Rodolfo Graziani

Italian general (1882-1955)

Rodolfo Graziani (August 11, 1882January 11, 1955) was an Italian military officer who led expeditions in Africa before and during World War II. He became commander after the death of Italo Balbo. He resigned his commission in 1941 after being defeated by the British in Operation Compass. He was the only one of the Italian marshals to remain loyal to Mussolini after Dino Grandi's Grand Council of Fascism coup, and was appointed Minister of Defence of the Italian Social Republic. In 1950, a military tribunal sentenced Graziani to prison for a term of 19 years as punishment for his collaboration with the Nazis, but he was released after serving only a few months of the sentence. He died in Rome a few years later.

An enemy forgiven is more dangerous than a thousand foes.


  • Herewith I, Marshal of Italy Rodolfo Graziani, in my capacity as Italian Minister of War, extend to General of the Waffen-SS Karl Wolff, the higher SS and police leader and fully empowered general of the German Armed Forces in Italy, the following powers: to conduct negotiations on my behalf and, with the same conditions as for the German Armed Forces in Italy, to enter into agreements binding me with respect to all regular troops of the Italian Army, Navy and Air Force as well as of the military Fascist units.
    • Letter to General Karl Wolff. Quoted in "The Secret Surrender" - Page 165 - by Allen Dulles - History - 2006
  • It's best that you know this immediately: I have never been a Fascist, but always a soldier who obeyed orders.
    • To SS Colonel Eugen Dollmann. Quoted in "Mussolini: The Last 600 Days of Il Duce" - Page 27 - by Ray Moseley - History - 2004
  • An enemy forgiven is more dangerous than a thousand foes.
    • Quoted in "The Suez Canal in World Affairs" - Page 79 - by Hugh Joseph Schonfield - 1952
  • Until face to face with the enemy, who inexorably advanced well protected toward sure prey, they cried with the last spark of life, "Long Live Italy!"
    • Quoted in "Marshal Is Frank" - "New York Times" article, December 23, 1940
  • The Duce will have Ethiopia... with or without Ethiopians.
    • Quoted in "Wild at Heart" - "The Guardian" article - Saturday, June 29, 2002
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