Emilio De Bono

Emilio De Bono

Emilio De Bono (March 19, 1866 – January 11, 1944) was an Italian General, fascist activist, Marshal, and member of the Fascist Grand Council. De Bono fought in the Italo-Turkish War, World War I, and the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. In 1943, he was a member of the Fascist Grand Council which toppled Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. In 1944, he was executed by Mussolini's Italian Social Republic.


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.


De Bono helped organize the National Fascist Party during the early 1920s. 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 this, De Bono served as Chief of Police, Commander of the Fascist Militia, and, in 1925, Governor of Tripolitania, in Libya. De Bono was tried for his role in the assassination of the leftist politician Giacomo Matteotti, but was surprisingly acquitted.

In 1929, De Bono was appointed Minister of Colonial Affairs.


In 1935, De Bono continued to play an active part in the military and became the Supreme Commander of the Italian operation against Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. On October 3, he led the advance of the Italian forces on the northern front and crossed into Ethiopia from Eritrea. On October 6, forces under De Bono retook Adowa and soon thereafter Axum. After these initial triumphs, De Bono's advance slowed appreciably. Mussolini quickly grew impatient with him and, by the end of November, De Bono was relieved of his command. His place was taken by Marshal Pietro Badoglio. However, as compensation for his loss of command, De Bono was promoted to Marshal of Italy ("Maresciallo d'Italia") on November 16. He also was appointed the Inspector of Overseas Troops.

World War II

In 1940, De Bono commanded a southern defense corps headquartered in Sicily and was opposed 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. 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 by the Germans as the "Duce of the Nation" of a new Italian Social Republic ("Repubblica Sociale Italiana", or RSI) in northern Italy. Upon his return to power, Mussolini had De Bono and others who voted against him arrested. He had them tried for treason. De Bono was convicted.

On January 11, 1944, De Bono was executed by firing squad at Verona. He was shot together 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.

ee also

*Second Italian-Abyssian War

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