Italian nationalism | Wikipedia audio article

Italian nationalism | Wikipedia audio article


Italian nationalism seeks to preserve and
foster the national identity of Italy. The romantic (or soft) version of Italian
nationalism is known as Italian patriotism. The integral (or hard) version of Italian
nationalism is known as Italian fascism. Italian nationalism traces its origins to
ancient Rome and the Renaissance. Italian nationalism first arose as a potent
political force in the 1830s in the Italian peninsula under the leadership of Giuseppe
Mazzini. It served as a cause for Risorgimento in the
1860s to 1870s. Italian nationalism became strong again in
World War I with Italian irredentist claims to territories held by Austria-Hungary, and
during the era of Italian Fascism.==History=====
Renaissance to 19th century===The origins of Italian nationalism have been
traced to the Renaissance where Italy led a European revival of classical Greco-Roman
style of culture, philosophy, and art. Renaissance-era diplomat and political theorist
Niccolò Machiavelli in his work The Prince (1532) appealed to Italian patriotism urging
Italians “to seize Italy and free her from the Barbarians”, the “Barbarians” he referred
to were foreign powers occupying the Italian Peninsula.When France started to annex Corsica
in the 18th century (and then incorporated during Napoleon’s empire the regions of Piemonte,
Liguria, Toscana and Lazio), the first movements to defend Italy’s existence aroused with Paoli
revolt and were later followed by the birth of the so-called “irredentism”. Paoli was sympathetic to Italian culture and
regarded his own native language as an Italian dialect (Corsican is an Italo-Dalmatian tongue
closely related to Tuscan and Sicilian). He was considered by Niccolò Tommaseo, who
collected his Lettere (Letters), as one of the precursors of the Italian irredentism. The so-called Babbu di a Patria (“Father of
the fatherland”), as Pasquale Paoli was nicknamed by the Corsican Italians, wrote in his Letters
the following appeal in 1768 against the French: We are Corsicans by birth and sentiment, but
first of all we feel Italian by language, origins, customs, traditions; and Italians
are all brothers and united in the face of history and in the face of God … As Corsicans
we wish to be neither slaves nor “rebels” and as Italians we have the right to deal
as equals with the other Italian brothers … Either we shall be free or we shall be
nothing… Either we shall win or we shall die (against
the French), weapons in hand … The war against France is right and holy as the name of God
is holy and right, and here on our mountains will appear for Italy the sun of liberty….===1830s to 1848===The initial important figure in the development
of Italian nationalism was Giuseppe Mazzini, who became a nationalist in the 1820s. In his political career, Mazzini held as objectives
the liberation of Italy from the Austrian occupation, indirect control by Austria, princely
despotism, aristocratic privilege, and clerical authority. Mazzini was captivated by ancient Rome that
he considered the “temple of humanity” and sought to establish a united Italy as a “Third
Rome” that emphasized Roman spiritual values that Italian nationalists claimed were preserved
by the Catholic Church. Mazzini and Italian nationalists in general
promoted the concept of Romanità (the Roman-ness), which claimed that Roman culture made invaluable
contributions to the Italian and Western civilization. Since the 1820s, Mazzini supported a revolution
to create a utopia of an ideal Italian republic based in Rome. Mazzini formed revolutionary patriotic Young
Italy society in 1832. Upon Young Italy breaking apart in the 1830s,
Mazzini reconstituted it in 1839 with the intention to gain the support of workers’
groups. However, at the time Mazzini was hostile to
socialism due to his belief that all classes needed to be united in the cause of creating
a united Italy rather than divided against each other. Vincenzo Gioberti in 1843 in his book On the
Civil and Moral Primacy of the Italians, advocated a federal state of Italy led by the Pope.Camillo
Benso, the future Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia and afterwards the Kingdom of
Italy, worked as an editor for the nationalist Italian newspaper Il Risorgimento in the 1840s. Cavour was a clear example of civic nationalism
with a high consideration for values including freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual
rights compatible with a sober nationalism.Economic nationalism influenced businessmen and government
authorities to promote a united Italy. Prior to unification, tariff walls held between
the Italian states and the disorganized railway system prevented economic development of the
peninsula. Prior to the revolutions of 1848, Carlo Cattaneo
advocated an economic federation of Italy.===Revolutions of 1848 to Risorgimento (1859
to 1870)===Supporters of Italian nationalism ranged from
across the political spectrum: it appealed to both conservatives and liberals. The Revolutions of 1848 resulted in a major
