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Italian nationalism

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Title: Italian nationalism  
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Collection: History of Europe, Italian Culture, Italian Nationalism, Italian Unification, Political History of Italy
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Italian nationalism

Italian nationalism is the World War I with Italian irredentist claims to territories held by Austria-Hungary, and during the era of Italian Fascism.


  • History 1
    • Renaissance to 19th century 1.1
    • 1830s to 1848 1.2
    • Revolutions of 1848 to Risorgimento (1859 to 1870) 1.3
    • Post-Risorgimento, World War I and aftermath (1870 to 1922) 1.4
    • Fascism and World War II (1922 to 1945) 1.5
    • Post–World War II and current situation 1.6
  • Symbols 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5


Renaissance to 19th century

The origins of Italian nationalism have been traced to the Renaissance where Italy led a European revival of classical Greco-Roman style of culture, philosophy, and art.[3] Renaissance-era diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli in his work The Prince (1532) appealed to Italian patriotism urging Italians "to seize Italy and free her from the Barbarians", the "Barbarians" he referred to were foreign powers occupying the Italian Peninsula.[5]

1830s to 1848

The initial important figure in the development of Italian nationalism was Giuseppe Mazzini who became a nationalist in the 1820s.[6] In his political career, Mazzini held as objectives the freeing of Italy from Austrian occupation, indirect control by Austria, princely despotism, aristocratic privilege, and clerical authority.[7] Mazzini was captivated by ancient Rome that he considered the "temple of humanity" and sought to establish a united Italy as a "Third Rome" that emphasized Roman spiritual values that Italian nationalists claimed were preserved by the Catholic Church.[2] Mazzini and Italian nationalists in general promoted the concept of Romanità (the Roman ideal) that claimed that Roman culture made invaluable contributions to both Italian and Western civilization.[2] Since the 1820s, Mazzini supported a revolution to create of an ideal Italian utopian republic based in Rome.[6] Mazzini formed revolutionary patriotic Young Italy society in 1832.[7] Upon Young Italy breaking apart in the 1830s, Mazzini reconstituted it in 1839 with the intention to gain the support of workers' groups.[7] However, at the time Mazzini was hostile to socialism due to his belief that all classes needed to be united in the cause of creating a united Italy rather than divided against each other.[8]


Vincenzo Gioberti in 1843 in his book On the Civil and Moral Primacy of the Italians, advocated a federal state of Italy led by the Pope.[9]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Motyl 2001, pp. 248.
  2. ^ a b c Aaron Gillette. Racial theories in fascist Italy. 2nd edition. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2003. Pp. 17.
  3. ^ a b Trafford R. Cole. Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical & Other Records in Family History Research. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Ancestry Incorporated, 1995. Pp. 15.
  4. ^ J. P. T. Bury. The new Cambridge modern history: The zenith of European power 1830–70. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press, 1964. Pp. 224.
  5. ^ Mikael Hörnqvist. Machiavelli and Empire. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. 259.
  6. ^ a b Vincent P. Pecora. Nations and identities: classic readings. Oxford, England, UK; Malden, Massachusetts, USA: Blackwell Publishers, Inc, 2001. Pp. 156.
  7. ^ a b c John Gooch. The Unification of Italy. Taylor & Francis e-library, 2001. Pp. 5.
  8. ^ a b c John Gooch. The Unification of Italy. Taylor & Francis e-library, 2001. Pp. 6.
  9. ^ Jonathan Sperber. The European revolutions, 1848-1851. Second Edition. Cambridge, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. 97.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Lucy Riall. The Italian Risorgimento: State, society and national unification. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 1994. Pp. 69.
  11. ^ Nationalism (Cavour).
  12. ^ J. P. T. Bury. The new Cambridge modern history: The zenith of European power 1830–70. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press, 1964. Pp. 226.
  13. ^ Lucy Riall. The Italian Risorgimento: State, society and national unification. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 1994. Pp. 70.
  14. ^ Holt, The Making of Italy: 1815–1870, p. 195.
  15. ^ Nation-building in 19th-century Italy: the case of Francesco Crispi, Christopher Duggan, History Today, February 1, 2002
  16. ^ a b c Francis W Halsey. The Literary Digest History of the World War, Vol. IX. New York, New York, USA: Cosimo, Inc, 2009. Pp. 147-149.
  17. ^ a b c d Reynolds Mathewson Salerno. Vital crossroads: Mediterranean origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940. Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell University Press, 2002. Pp. 4.
  18. ^ Reynolds Mathewson Salerno. Vital crossroads: Mediterranean origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940. Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell University Press, 2002. Pp. 5.
  19. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (2004). "Italian Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Italiano) (MSI) (Italy)". Encyclopedia of modern worldwide extremists and extremist groups. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 151–152.  
  20. ^ PIGLIUCCI M., Gli ultimi martiri del Risorgimento. Gli incidenti per Trieste italiana del novembre 1953, Ed. Mosetti, Trieste 2013. ISBN 978-88-9026-741-3.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. La
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Miklós Sukosd, Karol Jakubovicz (2011). Media, Nationalism and European Identities .1st .Budapest :CEU Press.
  26. ^ John A. Agnew (2002). Place and Politics in Modern Italy .1st .Chicago :The University of Chicago Press.
  27. ^ a b Peter Wagstaff. Regionalism in the European Union. Intellect Books, 1999. P; 141
  28. ^ Damian Tambini. Nationalism in Italian Politics: The Stories of the Northern League, 1980-2000. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2001. P. 34.


