War Through Italian Eyes
Fighting for Mussolini, 1940-1943
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 19, 2021
There is a popular notion that the Italian armed forces of the Second World War were an inferior fighting force. Despite the vast numbers taken prisoner, detailed studies of the experiences of these soldiers remain relatively uncommon and the value of this group to furthering our understanding of the Italian experience of war under Fascism is also rarely acknowledged. The existence in the National Archives of hundreds of pages of transcripts of covert British surveillance of Italian POWs has made it possible to engage with their experiences and opinions in much greater depth. The euphemistically termed ‘Special Reports’ present historians with a unique insight into how all levels of Italian soldiery viewed Fascist Italy’s experience of war, 1940-1943. This book examines reactions to Italian political leadership, the progress of the war, as well as Italian soldiers’ ‘everyday’ views on sex, war, the enemy, death, food, their allies, bravery, race, and killing. These fascinating documents reveal the complexity of the outlook of these men, which persistent – and influential – national stereotypes and historiographical trends fail to acknowledge.
Table of Contents
0. Introduction 1. CSDIC (UK) and the Protocols 2. Reading the Sources 3. Friends and Foes 4. Occupation, War Crimes and Antisemitism 5. Warriors of Land, Sea and Air 6. Attitudes Towards Italian Political Leadership 7. Winning and Losing the War 8. Conclusion: A Hopeful Future?
Dr Alexander Henry is a historian of the Second World War with particular research interests in the conflict fought between the Allies and Fascist Italy, 1940-1943. Alex completed his PhD, MA and BA in the Department of History at the University of Nottingham between 2010 and 2018.