Of Poets and Supermen - An Alternate 20th Century

Oh, and just to be clear, the official name of D'Annunzio's movement will be Carnarism, even though the poll is still open. It's just got that nice poetic ring to it, perfectly D'Annunzian in its delivery. Not that I don't care about the audience's opinion, but it got the most votes on the poll (including my own tbh).
Wasn't "Garibaldi's Nightmare" the name of an update for Kaiserreich?
That would be correct. I'd be lying if I said that Kaiserreich wasn't an influence on OPAS, even though I disagree with certain design decisions and the direction that the KR team has taken the mod, but it was an influence nonetheless. Essentially, it's my cheeky little Shout-Out to KR, one of many shout-outs to various alternate history works that I enjoy that will be peppered in throughout the TL.
D'Annunzio and Marinetti teaming up?

Oh, fuck. :p
To be fair, it's not gonna be "Gabriele and Filippo's Super Best Friend Adventures" but more like a grudging alliance between the two. It's very much in the spirit of the Teeth-Clenched Teamwork trope, because they do not like each other, at all. In OTL, one of the reasons why Marinetti left Fiume (aside from D'Annunzio's willingness to work with conservative officers) was because D'Annunzio (rightfully) saw Marinetti as a threat to his powerbase and supporters, being a charismatic author and firebrand much like himself. No upstaging the Commandant, y'know? The closest OTL parallel I can think of for the Army of National Salvation (as the alliance comes to be called) is probably the Nationalist alliance during the Spanish Civil War, lots of different goals but all working together to "save" the country.
To be fair, it's not gonna be "Gabriele and Filippo's Super Best Friend Adventures" but more like a grudging alliance between the two. It's very much in the spirit of the Teeth-Clenched Teamwork trope, because they do not like each other, at all. In OTL, one of the reasons why Marinetti left Fiume (aside from D'Annunzio's willingness to work with conservative officers) was because D'Annunzio (rightfully) saw Marinetti as a threat to his powerbase and supporters, being a charismatic author and firebrand much like himself. No upstaging the Commandant, y'know? The closest OTL parallel I can think of for the Army of National Salvation (as the alliance comes to be called) is probably the Nationalist alliance during the Spanish Civil War, lots of different goals but all working together to "save" the country.
If the Vate is truly going to give Marinetti a fief of his own, he better not give him a major city. The kind of weird shit he could come up with, it'd make the likes of Türkmenbaşy seem sane in comparison. o_O
If the Vate is truly going to give Marinetti a fief of his own, he better not give him a major city. The kind of weird shit he could come up with, it'd make the likes of Türkmenbaşy seem sane in comparison. o_O
See, a city is too small of an area for someone as grandiose as Marinetti, and D'Annunzio knows that. You need to think bigger and bolder, an area more along the lines of a territory. Not in Italy proper, of course, that would clash too much with the Commandant's vision of the future. A colonial territory, on the other hand...well, I couldn't possibly comment.
Hey there folks! As I (finally) put the finishing touches on Chapter III and write up the footnotes, here's a small teaser for what you'll see in that chapter, in the form of an image that I threw together in Paint in roughly 10-15 minutes. I should be done with the chapter in an hour or two, three hours at most, so keep your eyes peeled!


Clockwise from Top Left: D'Annunzio with a group of his Legionaries in Fiume, Armed workers occupying factories in Milan during September of 1920, Members of the paramilitary Guardie Rosse (Red Guards) occupying a factory in 1920, Soldiers of the Regio Esercito (Royal Army) departing from Campania to head towards the Italian Socialist Workers' Republic (the RSIL), Lieutenant Colonel Giovanni Messe inspecting Royalist troops before battle, and Black-clad Nationalist Arditi during the March of the Iron Will.
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Chapter III - Garibaldi's Nightmare (Part 1) New
Hey there y'all, it's finally time for the next chapter, and we're back with a bang! This chapter is the longest so far, sitting at well over 6000 words and that's before you take in the extensive list of footnotes (a staggering 94 in total, which will be completely optional to read, though they give you a lot of context with regards to Italy's Red Biennium in OTL and the Fiume Expedition, as well as some of my creative/narrative decisions) that I've written. Unfortunately, I'll have to split this chapter up into two posts, since the ten file limit per post makes things slightly more difficult than I'd intended, so the footnotes will all be in the second part of the chapter. Regardless it's an absolute monster of a chapter and I had a blast writing it, and I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. After this chapter, the post schedule is going to be somewhat different than what I outlined earlier, with roughly three to four Italian POV chapters, from the perspectives of three Carnarist figures and one neutral international observer. Following that, I'm gonna delay heading over to the US in favor of switching things up and going back to Russia, the rise of Kamo, and two detailed ideology posts on the tenets of Carnarism and Petrosianism. I've made this decision for two reasons, first because as @Laserfish has guessed in previous posts upthread, Carnarism and Petrosianism play a major role in the world of OPAS, and second because I consider it unfair to you guys to make you wait for the chapters on the Italian and Russian Civil Wars to be complete before talking about their respective ideological currents. After that, we're gonna take a look at the losers of the Great War, Germany, Austria-Hungary (with a particular focus on Hungary more than Austria and the rest of the Empire), and Turkey. Finally, while this chapter doesn't go into the total numbers of each faction in the Italian Civil War, I'll be posting a brief interlude before the POV chapters focusing on the manpower and the advantages/disadvantages of the factions in the war.

As always, I encourage reader discussion and feedback on my baby, in particular what you like or dislike, as I'm certainly open to criticism as much as I am to praise. I'll hopefully be able to pound out more chapters this week, since I'm currently on fall break (which unfortunately is just one week :confused:) and can spend a lot more of my free time writing than usual. As an aside, if anyone in the audience is inclined to make a TV Tropes or All The Tropes page (preferably the former, as the latter doesn't seem to be updated nearly as much) for OPAS sometime in the future once the timeline has picked up speed, I'd appreciate it a lot. Having an eager audience and a TV Tropes/All The Tropes page would confirm that I've "made it" among the AH.Com community, so to speak, and I'd be more than willing to dedicate a chapter to whoever made the page as a token of my gratitude. On one last note, it tickles me pink that Chapter III is post 69 of the thread, because if you can't have a little bit of fun with your timeline, what's the point?

Now then, here are a couple of listening suggestions for when you read the post. In the future, I'll be providing plenty of musical accompaniments to go along with the written and visual aspects of the chapters, to help create an interesting reading experience for you guys. First up is Babylon is Fallen, as performed by Jeremy Bass. This one is an American song, but the haunting tone and lyrical content fits well with the theme of Italy going to hell in a handbasket.

If that's not your style or you'd prefer something with more of a genuine Carnarist feel, there's Fiamme Nere (Black Flames) or Il Canto degli Arditi (The Song of the Arditi), the Great War era marching song of the Arditi shock troops, who make up a large part of the Carnarist army during the ICW and afterwards. It's a decidedly patriotic and somewhat uplifting tune that really exemplifies the spirit of the Arditi (and by extension, the spirit of Carnarism in general).

Finally, if classical music is more your thing, we have a compilation video of various performances of Vivaldi's sacred vocal works, something that I listened to more than once during the writing process of this chapter.

Now that that's out of the way, I am proud to present Chapter III of Of Poets and Supermen, Garibaldi's Nightmare!

Chapter III - Garibaldi's Nightmare (Part 1)

“I have promised to fulfill Randaccio’s vow! But first you must consecrate this flag. I want you, the people of Rome, to consecrate it... It is large, it is very large for it was destined to fly from the Duino Tower... that they might see it from Trieste... This, Romans, this, Italians, is our flag for this hour... In its folds I salute in your name the martyrs as yet without their palm: Fiume and Zara, Sebenico... Ragusa, Cattaro!”
- Gabriele D’Annunzio

Garibaldi’s Nightmare: Mutilated Victory and the Italian Civil War, Mauro Valeri

When compared to its allies Britain and France[1], the Kingdom of Italy gained relatively little as a result of victory in the Great War[2]. While their British and French counterparts were able to achieve their war goals rather easily, the efforts of the Italian delegation to do the same were hampered from the very beginning. The nominal head of the Italian delegation, Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, couldn’t speak English and suffered from a weak political position back home, one that would only get weaker as time went on[3]. As a result, the Italian negotiations were conducted jointly by Orlando and the Italian foreign minister, the conservative Sidney Sonino[4]. While both men sought to implement the terms of 1915’s Treaty of London, their differences in approach would ultimately prove disastrous for the Italian delegation. While Orlando was more than willing to give up Italian claims on Dalmatia in order to secure the annexation of the Adriatic port of Fiume, Sonino was firmly against it[5]. In the end, the Italian delegation pushed their claims on both Dalmatia and Fiume, only to subsequently be denied both at the conclusion of the Paris Peace Conference[6], in no small part due to the opposition of the American delegation led by Vice-President Thomas R. Marshall[7].

Naturally, the predicted results of the Paris Peace Conference were heavily criticized by the radical elements of Italian politics, in spite of the fact that the Italian delegation had achieved a number of their territorial goals[8]. On the left, the Partito Socialista Italiano (the Italian Socialist Party or PSI), which had taken a militant stance during the Great War[9], decried the Liberal-Democratic government for betraying the ideals of Italian liberation that had driven the country into the war. On the right, the Associazione Nazionalista Italiana (the Italian Nationalist Association) was similarly incensed over the perceived abandonment of Fiume to Yugoslavia and the failure of the Italian delegation to gain the northern portions of Dalmatia[10]. In a surprising show of cooperation, these normally hostile parties had united in their shared criticism of the government. In spite of the situation at home, the Italian delegation in Paris would nevertheless go on to sign the Treaty of Versailles in June of 1919, although Prime Minister Orlando was replaced by the Radical[11] politician Francesco Saverio Nitti following his resignation over the inability to secure Fiume for Italy[12]. Later on, Orlando would continue to declare with pride that he’d refused to sign the treaty, even as brother turned against brother and civil war tore Italy apart. In the end, Orlando’s pride in not signing the treaty would do nothing to spare him from the horrors of civil war.


From Left to Right: Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, and Italian Foreign Minister Sidney Sonino.


Prime Minister Francesco Saverio Nitti, Italian signatory of the Treaty of Versailles, pictured here in 1919.

Nevertheless, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Italy had won the Great War, but at a high price. Italy had lost a staggering 651,000 of her sons fighting for the Entente, only to be betrayed by their so-called allies and denied a complete victory over their rivals. As the reality of the post-war situation began to sink in, a new term began to circulate among the populace, vittoria mutilata (Mutilated victory). First coined in late 1918 by the celebrated nationalist poet and war hero Gabriele D’Annunzio, the rhetoric of vittoria mutilata was promoted by both the nationalists of the ANI and the socialists of the PSI[13]. Indeed, the ideas expressed by vittoria mutilata slowly but surely wormed their way into the hearts of many Italians. Despite these developments, the Nitti administration nevertheless tried to steer the ship of state, yet growing social unrest and a burgeoning economic crisis spelled problems from the start. The war had been won, but only time would tell if the Italian government could win the peace.

Unfortunately for the Nitti administration, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the end of the war would not lead to the joyous celebration of Italian triumph that many had hoped for. Instead of peace and prosperity, the Italian people found themselves faced with rising inflation and exorbitantly priced basic goods, during a period of widespread unemployment made even worse by the mass demobilization of the Regio Esercito (the Royal Army)[14]. The growing social unrest drove many into the open arms of the PSI, the leading socialist trade union, the Confederazione Generale del Lavoro (General Confederation of Labor or CGDL), and the anarcho-syndicalist Unione Sindacale Italiano (Italian Syndicalist Union or USI). The PSI’s membership swelled to 250,000 members, while the CGL grew to a whopping two million members and the USI reached somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 affiliates[15]. The Nitti administration did its best to deal with the uneasy situation, even as the PSI called for a general strike in July of 1919. In spite of these attempts, the situation grew increasingly fraught as time went by, as violent clashes between socialist and nationalist paramilitaries became increasingly common. At the forefront of these paramilitary clashes were the “rising stars” of the PSI, maximalists Benito Mussolini and Filippo Corridoni[16], leading the socialist fighters of the Guardie Rosse (Red Guards) against the nationalist squadristi of the Camicie Azzurre (Blueshirts).


Benito Mussolini and Filippo Corridoni, the rising stars of the revolutionary maximalist faction of the PSI.

