Will they come back? Notes on the Italian missing soldiers of the Great War

Author/s Fabio Todero
Publishing Year 2012 Issue 2011/264 Language Italian
Pages 9 P. 457-465 File size 95 KB
DOI 10.3280/IC2011-264007
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This essay tackles a topic for many a reason not thoroughly examined yet by the relevant historiography. While a complex of rules, passed since the time of the Italian colonial campaigns, already provided for the families of missing soldiers, at the end of the First World War new significant efforts were made for the research and identification of the nameless bodies. Despite the exaltation of the Unknown Warrior, however, the results were far from being satisfactory. With the advent of Fascism, a pall of silence would hover for years and years over an issue too contiguous to that of prisoners of war, and not seldom confused with that of desertion - an issue therefore deemed rather unfit for the construction of the Great War myth, the base and nourishment of the symbolic and ideological store of the fascist regime. The mourning would thus go on until it happened to be tragically revived by the further casualties of the Second Word War, especially as regarded the Russian campaign: the problem of missing soldiers then returned forcefully into the limelight.

Keywords: First World War, Unknown Warrior, Great War myth, Fascism, mourning, oblivion

Fabio Todero, Ritorneranno? Appunti sui dispersi della Grande guerra in "ITALIA CONTEMPORANEA" 264/2011, pp 457-465, DOI: 10.3280/IC2011-264007