First marshal of the empire

First Marshal of the Empire (Italian: Primo Maresciallo dell'Impero) was a military rank established by the Italian parliament on March 30, 1938. The highest rank in the Italian military, it was only granted to King Victor Emmanuel III and Duce Benito Mussolini. The rank was abolished following World War II.

Mussolini's decision to create for himself and the King a new military rank created a crisis between himself and Victor Emmanuel III. For the first time in the history of the House of Savoy, the Prime Minister of Italy bore a rank equal with that of the head of the royal house giving him a mortgage on the high command of the Italian armed forces, a power of the King under the provisions of Statuto Albertino.

First Marshal of the Empire
Rank insignia of primo maresciallo dell'impero of the Italian Army (1940)
First Marshal of the Empire sleeve rank insignia.
Country Kingdom of Italy
RankSix-star (unofficial)
NATO rankOF-11
Non-NATO rankO-12
Formation2 April 1938
Abolished1945
Next lower rankMarshal of Italy

Sources

  • Montanelli, Cervi Storia d'Italia 1935/1943

See also

1938

1938 (MCMXXXVIII)

was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1938th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 938th year of the 2nd millennium, the 38th year of the 20th century, and the 9th year of the 1930s decade.

Benito Mussolini

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (, also US: , Italian: [beˈniːto mussoˈliːni]; 29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy from the fascists' takeover of state power in 1922 until 1943, and Duce from 1919 to his execution in 1945 during the Italian civil war. As dictator of Italy and founder of fascism, Mussolini inspired several totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler.A journalist and politician, Mussolini had been a leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) from 1910 to 1914, but was expelled from the PSI for advocating military intervention in World War I, in opposition to the party's stance on neutrality. Mussolini served in the Royal Italian Army during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering on nationalism instead of socialism and later founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism and class conflict, instead advocating "revolutionary nationalism" transcending class lines. Following the March on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest Italian Prime Minister up to that date. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes, Mussolini and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years, Mussolini had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means and aspired to create a totalitarian state. In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the Vatican, ending decades of struggle between the Italian state and the Papacy, and recognized the independence of Vatican City.

Mussolini's foreign policy aimed to expand the sphere of influence of Italian fascism. In 1923, he began the "Pacification of Libya" and ordered the bombing of Corfu in retaliation for the murder of an Italian general. In 1936, Mussolini formed Italian East Africa (AOI) by merging Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia following the Abyssinian crisis and the Second Italo–Ethiopian War. In 1939, Italian forces occupied Albania. Between 1936 and 1939, Mussolini ordered the successful Italian military intervention in Spain in favor of Francisco Franco during the Spanish civil war. At the same time, Mussolini's Italy tried to avoid the outbreak of a second global war and took part in the Stresa front, the Lytton Report, the Treaty of Lausanne, the Four-Power Pact and the Munich Agreement. However, Italy distanced Britain and France by forming the axis powers with Germany and Japan. Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, resulting in declarations of war by France and the UK and the start of World War II.

On 10 June 1940—with the Fall of France imminent—Italy officially entered the war and occupied parts of south-east France, Corsica and Tunisia. Mussolini planned to concentrate Italian forces on a major offensive against the British Empire in Africa and the Middle East, while expecting the collapse of the UK in the European theatre. The Italians invaded Egypt, bombed Mandatory Palestine, and occupied British Somaliland with initial success. However, the British government refused to accept proposals for a peace that would involve accepting Axis victories in Eastern and Western Europe; plans for an invasion of the UK did not proceed and the war continued. In October 1940, Mussolini sent Italian forces into Greece, starting the Greco-Italian War. The British air force prevented the Italian invasion and allowed the Greeks to push the Italians back to Albania.The Balkan campaign was significantly prolonged until the definition of the Axis occupation of Greece and Yugoslavia. Furthermore, the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour forced Mussolini to send an Italian army in Russia and declare war on the United States. Mussolini was aware that Italy, whose resources were reduced by the campaigns of the 1930s, was not ready for a long conflict against three superpowers but opted to remain in the conflict to not abandon the fascist imperial ambitions. In 1943, Italy suffered major disasters: by February the Red Army had completely destroyed the Italian Army in Russia; in May the Axis collapsed in North Africa despite previous Italian resistance at the second battle of El Alamein. On 9 July the Anglo-Americans invaded Sicily; and by the 16th it became clear the German summer offensive in the USSR had failed. As a consequence, early on 25 July, the Grand Council of Fascism passed a motion of no confidence for Mussolini; later that day the King dismissed him as head of government and had him placed in custody, appointing Pietro Badoglio to succeed him as Prime Minister.

