Italian Fascism’s Ethiopian Conquest and the Dream of a Prescribed Sexuality

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In a 9 May 1936 speech in Rome broadcast over thousands of loudspeakers throughout Italy, Mussolini announced the conquest of Ethiopia. From his Venice Palace where he was cheered on by a teeming crowd, the Duce claimed Italy was giving the world a lesson in civilization, and he celebrated Italy’s combat against the ‘cruel reign of the arbitrary’ and ‘millennial slavery’ along with the triumph of justice over barbarity. The night before and in a similar atmosphere, the Duce had addressed the regime’s organizations for women, and thanked them for having supported the heroism of their brothers, sons, and husbands by resisting the sanctions decreed by the League of Nations.1 Several months earlier, for the day of ‘Faith’, groups of women had given up their wedding rings to symbolize the engagement of the entire nation in the colonial adventure.




Matard-Bonucci, M. A. (2009). Italian Fascism’s Ethiopian Conquest and the Dream of a Prescribed Sexuality. In Genders and Sexualities in History (pp. 91–108). Palgrave Macmillan.

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