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The question of Fascist Italy's war crimes: the construction of a self-acquitting myth (1943 - 1948)

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Between the announcement of the armistice on 8 September 1943 and 1948, the anti-fascist ruling class developed a narrative of the 'Fascist war' that was destined to mark deeply the historical conscience of the country and the national self-image. Until now, extraneous to both of these has been the awareness of Fascist Italy's role as protagonist in a policy of aggression towards various foreign states (Ethiopia, Albania, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union) and as an occupation regime distinguished by violent forms of repression and control not dissimilar to the abominations committed by Nazi Germany in western Europe. A study of the debate on the question of Italian war crimes and criminals from 1943 to 1948 will shed light on this lacuna in the historical memory of the Italians.

Keywords: Italy; Second World War; public memory; war crimes

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1354571042000254755

Affiliations: 1: University of Rome III 2: German Historical Institute Rome

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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