During this period of social unrest and political turmoil, a sequence of events would unfold, ultimately leading to the established order of Italy being overturned in its entirety after a devastating civil war. At the center of these events was one man, perhaps the most important political figure of Italy in the early 20th century, and certainly one of the most celebrated figures in modern Italy: Gabriele D’Annunzio[17]. D’Annunzio, already a celebrated poet and nationalist figure in Italy prior to the Great War, was elevated to even greater heights of prestige thanks to his actions during that momentous conflict. Enlisting voluntarily in the Regio Esercito in spite of his age (he was 52 at the time), D’Annunzio first distinguished himself as an aerial observer, dropping pro-Italian propaganda over the Austro-Hungarian city of Trieste, before taking part in the Eighth and Ninth Battles of the Isonzo. After a period of convalescence in Venice following a flying accident which led to the loss of sight in one of his eyes, D’Annunzio returned to the front to take part in the bloody fight across the Timavo river during the Tenth Battle of the Isonzo. D’Annunzio’s legend only grew as the war raged on, with the warrior poet seemingly appearing wherever there were daring actions to be undertaken for the glory of the nation. Even during the bloody Italian rout at Caporetto, Il Vate (The Poet) was there, rousing the war-weary Italian troops with fiery speeches.

Yet the two actions for which D’Annunzio would receive the most acclaim during the Great War were still to come, and when they did, they would cement D’Annunzio’s post-war image as the glorious and daring warrior poet that he is still celebrated as today. First, in the wake of the disastrous Italian defeat at Caporetto, D’Annunzio took part in the audacious raid on the Austro-Hungarian port of Bakar, in which three fast-moving torpedo boats of the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) snuck into the port’s harbor and fired a total of six torpedoes at the boats in the harbor. While the raid (which would come to be known as the Bakar Mockery) was militarily irrelevant with little to no effect on the overall war effort, it did wonders for the public morale, which had been ruined by the disaster at Caporetto. Furthermore, it had served as a powerful psychological blow to the Austrians, who had viewed Bakar as impregnable and safe from attack. But the Bakar Mockery paled in comparison to D’Annunzio’s greatest wartime achievement, the legendary Flight over Vienna, in which Il Vate led a formation of seven planes of the 87th Fighter Squadron ‘La Serenissima’ on a seven hundred mile round trip to the Austro-Hungarian capital of Vienna. There, they dropped 50,000 propaganda leaflets written by D’Annunzio himself on the enemy’s heads, firmly cementing his reputation as a man of action. It comes as no surprise then, that as Italy’s preeminent nationalist figure, D’Annunzio would violently denounce the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, especially the loss of Fiume, alongside his allies and disciples[18] within the ANI. However, for all of D’Annunzio’s talk about reclaiming Fiume for Italy, the Nitti government and most international observers dismissed it as nothing more than the usual nationalist bluster.


Artistic depiction of D'Annunzio dropping pro-Italian propaganda over the city of Trieste in 1915.


An Italian propaganda poster advocating for the annexation of Dalmatia and Fiume by Italy.
Roughly translated, the poster states "To whom Dalmatia? To us! Either Fiume or Death!"


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This D'Annunzio is as revered as a leader as he's respected as a poet? Either he'll become the figurehead and spokesperson of a government made up of competent individuals (actual bureaucracy would bore him, just as it bored Garibaldi, since the poncho-wearing dude made Marianne Williamson seem sane back when he was a member of Parliament) or present day ATL Italy is a fever dream on acid.
Chapter III - Garibaldi's Nightmare (Part 2) New
Hey there, folks! The second part took a bit longer than I'd hoped as a result of the sheer number of footnotes I had to write up. Honestly, I think this sets a new AH.com record for total number of footnotes in a timeline chapter. You don't have to read them but I consider them crucial to understand the full context of the chapter. Anyway, the show must go on, so here's part two of Chapter III, enjoy!

Chapter III - Garibaldi's Nightmare (Part 2)

Garibaldi’s Nightmare: Mutilated Victory and the Italian Civil War, Mauro Valeri
Unfortunately for the government, they were wrong. On September 11th, 1919, a particularly auspicious date for him[19], D’Annunzio and twenty-five hundred[20] men, many of them black-shirted veterans of the Arditi, Italy’s elite shock troops, marched from Ronchi di Monfalcone[21] into the city of Fiume, ousting the Inter-Allied Control Commission and claiming that Fiume was rightfully Italian and thus should be annexed by Italy. Accompanying D’Annunzio in liberating Fiume were a number of colorful characters that would become notable in the years to come, such as the Japanese Ardito Harukichi Shimoi, the Futurist poet Mario Carli, the flamboyantly superhuman Ettore Muti, the fervent patriot Nino Host-Venturi, the fanatical Lorenzo Secondari, the skilled propagandist and organizer Francesco Giunta, and D’Annunzio’s closest companion Guido Keller, among numerous others[22]. Of course, being a prominent figure in the ANI, D’Annunzio’s endeavor was naturally supported by conservative figures as well, such as Major General Sante Ceccherini, Lieutenant Colonel Carlo Reina, D’Annunzio’s son-in-law Silvio Montanarella, Catholic friar-turned-legionary Reginaldo Giuliani, professional soldier Ernesto Cabruna, naval commander Luigi Rizzo, and fighter ace Francesco Baracca[23]. Naturally, the Nitti government denounced the actions of D’Annunzio and his legionaries, sending General Pietro Badoglio to suppress the rebellion, an effort that Badoglio effectively bungled, issuing a proclamation that the rebels had to rejoin the army or be branded as deserters. Unsurprisingly, this only strengthened the resolve of the legionaries, who were devoted to Il Vate and the cause of Fiuman annexation. Nevertheless, the Nitti government decided to take a hardline stance against D’Annunzio and the Fiumans, declaring an embargo and blockade of the city, an action that was met with dismay by the city’s population[24].

Not to be dissuaded, D’Annunzio responded with vitriolic invectives against the Nitti government, accusing Nitti of “starving women and children”[25], a charge that Nitti couldn’t exactly deny. Yet aid still came to the embattled Fiumans, in the form of funds collected by the ANI, who rallied around D’Annunzio and Fiume thanks to the efforts of one of the founders, Enrico Corradini[26], who was a fervent follower of D’Annunzio. Once in Fiume, D’Annunzio placed Giovanni Giuriati at the head of the Fiuman government as Prime Minister, while Francesco Giunta assumed the role of chief propagandist, and Guido Keller became the Secretary for Action and head of the Ufficio Colpi di Mano (Office of Direct Strikes) or the Uscocchi[27]. With the city firmly under his control, D’Annunzio made his headquarters in the Municipal Palace, attacking the Nitti government as well as denouncing the Wilsonian Americans who had prevented Italy from achieving a complete victory, all the while making himself available to any Fiuman who desired to see him and required aid or counsel[28]. The rebels were further bolstered by the hijacking of the steamship Persia on October 10th, laden with weapons and ammunition bound for the White forces in Russia that were instead diverted to Fiume[29]. Other ships inevitably journeyed to Fiume, bringing with them much-needed food and supplies, and a group of Italian laborers from the United States even sent a fine sword with a solid gold hilt depicting Fiume as a goddess as a gift for Il Vate[30]. In the months following D’Annunzio’s seizure of the city, more troops flocked to Fiume and Il Vate, with the total number of legionaries growing to 10,773 by November 18th[31].


Residents of Fiume cheering on D'Annunzio and his legionaries as they entered Fiume in September 1919.


From Left to Right: Harukichi Shimoi in his Ardito uniform (circa 1918) and Guido Keller (posing as Neptune, appropriately enough).

As D’Annunzio’s regime solidified itself in Fiume, the Nitti government was left to deal with the increasingly-fraught situation in the rest of Italy. Unfortunately for the government, the PSI had already called for a general strike in July, in coordination with the Italian anarchists[32]. Denouncing the actions of both D’Annunzio and Nitti, the PSI held its Sixteenth National Congress in Bologna from October 5th to October 8th, culminating with the revolutionary maximalist faction coming out on top, advocating for the creation of a socialist republic along the lines of the Bolsheviks in Russia[33]. Chief among these advocates were the so-called Red Triad of Benito Mussolini, Antonio Gramsci, and Amadeo Bordiga[34]. Yet the greatest triumph for the PSI came as a result of the 1919 General Election, in which they achieved an unprecedented success, gaining 32.3% of the popular vote and a whopping 156 seats won in the Chamber of Deputies, beating out the People’s Party with 20.5% percent of the vote and 101 seats, while the Liberal-Democratic-Radical Coalition only managed to gain 15.9% of the vote and 91 seats[35]. In the wake of the election and amid cries of protest from both the PSI and the ANI over the government’s mismanagement of the economic crisis and the Fiuman situation, Prime Minister Nitti was forced to resign shortly after Christmas, with four-time Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti ascending to the position on New Year’s Day[36]. Giolitti had been put into an unenviable position between dealing with the PSI and D’Annunzio’s legionaries, but he endeavored to bring stability back to the country nonetheless.

While the Nitti government (and after that fell, the Giolitti government) struggled to deal with the PSI back in Italy proper, D’Annunzio was ruling over Fiume like an adventurer of the Renaissance[37], with an iron fist and no tolerance for compromise. Inspired by the success of his auspicious entrance into Fiume, D’Annunzio proclaimed that the city was Italia vera, the true Italy that the Nitti administration was denying to the mainland, and a view that many of its denizens already held. To the outside world, D’Annunzio was turning into a modern Caesar, a benevolent dictator ruling over a populist regime. In mid-October, Nitti once again ordered General Badoglio to deal with Fiume, this time by entering into negotiations with D’Annunzio through the mediation of Major General Ceccherini. Yet even as Badoglio attempted to resolve the situation through diplomacy, D’Annunzio and a number of his cohort travelled to Zara to meet with Admiral Enrico Millo, Governor of Occupied Dalmatia, who swore to Il Vate that he would not abandon Dalmatia until it was firmly under Italian control[38]. Not to be deterred, the Nitti administration delivered a proposal on November 23rd for a modus vivendi to Fiume, offering a formal guarantee that Fiume would be annexed into Italy at some later date, an offer that D’Annunzio promptly refused. That very night the leader of the Autonomist faction in Fiume, Riccardo Zanella, attempted to plaster the text of the modus vivendi on the walls of the city, only to be stopped and killed thanks to the vigilance of Lorenzo Secondari and Ettore Muti[39].

In the wake of this extrajudicial killing and the increasingly authoritarian nature of the Fiuman regime, including the violent suppression of Fiume’s National Council[40], Prime Minister Giovanni Giuriati resigned from his position, declaring “I came to Fiume to defend the secular freedoms of this land, not to rape or repress them”[41]. Despite the departure of such a significant figure in the Fiuman government, the populace of the City of the Holocaust[42] soldiered on, as Il Vate hurled furious invectives at the city’s enemies. Yet as time went by, an air of licentiousness and radicalism began to develop in the city, somewhat perturbing D’Annunzio’s more conservative allies[43]. When Giovanni Giolitti assumed the office of Prime Minister in January, two prominent figures in the radical faction of Fiume had entered the City of the Holocaust: the Belgian poet Léon Kochnitzky and the Italian anarcho-syndicalist Alceste De Ambris[44], invited to replace the departed Giovanni Giuriati as Prime Minister. Kochnitzky on the other hand, became the head of the Ufficio Relazioni Esteriori (External Relations Office/Fiuman International Relations Bureau)[45], the closest thing to a foreign office the Fiuman regime had. While the actions of both Kochnitzky and De Ambris would greatly aid the Fiuman cause, it would be the actions of the former that would arguably have a grander effect on world history. Once he returned to Fiume (having previously left in December), Kochnitzky and several other officials[46] of the Ufficio Relazioni Esteriori initially set to work drumming up foreign support for the Fiuman regime, but soon enough Kochnitzky began to embark upon a far grander project: the League of Fiume[47].


D'Annunzio in discussion with Léon Kochnitzky, architect of the League of Fiume


D'Annunzio (center left) posing with a group of Fiuman Legionaries. Léon Kochnitzky is the third person to the right of D'Annunzio.

