Mythmaking & the Aldo Moro Case

By Drake, Richard | New Criterion, November 1998 | Go to article overview

Mythmaking & the Aldo Moro Case


Drake, Richard, New Criterion


After twenty years, the search continues for definitive explanations and ultimate meaning in the Aldo Moro murder case. The key leader during the 1960s and 1970s of Italy's regnant Christian Democratic party, Moro died in 1978 at the hands of the Red Brigades, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist group. They killed Moro fifty-five days after their spectacular kidnapping of him on the streets of Rome in an operation that left five security guards dead.

The Moro case has given rise to endless conspiracy theories, and, in trying to determine their real worth, the historian faces the perennial questions about evidence, logic, and interpretation in historical argument. The traditional approach to these questions, originating in Thucydides, called for a rigorous critical analysis of history based as much as possible on documented evidence. The primary philosophical source of opposition to traditional historiography is Marx, who wanted to change the world, not merely to understand history. Politics, therefore, has always strongly colored Marxist historiography, in its direct and indirect forms, from the late nineteenth century up through Foucault's notion that truth is relative to "regimes of power." Marxism and its offshoots have been enormously influential in Italy, and they remain so even after the demise of the Communist Party and the radical reduction of formal Communist culture. The pro-conspiracy reaction of the Italian Left to the Aldo Moro murder case illustrates the great extent to which our first loves leave their mark on us.

Conspiracy theories in the Moro case involve the Italian government, the CIA, Henry Kissinger, Mossad, the KGB, and numerous other entities and individuals either singly or in diverse combinations. Conspiracy theorists hold that the progressive Moro, who zealously worked to include the Communist Party in Italy's ruling coalition, was sacrificed on the altar of Cold War politics. In short, reactionaries on both sides of the Atlantic welcomed Moro's kidnapping as a godsend and, by refusing to negotiate for his release and failing to mount an effective police search, sent him to his doom. These traitorous individuals thereby accomplished their real objective during the fifty-five-day manhunt. The question haunting Italy today is, Who allowed Moro to die what the novelist Leonardo Sciascia called that "vile death"?

Reporting on the huge popularity of such conspiracy theories in Italy, The New York Times earlier this year listed me, along with Giulio Andreotti and some former Red Brigade terrorists, as "the only prominent dissenters" from the conventional wisdom in Italy about "a dark conspiracy that remains veiled" in this notorious crime.(1) I qualified for their list because of my book, The Aldo Moro Murder Case (Harvard University Press, 1995), in which I downplay the conspiracy theories. Andreotti, a former prime minister, is currently on trial for murder, and the Red Brigade terrorists are convicted murderers. They are not the most morally unproblematic allies one could wish for in a battle where virtually the rest of the country, according to The New York Times, is on the other side.

The New York Times exaggerated the one-sideness of this battle. The reporter neglected to mention that among the dissenters are to be found all the judges in the five sets of concluded Moro trials. In the front rank of the most knowledgeable experts about this complex case, the judges disparage the conspiracy theories that hold the Italians in thrall, arguing that no evidence of any kind exists to support such interpretations of the Moro murder. In a letter to The New York Times, I pointed out this discrepant fact, but learned from an editorial assistant that the newspaper did not wish to publish a response "at this time." The press had spoken.

It seemed odd to me that The New York Times would have ignored the Moro trials. During four separate trips to Rome, where I did research in the judicial archives, I developed a deep respect for the professionalism as well as the physical and moral courage of the judges in the Moro case. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mythmaking & the Aldo Moro Case
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.