Sunday, March 4, 2012

Speech in Grafenwoehr, April 24, 1944

First Speech to the San Marco Division

By Benito Mussolini

Officials! Non-commissioned officers! Graduates and soldiers of the San Marco Division!

I bring you the greetings of the Fatherland and the encouragement and best wishes of the Italian Social Republic. You have come to this great country of Germany, our friend and ally, which in the fifth year of this harsh war appears to me to be more iron-willed, decisive and adamant than ever; the country has been transformed into one gigantic workshop, into a single barracks. Here men and women, old and young, work hour after hour, while the soldiers who fight under the Fuhrer's flag have given memorable proofs of heroism in all the theaters of war, earning the respect of the enemy and the admiration of the world. You have come here in order to train yourselves according to the methods of modern warfare, to learn how to use numerous new and powerful weapons, to become soldiers in the fullest sense of the word, above all to erase the disgraceful shame of betrayal, which was perpetrated not only against our ally, but primarily against the Italian people.

This shame will not be erased unless you return home to fight against the invader who contaminates the sacred soil of the Fatherland. Beyond the Garigliano River you will find not only the cruel and cynical Englishmen, but also Americans, French, Polish, Indians, South Africans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Moroccans, Senegalese, Negroes and Bolsheviks. You will therefore experience the joy of firing upon this mixture of races, this conglomeration of bastards, mercenaries and invaders who do not respect anyone or anything in Italy.

Officials! Non-commissioned officers! Graduates and soldiers!

Here in the training camps of Germany are laid the solid foundations of the Army of the Italian Social Republic. You have the unique privilege of participating in this new great construction and you will have the highest honor of returning to combat. The Fatherland depends on you and on the winged-lion that adorns your uniforms, the triumphant symbol of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. One day this lion will again bear the auspice of victory on its wings.