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Filippo Focardi

The chapter analyses the efforts of the forces of the Resistance, of the Badoglio government and of the governments of national antifascist unity to mobilise the Italian people in the struggle against the German occupier. This was a difficult task in a country exhausted after three years of a war which had ended in the armistice declaration. By analysing the press, as well as other publications and the speeches broadcast on the radio, it is evident that the anti-Fascist forces as well as the Monarchist government made ample use of Risorgimento traditions in order to galvanise an anti-German approach: Mazzini and Garibaldi, in other words the Republican tradition,  represented the principal reference points for the anti-Fascist left (the Socialists, Communists, and Actionists), while the Monarchists harked back to the traditions of the nation’s institutions, in other words the moderate and liberal legacy of the Risorgimento. The chapter then turns its attention to the political and diplomatic dimension of the struggle for liberation.  The need to maximise efforts in the fight against the ‘common enemy’ was of fundamental importance to the government and the anti-Fascist parties, who shared the belief that victory would lead to the international redemption of the country, overcoming Italy’s status as a nation which had been defeated, and obliged to accept an unconditional surrender. This inferior status has not been modified by the recognition of ‘co-belligerence’ following the declaration of war by the Kingdom of the South against Germany on 13 October 1943. Thus Italian political initiatives from September 1943 onwards were designed to meet the requests of the Anglo-Americans to fulfil the promises of the Quebec Agreement, signed by Winston Churchill and the American president Roosevelt. This document, attached to the armistice conditions, established that such conditions would be strictly dependent on the level of Italian commitment to the war against Germany.

in The bad German and the good Italian
Wider still and wider

English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere is the first sustained research that examines the inter-relationships between English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere. Much initial analysis of Brexit concentrated on the revolt of those ‘left behind’ by globalisation. English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere analyses the elite project behind Brexit. This project was framed within the political traditions of an expansive English nationalism. Far from being parochial ‘Little Englanders’, elite Brexiteers sought to lessen the rupture of leaving the European Union by suggesting a return to trade and security alliances with ‘true friends’ and ‘traditional allies’ in the Anglosphere. Brexit was thus reassuringly presented as a giant leap into the known. Legitimising this far-reaching change in British and European politics required the re-articulation of a globally oriented Englishness. This politicised Englishness was underpinned by arguments about the United Kingdom’s imperial past and its global future advanced as a critique of its European present. When framing the UK’s EU membership as a European interregnum followed by a global restoration, Brexiteers both invoked and occluded England by asserting the wider categories of belonging that inform contemporary English nationalism.

Citizenship, selfhood and forgetting

The Korean War in Britain explores the social and cultural impact of the Korean War (1950–53) on Britain. Coming just five years after the ravages of the Second World War, Korea was a deeply unsettling moment in post-war British history. When North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, Britons worried about a return to total war and the prospect of atomic warfare. As the war progressed, British people grew uneasy about the conduct of the war. From American ‘germ’ warfare allegations to anxiety over Communist use of ‘brainwashing’, the Korean War precipitated a series of short-lived panics in 1950s Britain. But by the time of its uneasy ceasefire in 1953, the war was becoming increasingly forgotten, with more attention paid to England’s cricket victory at the Ashes than to returning troops. Using Mass Observation surveys, letters, diaries and a wide range of under-explored contemporary material, this book charts the war’s changing position in British popular imagination, from initial anxiety in the summer of 1950 through to growing apathy by the end of the war and into the late-twentieth century. Built around three central concepts – citizenship, selfhood and forgetting – The Korean War in Britain connects a critical moment in Cold War history to post-war Britain, calling for a more integrated approach to Britain’s Cold War past. It explores the war a variety of viewpoints – conscript, POW, protestor and veteran – to offer the first social history of this ‘forgotten war’. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Britain’s post-1945 history.


This book offers an up-to-date survey of historical writing on the German Revolution of 1918–19, focusing on debates during the Weimar, Nazi and Cold War periods, and on developments since German reunification in 1989–90. Its aim is twofold: to make a comprehensive case for seeing the revolution as a landmark event in twentieth-century German, European and world history, and to offer a multi-faceted explanation for its often peripheral place in standard accounts of the recent German past. A central argument is that the ‘cultural turn’ in historical studies from the late 1970s onwards, while shedding important new light on the gendered and spatial dimensions of the revolution, and the role of violence, has failed adequately to grasp its essential political and emancipatory character. Instead, the fragmented narratives that stem from the foregrounding of culture, identity and memory over material factors have merely reinforced the notion of a divided and failed revolution that – for different reasons – characterised pre-1945 and Cold War-era historiography. Public recognition of a handful of reductive ‘lessons’ from the revolution fails to compensate for the absence of real historical debate and sustained, contexualised understanding of how the past relates to the present. The book nonetheless sees some welcome signs of a return to the political in recent urban, transnational and global histories of the revolution, and ends with a plea for more work on the entanglements between the revolution and competing or overlapping ideas about popular sovereignty in the years immediately following the First World War.

