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Youth camps PDF Stampa E-mail
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Youth camps

 

Fascist pedagogy began with the body. Physical education, pre-military training, opportunities for healthy socializing - such as those experienced in the youth camps - all contributed towards the making of the "new Italian". The many initiatives taken by the Italian Youth of the Littorio occupy a place of honour in the context of the regime's demographic policy. The "physical and moral strengthening of the live forces of the nation" is specifically the aim of "climate therapy for children". Youth and even boot camps were set up throughout Italy in the 1920s. And not only at the sea and in the mountains, but also besides rivers and even in cities. The "scientific concept of the usefulness and efficacy of natural cures, of climate, air, and sun, in the fight against certain diseases and particularly against tuberculosis" was already widely discussed in the second half of the 19th century. The fascist regime made this ambitious project its own, adapting it to its plan to build a new type of Italian: healthy and virile: - in a word a true fascist. During the 1920s, the numbers of young guests continued to grow, reaching a total of 400,000 registered in 1933. In 1941 the buildings assigned to the camps came to the dizzying figure of 6,036 units while the children they hosted numbered 699,701.

 

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Sport 2 PDF Stampa E-mail
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Sport

Before the first world war only the most privileged women received sports training. Women were deemed «too delicate» to undergo «the physical exertions and fatigue required by specialist training». The opposition to women participating in sporting events was, however, also the fruit of the moral sentiment of the times, that looked askance at the spectacle of women athletes competing in agonistic sports. Instead, women’s participation in agonistic sports was authorised in 1928 with the «Carta dello Sport» (the Charter of Sport). Basketball, fencing, skiing, golf, tennis had their own national women's championships inserted in European circuits. Swimming and roller skating were encouraged. University sports also took part in the 1932 Littoriali in Rome, and one year later also at the Turin University International Games. In 1938 there were 4,616 national events for a total of 111,415 participants.

 
Sport 1 PDF Stampa E-mail
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Sport

In the name of the Littorio, the Duce also regimented sport. The "new Italian" must be the synthesis of thought and action, book and musket, culture and sport. Away with "bourgeois softness": this was the motto that informed the training of young people in the twenty-years of the regime. This and other watchwords were inspired by vitalism, the celebration of physical endeavours, extolled in the futurism of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and the derring-do of Gabriele D'Annunzio. And, of course, the regime mounted a massive programme of physical education. A special academy was set up to train physical education instructors. New gyms were built. Sport became a scholastic activity to which two hours a week were dedicated. In 1932 the Littoriali of Sport were introduced: athletic matches reserved to university athletes from the various Italian universities. These years also marked the commencement of major national competitions such as the Mille Miglia and the Giro d’Italia.

 
September 8th. The decision PDF Stampa E-mail
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September 8th. The decision

 

After September 8th, 1943, the various divisions of the Italian army, which were fighting on several fronts, simply dissolved. There was a widespread and desperate search for civilian clothes in an effort to evade capture by the former German ally and return home. The disbanded soldiers embodied the drama of the Italians at the close of the war. The horror of death, the enormity of destruction and deprivation that touched the extremes of human endurance, to which was soon added the bitter certainty of imminent defeat, destroyed all the illusions fostered by fascism. War was now being waged on the nation’s soil with the German occupation, bombings, and the allies’ landings. The origins of the Resistance, whether "active" or "passive", which most Italians supported, can be explained not only by the failure of the regime, but also by the Italians’ weariness and their rejection of war. Yet there were those who opted, instead, for the uniform of Salò. These, the last arrivals among the ranks of fascism, would not accept the Duce’s removal, but above all, they were incensed by "the betrayal" perpetrated by the "felon king" who signed the armistice.

 
We dressed up as fascists PDF Stampa E-mail
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We dressed up as fascists

 

The visual evidence from the era reveals the ubiquitous presence of uniforms, which became another of fascism’s connotations. Uniforms were not only recurrent in official or party events, but also used in everyday life, in all its aspects. It was not a whim that urged Mussolini, after his early years as leader, to replace his starched civilian dress with military uniforms, and to wear them continuously, sending a clear message to society as a whole. Fascism used the "metaphor" of uniforms to regiment, control and forge a new society, where everyone has his or her appointed place in orderly ranks and had to collaborate for its collective development. Nevertheless, the high-sounding rhetoric of the Duce rang hollow in the homes of the wives and mothers who toiled to fabricate these uniforms.

 
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