The Liberation of Italy, 1943-1947

The Liberation of Italy, 1943-1947

The Liberation of Italy, 1943-1947

The Liberation of Italy, 1943-1947

Excerpt

In his distinguished volume, Advance to Barbarism, the English publicist, F. J. P. Veale, tells us how, after countless centuries of ruthless barbarism (total war), culminating in the butcheries and devastation of the religious wars following the Protestant Revolution, warfare gradually became "civilized" during the era of Louis XIV of France and so remained until the wars of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era and the American Civil War (1861-1865). In Europe, in fact, warfare remained reasonably civilized down through the FrancoPrussian War of 1870-1871. Wars were fought between military forces, civilians were spared so far as possible when they did not get into battle areas, and defeated forces were treated decently, often generously, after the warfare had ceased. The menace of vindictive peace treaties was recognized by leading international lawyers. Beginning with the Civil War in the United States, this process was reversed. Hastening victory by regimenting or seizing civilian populations, destroying property, and ravishing the resources of the countries involved became the rule. Harsh peace treaties were made which held within themselves the seeds of inevitable future wars.

These traits of a reversion to total war were again manifested in the first World War, and the post-war Treaty of Versailles and related "settlements" made a second World War all but inevitable. The bloodshed and devastation reached an all-time peak in the saturation bombing of civilians, the savagery of guerrilla warfare behind the battle lines, and the systematic deportation and extermination of civilians by the Germans, Russians, Czechs, Poles and Yugoslavs in the second World War. The fury attained such extremes that no general peace treaty was possible after the War which would restrain to some extent the vindictiveness of the victorious powers in the period of so-called peace. The policies to be followed after . . .

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