development of the Italian nationalist movement. Liberalization of press laws in Piedmont allowed
nationalist activity to flourish.Following the Revolutions of 1848 and the liberalization
of press laws, the Italian nationalist organization, called the Italian National Society, was created
in 1857 by Daniele Manin and Giorgio Pallevicino. The National Society was created to promote
and spread nationalism to political moderates in Piedmont and raised money, held public
meetings, and produced newspapers. The National Society helped to establish a
base for Italian nationalism amongst the educated middle class. By 1860, the National Society influenced dominant
liberal circles in Italy and won over middle class support for the union of Piedmont and
Lombardy.The statesman Daniele Manin seems to have believed in Italian unification years
before Camillo Benso of Cavour, who actually unified the country with Giuseppe Garibaldi
through diplomatic and military actions. During the 1856 Congress of Paris, Manin talked
with Cavour about several plans and strategies to achieve the unification of Italy; Cavour
clearly considered those plans vain things, and after the meeting wrote that Manin had
talked about “l’unità d’Italia ed altre corbellerie” (“the unity of Italy and other nonsense”).The
Risorgimento was an ideological movement that helped incite the feelings of brotherhood
and nationalism in the imagined Italian community, which called for the unification of Italy
and the pushing out of foreign powers. Literature, music, and other outlets of expression
frequently alluded back to the glorious past of Rome and the miraculous feats their ancestors
had accomplished in defending their homeland and kicking out the foreign occupants.===Post-Risorgimento, World War I and aftermath
(1870 to 1922)===After the
unification of Italy was completed in 1870, the Italian government faced domestic political
paralysis and internal tensions, resulting in it resorting to embarking on a colonial
policy to divert the Italian public’s attention from internal issues.In these years, one of
the most prominent political figures was Francesco Crispi, whose actions as prime minister were
characterised by a nationalism that often appeared as a form of obsession for the national
unity and defence from hostile foreign countries. Italy managed to colonize the East African
coast of Eritrea and Somalia, but failed to conquer Ethiopia with 15,000 Italians dying
in the war and being forced to retreat. Then, Italy waged war with the Ottoman Empire
from 1911 to 1912 and gained Libya and the Dodecanese Islands from Turkey. However, these attempts to gain popular support
from the public failed, and rebellions and violent protests became so intense that many
observers believed that the young Kingdom of Italy would not survive.Tired of the internal
conflicts in Italy, a movement of bourgeois intellectuals led by Gabriele d’Annunzio,
Gaetano Mosca, and Vilfredo Pareto declared war on the parliamentary system, and their
position gained respect among Italians. D’Annunzio called upon young Italians to seek
fulfillment in violent action and put an end to the politically maneuvering parliamentary
government. The Italian Nationalist Association (ANI)
was founded in Florence in 1910 by the jingoist nationalist Enrico Corradini who emphasized
the need for martial heroism, of total sacrifice of individualism and equality to one’s nation,
the need of discipline and obedience in society, the grandeur and power of ancient Rome, and
the need for people to live dangerously. Corradini’s ANI’s extremist appeals were enthusiastically
supported by many Italians. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Italy
initially maintained neutrality, despite its official alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary
since 1882 on the grounds that Germany and Austria-Hungary were waging an aggressive
war that it refused to take part in. In 1915, Italy eventually decided to enter
the war on the British and French side against Austria-Hungary and Germany.Nationalist pride
soared in Italy after the end of hostilities in November 1918, with the victory of Italy
and Allied forces over Austria-Hungary and the seizure by Italy of former Austro-Hungarian
territories. Italian nationalism became a major force at
both elite and popular levels until 1945, when popular democracy became a much more
important force.Freemasonry was an influential semi-secret force in Italian politics with
a strong presence among professionals and the middle class across Italy, as well as
among the leadership in parliament, public administration, and the army. The two main organisation were the Grand Orient
and the Grand Lodge of Italy. They had 25,000 members in 500 or more lodges. Freemasons took on the challenge of mobilizing
the press, public opinion. and the leading political parties in support of Italy’s
joining the Allies. traditionally, Italian nationalism focused
on unification, and undermining the power of the Catholic Church. In 1914-15 they dropped the traditional pacifistic
rhetoric and used instead the powerful language of Italian nationalism. Freemasonry had always promoted cosmopolitan
