The World at War


Comte Galeazzo Ciano

Galeazzo Ciano was born march 18, 1903 at Livorno, Italy was one of the key figures in the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini.
     At the age of 18 Ciano took part in the Fascist march on Rome that overthrew the republic and then studied law at the University of Rome. After a brief stint as a journalist he entered the diplomatic corps and was posted to Argentina and Brazil. Later he served as counsel general in Shanghai and as minister to China. After his marriage to Edda Mussolini he rose rapidly through the ranks, chief of the press bureau in 1933, undersecratary of state for press and propaganda 1934, then member of the Fascist Grand Council, the inner group that determined fascist party policy. He was an avid aviator and led a bomber squadron in Ethiopia, 1935-36. On his return to Rome he was appointed minister of foreign affairs and was regarded as the likly successor to Mussolini.
     Although he had advocated the alliance with Germany he became wary of Hitler when the latter invaded Poland without notification to Rome as required by an agreement between Italy and Germany. As a result Ciano urged a policy of non-belligerence for Italy but changed his tune when France fell in 1940.
     After several Axis defeats Count Ciano became one of many voices urging a seperate peace with the Allies. The suspicious Mussolini dismissed his entire cabinet including Ciano and sent to the Vatican as ambassador. Still Ciano and other leading fascists retained enough power to force Mussolini's resignation at an historic meeting of the Grand Council in late July 1943. Ciano's problems were not over however as the new government prepared charges of embezzling against him. Ciano fled Rome but was captured by pro-Mussolini partisans in Northern Italy. On Mussolini's orders he was brought to trial for treason and executed by a shot to the back of the head, January 11, 1944.

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