Commemorating the First World War in Rome, 1915-1930
Rome was the centre of Fascism's national mythmaking project to transform the First World War into a perceived unifying experience which had led inexorably to the Fascist movement. Through public ritual, monumental art and architecture, as well as through publications and speeches, Fascism proposed a particular interpretation of the war. In this vision, the war of 1915-1918 represented Italy's awakening to her destiny of national greatness and to the virtues of violence as a purifying, regenerative instrument of revolution. But how did Italian citizens react to the texts and images which propounded this view? The Roman public in particular were bombarded with symbolic and textual representations of this interpretation, as public commemoration became strictly homogenous and highly politically laden as the 1920s progressed. Yet individuals, families and private groups remembered the war in ways which did not always correspond with fascist rhetoric. The tensions and interactions between memory and commemoration, between private and public discourses and between individual and collective memory produced a highly textured picture, in which citizens' understanding of the war could vary considerably. A case study of Rome during and after the war can reveal some of the ways in which the war was interpreted and remembered in this highly particular local setting. A wide variety of sources, from photographs, newspaper reports and family-produced obituary publications through to memorial inscriptions, funerary monuments and public memorials reveals a broad range of approaches to the conflict and the development and change of these ideas over time. In this way it is possible to interrogate the complex and problematic relationship between the political memory and the social and cultural memory of the First World War.any one got any comments?