universal values, and by 1917 onwards they demanded a League of Nations to promote a
new post-war universal order based upon the peaceful coexistence of independent and democratic
nations.Italy’s demands in the Paris peace settlement of 1919 were not fully achieved:
Italy did attain Trentino, Trieste, the Istrian peninsula, and South Tyrol from Austria-Hungary,
though other territories previously promised to Italy were not given to it. In particular, Italian nationalists were enraged
by the Allies denying Italy the right to annex Fiume, that had a slight majority Italian
population but was not included in Italy’s demands agreed with the Allies in 1915, and
a larger part of Dalmatia which had a vast majority Slavic population and an Italian
minority, claiming that Italian annexation of large part of Dalmatia would violate Woodrow
Wilson’s Fourteen Points. D’Annunzio responded to this by mobilizing
two thousand veterans of the war who seized Fiume by force; this action was met with international
condemnation of d’Annunzio’s actions but was supported by a majority of Italians. Though d’Annunzio’s government in Fiume was
forced from power, Italy annexed Fiume a few years later.===Fascism and World War II (1922 to 1945)
===The
seizure of power by the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy
in 1922 and his development of a fascist totalitarian state in Italy involved appeal to Italian
nationalism, advocating a Roman-like Italian Empire in the Mediterranean Sea. Mussolini sought to build closer relations
with Germany and the United Kingdom while showing hostility towards France and Yugoslavia.===Post–World War II and current situation
===After the fall of Fascism and following the
birth of the Republic, the interest in Italian nationalism by scholars, politicians and the
masses was relatively low, mainly because of its close relation with Fascism and consequently
with bad memories of World War II. The only notable and active political party
who clearly declared Italian nationalism as its main ideology was the neo-fascist Italian
Social Movement (MSI), which became the fourth largest party in Italy by the early 1960s. In these years, Italian nationalism was considered
an ideology linked to right-wing political parties and organisations. Nevertheless, two significant events seemed
to revitalise Italian nationalism among Italians, the first one in 1953 with the Question of
Trieste when the claim of Italy on the full control of the city of Trieste was largely
endorsed by most of the Italian society with patriotic demonstrations, and the second one
in 1985 during the Sigonella crisis between Italy and the United States. In the 2000s, Italian nationalism seemed to
gain a moderate support by the society, in particular during important days such as the
National Day Festa della Repubblica (Republic day) and the Anniversary of the Liberation. The President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio
Ciampi has often praised patriotism among Italians by mentioning in his speeches national
events, including the Risorgimento or the Resistenza, and national symbols like the
Flag of Italy and the National Anthem, although he seems to want to stress self-confidence
rather than plain nationalism. In 2011, the 150th Anniversary of Italian
Unification showed a moderately renewed interest in Italian nationalism among the society. Nationalist ideologies are often present during
Italian anti-globalisation protests. Today, Italian nationalism is still mainly
supported by right-wing political parties like Brothers of Italy and minor far-right
political parties like The Right, CasaPound, Forza Nuova and Tricolour Flame. Nonetheless, in recent times Italian nationalism
has been occasionally embraced as a form of banal nationalism by liberal parties like
Forza Italia, centrist parties like the Union of the Centre or even by centre-left parties
like the Democratic Party.Italian nationalism has also faced a great deal of opposition
from within Italy itself. Regionalism and municipal identities have
challenged the concept of a unified Italian identity, like those in Friuli-Venezia Giulia,
Naples, Sardinia, Sicily and Veneto. Such regional identities evoked strong opposition
after the Piedmontese-led unification of Italy to plans for “Piedmontization” of Italy. Italian identity has also been long strained
by an ever growing North-South divide that developed partly from the economic differences
of a highly industrialized North and a highly agricultural South.==Symbols====
Italian nationalist parties=====
Current===Fascism and Freedom Movement (1991–present)
Tricolour Flame (1995–present) Unitalia (1996–present)
National Front (1997–present) New Force (Italy) (1997–present)
CasaPound (2003–present) Social Idea Movement (2004–present)
Brothers of Italy (2012–present) Social Right (2013–present)
National Movement for Sovereignty (2017–present)==See also==Nationalism#Italy
History of Italy Italian culture
Italian Fascism Italian irredentism
Italian unification Italians
Revolutions of 1848 Romanit

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