This book documents the experiences of the Italian armed Fascist militia, the Camicie Nere (Blackshirts), from the Italian–Ethiopian war of 1935–36, through the Spanish Civil War to the end of World War II. It explores their origins, development, recruitment, training, conditions of service, uniforms and equipment, battle experience, political and ideological motivation. The Blackshirt legions were raised under army control from 1928, and were employed in 1933 in Libya in counterinsurgency operations against the Senussi tribes; from 1935 in Italy's war against Ethiopia; and during the Spanish Civil War. Following the outbreak of World War II, the Blackshirts fought in North Africa, Greece, Croatia, on the Eastern Front and finally in Italy itself following the Allied invasion.
In February 1937, following an abortive attack by a handful of insurgents on Mussolini's High Command in Italian-occupied Ethiopia, 'repression squads' of armed Blackshirts and Fascist civilians were unleashed on the defenseless residents of Addis Ababa. In three terror-filled days and nights of arson, murder and looting, thousands of innocent and unsuspecting men, women and children were roasted alive, shot, bludgeoned, stabbed to death, or blown to pieces with hand-grenades. Meanwhile the notorious Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani, infamous for his atrocities in Libya, took the opportunity to add to the carnage by eliminating the intelligentsia and nobility of the ancient Ethiopian empire in a pogrom that swept across the land. In a richly illustrated and ground-breaking work backed up by meticulous and scholarly research, Ian Campbell reconstructs and analyses one of Fascist Italy's least known atrocities, which he estimates eliminated 19-20 per cent of the capital's population. He exposes the hitherto little known cover-up conducted at the highest levels of the British government, which enabled the facts of one of the most hideous civilian massacres of all time to be concealed, and the perpetrators to walk free.
Nicknamed 'The Desert Fox' for his cunning command of the Afrika Korps, Erwin Rommel remains one of the most popular and studied of Germany's World War II commanders. He got his first taste of combat in World War I, where his daring command earned him the Blue Max, Germany's highest decoration for bravery. He followed this up with numerous successes early in World War II in both Europe and Africa, before facing his biggest challenge – organizing the defence of France. Implicated in the plot to kill Hitler, Rommel chose suicide over a public trial. This book looks at the life of this daring soldier, focusing on his style of command and the tactical decisions that earned him his fearsome reputation.
Ezra Pound was an influential propagandist for British, Italian and ultimately German fascist movements. Using long-neglected manuscripts and cutting-edge approaches to fascism as a 'political religion', Feldman argues that Pound's case offers a revealing case study of a modernist author turned propagator of the 'fascist faith'.