The League of Fiume, as Kochnitzky originally envisioned it, would be the means by which the old world order would be irrevocably shattered in order to establish a new world, one that would unite the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world against the corrupt imperialist plutocracies of the West[48]. In essence, this meant that the League would bring together a wide range of foreign nationalist movements and groups, united in their struggle for dignity and recognition[49]. While it would eventually evolve into something beyond Kochnitzky’s wildest dreams, for now it would enable the Fiuman regime to garner foreign support and recognition. As the Fiumans continued their struggle, back on the mainland Prime Minister Giolitti was busy trying to pick up the pieces of the fractious political situation left behind by the Nitti administration. The first order of business was the replacement of General Badoglio with the veteran Major General Enrico Caviglia, under the assumption that he would succeed where Badoglio had failed. Next came dealing with the PSI, which Giolitti assumed would be an easy task, since he was friends with Filippo Turati, one of the founding members of the party[50]. Unfortunately for Giolitti, the reformist faction under Turati had become increasingly marginalized and sidelined by the revolutionary maximalist faction following the Sixteenth Congress and the maximalists had no intention of cooperating with the liberal Giolitti.

Unable to negotiate with the PSI and USI[51], Giolitti was soon faced with another crisis in March, when FIAT workers in Turin went on strike over the management’s decision to move the clock forward by an hour, which meant that they’d have to go to work in darkness[52]. Sensing an opportunity to strike a blow against the government and further their goal of establishing a Soviet-style socialist republic, the PSI threw their support behind the Turin workers and called for another general strike and the occupation of factories throughout Italy. The USI were quick to follow their lead, being encouraged to join in by Errico Malatesta (popularly known as the Italian Lenin), who had returned from exile in December of 1919. This proved to be a massive boon to D’Annunzio and the Fiuman regime, as Il Vate could now rightfully claim that Italy itself was under threat from the socialist menace occupying the factories. This kept his more conservative allies from abandoning the city, as they had grown increasingly uncomfortable with the behavior of the younger, more radical legionaries. Additionally, while the socialists on the mainland occupied the factories of Italy, the nascent League of Fiume pulled off a major propaganda coup in late March and early April, when Léon Kochnitzky negotiated the sale of 250,000 rifles to Egyptian revolutionaries (the arms being shipped from Spain by way of Libya) in exchange for a statement of support for the Fiuman cause and Egyptian membership in the League[53]. While the shipment of arms would not be able to go through until June, by the time that happened, the situation on the mainland had become increasingly chaotic.

On May 1st, which marked the occasion of International Workers’ Day for socialists the world over, the Giolitti government sent 50,000 Carabinieri to Turin to disperse the socialists there[54]. Expecting an easy victory over the workers occupying the factory, the government was shocked when the soldiers were beaten back by the combined force of the workers and their allies, with the Red Guards acquitting themselves particularly well in the brawl. While he was disappointed that the attempted dispersal had escalated into violence, Prime Minister Giolitti was still intent on dealing with the unrest non-violently, sarcastically responding to FIAT founder Giovanni Agnelli later that month “Very well, I will give orders to the artillery to bomb it”. Under any other circumstances, that would have been the end of the discussion, and Giolitti would’ve continued to attempt a non-violent resolution to the situation. Unfortunately for the beleaguered Prime Minister, a particularly naive young aide overheard his remarks and believing that they were serious, relayed the orders to the remaining troops in Turin, eager to gain Giolitti’s approval and prove himself as capable[55]. In short order, the troops in Turin shelled the FIAT factory, killing an untold number of workers, and all hell broke loose. Italians everywhere were suddenly galvanized, as they flocked to the ranks of the socialists in Turin and the nationalists in Fiume.


Giovanni Giolitti, last Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy (pictured here in 1920)
Back in Fiume, the chaos erupting on the mainland was perfect for D’Annunzio, who had attacked the Giolitti administration from the start, hurling the same sort of vitriolic invectives that he’d thrown at the Nitti administration. He had warned of the duplicity of the government from the very start, and now they had given the order (the fact that it hadn’t been Giolitti’s direct order wasn’t known to most at the time) to shell the very citizens that they claimed to represent. His more conservative allies, for the most part, were stunned. While many of them had been dismayed by the radical attitudes and the lack of conventional discipline permitted by D’Annunzio, not to mention the authoritarian nature of the regime, none of them could have imagined the events that unfolded in Turin. Where they were wavering in their commitment to the Fiuman cause before, now they committed themselves fully to whatever D’Annunzio had planned. D’Annunzio was no longer just Il Vate, he was now Il Profeta, the Prophet[56], and he had grand plans for the future. As Italy rapidly spiraled into chaos and bloodshed, D’Annunzio began to write his magnum opus, his greatest work yet, and he would write it on the pages of history itself.

In the eight months since D’Annunzio and his legionaries had first occupied Fiume, their numbers had grown to 25,000 by the time the army shelled Turin in May, and those numbers grew even more in the aftermath of those events as the total forces of Fiume swelled to 30,000[57]. Meanwhile, with the situation on the mainland rapidly escalating out of his control, Prime Minister Giolitti was faced with yet another crisis, this time in the Italian protectorate of Albania. With the conclusion of the Great War and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Italy had established a protectorate over Albania, and Italian troops occupied much of Southern Albania. Over time, the Albanians had forced much of the Italian occupation out of their country, but Italian troops still occupied the Vlora[58] region of Albania under the command of General Settimio Piacentini. On June 4th, the Albanian government sent demands to Piacentini to evacuate the 25,000 men in and around Vlora, demands that the general promptly refused[59]. After the Albanian interior minister Ahmet Zogolli[60] sent further demands for the evacuation of Italian troops, demands that were once again rejected, the Albanians announced the creation of a National Defense Committee and began to gather volunteers for the purpose of expelling the foreign occupiers[61]. What followed was yet another shock for the Italian people, as the Albanians soon amassed roughly 15,000 irregulars, including a band of volunteers that had traveled all the way from the United States, and promptly drove the Italians back until the garrison was firmly barricaded within Vlora proper[62].

In the course of the Italian withdrawal into Vlora, the majority of the senior officers of the Italian garrison were killed by the Albanian irregulars[63]. As a result, the remaining Italian troops garrisoned within Vlora were left under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Domenico Mondelli of the Arditi’s IX Reparto d’Assalto (9th Assault Section/Division)[64]. Mondelli, an Italian of Tigrayan descent, had fought in both the Italo-Turkish War of 1911 and the Great War, gaining a reputation in the latter war first as a daring Captain in the Corpo Aeronautico Militare (Military Aviation Corps), then as a Major in the Bersaglieri, before finally ending up as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Arditi. With the government back in Italy paralyzed as a result of the situations with the PSI and the Fiumans, the Italian garrison trapped in Vlora was effectively left without orders from the mainland. To make matters worse, the marshlands of coastal Albania (where Vlora was located) were infested with malaria, a disease that quickly spread to the garrison, resulting in approximately 100 deaths per day[65]. By August 4th, the number of Italian casualties had grown to 2,000 dead[66] from a combination of fighting and disease, leaving Mondelli in an untenable position. Reinforcements from the mainland wouldn’t be coming for much of the foreseeable future, and the government’s incapacitation meant that any possible peace treaty with Albania would be similarly delayed.

Mondelli was now faced with a situation where he could either surrender his troops to the mercy of the Albanians (which would spare their lives but besmirch the honor of his beloved homeland) or remain trapped within a city where countless more Italian soldiers would die. Unwilling to surrender or sacrifice more Italian troops for a malarial Albanian port and fed up with the inability of the government to come up with a solution, Mondelli came up with an audacious plan. The besieged Italians would break out from Vlora during the night and proceed on a forced march along the Albanian coast, into and through Yugoslavia, before finally arriving in Fiume. There, he hoped, D’Annunzio and the Fiumans would greet their countrymen with open arms. Initially, Mondelli had chosen not to join in with Il Vate’s grandiose venture to avoid breaking the oath he’d made to the House of Savoy, but the actions of the royal government under Prime Minister Giolitti had changed things considerably. Rallying the 23,000 troops left under his command, even the ones stricken with malaria, Mondelli and his men marched for eight days straight, avoiding the Albanian and Yugoslavian authorities whenever possible[67]. When the exhausted troops finally arrived at Fiume, miraculously only having lost 2,385 men to disease, deprivation, and depredation[68], they were indeed welcomed by their countrymen with open arms, with D’Annunzio himself bestowing the moniker of L’Aquila Tigrina (The Tigrayan Eagle) upon the audacious Mondelli.


Albanian Irregulars with captured Italian Cannons.


Domenico Mondelli, Quadrumvir of Carnarist Italy and The Tigrayan Eagle.

Auspiciously enough, the arrival of Mondelli and his 20,615 deserters on August 12th coincided with D’Annunzio’s greatest declaration yet. Recognizing the instability of the situation on the mainland and the stalemate between Giolitti’s government and his own regime, the poet-turned-dictator declared that Fiume was an independent state, the Italian Regency of Carnaro. Accompanying this declaration was a decidedly Fiuman constitution, co-authored by Alceste De Ambris and D’Annunzio himself: the Charter of Carnaro[69]. A truly revolutionary document, the Charter combined anarchist, syndicalist, corporatist, and republican elements to lay the foundations for a state unlike any other. While the more conservative and monarchist elements of the regime were somewhat wary of the decidedly republican nature of the Charter, they stayed in Fiume anyway, confident in the leadership of D’Annunzio, who now assumed the title of Commandant as laid out in the Charter. But even with the newly-arrived troops from Albania bringing the total amount of Fiuman forces to the not-so-insignificant number of 50,615, there was still a major issue facing D’Annunzio’s regime. Namely, the problems that arose when trying to house and feed a veritable army of men during a blockade, not to mention ensuring that the native population of Fiume didn’t starve.

From the very beginning of the Fiuman enterprise, the fearsome Uscocchi (led by Guido Keller[70] and his second-in-command Lorenzo Secondari) had performed daring raids on both land and sea in order to help provide for the people of Fiume[71]. However, as their numbers grew in the aftermath of the Turin shelling and the defection of Lieutenant Colonel Mondelli, these raids became increasingly less effective. A solution had to be found and quickly, before the population of Fiume turned against the Commandant and his newly-created Executive Council[72]. By mid-September, a plot was being formed in Rome by the ANI supporters of D’Annunzio and Fiume, and a particularly daring one at that. Concerned over negotiations between the Italian and Yugoslavian governments intended to solve the Fiuman issue in order to free up the government to deal with the ongoing PSI-USI occupations (now in their fourth month), D’Annunzio’s ANI supporters planned a march from Fiume to Rome, where they would overthrow the Giolitti government. The fact that factories throughout Italy were being occupied by the PSI-USI alliance wasn’t taken into much consideration, since outside of the May 1st clash between the Red Guards and the Carabinieri and the shelling of Turin, the PSI-USI members and their worker allies hadn’t taken up arms in violent insurrection. Unbeknownst to the plotters however, the socialists and anarchists had begun secretly stockpiling weapons and ammunition, as well as training the original striking workers, in preparation for their own planned revolution and march on Rome.

Nevertheless, the planning for the Fiuman coup continued, in spite of the lack of knowledge of the Red[73] plot. The coup, given the typically D’Annunzian title of the March of the Iron Will[74], would unfold in two parts. First, the Esercito di Salvezza Nazionale[75] (the Army of National Salvation, another title thought up by the Commandant) would march from Fiume to Trieste, growing in number as they went, expecting the Royal Carabinieri to let them pass. Second, as they marched towards Rome, their supporters and allies throughout Italy would rise up, taking up arms and ousting the Reds occupying Italian factories in order to ensure that they wouldn’t face any resistance after the seizure of power. Garnering support from a number of businessmen, chief among them Oscar Sinigaglia and Giovanni Agnelli[76] (who planned to finance the venture), Fiume’s allies within the mainland began to stockpile weapons, fuel, and ammunition in preparation for the March. At the same time, the ANI and the Blueshirts (who were D’Annunzio’s most prominent allies within the mainland itself) ramped up recruitment methods, primarily in the north and northwest of Italy, aiming to undermine the PSI by siphoning off their supporters among the former veterans of the Great War. By the time the March of the Iron Will began in January of 1921, the ANI had succeeded at swaying a good number of the PSI’s supporters[77] to their cause, thanks to enthusiastic articles by Enrico Corridoni in the ANI’s newspaper (L’Idea Nazionale, or The National Idea) promulgating his theory of proletarian nationalism[78] alongside the tenets of the Charter of Carnaro.

