Leaders & Controversies

Transcript: Source3

Despatch from the British ambassador in Rome, Sir Eric Drummond, on the opinion of the Italian people, November 1935
(Catalogue ref: BT 11/386)

14. I have attempted in the foregoing paragraphs to resume in the briefest possible manner the main features of the Italian war effort on sea, on land, in the air and in the field of economics and finance. There remains the home front proper, which is mainly concerned with the feelings and reactions of the population as a whole. I have in previous despatches given in some detail accounts of the development of public opinion in this country. In the early part of the year the Abyssinian adventure was by no means generally popular throughout Italy – in many quarters, indeed, it was the reverse. The position is changed to-day. After one month of war in East Africa, the whole of the Italian people stand, as I have said, solidly behind their leader, and the general feeling is one of single and fervent loyalty to Italy. Some few admit that she is technically wrong: the great majority are hardly in their consciences aware even of the technical breach. The intervention of the League, which is, of course, in Italian eyes, the intervention of Great Britain, has indeed had the most remarkable effect. The Abyssinian adventure is now widely popular, and the threat of sanctions has unified the Italian people to a degree which has astonished many observers.

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