Pietro Badoglio was born on September 28, 1871 in Monferrato, Italy. He entered the Italian Army in 1890 as an artillery officer and fought in Ethiopia in 1896, and in the Italo-Turkish War of 1912. During World War 1, he distinguished himself by directing the capture of Monte Sabotino on August 6th, 1916. Although he was later defeated at Caporetto on October 24, 1917, he emerged from the war with his career intact and participated in the armistice talks for the Italians and was chief of staff from 1919 to 1921.
Badoglio was at first only lukewarm to Mussolini and stayed out of politics for a year before serving as ambassador to Brazil before Mussolini named him chief of staff once again in 1925 and was promoted Field Marshal on May 26,1926. He was governor of Libya from 1928 to 1934. He commanded the forces that captured Addis Ababa in 1936 and ruled over that land as viceroy of Ethiopia. Badoglio resigned as chief of staff during the disastrous campaign in Greece and disavowed responsibility for Mussolini’s acts. It is not clear whether his objections were military or moral.
He remained in the background until the downfall of Mussolini on July 25, 1943 which he helped engineer. Badoglio then became Prime Minister of Italy and quickly arranged for an armistice with the Allies on September 3rd. On September 8th, Italy surrendered unconditionally. Badoglio dissolved the Fascist Party and declared war on Germany on October 13, 1943. In June of 1944 he resigned to allow the formation of a new government in liberated Rome. He retired to his family home where he died on November 1, 1956.
Written By: Stefan Schlemmer