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Memories and Silences Haunted by Fascism

Italian Colonialism MCMXXX-MCMLX

Daniela Baratieri

Fascist and colonial legacies have been determinant in shaping how Italian colonialism has been narrated in Italy till the late 1960s. This book deals with the complex problem of public memory and discursive amnesia.
The detailed research that underpins this book makes it no longer possible to claim that after 1945 there was an absolute and traumatic silence concerning Italy’s colonial occupation of North and East Africa. However, the abiding public use of this history confirms the existence of an extremely selective and codified memory of that past.
The author shows that colonial discourse persisted in historiography, newspapers, newsreels and film. Popular culture appears intertwined with political and economic interests and the power inscribed in elite and scientific knowledge. While readdressing the often mistaken historical time line that ignores that actual Italian colonial ties did not end with the fall of Fascism, but in 1960 with Somalia becoming independent, this book suggests that a new post Fascist Italian identity was the crucial issue in reappraisals of a national colonial past.

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2. The Italian Press across Different Political Regimes 45

Extract

Chapter 2 The Italian Press across Different Political Regimes To turn to the actors involved in the illustrated press industry, it must be first observed that, unlike the site producing newsreels this site does not present itself as a tidy centre whose vicissitudes are straightforward to recount. The existence and development of the illustrated press went hand in hand with that of the daily press in Italy. To a large extent they partook of the same institutional limitations and were subject to the same legal limitations, although never completely. Often magazines were direct offshoots of powerful newspapers, sharing owners and personnel; at other times they were the result of the entrepreneurship of editorial groups. Therefore what follows is a journey through the labyrinth of the history of the Italian press from Fascism to the 1950s. It does not purport to be exhaustive, especially because of the characteris- tics of the Italian press. In Italy there was an almost vertiginous number of newspapers produced and distributed in a vast number of geographical localities, and this without taking into considera- tion the party political press. Nevertheless, the following seeks to contribute to an understanding of the context in which illustrated magazines were produced. In Italy the term ‘rotocalco’ has lost its purely technical connotation and now stands for the illustrated, glossy pictured, periodical press. As Ajello points out, ‘rotocalco’ as synonym of ‘the postwar period’, has to be accounted for by a vision of history that somehow managed to give Fascism a...

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