The myth of the "good Italian" and the alibi of the "evil German": origin and persistence of an auto-absolving memory. The Italian national memory has still not come to terms with the responsibilities of Benito Mussolini’s Italy for the Axis war of 1940 to 1943, which it fought on the side of Nazi Germany. It has also not come to terms with the serious war crimes committed in the occupied territories, especially the Balkans. Instead, the master narrative elaborated the positive stereotype of the "good Italian", an opponent of war and a saviour of the Jews, in contrast to the negative stereotype of the "evil German", sadistic and brutal, onto whom the Italians shifted all the blame. This essay analyses the origin of these interwoven stereotypes, which were created by the Italian ruling class in order for the defeated nation to avoid a punitive peace and were subsequently diffused by the mass media.