Sanctions against fascism : purges, prosecutions, and popular justice in Italy 1943-1948 / by Roy Palmer Domenico
Includes bibliographical references (p. 372-386)
This study concerns the defascistization program undertaken by the Italian Government after the fall of Benito Mussolini which consisted mainly of a bureaucratic purge and court trials against Fascists. Focus is also directed toward the motivation of those who advocated sanctions and the resistance which they encountered from center-right forces; forces which had cooperated with Mussolini for over twenty years and, while usually not Fascists themselves, risked guilt by association. This opposition, added to indecision and doubt on the part of the anti-Fascists as well as war-time logistical pressures, contributed to the death of the defascistization program and widespread condemnation of the entire program. However, political struggle did in and of itself destroy the sanctions program. Another phenomenon which affected the outcome was a perception, among many on the political Left and Center, of both indecision and inability regarding blame or guilt. Thus, rather than punishments based on an analysis of Fascism and its place in society, the objects of the program tended to be the very visible "symbols" of the old regime--either Mussolini and the top gerarchi or the policeman on the corner. The great center and the hidden economic forces which propelled Fascism were relatively ignored. On a more politically theoretical level, this work examines the dynamics of a change in regimes. This Italian case illustrates the resiliency of the old order and its tenacity to hang on to power. Thus, while the country changed from a Fascist dictatorship to a democratic republic in the space of three years, there was, in the historian, Claudio Pavone's words, a remarkable "continuity of state."
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