The most important part of the planning for the March of the Iron Will, however, wasn’t the stockpiling of arms or the expanded recruitment efforts on the mainland, but the successful courting of various figures within the Italian armed forces. The newly-appointed Foreign Minister of Fiume, Harukichi Shimoi (Léon Kochnitzky had initially wanted the position, but he’d been convinced by the Commandant that his work with the League of Fiume in securing foreign support would be more valuable in the long-term) played an important role in this aspect of the conspiracy, using his diplomatic passport to move freely between Fiume and the mainland[79]. Before long, Shimoi’s diplomatic efforts bore fruit, as three prominent figures within the Regio Esercito (Royal Army) agreed to support the Iron March: Generals Gustavo Fara and Emilio De Bono and Colonel Rodolfo Graziani[80]. These men would later be (along with Domenico Mondelli) hailed by D’Annunzio as the Quadrumviri[81], “The four superhuman leaders who stood with our noble cause and helped save Italy, when lesser men balked at the task”. But the two men who would ultimately ensure the success of the March of the Iron Will, even more than the Quadrumviri, were Major General Enrico Caviglia and Admiral Enrico Millo, who were won over through correspondence with D’Annunzio personally. Admiral Millo, who had previously promised the Commandant that he wouldn’t abandon Dalmatia until it was firmly under Italian control, stayed true to his word and agreed to do whatever he could to subvert any efforts by Prime Minister Giolitti to bring the Regia Marina (Royal Navy) to bear against the Fiuman rebels. As for Major General Caviglia, he had begun to express doubts about his role in the handling of the Fiuman enterprise following the shelling of Turin on the orders of Prime Minister Giolitti, and was ultimately won over to the Fiuman cause by the charismatic words of D’Annunzio[82].


Enrico Corradini, one of the founders of the ANI and D'Annunzio's chief supporter and propagandist on the Italian mainland.

With the preparations for the March of the Iron Will well underway, the Commandant and his Executive Council decided upon the date of the grand venture: January 10th, 1921. The date chosen was a fitting one, since it had been on January 10th that Julius Caesar had crossed the Rubicon river in 49 BC, and D’Annunzio was nothing if not superstitious. In private, he remarked to his secretary Tom Antongini that “The March shall be our Rubicon, Tom, because like Caesar, we shall save Italy from those who would seek to bring her to ruin”. As the date of the March was announced to the followers of D’Annunzio in both Fiume and the mainland, rumors of the plot inevitably spread to the ears of the PSI’s Red Triad and Prime Minister Giolitti. The former, who were already planning their own March on Rome, took the threat from D’Annunzio seriously and proceeded to accelerate their plans for socialist revolution. The Prime Minister, on the other hand, was in disbelief that senior officers of the Royal Army would even consider joining up with a madman such as D’Annunzio and refused to investigate further in spite of General Badoglio’s (who was now Chief of Staff of the Royal Army) concerns, certain that the rumors were nothing more than idle chatter[83]. It would prove to be a fatal error in judgement in the months to come, as Italy descended into the flames of civil war.

Just how fatal an error that Giolitti’s decision to continue an attempt at peaceful reconciliation with the PSI-USI occupiers would soon become apparent on October 25th, when the Red Triad (along with Errico Malatesta) proclaimed the Repubblica Socialista Italiana dei Lavoratori (Italian Socialist Workers’ Republic)[84], or RSIL for short, in the north and northwest of the country, with the date of the proclamation chosen in clear emulation of the Bolsheviks’ October Revolution. The proclamation came as a shock to both the Giolitti government and the Fiuman plotters, though the latter group responded to it far better than the former, immediately going underground to continue their plans in secret. With Giolitti and his government paralyzed by inaction in response to such a shocking turn of events, General Badoglio took advantage of the situation and removed Giolitti from power, ostensibly to ensure that the government and the royal family weren’t placed in any further danger. To make matters worse, news soon arrived that a massive group of rebels had departed from Turin, composed of 100,000 armed workers and Red Guards[85] marching towards Rome, led by none other than Filippo Corridoni, the Red Triad, and the Italian Lenin (Malatesta) himself. With many of the Carabinieri deserting to either the Fiuman cause or the RSIL and the Regio Esercito still racing to the mainland in defense of the country, Badoglio made the drastic decision to evacuate the royal family and court (as well as Pope Pius XI, who faced violence at the hands of the anti-clerical Red Guards) to Sardinia[86].

As the forces of the RSIL celebrated their conquest of the Eternal City on November 5th, General Badoglio was frantically trying to find a solution to the position the legitimate government found itself in. Diplomatic messages sent to the British and French were being ignored[87], and a plea for aid from D’Annunzio and the Fiumans was ignored by the Commandant. In desperation and assuming that the Fiumans would disperse if faced with a show of military might, he sent orders to Major General Caviglia to attack Fiume alongside a naval bombardment from the battleship Andrea Doria in mid-November[88]. Historians have long speculated on why Badoglio chose such an unrealistic course of action, since he must have known that Caviglia’s forces were vastly outnumbered by the Fiuman ones, and any attempt at attacking the city would’ve been suicidal even if Caviglia hadn’t already been turned to the Fiuman cause. Nevertheless, Badoglio sent the orders only to find out that not only had Caviglia switched sides, but that the crew of the Andrea Doria had refused to follow through with the bombardment of Fiume, presumably under the orders of Admiral Millo[89]. Even worse, he discovered to his dismay that Caviglia, in preparation for the March of the Iron Will, had managed to send the Regio Esercito’s only battle-tested tanks to Trieste prior to the formation of the SWRI[90]. Included among the tanks diverted by Caviglia was the formidable FIAT 2000 heavy tank, which hadn’t seen active service during the Great War, but was still more than a match for what few tanks the Regio Esercito still had[91].


The FIAT 2000 Heavy Tank, dubbed "L'Arcangelo" in honor of D'Annunzio and driven by Gastone Brilli-Peri, commonly known as "The Disciple of Speed".

For the rest of 1920, the situation remained somewhat static as the RSIL gradually moved the bulk of its forces from the north and northwest towards Rome and Central Italy, assuming that the Fiumans had been effectively isolated and removed from the equation. Meanwhile, in Southern Italy, Badoglio and what remained of the Regio Esercito[92] consolidated their forces to prepare for the first real military conflict between Italians since the unification by the House of Savoy many decades prior. By January 1921, the two sides had settled into a stalemate of sorts, with neither faction attempting to break the lull as they geared up for the inevitable moment when all hell would break loose. As it turned out, that moment would come on January 10th, when the March of the Iron Will began. After a rousing speech by D’Annunzio to his forces[93], the Esercito di Salvezza Nazionale began its march to Trieste, with many of them singing the Canto degli Arditi (the Song of the Arditi) as they did so. After reaching Trieste in roughly half a day, the Esercito di Salvezza Nazionale marched into Italy proper, taking the unprepared and comparatively inexperienced forces of the RSIL by surprise. The nationalists of the ANI that had gone underground over the previous four months suddenly rose up against the socialist enemy, killing a great number of them and showing no mercy, even when they tried in vain to surrender.

In the region of Liguria, Gustavo Fara led his troops to victory over the enemy from his hometown of Nervi, while Emilio De Bono and Rodolfo Graziani rose up to oust the socialists from Lombardy and Parma respectively, and in Ferrara a 25 year-old veteran named Italo Balbo[94] rallied the local Blueshirts under his leadership. By mid-to-late February, the Esercito di Salvezza Nazionale and their mainland allies had all but crushed the socialist forces in the north and northwest, securing the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Aosta Valley, and portions of Emilia Romagna and Tuscany for their noble cause. In the wake of the March of the Iron Will, a great number of Futurists led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Ferruccio Vecchi[95] flocked to the north and the nationalist cause, eager to do their part in overturning the old order. While further combat wouldn’t come for a good few months afterwards as the three warring factions consolidated their grip over their respective territory, the Italian Civil War had nevertheless begun. As the world watched in equal parts terror and fascination, Italy descended into chaos. The old order would be overturned, and Europe would never be the same.

Chapter III Footnotes
This chapter has a whopping 95 footnotes (I did a double check and it turned out to be 95 instead of 94) of varying lengths, so feel free to ignore them if you so choose. Apologies for that, as I'll try to keep footnotes under 20 in the future, but there was just so much to condense into one chapter. I could've split the chapter up into a series of chapters, but I wanted to go ahead and set the stage for one of the major conflicts of the 1920s right away, so I could switch gears and cover other, equally interesting locations. Edit: Yes, I did make the footnotes un-spoilered because I'm an egotistical reputation-seeking bastard. Plus, I wanted to bump the total word count up by a shit ton. They're entirely optional to read.

[1] In OTL, a great deal of territory taken from the Central Powers by the Entente (especially territory sought after by Britain and France) was made into League of Nation Mandates. Here, with the League of Nations being non-existent, they're outright annexed and brought into the British and French colonial empires.

[2] This isn't strictly accurate since the Kingdom of Italy did gain a good deal of territory as a result of the Entente's victory, but as far as the nationalists and maximalists are concerned, the Kingdom didn't get enough, particularly with regards to the inability of the Italian delegation to secure northern Dalmatia and Fiume.

[3-6] All of this remains the same as in OTL, no changes there.

[7] In OTL, Wilson didn't have his stroke until October 1919, by which point the Paris Peace Conference was effectively over. In TTL, Wilson has his stroke much earlier, directly prior to his travelling to Paris, and vice-president Thomas R. Marshall is the head of the American delegation in Paris. While he tries to live up to the spirit of Wilson's 14 Points, he ultimately doesn't press for the League of Nations and doesn't do much to enforce the 12th point regarding the partition of the Ottoman Empire and the autonomy of the non-Turkish nationalities under Ottoman rule.

[8] Again, not much changes here from OTL, with the exception that the extremes of both sides of the political spectrum are openly decrying the mutilated victory.

[9] Here we have one of the many butterflies caused within international socialism by the events of the POD. Whereas the PSI expelled the revolutionary maximalists such as Mussolini and Corridoni in OTL for their interventionist stance, here the revolutionary syndicalists have a lot more sway and influence among the party.

[10] Again, not a whole lot of changes from OTL, the very concept of mutilated victory was born out of the inability of the Liberal-Democratic government to acquire these regions for Italy.

[11] Radical in this instance is referring to the Italian Radical Party, which was a "radical liberal, republican, secularist, and social-liberal party". In other words, a centre-left party of the establishment.

[12] This is true to OTL, no changes here.

[13] While the concept of mutilated victory was mainly promoted by the nationalists in OTL, here it's promoted by both the nationalists and the revolutionary maximalists due to the PSI taking a strong interventionist stance during the Great War.

[14] This is all true to OTL and marked the beginning of the Biennio Rosso (or Red Biennium/Two Red Years), which was arguably the closest that Italy came to seeing a Soviet-style revolution. In TTL, it's the start of what Carnarist historiographers call the Anni di Piombo, or the Years of Lead.

[15] This is also true to OTL, and the possibility of an Italian revolution can't be dismissed especially since contemporary observers noted that Italy seemed to be on the brink of revolution in 1918. Arguably what prevented this from taking place was the fact that the PSI and the CGL refused to commit to the enterprise fully in 1920.

[16] As noted above, Mussolini wasn't expelled from the PSI like he was in OTL. Corridoni on the other hand, was one of the few characters that I deigned significant enough to change their OTL fate, which was to get shot in the head in 1915 during an Italian assault on the Austro-Hungarians.

[17] Ah, Gabriele D'Annunzio, what a truly larger-than-life figure. There's been a lot written about him and his impact on history, but this footnote isn't about that. Rather, this footnote concerns the popular misconception of D'Annunzio as an incompetent arch-hedonist who couldn't lead a political movement to save his life, a misconception that I've determined to be unequivocally false. The root of this misconception is based on the rather licentious and radical nature of the society that developed in Fiume, a society that was centered around him and made up of fanatically loyal legionaries, as well as D'Annunzio's activities in retirement after the Impresa di Fiume until his death in 1938. As I've stated previously, my characterization and depiction of D'Annunzio is based off of three separate books on the man, including the definitive English-language book on the Impresa di Fiume, D'Annunzio: The First Duce by Michael Ledeen. The other two books that I'm using are John Robert Woodhouse's Gabriele D'Annunzio: Defiant Archangel and Frances Winwar's (who was a contemporary of D'Annunzio and his associates) Wingless Victory - A Biography of Gabriele D'Annunzio and Eleanora Duse.

