Development Discourse and Cold War Strategies:
At the Origins of an Unpredictable Symbiosis
The article explores the encounter of decolonisation and the Cold War and with the convergence of the discourse on development and Cold War rhetoric in the 1950s. It argues against the master narrative on development, which tells the story of an enthusiastic propagation of the American empire and its idea of progress through the launch of Truman’s point four. It goes on to show that the concept of development existed well before the Cold War started, and that its ideological dimension became crucial between the 1930s and the 1940s, when it was not perceived in East-West terms. It discusses how after the end of World War II the rhetoric of the Cold War and the rhetoric of development were relatively independent from one another. It then discusses continuities in actors, ideas and methods between the Marshall plan and Truman’s point four. The importance of the networks of experts promoting ideas and strategies of development explains, for example in Italy, how the Cold War rhetoric involved in Truman’s discourse was not immediately absorbed by the European allies. It finally turns to the inception of the «strange kind of Cold War» fought with money and technology to win the US-Soviet struggle for the hearts and minds of the decolonizing world. Even among the Socialist countries, which in the mid 1950s were strongly influenced by the very same rhetoric of aid which they openly rejected, the promotion of a common strategy in order to use aid as a tool for political influence in the Cold War was not immediate and required effort and cooperation.
Parole chiave: guerra fredda, aiuto allo sviluppo, point four, Terzo Mondo
Keywords: Cold War, Development aid, point four, Third World
The communal phoenix. Lombard cities
at the time of the death of Gian Galeazzo Visconti
At the time of the death of Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1402), the Duchy of Milan shattered into pieces. Traditionally, the cause has been identified in heavy taxation, but the popular uprisings in Milan and in other cities were intended to defend communal traditions against the ambitions of the Visconti. In particular, the great revolt of Milan in 1403, although downgraded by historians as an episode of factional strife, was instead a significant political uprising involving the Milanese popolo, who tried to establish entirely new foundations of the relationship between the city and the duke.
Parole chiave: Comune, Popolo, Ducato di Milano, Rivolta
Keywords: Commune, People, Duchy of Milan, Revolt
A liberal political system without liberal ideology?
It might seem odd to claim that the political system of the newly united Italy had trouble with a liberal ideology. In fact, despite the strong liberal sentiment which moved the founding fathers of new Italy at the turning point of second half of 19th century, we can find many reasons to agree with Romanelli’s statement that the constitutional system was based on an «impossible command», the order to be free. The relationship between the power of the state and the defence of civic liberties, especially that connected with a «communitarian » approach was never an easy nut to crack for Italian liberal thinkers. They constantly feared that their «national» ideology could be challenged by more sectional antithetic ideologies (catholic, socialist, etc.) compromising the solidity of the State. Only with the Republican Charter of 1948 a new approach emerged, sympathetic with the «communitarian dimension» of politics. Curiously enough, the promotion of such a change of mind, which in an Anglo-Saxon context would be considered truly liberal, was left to intellectuals linked to social catholic movement, who saw themselves as anti-liberals. The official Italian liberals remained instead suspicious of this new direction, seen as a betrayal of their tradition.
Parole chiave: Liberalismo italiano; Ideologie Costituzionali; Costituzioni Italiana; Sistema politico italiano 1860-1970
Keywords: Italian Liberalism; Constitutional Ideologies; Italian Constitutions; Italian Political System 1860-1970
A still noble war. Warrior myths in Italy
in the post-heroic age (1945-61)
A well-established historiographical paradigm presents WWII as a watershed in the history of war and warfare, and, more specifically, as a point of no return in the public perception and cultural representation of the war experience. Although it provides a fairly adequate description of the second half of the twentieth century, this paradigm cannot be accepted as it stands. Violence against civilians brutally escalated between 1939 and 1945, but it was by no means limited to the Second World War. Moreover, this change of paradigm was a generational phenomenon. Well into the 1950s and 1960s, writers, directors and artists were influenced by traditionalism of literary style and by a conscious or unconscious adherence to a canon of virility, defining masculinity in terms of courage, loyalty and devotion to the community (comrades and motherland). In recent years, the contribution of Italian intellectuals to the construction of an Italian war culture in the republican era has become the object of numerous studies. Scholars seem to have reached a general consensus on a few shared conclusions: the notion the older narrative paradigm of war was erased by the prostration of civil war and the necessity to distance oneself from the fascist regime, whose legacy was inseparable from martial rhetoric. According to this dominant paradigm, Italian literature after 1945 comes across as a constellation of testimonies of the downtrodden: defeated and humble people who were only waiting for the murderous storm of war to pass. However, the scholars who have worked to establish a canon of postwar Italian literature (and cinema) have avoided the complexity of post 1945 Italian intellectual field. The popularity of traditional war-novels and patriotic movies was huge: they were neither minor nor marginal. On the contrary, their influence and impact are obvious. This is one of the reasons why the generally accepted but certainly simplistic thesis of the «disappearance of heroes» (the idea that the sacrificial vision of death in battle was anachronistic and irretrievable) needs to be thoroughly reconsidered.
Parole chiave: Cultura; Narrazione; Seconda Guerra Mondiale; Italia
Keywords: Culture; Narrative; Second World War; Italy
Margini d’Europa. I rom nello spazio romeno fra storia e antropologia
The Roma in the Romanian Space between History
and Anthropology Fringes of Europe
The article discussed a selection of recent essays to explore the constituent features of the Romani presence in the Romanian space during the early modern age. Romani demographical relevance and historical continuity in that area are unique in the European context. The so-called «Danubian periphery», located on the border of two empires, was a region much more open to minorities or marginalized groups than other areas of the continent. Danubian principalities, during the centuries of «Gypsy» presence, in spite of an articulated system of legal slavery, continued to produce attempts at integration and grant larval forms of autonomy, well before the Romani enfranchisement that occurred in the 19th century.
Parole chiave: Rom, Spazio Romeno, Marginali, Assimilazione
Keywords: Roma, Romanian Space, Marginals, Assimilation