There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 11:00
Part Two: The Man Who Invented Fascism
Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts, sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Trujillo. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books to read. Your has blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts. We're back. This is again behind the ******** the podcast where we talk about terrible people. And we're talking about Gabriel Denunzio, the inventor of fascism and the inventor of claiming you had two ribs removed to suck your own ****. Now, Shereen, how are you feeling about this guy? As we, as we barrel into part, do you know? He's fascinating. I he's he's fascinating. Yeah, I am intrigued. I thought he I I mean I was learning every second of the last episode got more absurd as we continued. And it ended with me learning what he looked like. So now that I have an image in my head, it might be easier for me to imagine what he what how he's going about his life. Yeah, he his claim to fame his he has so many claim to fames, which is he really does, which is crazy because you would think, I don't know, he just he wouldn't quit. He wouldn't quit and I can't wait to learn how he. Literally invented fascism, which is crazy. Yeah, this he's got a lot of gas left in the tank, this guy, and he is he's already has so much ********. He already has so much ********. He's lived a full life of ********. And it's it's not even at the halfway point, really. His productivity is is notable. Yeah, I'll give him that. He's astonishing. Yes, I do want to say, like, as interesting as I find this guy, his biography, Gabriel Denunzio, poet, seducer and the preacher of war by Lucy Hughes Hallett, I really recommend like, it's it's one of the best. Biographies I've ever read like very compulsively readable. Hughes Hallett is a is a fantastic writer and very, a very critical eye and a really interesting way. Like, I I really appreciate her perspective on this guy. So I very much recommend that book. I mean, all the quotes you've read from it are are amazing. Yeah, yeah. Gabrielle Denunzio loved planes, loved planes, big plane fan he'd been an enthusiastic fan of the new technology since its inception in 1909, he'd made headlines at a famous air show in Brescia for writing with an American aviator named Glenn Curtis over an adoring crowd of thousands. The seat he sat on during the flight was later auctioned off to his legions of adoring fans. Prior to World War One, Gabrielle had repeatedly pressed the Italian government to start an Air Force when the war started Gabrielle's enormous fame and belligerent speeches. Managed to secure him a lofty position in the Italian military. The government expected him to write a song of war, some brilliant poem that would light a fire in the hearts of the Italian soldiery and hope to get the nations fully behind a war most of them still did not want. He was officially attached to the Third Army as staff to the Duke of Icosta, but he was given unlimited freedom to basically do whatever he wanted. He could go to any part of the front he desired, partake in any maneuvers or actions he wanted to partake in. His job was generally to inspire the military in whatever way seemed. Interesting to him. So that's the job this guy gets. At the start of World War One, Gabriel's first trip up to the front was delayed by the difficulty he had designing and hiring someone to sew his custom uniforms. He eventually solved that problem while thousands of his countrymen dashed themselves to bloody chunks and Austrian machine gun nests. He spent so much time waiting at a fancy hotel to get all of that sorted out that yet again he went broke. His manager suggested he go to 3rd Army headquarters and start working. He'd get free food and lodging and be paid, but once he arrived in Venice, the closest city to the front. Yet again, set him up in the fanciest possible hotel. As much of an incorrigible dandy as he was de Nunzio's writing during this. Shows he was eager to actually take part in war. On his way to the front, he wrote in his notebook. Sense of emptiness and distance, life and the reasons for living elude me. Between two streams, between past and future tedium, lukewarm water, necessity for action. Surprisingly, this was not just bluster. 2 days after reaching Venice, he was on a naval destroyer doing night maneuvers, heading towards the Austrian coast, and like 2 weeks before, he did this one of those. Stories had been sunk by a mine, and dozens of guys had died, so this was very dangerous thing to do. His trip wound up not having any combat in it, but he later spent time up at the front lines, where he was under machine gunfire and artillery shelling regularly. He made friends, and he saw them die horribly. And none of this dimmed denuncio's ardor for war, Lucy Hughes Hallett writes. Blessed are those who are now 20 years old, he said. He worshipped and envied their beauty, and took enormous pleasure in the opportunities that were afforded him to live alongside them as companions. In arms. Their deaths were marvelous to him. When they were killed, as one after another they were, he took them into the pantheon. He was elaborating in his writing and speeches, making them the martyrs and cult heroes of his new mythology of war. Wow, yeah. There's a guy. I mean, like he's he's doing exactly what he wants, which is like infuriating, you know? He does. That's his whole life. Yeah. Yeah. Now. Gabrielle is is enticing, as he found the front lines. He had no desire to actually take part in trench combat because it led to all everyone dying basically anonymously in huge groups. And if there's one thing he could not stand, it was being part of a large, anonymous group of men. Yeah, so he decided that the sky was more like the theater of war he wanted to get involved in. It had nothing to this choice like, had nothing to do with cowardice, but it was intimately tied to his narcissism. He was absolutely willing to die, and flying in any, any length of time was very dangerous at this period of time. What he couldn't abide was dying anonymously, and pilots were at the time seen as the Knights of the Sky. So if he died, you know, in a plane that was a romantic enough death for him to be willing to, like, take the risk. Very calculated, yeah. He never learned to fly, but he figured he was more than capable of being a