Emilio De Bono: Wikis


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Emilio De Bono
March 19, 1866(1866-03-19) – January 11, 1944 (aged 77)
Emilio De Bono in 1929.

Place of birth Cassano d'Adda, Italy
Place of death Verona
Allegiance Italy Kingdom of Italy
Service/branch Italian Royal Army
Years of service 1884- 1943
Rank Marshal of Italy
Battles/wars Italo-Turkish War
World War I
Second Italo-Ethiopian War
World War II

Emilio De Bono (March 19, 1866 – January 11, 1944) was an Italian General, fascist activist, Marshal, and member of the Fascist Grand Council (Gran Consiglio del Fascismo). De Bono fought in the Italo-Turkish War, World War I, and the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.


Early life

De Bono was born in Cassano d'Adda. He entered the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) in 1884 as a Second Lieutenant and had worked his way up to General Staff by the Italo-Turkish War of 1911. De Bono would later to go on to fight in World War I, where he distinguished himself against the Austrians in Gorizia in 1916 and Monte Grappa in October 1918. In 1920, he was discharged with the rank of Major General.


During the early 1920s, De Bono helped organize the National Fascist Party. In 1922, as one of the four Quadrumvirs, he organized and staged the "March on Rome." This event signalled the start of the Fascist regime in Italy.

In the period following the march, De Bono served as Chief of Police and Commander of the Fascist Militia.

De Bono was tried for his role in the 1924 death of the leftist politician Giacomo Matteotti. He refused to implicate his superiors and was surprisingly acquitted in 1925. In that same year, De Bono was appointed as the Governor of Tripolitania in Libya.

In 1929, De Bono was appointed the Minister of Colonial Affairs (also referred to as the Minister of Colonies). In 1932, King Victor Emmanuel and De Bono visited Eritrea and, according to them, found a peaceful, loyal, and contented colony.[1]


In November 1932, per a request from Mussolini, De Bono wrote up a plan for an invasion of Ethiopia. What he wrote indicated that he envisioned a traditional mode of penetration. A limited force would move gradually southward from Eritrea. The force would establish bases of strength and, from these bases, advance against increasingly weakened and disorganized opponents. The invasion DeBono envisioned would be cheap, easy, safe, -- and slow.[2]

Mussolini also involved the Army in the planning stages and, over a two year period, the Army developed an invasion plan which included a massive campaign which would involve five to six times the number of troops required for De Bono's plan. In 1934, Mussolini pulled both of the previously uncoordinated plans together into a plan that included the miliary's idea of a full-scale war.[3]

In 1935, De Bono became the Supreme Commander of the Italian operation against Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. In addition, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the forces invading from Italian-held Eritrea on what was known as the "northern front." De Bono had under his direct command a force of nine divisions in three Army Corps: The Italian I Corps, the Italian II Corps, and the Eritrean Corps.[4]

On October 3, forces under De Bono's command crossed into Ethiopia from Eritrea. On October 6, his forces retook Adowa, officially avenging the humiliating 1896 Italian defeat. Soon thereafter, De Bono entered the historically significant city of Axum riding a white horse. After these initial triumphs, De Bono's advance slowed appreciably.

On November 8, the I Corps and the Eritrean Corps captured Mek'ele. This proved to be the limit of how far the Italian invaders would get under the command of De Bono. Increasing pressure from the rest of the world on Mussolini caused him to need fast glittering victories. He was not prepared to hear of obstacles or delays from De Bono.[5]

On November 16, De Bono was promoted to Marshal of Italy (Maresciallo d'Italia). But Mussolini continued to grow impatient with his slow progress and, by December, De Bono was relieved of his command. On 17 December, De Bono received State Telegram 13181 (Telegrama di Stato 13181) which indicated that, with the capture of Mek'ele, his mission was accomplished. His place was taken by Marshal Pietro Badoglio. De Bono was appointed the Inspector of Overseas Troops.

World War II

A photograph of De Bono taken in Rome on 21 November 1940. He is between Heinrich Himmler and Rodolfo Graziani and is easily idendified by his signature beard.

In 1940, De Bono commanded a southern defense corps headquartered in Sicily and was opposed to the Italian entry into World War II. But he kept a low profile and, in 1942, he was appointed Minister of State.

