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Sale 38 Lot 1060

BENITO MUSSOLINI(1883 - 1945) Italian dictator whose fascist supporters marched on Rome, securing him power; allied with Hitler, after many military and political setbacks he was captured and executed at war's end by partisans. Incredibly ironic photograph inscribed and presented to Henry L. Stimson, Franklin D. Roosevelt's future Secretary of War who would mobilize over ten million soldiers to fight Mussolini, Hitler and Tojo's armies! This oversize photo, 12 1/2" x 15 1/2" overall, captures the arrogant dictator with arms crossed looking to the viewer's right. It is boldly inscribed at right: "To Henry L. Stimson in remembrance of his sojourn in Rome with feelings of sincere friendship. Mussolini Roma 14 July 1931 IX". Very minor silvering at the extreme edges of the photo (which is on the original mount), else very good to fine condition. Stimson was at the time Herbert Hoover's Secretary of State and was in Rome on an "unofficial" visit. It is true, however, that the pair discussed the Geneva Conference, meant to disarm Europe which bore Mussolini's bogus endorsement. The July 15, 1931 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune reported that this photo was presented to Stimson by Foreign Minister Grandi: " the train station in Rome as Stimson and his wife prepared to depart for Paris aboard Mussolini's special salon and sleeping coaches, abundantly decorated with red roses, placed at their disposal. "Good-by.' smiled the secretary, raising his arm in Mussolini's Roman salute to Foreign Minister Dino Grandi, while Mrs. Stimson blew kisses to the Eternal City at the end of their week's visit," continuing "As a final gift Il Duce sent Mrs. Stimson a huge basket of orchids and to Secretary of State Stimson he sent a large autographed photograph of himself as a memento of their 'cordial and satisfactory interviews'". Of course, such a rosy picture would not last long. Four years later Mussolini would invade helpless Ethiopia as a practice run for his intended European conquests, and relations with the U.S. and Europe would quickly collapse.
Estimate $ 5,000-7,000

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