USA: Italo Balbo Monument and Drive in Chicago, Illinois


By Contested Histories Initiative June 2024

Italo Balbo was an Italian fascist General who served as Mussolini’s Marshal of the Air Force and
then as Governor of Libya. While being celebrated for his aerial feats, he remains a controversial
figure as the Governor of Libya. In 1933, the Illinois monument was erected after his transatlantic
flight to Chicago to attend the Century of Progress World Fair. Ever since it has been a source of
controversy. However, all petitions to remove the monument have been rejected. The
Italian-American community in Chicago have consistently defended the monument. This case
study examines one possible trajectory when lawmakers contend with physical vestiges from past
celebrations of fascist and white supremacist leaders while seeking to balance constituent
interests, latent and reignited cultural identification and honour, and the interests of the
decision-makers themselves.

For the case study click here.