The Crumbling of Fascism

Clark’s article “Fascist diplomacy and Fascist war” delineates the weakening and ultimate collapse of the fascist state during the Second World War.  The place of South Tyrol in this argument emphasized the divisions inside Italy that limited the unification of the country.  South Tyrol held a german-speaking population which influenced Italy in favor of the League of Nations.1  The region became an issue with the rise of the Reich.  Although Hitler never included the population of South Tyrol in his plans for the Aryan race, the region nonetheless strongly favored repatriation when it was offered by Mussolini.2

The region became an issue again near the end of World War II.  South Tyrol came under Nazi leadership effectively shutting the region out of the Italian economy.3  The region lived under German rule and allowed the German’s to establish a colony in Italy.   In effect, the population of South Tyrol enjoyed all the benefits of staying in Italy while living under a different government.4  South Tyrol reflected the difficulties in Sicily during this period.  From both the North and South Fascist Italy lost support.  Once again Mussolini polarized the regional differences of Italy by forcing government officials to cease living in Sicily; their birthplace.5  Mussolini’s actions deepened regional and cultural divisions between the northern and southern regions of Italy.

When compared to the other colonial of territories South Tyrol depicts a bleak picture of the Fascist government’s ability to maintain territory.  What does it say about Fascism that part of Italy could so easily slip into German hands?  Moreover, with the majority of the region’s population choosing to be governed by a foreign country, how does this affect the efforts to unify Italy?  Although Sicily did not experience similar governmental shift, it did move away from supporting Fascism.  How much of an effect did the pre-existing prejudices have in the polarization of Italy?

  1. Martin Clark, “Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War,” in Clark, Modern Italy, 1871-1995, London: Longman, 1996, 281 []
  2. Clark, “Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War,” 283. []
  3. Clark, “Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War,” 292. []
  4. Martin Clark, “Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War,” 292 []
  5. Martin Clark, “Fascist Diplomacy and Fascist War,” 290. []