Sicily 1943: images and the portrayal of a defeat. Politics, historiography and the market
This essay considers three different phases of the Italian historiography for the year 1943 in Sicily. For a long time historiography marginalized the invasion of Sicily by treating it like a secondary event in the Second World War. It was the sign of a difficulty in contextualizing the role of the Sicilian events following the Italian ones in different post war periods relating to the political debate. At first the fascist gerarchi and the chiefs of the Italian Army in Sicily argued about the defeat making reciprocal accusations of treason. It was a very important debate in 1943-45, but also during the first republican era (1950’s), when the right-wing Italian formation was divided into two rival political factions: the neo-fascist faction and the monarchist one. They elaborated a heroic paradigm in the attempt to reach an agreement, but the split was very deep. This debate confirmed the fascist and militarist heritage into the republican cultural pattern. A different phase of interest for the story of Husky appeared in a new political context. The tale favored the involvement of mafia and the rise of a Sicilian separatist movement and minimalized the military impact. The consequences of the Allied occupation on regional society and politics became more important than the national context with a difficulty in standardizing the narration in a national pattern. In a third phase the story of the involvement of mafia around public opinion’s interest took the shape of a myth, and in this way it was successful with the mass media and the cultural world; for historians it is very difficult to oppose a scientific reconstruction.
Keywords: Fascist heritage; Monarchist treason; Mafia; Sicilian separatism