gennaio - marzo 2014 anno 55
Abstract degli articoli
Fascismo: itinerari storiografici da un secolo all’altro
Leonardo Rapone, pp. 1-2
Giulia Albanese, pp. 3-14
Brutalizzazione e violenza alle origini del fascismo
Brutalization and violence to the origins of Fascism
This article aims to discuss historical interpretations of the origins of fascism since the 1990s, with particular reference to the question of political violence. Particularly underlined is the impact on Italian historiography of the international studies on the «brutalization of politics» in the interwar period. The article also examines the effects such studies had in the analysis of the so-called «red biennium», i.e. the years 1919-1920 in Italy. Moreover it considers the role of the debate on «civil war» in the reflection on violence in twentieth-century Italy, as well as the relevance that local history had on the overall landscape of the interwar period, also on methodological grounds. New studies permit a better understanding of the ways in which Italy entered the Fascist dictatorship and show the role of new approaches dealing with the Fascist conquest of power through the March on Rome.
Camilla Poesio, pp. 15-26
Violenza, repressione e apparati di controllo del regime fascista
Violence, repression and control apparatus of the fascist regime
Fascist state violence, as promoted and organized by state institutions and a constant element of the widespread repressive apparatus, long saw less examination by historians than did the violence at the beginning, or the final violence during the Italian Social Republic. This is because, until several years ago, the connection between violence and police apparatus was not expected. The hypothesis of this essay is that since about twenty years ago, some historiographical and historical/political factors have influenced the production of new research on these issues.
Have the methodological approach and the use of different documents on fascist violence changed since 1989? Is it possible to identify different trends in the historiographical output? Have the political use of history, revisionism phenomena, the war crimes trials after the Second World War, the outcomes of research commissions, and the violence committed during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s influenced the field of historiography? Although historiography has made progress in its analysis of the use of the violence and repression by the Fascist regime, we have had to recognize that the effects on public opinion are insufficient: a deep gap persists between scientific developments and Italian public opinion.
Tommaso Baris, pp. 27-40
Tra centro e periferia. Stato e partito negli anni del fascismo
Between centre and periphery: state and party in the years of the fascism
This essay reconstructs the historical debate on the relationship between centre and periphery during the fascist regime. This topic is a highly important one, and is often considered decisive for reading the fascist dictatorship in terms of authoritarianism or, to the contrary, as a totalitarian regime. Italian historiography initially supported the first interpretation. Since the 1950s, the pre-eminence of the Prefect over the federal secretary was read as a victory of state institutions over the party. Similarly, it was thought, upon analysing the first appointments as podestà, that the local power, too, was left in the hands of the representatives of the aristocracy and of the large landowners. This framework, expanded and refined by studies carried out first in the 1960s and then in the 1970s, began to crumble thanks to new research done between the late 1980s and the 1990s. Emilio Gentile’s interpretation of fascism as a totalitarian phenomenon has accompanied the innovative analysis arising from the new conception of political history gained by such scholars as Salvatore Lupo, in their encounter with the holdings developed by the Institutes of the Resistance. Fascism then appeared as a modernizing phenomenon that could also alter the earlier social and political equilibrium of the province, which was in turn capable of «resisting» the dynamics of centralization. The new generation of historians of «fascism in the provinces» has dedicated its efforts to close examination of the many facets of the new articulation of the relationship between totalitarian centre and resistant periphery.
Massimiliano Gregorio, pp. 41-52
Il Pnf tra Stato e costituzione. Le interpretazioni della storiografia giuridica
The PNF between the state and the constitution. The interpretations of juridical historiography
This essay aims to study the contributions of juridical historiography to interpreting the role and position of the PNF (National Fascist Party) in the Italian constitutional system. This is a recent contribution, because juridical historiography – traditionally interested mainly in the Middle Ages) has always been very suspicious of the contemporary age. Given the lack of studies by law historians, many other social sciences have studied fascism and the PNF. In particular, political historiography has produced a pair of opposing interpretations: the first (asserted mostly by Aquarone and Pombeni) describes the PNF as a State organ, namely a party completely subjugated to the State. Conversely, the second interpretation (asserted by Gentile) describes the PNF as a primary builder of the fascist State’s architecture.
From the point of view of the constitutional historian, these two interpretations do not seem to be necessarily in conflict. Indeed, in the fascist constitutional culture, they coexist. This was because the fascist constitutional culture was not a flat landscape. To the contrary, constitutional science during the fascist regime was characterized by a lively debate. There was an interpretation firmly anchored in the tradition of the so-called «Theories of State», but at the same time, during the 1930s and 1940s, new theories were to arise – the so called «doctrines of constitution», in which the role of the political party (or, a few years later, of «political parties») become different: no longer the State’s servant, but a maker, from below, of political unity and Constitution.