The first indication that D'Annunzio's reputation as an arch-hedonist is wrong comes from Ledeen, who notes that while there was a not insubstantial drug culture in Fiume and there was plenty of experimentation with narcotics and a desire among the more radical elements to build a new society there, D'Annunzio himself still urged a sense of chastity among his men and that the main consumers of narcotics within the city were the young officers and radical legionaries there, not the Commandant. The second indication comes from Woodhouse, who notes on page 294 of his biography that it was a well-known fact that D'Annunzio consumed very little alcohol when he was speaking out in favor of annexing Fiume and northern Dalmatia, and given the fact that this comes a mere 21 pages before the chapter focusing on the Impresa di Fiume, I'm of the opinion that this trend continued during his time in Fiume. Furthermore, Woodhouse notes on page 364 in the chapter on D'Annunzio's life after the Fiuman expedition that his possible experimentation with drugs only started during his post-Fiume years, when he was out of the political limelight and in retirement. Finally, Winwar's only mention of D'Annunzio using drugs in her entire biography was well before the Fiuman expedition, and it was only brought up in relation with his recovery from an illness. Prior to his retirement, he seemed to view drug use and addiction as something tragic, as Winwar recounts that he tried in vain to break the spell of morphine addiction that one of his many lovers, Marchesa Alessandra Carlotti di Rudini, had fallen under after a major surgery.

Of course, this isn't to say that D'Annunzio didn't indulge his love of women during his time in Fiume, as Ledeen notes that he would bring a night club singer, Lily de Montressor into the back of the Fiuman municipal palace for sex on a regular basis, for which she was paid 500 lire, not to mention the fact that his constant companion during those days (and indeed, for the rest of his life) was the pianist Luisa Baccara. In any case, the idea that D'Annunzio was nothing more than an incompetent arch-hedonist who couldn't be an effective and charismatic leader is false. While it's true that he didn't care for bureaucracy and took a rather hands-off approach to his rule of Fiume, he was still a man who brooked no compromise, commanded the personal loyalty of elite veterans of the Great War, and spoke so fiercely that Walter Duranty (of Holodomor denial fame who will also feature in a series of chapters covering the Italian Civil War), who was the foreign correspondent for the New York Times in 1919, was left shaken and wrote about it with such eloquence that the Literary Digest decided to reprove him editorially. Additionally, Winwar notes that no one was denied access to the Commandant in Fiume, with Sundays set aside for the poor women of Fiume who had sold all they had and still needed to provide for their hungry children. In other words, the man was a truly charismatic and compassionate leader who doesn't get enough credit in alternate history and popular culture as a whole.

[18] Alongside being one of the leading figures among the ANI, D'Annunzio's influence there can't be discounted, as one of the founders of the ANI, Enrico Corridoni, was a fervent follower of D'Annunzio.

[19] In addition to being the original planned date for the entrance into Fiume, September 11th was also the date of D'Annunzio's Bakar Mockery during the Great War, and the superstitious D'Annunzio viewed it as an auspicious choice for his grand entrance into Fiume. In OTL, the invasion was delayed until September 12th due to D'Annunzio being stricken with a fever that kept him confined to a makeshift bed, but in TTL, he never catches that fever and the plan goes along as scheduled. Additionally, because of his successful invasion on the 11th, D'Annunzio's uncompromising side comes out in full force, resulting in a number of divergences from OTL. I feel like it's a narrative element that fits the world of OPAS, so I'm running with it.

[20] The rough estimate of the total number of initial troops that D'Annunzio and his allies brought into Fiume ranges from 2000 to 2500. For the purposes of this timeline, I'm going with the maximum number of troops at 2500.

[21] The original name of Ronchi dei Legionari, which was where D'Annunzio and his troops departed on their march to Fiume. In OTL it was renamed in 1925 and the same thing will happen in TTL.

[22] The sheer amount of colorful personages that entered Fiume alongside D'Annunzio simply can't be ignored, given how legendary a reputation the Italian Regency of Carnaro obtained in OTL. Harukichi Shimoi was a Japanese poet and author (much like D'Annunzio) who moved to Italy and worked as a Japanese teacher at the Naples Eastern University. In 1917, he enlisted in the Regio Esercito and became a member of the Arditi, even teaching some of his fellow troops some karate. It was during this time that he met D'Annunzio and the two men became fast friends (with Shimoi even promoting the construction of a temple in Tokyo dedicated to D'Annunzio), and D'Annunzio nicknamed him "Comrade Samurai" and "The Samurai of Fiume" during the Fiuman expedition. Mario Carli was a Left Futurist and former Ardito who joined D'Annunzio and later on initially supported Mussolini and Fascism in OTL, being one of the speakers at the original Sansepolcro rally alongside Mussolini and Marinetti, before dissenting from the movement as one of the more "left-wing fascists". Ettore Muti is another figure from OTL who's better known for his extremely daring exploits as during WWII. By the time of D'Annunzio's Fiuman adventure, he was only 17 and had already distinguished himself as an Ardito during the Great War, and D'Annunzio bestowed the moniker of Gim dagli occhi verdi ("Green-Eyed Jim").

It stuck with him (at least until he distinguished himself even further during the Spanish Civil War) and D'Annunzio even told him that "You are the expression of Superhuman values, a weightless impetus, a boundless offering, a fistful of incense over the embers, the scent of a pure soul", and that was high praise coming from D'Annunzio. Nino Host-Venturi was a Fiuman native who was an Italian irredentist and a defector to the Italian side during the Great War, distinguishing himself and earning the rank of Captain in first the Alpini and then the Arditi. During the Impresa di Fiume, he helped convince D'Annuzio to lead it and worked as a diplomatic envoy to Mussolini under the auspices of Giovanni Giuriati, and sought to enlist the aid of Croat, Montenegrin, and Albanian separatists in order to prevent the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from consolidating as a nation. Later, during Mussolini's regime, he became an outspoken proponent of forced Italianization among the non-Italian populace. Readers of Pirate Utopia will recognize Lorenzo Secondari as the fictional protagonist of that story (though he shares a surname with one of the Arditi del Popolo's founders, Argo Secondari, curiously enough) and that's the fictional POV character I mentioned previously in the thread. He won't be a carbon copy of Sterling's character, because I'm not a hack, but will retain some of his backstory from Pirate Utopia, mainly his Turinese origins, his status as a war veteran who nearly died in combat, superhuman outlook, and piratical temperament. The main changes to his character are his rank as one of the Arditi during the Great War rather than as an artillery engineer and his role within D'Annunzio's regime as a member of La Disperata (The Desperate Ones), D'Annunzio's personal bodyguards in addition to being a member of the Uscocchi raiders.

Francesco Giunta was a Fascist propagandist and organizer during the early days of the movement, who served as one of D'Annunzio's points of contact with Mussolini during the Impresa di Fiume. There's not much to talk about with him that you can't gleam from his page on Wikipedia to be honest, other than that he was fervently anti-Yugoslav and was responsible for the more brutal repressions in Occupied Yugoslavia during WWII. Finally, Guido Keller was D'Annunzio's most loyal follower and arguably the most extreme of his legionaries. If you want a good OTL analogy for the relationship between the two, Keller was to D'Annunzio what Balbo was to Mussolini. In addition to being his most loyal follower, he was invaluable to the Fiuman expedition as a whole, acquiring vehicles for the initial invasion of the city, ransacking the Yugoslav countryside, raiding naval vessels to provide for the Fiuman cause, and overall maintaining a reputation as a gentleman, daring aviator, and refined dandy. Also, not gonna lie, he was pretty damn hot.

[23] While the more conservative supporters of D'Annunzio's adventure in Fiume weren't nearly as colorful or eccentric as the more radical legionaries, they were just as distinguished, if not more so. Sante Ceccherini was a Major General who'd distinguished himself in both the Italo-Turkish War and the Great War, as well as being an Olympic fencer (and according to unearthed OVRA files, the homosexual lover of his subordinate Achille Starace) and one of the organizers of the OTL March of Rome. Lieutenant Colonel Carlo Reina was a staunch conservative who was opposed to any sort of revolutionary drift in Fiume as the Fiuman Chief of Staff, trying in vain to maintain military discipline within the city, and was ultimately kicked out of the city by D'Annunzio after the latter found out that Reina had secretly requested Carabinieri from the mainland to help secure order. Now, obviously this doesn't happen in TTL, due to the advanced concerns about the militant socialists back on the mainland and the hardline stance adopted by the government. Silvio Montanarella isn't really noteworthy outside of being married to D'Annunzio's daughter, so there's no need to cover him much. Reginaldo Giuliani was a Dominican friar-turned-hardened soldier who joined the Arditi during the Great War and fought bravely, writing a book about his experiences after Fiume fell and taking part in the March on Rome. In the end, he rejoined the Regio Esercito during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in order to help lead a crusade against "heretics and infidels", where he fell in the First Battle of Tembien while attempting to rescue wounded soldiers. The final three conservative allies mentioned were all highly-decorated veterans of the Great War: Ernesto Cabruna was a daredevil fighter ace who fought swarms of enemy planes singlehandedly on two separate occasions in 1918 and even went back into the air with a broken collarbone, Luigi Rizzo was a torpedo boat commander who managed to sink no fewer than two Austro-Hungarian battleships (including the SMS Szent István, which was arguably the most famous of the Austro-Hungarian battleships) and took part in the Bakar Mockery, and Francesco Baracca was Italy's top fighter ace of the Great War with 34 aerial victories. Much like Filippo Corridoni, I chose to spare Baracca from his OTL death for narrative purposes.

[24] The Nitti government in OTL actually initiated a blockade of Fiume, but let the Red Cross in to help provide for the citizens of Fiume, while here they chose not to since D'Annunzio immediately started to assume dictatorial powers and Nitti was firmly opposed to any sort of dictatorship.

[25] The quote here is is an actual quote from D'Annunzio (albeit switched around from "starving children and women" to "starving women and children") the only difference being that the accusation is one that the Nitti government can't really deny.

[26] As mentioned in footnote 18, Enrico Corradoni was one of the original founders of the ANI and a fervent follower of D'Annunzio. In OTL, the person in charge of fundraising for Fiume was Mussolini, who raised something like 3 million lire for the Fiuman cause, with the first amount of money (857,842 lire) arriving in Fiume in October 7th, 1919. Later on, Mussolini would end up being accused of stealing a great deal of the accumulated funds for his own political ambitions. The same fundraising happens in TTL, although Corradoni doesn't end up stealing the money for his own use, being such a fervent follower of D'Annunzio and the Fiuman cause.

[27] The Office of Direct Strikes (Ledeen calls them the Office of Armed Coups), also known as the Uscocchi (after the medieval Croatian pirates of the same name, the Uskoks), were a band of daring raiders led by Guido Keller who were the main procurers of supplies and funds for the Fiuman regime.

[28] As noted in footnote 17, this was something that D'Annunzio did in OTL as accounted by Winwar, showing a remarkably compassionate side to D'Annunzio.

[29] This is also from OTL, and the massive coup that this was for the Fiuman rebels can't be understated. According to the New York Times when the hijacking occurred (carried out by the leader of the seamen's trade union, Giuseppe Giulietti), the haul of the Persia included "a cargo of 30,000 rifles, 10,000,000 cartridges, 20 batteries of mountain guns, and two heavy guns" headed for Vladivostok and the White Army in Russia.

[30] Actually happened in OTL, as noted by Winwar.

[31] The total number of troops that flocked to Fiume varies between sources, but the Italian wikipedia page on the
Fiuman Armed Forces notes that Lieutenant Colonel Francesco Lorenzo Pullé assessed the number of D'Annunzio's troops on November 18th, 1919. The troops under D'Annunzio seemed to be well-trained and organized, with 615 officers and 10,158 regular legionaries.

[32-33] This is more or less the same as OTL, though with more collaboration between the socialists and anarchists. The Sixteenth Congress went much the same way in OTL, although because of the earlier adoption of revolutionary maximalist principles, the maximalists are already seeking to actively establish a Soviet-style socialist republic, which they only adopted after the Sixteenth Congress in OTL.

[34] As in OTL, Mussolini is representative of the revolutionary national syndicalist faction of the PSI, while Gramsci and Bordiga are representative of the communist faction of the PSI.

[35] This is the same as OTL.

[36] In OTL, Nitti only resigned in June 1920 because of his failures to effectively manage the crisis. In TTL, the combination of his hardline stance against Fiume alongside his inability to solve the economic crisis and the gains of the PSI in the 1919 General Election means that he's forced to resign much sooner to make way for Giolitti's administration in 1920. Another thing to note is that Major General Caviglia replaced Badoglio on December 20th of 1920 in OTL, whereas here he replaces him only after Giolitti comes to power.

