Pietro Badoglio

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Pietro Badoglio
28th Prime Minister of Italy
In office
25 July 1943 – 8 June 1944
Monarch Victor Emmanuel III
Lieutenant General Prince Umberto
Preceded by Benito Mussolini
Succeeded by Ivanoe Bonomi
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
11 February 1944 – 8 June 1944
Preceded by Raffaele Guariglia
Succeeded by Ivanoe Bonomi
Minister of the Italian Africa
In office
11 February 1944 – 8 June 1944
Preceded by Melchiade Gabba
Succeeded by Ivanoe Bonomi
Viceroy of the Italian East Africa
Viceroy of Ethiopia
In office
9 May 1936 – 11 June 1936
Monarch Victor Emmanuel III
Duce Benito Mussolini
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Rodolfo Graziani
Commissary of the Italian East Africa
In office
28 November 1935 – 9 May 1936
Preceded by Emilio De Bono
Succeeded by Office abolished
Commissary of Eritrea
In office
22 November 1935 – 9 May 1936
Preceded by Emilio De Bono
Succeeded by Alfredo Guzzoni
Commissary of Tripolitania and Cirenaica
In office
24 January 1929 – 31 December 1933
Preceded by Emilio De Bono (Tripolitania)
Attilio Teruzzi (Cyrenaica)
Succeeded by Italo Balbo (Governor of Libia)
Personal details
Born (1871-09-28)28 September 1871
Grazzano Monferrato, Kingdom of Italy
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Grazzano Badoglio, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Independent (after 1943)
National Fascist Party
(before 1943)
Military service
Allegiance  Kingdom of Italy
Service/branch  Royal Italian Army
Years of service 1892–1943
Rank Maresciallo d'Italia
Battles/wars First Italo-Ethiopian War
Italo-Turkish War
World War I
Pacification of Libya
Second Italo-Ethiopian War
World War II

Pietro Badoglio, 1st Duke of Addis Abeba, 1st Marquess of Sabotino (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjɛːtro baˈdɔʎʎo]; 28 September 1871 – 1 November 1956) was an Italian general during both World Wars and a Prime Minister of Italy, as well as the first viceroy of Italian East Africa.

Early Italian colonial wars in Africa

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After studying at the military academy in Turin, he served with the Italian Army from 1892, at first as a Lieutenant (Tenente) in artillery, taking part in the early Italian colonial wars in Eritrea (1896), and in Libya (1912).

World War I

At the beginning of Italian participation in World War I, he was a Lieutenant Colonel (Tenente Colonnello); he rose to the rank of General following his handling of the capture of Monte Sabotino in May 1916 and by the late months of 1917 (mostly thanks to his Masonic contacts, including his superior, General Capello[citation needed]) was named as Vice Chief-of-Staff (Sottocapo di Stato Maggiore) despite being one of the main leaders responsible for the disaster during the Battle of Caporetto on 24 October 1917. With regard to the Battle of Caporetto, although he was blamed in various quarters for his disposition of the forces under his command before the battle, a commission of inquiry rejected most of the criticisms made upon him.[1]

In the years after World War I, in which he held several high ranks in the Italian Army, Badoglio exerted a constant effort in modifying official documents in order to hide his role in the defeat.[2]

Italian Pacification of Libya

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Post-war, Badoglio was named as a Senator, but also remained in the army with special assignments to Romania and the U.S. in 1920 and 1921. At first, he opposed Benito Mussolini and after 1922 was side-lined as ambassador to Brazil. A change of political heart soon returned him to Italy and a senior role in the army as Chief of Staff from 4 May 1924. On 25 June 1926, Badoglio was promoted to the rank of Marshal of Italy (Maresciallo d'Italia).

Badoglio was the first unique governor of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica[3] (later formed Italian Libya) from 1929 to 1933. During his governorship, he played a vital part (with Rodolfo Graziani, deputy governor of Cyrenaica) in defeating the Libyan rebels. On 24 January 1932 (third anniversay of his appointment), Badoglio proclaimed the end of Libyan resistance for the first time since the Italian invasion in 1911.

Italian invasion of Ethiopia

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On 3 October 1935, because the progress of De Bono's invasion of Abyssinia was judged to be too slow by Mussolini, Badoglio, who had in the meantime launched an epistolary campaign against Emilio de Bono, replaced de Bono as the commander. Badoglio asked for and was given permission to use chemical warfare, using as a pretext the torture and murder of downed Italian pilot Tito Minniti during the Ethiopian "Christmas Offensive".

He employed mustard gas to effectively destroy the Ethiopian armies confronting him on the northern front. Badoglio commanded the Italian invasion army at the First Battle of Tembien, the Battle of Amba Aradam, the Second Battle of Tembien, and the Battle of Shire. On 31 March, Badoglio defeated Emperor Haile Selassie commanding the last Ethiopian army on the northern front at the Battle of Maychew. On 26 April, with no Ethiopian resistance left between his forces and Addis Ababa, Badoglio launched his "March of the Iron Will" to take the Ethiopian capital city and end the war. By 2 May, Haile Selassie had fled the country.