Andrea Guiso, pp. 53-66
Risorse economico-finanziarie e gestione del potere tra centro e periferia
Economic and financial resources and management of power between centre and periphery
The economic and financial relations between the central government and local authorities were one of the crucial points in the construction process of the Fascist State. However, the political historiography on fascism has always given little importance to the issue, leaving to the specialists in the history of law, administration and local finances the task of illuminating the individual aspects of a complex mosaic of more general problems. This essay aims to trace the contours of a «forgotten history», which is still essential in order to better understand the operation of the regime, the means and the manner of its legitimacy, and the relations between the ruling elite and local authorities.
Alessio Gagliardi, pp. 67-79
L’economia, l’intervento dello Stato e la «terza via» fascista
Economy, State intervention and the Fascist «third way»
This article examines the changes, starting in the 1980s, that marked the historiography of the economy during Fascism in Italy, and the different role that economic and social issues began to play in the interpretations of fascism. The article also examines some general tendencies that characterize studies on Fascism over the past 30 years, such as the increasing fragmentation of research efforts (focusing mostly on individual cases and case studies, which led to a lack of works on the economy during Fascism in general); decreased research on labour history and on factories and workers; and a new approach to the role of the State and the intervention of Fascism on the economy with increased attention to the institution, practices and projects seen from a political and ideological perspective (such as corporatism and autarchy). However, due also to some cultural trends, the studies focusing on economic aspects and the relationship between socioeconomic players and the regime have lost the central role they had earlier in the historiography on Fascism.
Emanuele Bernardi, pp. 81-92
L’agricoltura, i tecnici e la bonifica integrale
Agriculture, engineers and land reclamation
This essay traces the historical debate over the nature and limits of the technical modernization carried out by fascism in the 1930s. After being considered simply as a backward, authoritarian regime, the agricultural policies of fascism began to be seen as a significant step forward in the Italian economy’s industrialization process. In this context, the era of land reclamation projects was closely linked to the affirmation of agrarian fascism. Development, democracy and social conflict were the three main aspects of the historical discourse. Between the 1970s and 1980s, the technicians of fascism became the subject of specific studies, which highlighted the strategic role these figures played. During that period, studies on fascism were also attempts to answer the most profound questions about the characteristics of Italian unification. Over the years, as the century drew to a close, the long-term analysis broke up into different approaches, with an eye on agriculture that came closer to understanding the environmental profiles than political and technical ones did.
Chiara Giorgi, pp. 93-107
Le politiche sociali del fascismo
The social policies of fascism
This article will analyse the most important conclusions of recent historiography of fascist social policies. The focus of historians on the fascist social policy that was developed in the course of the 1920s and, above all, the 1930s, has grown since the turn of the century thanks to contributions that have enabled us to consider more profoundly the effects of the regime on national social policy in the long term.
In the Italian context, political objectives have been recognised as the dominant ones in the management of health and social security, for the principal purpose of social control, since the start of fascism. In particular, the debate on «consent», the great theme of public services and the effects of the role of the PNF, have driven the most important studies on this subject. Through these contributions we have thus managed to contextualise and understand the Italian Social State setting out from the fascist experience.
Francesca Tacchi, pp. 109-121
Binari paralleli. Storia delle professioni e storia del fascismo
Parallel paths. History of the professions and history of fascism
The relationship between the history of Fascism and the history of the professions in Italy over the past three decades can best be understood by retracing their paths in parallel. The history of the professions is, in fact, a «young» discipline, born in the late 1970s in the context of social history (especially in Germany), and was long affected by sociological analysis. As an initial step, studies focused on the nineteenth century (in particular on the bourgeoisie). Only since the mid-1980s and especially in the 1990s have they highlighted some important links with the historical reflection on Fascism, with particular regard to the controversial category of «consensus». Nowadays, in a new and different historiographical, cultural and political context, research on Italian Fascism and that on the professions (more or less characterized by a deep process of social transformation) appear to have parted again.