After the king agreed the armistice with the allies, on 12 September 1943 Mussolini was rescued from captivity in the Gran Sasso raid by German paratroopers and Waffen-SS commandos led by Major Otto-Harald Mors. Adolf Hitler, after meeting with the rescued former dictator, then put Mussolini in charge of a puppet regime in northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italiana, RSI), informally known as the Salò Republic. In late April 1945, in the wake of near total defeat, Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci attempted to flee to Switzerland, but both were captured by Italian communist partisans and summarily executed by firing squad on 28 April 1945 near Lake Como. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station to publicly confirm his demise.

Blackshirts

The Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (MVSN, "Voluntary Militia for National Security"), commonly called the Blackshirts (Italian: Camicie Nere, CCNN, singular: Camicia Nera) or squadristi (singular: squadrista), was originally the paramilitary wing of the National Fascist Party and, after 1923, an all-volunteer militia of the Kingdom of Italy under Fascist rule, similar to SS in Nazi-Germany. Its members were distinguished by their black uniforms (modelled on those of the Arditi, Italy's elite troops of World War I) and their loyalty to Benito Mussolini, the Duce (leader) of Fascism, to whom they swore an oath. The founders of the paramilitary groups were nationalist intellectuals, former army officers and young landowners opposing peasants' and country labourers' unions. Their methods became harsher as Mussolini's power grew, and they used violence and intimidation against Mussolini's opponents. In 1943, following the fall of the Fascist regime, the MVSN was integrated into the Royal Italian Army and disbanded.

Grande Armée

The Grande Armée (French pronunciation: ​[ɡʀɑ̃d aʀme]; French for Great Army) was the army commanded by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1805 to 1809, the Grande Armée scored a series of historic victories that gave the French Empire an unprecedented grip on power over the European continent. Widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest fighting forces ever assembled, it suffered terrible losses during the French invasion of Russia in 1812 and never recovered its tactical superiority after that campaign.

It was renamed in 1805 from the army that Napoleon had assembled on the French coast of the English Channel for the proposed invasion of Britain. Napoleon later deployed the army east in order to eliminate the threat of Austria and Russia, which were part of the Third Coalition assembled against France. Thereafter, the name was used for the principal French army deployed in the Campaigns of 1805 and 1807, where it got its prestige, and 1809, 1812, and 1813–14. In practice, however, the term Grande Armée is used in English to refer to all of the multinational forces gathered by Napoleon in his campaigns of the early 19th century (see Napoleonic Wars).The first Grande Armée consisted of six corps under the command of Napoleon's marshals and senior generals. When Napoleon discovered that Russian and Austrian armies were preparing to invade France in late 1805, the Grande Armée was quickly ordered across the Rhine into Southern Germany, leading to Napoleon's victories at Ulm, Austerlitz and Jena.

The army grew as Napoleon spread his power across Europe. It reached its largest size of 1,000,000 men at the start of the invasion of Russia in 1812, with 680,000 men participating in the Russian campaign. The contingents were commanded by French generals, except for the Polish corps and an Austrian one. The huge multinational army marched slowly east, and the Russians fell back with its approach. After the capture of Smolensk and victory in the Battle of Borodino, Napoleon and a part of the Grande Armée reached Moscow on 14 September 1812. However, the army was already drastically reduced because of deaths and injuries from battles with the Russians, disease (principally typhus), desertion, and long communication lines. The army spent a month in Moscow but was ultimately forced to march back westward. It started to suffer from cold, starvation and disease, and was constantly harassed by Cossacks and Russian irregulars, so that the Grande Armée was utterly destroyed as a fighting force. Only 120,000 men survived to leave Russia (excluding early deserters). Of these, 50,000 were Austrians, Prussians, and other Germans, 20,000 were Poles, and just 35,000 Frenchmen. As many as 380,000 died in the campaign.Napoleon led a new army to the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813, in the defence of France in 1814 and in the Waterloo Campaign in 1815, but the Napoleonic French army would never regain the heights of the Grande Armée of June 1812.