On July 24 and July 25, 1943, De Bono was one of the members of the Fascist Grand Council who voted to oust Benito Mussolini when Dino Grandi carried out a coup d'état, in collaboration with Pietro Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuel III. This led to the dictator's downfall, arrest, and imprisonment.

Later in 1943, Mussolini was rescued during the Gran Sasso raid and returned to power by Nazi Germany. He was set up in northern Italy by the Germans as the "Duce of the Nation" of a new Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana, or RSI). Upon his return to power, Mussolini had De Bono and others who voted against him arrested. He then had Alessandro Pavolini try them for treason at Verona in what became known as the "Verona trial." De Bono was convicted in a trial where the outcome was known prior to its start.[6]

On January 11, 1944, De Bono was executed by firing squad at Verona. He was shot along with Galeazzo Ciano, Luciano Gottardi, Giovanni Marinelli and Giuseppe Pareschi. Ciano was the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mussolini's son-in-law. Gottardi was the former president of the Fascist Confederation of Industrial workers. Marinelli was the former chief of the Fascist militia. And Pareschi was the former Agriculture Minister. The only person on trial who escaped from capital punishment was Tullio Cianetti, the Minister of Corporations. Cianetti was sentenced to thirty years by the RSI judges.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Mockler. Haile Sellassie's War. p.27
  2. ^ Baer, Test Case: Italy, Ethiopia, and the League of Nations, p. 12
  3. ^ Baer, Test Case: Italy, Ethiopia, and the League of Nations, p. 13
  4. ^ Barker, A. J., The Rape of Ethiopia 1936, p. 33
  5. ^ Barker, A. J., The Rape of Ethiopia 1936, p. 36
  6. ^ Bosworth, R. J. B., Mussolini's Italy, p. 514
  7. ^ Bosworth, R. J. B., Mussolini's Italy, p. 514


  • Baer, George W. (1976). Test Case: Italy, Ethiopia, and the League of Nations. Stanford, California: Hoover Institute Press, Stanford University. ISBN 0-8179-6591-2.  
  • Barker, A.J. (1971). Rape of Ethiopia, 1936. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0345024626.  
  • Bosworth, R.J.B. (2005). Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-303856-6.  
  • Mockler, Anthony (20032). Haile Sellassie's war. New York: Olive Branch Press. ISBN 9781566564731.  
  • Nicolle, David (1997). The Italian Invasion of Abyssinia 1935-1936. Westminster: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-85532-692-7.  


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Listen: if there is war down there— and if you think me worthy of it, and capable —you ought to grant me the honor of conducting the campaign. Surely, you don't think me too old?

Emilio De Bono (March 19, 1866January 11, 1944) was an Italian general who fought in World War I and fascist activist who helped organize the Italian Fascist Party. De Bono opposed the Italian entrance in World War II. In 1942, he was appointed Minister of State. In 1943, he participated in the Fascist Grand Council of which toppled Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. When Mussolini returned to power at the head of the Italian Social Republic, he had De Bono arrested and tried for treason. De Bono was executed by firing squad at Verona, together with Galeazzo Ciano, Gottardi, Marinelli and Pareschi on January 11, 1944.


  • Listen: if there is war down there— and if you think me worthy of it, and capable —you ought to grant me the honor of conducting the campaign. Surely, you don't think me too old?
    • To Mussolini. Quoted in "Lion by the tail: the story of the Italian-Ethiopian War" - Page 32 - by Thomas M. Coffey - History - 1974
  • If you know anything, deny, deny, deny. I want to save Fascism.
    • To Dumini. Quoted in "The Terror in Europe" - Page 223 - by Hubert Hessell Tiltman - 1932
  • Forgive me, that was the soldier speaking. Now this is the man speaking again. And the man is more than the soldier. I can bear anything. Death is a more solemn thing than all the earthly trash.
    • Quoted in "Mussolini: Twilight and Fall" - Page 129 - by Roman Dąbrowski - Italy - 1956
  • This was a great reward for us. We had not had the good fortune to meet the enemy in force.
    • Quoted in "The Civilizing Mission: A History of the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935-1936" - Page 172 - by A. J. Barker - 1968
  • We look on seriously, but serenely.
    • Quoted in "The Hammond Times" - Newspaper article - November 2, 1935, Hammond, Indiana

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