On 5 May 1936, Marshal Badoglio led the victorious Italian troops into Addis Ababa. Mussolini declared King Victor Emmanuel to be the Emperor of Ethiopia, and Ethiopia became part of the Italian Empire. On this occasion, Badoglio was appointed the first Viceroy and Governor General of Ethiopia and ennobled with the victory title of Duke of Addis Abeba ad personam.

On 11 June 1936, Rodolfo Graziani replaced Badoglio as Viceroy and Governor General of Ethiopia. Badoglio returned to his duties as the Supreme Chief of the Italian General Staff. According to Time magazine, Badoglio even joined the Fascist Party in early June.[4]

World War II

Badoglio was Chief of Staff from 1925 to 1940, an enormous length of time, and it was he who had the final say on the entire structure of the Armed Forces, including doctrine, selection of officers, armaments, for all that time, impregnating the whole military environment. Badoglio was not in favour of the Italian-German Pact of Steel and was pessimistic about the chances of Italian success in any European war but he did not oppose the decision of Mussolini and the King to declare war on France and Great Britain. Following the Italian army's poor performance in the invasion of Greece in December 1940, he resigned from the General Staff. Badoglio was replaced by Ugo Cavallero.

On 24 July 1943, as Italy had suffered several setbacks following the Allied invasion of Sicily in World War II, Mussolini summoned the Fascist Grand Council, which voted no confidence in Mussolini. The following day Il Duce was removed from government by King Victor Emmanuel III and arrested. On 3 September 1943, General Giuseppe Castellano signed the Italian armistice with the Allies in Cassibile on behalf of Badoglio, who was named Prime Minister of Italy. Wary of the potentially hostile German response to the Armistice, Badoglio hesitated to formally announce the treaty.[5]

On 8 September, the armistice document was published by the Allies in the Badoglio Proclamation before Badoglio could communicate news of the switch to the Italian armed forces. The units of the Italian Royal Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force were generally surprised by the switch and unprepared for German actions to disarm them. In the early hours of 9 September, Badoglio, King Victor Emmanuel, some military ministers, and the Chief of the General Staff escaped to Pescara and Brindisi seeking Allied protection.[2] On 23 September, the longer version of the armistice was signed in Malta. On 13 October, Badoglio and the Kingdom of Italy officially declared war on Nazi Germany. Badoglio continued to head the government for another nine months. Following the German rescue of Mussolini, the liberation of Rome, and increasingly strong opposition, he was on 9 June 1944 replaced by Ivanoe Bonomi of the Labour Democratic Party.

Due to increased tensions with the Soviet Union, in which the British government saw Pietro Badoglio as a guarantor of an anti-communist post-war Italy, he was never tried for Italian war crimes committed in Africa.[6][7][8] Futilely defending his record in his last years, he died in Grazzano Monferrato in 1956.

See also


  • Pietro Badoglio: Italy in the Second World War, memories and documents. (Transl.: Muriel Currey). Oxford University Press, 1948. Repr. 1976, Greenwood Press: ISBN 0-8371-8485-1
  • Pietro Badoglio: The war in Abyssinia. (Foreword: Benito Mussolini). London, Methuen Publishers, 1937.


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  3. Giovanni Ameglio and Vincenzo Garioni were also unique governors of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, but this seemed to be a temporary, not permanent, policy.
  4. Time Magazine, Guard Changed
  5. Atkinson, Rick. "The Day of Battle:The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944." (New York: Henry Holt and Co: 2007), pp 192-197.
  6. Effie Pedaliu (2004) Britain and the 'Hand-over' of Italian War Criminals to Yugoslavia, 1945-48. Journal of Contemporary History. Vol. 39, No. 4, Special Issue: Collective Memory, pp. 503-529 (JStor.org preview)
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  8. Di Sante, Costantino (2005) Italiani senza onore: I crimini in Jugoslavia e i processi negati (1941-1951), Ombre Corte, Milano. (Archived by WebCite®)

Further reading

  • Italian Defence Minister website official biography of Pietro Badoglio as Chief of the General Staff
  • Armellini, Quirino, and Pietro Badoglio. Con Badoglio in Etiopia, Etc. 1937. OCLC 556812967
  • Bertoldi, Silvio. Badoglio. Milano: Rizzoli, 1982. OCLC 9862086
  • De Luna, Giovanni. Badoglio: Un Militaire al Potere. Milan: Bompiani, 1974. For English translation, see OCLC 883962565.
  • Whittam, John. The Politics of the Italian Army, 1861-1918. London: Croom Helm, 1977. ISBN 0208015973 OCLC 2373034

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Italy
Succeeded by
Ivanoe Bonomi
Preceded by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Ivanoe Bonomi
Preceded by Head of the Fascist Grand Council
Succeeded by
End Title
Government offices
Preceded by
New Title
Viceroy and Governor-General of Italian East Africa
9 May 1936 – 11 June 1936
Succeeded by
Rodolfo Graziani
Italian nobility
Preceded by
New Title
Duke of Addis Abeba
Succeeded by
Pietro Badoglio, 2nd Duke of Addis Abeba