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Italy at the border. The State and the government of the national emergency in Alto Adige and Venezia Giulia (1945-1954)


The project aims to shed light upon the lines of continuity/breakage and upon the processes of transition which characterised the presence and the political and national choices of the Italian State in the border zones in the 20th Century. To this aim, the analysis will favour the study of the strategy of the Government and of its peripheral institutional and political points of reference, in the context of the «defence of Italianism» by the Alto Adige and by the Venezia Giulia regions in the period following WWII.

Fierce national clashes characterised the two regions both after the annexation of 1918 and in period following WWII: the tensions produced by the violent and «imperfect» (de)nationalisation of Fascism against the minorities absorbed by the new State continued even after 1945. In the Venezia Giulia region the situation was worsened by the conflict between Communism and anticommunism and by the peace treaty which sanctioned the surrender of Istria and the 10 year suspension of Italian sovereignty over Trieste.

The research examines with a comparative approach (geographic and diachronic) the Republic’s various governmental strategies in multiple contexts, with regard to the post-war emergency and to the need for «national defence», strategies which revived a centralist approach at times lacking in democratic character and often aggressive towards political adversaries and minorities.

Particular attention will be given to the politico-organisational front, to the influence of «Italianism related propaganda» and to the influence of the border theme both in public debate and in the process of (re)construction of national identity after the fall of the dictatorship. There will be examinations of the centre-periphery relationship, of the issue of autonomy, of the reassembly of nationalism, of anticommunism, of the treatment of minorities and of the mobilization of paramilitary groups and intelligence apparatus in the years of Degasperian centrism.

Preferred sources are documents as yet unpublished by the Ufficio zone di confine (Office of Border Areas under the Presidency of the Council of Ministers) and by the Giulio Andreotti Archive: Andreotti was in fact the government official in charge of the body to which was in large part delegated the task of planning and applying the strategy of the Italian Government in the border areas between 1947 and 1954.

Sunday, April 1, 2012 to Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Project financed by PAT