See also


Italian nationalism has also faced opposition from within Italy. Regionalism and municipal identities have challenged a unified Italian identity, such as those in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Naples, Sardinia, Sicily and Veneto.[27] Such regional identities evoked strong opposition after the Piedmontese-led unification of Italy to plans for "Piedmontization" of Italy.[27] Italian identity has long been strained by a larger regional North-South divide that developed partly from the economic differences of a highly industrialized North and a highly agricultural South.[28]

In the years 2000s, Italian nationalism seems to have gained a moderate support by the society, in particular during important days such as the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification showed a moderately renewed interest in Italian nationalism among the society.[23] Nationalist ideologies are often present during Italian anti-globalisation protests. Today, Italian nationalism is mainly supported by right-wing political parties including Brothers of Italy-National Alliance who has gained nine seats in the Italian Parliament in the last general election,[24] and by far-right-wing political parties like The Right or Tricolour Flame. Nonetheless, in recent times Italian nationalism has been occasionally embraced as a form of banal nationalism by liberal parties like Forza Italia, centrist parties like the Union of the Centre or even by centre-left parties like the Democratic Party.[25][26]

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence during the celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification.

After the fall of Fascism and following the birth of the Italians, the first one in 1953 during the Question of Trieste when the claim of Italy on the full control of the city of Trieste was largely endorsed by most of the Italian society with patriotic demonstrations,[20] the second one in 1985 during the Sigonella crisis between Italy and USA.[21]

Post–World War II and current situation

The seizure of power by Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and his development of a fascist totalitarian state in Italy involved appeal to Italian nationalism, advocating building an Italian Empire in the Mediterranean Sea.[17] Mussolini sought to build closer relations with Germany and the United Kingdom while showing hostility towards France and Yugoslavia.[18]

Fascism and World War II (1922 to 1945)

In particular, Italian nationalists were enraged by the Allies denying Italy the right to annex Fiume that had a majority Slavic population and minority Italian population, claiming that Italian annexation of Fiume would violate Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points.[17] D'Annunzio responded to this by mobilizing two thousand veterans of the war who seized Fiume by force, this action was met with international condemnation of d'Annunzio's actions but was supported by a majority of Italians.[17] Though d'Annunzio's government in Fiume was forced from power, Italy annexed Fiume a few years later.[17]

Italy's demands in the Paris peace settlement of 1919 were not fully achieved, Italy did attain Trentino, Trieste, the Istrian peninsula, and South Tyrol from Austria-Hungary, though other territories previously promised to Italy were not given to it.[1]