Removing the guilt of the Second World War

The book reconstructs the process by which the Italian memory of the Second World War was shaped. This memory was organised around two contrasting stereotypes: the ‘good Italian’ and the ‘bad German’. The image of the ruthless and cruel German soldier, capable of appalling crimes, was counterposed by that of the Italian soldier: peaceful, against the war, cordial and generous even when he was an occupier, an example of those humane virtues which had been evident in the rescue of thousands of Jews, saved from the Nazi death camps. There was a clear element of truth behind this counterposed representation, which had already been used in Allied propaganda. The Monarchist state apparatus in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of War, and then all the governments of anti-Fascist unity, used the stereotype, above all, as a diplomatic card to separate Italian responsibilities from those of her former Axis ally, a strategy designed to avoid a punitive peace following the armistice of September 1943. The national public memory of the war was organised around the exaltation of the anti-fascist and anti-Nazi Resistance from 1943 to 1945, and the consequent drastic reformulation of Italy’s responsibilities in the war of aggression fought alongside Germany from 1943 to 1945, considered as a war which the Italians had not wanted, and which had been imposed on them by Mussolini. The crimes committed by the Italian occupying forces, especially in the Balkans, were obscured by a focus on the humanitarian merits of the Italian soldiers, in contrast to the German war crimes. This narrative, elaborated by the political and cultural elite, permeated mass culture and produced a self-absolving memory which still exists today

Open Access (free)
A descendants’ history

Afterlives of war is a study of the generations in Britain, Germany and Australia who were born after the First World War and lived in its shadow. They experienced the effects of the global cataclysm in their homes as young children before they knew the conflict as history. Yet because they were not direct witnesses, and their testimonies were ‘second hand’, the war’s impact on them was often hidden. Drawing on ninety interviews, observation of the First World War Centenary and research on the First World War past in the author’s own family, Afterlives documents the personal legacies of the conflict and the rich historical culture that descendants create. It investigates the letters, photographs, trench art and official records they hold in private archives, reconstructs their relationships with members of the war generation, and reflects on how the war past in the family shaped them as children and throughout their lives. It describes their efforts to piece together the war stories of their parents and grandparents and how they interact with national traditions of remembrance. Motivated by the experience of coming after, descendants have played a key role in the cultural memory of the First World War since 1918.

Mass graves in post-war Malaysia
Frances Tay

’être to honour martyrs of the Japanese occupation, the memorial appears to hold little resonance for the Malaysian public – Chinese or otherwise – at large. If the intention of the memorial was to be a political manoeuvre to insert Chinese collective war memory into the national historiography of the war, that attempt also appears to have failed. Conclusion Exhumations often resurrect ghosts from the pasts. As Verdery posits, the emotions, narratives, and commemorations they trigger often result in a reassessment of an uncomfortable past within society.36 In Malaysia

in Human remains and identification
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Reading the Second World War in children’s crime fiction of the 1990s and 2000s
Claire Gorrara

 recent past intended to inform and  inspire younger generations. It will begin by examining the context of the  1990s and 2000s in France and a reframing of memory which allowed a  more plural set of warmemories to gain public prominence. It will then  proceed to examine two key cultural arenas for the transmission of war  narratives for younger generations: the classroom and children’s fiction.  In analysing the cultural mediation of the war years in these two contexts, this chapter will map out a civic memory of the Second World War  structured around questions of

in French crime fiction and the Second World War
Marxism and Civil War memory
Matthew E. Stanley

future. Nor was he distinctive in his urge to dispense with unavailing remnants of the past, famously asserting in The Eighteenth Brumaire that “the tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.” 15 Likewise, Marxist historiography is not exceptional in its drift toward teleology. Yet Marxist Civil War memory is unique in its emphasis on modes of production (denaturalizing capitalism) and the war as an ongoing project of transformation from below, or what Enzo Traverso labels a “strategic memory of past emancipation

in Marxism and America
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A comparison of episodic war narratives during the Revolt in the Low Countries
Jasper van der Steen

the divergence of episodic war memories exhaustively, but two important conclusions may be drawn on the basis of the analysed material. First of all, the different interpretations of the Revolt were not simply two variants of the same episodic narrative. Several factors influenced how episodes about the Revolt were selected and narrated differently in North and South. Religious uniformity in the South allowed for a consensual Catholic reading of the Revolt while the existence of different Protestant confessions and the continuing presence of Catholics in the North

in Early modern war narratives and the Revolt in the Low Countries