Bombardier, basically dropping bombs by hand on targets like, well, the guy in front flu. And now up at the front he'd befriended a pilot, a guy named Miraglia, who told him that a bombing raid had been planned for the city of Trieste, Austria's chief port. The city had a large Italian population, was seen by people like Gabrielle, as rightfully Italy's property, and denunzio here was struck by a brilliant idea. Not only would he bomb the city, he'd also devise a way to air drop propaganda onto Trieste. To train and cite the Italian citizens to rise up against their government. This was not an easy mission. No Italian pilot had ever flown this far in a single trip, and there would be numerous machine guns protecting the port itself from aerial attack. It was an insanely dangerous gambit, seen as suicidal by many, and Miraglia and Denunzio will be undertaking this mission alone. Obviously the attack had little military value, but the propaganda value of dropping bombs on the Austrian placements and propaganda for the Italian citizens was, in Gabriel's eyes, huge for days. He agonized over how to drop the leaflets, which he wrote himself. He eventually went with tiny sandbags that would help the leaflets fall on target rather than getting blown to and fro. The message itself was titled to the Italians of Trieste and promised an imminent liberation. Each copy was handwritten by him, a sign of how much the project mattered in Gabriel's eyes. Once it became clear that what they planned to do, of course the Admiral in charge of Italy's Air Force tried to put a stop to it. So did the government. No one with any measure of power wanted Gabriel Denunzio, Italy's most famous living poet and. Writer to die flying over Austria. Morale was bad enough after the Glorious War against Austria had turned almost instantly into a blood soaked stalemate. Instead, they wanted him to sit in his hotel room and write the damn poem they'd been counting on him to write to help motivate the war effort. But now, up at the front, Gabriel de Nunzio found himself unable to write. I have a horror of sedentary work, of the pin, of the ink, of paper, of all those things now become so futile. A feverish desire for action takes me dinunzio protested against being grounded, and a battle ensued behind the scenes of the military brass. Eventually Denunzio went to the Prime Minister and tried flattery, and here's how Lucy Hughes Hallett describes it in one of the most deliciously catty sections of her book. You, whose own spirit is so hard working and so generous, must understand me. He stressed his physical competence. He was not a man of letters as of the old type and skullcap and slippers. He was an adventurer. My whole life has been a risky game. He boasted of his past daring. I've exposed myself to danger 1000 times against the fences and hedges of the Roman Campagna. He adored fox. Hunting in France, he had often been out on the Atlantic and chancy weather. As the fisherman of the Landis could tell you, he had ventured repeatedly into enemy territory and the Western Front. He visited the front twice, staying on the safer. Head of the French lines. Most importantly, I am an aviator. I have flown many times at high altitude. This wasn't strictly true either, and he wasn't only brave. He had knowledge and skills which could be useful. He knew Istria, he knew Trieste. He had an observant spirit. Having presented his credentials, he made his request in the most insistent terms. I pray I beg, repeal this odious veto. He hinted that if he were not allowed to risk his life in his own way, he would deliberately endanger it by going straight to the front. To bar one with my past, my future, from living the heroic life would be to cripple me, to mutilate. To reduce me to nothing. And the Prime Minister was apparently impressed by his ardor, and permission was granted for the raid. So he he gets his way as he always does his entire life. Yeah, every single time. Her her way of writing that, though I love that. She's just like I I imagine in my head, like in parentheses being like all this, like, sidenote, like, not true. The whole biography is written with the air of like, yeah, she's just utterly unimpressed by a lot of this guy's life. I love that. I love that. But also fascinated by him and compelled to chronicle it. It's an interesting book. Yeah, I mean, I will say. Like in my brain, when you were talking about him dropping propaganda from a plane, I was. I was thinking, like, he might as well be dropping poetry books. Like, isn't that one of the same? Isn't that kind of what they wanted him to do regardless? Like isn't like it's they wanted him to inspire the people of Italy. Because, like, most Italians weren't really on board with the war, like he was able to get a lot of them in the cities on board. But like most people in Italy were like, why are we, why would we get involved in this stupid thing? It would be like sends our sons off to die for this. So that's what the government wanted, was him to convince them of that and instead he really wants to go be in danger. Yeah, and now he just likes being contrarian. Probably. That's part of it. Yeah. So Gabrielle and his pilot set off on August 7th, and what followed was an outrageously dangerous adventure. They were shot at several times, and at least one bullet struck the plane. Just flying 150 kilometers in that period of time was very risky, and it's really impossible to overstate just how ******* dangerous this was. At one point, a bomb got stuck on the plane and Denunzio had to dislodge it, an act that could have easily led to the bomb exploding and killing he and his pilot. I'm emphasizing the danger here because I want to make it clear that with his actions, Gabriel Denunzio did prove that his rhetoric wasn't empty. He was not the sort of guy who would urge others on to war and then stay safely in the background. He repeatedly risked his life over the course of World War One, but the attack on Trieste was probably the most insanely dangerous act of his life. When he landed safely after dropping propaganda and bombs on Trieste, and the news broke of his new exploit, Denunzio was more famous than ever. He became the idol of the Italian public, the nation's single greatest living hero. Barely go out in public without being mobbed, and he continued to fly, or at least let others fly him. He dropped numerous bombs and fired machine guns, but his highest