D'Annunzio and his Republic of Fiume: Nudist soldiers, air pirates and free cocaine
On September 11, 1919, an unrecognized country called the Republic of Beauty appeared on the map of Europe. Its founder was the popular Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, who had his own, very unusual ideas about statehood. Citizens of the country received free cocaine, did yoga and could walk the streets without clothes, and the main item of replenishment of the budget was sea and air piracy.
For his utopian republic d’Annunzio chose the small town of Fiume, located on the border of Italy and Croatia, on the Adriatic coast. It was the most important port of the coast, and in addition to Italy, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. But the poet got the city, who captured it without a fight along with two thousand desperate veterans of the First World War.
At the beginning of the XX century, Gabriele d’Annunzio was considered the greatest poet in Italy and one of the most influential writers in Europe. But one day the poetic genius became interested in politics and could not give up this hobby.
His political credo was very confusing and therefore difficult to accurately characterize. But one thing is for sure that d'Annunzio is not without reason considered one of the fathers of Italian fascism and the inventor of the very "ziga", which will still play a role in world history.
The poet was an outstanding personality without exaggeration. Nature has endowed Gabriele with a small stature, a bald head and a not too attractive face, but she has not stinted on intelligence and charm. The esthetic writer, who adored parties, cocaine and women, was a real idol of Italian girls and respectable matrons.
Thanks to the solid state of d’Annunzio lived for his own pleasure - he spent money, seduced beauties and made fiery speeches about a happy future that would soon come. His persona was surrounded by many legends - it was said that he drinks wine and cups made from the skull of a virgin, and his shoes are made of human skin. It was also rumored that there was a whole room in the mansion of the playboy, reserved for a file of seduced women.The famous ballerina Aseidora Duncan wrote about d'Annunzio, whom she knew very well, the following:
When the First World War began, Gabriele d’Annunzio already had a scandalous reputation. He had solid connections among the European Bohemians, was caught by the hand in financial fraud and was even excommunicated from the church for provocative and indecent poems.
Combat pilot Gabriele d’Annunzio
When the First World War broke out, the decadent poet was already 52 years old and he had no idea about military service. Despite this, d'Annunzio enlisted in aviation and in a short time rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In aerial battles, he proved himself as a brave pilot and a talented commander.
It is Gabriele d’Annunzio organized the first bomber raid on an enemy capital in world history. In 1918, a fearless pilot and his subordinates dropped thousands of leaflets over Vienna, in which Gabriele warned that they could also be bombs. The raid cost no casualties, but had a strong demoralizing effect on the enemy.
In parallel, the brave lieutenant colonel managed to be rude to the command and organize actions of insubordination, perform in front of the crowd with pathos poems and sleep with women who were crazy about the romantic poet-pilot with hussar manners.
A brave pilot and a favorite of women, Lieutenant Colonel D’Annunzio
In one of the battles, Gabriele was wounded and blinded in one eye. Aviation was closed to him, but he immediately joined the infantry and covered his head with laurels in this field as well. By the end of the war, Gabriele d’Annunzio has earned enormous prestige among veterans and the ardent love of fellow countrymen.
Having an incredibly active nature, the poet could not just reap the fruits of his military glory and rushed headlong into politics. In order not to be petty, he got close to three political forces at once: socialists, monarchists and Mussolini. All these guys were flattered by the hero's attention, but he used his associates only to achieve his goals.At the beginning of his political career, d'Annunzio came up with the notorious "ziga". More precisely, I did not invent it, but I spied on the famous painting by Jacques Louis David "The Oath of the Horatii". On it, three brothers from a noble Roman family swear allegiance to their country, raising their hands in front of them. Gabriele managed to convince everyone that this was exactly what the famous "Roman salute" looked like.
In fact, the citizens of Rome greeted each other like normal men, shaking hands, but who was interested in such a banal greeting? The "Roman salute" was adopted by Mussolini and he took root among people of a certain circle.
The city of Fiume, which was to become a utopian Republic of Beauty, once belonged to Venice, and then was part of Austria-Hungary. After the war, he became a no-man's-land and controversial, until he was taken over by the restless d'Annunzio and his associates.
Gabriele d’Annunzio and his associates on the main street of Fiume
It should be said right away that the residents of Fiume themselves asked for d’Annunzio to become their prince. They are tired of the uncertainty and the suspended state of the "no man's land", where anarchy reigns. On September 11, 1019, an adventurer with two thousand former front-line soldiers undertook a campaign on Fiume and occupied the city.
Gabriele's entry into the city was extremely pathetic — the poet was driving in an open car ahead of a column of comrades, and the locals strewed him with rose petals. The new ruler of the city, who was under the influence of cocaine, delivered a fiery speech to the townspeople, which they received with glee.
After that, the audience heard several poetic novelties dedicated to the solemn occasion. Having completed communication with the citizens of the newly minted republic, d'Annunzio immediately set about implementing his utopian project. He was sure that everything should be easy, irrational and as much fun as possible, so he wrote the constitution in verse.
