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The cultural penetration of Fascist Italy abroad and in eastern Europe

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This article studies the creation and evolution of the system of Italian cultural penetration abroad during the Fascist regime, and focuses in particular on its use in eastern Europe, an area that Italy considered to be of the highest importance in its bid to become a great power. After the First World War Italy developed its cultural and political interests in Eastern Europe. The collaboration among cultural figures and diplomats of the regime allowed for the development of increasingly close relations between the intelligencije sympathetic to Italy and to Fascism. In this way a 'parallel diplomacy' of culture developed alongside traditional diplomacy, intent on guaranteeing Italy a hegemonic role in those countries. Fascist Italy's weakness and unrealistic ambitions regarding the political and economic penetration of eastern Europe led to the total failure of the strategy of Italian cultural diplomacy. By the end of the 1930s Italy found itself in a position of progressive subordination to Nazi Germany's initiatives throughout eastern Europe.

Keywords: Eastern Europe; Fascism; Slavists; diplomacy; institutes of culture; propaganda

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Trieste

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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