preference was at deploying propaganda. Denunzio was well ahead of the curve on recognizing this as the weapon of the future, and his most famous action was dropping leaflets over Vienna, the Austrian capital, near the end of the war. The propaganda would be almost the last significant written work of Gabriel's life. As the New Republic notes, in January 1916 he suffered a detached retina during an air raid and was forced to lie absolutely still for several months to save his other eye. During his enforced convalescence he composed a text of poem in poetic verse prose, written line by line on slips of paper handed to him by his daughter Renata. These formed the basis for his memoir Notturno, which appeared in 1921 and has recently been published in Supple English translation by Stephen Sartarelli. It was denunzio's entry into the stream of consciousness Sweepstakes, his most openly modernist work admired by many, including Hemingway. In spite of the fact that he considered his author a jerk, natturner was denunzio's last major contribution to literature. So like. Yeah, I mean. God, he's just praised as a God his entire ******* life. And I think a part of the reason why he risked his life. I don't think he was actually ready to die. I think he just feels he felt invincible. And I think he might have been it. Yeah, I mean, like, I just think there's so much. I don't know. Your your brain is a powerful thing, and if you actually think you're invincible, I think there's an element that, like, you will, you'll be fine. Like, it's your whole life. You've gotten away with every ******* thing. You're not going to die in a plane. And I don't think he was he. I don't think he. I think he knew the whole time. He was never going to die. I don't know. He wrote a lot about being convinced that he would die on these missions, and they were very dangerous. But it is impossible to know, like, how he really felt in the center of his heart, because, like, obviously you would have to write. About being certain you were going to die. Part of what you're trying to do is convince other men to go into situations where they'll probably die. And I'm sure it was extremely dangerous, and I'm sure it was outrageously so, like, very fright, frightening and everything. But I do think there's an element to his personality where he just thinks he's invincible because he's gotten away with so much **** and he literally lands and his life starts over again. He's a God, you know what I mean? Like, it's like, exactly what he's been since birth. Yep, and this like really is the end of his period of time as a writer and an artist of note. Like he stops really producing work after World War One and like especially stops producing his best work. And while the the end of the war more or less brought about the end of Gabriel's career as an artist, it was not the end of his career as an ******* who shoved *** **** into world affairs. Italy wound up on the winning side of World War One, but they were by far the junior partner on their side of the war. The French, British and Russians rightly viewed them as turncoats who got in late and sacrificed. Far fewer men than their allies. As a result, Italy got very little in the way of new territory at the end of the war. Gabriel de Nunzio considered this a mutilation, a disgusting stab in the back after all the sacrifices he'd convinced his countrymen to make. One of the things that infuriated him most was the fact that the territory of the Austro Hungarian empire was being broken up and given to its own people. He was livid at the establishment of a Slavic state in the Balkans, and particularly livid at the fact that the city of fume within a sizable Italian population would be a part of that state. Gabrielle. Lazio decided he was not going to take this lying down, so he decided to raise an army and conquer the city for Italy on his own. Wow. Yeah, the balls on this guy. I mean, you can see him in the banana hammock. They're not tiny. They're they're good, good, good. Old size balls. Old balls, they're yeah. Wow. Yeah, he is the New Republic. Yeah, go ahead, please, please. Yeah. He called on the Italian Government to occupy the city, and in September 1919, after they failed to do so, he took matters into his own hands. He marched on fume at the head of a cadre of Arditi, or Daredevil stormtroopers, clad in the black and silver uniforms and black fezes. That would be aped, like, so much that was denunzio by the fascists. Greeted with cheers by the Italian speaking locals, Denunzio announced that he had annexed fume, expecting the government would take control, but there was no reaction. Suddenly, the poet politician found himself in charge of a city in the grip of a delirious, cocaine enhanced bacchanal, eventually fume with Denunzio as its Duce declared its independence. Yeah, I keep wanting to, like, analyze this guy. Like, really? OK. I think his, his fame when he was a poet were it was it was revered and beautiful like like like a beautiful like it like not beautiful sorry, I thought the word I'm trying it was he was revered as this like artistic guy and it was this like kind of like. A fan base that was passionate and read his stuff, thought he was sexy, whatever. But now this kind of fame, this lesion is this violent thing that I think he's always wanted. He's always wanted to command people that will do whatever he says. And I think he got a taste of that as a like during the war and. It's scary, the kind of power that this guy has he he's always had. But in this scenario with violence and with with bringing people to literally make an army, like he's always had some type of army is what I'm trying to say. His army as a poet was different than his army is in this point in his life. But it's a little scary just how. I don't know. It seems like he's a really, he's really obsessed with being this figure. And it's because, yeah, he's doing. He's really good at it. I don't know. And again, as is always the case with these guys, everyone kind of gives him what he wants. You know, like, obviously what he did was profoundly illegal. And, like, the Allied forces were like, yeah, fume has to go to Yugoslavia. You can't let him do this. And they sent an army to stop him when he was marching on the city, but that army was made-up of Italians. And they love denunzio. They refused to attack him, and hundreds of soldiers deserted to join his army as he marched on