The Conclusion reviews the key points explored throughout the book, drawing together the changing nature of Anglophobia through the period of Fascist Italy, as it was affected by wider events in the interwar years, including those in Ethiopia and Spain. The conclusion also suggests areas for further research.
After having maintained good relations since the Risorgimento (1815–1871), Italy and Britain fought on the same side during the Great War (1914–1918) only to find themselves in opposite camps in the Second World War (1939–1945). The events, struggles and intellectual currents that turned two traditional allies into enemies have been under historical scrutiny for several years, and this is the first book to be a more comprehensive study documenting the image of Britain in Italy during this two-decades-long period. The Introduction outlines the innovative approach this book takes, by providing a systematic and multilayered examination of various key themes of the Fascist depiction of Britain (including unstudied factors such as race, military analysis and economic appraisals), and also provides a full chapter overview.
Chapter 5 puts Fascist public discourse to the test. It draws on the relatively effective methods the regime used to check the pulse of public opinion in order to understand to what degree the representation of Britain during the two decades of the Fascist era had managed to inform Italian people’s opinions. In particular, it challenges the notion – sometimes sustained by historians of Italian public opinion – that the Italian people were generally immune from hatred of the enemy and that their support for the declaration of war in June 1940 was only due to the hope of winning an easy victory, rather than by any real hostility towards the enemy. The chapter also interrogates the degree to which the Italian people retained hostility for the British during the conflict and whether they considered victory feasible after it was clear that the immediate defeat of London was not likely. The chapter suggests a more nuanced view, according to which the Italian people had absorbed many of the anti-British tropes proposed by Fascist public discourse, being consistently hostile towards the British before the defeats suffered in winter 1940–41, and again as the aerial bombing campaign escalated during the last phases of the Fascist war.
Chapter 6 expands the analysis of the perception of the British by addressing the period stretching from 1943 to 1945. It makes use of official contemporary sources to demonstrate that, even after the fall of Fascism, and during the slow campaign leading to the Liberation in April 1945, large sections of the Italian people tended to regard the British with antipathy, especially if compared with the perception of their American allies.
Chapter 1 analyses how the Fascist regime and its intellectuals represented Britain as an imperial power and international player. Unlike in the case of Nazi Germany, the tropes public discourse used to describe Britain were far less positive and that admiration, since the earlier days of the Fascist movement, was often mixed with open dislike. Anglophobia had been present, if at times dormant, since the Great War. The chapter addresses the genesis of anti-British tropes during the Great War and their evolution during the immediate post-war years, especially during the days of tense negotiations at Versailles in 1919, and of Gabriele D’Annunzio’s Fiume Free State (1920–1924). As the following period of less troubled Anglo-Italian relations between the Corfu crisis in 1923 and the Great Depression of 1929 proceeded, a more diverse (if still within the limits allowed in an authoritarian country) range of opinions concerning Britain as an international player emerged. The chapter investigates how various criteria, among which were white supremacy, anti-communism and domestic issues, influenced the Fascist perception of the British Empire during this period. The anti-British discourse in the media was not just the artificial product of government direction, but rather responded to deeply rooted prejudices and did not always abide by the regime’s changing needs. The chapter also examines the legacy of Romanità (Roman-ness), the persistent comparison of Britain with Ancient Rome’s arch- enemy, Carthage.
Chapter 4 deals with the largely neglected issue of the racial image of the British people in the later years of the Fascist regime, as it adopted an openly racist ideology and legislation. The chapter looks at the development of Fascist racism and the establishment of various ‘factions’ or ‘schools’ within it. In particular it focuses on the ‘Mediterraneanists’, who supported the view of an Italian people belonging to a unified Mediterranean race, and the ‘Nordicists’, or biological racists who were close to German racist doctrines. The chapter examines the racist analysis of the British people in magazines like La Difesa della Razza within the context of the fierce ideological and ‘academic’ struggle among various racist schools of thought. in doing so, it follows the methodology of Aaron Gillette in his book Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. If the ‘spiritual’ Mediterraneanist racists tended to use Anglophobic racial rhetoric as a tool to attack the notion of a ‘nordic’ Italy, at times using Britain as a roundabout way to attack Germany, the Nazi-inspired, Nordicist biological racists found themselves in an embarrassing position, surprisingly being among the last Anglophiles in Fascist cultural discourse. The chapter also underlines the intersection of the racist debate with other themes like feminism, colonial rule, demography and sexuality.
COVID-19 has reinstated the sovereign enclosures of corpse management that mothers of the disappeared had so successfully challenged in the past decade. To explore how moral duties toward the dead are being renegotiated due to COVID-19, this article puts forward the notion of biorecuperation, understood as an individualised form of forensic care for the dead made possible by the recovery of biological material. Public health imperatives that forbid direct contact with corpses due to the pandemic, interrupt the logics of biorecuperation. Our analysis is based on ten years of experience working with families of the disappeared in Mexico, ethnographic research within Mexico’s forensic science system and online interviews conducted with medics and forensic scientists working at the forefront of Mexico City’s pandemic. In the face of increasing risks of viral contagion and death, this article analyses old and new techniques designed to bypass the prohibitions imposed by the state and its monopoly over corpse management and identification.
The handling of the deceased during the COVID-19 pandemic, a case study in France and Switzerland
Gaëlle Clavandier, Marc-Antoine Berthod, Philippe Charrier, Martin Julier-Costes, and Veronica Pagnamenta
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented global crisis. To limit the spread of the virus and the associated excess mortality, states and governing bodies have produced a series of regulations and recommendations from a health perspective. The funerary aspects of these directives have reconfigured not only the ways in which the process of dying can be accompanied, but also the management of dead bodies, impacting on the dying, their relatives and professionals in the sector. Since March 2020, the entire process of separation and farewell has been affected, giving rise to public debates about funeral restrictions and the implications for mourning. We carried out a study in France and Switzerland to measure the effects of this crisis, and in particular to explore whether it has involved a shift from a funerary approach to a strictly mortuary one. Have the practices that would normally be observed in non-pandemic times been irrevocably altered? Does this extend to all deaths? Has there been a switch to an exclusively technical handling? Are burial practices still respected? The results of the present study pertain to the ‘first wave’ of spring 2020 and focus on the practices of professionals working in the funeral sector.