Il Popolo d'Italia

Il Popolo d'Italia ("The People of Italy") was an Italian newspaper published from 15 November 1914 until 24 July 1943. It was founded by Benito Mussolini as a pro-war newspaper during World War I, and it later became the main newspaper of the Fascist movement in Italy after the war.[2] It published editions every day with the exception of Mondays.[3]

Il Popolo d'Italia
Il Popolo d'Italia.jpg
Founder(s)Benito Mussolini
Manlio Morgagni
PublisherBenito Mussolini (1914-1922)
National Fascist Party (1922-1943)
Founded15 November 1914
Political alignmentItalian fascism
Ceased publication24 July 1943
HeadquartersVia Lovanio 10, Milan (since 1923)
CountryKingdom of Italy
Circulation230.000 (as of 1939)[1]

The paper was founded in Milan in November 1914 after Mussolini's expulsion from the Socialist Party,[4] with the aim of supporting Italian entry into World War I. The war had started several months previously, but Italy was neutral at the time and would remain so until May 1915. Il Popolo d'Italia, advocating militarism and irredentism, received financial backing from major companies including Ansaldo and others, especially from the sugar and electrical industries, who wished for Italy to join the war.[5] The paper was also subsidized by government-backed sources in France, on the pretext of influencing Italy to join the Entente Powers in the war.[6]

Investigations to identify the sources of funding for the Mussolini newspaper continued even after the World War; the documents found testify both the provenance and the financiers. In 1917 the United Kingdom financed the newspaper: Mussolini made a commitment, for the sum of 100 pounds a week, to boycott any pacifist demonstrations in Italy. Today the documents found attest to the payment of contributions from Italian industrialists interested in increasing military expenses for Italy's desired entry into the war; among these stand out the names of Carlo Esterle (Edison), Emilio Bruzzone ("Società siderurgica di Savona"and" Italian Society for the Indigenous Sugar Industry", of which Eridania was the most important member), Giovanni Agnelli (Fiat), Pio Perrone (Ansaldo) and Emanuele Vittorio Parodi (Acciaierie Odero).[7][8]

After the war, Il Popolo d'Italia became associated with the new Fascist movement, which was also led by Benito Mussolini. The paper served as a way of uniting the many autonomous fascist groups across Italy in the early 1920s, and provided a way to attract new political allies and financial backers.[9] Mussolini left the editorial staff of the paper when he moved to Rome to become prime minister in 1922, but he maintained control by appointing his younger brother Arnaldo as director of the paper, and by communicating regularly with the editors-in-chief.[9]

Throughout the period of Fascist rule in the Kingdom of Italy, Il Popolo d'Italia officially remained an independent privately owned newspaper, separate from the National Fascist Party and the Italian state. However, it received funds from the party and the state, as well as continued support from the private sector, and consistently promoted the Fascist point of view on the issues of the day.[9]

During his time in power, Mussolini often wrote anonymously for Il Popolo d'Italia, such as when he mocked a proposal for an Italian copy of "Heil Hitler",[10] or to spread his ideas about Italy increasing its birth rate.[citation needed] The masthead of the newspaper carried quotes from socialist revolutionary Louis Auguste Blanqui ("Whoever has steel has bread") and Napoleon Bonaparte ("The Revolution is an idea which has found bayonets!").[4]

From 1936 to 1943, the paper was edited by Giorgio Pini.[11] Among the co-founders were Manlio Morgagni, who became an ardent supporter of fascism and the chairman of news agency Agenzia Stefani.[citation needed]

Following the fall of the Fascist regime in Italy, the newspaper was banned by Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio on 24 July 1943. After the German invasion of Italy and the creation of the Italian Social Republic (RSI), Mussolini explicitly refused to revive the newspaper, since he did not want it to become a mouthpiece of the German occupation forces. Instead the newly-founded Republican Fascist Party adopted Il Lavoro Fascista (formerly a publication of fascist syndicalism) as its new official newspaper; despite this, during the period of the RSI, Mussolini generally wrote on the Corriere della Sera, when he felt that it was necessary to publish his declarations.

In 1944, Mussolini sold the headquarters of Il Popolo d'Italia to Italian businessman Gian Riccardo Cella and, after the Liberation of Italy, they were used to publish the Corriere Lombardo. In 1946 the Italian government invalidated Mussolini's selling and confiscated it.[12]



  1. ^ Alberto Malfitano (June 1995). "Giornalismo fascista. Giorgio Pini alla guida del "Popolo d'Italia"" (PDF). Italia Contemporanea (199).
  2. ^ "Italy - World War I and fascism | history - geography". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  3. ^ Benito, Mussolini. "Il Popolo d'Italia". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b Delzell, Charles F. (Spring 1988). "Remembering Mussolini". The Wilson Quarterly. 12 (2): 121. JSTOR 40257305. Retrieved April 8, 2022
  5. ^ Denis Mack Smith (1997) [1979]. Modern Italy: A Political History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0300043422. pg. 284.
  6. ^ O'Brien, Paul (2005). Mussolini in the First World War: The Journalist, The Soldier, The Fascist. Berg Publishers. ISBN 1845200519. pg. 36.
  7. ^ Falabrino, Gian Luigi (1989). Pubblicità serva padrona (in Italian). Milan. p. 121.
  8. ^ Snowden, Frank (1989). The Fascist Revolution in Tuscany, 1919–22. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-36117-0.
  9. ^ a b c Lucy M. Maulsby (2014). Fascism, Architecture, and the Claiming of Modern Milan, 1922-1943. University of Toronto Press. p. 137. ISBN 9781442646254.
  10. ^ John Gunther (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 246–259.
  11. ^ Rees, Philip (1990). Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890. p. 296.
  12. ^ Vercesi, Pier Luigi (30 October 2014). Ne ammazza più la penna: Storie d'Italia vissute nelle redazioni dei giornali (in Italian). Sellerio Editore srl. ISBN 978-88-389-3300-4.

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