the city. That was absurd. Power. That's crazy. It's almost incomprehensible. Wow. Yeah. And and so, in the fall of 1919, Gabrielle Denunzio found himself as the dictator of a small state on the Mediterranean coast. He was. This guy. ******* guy. This guy's life. Jesus. Wow. It's something else. He was 56 years old and powerfully ill with the flu. As his forces marched into town, the people of fume did not notice his infirmity. They were enormous fans of the celebrity poet, and thousands of them stayed up all night specifically so they could welcome their new dictator home with rapturous applause. His soldiers were greeted in the streets with women wearing evening dresses and carrying guns, ready to party or do battle against the Allies should they try to stop Denunzio. He announced the creation of a new city state, which he believed would be a model for human society in the future. The state would be based around what he called the politics of poetry. Fume, he insisted, would be a Searchlight radiant in the midst of an ocean of objection. He believed that what they built there would set a fire that would burn down the old order in the world. And so, he declared fume the city of the Holocaust. Wow. Cherry on top of that ******* sentence. Jesus Christ, this ******* guy. Wow. In some ways he's most similar to a guy like L Ron Hubbard, who is like, you just kept accelerating right up until the end. Like never take your foot off the gas? No, like, not for a ******* second. Yeah, that is. That is crazy. That it's wild. Bernie and yeah, he's he's he's young in comparison to the he's like, he's only 50 something and a dictator like that's a yeah yeah who. I'm sure I've got listeners in their 50s. Why haven't you taken over a small city on the Mediterranean? Person established. Three? Yeah, come on, lazy *****. Now I'm going to quote again from Lucy Hughes. Oh, wait, no, it's a it's ad break time, isn't it? Is, it is. It is. It is. All right. Well, you know what won't turn your city into a city of the Holocaust? Whoever the ad is, whatever. Exactly. They will not do that. They will not do not. We do. That is one of our firm lines with advertisers do not know. Worse, do not create cities of the Holocaust. OK, anyway, see ya. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for. None of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family, and it meant family start at 2 lines. 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I believe it was 18 months after I got on with speaker that I was making enough that I could quit my day job. It was incredible. I always feel like an ambassador for speaker, but that's because I'm passionate about podcasting. It's really easy to use. I always tell people I am so not tech. Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with spreaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's SP. RE aker.com, get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. We're back. So I wanna start with reading a quote from Lucy Hughes Hallett on like what happens in fume after. After Gabriel Denunzio takes over quote, the place became a political laboratory. Socialists, anarchists, syndicalists and some of those who had begun earlier that year to call themselves fascists congregated there. Representatives of Sinn Fein, which is like an Irish republican extremist group, and of nationalist groups from India and Egypt arrived discreetly, followed by British agents. Then there were the groups whose homeland was not of this Earth. The Union of free spirits tending towards perfection who met under a fig tree in the Old Town to talk about free love and the abolition of money and yoga. A kind of political Coombe St gang described by one of its members as an island of the Blessed and the Infinite Sea of History. Denuncian fume was a land of the Cockney, an extra legitimate place where normal rules didn't apply. It was also a land of cocaine, a fashionably carried and a little gold box in the waistcoat pocket. Deserters and adrenaline starve war veterans alike sought a refuge there from the. Awareness of economic depression and the tedium of peace. Drug dealers and prostitutes followed them into the city. One visitor reported he had never known sex so cheap. So did aristocratic dilettantes, runaway teenagers, poets and poetry lovers from all over the western world. Few in 1919 was as magnetic to an international confraternity of discontented idealists as San Francisco's Haight Ashbury would be in 1968. But unlike the hippies, Denuncio's followers intended to make war as well as love. So it's this weird melting pot of, like, left wing radicals and. Right wing radicals who are all united in their idea that like, **** everything else that's going on, let's all take ******* murder each other. They're just, yeah. Desperation is a really dangerous yeah tool because I think similar to what you said in the last episode about like anger, like people really channeling being able to like, utilize the mass, the anger of the masses and channel it in the right way. I think anger and desperation are really related in that regard because you can, you can unify people with their desperation. And I think that's. Case with a lot of extremist groups, honestly. But, and it's also it's important to note that Denunzio himself gets hugely into cocaine at this point. Like, he's a bet, not surprisingly. Loves cocaine and starts like inhaling his ******* body weight every week and ******* in blow, just like and that's part of when you try to understand this place in this. Like denuncian fume it it floats on an ocean of blow, like like impossible amounts of cocaine. Is like the only thing that would make an experiment like this possible? That sounds great. I actually would have loved to be there. Like, it sounds like it kind of ruled. Sounds like. I mean, like, especially for the time, it sounds like this Oasis in a in a sea of of, yeah, dread, you know, especially. I mean, it was a safety art. Yeah. Yeah, it was. Well, it wasn't safe because they were also St gangs of fascists and anarchists running each other down. Yeah, it's just this lawless, bizarre place where everyone's making art and experimenting with new politics and having gun fights and ******. And cocaine parties on an hourly basis, it's just incomprehensible. Entire life. Honestly, I can't really wrap my head around it. I every turn I said this before, but every turn is more absurd than the next. Like, I