Archive for April 25th, 2010

Divisive memories. 25 April 1945, Italy’s ‘day of liberation’

25 April 2010

Contributed by Niamh Cullen

Today is the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Italy from fascism and German occupation. A national holiday in Italy, the day will be marked with both commemoration and celebration – from solemn ceremonies of remembrance to parades, speeches and open air concerts in Italy’s piazzas. The biggest ceremony is held in Milan, the site some of the fiercest fighting, and of the grotesque public display of Mussolini’s body in the days that followed. However, despite the numerous events planned to mark the occasion at national and local level, the ‘festa della liberazione’ has never been a straightforward day of celebration for all Italians.

The date marks the end of almost two years of ferocious civil war and foreign occupation in Italy, as the collapse of fascism turned the country into a battleground between the Allies, advancing upwards from Sicily, and the Germans who occupied Italy in September 1943 to prop up Mussolini’s dying regime. While Rome was liberated by the Allies in June 1944, the tug of war continued in northern and central Italy for almost another year. Read More