Da “civiltà mercantile” a “grande popolo”. Il mito americano nel nazionalismo italiano durante la Grande Guerra


The article deals with the American myth and the Italian nationalism during World War I. Up to the US presidential elections in November 1916, Italian nationalism considered the war from an Eurocentric perspective, but in the aftermath, and especially after US joined the war in April 1917, many things changed. The issues I’ll discuss in this paper are the following: the impact of the strong military mobilization (and in particular the arrival of US troops in Italy in the summer of 1918); the role played by the newspaper «L’Idea Nazionale» in a positive opinion about Woodrow Wilson and his commitment; the strong relationship between Italian and American people, confirmed by many articles praising US soldiers, young, strong and ready to sacrifice. At this stage there is no trace of the huge rift that will open at the Peace conference on Adriatic question and Fiume. The US were rather a model of patriotism, as mentally and geographically distant, and embodied several myths built at the beginning of the century with “The Strenuous Life” of Theodore Roosevelt, the relationship between military and physical education and the Italian need to become a powerful nation in the international framework. Thus, the nationalist perception of US can’t be reduced to the suspects about pacifist and democratic internationalism: this was rather a phenomenon of the post-war period, but the perception during the war was very different and certainly not clear-cut.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a4n2p333

Keywords: Italian Nationalist Association; American myth; US-Italy relations; War propaganda

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