did not think this was going to go here in the beginning. Like, that's crazy. He's a monster. But he's objectively one of the most fascinating people who ever lived. If not, be like, what the **** dude, he's 100%. Yeah, like the most fascinating people like a lot of historical figures. Like Hitler as a historical figure, very compelling as an individual, kind of a weird, boring, gross, sad life. Denunzio a monster too. But like, **** what a what a life. Like you gotta respect it at, like, a lot of that. Like that's you gotta respect the hustle at least. Like, just it's I I'll give you that. I'll respect the hustle. And it's just problematic in so many ways. Jesus, he's a monster. It's a monster. Well, he's like L Ron Hubbard, where he's like this terrible person, but you can't turn away from what he turned his life into. Umm, I mean, it works. So he he got he wanted every step of the ******* way. Every step of the ******* way. Basically, Dan, does this guy not suffer? I'm waiting for this guy to suffer. Just give me that. We're getting to that a little bit. A little bit. Denunzio wanted fume to be a work of art made in the medium of human lives, and it was certainly something public life was described as a permanent street theater performance. There were constant ******. Involving huge numbers of people and of course, like all the cocaine in the world, there was also violence and constant murder by gangs of black shirted thugs. But oddly, left and right found a way to meet in fume. This was before fascism had really taken off and write, as communism was in the process of taking over Russia. The bizarre experiment in fume attracted the support of literally every kind of extremist, Vladimir Ilyich. Lenin sent Gabriel a pot of caviar and called him the only revolutionary in Europe. Benito Mussolini expressed his deep admiration of Denunzio, and the two began. Long correspondence and letters. So, like, both Lenin and Mussolini love this guy and what he's doing in fume. It's so weird that it's so bizarre. It's hard to wrap your head around you. So many people were obsessed with this guy. Like, I'm thinking about what you said about Hemingway. Like, even like, every type of person was like, gotta give it to him. But now there's like, movie and Lennon. Like, what? You can't ignore denunzio like that, and that's what denunzio wants. You have to, like, stare at him. You can't not. He's just this. He's a he's just like a Peacock. He's pee. He Peacock his entire life. He peacockes the entirety of Europe, which is quite an accomplishment. Yeah. So, fun as it sounds, fume was not a paradise. Syphilis was astonishingly rampant. And Denunzio could be like everybody, including denunzio, got syphilis. When you said how many partners he had, I wanted to ask. Like he must have had some type of consequence. Like, there must have been something he was after. 1000%, yeah. His body weight was 70% like sexually transmitted, like he was more chlamydia than man. And Denunzio could also be a brutal ruler. Midway through 1916 he held a plebiscite, promising to hand over control of the city to someone else if the people no longer wanted him in charge. And he lost the plebiscite. But he did not give up power. His centurions of death and Elite corps of Black Shirted thugs kept the city under his control. And during this. Gabriel also introduced an innovation that everyone today is tragically, agonizingly familiar with. The Roman salute now most people no. Most people know the Roman salute better as the Nazi salute. That weird, creepy straight arm salute that fascists and Border Patrol employees do. Yeah, he invented that. He invented lying about removing your ribs to suck **** **** and the fascist salute like, ********. The same guy. Me. ****. I have no idea that one person was capable of achieving so much. It's amazing. That is. Oh my, I'm Hillary gets way too much credit. You ******* denunzio? Yeah. Wow. I'm gonna read a quote from Count Carlos Forza, an Italian diplomat and an anti fascist politician who was a contemporary of Denunzio S he wrote quote it was he who had fume invented that Roman salute which has now become also the German salute and which he overlooking its implications, copied from some statue or fresco for getting that in Rome. The cives, the citizens greeted each other by shaking hands and that only slaves made the sign which has been adopted by the subjects of Mussolini and Hitler. So he they were very condescending as far as like this. Like he didn't know he liked the way it looked in statues and so he made his people do it. And it took off with Mussolini's fascists and then with Hitler's fascists and now with Border Patrol employees. touché. Wow, I am amazing. Literally every 2nd of this podcast. I offered to the floor. I wish, I wish this this call was recorded because my face just literally contorts and like my mouth is agape for so much of what you're saying. I cannot believe this guy's life. Something else damn immediately after taking power, Denunzio's first action was to establish a press office, which he used to send out communiques to governments and politicians and media outlets around the world. Journalists flocked to the city as well as political extremists. Gabrielle offered to arm the IRA with some of the 10s of thousands of rifles his forces had captured. He entertained grand visions of invading England, which he hated at the head of an Irish army. But the IRA was a little too smart for that. They wanted guns, but Gabrielle's hatred of the United States. Was seen as potentially alienating the nation they saw as their greatest ally. Mussolini at one point wrote to him and suggested the two of them should work to overthrow the Italian monarchy and establish a directory, essentially a powerful fascist central government. Remarkably, Benito didn't see himself as the head of this organization. He wanted to make denunzio the dictator, but Gabrielle was at least loyal to the Italian throne and was unwilling to take part in such a revolution. In November of 1920 Osbert Sitwell, an English writer, joined the crowds of journalists and revolutionaries who'd come to fume. His goal was to see what the man who has done more for the Italian language than any writer since Dante had done with a nation of his own, and Lucy Hughes Hallett writes. Quote Sitwell, finds the streets full of colorful desperados. Every man seemed to wear a uniform designed by himself. Some