Fascist suppression

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Fascist suppression

Post  kosovohp on Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:22 pm

In the 1920s, Benito Mussolini initiated a campaign to destroy the Mafia and assert Fascist control over Sicilian life. In doing so, he would suppress many political opponents on the island and score a great propaganda coup for Fascism. In October 1925, he appointed Cesare Mori prefect of Palermo and gave him special powers to attack the Mafia. Like previous crackdowns, it involved massive round-ups of suspected criminals; over 11,000 arrests were made over the course of the campaign.[11] Wives and children of mafiosi were sometimes taken hostage to force their surrender. Many were tried en masse.[76][77] More than 1,200 were convicted and imprisoned,[78] and many others were internally exiled without trial.[79]

Mori's campaign ended in June 1929 when Mussolini recalled him to Rome. Although he did not totally crush the Mafia as the Fascist press proclaimed, his campaign was nonetheless very successful. In 1986, the mafioso defector Antonino Calderone said of the period:

The music changed. Mafiosi had a hard life. [...] After the war the mafia hardly existed anymore. The Sicilian Families had all been broken up.[79]
—Antonio Calderone, 1986

Many mafiosi fled to the United States. Among these were Carlo Gambino and Joseph Bonanno, who would go on to become powerful Mafia bosses in New York City.

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