Caricature of d’Annunzio
In the main law of his small state, Gabriele enshrined the right of citizens to free love, nudism and free labor. From now on, everyone could only work until they got tired. The authorities assumed obligations to organize entertainment and provide free music education to everyone. All taxes in the small country, which was called the Republic of Beauty, were abolished.
The ruler of Fiume immediately formed a government. The famous conductor Arturo Toscanini became the Minister of Culture, and a guy who had three convictions for theft and fraud was appointed to the post of finance minister. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was placed under the management of a colleague and long-time friend of d’Annunzio, the Belgian anarchist poet Leon Kochnitsky.
Alceste de Ambris, a fierce enemy of Mussolini, became prime minister. This was the strangest appointment of all, since the head of the republic himself was considered one of the supporters of the future Duce. In general, there is no need to look for logic in d'Annunzio's actions, since he was an impulsive, creative person and prone to the use of narcotic substances.
President Fiume delivers a speech to his citizens
It is important to clarify that the adventurer himself did not take his mission too seriously. All this was started with one goal — to draw attention to the Fiume of the Italian government, so that the city would finally be annexed. But that didn't happen. The war that has just ended has put everything in its place and in We didn't want to upset this delicate balance.
D'Annunzio's performance, which was supposed to end in a couple of months, dragged on and the poet had to take real responsibility for the citizens of his operatic, but independent country. Since there were no taxes in the Republic of Beauty, the budget was not filled. In addition, no one recognized Fiume as a state and a political and economic vacuum reigned around the tiny entity.
The citizens of the republic very soon realized that they would soon have to starve and began to ask their president indecently many questions. To defuse the situation somehow, d'Annunzio began organizing mass cultural events.
Soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Beauty
Torchlight processions and parades of soldiers began to pass through the streets of the city, often in full nude. An orchestra conducted by Toscanini played in the main square of Fiume, and special hawkers distributed cocaine to everyone. Gabriele himself took an active part in the social and cultural life of the city - he raced around the city and suburbs in his open Fiat, and here and there he made speeches and read poetry.
But you won't be fed up with poems, cocaine and nudist parades, and the president understood this perfectly well. Therefore, d’Annunzio had to take a desperate step — he organized a pirate flotilla of fishing and trading vessels and this motley "fleet" began boarding ships in the Adriatic.
Associate of Gabriele d’Annunzio, the monarchist Guido Keller was responsible in the young republic for promoting yoga and a healthy lifestyle. But in the conditions of the economic crisis, he also had to take part in saving the economy of the Republic of Belarus.
Guido Keller - nudist, yogi, monarchist and air pirate Fiume
Guido, a former military pilot and a desperate man, organized a small squadron, which began to make unprecedented pirate raids. The planes of Keller's pirates landed on fields and roads near the villas of the Italian rich, after which the houses were promptly treated politely, but persistently. This is what the young republic of Fiume lived for.
The tricks of the subjects of the Republic of Beauty did without victims, and therefore for a long time the Italian authorities turned a blind eye to them. But there is a limit to everything and it was decided to annex Fiume. However, everything went completely wrong according to the scenario d’Annunzio. At first, Rome renounced its territorial claims on Fiume, which turned the republic into a buffer zone completely devoid of any international status.
President Gabriele decided to influence the situation and declared war on Italy in order to immediately surrender. But Italy chose a different scenario and sent a fleet to the shores of Fiume, which bombarded the city with artillery. On December 30, 1920, the capitulation was announced and the president-poet resigned his powers. In power d’Annunzio lasted only 500 days.
Pirate flotilla in the port of Fiume
After that, the city remained nobody's for several more years, until in 1924 it was annexed to Italy by Mussolini, who came to power there. Gabriele d’Annunzio no longer staged extravagant actions and behaved as befitted a respected man in retirement.
During his amazing life, he managed to be the most famous poet of Italy, a war hero and dictator. Mussolini greatly respected and appreciated his older comrade and in many ways copied his manner of speaking and behavior. The Duce awarded the poet the title of honorary academician, presented the title of prince and allocated a luxurious villa Vittoriale in Lombardy.
At the same time, the dictator was seriously afraid of the energetic authoritative old man and surrounded him with an army of spies. But d’Annunzio was no longer interested in politics — as he grew older, he became slightly insane and was completely occupied with his megalomania.
Mussolini and Grandpa D’Annunzio with the state award
He created a museum named after himself in the Vittoriale estate, surrounded himself with enthusiastic fans and flatterers and began to indulge in his main vice — cocaine without measure. The former President of the Republic of Fiume died easily and quickly. On March 1, 1938, he had a stroke right in his bedroom, immediately after an intimate meeting with one of his passionate fans. The old man was 74 years old.
In its absurdity, the Republic of Beauty of Fiume can only be compared with the Kingdom of Andorra, headed by another adventurer of the early XX century — Boris Skosyrev.
Keywords: Dictator | Art | Italy | Cocaine | Beauty | Pilot | Nudists | Poet | Republic | Fascism