Lucia Ceci, pp. 123-137
La Chiesa e il fascismo. Nuovi paradigmi e nuove fonti
Church and Fascism. New paradigms and new sources
This article focuses on the ways the relationships between the Church and Fascism have been described by historians in recent decades. These relationships have been erased from the public debate or, conversely, considered from a polemic point of view for many years. Some issues were investigated in the 1960s with the main goal of clarifying the institutional aspects (Lateran Pacts, agreements and crises between the Holy See and the regime). Later, a long series of studies examined protagonists and associations, aiming often at detecting the underground thread between the reality of democratic Catholicism in the liberal period of Italian history and the role played by the Christian Democracy Party in the years of the Republic. From a different point of view, some studies investigated the relations between the Church and Fascism by underscoring the durability of the paradigms developed by intransigent Catholic thought during the nineteenth century. These studies made it possible to clarify the mental frameworks, the doctrinal issues, and the criteria of catholic political choices. New reflections were opened by the historiography that analyzed Fascism as a political religion, encouraging scholars of Catholicism to focus on Pope Pius XI’s positions on totalitarian regimes and also to clarify the mutual influence between the Church and Fascism. The overall picture was deepened by the research efforts published after the documentation regarding the pontificate of Pius XI was finally made accessible. Examination of the new records did not demolish previous interpretations, but it allowed a deeper understanding of the Italian case, above all by placing it within the broader framework of international action by the Holy See.
Irene Stolzi, pp. 139-154
Fascismo e cultura giuridica
This article attempts to explain how legal history has painted the relationship between fascism and juridical culture. First and foremost, the problem of the authors is considered, given that, for many years, the history of legal culture was written not by law historians but by scholars of current law. Secondly, the article evaluates how the historical works conceived two different expressions of legal culture during Fascism: on the one hand were the so called «regime jurists» – which is to say jurists who agreed with the fascist idea of totalitarian State, and who made their contribution to focus on the juridical boundaries of that idea; on the other hand were the so called «technical jurists», namely the jurists who continued, throughout the fascist age, to use the theoretical instruments typical of the prior liberal legal order.
Silvia Falconieri, pp. 155-168
Razzismo e antisemitismo. Percorsi della storiografia giuridica
Racism and anti-Semitism. Paths of legal historiography
Over the last twenty years, Italian legal historiography has begun to assign a central role to the matter of law in the racial policies conducted by the Fascist government, passing from a long period of embarrassed silence to an ever increasing number of legal-historical studies of racial and, in particular, anti-Semitic policies. How did this gradual awakening take shape with regard to the central role played by the legal side in setting in motion new racial identities brought into being over the course of the 1930s? What relationship is there between historical and legal-historical studies in the reconstruction of this delicate matter? This work sets out to reflect upon the manner in which legal historians have joined in the study of the relationship between law and state-sponsored racism, highlighting the main turning-points in its historiography and taking into consideration the establishment and alteration of the main interpretative patterns.
Valeria Galimi, pp. 169-181
Politica della razza, antisemitismo, Shoah
Politics of race, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust
In the renewed studies on Italian fascism, the topics of racism, anti-Semitism, anti- Jewish persecutions and the Holocaust played a major role after the end of the 1980s. In fact, since 1988, the year that marked the fiftieth anniversary of the anti-Jewish laws of 1938, scholars have re-analyzed the role of Mussolini and Italian fascism rejecting the interpretation of a substantially mild application of racial laws and the myth of «Italian goodness» with regard to the Holocaust. This historical evolution has also been influenced by the international context of historical research and the politics of memory. In this setting, new studies have contributed towards increasing knowledge of the period from 1938 to 1943 and the memory of these events after the Second World War, while there are still some grey areas concerning the period from 1943 until Liberation.
Lorenzo Benadusi, pp. 183-195
Storia del fascismo e questioni di genere
Historiography and gender issues
This essay traces the birth and development of gender history in relation to specific studies on fascism, focusing in particular on George L. Mosse’s pioneering work, the new acquisitions in the history of masculinity, and the theoretical reflections of feminist thought and its impact on women’s history. The intent is to critically analyze this now increasingly rich historiographical output, while seeking to understand how investigation of the relationship between fascism and gender identity has changed in accordance with the dominant paradigms over the past thirty years. What emerges is a more articulated image of the fascist man and woman, but also of the Regime’s relationship with modernity and tradition.
Leonardo Pompeo D’Alessandro, pp. 197-211
Il fascismo, l’antifascismo e la società italiana: un problema aperto
Fascism, anti-fascism and Italian society: an open historiographical issue
This paper proposes a historiographical analysis of the relationship between anti-fascism and Italian society over the twenty years in which fascism was in power. This relationship was substantially glossed over by postwar historiography, paralyzed as it was by its own anti-fascist paradigm. Since the 1980s, however, numerous studies have contributed significantly to redefining the problem of fascism in Italian history, allowing us not only to open new historiographical issues, but also to re-read the old in a new light. This has equally regarded the problem diametrically opposed to that of fascism, namely anti-fascism. But how have the new studies on fascism affected the reading of the history of Italian anti-fascism? To what extent have they redirected research in this area?