[37] This is an actual quote from OTL in the Times ridiculing D'Annunzio as a madman.

[38] This is true to OTL and plays a key part in the success of D'Annunzio's endeavors in TTL.

[39] I'm not a huge fan of the whole Been There, Shaped History trope when it comes to fictional characters, but in this instance, I'll allow it since Secondari plays a key role in the narrative as a viewpoint character. Anyway, in OTL, Ricardo Zanella was the leader of the autonomist faction within Fiume who successfully plastered the text of the modus vivendi on the walls of the city. Here, since D'Annunzio is already suppressing the Fiuman National Council, the legionaries are more vigilant and put a stop to Zanella's agitation. Permanently.

[40-41] As noted above, D'Annunzio's authoritarian and uncompromising side comes to bear from the very start, violently suppressing the National Council of Fiume in order to cement his power early on. The Giuriati quote is the same as in OTL, although in OTL he said this after D'Annunzio rejected the modus vivendi.

[42] This was D'Annunzio's actual name for Fiume in OTL. He viewed the city as an eternally suffering woman, only saved from further torment by the bold and gallant actions of himself and his legionaries. In Fiume, the old world would end and new ways of life would develop. Amazing stuff, no?

[43] In OTL, D'Annunzio's Fiume became legendary for the new society that sprouted up there, with the legionaries experimenting with drugs, new forms of dress, radical ideas, nudism, open sexuality, religious freedom, the marriage of friars to women, and more. While the more conservative military officers tried to maintain a strict form of military discipline among the legionaries, they weren't able to succeed in that task. Indeed, part of what caused many of the more conservative troops to depart from the city in OTL because of the radical nature that was developing, though this doesn't happen in TTL because of the increased socialist threat back in the mainland. That being said, the legionaries still maintained an exemplary discipline, just not one based on a traditional military hierarchy. This will prove to work to their advantage during the civil war.

[44] Léon Kochnitzky and Alceste De Ambris were, aside from Keller, the more radical figures in the Fiuman regime in OTL, and they both tried to drum up support for the Fiuman cause (foreign support in Kochnitzky's case and domestic Italian support in De Ambris' case), though their ideas clashed somewhat, with De Ambris viewing Kochnitzky's efforts as running contradictory to his own. Alceste De Ambris was a supporter and collaborator with D'Annunzio and helped co-author the Charter of Carnaro with him.

[45] The only real thing to note about this footnote is that the literal English translation (from Google Translate) of the Ufficio Relazioni Esteriori is the External Relations Bureau, while Ledeen/Wikipedia calls it the Fiuman International Relations Bureau.

[46] These other officials are listed by Ledeen as Henry Furst (who convinced D'Annunzio to recognize the Irish Republic), Eugenio Coselschi (better known for being the driving mind behind the Fascist International in OTL, although D'Annunzio reportedly detested him for being a sycophant), and finally Ludovico Toeplitz and Giovanni Bonmartini (who I can't find any information about).

[47] Like a lot of the institutions and ventures created during D'Annunzio's rule in Fiume, the League of Fiume was almost utopian in its goals, which will be outlined more in the following footnotes. In the years after the Civil War, it'll morph into something grander than it was originally intended to be, and be the center of an Italian-led Carnarist (and Carnarist-adjacent) power bloc, to rival the Entente, the Comintern, and the unnamed Asian alliance.

[48] This is accurate to OTL, however I feel the need to give a bit more elaboration on what inspired Kochnitzky's League, so I will do that here. The League of Fiume was intended to shatter the corrupt imperialist and plutocratic world order (and it will in this ATL), but the main basis for Kochnitzky's vision of the League was a speech D'Annunzio gave during the early days of the Fiuman endeavor called Italy and Life. Seeing as how it's nigh-impossible to find the text of it outside of Ledeen's book on Fiume, I've decided to post it here in its entirety so y'all can get a better understanding of the League's stated goals.

"All the rebels of all the races will be gathered under our sign. And the feeble will be armed. And force will be used against force. And the new crusade of all poor and impoverished nations, the new crusade of all poor and free men against the usurping nations, the accumulators of all wealth, against the races of prey and against the caste of usurers who yesterday exploited war in order to exploit peace today, the new crusade will reestablish that true justice that has been crucified by an icy maniac with fourteen dull nails and with a hammer borrowed from the German Chancellor....
Fiumans, Italians... when you proclaimed in the face of the Supreme Council that history written with the most generous Italian blood could not be stopped at Paris... you announced the fall of the old world.
Therefore, our cause is the greatest and the most beautiful which today has been directed against the evil of the world. It extends from Ireland to Egypt, from Russia to the United States, from Rumania to India. It gathers the white races and the colored peoples, reconciles the gospel with the Koran...
Every insurrection is an effort of expression, an effort of creation. It does not matter if it is interrupted in the blood, provided that the survivors transmit the instinct... to the future.

... For all veterans, carriers of the cross who have climbed their Calvary for four years, it is time to rush toward the future."

[49] In other words, the League of Fiume was intended as a sort of anti-League of Nations. In the world of OPAS, where the League of Nations doesn't exist, the League of Fiume is the closest thing to such an organization, and unlike the LoN in OTL, it lives up to its stated purpose. The broad range of movements that the League counted on support from included (to quote from the Wikipedia article on it):

I. – Representatives of oppressed peoples: Fiume of Italy, the Islands, Dalmatia, Albania, German Austria, Montenegro, Croatia, German Irredentists now under Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, France and Italy (with reservations: autonomy) and the Pseudo-League of Nations, Catalonia, Malta, Gibraltar, Ireland, the Flemish. Islam, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, India, Persia, Afghanistan. India, Burma, China, Korea, The Philippines, Hawaii, Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico.[5] Oppressed races: The Chinese in California, the Blacks of America. The Israeli problem.
II. – Representatives of the countries unjustly damaged by the Treaty of Versailles: Russia, Romania, Belgium, Portugal, Siam, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, The Holy See.[6]
III. – Delegations of parties and groups sympathizing with "Fiumanism", mainly Italian, French, English and American.
It was a patently D'Annunzian project, one that was revolutionary and internationalist in nature, and one that ultimately succeeds in its goals in this ATL.

[50] This is true to OTL, Giolitti did strike up a friendship with Turati and sought on more than one occasion a strategic alliance with the PSI. Part of the reason why Italy didn't descend into chaos in OTL like it does here is because Giolitti was able to exploit the fact that the majority of striking workers during the Red Biennium weren't supported by the PSI or the CGIL.

[51] As mentioned in the chapter, Giolitti tried to remain peaceful and wait out the striking workers rather than suppress them violently. The anarchists of the USI were supportive of the striking workers while the PSI and CGIL weren't.

[52] This was known as the Clock Strike or the Strike of the Hands in OTL as well as TTL and didn't result in any factory occupations and was dispersed by May 1st.

[53] This happened in OTL, as Ledeen recounts (and speculates that some of the weapons sold were from the Persia), with the only difference in this ATL being that Kochnitzky secures a concrete statement of support from the Egyptians as well as Egyptian membership in the League.

[54] In OTL, the strikers were dispersed by the Carabinieri, while here the strikers (assisted by the anarchists of the USI and the PSI's Red Guards) successfully manage to beat them back and leads to earlier factory occupations and strikes throughout Italy.

[55] And finally, this is where things go absolutely tits up for the Liberal-Democratic royal government. It's a convenient narrative tool to have an overeager aide communicate what he interprets as genuine orders from Giolitti to the military, who go ahead and fire artillery on the striking workers and their allies. It's a galvanizing act that sends already discontent Italian citizens flocking to the ranks of the Fiumans and the socialist-anarchist coalition.

[56] I can't find any concrete information on when D'Annunzio started to be called the Prophet in addition or in place of the Poet, so for narrative purposes, I'm having it come about as a result of the shelling of Turin.

[57] I'll openly admit that these numbers are arbitrary, but also not what I'd consider unreasonable, given the fact that the total Italian population was a little over 35 million in 1920.

[58] This was the same in OTL, and the Italians called the region Valona.

[59] Same as OTL, nothing much to say other than that.

[60] Better known as King Zog I in OTL.

[61] This is the same as OTL, as the Albanians had no actual military at the time the Vlora War started.

[62] Also true to OTL, made even more shocking by the fact that the Albanians were fighting what amounted to a guerrilla insurrection, and one that involved some irregulars that weren't even armed with modern weaponry like the Italians (using a variety of weapons such as "swords, sticks, bricks, shovels, old-fashioned front-loading muskets, and even their bare hands"). Definitely not the Regio Esercito's finest hour, and a large reason for Mussolini's later invasion of Albania in OTL. You can read a good English language account of the war written in 2008 by an Albanian-American here. It's fascinating, really.

[63] This is done for narrative purposes, as the officer who becomes the senior commander of the Italian garrison (Domenico Mondelli) plays a significant role in Italy in this ATL. In OTL, the only senior officer killed by the Albanians was General Enrico Gotti, while the rest of the Italian high command survived.

Domenico Mondelli, one of the major Italian viewpoint characters alongside Lorenzo Secondari and Gastone Brilli-Peri, is honestly one of the unsung heroes of Italy and it's a shame. Adopted by Colonel Attillio Mondelli of the Regio Esercito in the Italian retreat during the First Italo-Abyssinian War (he was the son of an Italian soldier and an Eritrean woman), he followed in his adoptive father's footsteps and became a decorated soldier during the Italo-Turkish War and the Great War, as well as being the first Black aviator in Italy. His illustrious career during the Great War is all true to OTL, as well as his deployment to Albania during the Vlora War, and the only reason he didn't go further in the Regio Esercito was due to the 1925 ban on Freemasons serving in public employment in addition to discrimination in the army where his promotion to Colonel was blocked. He went on to join the Blackshirts as a reservist, reaching the rank of Consul General. After World War II he re-enlisted as a reserve officer and eventually was promoted to the rank of General in the late 60s and was decorated with the Italian Republic's highest order of merit in 1970. He lived in Rome until his death in 1974 and became a Master Freemason of the 33rd Degree. He was an absolute legend who's been forgotten by history, a perfect example of how Italian colonial subjects could've been fully integrated as Italians, and the fact that he was forgotten is a shame that I intend to correct in OPAS. The author of the in-universe book on the Italian Civil War, Mauro Valeri, is the author of the sole biography on Mondelli in the present. Currently the book is only in Italian, but I wish it had an English translation.

[65] This figure is true to OTL, as confirmed in Giovanni Giolitti's personal diary.

[66] This is also true to OTL.

[67] It takes about 7.7 days to travel from Vlora to Rijeka (modern-day Fiume) on foot, according to Google Maps. For narrative purposes, the Vlora War in OPAS doesn't end the same time it did in OTL (August 4th instead of August 2nd), so Mondelli and his men arrive in Fiume on the 12th, the same day that D'Annunzio declares the independence of the Italian Regency of Carnaro.

[68] This was based off of RNG, with the range set from 1000 to 4000, a range I feel is acceptable given the fact that Albania at the time was hostile to the Italians and infested with malarial marshes. The Yugoslavs were also not fond of the Italians at this time, for obvious reasons, so Mondelli does his best to lead his men out from Vlora to the safe haven of Fiume.

[69] The
Charter of Carnaro is a really unique document in the history of political constitutions. I'm currently reading it as part of my plans for Carnarism, and it's really striking how unique it is when compared to contemporary works such as the Futurist Manifesto, the Futurist Political Manifesto, and the Fascist Manifesto. While De Ambris wrote a good deal of it, the drafts he came up with were always shown to D'Annunzio in the months prior to its completion, who gave it a lot of it's flair. Ledeen comments that it's somewhat syndicalist in wording and has some secular views on religion in the same vein as Marx, which I agree with to an extent, but it's just as much a corporatist document and a uniquely D'Annunzian text, one that's radical and transcends the left-right political spectrum. Give it a read, it's fascinating.

[70] I've seen it stated that the actual leader of the Uscocchi was one Captain Romano Manzutto, but since I can't reliably verify that, I'm going with Guido Keller, since he's associated with them.