wore beards and had shaved heads like the commander. Others cultivated huge Tufts of hair half a foot long, waving out from their foreheads, and a black fez at the back of the head. Folks, daggers and flowing black ties were universal, and all carried the Roman dagger. Sitwell succeeds in securing an audience. He passes through a pillared hall full of palm trees and pseudo Byzantine flower pots, where soldiers lounged and typists rushed furiously in and out in an inner room almost entirely covered with banners. He finds two more than life sized carved and gilded Saints from Florence, a huge 15th century bronze bell, and the commandant is denunzio now likes to be called in military Gray. Green, has chest striped with ribbons of his many medals. He seems nervous and tired, but bald in one, eyed as he is. At the end of a few seconds, one felt the influence of that. Extraordinary charm which has enabled him to change howling mobs into furious partisans. Since Sitwell arrived in fume, the great conductor Arturo Toscanini has brought his orchestra to the town. To celebrate Toscanini's visit. Denunzio lays on a mock battle which is as lethal as an ancient Roman circus. 4000 men take part, attacking each other with real grenades. The orchestra which initially provides a musical accompaniment, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, becomes involved in the fighting. Over 100 men are injured, including five musicians, now Denunzio, discussing the event. Sitwell explains that his Legionnaires are weary of waiting for battle. They must fight one another. I have so many questions. Yeah. OK. First, I remember you said that he didn't even like politics. No, but this is not politics. This is being worshipped by a whole city and having them fight for his amusement. He ******* God. He loves that. He's basically got hates religion for someone who hates religion as much as he does. He loves being worshipped. His religion is just culty and worship of himself. Absolutely. And like I've heard it said that, like, you know, the rock stars are like the 60s and 70s, like The Beatles and the Stones and like Pink Floyd and stuff. Like those guys got about as close to being a God. Does anyone has ever gotten yeah, I think denunzio is the closest any human has ever experienced to like, like, at least in the modern era, you know, maybe earlier when people literally worshipped, but like in every field, that's the thing that's wild in every field imaginable, he was worshipped. My other question is he so he actually lost his eye, so he was bedridden, but then he lost the eye. Nine. So now he's even weird, weird looking than he was before. He's just like, Yep, yeah. Does he wear a patch? Is he a pirate? I think he wears a glass eye. OK. Yeah, you know, he's probably still ******* too, so yeah, ohh. He is ******* constantly wow. He never stops ******* like, Denunzio and is always *******. Yeah. Did he also invent Viagra? What's next? What? What? What? What turn are you going to give me next? I do kind of feel like he was one of the people who never really needed that. Like he was the ******** man who ever lived like, that is that is Gabriel Denuncio. God. Now, this whole deliriously mad state of affairs lasted only a few more weeks in January of 1921. Pressed by the League of Nations, the Italian government finally took action against its native son. They sent a gunboat and soldiers and laid siege to the city of Fume. After 5 days of fighting and 50 some deaths, Gabrielle Denunzio decided he had finally had enough of war. Perhaps he was scared of dying himself, or perhaps he just had no stomach for fighting his fellow Italians. He left the city, one supporter later wrote. Descriptively. Under a deluge of flowers, he forces his way through a city and tears. The failure of his fume ventures seems to have drained Gabrielle of much of his remaining energy. He was allowed back into Italy with a squad of his cult like followers and he ordered them to find him a home with a grand piano, a bathroom, a laundry, plenty of wood and coal, and an enclosed garden. He told them if within eight days none of you have found a suitable house for me, I shall throw myself into the canal. Jesus. Unfortunately, they found him a place and he occupied it for three years or so until Benito Mussolini's March on Rome ended Italy's quasi democracy and brought about the establishment of the world's first fascist state, Mussolini's Italy and the tactics he used to present. Myself to the people, we're deeply based in things he learned from Gabriel Denunzio and the poet knew it. And one letter to Mussolini, he wrote, am I not the precursor of all that is good about fascism? Hi. I'm just speechless honestly. Like. First of all away with dramatic guy, a very dramatic thing. Very, very dramatic Guy House where I'm going to just throw myself, kill myself but but like he really. I hate to say it, but like he thinks he's good at everything and he kind of was the like he was very, very much in a niche and like niche idea of the ubermensch. And he's one of those guys where it's like life didn't prove him wrong. Like if you believe you're a superior being and you live this guy's life, it's kind of hard not to remain convinced of that. That's what I meant earlier when I mentioned that I get this feeling of like the self fulfilling prophecy of like if you think you're invincible then you actually will get away with anything. Will be and will be invincible. Obviously it doesn't work all the time, but with this case, having lived your entire life this way since you were a literal baby God, you know, it's one of the things interesting to me, this guy being Italian and being very obsessed with like ancient Rome and Roman iconography. The ancient Romans had a strategy for dealing with, as most cultures had developed, some sort of strategy for trying to deal with runaway egos because it's dangerous when somebody's ego gets this out of control, which is denunzio's whole life is a lesson. That so they would have these things called triumphs when, like a Roman general, when a particularly great victory would be allowed to go on this massive parade through the city, he was basically dictator for a day. Everybody almost worshipped him for like a day. And they knew that this was dangerous because it really got on someone's ego. So while this guy is like the center of the entire, like, Roman Republic and then empires attention the whole day, there's a guy whose job is to stand next to him and repeatedly whisper into his ear. Basically, you're going to die. At some point you're going to die. Like, remember, you're going to die. You're just a man, and you're going to die. Like like someone should have been doing that for denunzio someone must have been grounding this person really deep into the ground. Damn. Yeah, that's a crazy little I know that about the yeah, it's a cool bit of history. Yeah. Oh, you know what isn't the precursor of all that's good about fascism? Shereen's sponsors and that's right, that is right. Help Robert stay. Roberto, the Italian so unless you believe in the theory that fascism is the inevitable descendant of capitalism because capital will always resort to authoritarian means to preserve itself in the face of civil unrest. 