Gregorio Sorgonà, pp. 213-225
Storiografia del fascismo e dibattito sull’antifascismo
Historiography of fascism and debate Antifascism
This paper analyses the debate in the 1990s on antifascism and the birth of the Italian Republic. Its main hypothesis is that this debate was deeply influenced by the historiographical reflection on fascism. The paper focuses especially on the 1995 conference Antifascismi e Resistenze, which represents an important point of reference for the study of these issues. The interpretation of antifascism introduced at the conference highlighted the contribution the literature on fascism made to comprehending the distinctive traits of antifascism. The progress of the historiography on fascism had made it possible to better understand both the international dimension of that political phenomenon and its working principles. By the same token, the conceptualisation of antifascism was renewed, as antifascism was interpreted as a national-international political phenomenon that helped redefine the characteristics of the western democracies according to shared assumptions about their goals and organisation. This interpretation of antifascism contributed to the definition of a wider historiographical model, whose influence on the historiographical debate on the history of twentieth-century Italy is also examined in the paper.
Paola S. Salvatori, pp. 227-239
Fascismo e romanità
Fascism and Romanity
The myth of «Romanity» was a fundamental aspect of Fascist propaganda and ideology. However, in Italy, scholars began to investigate this theme as an object worthy of historical interest only from the mid-1970s on. There appear to have been two main bursts of historiographical interest: one occurred in the years immediately following 1975, while the other, which began in the mid-1990s, is still ongoing, although its progress has been discontinuous. It is ancient scholars who started the debate, and on both occasions it mainly involved ancient scholars and scholars in disciplines not directly connected to contemporary historiography. Over the past few years, historians of the contemporary age have played a crucial role in the study of this phenomenon, but ancient scholars have put their stamp on the debate, and this is a significant aspect that requires special attention.
Ermanno Taviani, pp. 241-256
Il cinema e la propaganda fascista
Film and fascist propaganda
This paper deals with the history of Fascist Propaganda as an issue overlooked by Italian historians. This is due both to an old-fashioned conception of the historical work by Italian historians, and to the difficulty of raising audiovisual sources to the scientific status of historiography. There is no doubt that cinema propaganda was one of the pillars of the fascist Regime’s search for consensus, as was highlighted in studies by P.V. Cannistraro and M. Argentieri. Nevertheless this historical matter has been analyzed in greater depth by film studies than by historical studies. The 1970s saw a turning point in the studies on fascist cinema, marked by its strong reassessment paralleled by a lower standing for neorealism. It was a debate marked by a strongly ideological climate. In the decades to follow, the fascist cultural and social project was reconsidered in a different way, with reference to the category of «modernity» proposed by such historians as V. de Grazia, and to similar tendencies in the other Western countries. Many essays and history books have focused on the various aspects of fascist political propaganda and its most important figures, such as Luigi Freddi.
Simone Duranti, pp. 257-270
La politica estera fascista. Fra storia politica e storia diplomatica
Fascist foreign policy. Between political history and diplomatic history
This article analyses Italian historiography and the memoirs relating to Italian fascist foreign policy. This debate, which had its origin in the studies by Salvemini, presents very conflicting opinions. The central issue is whether or not there was a long-term, coherent fascist planning in international affairs (regardless of fascism’s internal phases and particular situations). Even though the availability of new documentation has helped research recently, foreign policy and its interpretation in Italy seem to remain a subject for specialists. Research has failed to disseminate in the country the perception of the extent to which fascism was destabilizing in the international arena; the extent to which fascism challenged the legitimacy of the League of the Nations; and the extent to which war-mongering was ultimately a distinctive element of fascist policy because of ideological necessity.
Gianluca Fiocco, pp. 271-285
Guerra fascista e guerra italiana (1940-1943)
Fascist war and Italian war (1940-1943)
The article sets out a reasoned exposition of the lines of inquiry on the Italian war of 1940-1943 as developed by scholars over the past quarter of a century. Among the factors that, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, contributed to opening a new season in historiography, particular mention is made of the Mussolini biography by Renzo De Felice for the period in question, and of a significant series of collective reflections, starting from the meeting, entitled L’Italia in guerra 1940-1943, organized by the Micheletti Foundation in 1989. The article underscores the broadening of the topics discussed by historians, and the positive trend to question the collective and self-comforting image of the «only fascist» war, alien to the traditions and the common sense of a non-imperialist country. The narrative focuses on the following areas of research: political and military strategies, industrial production, fascist expansionist designs, military occupation in the Balkans, the home front and aerial raids against Italian cities.
