Saturday, March 3, 2012

Speech in Perugia, October 30, 1923

Celebration of the March on Rome

By Benito Mussolini

People of Perugia! People of all Umbria!

Do not be surprised if I begin my speech with an act of contrition: I am very ashamed to tell you that this is the first time in my life that I have come to your wonderful city, and I jumped at the opportunity to visit Perugia, with all its deep cordiality, its pure sky, its clear air, its sweet and transparent horizon, almost without boundaries. I can see why this land is renown for its holiness and heroism.

This is the last stage of the March on Rome victory trip. Within a few days we carried out a journey of many years, perhaps many centuries. I arrive at this stage in my dual capacity as Head of Government and Duce of Fascism. I want to offer my greetings and my fraternal gratitude to those who worked with me in what was a supreme work in the history of the Nation; I am referring, of course, to the men of the Quadrumvirate.

I begin with you, General Emilio De Bono, a fearless warrior of many years and many battles, with a heavy chest full of valor, and youthful, despite the snow white beard which frames your proud and masculine face. The Blackshirts extend their most high salutations! And Cesare De Vecchi, a highly decorated soldier, wounded in the Great War and wounded also in our war. You are as solid and faithful as the mountains of your old Piedmont. And you, Italo Balbo, a man from my homeland, I would even say of my race if I did not feel intimately, almost fiercely, that I am a man of only one race: the Italian race. You are a young man who fought brilliantly in our holy war of redemption, and together with your companions you were among those who have most powerfully helped to transform a small movement of squads into a large movement of invincible impetus. Neither least nor last, there is you, Michele Bianchi, a man of long and stormy nights, a man who was with me on March 23, 1919 in Milan when just 52 men gathered together to swear allegiance to the fight we were about to undertake, which has now culminated in our triumphant victory.