2012 Perantoni (all rights reserved)


2012 Perantoni (all rights reserved)
© 2012 Perantoni (all rights reserved)
Page 1
1. In the 1930’s, Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italy was aggressively expanding its
colonial dominions in the lands of the Mediterranean basin, and fascist legionaires
were also involved in a military campaign against Spain’s Bolshevism in the west.
Later, when seeking control of the Adriatic sea, Mussolini’s attention turned to
the Macedonian lands of Greece and Albania in the east.
This blue ‘Two Lire’ airmail stamp depicts an arrow-launch by an
ancient Roman “sagittarium” archer regiment, which is an accurate
representation of Italy’s fascist politics of the period.
Fascist letter-seal
(Italian Albania)
1930 “Sagittarium”
air-mail stamp
2. The fascist legionary soldier planting ancient Roman
standard depicts fascist Italy’s unification of its northAfrican colonies, involving primarily Ethiopia, Somalia,
and Eritrea, into the new protectorate of the “Africa
Orientale Italiana”, as part of Italy’s ongoing endeavor
to obtain a land-corridor connecting the Mediterranean
sea to the Pacific Ocean, via the Indian Ocean.
1938 Fascist Legionary
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The Pact of Steel, 1941
3. Later that period, Benito Mussolini made the critical and
fatal blunder of joining with Adolf Hitler into the alliance of
friendship renown as the “Pact of Steel”, an ill-fated alliance
which would eventually lead to the fall of fascist Italy.
This 75-cent stamp commemorated the “Pact of Steel”
between IL Duce and Der Fuhrer.
Unlike Hitler, whose nazi government lasted approximately
half the duration of Mussolini’s fascist government, Hitler’s
face appeared on several German stamps during the 1930’s,
whereas this Italian “Pact of Steel” stamp (one of a 6-stamp
set) is the only stamp in which Mussolini appears on official
Italian postage, not by himself, but alongside Adolf Hitler.
4. The Mussolini-Hitler “Pact of Steel” lead Italy into a European war which many Italians had tacitly opposed. In 1940 a
new pact was formed, the “Tripartite Pact” between Rome,
Berlin, and Tokyo (acronym: Ro-Ber-To, “Roberto”), and now
Italians were being drawn into war against the rest of the
world. However, except for the increase of military activities,
war was not being felt in the Italian homeland. Even as late as
1942 when the war was raging throughout several European
countries, and on lands of the Pacific ocean, the Italian people
were still enjoying life as usual as indicated by this 1942 stamp
commemorating the 150th anniversary of the famous Italian
composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini’s birth.
5. The war, however, was coming closer to home as the Allied
forces were poised in north Africa in preparation of an imminent attack on the Italian mainland. An invasion of Italy
would be an attack in “the soft underbelly of Europe”, as was
described by Sir Winston Churchill. But the office of fascist
propaganda kept the Italian people in the dark about such
strategic war information. This July 1943 stamp from San
Marino commemorates fascism and fascist propaganda, with
an overprint celebrating philatelic activities in Italy and in
San Marino ... only one week prior to allied forces’ landing in
Sicily … only one week prior to the allied attack on Italy.
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6. The attack on Sicily was a rude awakening for the Italian people, and the grim reality of an imminent invasion of their homeland. Consequently, later in July the Fascist Grand Council dismissed
Mussolini as their leader. The next day, on 25 July 1943, King Victor Emmanuel III had Mussolini
arrested and imprisoned, and soon afterwards the National Fascist Party was dissolved. Hitler came
to the rescue of his dear friend, and less than 2 months later, on 12 September, German special forces
raided the facility where Mussolini was being kept, and they rescued him. Subsequently, Mussolini
and Hitler established a new fascist front to oppose the Allies advancing northward, and they founded
a new fascist government with headquarters in the town of Salo’ on lake Garda. Without delay the
restored Duce disarmed the Italian Police Force (Carabinieri) and replaced it with the new “Guardia
Nazionale Republicana” (GNR) who were loyal Fascists willing to cooperate with the German Army.
This above green stamp was overprinted “GNR” ironically over the King’s profile. It was a 1943
local issue from the city of Brescia, not far from Mussolini’s new headquarters in Salo’.
7. Stamps and postal services were important sources of income for Mussolini’s new fascist government, which was named “La Repubblica Sociale Italiana” (RSI). In January 1944, prior to printing
their own stamps, the RSI post offices overprinted the new government’s name and/or fascist symbols
directly over the King’s image on existing issues. It was a sardonic statement for the rest of Italy.
These 3 stamps are samples of such overprints.
8. The new RSI fascist government’s overprints went on until spring of 1944, adding overprints for
special delivery and authorized delivery stamps in April 1944. The war propaganda stamps of 1942
were especially used (with overprints) as an effort to tell the Italian people that the war against the
Allies was not lost, and Italy was still headed for victory. These 3 stamps are samples.