Toni Rovatti, pp. 287-299
Le Linee di ricerca sulla Repubblica sociale italiana
Lines of research on the Italian Social Republic
For many years, antifascist historiography barely recognized the Italian Social Republic (RSI) as an interesting case of study, despite the fact that the RSI saw the last stages of Italian fascism’s decline, characterized by repressive policies and violent practices against opposition forces within Italy. From the mid-1980s onward, historiography’s opinion of this underestimated political role of the RSI began to change as a consequence of important cultural events promoted by the Micheletti Foundation in Brescia. However, the effects of this important historiographical shift became clear only fifteen years later, thanks to works by Ganapini and Gagliani. Their studies provide a more complex idea of republican fascism and allow analysis of the multilateral relationships among several fascist institutions, the German authorities of the occupation, and the Italian population itself in the wartime period of 1943-45.
Giovanni Mario Ceci, pp. 301-316
Alla ricerca della Nazione: storiografia del fascismo e storiografia dell’Italia repubblicana
In Search of the Nation: Historiography on Fascism and Historiography on the Italian Republic
In the early 1990s, the opening of a new phase in the scientific debate on Fascism coincided with the start of the first broad historiographic debate devoted to postwar Italian history. This article takes into consideration and analyses the relevant connections, links, and influences existing between these two fields of study. It focuses especially on the lively and sometimes heated debate revolving around the problem of the Italian nation and Italian identity, which took place during the 1990s, just after the end of the Cold War and coinciding with the crisis of the so-called First Republic. Many of the most prominent Italian historians were involved and, mainly due to a widespread atmosphere of crisis, the debate had a significant impact upon public opinion as well. In particular, the article takes into account the four most significant paradigms that emerged during those years: the «death of the fatherland» (Ernesto Galli della Loggia); the crisis and the fading of the State and of the nation as the main unifying categories in the Italians’ political culture (Renzo De Felice and Emilio Gentile); «constitutional patriotism » (Gian Enrico Rusconi and Pietro Scoppola); and interdependency, modernization, development, and crisis of the nation (Giuseppe Vacca and Franco De Felice).
Tommaso Baris, Alessio Gagliardi, pp. 317-333
Le controversie sul fascismo degli anni Settanta e Ottanta
The controversies over Fascism during the 1970s and 1980s
Over the past few decades in Italy, the interpretation of Fascism went through an
animated debate, revolving mostly around the research efforts and theses of Renzo De Felice. This debate began in the mid-1970s, with the publication of De Felice’s biography on Mussolini and the consensus (1974) and with a famous Interview on Fascism (1975). Among the main matters that triggered the debate were: the revolutionary essence of Fascism compared to Nazism’s reactionary and racist characteristics; the role of the middle class as the soul of the fascist movement; and the consensus won by the dictatorship beyond police repression. These topics provoked a major public debate, which led to accusing De Felice of attempting to rehabilitate Fascism. During the following decade, the debate cooled; despite criticism of De Felice’s books, his contribution to the analysis and reconstruction of Fascism was widely acknowledged. But at the same time, especially through the press and media, a «pejorative De-Felicism» spread, which trivialized De Felice’s theories and turned the debate over the country’s memory into a spectacle with no historical depth. Moreover, this occurred while De Felice’s interests were changing. The method of studies on Fascism was in fact replaced by the issue of Italy and its national crisis as a central topic of his thinking; this shift was also caused by political and cultural needs. In this perspective, the Resistance became a topic open to passionate debate, which was to accompany De Felice until his untimely passing.
Donatello Aramini, pp. 335-348
Renzo De Felice e la recente storiografia italiana
Renzo De Felice and Italian Historiography in Recent Years
This article discusses the reception of Renzo De Felice’s work in Italian historiography in recent years. In particular, the author discusses the opinions that arose after De Felice’s passing and the publishing of his last book about Mussolini. Indeed, the reviews published at these two times show a synthesis between some of the main interpretative trends that have become widespread since the 1970s, and those that were to dominate the debate in the years to follow. The article shows that even today, De Felice’s work remains difficult for many Italian historians to truly understand. In the author’s opinion, a sort of traditional, preconceived position, both for or against De Felice’s work. still persists in Italian historiography. But, above all, a new historiographical conformism has spread that, while paying many generic tributes to De Felice’s research, deletes all the methodological and interpretative differences. In this way, De Felice’s work ends up being decontextualized, simplified and trivialized.
Elenco dei fascicoli pubblicati dal 2010
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