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Catholic students at war: the Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana, 1940-43

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This article deals with the religious experience of the Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana during the Second World War. Since many of the future Christian Democrat leaders that would rule the country after the conflict were formed in the ranks of the organization, most of the existing literature has tended to focus on the formation of this ruling class and their political trajectory and, has tended to overstate the origins and character of their anti-fascist departure, neglecting the initial support for many aspects of the Regime's war effort. This article contends, instead, that the most salient features of the war experience of the university students are to be located in the spiritual dimension and in their effort to contrive a religiosity adapted to warfare and modernity in general, interlaced with the powerful myth of a Catholic Italy that, at least in the early stages of the conflict, fuelled the expectations of many in the federation of a primordial role to be played by Italy in a new world order.
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Keywords: Catholics; FUCI; Italy; Second World War

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile,

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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