Italian Regency of Carnaro
Reggenza Italiana del Carnaro
Motto: QUIS CONTRA NOS?
("Who is against us?")
Map of the "Italian Regency of Carnaro" (later the Free State of Fiume).
|Status||Unrecognized entity seeking unification with Italy|
|Government||Provisional authoritarian republic|
|Legislature||Arengo del Carnaro|
|Consiglio degli Ottimi|
|Consiglio dei Provvisori|
|Historical era||Interwar period|
o Coup d'état and establishment
|12 September 1919|
o Modus Vivendi Plebiscite
|18 December 1919|
|8 September 1920|
|12 November 1920|
|30 December 1920|
|Today part of||Croatia|
The Italian Regency of Carnaro (Italian: Reggenza Italiana del Carnaro) was a self-proclaimed state in the city of Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia) led by Gabriele d'Annunzio between 1919 and 1920. It is also known by its lyrical name in Italian: Endeavor of Fiume (Impresa di Fiume).
During World War I (1914-1918), Italy made a pact with the Allies, the Treaty of London (1915), in which it was promised all of the Austrian Littoral, but not the city of Fiume. After the war, at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, this delineation of territory was confirmed, with Fiume (or Rijeka) remaining outside of Italian borders and amalgamated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia).
As a nationalist, Gabriele d'Annunzio was angered by what he considered to be the surrender of an Italian city. On 12 September 1919, he led a force that was about 2,600-strong and drawn mostly from former or serving members of the Granatieri di Sardegna brigade of the Royal Italian Army, as well as Italian nationalists and irredentists. Many members of Annunzio's force were reputedly veterans of the Battles of the Isonzo.
They were successful in seizing control of the city, and forced the withdrawal of the Allied (US, British and French) occupying forces. The march from Ronchi dei Legionari to Fiume, by Annunzio's so-called "legionaries", became known as the Impresa di Fiume ("Fiume endeavor", or "Fiume enterprise").
On the same day, d'Annunzio announced that he had annexed the territory to the Kingdom of Italy. He was enthusiastically welcomed by the ethnic Italian portion of the population of Fiume. This was opposed by the Italian government, which attempted to pressure d'Annunzio to withdraw. The government initiated a blockade of Fiume and demanded that the plotters surrender. During his time in Fiume in September 1919, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti praised the leaders of the impresa as "advance guard deserters" (disertori in avanti).
On December 8, the Italian government proposed a modus vivendi recognizing Fiume's desire for annexation and promising they would "only consider acceptable a solution consonant with that which Fiume declared to desire." On December 11 and 12, d'Annunzio met with General Pietro Badoglio to try and obtain more concessions. Badoglio refused, and d'Annunzio said he would submit the modus vivendi to the Italian National Council of Fiume. The National Council accepted the proposal on December 15.
After the National Council's decision, d'Annunzio addressed a crowd of five thousand people and incited them to reject the modus vivendi, promising to put the issue to a plebiscite. The plebiscite was held on December 18, and despite violence and irregularities the results were overwhelmingly in favour of the modus vivendi. D'Annunzio nullified the results, blaming the violence at the polls, and announced he would make the final decision himself. He ultimately rejected the modus vivendi. According to Michael Ledeen, d'Annunzio made this decision because he distrusted the Italian government and doubted their ability to deliver on their promises.
On 8 September 1920, d'Annunzio proclaimed the city to be under the Italian Regency of Carnaro with a constitution foreshadowing some of the later Italian Fascist system, with himself as dictator, with the title of Comandante.
The Charter of Carnaro (Carta del Carnaro in Italian) was a constitution that combined anarchist, proto-fascist, and democratic republican ideas. D'Annunzio is often seen as a precursor of the ideals and techniques of Italian fascism. His own explicit political ideals emerged in Fiume when he coauthored the charter with syndicalist Alceste De Ambris. De Ambris provided the legal and political framework, to which d'Annunzio added his skills as a poet. The charter designates music a "religious and social institution."
The constitution established a corporatist state, with nine corporations to represent the different sectors of the economy, where membership was mandatory, plus a symbolic tenth corporation devised by d'Annunzio, to represent the "superior individuals" (e.g. poets, "heroes" and "supermen"). The other nine were as follows:
The executive power would be vested in seven ministers (rettori):
The legislative power was vested in a bicameral legislature. Joint sessions of both councils (Arengo del Carnaro) would be responsible for treaties with foreign powers, amendments to the constitution, and appointment of a dictator in times of emergency.
Judicial power was vested in the courts:
Benito Mussolini was influenced by the Fascist portions of the constitution, and by d'Annunzio's style of leadership as a whole. D'Annunzio has been described as the John the Baptist of Italian Fascism, as virtually the entire ritual of Fascism was invented by D'Annunzio during his occupation of Fiume and his leadership of the Italian Regency of Carnaro. These included the balcony address, the Roman salute, the cries of "Eia, eia, eia! Alala!" taken from the Achilles' cry in the Iliad, the dramatic and rhetorical dialogue with the crowd, and the use of religious symbols in new secular settings. It also included his method of government in Fiume: the economics of the corporate state; stage tricks; large emotive nationalistic public rituals; and blackshirted followers, the Arditi, with their disciplined, bestial responses and strongarm repression of dissent. He was even said to have originated the practice of forcibly dosing opponents with large amounts of castor oil, a very effective laxative, to humiliate, disable or kill them, a practice which became a common tool of Mussolini's blackshirts.
D'Annunzio ignored the Treaty of Rapallo and declared war on Italy itself. On 24 December 1920 the Italian army and a bombardment by the Royal Italian Navy forced the Fiuman legionnaires to evacuate and surrender the city.
The Free State of Fiume would officially last until 1924, when Fiume was formally annexed to the Kingdom of Italy under the terms of the Treaty of Rome. The administrative division was called the Province of Carnaro.