The independent George C. Marshall Museum & Library perpetuates Marshall’s legacy through scholarship, Marshall Legacy Series programs and facilities that offer a wide range of resources and materials for use by the general public, amateur historians, scholars and students of all ages.
Benito Mussolini received this ceremonial broadsword as a gift from the City of Bologna. It marked the Decennale - the ten year anniversary of Mussolini's October 1922 March on Rome, when his National Fascist Party took control of Italy. He was the 27th Prime Minister of Italy and in office from 1922-1945.
The Italian inscription is translated as: BENITO MUSSOLINI / FROM AUSONIE LEGIONS / DUCE UNVANQUISHED AND MAGNIFICENT /THE ITALIAN FIGHTERS ON THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH ON ROME
The sword was one of Mussolini's most prized possessions. It was rumored he had one made for Hitler and Goring, but those swords have never been found.
Mussolini's imperial symbol was the Etruscan fasces, a bundle of wood (symbolizing strength through unity) with an axe blade protruding.
This eagle gripping the fasces (seen above) was on the uniforms of the Italian army.
The broadsword is 54.5" long and weighs about 25 pounds. Mussolini was 5'7" and could not have wielded this easily, even if he was on a tall horse.
After Mussolini was deposed and exiled in 1943, Hitler helped Mussolini establish a residence at the Villa Feltrinelli on Italy's Lake Garda. He took many of his possessions with him and this sword was one of them.
Mussolini left the villa with his mistress on April 18, 1945 and was executed 10 days later. On April 30, 1945, the villa was captured after a nighttime amphibious operation by the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division. This sword was among the many of Mussolini's possessions "liberated" by soldiers and presented to the Commander of the Fifth Army, General Lucian Truscott.
General Truscott gave the broadsword to General George C. Marshall as a "spoil of war," and Marshall donated it to the Marshall Foundation. It is currently on display in our main lobby.