‘Cinquant’ anni di vita italiana’ (‘Fifty years of Italian life’ – ep.3: 1919-1924 crisis of democracy)

28 December 1958

(ID Teca: C23) This extract illustrates the power takeover by fascism, from the weak Facta government to the march on Rome and the settlement of the first Mussolini government. It’s part of an ‘editing’ documentary, taken from the ten-part series that is by far the first major historical reconstruction produced by the still young public television. As a result of three years of preparation and edited by the well-known Vaticanist and liberal essayist Silvio Negro, the series was broadcast on the (then only) National Channel from December 1958 (this extract aired precisely on Sunday 28th December), obtaining a huge success with the public.

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Historiography

Nascita e avvento del fascismo (Birth and advent of fascism)
La crisi dello Stato liberale in Italia (The crisis of the liberal state in Italy)
Storia dell’Italia nel periodo fascista (History of Italy in the Fascist period)
Nitti, D’Annunzio e la questione adriatica 1919-1920 (Nitti, D’Annunzio and the Adriatic question 1919-1920)

Culture and politics

Trial of Junio Valerio Borghese

Trial of Junio Valerio Borghese

The trial against Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, commander of the Decima MAS, the elite body of the Republic of Salò, begins before the Special Court of Assizes of Rome, accused of collaboration and fierce episodes of anti-Partigian violence. Sentenced to life imprisonment, thanks to the extenuating circumstances the sentence is commuted to 12 years of imprisonment, then reduced to three with the application of amnesty, and finally released under the amnesty Togliatti. Appointed honorary president of the Italian Social Movement in 1970, Borghese was the protagonist of an attempt to overthrow the democratic order and establish an authoritarian regime in Italy.

The “Rhodes group”

The “Rhodes group”

The President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi, signed the decrees of pardon (countersigned by the Minister of Defence Randolfo Pacciardi) for four German officers and non-commissioned officers sentenced in Rome in October 1948, responsible for the indiscriminate shooting of 29 Italian prisoners. The four criminals of the "Group of Rhodes" regain their freedom and are repatriated in great secrecy, without the Italian public being made aware of it. A few days later, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, met in Rome the Prime Minister, Alcide De Gasperi, as a first step in cordial Italian-German relations.

The Scelba law

The Scelba law

In application of the XII transitional and final disposition of the Constitution, the Scelba Law is approved (645/1952) which provides for criminal penalties for anyone attempting to reorganise the dissolved fascist party and for all associations or movements or groups of people pursuing anti-democratic aims. The crime of apology of fascism also applies to anyone who glorifies, threatens or uses violence as a method of political struggle, advocating the suppression of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution or denigrating democracy, its institutions and the values of the Resistance, or carrying out racist propaganda.

The meeting of Arcinazzo

The meeting of Arcinazzo

During an election rally held in Arcinazzo, in Ciociaria, the Undersecretary to the Prime Minister, Giulio Andreotti, invites on stage Rodolfo Graziani (former Marshal of Italy and former Minister of Defense of the RSI) which praises the anti-communism and the Atlanticism of the Christian Democrat government: "If Italy were to find itself involved, albeit for defensive purposes, in a threatening world conflict, we MSI fighters would not make a question of conscientious objection, a new form of desertion, nor would we pose any ideological prejudice. The soldiers who follow me are ready to give their work and to rush in defense of the homeland in danger".

The S’Agapò army

The S’Agapò army

Film critic Renzo Renzi (a former infantry officer in ' 42-' 43) and screenwriter Guido Aristarco, were arrested and prosecuted by the Military Court of Milan on charges of "insulting the armed forces" for having published the story of a film entitled "The S'Agapò Army", which tells of the criminal behavior of Italian troops during the Greek campaign against the civilian population (in particular to have used violence against Greek women). The writer Curzio Malaparte defends the right to freedom of the press for the two accused but criticizes "the right to pass off the mass of Italian soldiers as a bunch of scoundrels, devoid of any moral sensitivity" who "vented their base instincts against a helpless and starving population".

Oggioni president of the Court of Cassation

Oggioni president of the Court of Cassation

Luigi Oggioni, former Attorney General of the Republic of Salò was appointed first President of the Court of Cassation. In 1966 the President of the Republic Giuseppe Saragat would appoint him judge of the Constitutional Court. The same fate had befallen Gaetano Azzariti, former president of the Court for the defense of the race, appointed in 1955 as constitutional judge by the will of the President of the Republic Giovanni Gronchi.