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Italy and Tito’s Yugoslavia in the Age of International Détente

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Massimo Bucarelli, Luca Micheletta, Luciano Monzali and Luca Riccardi

World War II and East-West confrontation redefined borders between Italy and Yugoslavia, reshaped national frontiers and adversely affected political relations. As a result, major quarrels and disputes arose over territorial claims, demarcation of State boundaries, expulsion of national minorities, and diverging visions on international and domestic politics. It was only in the 1960s and 1970s, during the years of Détente, that rapprochement between Rome and Belgrade became possible and normalization of bilateral relations was attained. Long-lasting territorial disputes, such as the Trieste question, were solved and bilateral relationship greatly improved, so much so that Belgrade became an important asset in Italy’s Balkan and Adriatic strategy, while Rome was a sort of bridge between Socialist Yugoslavia and Western Europe.
This book is intended to shed light on the process of Italian-Yugoslav normalization and rapprochement, which ultimately brought to the Adriatic Détente. Based on a wide collection of primary sources and documentary materials, it aims to contribute to a better understanding of the history of the Adriatic region, a conflicted European space that had been affected by territorial disputes and ethnic strife for decades during the 20 th century.

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Section I The International Context

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23 From London to Osimo American Attitude to Yugoslav-Italian Settlement of the Trieste Question1 Ivan Laković When the Osimo agreement, signed on 10 November 1975, put a formal end to a dispute lasting since the Second World War, its significance for the participating sides was far greater than the impact it had on American momentary interests in the region. Both Yugoslavia and Italy had a plethora of economic, political, cultural and social interests to regularly close the one of the chapters from their common history, especially the one related to the last formally “unfinished” issue of the war. Trieste question, factually cleared from agenda by the Agreement on Conformity signed in London about twenty years ago, remained a matter of an internal politics in both countries, much more in Italy than in Yugoslavia. It sanctioned a status quo of zonal division of former Free Territory of Trieste, where the city and port of Trieste, along with its northern hinterland (Zone A) remained as a part of Italy, while its southern territories, in northwestern part of the Istria peninsula, came under the official jurisdiction of Yugoslavia.2 That agreement had a long and turbulent history of negotiations, crises, saber rattling and confronting of different interests of not only two involved countries, but also the ones of more important global players. 1 The paper is written within the project of Historical Institute of Montenegro “Montenegro and South-eastern europe in the foreign policy of the great Powers in the first half of the 20th...

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