|Born||18 August 1889 in Sannicola, Lecce (ITA)|
|Died||29 April 1945 in Milano, Milano (ITA)|
Achille Starace was born in the Apulia region of Southern Italy to a father who was a wine and oil merchant. After gaining a degree in accounting he joined the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) and by 1912 had become a Second Lieutenant of the specialist infantry corps, the Bersaglieri. He saw service in World War I before being becoming involved in the fledgling Fascist movement. Starace participated in the March on Roma that resulted in an agreement between Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel III that made Mussolini the head of the Italian government. Starace quickly climbed through the ranks of the Fascist Party. He was made deputy secretary of the party in 1921 and then promoted to secretary where he served from 1931 to 1939.
A genuine sports fanatic, he was appointed to head the Italian Olympic Committee and successfully promoted his political beliefs through the advancement of nationalism via sporting victories. During his time at the Olympic Committee he was involved in strengthening the structure of Italian sport and the promotion of women’s sport.
A loyal supporter of Mussolini, Starace encouraged the Italian people to join Fascist organizations like Opera Balilla, Figli della Lupa, Avanguardisti, Giovane Fascista, and the labour-related Organizzazione del Dopolavoro. In 1935 he took a leave of absence from his jobs to serve as a Colonel in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. This experience inspired him to write a book called “La Marcia su Gondar”.
When he returned home, Starace became increasingly involved in the state’s Anti-Semitic racial segregation measures and helped propagate Mussolini’s cult of personality. Unfortunately for him he had gained numerous enemies in the party hierarchy and was dismissed as Party Secretary in October 1939 and his reputation was ruined in the eyes of the ruling elite.
In 1943, following the demise of Mussolini’s regime, Starace was arrested by the newly formed pro-allied government and then by his former Fascist colleagues in German occupied Italy but was released both times. On 29 April 1945 in Milano he was recognized and captured by anti-Fascist Italian partisans and was assassinated. His body was put on display alongside Mussolini and other Fascist leaders.
|President||Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano||1933—1939||ITA||Achille Starace|