Highest military ranks

In many nations the highest military ranks are classed as being equivalent to, or are officially described as, five-star ranks. However, a number of nations have used or proposed ranks such as generalissimo which are senior to their five-star equivalent ranks. This article summarises those ranks.

Index of Italy-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to Italy.

Italian Fascism

Italian Fascism (Italian: fascismo italiano), also known as Classical Fascism or simply Fascism, is the original fascist ideology as developed in Italy. The ideology is associated with a series of three political parties led by Benito Mussolini, namely the Revolutionary Fascist Party (PFR) founded in 1915, the succeeding National Fascist Party (PNF) which was renamed at the Third Fascist Congress on 7–10 November 1921 and ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943 and the Republican Fascist Party that ruled the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Italian Fascism is also associated with the post-war Italian Social Movement and subsequent Italian neo-fascist movements.

Italian Fascism was rooted in Italian nationalism, national syndicalism, revolutionary nationalism and the desire to restore and expand Italian territories, which Italian Fascists deemed necessary for a nation to assert its superiority and strength and to avoid succumbing to decay. Italian Fascists also claimed that modern Italy is the heir to ancient Rome and its legacy and historically supported the creation of an Italian Empire to provide spazio vitale ("living space") for colonization by Italian settlers and to establish control over the Mediterranean Sea.Italian Fascism promoted a corporatist economic system whereby employer and employee syndicates are linked together in associations to collectively represent the nation's economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy. This economic system intended to resolve class conflict through collaboration between the classes.Italian Fascism opposed liberalism, especially classical liberalism that Mussolini and Fascist leaders denounced as "the debacle of individualism", but rather than seeking a reactionary restoration of the pre-French Revolutionary world which it considered to have been flawed, it had a forward-looking direction. Fascism was opposed to Marxist socialism because of its typical opposition to nationalism, but it was also opposed to the reactionary conservatism developed by Joseph de Maistre. It believed the success of Italian nationalism required respect for tradition and a clear sense of a shared past among the Italian people, alongside a commitment to a modernised Italy.While Fascism in Italy did not initially espouse the explicit Nordicism and antisemitism inherent to Nazi ideology, racist overtones were present in Fascist thought and policies from the beginning of Fascist rule of Italy. As Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany grew politically closer in the latter half of the 1930s, Italian laws and policies became explicitly antisemitic, including the passage of the Italian Racial Laws. When the Fascists were in power, they persecuted the Greek speakers in Italy.

Kingdom of Italy

The Kingdom of Italy (Italian: Regno d'Italia) was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946—when civil discontent led an institutional referendum to abandon the monarchy and form the modern Italian Republic. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state.

Italy declared war on Austria in alliance with Prussia in 1866 and received the region of Veneto following their victory. Italian troops entered Rome in 1870, thereby ending more than one thousand years of Papal temporal power. Italy entered into a Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882, following strong disagreements with France about the respective colonial expansions. However, even if relations with Berlin became very friendly, the alliance with Vienna remained purely formal as the Italians were keen to acquire Trentino and Trieste, corners of Austria-Hungary populated by Italians. So during World War I, Italy accepted the British invitation to join the Allied Powers, as the western powers promised territorial compensation (at the expense of Austria-Hungary) for participation that was more generous than Vienna's offer in exchange for Italian neutrality. Victory in the war gave Italy a permanent seat in the Council of the League of Nations.

"Fascist Italy" is the era of National Fascist Party government from 1922 to 1943 with Benito Mussolini as head of government. The fascists imposed totalitarian rule and crushed the political and intellectual opposition, while promoting economic modernization, traditional social values and a rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. According to Payne (1996), "[the] Fascist government passed through several relatively distinct phases". The first phase (1923–1925) was nominally a continuation of the parliamentary system, albeit with a "legally-organized executive dictatorship". Then came the second phase, "the construction of the Fascist dictatorship proper, from 1925 to 1929". The third phase, with less activism, was 1929 to 1934. The fourth phase, 1935–1940, was characterized by an aggressive foreign policy: war against Ethiopia, launched from Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, which resulted in its annexation; confrontations with the League of Nations, leading to sanctions; growing economic autarky; and the signing of the Pact of Steel. The war itself (1940–1943) was the fifth phase with its disasters and defeats, while the rump Salò Government under German control was the final stage (1943–1945).Italy was an important member of the Axis powers in World War II, battling on several fronts with initial success. However, after the German-Italian defeat in Africa and in the Soviet Union and the subsequent Allied landings in Sicily, King Victor Emmanuel III placed Mussolini under arrest, and the Fascist Party in areas (south of Rome) controlled by the Allied invaders was shut down. The new government signed an armistice on September 1943. German forces immediately occupied northern Italy with Fascists' help, setting up the Italian Social Republic, a collaborationist puppet state still led by Mussolini and his Fascist loyalists. As a consequence, the country descended into civil war, with the Italian Co-belligerent Army and the resistance movement contended the Social Republic's forces and its German allies. Shortly after the war and the liberation of the country, civil discontent led to the institutional referendum on whether Italy would remain a monarchy or become a republic. Italians decided to abandon the monarchy and form the Italian Republic, the present-day Italian state.

