Courtesy Reuters

The Patriot Movement in Italy

IN Italy, as elsewhere in Europe, the Resistance movement against the Nazis was composed of many different elements: workers and industrialists who purposely lowered their production; public officials who did not carry out German orders and gave secret help to active anti-German fighters; people who went into hiding rather than work for the Germans; peasants who refused to turn farm products over to the enemy and who sheltered escaped prisoners of war; and armed guerrillas and saboteurs. The Italian Resistance had one difference from similar movements in other European countries, however, in that it was to a large extent the continuation of an underground anti-Fascist struggle and not a new movement created simply as an answer to the German invasion. For twenty years Italian democrats and Communists had fought Fascism, tenaciously and painfully. The great majority of the population was indifferent, yet there was a considerable minority which consciously and positively refused to accept Mussolini's doctrines. Some ten thousand Italians went into political exile; several times as many were jailed or interned and possibly as many as a quarter of a million people in Italy participated at one time or another in the clandestine activities of democratic organizations and of the Communist Party. Veterans of this underground struggle supplied most of the leadership of the Italian Resistance.

In Italy, the armed branch of the Resistance was called the Partisans, or Patriots. Its activities should be known, not merely because the Patriots gave real assistance to the Allies, but because the special characteristics of the Italian Patriot movement offer clues to political developments in Italy. Most of the administrators in northern Italy today -- prefects, mayors and questori -- are former Patriots. Leadership in some of the important political parties is largely in the hands of veterans of the anti-Fascist movement who were active Patriots. Signor Parri, who succeeded Signor Bonomi as Prime Minister, was one of the leaders of the Patriots in northern Italy. General Cadorna, who was appointed Chief of

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.