Galeazzo Ciano

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Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo, and 1st Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari (March 18, 1903 – January 11, 1944) was an Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Benito Mussolini's son-in-law.


Early life

Ciano was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1903. He was the son of Admiral Count Costanzo Ciano and wife Carolina Pini, a World War I hero in the Royal Italian Navy, founding member of the National Fascist Party and re-organizer of the Italian Merchant Marine in the 1920s. The elder Ciano (he was nicknamed Ganascia, meaning "The Jaw") was not above making a private profit from his public office; and as a side effect his son was soon used to living a high-profile glamorous life, which he continued to maintain until almost the end. After receiving his law degree, the younger Ciano served as an attaché in Rio de Janeiro. On April 24, 1930, he married Benito Mussolini's daughter Edda Mussolini, with whom he soon left for Shanghai where he served as Italian Consul. Back in Italy, a few years later, he became the minister of press and propaganda.

Foreign Minister

Ciano took part in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935–36) as a bomber squadron commander (his unit was dubbed "La Disperata") where his future opponent Alessandro Pavolini served as lieutenant. Upon his highly-trumpeted comeback as a "hero" he became Foreign Minister in 1936, replacing Mussolini. The following year he was allegedly involved in organizing the murder of the brothers Carlo Rosselli and Nello Rosselli, two exiled anti-fascist major activists killed in the French spa town of Bagnoles-de-l'Orne on June 9, 1937.

After 1939, Ciano became increasingly disenchanted with Nazi Germany and the course of World War II, although when the Italian regime embarked in the ill-advised "parallel war" alongside Germany, he went along fairly convinced, even through the terribly-devised Italian invasion of Greece and its subsequent setbacks. In the spring of 1943 following the Axis defeat in North Africa, other major setbacks on the Eastern Front, and the Anglo-American assault on Sicily looming on the horizon, Ciano turned against prosecution of the doomed war and actively pushed for Italy's exit from the conflict. He was silenced by being removed from his post and reassigned as ambassador to the Holy See. In this role he could remain in Rome, to be watched closely by Mussolini. The Regime's position had become even more shaky with the coming summer, however, and court circles were already probing the Allies commands for agreements of some sort.

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