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Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with speaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. We're back, so hi. Mussolini is in charge of Italy now, and he well understood the value of using someone like Gabrielle D'annunzio was too famous and popular to ignore. And so it'll douche Trata de Nunzio out for public events and made sure everybody saw the poet embracing him and his new regime. In private. Gabrielle hated this. He saw Mussolini as an imitation, and his enormous ego could not stand the insinuation that he had merely prepared the way for some other greater Italian leader. Under Mussolini, the Italian state gifted Gabrielle a massive mansion. Money and regularly sent him bizarre gifts, including half of an actual battleship which he set up on his lawn like a gazebo. He continued to host parties and socialize, but over the next decade and change, his health gradually declined. He died in 1938 at age 74. Personally, Gabrielle disagreed with most of the decisions Mussolini made. He particularly hated the alliance with Hitler, who denunzio saw correctly as a monster and a fool. He was briefly courted by the anti Fascist resistance in Italy as a possible foil to Mussolini. But if that was ever something that would be interested in Anzio, he was far too old to try. I quoted counts Forza a little earlier. That was from an obituary he wrote titled denunzio, inventor of Fascism, in 1938. And I want to read you how it opens the war of 1914 to 1918, left in its wake to a certain extent everywhere, and especially in Italy and Germany, a new category of white collar proletarians who saw themselves as troubled wreckage in a society in which capitalism and the world of the working man seemed equally hostile to them by a strange paradox. It was Gabriel Denunzio whose lyric richness had been so splendid and who became the poet and the Prophet. Of all these pathetic misfits, it was he who was the real inventor of fascism. Sforza goes on to note. Quote, it was denuncio who invented those dialogues with the crowd which fascism later on found so useful. At the Piazza Venezia in Rome, to whom shall fume belong. Denunzio called down from the Capitol balcony, and the mob of volunteers who had invaded fume thundered from below to us, and the poet, dictator, and Italy, and the mob once more anois to us. This to us later gave the key to the real love of denunzio. To the Fatherland a love of possession, not a love of devotion and sacrifice. Lucy Hughes, Hallett writes, though Denunzio was not a fascist, fascism was denuncian. I think that really gets at the core of it. He personally was a weirder, more complicated guy. He didn't mean to invent fascism, but the way that he addressed the crowd, the way that he worked with the crowd, the way that he riled people up, the iconography he used. Like the way that his soldiers were dressed in, like these black leather uniforms was copied both by Mussolini stormtroopers and later the s s. The salute that he invented. You know, and he's he's exchanging dozens and dozens of letters with Mussolini before the man rises to power like they're in. And Mussolini's March on Rome is very much an imitation of of the nunzio's March on fume like he. He didn't purposefully invent fascism because of the man he was. He created it as a byproduct of his ego. Well, what? What? What day? What year did he die? 1938 right before the war started, because. I know at the time. Like Mussolini in particular, he was maybe one of the first people to really utilize the film industry in his propaganda. Like he like made an entire film studio and just used it in the late 30s, I think it was 37 to literally just make propaganda for fascism. And there were just so many Pro War films that were made like the declaration against the Allied forces was also like under the film studio that he like established. But. I think that Union of film and politics I I had to say like probably denunzio pave that way to like this artistic union of of politics and like. Like creative art, the. Yeah. The first thing he established in fume once he was in control was a press office. Like he was a little too early to really take advantage of television. I mean, he was, he was filmed a number of times, like, he clearly saw the potential, but he was a propagandist from the beginning. Like that was what he decided his his involvement in war should be. And I I think he was just a little too old to have become a fascist dictator if he'd been born a bit later. The man he was the kind of, you know, charisma he had, the energy he had. I think that's the kind of path he would have been on. It was just a little bit early and he was raised in two different of a time. We've really wanted that as much. I agree, I agree, I think like. Mussolini is like a version of, like, what he could have not become. But, like, it's very, I don't know what Mussolini caricatured him. Yeah, yeah. Mussolini pretended to be him, and it said that, like, a lot of people say that, like, De Nunzio was kind of what turned. Mussolini was a socialist initially, and denunzio kind of converted him away from that. And then Mussolini deliberately aped de nunzio's, like, affectations the way he spoke to crowds, the way he addressed people, the way he patterned. Himself and just did it with a little bit more of a modern tinge to it and more use of things like television and the radio. And, you know, then Hitler iterated from that and that was like, yeah, that's that's station flattery, same thing, you know, like and I think Mussolini and Hitler, they