List of political leaders who held active military ranks in office

This article lists national heads of government and heads of state who held an active military rank while in office.

Note that in many countries, the head of state office has an ex officio military rank; for example, the President of the United States is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. This list omits ex officio ranks.

Marshal (Italy)

The Italian military rank of maresciallo (marshal) is classified as a "sub-officer" and is the highest rank of non-commissioned officer in the Italian Armed Forces, higher than the rank of sergeant but lower than that of ensign/second lieutenant; there are from three to five grades within the rank, according to the different branches of the armed forces. The rank is achieved through merit or attending the Scuola Allievi Marescialli (School of Student Marshals). Marshal is an intermediate rank of the armed forces which is currently granted to NCOs with the training and technical competence to carry out specialised executive roles, and to command smaller and technically complex units.

Marshal of Italy

Marshal of Italy (Italian: Maresciallo d'Italia) was a rank in the Royal Italian Army (Regio Esercito). Originally created in 1924 by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini for the purpose of honoring Generals Luigi Cadorna and Armando Diaz, the rank was granted to several other general officers from 1926 to 1943. The rank was the highest in the Italian Army prior to the creation of the rank of First Marshal of the Empire in 1938. The rank of Marshal of Italy was abolished in 1946 with the creation of the Republic of Italy. The equivalent Royal Navy (Regia Marina) rank was Grand Admiral (Grande Ammiraglio), while the equivalent Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) rank was Marshal of the Air Force (Maresciallo dell'Aria), all of them abolished for the Armed Forces of the Republic of Italy.

Military ranks of the Kingdom of Italy

The Military ranks of the Kingdom of Italy were the military insignia used by the Italian Armed Forces when Italy was the Kingdom of Italy. During the World Wars, the Carabinieri, as the then most senior corps of the Army, wore similar insignia to those used by the rest of the service.

National Fascist Party

The National Fascist Party (Italian: Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF) was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism (previously represented by groups known as Fasci). The party ruled Italy from 1922 when Fascists took power with the March on Rome to 1943, when Mussolini was deposed by the Grand Council of Fascism.

Preceding the PNF, Mussolini's first established political party was known as the Revolutionary Fascist Party (Partito Fascista Rivoluzionario, PFR), which was founded in 1915 according to Mussolini. After poor November 1919 election results, the PFR was eventually renamed the National Fascist Party during the Third Fascist Congress in Rome on 7–10 November 1921.The National Fascist Party was rooted in Italian nationalism and the desire to restore and expand Italian territories, which Italian Fascists deemed necessary for a nation to assert its superiority and strength and to avoid succumbing to decay. Italian Fascists claimed that modern Italy is the heir to ancient Rome and its legacy and historically supported the creation of an Italian Empire to provide spazio vitale ("living space") for colonization by Italian settlers and to establish control over the Mediterranean Sea.Fascists promoted a corporatist economic system whereby employer and employee syndicates are linked together in associations to collectively represent the nation's economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy. This economic system intended to resolve class conflict through collaboration between the classes.Italian Fascism opposed liberalism, but did not seek a reactionary restoration of the pre-French Revolutionary world, which it considered to have been flawed, and not in line with a forward-looking direction on policy. It was opposed to Marxist socialism because of its typical opposition to nationalism, but was also opposed to the reactionary conservatism developed by Joseph de Maistre. It believed the success of Italian nationalism required respect for tradition and a clear sense of a shared past among the Italian people alongside a commitment to a modernized Italy.The National Fascist Party along with its successor, the Republican Fascist Party, are the only parties whose re-formation is banned by the Constitution of Italy: "It shall be forbidden to reorganize, under any form whatsoever, the dissolved fascist party".

