Despite its impact on the breakdown of public order and on the rise of armed violence, the role of civilian disarmament in post-Second World War transitions is yet to be properly investigated. This article argues that the disarmament of the population was a key passage in two critical aspects of the normalization of postwar Italy: the reaffirmation of State authority and the reconstruction of control structures in response to the delegitimization of established authorities that followed their collapse in September 1943. Specifically, the article focuses on the intersection between the proliferation of war weapons, public order policing, and the recovery of Italian sovereignty in the aftermath of the Second World War. This article will demonstrate that disarmament was instrumental in reshaping Italian institutions according to the imperative of regaining control over the national territory in a context marked by foreign occupation, conflicting claims of legitimacy and the inversion of the monopoly on legitimate violence. The urgency to disarm incentivized both Italian and Allied authorities to rebuild the State control system in accordance to the pre-existing model of a centralized, authoritative administration. This led toward the preservation - in the sphere of public security - of agencies and individuals strongly compromised with the Fascist regime.

Civilian Disarmament: Public Order and the Restoration of State Authority in Italy’s Postwar Transition, 1944–6

Marco Maria Aterrano
2021

Abstract

Despite its impact on the breakdown of public order and on the rise of armed violence, the role of civilian disarmament in post-Second World War transitions is yet to be properly investigated. This article argues that the disarmament of the population was a key passage in two critical aspects of the normalization of postwar Italy: the reaffirmation of State authority and the reconstruction of control structures in response to the delegitimization of established authorities that followed their collapse in September 1943. Specifically, the article focuses on the intersection between the proliferation of war weapons, public order policing, and the recovery of Italian sovereignty in the aftermath of the Second World War. This article will demonstrate that disarmament was instrumental in reshaping Italian institutions according to the imperative of regaining control over the national territory in a context marked by foreign occupation, conflicting claims of legitimacy and the inversion of the monopoly on legitimate violence. The urgency to disarm incentivized both Italian and Allied authorities to rebuild the State control system in accordance to the pre-existing model of a centralized, authoritative administration. This led toward the preservation - in the sphere of public security - of agencies and individuals strongly compromised with the Fascist regime.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3202024
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