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Staging the Fascist War

The Ministry of Popular Culture and Italian Propaganda on the Home Front, 1938–1943

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Luigi Petrella

Historians regard the Italian home front during the Second World War as an observation post from which to study the relationship between Fascism and society during the years of the collapse of the Mussolini regime. Yet the role of propaganda in influencing that relationship has received little attention. The media played a crucial role in setting the stage for the regime’s image under the intense pressures of wartime. The Ministry of Popular Culture, under Mussolini’s supervision, maintained control not only over the press, but also over radio, cinema, theatre, the arts and all forms of popular culture. When this Fascist media narrative was confronted by the sense of vulnerability among civilians following the first enemy air raids in June 1940, it fell apart like a house of cards.
Drawing on largely unexplored sources such as government papers, personal memoirs, censored letters and confidential reports, Staging the Fascist War analyses the crisis of the regime in the years from 1938 to 1943 through the perspective of a propaganda programme that failed to bolster Fascist myths at a time of total war.

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image: Tullio Crali, Incuneandosi nell’abitato (In tuffo sulla città), 1939, Mart, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto. All translations from Italian, French and German appearing in this book are by the author. ISSN 1662-9108 ISBN 978-1-906165-70-3 (print) ISBN 978-3-0353-0836-5 (eBook) © Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2016 Hochfeldstrasse 32, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland info@peterlang.com, www.peterlang.com, www.peterlang.net All rights reserved. All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems. This publication has been peer reviewed. Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche National bibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Control Number: 2016942142

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