[71] This is true to OTL, as the Uscocchi raided a great deal of ships and committed daring acts in support of Fiume. One of the ships that was raided, the Trepani, was said to contain "600 sacks of flour, 330 sacks of pasta, 100 sacks of chickpeas, 278 coffee bags, 224 baskets of cheese, as well as hay, oats, bran, building timber, 10,000 pairs of shoes, and even 40 cases of fire extinguishers!". Another ship that was captured, the Cogne, "silk, cotton soft goods, automobiles, airplanes, Swiss watches, and other miscellaneous goods" that D'Annunzio sold to raise funds for insurrections from Balkan separatists, and the ship itself was eventually ransomed for 12 million lire from a group of industrialists. Even more daring than these maritime raids were the ones on land, where the Uscocchi kidnapped General Arturo Nigra, who'd been critical of Fiume from the very beginning, as well as the adventure of the "Horse of the Apocalypse", where the Uscocchi stole 46 healthy horses from a military stable in protest of the imprisonment of ex-legionaries and when given demands to return them, returned 46 emaciated horses from Fiume instead.

[72] To put things into perspective, the total population of Fiume 35,839 inhabitants in September 1919, when D'Annunzio and his legionaries entered the city. There's plenty of economic factors that I don't discuss in this chapter for expediency's sake, but generally the population was able to be fed thanks to the Uscocchi's raids. However, with the addition of Mondelli and his men who arrive in August, the total population would then be 86,454 when you count both legionaries and civilians. Even if the Uscocchi continue to be successful when raiding civilian shipping, there's no feasible way to continue to feed and clothe and pay all those people. It's just not possible. Which then leads the Fiumans to begin to plot their March on Rome to coup the Giolitti government, thus relieving the civilian population of the strain on them.

[73] "Red" is a bit of a misnomer here, since the occupied factories are made up of both socialist and anarchist elements, but the nationalists of Fiume don't really care enough to see the difference between the two, even with Alceste De Ambris being an anarcho-socialist figure.

[74] This is an obvious Allohistorical Allusion (something I'm fond of in alt-hist, as long as it's not overdone) to the Fascist propaganda event of the same name during the final days of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.

[75] Technically, this is also a misnomer, since the "Army" is more like an alliance of nationalistic groups, but it's cooler to call it an army, so I'm sticking with it.

[76] Oscar Sinigaglia was planning to fund the coup in OTL, while most other corporate figures stayed neutral. Here, he's joined by Giovanni Agnelli (who you'll remember as the founder of FIAT), who's become disillusioned by the Giolitti government's failure to handle the situation, even though his plea for action led to the shelling of Turin.

[77] I haven't decided the exact number yet, but I'm most likely going to roll on the RNG in a range between 100k and 750k, given the total number of socialist and anarchists.

[78] To give a brief summary of the concept of proletarian nationalism, it essentially adopts the view that "war is revolutionary" and that Italy is morally and materially a proletarian nation. Mussolini would expand on this in OTL, claiming that it's derived from the theories of the French intellectual Georges Sorel and that Italy needed to stand against the imperialistic and plutocratic powers of the West. Since Mussolini never abandons the Maximalist wing of the PSI, that's obviously not the case here. Funnily enough, Corradini occasionally used the term "national socialism" to define his theory, though no evidence exists that his use of the term influenced the Nazis in Germany.

[79] This is mostly the same as OTL, although here Shimoi is contacting a broader range of figures than in OTL, rather than only acting as a liaison between D'Annunzio and Mussolini.

[80] Gustavo Fara was a distinguished General in OTL as well as one of the organizers of the Fascist March on Rome and Emilio De Bono was also drawn to Fascism (though he asked both the People's Party and the PSI if they needed a Minister of War) and helped to organize the March on Rome as one of the Quadrumviri, so I see no reason for them not to be drawn to the ANI and Carnarism. As for Rodolfo Graziani, he was one of the most dedicated Generals to Fascism and the youngest Colonel in the Regio Esercito during World War I, and it feels only natural that he'd join the nationalist cause.

[81] This is another Allohistorical Allusion to the Fascist Quadrumviri from OTL.

[82] As stated in the chapter, Enrico Millo assured D'Annunzio that he wouldn't leave Dalmatia until it was part of Italy proper, and I have no reason not to believe that he'd join in the plot if he thought it would be successful. As for Major General Caviglia, it's confirmed that he held grievous doubts about the events of Bloody Christmas (where he led the army that expelled D'Annunzio's forces from Fiume in December of 1920), doubts that he expressed in his personal diary. From a narrative and historical perspective, I can easily see him becoming disillusioned with the response of the Giolitti government and throwing his lot in with a Fiuman coup as a result.

[83] You may have noticed that the Nitti and Giolitti governments have been screwed pretty hard thus far. While Nitti's bungling of the situation is true to OTL (through no fault of his own), Giolitti's failures may seem like me screwing him for no good reason. This isn't the case, even if it comes across that way, because it's part of the butterflies caused by the initial POD. With an overall more militant international socialist and anarchist movement, the strategies of men like Giolitti and Nitti, men who seek peaceful solutions to increasingly chaotic situations, aren't as viable. The Great War (in both OTL and this ATL) changed the world irrevocably, as charismatic men (and women, eventually) like Kamo and D'Annunzio come to power. This is a timeline where functioning democracies become increasingly rare, where republicanism spreads throughout Europe as monarchies are overturned and toppled, where China is united by an army of religious zealots who crush infidels and heretics, where movements like Carnarism, Petrosianism and the Volkssturmbewegung take root and spread throughout the world, and where warfare retains the same brutality of the Great War. To refute Matthew 5:5, the Meek are not the Blessed in the world of OPAS and they do not inherit the Earth. Instead, to quote Matthew 10:34 and 10:35, "I come not to bring peace, but a sword. For I come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law". Which isn't to say that OPAS is a dystopia, because it's firmly in the category of A World Half Full, since democracy still survives in the US and the UK despite the odds, there's an earlier feminist movement and other civil rights advances, and there are radical political changes that promote idealistic and utopian ideas about society. It's not perfect by any standards, but my intention is for my audience (you guys) to read this timeline and understand how morally gray history is and determine for yourself whether the world of OPAS is better or worse.

[84] Why the Italian Socialist Workers' Republic and not something like the Soviet Socialist Republic of Italy or the Socialist Republic of Italy? Two reasons for that: First, Soviet is the Russian word for "Council" and makes no sense in the context of Italy. Second, the closest equivalent for tbe Soviets in Italy would be the so-called "workers' councils" formed during OTL's Red Biennium. However, Italian Socialist Workers' Council Republic would be a mouthful, so I've shortened it to the Italian Socialist Workers' Republic.

[85] This is significantly more than the Fascist numbers marching in OTL, mainly because the combined forces of the socialists, anarchists, and workers number closer to 1 million in comparison to OTL's 320,000 members of the National Fascist Party. Furthermore, they've been organized, on strike, and occupying factories for months now compared to the somewhat hastily-prepared Fascist March on Rome. Therefore, I don't see it as particularly implausible for them to take such a large number of individuals to march on Rome, especially since the Regio Esercito has been demobilized and spread out. Additionally, since I can't find any concrete information about the Carabinieri's size in 1920, I'm gonna operate under the assumption that a good deal would desert to Fiume or the RSIL.

[86] It should be fairly obvious why Badoglio would evacuate the royal family and the Pope from Rome in the face of a huge throng of militant socialist revolutionaries who're republican and firmly anti-clerical in outlook.

[87] The British have their hands full dealing with the Irish Republic and the increasingly fraught situation in the British Raj, the French have lost millions of people in the Great War and are busy occupying the parts of Germany, and D'Annunzio obviously doesn't want anything to do with the legitimate government because he's planning to take over himself.

[88] From everything I can find thus far about Badoglio, the historical picture paints him as more or less an incompetent glory hound who did whatever he could to benefit himself. In WWI, he appears to have played a major role in the disastrous Italian loss at Caporetto, and then spent the rest of his career from the interwar period on trying to cover it up. Even his attempt to switch sides during WWII was a fuck up, with the declaration to the Allies being announced (by the Allies, to be fair) before Italian troops could be informed, leading to widespread Italian disarmament and the massacre of an entire infantry division at the hands of the Germans after their high command. Hell, Enrico Caviglia had grown increasingly hostile towards him by 1943, referring to him as a "barn dog that goes where there is the biggest morsel" because he'd left Caviglia in dire straits in 1917 (Caporetto), 1920 (Fiume), and 1943 (Rome). In summary, I have every reason to believe that he would be stupid enough to attempt something so blatantly suicidal in a situation like this. Fuck Pietro Badoglio.

[89] Now, could Admiral Millo have plausibly given this order to the Andrea Doria in OTL? Maybe, maybe not, but in OTL it was Giolitti giving the orders for the Andrea Doria to shell Fiume, whereas here we have that role given to Pietro Badoglio. Badoglio was not the head of the Regia Marina, but the head of the Regio Esercito, while Millo was an established Admiral in the Regia Marina who'd been honored multiple times. Furthermore, you have to take into account the situation in Italy by this point in the ATL. The Giolitti government has seemingly given the order to fire on Italian citizens, a Socialist republic has just been declared in the North-Northwest and marched on Rome, the country's gone to shit, the Carabinieri have deserted, and everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Finally, to quote the woefully underappreciated AH Tropes Wiki, "History is implausible. We can't say that history is ASB. There's nothing in it that couldn't possibly have happened, or at least not that we can prove. But we can say history is extremely implausible. It takes deliberately bad writing to be less plausible than what actually happened". And you can bet your ass that I'm a damned good writer.

[90-91] As far as plausibility goes, I'm willing to say that these events are plausible. In fact, the number of actually functional tanks in Italy prior to 1921 was a grand total of 5: 3 Renault FTs, 1 Schneider CA1, and the FIAT 2000 heavy tank (the other one was in Libya). With regards to Caviglia being able to give the order to send these tanks to Trieste, I think it's feasible, given the fact that the FIAT 2000 was sent to Fort Tiburtina on the orders of a Colonel in the 30s. As for my rationale for the Nationalists getting a decent number of tanks is that their main advantages in the Civil War are that their troops are highly trained and disciplined, are led by a number of distinguished military personnel, fight with unorthodox tactics compared to the Socialists and Royalists, and regularly use cocaine and alcohol to hype themselves up for battle. Plus, the narrative idea of a former motorcycle racer and veteran-turned-tank ace (Gastone Brilli-Peri) with a crew of coked-up veterans is too good not to use. When it comes to the FIAT 3000 tanks (100 in total) that entered into service in 1921, I can't find any information on when they were delivered, so for the sake of narrative "balance" (or whatever you want to call it), I'm going to handwave it that they were sent out before the declaration of the RSIL in 1920. Even still, with Agnelli on the side of the Nationalists and the Socialists occupying factories throughout Italy, the breakdown of tanks in the Civil War is going to be as follows:

  • 40 tanks on the Nationalist side (including the Renault FTs, the Schneider CA1, the FIAT 2000, and 35 of the FIAT 3000s)
  • 30 tanks on the Socialist side (all FIAT 3000s)
  • 30 tanks on the Royalist side (also all FIAT 3000s)
[92] The total number of soldiers in the Regio Esercito by December 1st, 1919 was 552,000 according to John Gooch in his book Mussolini and his Generals. I'm going off of the assumption that the majority of the enlisted soldiers stay loyal to the Royalist cause and that the 1920 cuts proposed by Minister of War Ivanoe Bonomi (which would leave the Regio Esercito at 175,000 total enlisted men) don't go through. This leaves the Royalist side with the lowest number of soldiers in the Civil War (I can't find any numbers for the Royal Corps of Colonial Troops circa 1919-1920, besides the Italian colonies are gonna be dealing with their own shit during the Civil War, namely with the Senussis in Libya and the independent-minded Sultans in Somalia, while Eritrea remains loyal by virtue of the fact that Mondelli is on the Nationalist side), but the most trained in conventional warfare and a strong position in the south of Italy.

[93] You'll get to see this speech (or part of it) in Secondari's first POV chapter.

[94] While Balbo hasn't established a name for himself just yet, he will during the Civil War. Besides, it wouldn't be the same without Balbo appearing in some form.

