Globalrhetoric’s Blog

Mussolini: Speech of the 10 June 1940, Declaration of War on France and England

Soldiers, sailors, and aviators! Black shirts of the revolution and of the [Fascist] legions! Men and women of Italy, of the Empire, and of the kingdom of Albania! Pay heed!
An hour appointed by destiny has struck in the heavens of our fatherland. (Very lively cheers).

The declaration of war has already been delivered (cheers, very loud cries of “War! War!”) to the ambassadors of Great Britain and France. We go to battle against the plutocratic and reactionary
democracies of the west who, at every moment have hindered the advance and have often endangered the very existence of the Italian people.
Recent historical events can be summarized in the following phrases: promises, threats, blackmail, and finally to crown the edifice, the ignoble seige by the fifty-two states of the League of Nations. Our consience is absolutely tranquil. (Applause). With you the entire world is witness that Fascist Italy has done all that is humanly possible to avoit the torment which is throwing Europe into turmoil; but all was in vain. It would have suffieced to revise the treaties to bring them up to date with the changing needs of the life of nations and not consider them untouchable for eternity; it would have sufficed not to have begun the stupid policy of guarantees, which has shown itself particularly lethal for those who accepted them; it would have sufficed not to reject the proposal [for peace] that the Fuhrer made on 6 October of last year after having finished the campaign in Poland.

But now all of that belongs to the past. If now today we have decided to face the risks and the sacrifices of a war, it is because the honor, the interests, the future impose and iron necessity, since a great people is truly such if it considers sacred its own duties and noes not evade the supreme trials which deternin the course of history.

We take up arms to resolve, after having resolved the problem of our land frontier, the problem of our maritime frontiers; we want to break the territorial chains which suffocate us in our own sea; since a people of forty-five million sould is not truly free if it does not have free access to the ocean.

This gigantic struggle is nothing other than a phase in the logical development of our revolution; it is the struggle of peoples that are poor but rich in workers against the exploiters who hold on ferociously to the monopoly off all the riches and all the gold of the earth; it is the struggle of the fertile and young people against the sterile people moving to the sunset; it is the struggle between two centuries and two ideas.
Now that the die are cast and our will has burned ourships at aour backs, I solomnly declare that
Italy does not intend to drag into the conflict other peoples bordering her on land or on sea. Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt take note of these my words and it depends on them
and only on them whether or not they will be rigorously confirmed.

Italians!

In a memorable meeting, that which took place in Berlin, I said that according to the laws of Fascist morality, when one has a friend, one marches with him to the end. (“Duce! Duce! Duce!”). This we have done with Gernamy, with its people, with its marvelous armed forces. On this eve of an event of century wide scope, we direct our thought to the majesty of the King and Emperor (the multitudes break out in great cheers for the House of Savoy) which as always has understood the soul of the fatherland. And we salute with our voices the Fuhrer, the head of great ally Germany (The people cheer Hitler at length). Proletarian and Fascist Italy stands up a third time, strong, proud, and united as never before. (The crowd cries with one single voice: “Yes!”) The single order of the day is categorical and obligatory for all. It already spreads and fires hearts from the Alps to the Indian Ocean; Victory! (The people break out into raucous cheers). And we will win, in order finally to give a long period of peace with justice to Italy, to Europe, and to the world.

People of Italy!

Rush to arms and show your tenacity, your courage, your valor!

Source: Italian Declaration of War on England and France

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