Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life

Univ of California Press
Free sample

Pioneering aviator, blackshirt leader, colonial governor, confidante and heir-apparent to Benito Mussolini, the dashing and charismatic Italo Balbo exemplified the ideals of Fascist Italy during the 1920s and 30s. He earned national notoriety after World War I as a ruthless squadrista whose blackshirt forces crushed socialist and trade union organizations. As Minister of Aviation from 1926 to 1933, he led two internationally heralded mass trans-Atlantic flights. When his aerial armada reached the U. S., Chicago honored him with a Balbo Avenue, New York staged a ticker-tape parade, and President Roosevelt invited him to lunch. As colonial governor from 1933 to 1940, Balbo transformed Libya from backward colony to model Italian province. To many, Italo Balbo seemed to embody a noble vision of Fascism and the New Italy.
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About the author

Claudio Segré is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas and author of Fourth Shore: The Italian Colonization of Libya.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Aug 9, 1990
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Pages
482
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ISBN
9780520910690
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Includes over 20 Illustrations.

The story of a young fighter pilot from basic training through the end of the war in Europe, this short memoir is a welcome addition to the literature of World War II aviation. It is noteworthy for a number of reasons. It illuminates the world of tactical aviation, which has taken a backseat to stories of strategic bombing and air superiority combat...Perhaps most importantly, it combines the immediacy of contemporary impressions with the reflections possible after a long and distinguished Air Force career.

Michael C. McCarthy was part of the first wave of young Americans who joined up in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. His peer group...arrived at the North African front in the spring of 1943 as part of an enormous bow wave of American human and industrial mobilization. His account of flight training is one of the best available anywhere and captures—in microcosm—the huge undertaking required to produce thousands of highly trained combat crews for the Allied war effort. McCarthy and his comrades joined the veterans of the prewar Army Air Corps who had held the line from El Alamein through the desperate battles around Kasserine Pass. McCarthy spent his entire war with the 57th Fighter Group, first flying the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and later the powerful Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

His battlefield was not in the stratosphere over the Third Reich...His war began with a ferry flight from Lagos, Nigeria, to Cape Bon, Tunisia, after the Axis defeat in North Africa; through the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and the long slog up the Italian peninsula in 1943-1944 including landings at Salerno, Anzio, and the battles around Monte Cassino, with a brief detour in support of the invasion of southern France. Their unglamorous business was conducting interdiction and close air support, part of a lengthy and costly combined-arms effort to leverage the Germans out of their powerful defensive positions on the Italian peninsula.
A “brilliantly written and meticulously researched” biography of royal family life during England’s second Tudor monarch (San Francisco Chronicle).
 
Either annulled, executed, died in childbirth, or widowed, these were the well-known fates of the six queens during the tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England from 1509 to 1547. But in this “exquisite treatment, sure to become a classic” (Booklist), they take on more fully realized flesh and blood than ever before. Katherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured woman who jumped at the chance of independence; Katherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Katherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.
 
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The Fascist regime under Mussolini regarded its youth as its best hope for the future. Young people were courted more assiduously than any other group in the society and their political socialization became a central concern of the government. Believe, Obey, Fight discusses the various tools used by the Fascist regime from 1922 to 1943 to shape the political values and environment of the young. Tracy Koon focuses on the secondary agents of socialization, including the party, the educational establishment, youth groups, and the media of political communication. She shows that the response to this socialization ranged from apparent consent to dissent and finally to open opposition.

The regime employed several methods to produce consensus among the young. Koon's analysis begins with a discussion of the rhetorical style of Mussolini's message and the key political myths manipulated by his propaganda machine: fascism as continuing revolution and social justice, the glories of ancient Rome, the hygienic function of war and violence, the religious spirit of the new creed, and the omniscience of the leader. She then describes the pre-Fascist educational system, the "most Fascist" Gentile reforms of 1923, and the later revision of those reforms by zealous party men engaged in the Fascist regimentation of teachers and students and the militarization and politicization of curricula and textbooks.

Equally important agents of socialization were the Fascist groups organized for young people from their earliest years through the university level, including the annual national competitions and forums in which members could express their ideas on a range of issues. The regime provided physical, military, sports, and political training to strengthen the new Fascist society.

Fascist socialization did for a time create a superficial consensus by appealing to both the love of conformity that marks the very young and the economic fears that caused students to conform in the hope of jobs. But Koon argues that the regime's attempt to exert totalitarian control over the young deprived them of personal identity. As time passed, the contradictions of the regime became clearer, the chasm between Fascist rhetoric and reality more obvious. In the end, the majority of young people came to believe that the regime had given them nothing to believe in, no one to obey, and nothing for which to fight.

Originally published in 1985.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

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Praise for A Distant Mirror
 
“Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.”—The New York Review of Books
 
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“Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition.”—Commentary

NOTE: This edition does not include color images.
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