On this day in 1944, one of the most famous fascists – Count Galeazzo Ciano – was shot by firing squad. Along with Benito Mussolini, Ciano was probably the most important official in Fascist Italy. He was associated with Mussolini even with family ties. Namely, Count Ciano married Edda Mussolini, eldest daughter of Benito Mussolini, by which he became the Duce’s son in law.
Galeazzo Ciano’s father was the Italian admiral Constanzo Ciano, who distinguished himself in World War I in an interesting, adventurous attack on the town of Bakar. This adventure was organized by a well-known poet and adventurer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Admiral Ciano was awarded the title of Count of Cortellazzo and Bakar (Italian Conte di Cortellazzo e Buccari) by the King of Italy. His son Galeazzo succeeded this count’s title. It should be noted that the count’s title refers to the Croatian town of Bakar.
Young Galeazzo got a position as a diplomat in Brazil and China, and already at about 33 years of age he became foreign minister in Mussolini’s government. He was in contact with many German Nazi officials because it was a time of preparations for the Second World War, in which Germany and Italy were allies. Count Ciano met, as head of Italian diplomacy, with Hitler, Ribbentrop and many other politicians and diplomats.
When Mussolini’s popularity in Italy fell due to the failures in the war, the Fascist Grand Council voted for Duce’s dismissal. It is interesting that Ciano, a member of the council, voted against Mussolini, even though he was his son-in-law. Mussolini was indeed overthrown, but was later released from detention by German Commandos (Otto Skorzeny) and allowed to return to power in the northern part of Italy. Mussolini was under the pressure by the Germans to hold a trial for those fascists of the Grand Council who deposed him. Thus Ciano was also sentenced to death. He was shot by firing squad on this day in Verona, in a humiliating manner. Namely, he was seated on a chair and shot in the back.