Arms and hearts must be
aimed to the objective
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Page 4
Back to
war in ‘44
“People born
to conquer
as victor, and
as victim too.”
By Giacomo Leopardi
“to Arms
to Arms!”
“ Hostium Rabies Diruit “ :
Destroyed by enemy violence
9. Then by June the RSI began printing its own original stamps, and overprints were no
longer needed. Notable is the stamp depicting a drummer boy calling its people to arms
(all’armi, all’armi!). Also, a stamp of enduring defiance depicting the image of “Roman
Italia” wearing fortifications on its head and carrying the ancient Roman ‘fascio’ war axe.
Note also that the first RSI stamp for special delivery depicts the cathedral of Palermo,
and was issued long after Sicily had capitulated to the side of the Allies.
ROMA (1944) S. Lorenzo
10. During the summer of 1944 the RSI began
printing a series of stamps to commemorate ancient
buildings and monuments destroyed by Allied
bombings. Each stamp is titled in ancient latin
“Hostium Rabies Diruit” which translates
“Destroyed by enemy violence”. The first two
issues, 20₵ Loggia dei Mercanti (Bologna) and the
25₵ church of San Lorenzo (Rome), were reissued a
second time later that summer for a better design.
BOLOGNA (1944)
Loggia dei Mercanti
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Page 5
11. There were many monuments and churches being destroyed by Allied bombings, and
the RSI postal printers had no shortage for their commemorations. Bologna’s 20₵ Loggia
dei Mercanti and Rome’s 25₵ San Lorenzo were reissued in the new and improved design,
followed by San Ciraico of Ancona, and then two denominations of Milano’s Santa Maria
delle Grazie, and two denominations for the Abbey of Montecassino.
Hostium Rabies Diruit
“Destroyed by enemy violence”
BOLOGNA (2nd edition)
Loggia dei Mercanti
ROMA— S. Lorenzo
(2nd edition)
delle Grazie
ANCONA—S. Ciraico
(completely destroyed)
Abbazia di
delle Grazie
Abbazia di
12. By late 1944 it was obvious to most Italians that the war was lost,
and even the German soldiers stationed in the RSI had became disillusioned of Hitler’s promise of a 1000-year Reich. The Allied forces
were rapidly advancing northward, still the RSI remained defiant
even as German troops were gradually retreating toward the alpine
foothills of north Italy. This stamp commemorates the hundred-year
anniversary of the execution of the loyalist Bandiera Brothers (which
by chance, the name Bandiera actually means “flag” in Italian). The
stamp was issued by the fascist RSI in December, likely as an attempt
to fuel patriotism (or martyrdom) in the face of the advancing Allies.
© 2012 Perantoni (all rights reserved)
Page 6
13. By springtime of 1945 the war was lost for the RSI and
fascism. Benito Mussolini, the Italian Duce, attempted to
escape to Germany but he was captured by Italian partisans,
and he was executed without a trial on 28 April. The next day,
in Milano’s piazzale Loreto, his bloody dead body was hung by
his feet from a gas station overhang, and then it was beaten
with clubs and sticks by a mob of angry Italians. Less than 24
hours later Adolf Hitler commited suicide in his Berlin bunker
headquarters, the ‘Fuhrerbunker’. This 1945 Italian stamp
celebrates “Freedom” (breaking the chains of fascism).
A New Light
14. Following a brief period of Allied Military
Government (AMG), Italy was committed to
correcting all wrongs, making a new start, and
establishing a new republic. These two stamps
were issued in the fall of 1945 to celebrate a new
vision (“Torch of Enlightenment” a new light),
and to promote “new Italian Unification and
Justice” (depicted by scales and a family).
15. Soon afterward the new Italian Postal
system issued the next two stamps depicting the “Rebirth and Reconstruction” of
Italy (shown as planting the new nation ...
and giving it support).
Breaking the
chains of fascism
and Justice
Planting new Nation
Giving it support
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Page 7
16. By 1946 the earlier stamps of fascist Italy and the subsequent RSI stamps
were no longer valid postage. Italy’s long-established conventional stamps
were re-issued, but all fasces had been removed from Giulius Caesar, from
Augustus Caesar, and from all the other traditional stamps of Italy.
Fasces were removed from stamps and all other publications
17. Then, in great contrast with Mussolini’s 1930 air mail stamp which depicted the ancient Roman “sagittarium” arrow-launch, the new air mail stamps of 1945 depict peaceful speedy birds, and the new era’s jet-engine airplane with a handshake of friendship.
Peace and
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Page 8
18. Finally, in 1946, Italy issued an eight stamp set
for the proclamation of the New Italian Republic.
di Amalfi
di Siena
di Lucca
di Pisa
di Genova
di Firenze
di Venezia
Il Giuramento
di Pontida
© 2012 Perantoni (all rights reserved)