Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944

Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944

Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944

Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909-1944

Synopsis

"Futurism was the state of the Fascist regime" - this is the view one encounters in most books written on Futurist art and literature. Whilst there can be no doubt about Futurist involvement with the founding of the fascist movement, little is known about the internal relationship between Futurists and Fascists in the years 1918-22, nor about the reasons for the Futurists' departure from the Fascist movement in 1920, or about Futurist opposition to (and even armed struggle against) the Fascist regime after 1924. Whilst the public documents testifying to Futurist support of Mussolini are well known, little has been written about Futurist anti-fascism camouflaged as official adherence to the regime. This study, based primarily on unknown or unpublished documents discovered in state archives and private collections, presents a new andfar more complex picture of the relationship of the two movements than has previously been shown by critics and historians.

Günter Berghaus received his Ph. D. in Theatre Studies and his Habilitation from the Free University of Berlin; he taught at the University of London and now holds a Readership in Theatre History and Performance Studies at the University of Bristol.

Excerpt

During the First World War, some six million Italians were called up for military service, and about four million of them were involved in front-line combat. the majority of Italian soldiers were of peasant extraction; smaller contingencies were made up of industrial workers, artisans and shopkeepers. These common soldiers felt little enthusiasm for the war they had been forced to fight. Their world view had little in common with the ideology of the nationalist leaders in parliament or the military command. the prevalent attitude in the trenches was apathetic obedience and resignation into a fate that was outside their control. the soldiers did not lend their ear to patriotic propaganda, nor to calls for revolutionary resistance. But they were all united in their hatred of the imboscati (the 'shirkers' who managed to stay away from the front in cushy jobs) and pescicani (the 'war profiteers' who managed to gain vast profits from the armed conflict). As the war dragged on, this aversion spread against the whole political and military establishment, who were held responsible for the barbarous and senseless killing of millions of soldiers.

The situation was quite different for the 200,000 officers who, on the whole, came from a middle-class background. They were patriotic, nationalistic, and fully supported Italy's intervention in the

Notes for this section begin on page 155.

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