Ranks and insignia of the Nazi Party

Ranks and insignia of the Nazi Party were paramilitary titles used by the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) between approximately 1928 and the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. Such ranks were held within the political leadership corps of the Nazi Party, charged with the overseeing the regular Nazi Party members.

The first purpose of the Nazi Party political ranks was to provide election district leadership positions during the years where the Nazis were attempting to come to power in Germany. After 1933, when the Third Reich had been established, Nazi Party ranks played a much more important role existing as a political chain of command operating side by side with the German government.

Contrary to modern day cinema and layman perceptions regarding the Nazi Party, which often portrays all Nazis as wearing brown shirts with swastika armbands, Nazi ranks and titles were only used by a small minority within the Party, this being the political leadership corps. Regular Nazi Party members, unconnected with the political leadership, often wore no uniforms at all except for a standard Nazi Party Badge issued to all members (a golden version of this badge also existed for early Nazi Party members).

The history of Nazi Party ranks and insignia can be divided into the ranks used during several different time periods as well as the positions held by senior Nazis who were, by default, the supreme leaders of the Party regardless of what title they choose to call themselves by.

Royal Italian Army

The Royal Italian Army, also known as the Regio Esercito, was established during the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. During the 1800's Italy started to unify into one country and in 1861, Manfredo Fanti signed a creation decree which created the Army of the Two Sicilies. This newly created army first task was to defend against the repressive power in southern Italy. The Army of Two Sicilies combated against criminals and other armies during this time of unification. After the monarchy ended, the army changed its name to become the Italian Army (Esercito Italiano).

Within the Italian Royal Army are the elite mountain military corporals called, the Alpini. The Alpini are the oldest active mountain infantry in the world. Their original mission was to protect and secure Italy's northern mountain border that aligns with France and Austria. This group emerged in World War I when a three year campaign was fought against the Austro-Hungarian Kaiserjager and the German Alpenkorps. Again in World War II the Alpini fought alongside Axis forces in the Eastern Front as well as the Balkans Campaigns.

Royal Italian Army during World War II

This article is about the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) which participated in World War II.

The Italian Royal Army was reformed in 1861 and lasted until 1946. The Royal Army started with the unification of Italy (Risorgimento) and the formation of the Kingdom of Italy (Regno d'Italia). It ended with the dissolution of the monarchy. The Royal Army was preceded by the individual armies of the various independent Italian states and was followed by the Italian Army (Esercito Italiano) of the Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana).

Star (classification)

Stars are often used as symbols for ratings. They are used by reviewers for ranking things such as films, TV shows, restaurants, and hotels. For example, a system of one to five stars is commonly employed to rate hotels, with five stars being the highest quality.

Victor Emmanuel III of Italy

Victor Emmanuel III (Vittorio Emanuele Ferdinando Maria Gennaro di Savoia; Italian: Vittorio Emanuele III, Albanian: Viktor Emanueli III, Amharic: ቪክቶር ኢማንዌል, romanized: vīkitori īmawēli; 11 November 1869 – 28 December 1947) was the King of Italy from 29 July 1900 until his abdication on 9 May 1946. In addition, he held the thrones of Ethiopia and Albania as Emperor of Ethiopia (1936–1941) and King of the Albanians (1939–1943). During his reign of nearly 46 years, which began after the assassination of his father Umberto I, the Kingdom of Italy became involved in two world wars. His reign also encompassed the birth, rise, and fall of Italian Fascism and its regime.

During World War I, Victor Emmanuel III accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Paolo Boselli and named Vittorio Emanuele Orlando (the premier of victory) in his place. Following the March on Rome, he appointed Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister and later deposed him in 1943 during World War II.

Victor Emmanuel abdicated his throne in 1946 in favour of his son Umberto II, hoping to strengthen support for the monarchy against an ultimately successful referendum to abolish it. He then went into exile to Alexandria, Egypt, where he died and was buried the following year in Saint Catherines's Cathedral of Alexandria. His remains were returned in 2017 to rest in Italy, following an agreement between Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

He was also called by the Italians Sciaboletta ("little saber") due to his height of 1.53 m (5 ft 0 in), or Il Re soldato (The Soldier King) for having led his country during both the world wars.

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