Mussolini was jealous of ‘kind’ Hitler’s fame
Though Benito Mussolini regarded Adolf Hitler as a “very kind man, he was “jealous” of the Nazi leader’s power and fame, declassified diaries of the Italian dictator’s mistress have revealed.world Updated: Nov 18, 2009 00:57 IST
Though Benito Mussolini regarded Adolf Hitler as a “very kind man, he was “jealous” of the Nazi leader’s power and fame, declassified diaries of the Italian dictator’s mistress have revealed.
Claretta Petacci’s journals, which will be published this week, describe a meeting he had with the German leader in 1938 after the then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed to Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland, The Daily Telegraph reported.
“The Fuhrer was very kind. At heart, Hitler is an old sentimentalist. When he saw me he had tears in his eyes,” Mussolini was quoted as telling his lover.
The diaries also show Mussolini was irritated by being regarded as a junior partner to Hitler, maintaining that his fascism and anti-Semitism dated back to the 1920s, before Hitler rose to prominence.
“I’ve been racist since 1921,” he proudly told his mistress on a boating trip on August 4, 1938, two years before Italy declared war on Britain. “I don’t know how they can think that I’m imitating Hitler, he wasn’t even born then (in a political sense).”
In another entry, Mussolini rails against Italians in Italy’s African colonies having relationships with locals.
“Every time I get a report from Africa, it makes me upset. Just today, another five arrested for living with blacks. Ah! These dirty Italians, they are destroying in less than seven years an empire. They have no consciousness of race,” he said.
The book, Secret Mussolini, contains extracts from Petacci’s diaries written between 1932 and 1938.