Nationalist pride soared in Italy after the end of hostilities in November 1918 with the victory of Italy and Allied forces over Austria-Hungary and the seizure by Italy of former Austro-Hungarian territories.[16] Citizens in Rome celebrated the victory.[16] The entire population of newly liberated Trieste (140,000 people at the time) attended the arrival of General Carlo Petitti di Roreto, the newly proclaimed Governor-General of Trieste, who arrived at Trieste by warship and met cheering mass crowds.[16]

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Italy initially maintained neutrality, despite its official alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary since 1882 on the grounds that Germany and Austria-Hungary were waging an aggressive war that it refused to take part in.[1] In 1915 Italy entered the war on the side of the British and the French against Austria-Hungary and Germany.[1]

Gabriele d'Annunzio.

Tired of the internal conflicts in Italy, a movement of bourgeois intellectuals led by Gabriele d'Annunzio, Gaetano Mosca, and Vilfredo Pareto declared war on the parliamentary system, and their position gained respect among Italians.[1] D'Annunzio called upon young Italians to seek fulfillment in violent action and put an end to the politically maneuvering parliamentary government.[1] The Italian Nationalist Association was founded in 1910 by the jingoist nationalist Enrico Corradini who emphasized the need for martial heroism, of total sacrifice of individualism and equality to one's nation, the need of discipline and obedience in society, the grandeur and power of ancient Rome, and the need for people to live dangerously.[1] Corradini's ANI's extremist appeals were enthusiastically supported by many Italians.[1]

In these years, one of the most prominent figures of Italian nationalism was Francesco Crispi whose actions as prime minister were characterised by a high patriotism that often appeared as a form of obsession for the national unity and defence from hostile foreign countries.[15] Italy managed to colonize the East African coast of Eritrea and Somalia but failed to conquer Ethiopia with 15,000 Italians dying in the war and being forced to retreat.[1] Next Italy waged war with Turkey from 1911 to 1912 and gained Libya and the Dodecanese Islands from Turkey.[1] However, these attempts to gain popular support from the public failed, and rebellions and violent protests became so intense that many observers believed that the young Kingdom of Italy would not survive.[1]

After the unification of Italy was completed in 1870, the Italian government faced domestic political paralysis and internal tensions, resulting in it resorting to embarking on a colonial policy to divert the Italian public's attention from internal issues.[1]

Post-Risorgimento, World War I and aftermath (1870 to 1922)

Daniele Manin was also the first statesman who really believed to the possibility to unify the Italian nation, years before Camillo Benso of Cavour who actually unified Italy through diplomatic and military actions along with Giuseppe Garibaldi. For example, during the 1856 Congress of Paris, Manin talked to Cavour about several plans and strategies to achieve the unification of Italy; Cavour clearly considered those plans as vain things, and after the meeting he wrote that Manin had talked about "l'unità d'Italia ed altre corbellerie" ("the unity of Italy and other nonsense").[14]

[13].Lombardy By 1860, the National Society influenced dominant liberal circles in Italy and won over middle class support for the union of Piedmont and [10].middle class The National Society helped to establish a base for Italian nationalism amongst the educated [10] The National Society was created to promote and spread nationalism to political moderates in Piedmont and raised money, held public meetings, and produced newspapers.[10] Following the Revolutions of 1848 and the liberalization of press laws, the Italian nationalist organization called the

Supporters of Italian nationalism ranged from across the political spectrum, it appealed to both conservatives and liberals.[12] The Revolutions of 1848 resulted in a major development of Italian nationalist culture. Liberalization of press laws in Piedmont allowed nationalist activity to flourish.[10]

Revolutions of 1848 to Risorgimento (1859 to 1870)

[10] advocated an economic federation of Italy.Carlo Cattaneo Prior to the revolutions of 1848, [8]

[11] compatible with a sober nationalism.individual rights, and equality, tolerance, freedom with a high consideration for values including civic nationalism Cavour was a clear example of [10]

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