[95] As I've mentioned before, Marinetti and Vecchi went to Fiume in the early days of the adventure, but were eventually asked to leave because they were viewed (Marinetti in particular) as rivals to the Commandant, as well as being dismayed by the fact that D'Annuzio was working with conservative officers. However, with the outbreak of civil war and Marinetti denouncing the PSI and the Royalists, they're quick to turn around and go back to D'Annunzio. Plus,
Feruccio Vecchi looks like a goddamn supervillain and I want to feature him in some capacity.
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This D'Annunzio is as revered as a leader as he's respected as a poet? Either he'll become the figurehead and spokesperson of a government made up of competent individuals (actual bureaucracy would bore him, just as it bored Garibaldi, since the poncho-wearing dude made Marianne Williamson seem sane back when he was a member of Parliament) or present day ATL Italy is a fever dream on acid.
You're dead on the money with the latter idea. While D'Annunzio does have competent individuals working with him (and I discuss his overall competency as a leader despite his hands-off approach in footnote 17) and does create a cult of personality surrounding himself and his successors as Commandant, Carnarist Italy is a fever dream of a nation, a radical authoritarian utopia for all kinds of lost souls and outcasts. Spoilers for some of the OTL individuals that will possibly reside there after the Civil War include but are not limited to: Ezra Pound, Leopold and Loeb (yes, as in the Chicago Crime of the Century murderers), Valentine de Saint-Point (who becomes the namesake of the ATL feminist movement), Rudy Valentino, Ernest Hemingway, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, (possibly) Fritz Lang, Anita Berber, Ernst Toller, Christopher Isherwood, and more.
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Map of the World in 1921 + the First Carnarist Executive Council New
1921 AD OPAS.png

Here's a current map of the world, circa 1921. I mainly focused on Italy and tried to make it as close to the territory controlled at the start of the Civil War as I could, but I might've messed up a little. Note that Albania has retaken most of their territory not occupied by the Greeks or Yugoslavs and the area around Fiume occupied by the Nationalists.
First Executive Council of Carnarism/the Army of National Salvation
Minister for Foreign Affairs/Prime Minister: Harukichi Shimoi
Minister for Finance and the Treasury: Ezio Maria Gray
Minister of Public Instruction: Francesco Giunta
Minister of the Interior and of Justice: Guido Keller
Minister of National Defense: Enrico Caviglia
Minister of Public Economy: Alfredo Rocco
Minister of Labor: Alceste De Ambris
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Hurrah, a new chapter! And so many footnotes you might as well have a foot fetish! Jokes aside, a very good chapter. Italian politics goes up in flames, and the stage for a civil war is set. The footnotes were also just as entertaining as the story. Fascinating bits of info and details about historical characters and the times are almost always welcomed by me! An adopted biracial bastard turned Italian military hero, a fighting friar, a Japanese samurai as D'Annunzio's retainer? Those are people you think would come straight out of a pulp story or piece of literature. Yet, they were all real people, and now they get to leave a greater mark on history than they originally did! And now for some questions. What insignia is Carnarism going to have? The Nazis had their swastika, the Italians had the fasces, the Iron Guard had iron bars, or whatever those were supposed to be, Ustase had their U and exploding grenade. What it means is that every radical right-wing movement had a symbol (Same goes for radical leftists). So what would Carnarists have on their flags and uniforms? My guess is that it would be something resembling the Italian Regency of Carnaro's emblem. The one with the snek eating itself. Second, what would D'Annunzio have his new state called? Obviously it'll have "Italy" or "Italian" in it, but what would it's official and unofficial name be? No need to go too far if there might be spoilers, but I think we all already know who will win the civil war. Anyways, good work!
Holy shit.

Sure, the RSIL is fated to lose this civil war to D'Annunzio, and Communism will fall to Carnarism, but everything so far seems to hint that D'Annunzio's own brand of authoritarianism will be very unlike the Fascism that was to absorb it in OTL:

The presence of anarchist, feminist and syndicalist elements among D'Annunzio's closest collaborators will make it so that Carnarism will be much further to the left than Fascism, even if, at the end of the day, the corporations established by the Charter of Carnaro will resemble Soviet state companies more than true workers' unions; Saint-Point will be an interesting addition, given that her personal brand of Futurist feminism, as far as I know, is one of the first instances of a thinker completely differentiating sex from gender (of course, she thought femininity was a load of bullshit that only held women back, but that's because she wanted both sexes to act like Homeric heroes);

The presence of a whole lot of all-around oddballs in Fiume, I think the Carnarist regime will be quite hands-off as far as control over the arts goes, or at least, it will sponsor quite a few artistic endeavours itself; D'Annunzio's rule will probably resemble that of a Renaissance prince on steroids (authoritarian, but generous and open-handed, if only for the purpose of propaganda) rather than that of a Fascist strongman.

On a loosely related note, in the backstory to my NationStates country (basically, a Lombardy equivalent that ended up resembling something of a Switzerland of the Po Valley) the Futurist wannabe warlords ended up employing biological and chemical weaponry against their enemies (cue the post-war period resembling a mutant-less Fallout) so I hope D'Annunzio won't be quite as stupid. :p

As for the Carnarist state's official name, either Republic of Italy (whereas OTL Italy is the Italian Republic) or Corporate Republic of Italy, where "corporate" stands for the various pseudo-unions contemplated by the Charter, rather than for some kind of banana republic thing. Similarly, the flag could either be a plain tricolour, or a tricolour with the ouroboros emblem of Fiume.
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What insignia is Carnarism going to have? The Nazis had their swastika, the Italians had the fasces, the Iron Guard had iron bars, or whatever those were supposed to be, Ustase had their U and exploding grenade. What it means is that every radical right-wing movement had a symbol (Same goes for radical leftists). So what would Carnarists have on their flags and uniforms? My guess is that it would be something resembling the Italian Regency of Carnaro's emblem. The one with the snek eating itself. Second, what would D'Annunzio have his new state called? Obviously it'll have "Italy" or "Italian" in it, but what would it's official and unofficial name be? No need to go too far if there might be spoilers, but I think we all already know who will win the civil war. Anyways, good work!
You're correct in guessing that the Carnarists are going to use the emblem of Carnaro, with the Snake (the proper term is Ouroboros) and the Stars (of the Big Dipper), as their ideological symbol on their uniforms and as insignia. I haven't decided on whether the flags will be modified Italian flags with the emblem in the center or just the emblem by itself in flag form, though I'm leaning towards the latter. As for the official and unofficial name of the Carnarist state, I'm not quite sure yet, to be perfectly honest. The "Italian Carnarist State" is one idea, "Free Republic of Italy" is another, the "Italian National State is a third, and the "Carnarist Republic of Italy" is a fourth. Part of me wants to make it something incredibly D'Annunzian such as the "Roman National Republic", the "Roman Carnarist State", or even the "Roman Free State". Also, as an aside, Harukichi Shimoi wasn't actually a samurai, it was just the nickname that D'Annunzio gave him.

Holy shit.

Sure, the RSIL is fated to lose this civil war to D'Annunzio, and Communism will fall to Carnarism, but everything so far seems to hint that D'Annunzio's own brand of authoritarianism will be very unlike the Fascism that was to absorb it in OTL:

The presence of anarchist, feminist and syndicalist elements among D'Annunzio's closest collaborators will make it so that Carnarism will be much further to the left than Fascism, even if, at the end of the day, the corporations established by the Charter of Carnaro will resemble Soviet state companies more than true workers' unions; Saint-Point will be an interesting addition, given that her personal brand of Futurist feminism, as far as I know, is one of the first instances of a thinker completely differentiating sex from gender (of course, she thought femininity was a load of bullshit that only held women back, but that's because she wanted both sexes to act like Homeric heroes);

The presence of a whole lot of all-around oddballs in Fiume, I think the Carnarist regime will be quite hands-off as far as control over the arts goes, or at least, it will sponsor quite a few artistic endeavours itself; D'Annunzio's rule will probably resemble that of a Renaissance prince on steroids (authoritarian, but generous and open-handed, if only for the purpose of propaganda) rather than that of a Fascist strongman.

On a loosely related note, in the backstory to my NationStates country (basically, a Lombardy equivalent that ended up resembling something of a Switzerland of the Po Valley) the Futurist wannabe warlords ended up employing biological and chemical weaponry against their enemies (cue the post-war period resembling a mutant-less Fallout) so I hope D'Annunzio won't be quite as stupid. :p

As for the Carnarist state's official name, either Republic of Italy (whereas OTL Italy is the Italian Republic) or Corporate Republic of Italy, where "corporate" stands for the various pseudo-unions contemplated by the Charter, rather than for some kind of banana republic thing. Similarly, the flag could either be a plain tricolour, or a tricolour with the ouroboros emblem of Fiume.
Yeah, Carnarism is gonna be incredibly different from OTL's Fascism. It's not going to be a particularly left-wing or right-wing ideology, since it's a mix of various ideological beliefs and elements, but more of a purely radical and syncretic ideology, one that will (hopefully) transcend the normal left-right political spectrum. The same goes for the political movement that will come into power in Germany, the Volkssturmbewegung. I haven't planned everything about the alternate political spectrum/axis or the alternate historiography just yet (reading the TV Tropes page for Look To The West gave me some inspiration for an alternate spectrum/alternate historiography to be honest), but I'm starting to think that it's going to be set along rather different lines than OTL. Republic of Italy and Corporate Republic of Italy are some nice suggestions.

You're correct about the Carnarist regime's approach to the arts and overall artistic expression in comparison to the contemporary ideological views on it as well as sponsoring artistic and technological endeavors and the analogy to a Renaissance prince on steroids. To sum up the overall tone/mood/aesthetic of the culture that'll spring up in Carnarist Italy, it'll be something like an Italian Weimar Culture on steroids. Now, as far as warfare in this timeline goes, it's going to be as brutal as OTL, if not more so as a result of nuclear power/nuclear weapons remaining rather speculative in nature. With the Carnarists in particular, it's uh, going to be interesting, to say the least. Expect some Scenery Gorn, I'll say that much.
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Dramatis Personae (A Cavalcade of Viewpoint Characters) New
This threadmark will contain a list of viewpoint characters alongside a brief description of who they are as the story of OPAS progresses. Names marked with an * denote fictional characters. This way, new readers to the timeline will be able to know who is who. I'll also be making a useful list of alternate terminology for OPAS, so folks don't get confused by the terms that will be used throughout the timeline. EDIT: I'll also be taking full advantage of the concept of Alternate Timeline Twins for historical characters born after the POD, including some that might surprise you. 😉

Personages of Note (by order of introduction):
Domenico Mondelli, "The Tigrayan Eagle" -
Former Lieutenant Colonel of the Arditi IX Assault Department. Carnarist Quadrumvir. Colonel in the Esercito di Salvezza Nazionale.
Lorenzo Secondari*, "The Adriatic Pirate" - Former Lieutenant of the Arditi shock troops, 3rd Army. Second-in-command of the dreaded Uscocchi raiders. Member of La Disperata ("The Desperate Ones", "The Desperates", or "The Guard of Desperate Men"), the personal bodyguard corps of Commandant Gabriele D'Annunzio.
Gastone Brilli-Peri, "The Disciple of Speed" - Motorcycle racer-turned-tank driver and commander of the 10-man crew of L'Arcangelo ("The Archangel"), a FIAT 2000 heavy tank named after the Commandant. Dubbed "The Disciple of Speed" by the Commandant himself.
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"The Disciple of Speed" sounds like a great name for a heavy metal album, to be honest. :p
I was debating between "The Ace of Tanks" or just "Brilli" (as he was known in OTL) but I figured "The Disciple of Speed" was particularly D'Annunzian in tone, plus, according to the Italian Wikipedia article on Brilli-Peri, D'Annunzio announced his presence at the 1925 Italian Grand Prix (that Brilli-Peri raced in) by sending a telegram saying "I put myself at service of the Goddess of Speed and I am sure of victory". Additionally with the influence of Futurism in Carnarist doctrine, it seemed like the logical choice.
I was debating between "The Ace of Tanks" or just "Brilli" (as he was known in OTL) but I figured "The Disciple of Speed" was particularly D'Annunzian in tone, plus, according to the Italian Wikipedia article on Brilli-Peri, D'Annunzio announced his presence at the 1925 Italian Grand Prix (that Brilli-Peri raced in) by sending a telegram saying "I put myself at service of the Goddess of Speed and I am sure of victory". Additionally with the influence of Futurism in Carnarist doctrine, it seemed like the logical choice.
Got it. That TV Tropes link is making me fear for the future but, since I live in one of those places that was bombed to hell and back during our World War II, that's nothing that did not happen already - I just hope that whoever will be in charge of picking up the pieces after the war will have more taste; in fact, given the Futurist influence in the Carnarist regime, I wouldn't be surprised if, as a reaction to the Futurist disdain of tradition, post-war architecture went the historicist/revivalist route - on crack. Because one thing's to build a high rise using the aesthetics and materials of medieval city towers, another's to do so and turn the result into a hanging garden or a vertical farm powered by solar panels.

Ironically, D'Annunzio would probably approve.