Graziani, Rodolfo(rōdôl`fō grätsēä`nē), 1882–1955, Italian soldier and colonial administrator. After serving in World War I and in Libya (1921–33), he was made (1935) governor of Italian Somaliland. For his part in the Italo-Ethiopian War, he was promoted to marshal and served (1936–37) as viceroy of Ethiopia. Graziani was made chief of staff of the Italian army (1939) and became governor of Libya (1940). In World War II, Graziani's army was completely routed (winter 1940–41) by the British in the Libyan campaign, and he resigned his command. Arrested in 1945, Graziani was indicted for high treason for his collaboration with the Germans in N Italy after the Italian armistice with the Allies in 1943. After two trials he was convicted (1950) by a military court and sentenced to 19 years in prison. However, he was released from custody a few months later and became active in the neofascist party.
Born Aug. II, 1882, in Filettino; died Jan. 11, 1955, in Rome. Italian fascist marshal (1937). From 1930 to 1934, Graziani was vice-governor of Cyrenaica and in 1935 governor of Italian Somali. For his participation in the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935–36 (he commanded the Southern Army), he received the rank of marshal and the title of marquis of Neghelli. In 1936–37 he was viceroy of Ethiopia. In 1939–40 he was chief of staff of the land forces. In June 1940 he became commander in chief of the Italian forces in North Africa. After the defeat at Mersa-Matruh he was dismissed and went into retirement. During the fascist German occupation of Italy (1943–45) he was minister of war of the puppet Italian Social Republic of B. Mussolini and directed the struggle against the partisans. In 1950 he was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment but was amnestied in the same year. In 1952 he became honorary president of the neofascist Italian Social Movement.