both used the mouthpiece of their generation, which was like this new filmmaking and and it was film and propaganda and if they were born at the time. Of denunzio with poetry. I'm sure it would have been that too, but. It's interesting because what Mussolini did with filmmaking in Italy was really fascinating and, like disturbing at the same time. But I think, if I think you're right, I think if Anzia was born a little bit later, he would have used that mouthpiece the same way he used poetry, just to garner worship and fame and use his, like, poetic verse in a different way. Yeah, yeah. It's a pretty cool story. I'm really intrigued. Like, I there's. Yeah, he's genuinely what you said earlier. I agree with, like maybe one of the most fascinating people to have ever lived. Like his life at every turn was more absurd than the last. Yeah. It's kind of hard to really wrap your head around, like, how much this guy did, how bold he was, how awful he was. Like. He did so much and he did so much, yeah. And I had to leave out so much just, like, make this a comprehensible episode. Like, I really recommend the the biography by Lucy Hughes Hallett, Gabriel Denunzio, poet, seducer and preacher of war. It's fantastic. And he is just absolutely a fascinating ***** ** ****. Yeah, it's a fascinating ***** ** ****. I would agree with that. Wow. He's right up there with L Ron Hubbard in my list of like, **** what a life, genuinely, what a life. He got away. Yeah, all of that. A life. He got away. He got away. And I'm sure he still has a billion of fans out there, you know what I mean? Like, I'm sure he has, like, his work is obviously respected. Still, he's still deemed a great poet. Yeah. His poetry, his books have kind of fallen out of favor and are seen as sort of like, you know, they were great. They were good in their time and respecting their time. They haven't really continued to have legs. I think his poetry does still have legs. He still highly regarded as a poet. I'm obviously not equipped or qualified to comment on Italian poetry or his place in there, but a lot of experts put him as regard him highly in that field. Yeah, it's something else, huh? Yeah, I'm uh, I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot. And. I don't know. I hate how indestructible he was. I really hate that. But I mean it does. That's why. Like, it's one of those things. It's hard to even get that. Like, he does end his life kind of unhappily. Like, Mussolini doesn't care about him or respect him. He uses his his tactics and, like, sort of treats him as a like a like, almost like, yeah, brings him out to like, burnish the regime's credibility but ignores him and what he has to say. And it's really like bums out and infuriates denunzio. But it's hard to take too much joy in that because it means Mussolini's in charge. Yeah, and we don't win either way. We don't win. Yeah. Wait, wait. What? How did he die? What was the cause of death? Oh, I think it was like a stroke or some ****. He's just an old old man, you know? He's an old guy who ******* cares. It's not even like a sex disease. He there's rumors he was poisoned by a Nazi agent, but I don't, I don't hear, I don't, I don't know, see any evidence behind them. I think it's more likely he was an old man who had horribly advanced syphilis and had been doing cocaine for like a decade straight or more, like, for probably for decades. But I mean, **** load of code, even with the syphilis and the cocaine to make it to 70, like, yeah, that's a full life. Good run. He had a good run. Damn, he had a very full life, yeah. Well, leave anything on the table. You can say that. Well. So, Shereen, has this influenced your own, your own desires in your career as a as a poet? Trying to figure out the best way to. It's been a long time with my poetry. You know, you could lead an armed March on the city of fume. Yeah. I mean, it's been a while since there was a poet that, I don't know was worshipped. I I'll edition for that role. I'll be, you know. Wow. I don't know. I mean, I I I love poetry. Poetry is powerful. But he he really, he really went a different route with it, didn't he? Yeah. He was a living monument to the power of narcissism. Yeah. Speaking of narcissism, you want to plug your puggles? Yes, I do. I'm shareen and I'm a filmmaker. I'm a poet and I also co-host ethnically ambiguous on the iHeartRadio network. You can thought every podcast app will go. Listen to it on your favorite one if you want to, and I'm sure our hero on Instagram SHEROHERO. And then on Twitter, it's Shiro hero 666. And I have a poetry book on Amazon called Dime piece. Like the like a coin dime. And then peace. Like a piece of a puzzle. And then I'm making my next one, so stay tuned for that if you want. Watch my stuff. I don't ******* care. Just to. Be nice to me. You can find me on the tweets and the grams and the twins to grams at uh behind the ********. Well Nope, that's not where you can find me. You can find me on the twitters at I write. OK, you can find this podcast on the Twitters in the grams at ******** pod. You can find us on the Internet at behindthebastards.com. And you can find your way into having an immortal impact on the future by joining my upcoming cult. It's going to be a really good time we're going to lead a March on. I don't know what city would be easy to capture. Like Sacramento wouldn't put up a fight. Roseville, Roseville, Roseville. Still, we'll continue. Yeah, hit us up on Twitter. With which city you think we should lead an armed March on to conquer? Yeah, we'll we'll figure it out. That's the ******* episode. Yeah. Thanks for having me. It's a I always learned so much. I always leave feeling so dead inside. Didn't think it was possible to get more dead inside, but you know what would? That's all it is. Make America feel dead inside again. Yeah, that's the tagline to this podcast, right? Sophie, we need to get some hats made, no? Thanks for having me. Yeah, thanks for being on. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting. Creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioral discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. The Sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Trujillo. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez and I said Dominicana myself. I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books through your has blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts.