Action #10: Il Porto dell’amore

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[the aim of the League is to] «bring together in a compact formation the forces of all the oppressed peoples of the earth: peoples, nations, races, etc. etc. and use this to combat and triumph over the oppressors and imperialists, who (like the British Empire for example) aim to impose their financial might on the most sacred sentiments of men: faith, love for one’s country, and individual and social dignity».

Leon Kochnitzky

Citato in De Felice, D'Annunzio politico 1918-1938, cit., p. 73.

Gabriele D'Annunzio con Léon Kochnitzky, segretario dell'Ufficio relazioni esteriori di Fiume e ideatore della Lega di Fiume.

I made contact with all the discontented in various countries around the world: with Zagloul Pascià in Egypt, not yet Prime Minister but head of the Fellah party; with Kemal Pacha, the powerful head of the Young Turks, who looked set to take power imminently. In Fiume we founded the Anti-Société des Nations, in opposition to the iniquitous Treaty of Versailles.

(Ludovico Toeplitz, Ciak a chi tocca, Milano, Edizioni Milano Nuova, 1964, p.49).

The New York Times
Published: May 2, 1920
Copyright © The New York Times

League of Fiume
One of the most interesting aspects of Fiume foreign policy is without a doubt the attempt to set up an Anti-League of Nations, the League of Fiume, which took a stand against the great Imperial powers, in defence of colonized peoples.

The project for the creation of a League of Oppressed People had deep roots in D’Annunzio’s thought, for he had conceived of his Fiuman enterprise in “universal” terms almost from the beginning. The comandante was not content to see the scope of his action limited to the city of Fiume, and he had established contacts with other foreign movements very early on.
The guiding spirit of the Lega di Fiume was Leon Kochnitzky, the Belgian poet who had come to Fiume late in the fall of 1919, left the city during the crisis of December, and then returned in January to become the head of the Ufficio Relazioni Esteriori. This Fiuman “foreign office,” acting with very little money and only a handful of men, attempted to enlist the support of foreign movements – and foreign powers – in behalf of the Fiuman “cause.” At first Kochnitzky (with the assistance of Eugenio Coselschi, Ludovico Toeplitz, Giovanni Bonmartini, Henry Furst, and others) was content to gather statements of support from the representatives of movements sympathetic to D’Annunzio. By early spring there was abundant evidence that an “anti-League of Nations” would be able to count upon a wide range of support, and Kochnitzky decided to request the creation of a formal organization.
There was good reason to be optimistic about the league as one learns from a long series of memoranda that Kochnitzky prepared for D’Annunzio during the last week of March and the first half of April, listing the nations and movements that were either already committed to the project or that were expected to join the cause in short order. (...)

(Michael Arthur Ledeen, D'Annunzio: The First Duce, The League of Fiume, Piscataway, Transaction Publishers, 2002, pp. 177-179)

With genuinely global aspirations, the League of Fiume aimed to unite all of the following:

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.

  • 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.

    III. – Delegations of parties and groups sympathizing with «Fiumanism», mainly Italian, French, English and American [1].

    (Claudia Salaris, Alla festa della rivoluzione. Artisti e libertari con D'Annunzio a Fiume, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2002, pp. 42-43)

    [1] De Felice, D'Annunzio politico 1918-1938, cit., pp. 73-74

    Kochnitzky saw the league as the vehicle for shattering the old order and establishing a world governed by the principles expounded in “Italy and Life.” It was, then, part of the sharp turn to the Left that characterized the policies of the Command during this period, and Kochnitzky significantly maintained that it was essential to acquire the support of the Soviet Union for the Lega. He considered this inevitable, claiming that Communist Russia, “like all spiritually alive elements of our time,” could not fail to recognize the value of the new “International.” Further, Kochnitzky urged D’Annunzio to support the Hungarian Communists and to issue an attack against Horthy’s regime. Such a stance would demonstrate the principles of “Fiumanism” upon which the new league would rest. Similarly indicative of Kochnitzky’s conception of the Lega is a statement in a note to the comandante on 29 March; “While the presence of representatives of the Montenegran Court seems scarcely desirable in Fiume for various reasons, it would instead be useful if one or more leaders of the Montenegran insurrection against Serbia attended.”(...)

    It is crucial to stress that Kochnitzky’s conception of the Lega di Fiume was of a piece with the design for the Republic of the Carnaro. Both committed the Command to an alliance with radical socialist forces, and both demonstrated D’Annunzio’s willingness to embrace the fundamental tenets of the European Left. Consequently, the plans for the league were subject to the same pressures as the planes for the Carta del Carnaro: as the internal position of the Command was weakened by the attacks of the National Council, and when attempts to ally with Socialists failed (whether within Italy or on Europe-wide scale, as in the case of the talks with Vodovosoff), the project was threatened. Kochnitzky was aware of these problems, and explicitly linked the destiny of the league to the political situation in Fiume: “I know very well,” he told the comandante on 29 March, “that we can run into grave difficulties, given the internal situation in Fiume, and the numerous expulsions of the working-class elements...”

    The league was placed in serious jeopardy by the events of early April, and by Easter, Kochnitzky’s messages to D’Annunzio were tinged with apprehension. On Easter Day he wrote: “I hope the League of Fiume will not give the world the grotesque spectacle of the ‘League of Nations’: impotence-indecision.” But the grandiose planes of the Belgian poet could not survive the shock of the first half of April, and the League of Fiume slowly disappeared, at least in the form Kochnitzky had conceived it.

    (Michael Arthur Ledeen, D'Annunzio: The First Duce, The League of Fiume, Piscataway, Transaction Publishers, 2002, pp. 177-179)


    Introduction [HTML]

    The “Celebration City” [HTML]
    Free Love and Artificial Paradises [HTML]
    The “Desperados” [HTML]
    International acknowledgement [HTML]
    Pirate Economy [HTML]
    Publishing [HTML]
    The Charter of Carnaro [HTML]
    The Labarum [HTML]
    The League of Fiume [HTML]
    Bloody Christmas [HTML]
    Protagonists [HTML]