now that what is occurring in the United States is one of
the most colossal mystifications in all history. Illusion and lying
are the basis of American interventionism-illusion that the United States
is still a democracy, when instead it is a political and financial oligarchy
dominated by Jews, through a personal form of dictatorship. The lie
is that the Axis powers, after they finish Great Britain, want to attack
Neither in Rome nor Berlin are such fantastic plans as this prepared.
These projects could not be made by those who have an inclination for
the madhouse. Though we certainly are totalitarian and will always be
so, we have our feet on hard ground. Americans who will read what I
say should be calm and not believe in the existence of a big bad wolf
who wants to devour them.
In all cases it is more likely that the United States, before it is
attacked by Axis soldiers, will be attacked by the not well known but
very warlike inhabitants of the planet Mars, who will descend from the
stratosphere in unimaginable flying fortresses.
Rome comrades! Through you I want to speak to the Italian people, to
the authentic, real, great Italian people, who fight with the courage
of lions on land, sea and air fronts; people who early in the morning
are up to go to work in fields, factories and offices; people who do
not permit themselves luxuries, not even innocent ones.
They absolutely must not be confused or contaminated by the minority
or well-known poltroons, anti-social individuals and complainers, who
grumble about rations and regret their suspended comforts, or by snakes,
the remains of the Masonic lodges, whom we will crush without difficulties
when and how we want.
The Italian people, the Fascist people deserve and will have victory.
The hardships, suffering and sacrifices that are faced with exemplary
courage and dignity by the Italian people will have their day of compensation
when all the enemy forces are crushed on the battlefields by the heroism
of our soldiers and a triple, immense cry will cross the mountains and
oceans like lightning and light new hopes and give new certainties to
spirit multitudes: Victory, Italy, peace with justice among peoples!
 New York Times, February 24, 1941.