25th of April: Festa della Liberazione d'Italia

Ilaria D'Onofrio Program Assistant, Rome Center


April 25, 2019

On the 25th of April 1945, Italian rebellious movements succeeded in the expulsion of Nazi-fascist soldiers from Turin and Milan. World War 2 did not end that precise day, but continued until the first days of the next month, still the Italian government have decided to remember the 25th of April as a national celebration of freedom from the influence of the fascist regime. The role of the country in the second world conflict has always been clear: under the guidance and pressure of Benito Mussolini and its regime, we enter in the conflict fighting alongside Hitler and his German army. On the 10th of June 1940, Mussolini made a speech in Piazza Venezia to an excited and inflamed crowd of Italians. 

Exhausted after years and years of poverty and economic crisis, the Italian population had lost every kind of trust to its moderate government; therefore, it has been cunningly compelled and charmed by the words of glory and revenge of Mussolini: a powerful and megalomaniac man who had promised to everyone to "make Italy great again". Let me repeat that in those times, Italian people had seen their country destroyed by poverty and hunger, and the arrival of this man and all its efficient work made to revive the economy seemed a light of hope to those who had no means to realize what was really going on. I am not saying that there was no evil and exalted person who truly believed and supported the Arian supremacy and their job of eliminates inferior races, but I want to believe that the majority of people were motivated by desperation. The events that followed this tragic decision are evident: death and destruction all over Europe and even further. This lasted until 1944 when the Allies forces (UK, France, URSS and US) started to defeat their enemies and expel them from various area of Europe.

In Italy, the situations remained complicated because the population was split in two groups: the ones who wanted the end of the alliance with Hitler forces and the Fascist regime and the other ones who were still loyal to Mussolini. It now began a real civil war between these two sides which was maybe even more bloody and cruel than the previous one. The nation was shattered in pieces and Mussolini and his Nazi allies flew to the northern part of Italy, where they created the Repubblica di Salò. The Partisans, a group of civilians who were tired of the regime and its monstrous actions, kept heatedly fighting until they finally freed the Italian territory from Mussolini control.

That is exactly what this day celebrates: the strength and perseverance of these Italians who had finally realized the rottenness behind Mussolini and the fascist regime and decided to free their country from this abomination. Fear of the different and the desire for power and supremacy are terribly dangerous issues of humankind and nowadays we still need to remind ourselves that in period of crisis is wiser to create an atmosphere of unity and collaboration, and do not fuel nationalist ideas of supremacy and violent revenge.

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