A Word Or Two From Benito Mussolini – April 20, 1939 – Past Daily Reference Room
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Address by Benito Mussolini – April 20, 1939 – EIAR, Rome – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
I would imagine most Americans, born after the Vietnam War era, have probably never heard the voice of Benito Mussolini, one of major players in the era of World War 2. No less an insidious figure during that time, but one who has taken a somewhat lesser role in the horrors of World War 2 than his ally in the Axis triumvirate Adolf Hitler of Germany. Still, the shadow of Mussolini still casts itself over the current political climate in Italy and its popular culture. With Mussolini calendars, t-shirts and assorted references from the growing under-current of neo-Fascist groups springing up in Italy, one would think there is a renewed popularity in the Dictator on the parts of its youth.
Lest we all forget that particularly dark period in our history, I ran across this address made by Benito Mussolini and delivered on the steps of the Capitol on April 20, 1939. It was originally broadcast by the Shortwave service of EIAR, the Italian government radio station, and is accompanied by English translation. The speech lasts a little over 10 minutes (very short, as Mussolini addresses went) and is followed immediately by translation.
War hadn’t been declared, in fact that was many months off. But the swords were rattling and the words were more pronouncements than dialogue. Only two weeks earlier, Italy invaded Albania and was perceived to be the start of several intended conquests in the Balkans and Greece. Since Albania was dependent on goods and resources support from Italy, resistance was nonexistent. A few days later, Albania was folded into the Italian empire. But that would be about the last time that would happen.
This address was intended to allay fears of more Italian excursions, but it did nothing to allay speculation that more was on the way. However, that wouldn’t become reality for another month when Berlin and Rome formed a military alliance.
The future was murky, at best.
Here is Benito Mussolini’s address of April 20, 1939.