Gian Galeazzo Ciano was born in Livorno, Italy on 18 March 1903. He was the son of Admiral Costanzo Ciano, who had won the medal of honor in World War I. Ciano inherited the dreams and ideals of his father and eventually moved to Rome to pursue his career. After a few experiences in journalism, Galeazzo entered the political forum in 1925. His start in politics included involvement in diplomacy with Peking, Rio de Janiero and Buenos Aires. He was young, brilliant and full of life. In 1930, he married Benito Mussolini’s daughter Edda.
Ciano was a voluntary bomber pilot in “La Disperata” squadron in Ethiopia and is said to have dropped the first bombs in the war and the first Italian to enter Addis Ababa. He received 2 silver medals of valor in the conflict. In June of 1936, he was nominated Foreign Minister of Italy, a title he held till the end of February, 1943.
On the 22nd of May, 1939, Ciano and Ribbentrop signed the “Pact of Steel”, which sealed the destinies of Italy and Germany. In the beginning, Ciano approved of the Axis partnership between Italy and Germany, but after meetings in Saltzburg in 1939 with Hitler and Ribbentrop, Ciano began to oppose their policy of war. With the German invasion of Poland, Ciano was finally able to convice Mussolini to declare a state of “Non-Belligerence” with Germany.
Nevertheless, on 10 June, 1940, Mussolini declared war and Ciano continued to serve with zeal. Only after several military defeats in 1942 did Ciano begin to doubt Il Duces ability to win the war. In 1943, he was relieved of his duties as foreign minister and designated an ambassador once again.
After the fall of the fascist government in Italy, Ciano and his family transferred to Germany, hoping to eventually gain refuge in Spain. But because of his known disenchantment with the fascist party, and his distrust of the Germans, the OSS in Bern, Switzerland transmitted his name along with others as possible traitors to the new Socialist Republic of Italy.
Incarcerated in Verona, Ciano was deferred to a special tribunal for high treason. He was killed by firing squadon on January 11, 1944 in San Procolo near Verona. After many attempts by his wife to spare his life, Mussolini did nothing to save his son in law.
Sources: World War II : 4,139 Strange and Fascinating Facts , Storia Controversa della Seconda Guerra Mondiale; Vol 1.