|Il Duce of the Sotirian State of Marirana|
15th March 1923 – 1st March 1934
|Preceded by||Giovanni Lombardi|
|Succeeded by||Enzo Sanmartino|
|Born||January 13, 1871|
Turania, San Marco, Marirana
|Died||January 3, 1934 (aged 62)|
Aquinas, Vittico, Marirana
|Spouse(s)||Margherita Guidi (1890-1934)|
|Alma mater||San Marco Military Academy|
|Battles/wars||Cocoa War, Great War|
Generalissimo Ottaviao Castello (13 January 1871-January 3 1934, aged 62) was a Mariranan military officer and statesmen who was the Duce of the Sotirian State of Marirana from when he took power in 1923 to his execution in 1934 during the Great War.
Born in a military family in 1871 Castello studied and graduated from the San Marco Military Academy in 1889 becoming a member of the Mariranan army. Soon becoming aligned with conservative politicians within the government in opposition to president Joaquim Durão de Azevedo, Castello in 1892 became Commandant of the 14th Battalion of the 3rd Army.
In 1910 Castello supported the coup d'état by general Giovanni Lombardi that dissolved the democratic governance of Marirana and led to the declaration of the Sotirian State. Castello was appointed as the Director of the Department for the Repression of Banditry, the secret police of the Sotirian State and as such was responsible for the White Terror. Collectivists, liberals and socialists were arrested, tortured and executed by the DRB whilst censorship was imposed in the relatively complaint press and civic groups - such as political parties and trade unions - were banned. Around 100,000 people were either arrested or killed as part of the White Terror, at the time the worst political repression in Marirana. Castello also played a leading role in the Great Hardship - a famine that between 1908-1931 saw around a million peasants in Marirana die of starvation, the majority of whom were of native descent. Castello was considered to be a leader of the sradicatori faction of the Mariranan government that advocated for the total suppression and annihilation of the native population of Marirana.
Following 1919 Castello became increasingly interested in functionalism after the rise of the Popular Party in Gaullica, with his sradicatori faction seen as increasingly functionalist. Castello created a new political movement, the Integrated Union of the Traditionalist Right, which attracted a diverse coalition of military powerbrokers, conservative landowners, reactionary clergymen and the burgeoning industrial class who supported the "functionalisation" of Mariranan political and public life. In 1923 Castello with support from Gaullica was able to remove Lombardi as head of state and declare himself as il Duce of the state.
Castello and the functionalists moved quickly to centralise power in their hands. Castello reformed the judicial system replacing members of the constitutional court with his own appointees, banned left-wing parties and held a parliamentary election where his party through intimidation and vote rigging achieved a supermajority. Lombardi loyalists were purged from state positions replaced with Castello loyalists. Castello merged state, party and the army together drawing his authority from his status as head of state, head of party and generalissimo of the army. With his authority secure Castello, long politically heterogeneous, declared the principles of his new state - integralism, corporatism, national Catholicism and authoritarianism. State-owned media started to construct a cult of personality around Castello as a god-like figure awarding himself the monarchical title of Defender of the Faith.
Up until 1929 Castello had approved of a wide-reaching programme of military modernisation spearheaded by Inspector-General of the army Enzo Sanmartino and Gaullican general Guillaime de Learé which included the importation of foreign military weapons and amendments to Mariranan military doctrine. Close relations with the Entente were also heavily promoted with Gaullican gaining massive economic and military influence. Marirana declared war on the Grand Alliance in 1927 but aside some small-scale operations in the Arucian was at first playing a mainly symbolic role as Castello started to promote an increasingly revanchist policy towards its neighbours.
In 1929 Castello personally approved of the joint Mariranan-Gaullican invasion of Eldmark and Nuxica appointing himself Supreme Commander of Mariranan forces, overseeing successful military campaigns with Satucinais assistance in both nations with the support of his Inspector-General Sanmartino. Castello approved during this time period many military practices commonly seen as war crimes, including the use of scorched earth strategy and chemical weapons. The dismissal of Sanmartino as Chief of Staff in 1931 by Castello and his replacement with Edoardo Montezemolo as well as a rebellion by peasant leader Palmiro Lanza in 1932 led to military failures by the Mariranan army and increased dependence on Satucin and Gaullica; this state of affairs worsened by 1933 when allied forces led a full-blown invasion of Marirana. This resulted in a coup attempt by several lower ranking officers such as Niccolò Pellegrini and Jordi i Teixidor which whilst unsuccessful led to a significant portion of the army to defect to the Alliance.
In 1934 following the Gaullican surrender and with the Mariranan army mostly defeated Castello was pressed to surrender. He refused to do this and as such in March 1934 was arrested by his cabinet where he was removed from the post of head of state. After a short show trial Castello was found guilty of treason and sexual crimes of pedophilic nature, resulting in his summary execution.
Castello is considered one of the most controversial figures in Mariranan history, being accused of the deaths of well over a million people through state-led oppression, famine and ethnic cleansing. The Great Hardship in particular has often been named as a genocide due to its attempt to seemingly wipe out the native population of Marirana. His legacy continue to affect the Mariranan political discourse which according to historians has "struggled to come to terms with the Castello dictatorship and what it represented".
Ottaviano Castello was born on the 13th January 1971 in the city of Soriano as the second son to a wealthy family. His father Major General Alfonso Castello hailed from a long line of landowners and military bosses centred around the city of Turania who originally came to Marirana as Poveglian conquistador's whilst his mother Roberta hailed from the Fontanini family, a Poveglian noble family that had emigrated to Marirana in colonial times and subsequently came to own large estates across the country. Castello was considered within the Mariranan racial caste system to be "purebred" - that was a person with complete or almost full white ancestry,
The Castello family were devout Catholics whilst his father was a political conservative and close associate to the then-strongman Italo Agostino Saragat, being the Governor of the San Marco and as such a key regional boss within the Saragat regime. Alfonso a strict disciplinarian would often beat his children.
Castello was sent to a church school at primary education, where he excelled in athletics and mathematics classes. Despite his family's initial desire for Castello to enter the priesthood and his older brother Enrico to enter the military after his father the death of Enrico from malaria in 1868 meant that against his mother's wishes Castello was ordained by his father to pursue a career in the military. At the age of 11 he was pulled out of his church school and enrolled into a military school in Santa Maria. Castello's schoolmate Luigi Pagliuzzi commented that "during his time at military school Castello used his intelligence and thuggish nature to coerce and bully others into submission.".
Castello attained high grades whilst in military school, eventually studying at the San Marco Military Academy in 1889 at the age of 18, an institution that had traditionally trained high ranking members of the Mariranan Army. In 1892 he graduated with the rank of second lieutenant (ranked 10th of 285 cadets) being promoted to first lieutenant in 1894.