Foreign News: Lady of the Axis

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After the Berlin trips Count and Countess Ciano went once to Vienna, where they were dined at Schönbrunn and Dr. Kurt von Schuschnigg, last Chancellor of independent Austria, recognized Italy's Ethiopian conquest. From there they went to Budapest, where they left something less than a good impression. The Countess was said to have made eyes at one of the sons of old Regent Horthy. This could easily have been excused, but when the Count and Countess showed up for a hunting expedition arranged by the Regent four hours late with only the excuse they had overslept, there were strained feelings. Latest trip that the Cianos took together was to Poland. There was some speculation that Axis Diplomat Edda would use her wiles to persuade Poland to join the Axis, but nothing came of the trip, and a few weeks later Poland definitely turned her back on Germany and Italy.

Once Edda went to the cinema in Rome during her eighth month of pregnancy, and was publicly applauded. Doubtful it is if such a demonstration would now occur. The Countess is held by many Italians to be largely responsible for the Nazified laws that Italy has "imported" from Germany. One of these is the unpopular anti-Semitic law. The Cianos are firmly linked with the alliance with Germany, and the alliance is not dear to Italians.

The spectacle of the Nazi Gestapo operating in Italy, of German instructors and troops in Italian military establishments, of German "tourists" arriving in Italy by droves (some of them never returning), is not palatable to patriotic Latins. When the military alliance between Italy and Germany was signed in Berlin last May and the controlled Italian newspapers carried huge headlines describing the "wave of enthusiasm" spreading over Italy, it could not be detected in the streets. Two days later the country celebrated the 24th anniversary of Italy's entry into the World War against Germany and Austria. Work stopped at noon, bands played, parades formed, flags were waved. Never before had Italians so solemnly observed the day.

The summer of 1939 finds Benito Mussolini less liked and more openly criticized than for years past. Little jokes, about the German "invasion" of Italy, are beginning to circulate quietly. Anti-Mussolini posters have appeared (briefly) in Milan and Turin. Viva Hitler legends, painted on all the houses along the railway route taken by the Führer on his trip to Rome last year, have been unanimously painted over. There is a dour expression on Italian faces as they watch the heavy-booted Nazi chiefs who now are seen all over the Italian landscape. Crown Prince Umberto, supposed to be antiFascist, is greeted tumultuously whenever he appears.

This is no good omen for Edda Ciano's hopes that she and her husband may someday succeed to her father's power. But it is a first-rate demonstration of what a woman can do even in a Fascist world.

*Her younger brothers, Vittorio, 22, and Bruno, 21, flew in the Ethiopian War, and Bruno also tried his wings in Spain. Bruno is still in the Italian Air Force; Vittorio in the motion picture business. Mussolini's "second series" of children consists of Romano, now 11, and Anna Maria, 9.

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