The common opinion that associates the Italian Great War with the battlefields along the borders and the regions bordering them is contradicted by the awareness that the First World War was a war that did not spare any region of Italy. For millions of citizens of the South, the Great War represented an opportunity to experience the presence of the State for the first time, and in a consistent way. Although war operations involved a relatively small part of the entire national territory (and geographically distant more than a thousand kilometers), the echoes of the battles, victories or retreats, as well as the news of sons, brothers, husbands or friends killed, arrived constantly in the South and the role of the Mezzogiorno in the war was very important. In recent years, the trend of studying the South in the First World War has become even more widespread, and also the island of Sicily has been the subject of various historical works. Together with the study of the island’s role in the war as a “home front” and the implications on social, political and economic matters, an interest in the war writings of the Sicilian combatants also emerged. Diaries, letters and memoirs, in fact, encourage us to reconstruct the personal stories and vicissitudes allowing us to plunge deeply into the intimate lives of the soldiers and to evaluate their lever of adherence to the national war. The Sicilian case shows two main peculiarities: on the one hand, the apparent lack of sources, on the other hand, the lack of archives or documentary centers in the island that could preserve these testimonies. Undoubtedly, an aspect to consider is the high illiteracy rate of the infantry of the South. One might think that the responsibility for the lack of sources is above all attributable to it. Actually, sources exist but, on the one hand, the lack of a solid network of institutions – which, as instead happened in Central-Northern Italy, could offer itself as a valid document collector, avoiding that these documents should be lost or destroyed due to the carelessness of man or for reasons of time – and, on the other hand, the indifference of the academics and local historians have meant that, apparently, the sources at our disposal were very few. The thesis which states that Sicilian combatants did not write anything because of their illiteracy should be therefore rejected. Thanks to some collections and conservation centers, such as those that arose in the 1980s in Genoa – the Archivio Ligure della Scrittura Popolare (ALSP) –, in Trento – the Archivio della Scrittura Popolare in the Museo Storico in Trento (ASPT) – and in Pieve Santo Stefano (Arezzo) – the Archivio Diaristico Nazionale (ADN), reference points can be established for the study of the war experience also of Sicilian soldiers. These three main Italian archives that preserve most the writings of soldiers retain indeed some Sicilian testimonies, especially Pieve S. Stefano, that holds approximately twenty documents among letters, diaries and memoirs written by Sicilian people about the Great War. This doctoral thesis makes a first census of the published and unpublished sources of Sicilian writings. This work included also some writings of Sicilian American soldiers who enlisted in the Italian Army or in the American Expeditionary Force, and some letters written by the soldiers interned in the psychiatric hospitals, in particular, in the former asylum of Siena that has a vast and interesting archive where the medical records of patients who had been there during the years of the Great War are collected. Not only a census, therefore, but also a change of perspective to expand the range of sources available to us for the study of the Great War.
|Titolo:||Lettere, diari e memorie come fonti per lo studio della Grande guerra: il caso siciliano|
|Data di pubblicazione:||26-nov-2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Tesi di dottorato|