24 November 1972
(ID Teca: F157942) One of the main innovations of the great television investigation in 6 episodes carried out by the authoritative Rai journalist Sergio Zavoli on the coming to power of fascism, broadcast on the fiftieth anniversary of the march on Rome, was to give the floor to fascists, to better understand what happened also through their testimony. This excerpt from the interview with a blackshirt, Dante Maria Tuninetti, reminds us of the origins, methods and reasons for supplying these blackshirts with weapons. This episode aired on Friday 24th of November 1972, at 9pm on the National Channel.
Uno straordinario dibattito trasmesso sulla Rai in prima serata nel 1976. Renzo De Felice difende il proprio approccio all'interpretazione storiografica del fascismo dalle osservazioni dello storico inglese Denis Mack Smith.
La marcia su Roma (The march on Rome)
Antonino Repaci, , Rizzoli. Repaci, a magistrate who had participated in the Piedmontese resistance, had originally published this volume in 1963 (under the title “La marcia su Roma. Mito e realtà [The March on Rome. Myth and Reality]) in an attempt to provide a documentary basis for the debate regarding the events of October 1922. Reconstruction up to that moment was mainly through personal diaries and memories, some of which (such as that of Emilio Lussu, “L'apologia di Vittorio Emanuele III”, The apology of Vittorio Emanuele III, written by his former aide Paolo Puntoni or the “Memories of Badoglio”) were not too reliable. Although many new sources have become available in recent decades, the new 1972 edition of The March, enriched with numerous archival documents, is still to date one of the fundamental texts to reconstruct the stages of the constitution of the first Mussolini government.
I combattenti nel primo dopoguerra (The fighters in the first postwar period)
Giovanni Sabbatucci, Laterza. The first (and only) critical monograph dedicated to the complete reconstruction of Italian "combattentismo" after 1918, Sabbatucci's work remains a classic text for understanding post-war anxieties and problems many years later. Sabbatucci analyzes the dynamics (and contradictions) of the world of veterans by examining the forms of associations, the press, culture, obsessions, and by being the first to deconstruct the myth (typical of propaganda of the “ventennio”) of a veteranism dominated by nationalistic and fascist demands.
La conquista del potere. Il fascismo dal 1919 al 1929 (The Seizure of Power: Fascism in Italy, 1919 to 1929)
Adrian Lyttelton, Laterza. This volume, a translation of the original English version published the previous year, still represents today a canonical text for studies on the genesis of the fascist movement and the birth of the dictatorship. Rich in unpublished documentation, precise and accurate in the reconstruction of events, characterized by a critical interpretation and detached from political passions (a rarity in Italy at the time), Lyttelton’s volume was based on a continuist reading: the process of subversion of the liberal order by fascism would take place over ten years and would not be completed until 1929. Although this interpretation would often be questioned in subsequent decades, Lyttelton's reconstruction of the initial phase of fascist state-building and its attention to cultural and economic factors made it a pioneering text in many respects.
Intervista sul fascismo (Interview on fascism)
R. De Felice M. Ledeen, Einaudi. With six reprints in just one year, the Interview was the most famous and influential text in the public debate of those years, although part of its success was undoubtedly due to the controversy that followed, in 1974, the publication of the fourth volume of the Mussolinian biography, The Years of Consent (1929-1936). The De Felice’s interpretation, which would be strengthened in the following volume and would be enriched by many essays by his pupils, saw in Mussolini’s Italy a nationalist regime, essentially illiberal and traditionally conservative, but without totalitarian pretensions. A regime that over the years had met with a mass consensus by those social segments (including especially the middle classes, but also partly the working classes supported and favoured by the welfare policies of the state) who saw the regime mainly as a dispenser of securities, in the face of which repressed freedoms mattered very little.
Le origini dell’ideologia fascista (The origins of fascist ideology)
Emilio Gentile, Laterza. When this volume was released in its original edition, Emilio Gentile was a young pupil of De Felice at his first publications. But with this volume (which would later be strongly revised during a new edition for the publisher “Il Mulino” twenty years later) he already stood out as one of the most pioneering historians of Italian fascism. At the time there were few scholars who actually credited fascism with its own «ideology», that is to say, a set of myths, beliefs, but also projects for the change of society. Gentile subverted this view by tracing the genealogy of the obsessions but also of the aspirations of fascism and laying the foundations for a renewed reading of the regime as a totalitarian experiment.
Culture and politics
During a protest against neo-fascist terrorism, in Piazza della Loggia in Brescia, the explosion of a bomb hidden in a waste bin causes the death of 8 people and the injury of another 102. After years of investigation and misdirection, some members of the neo-fascist New Order group will be sentenced. In the same year another bomb exploded on the Italicus train, on the transit line between Bologna and Florence; 12 people died and more than 40 were injured. The country reacted by proclaiming a general strike in the two cities affected by the attack, on 6 August 1974 (a few days before the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Florence, 11 August 1944).
On 28 of April at 8.45 pm, on Rai 1 aired in the early evening the comparison between the historian Renzo De Felice, author of a monumental biography of Mussolini, and Denis Mack Smith, English historian known to the general public for his successful “Storia d’Italia” (History of Italy). De Felice is accused of wanting to rehabilitate the twenty years of pro-fascism and revisionism. The historian from Rieti (who spoke of fascism as a "modern and revolutionary movement" and of the building of consensus in the Italian society of the thirties, not attributable to the only repressive machine of the dictatorship) is challenged by the theory of fascism as "imperfect totalitarianism", not comparable to the National Socialist regime in terms of repression and violence.
SS Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler sentenced to life imprisonment by the Military Court of Rome for the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine (335 hostages shot on 24th of March 1944 in some abandoned pozzolana quarries on the outskirts of Rome), and detained in the Gaeta prison; he then fled from the military hospital of Celio, where he was hospitalized for a serious illness. Numerous journalistic investigations will talk about "state flight", organized by the Italian secret services, with the complicity of the Andreotti government.