Ricordo storico della vittoria folgorante

1936 Italian map of East Africa with stark fascist imagery and language.

Cartographer(s): Visceglia
Date: 1936
Place: Rome/Milan
Dimensions: 67 x 65 cm (26.5 x 25.5 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

Out of stock

SKU: NL-01194 Category: Tag:

Description

Like many other fascist autocrats of the last century, Mussolini frequently used cartography to legitimize the state’s actions. This particular broadsheet was issued in celebration of the Italian conquest of Greater Ethiopia in 1936. The map itself reveals the locus for Italy’s colonial aspirations and focuses specifically on subjugated areas. These areas have been subdivided administratively on the map using thick red lines running through the landscape. The taxonomy corresponds more or less to ethnic subdivisions in East Africa, distinguishing regions like Eritrea, Asmara, Harrar, and Somalia clearly from one another. These administrative or political subdivisions are further expounded in the upper-right text box.

The imagery and the language used on this poster are heavily laden with fascist symbolism, making them authentic testimonials of the age. The mapmaker provides a large image of the Roman goddess Victoria, standing on a Roman war barge. Behind the statue, we find a Mussolini quote that sums up this map’s essential message: “We stand ready to defend our dazzling victory with the same intrepid and inexorable decisiveness with which we won it.” The date noted below this quote – May 5th in the year 14 (XIV) – refers to the new fascist calendar introduced by Mussolini upon his ascent to power in 1922. The date in question is thus a reference to his speech in Rome on May 5th, 1936.

This broadside was designed as propagandistic support for the “great leader” and his political decisions. Rather than informing the population of their country’s recent expansion into Africa, these posters were meant to instill a sense of nationalist pride in the viewer. By composing these images in this manner, the military success was associated directly with their leader’s vision and greatness and legitimized as a just and rightful colonial claim.

Ultimately, this is a vivacious and colorful crystallization of some of the most heinous ideas to surface in the political history of Europe. While Mussolini may have played second fiddle to Hitler, and never turned his state apparatus into the efficient killing machine of Franco’s Spain, his megalomaniacal madness and the legitimization of violent oppression of one’s political opponents were but some of the ugly flowers grown in Mussolini’s yard.

Cartographer(s):

Visceglia

La Visceglia is an Italian map publisher. It was founded in 1929 by Prof. Vincenzo Visceglia.

With the death of Vincenzo Visceglia in 1971, the Institute continued its activity under the direction of his daughter Rosangela Visceglia. Today it is directed by Laura Ottaviani, nephew of Vincenzo Visceglia.

Condition Description

Very good. Minor wear along original publication fold.

References