Working with the enemy : relations between Italian partisans and the British forces (1943-1945)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The Italo-British relationship during the Second World War has been the object of constant scrutiny and enquiry over the course of the years, especially as far as the relation between the Italian Resistance and British forces during the Italian campaign of 1943-1945 is concerned. Many have pointed out that the British actions were moved by political reasons, such as the fear of a possible Communist takeover after the war.According to this interpretation, this led to a general hostility in the British war machine towards Italians. Others have pointed out how this analysis is fundamentally flawed, as it focuses only on the political aspect of the relationship and does not account for the good relations that often Italian partisans and British forces were able to build in the field. However, both interpretations seem to exist independently of each other and the debate has reached a stale point over the course of the last few decades.Through the critical re-examination of three main topics (interactions on the field,propaganda and partisan disarmament) this thesis aims at filling the gulf between these two historiographical branches. The analysis is not only focused on British or Italian actions but also how these actions influenced the perception of each other. This point of view allows for a nuanced approach that considers representation and selfrepresentation as two key interpretative tools. Moreover, the elements unearthed in this way can be also evaluated against the historiography and public memory that followed the war, in order to frame elements of longue durée which may have influenced the representation of the Italo-British relationship in the future.
Date of Award2 Sep 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorPhilip Cooke (Supervisor) & Karine Varley (Supervisor)

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