Fascist Legacy

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Fascist Legacy
Directed by Ken Kirby
Produced by BBC
Written by Ken Kirby
Michael Palumbo
Cinematography Nigel Walters
Edited by George Farley
Distributed by BBC
Release date(s)
  • 1 November 1989 (1989-11-01)
Running time 2x50 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Fascist Legacy is a 1989 BBC documentary film about Italian war crimes during World War II. It consists of two parts.

The first part itself consists of two sections and was aired on November 1, 1989, on BBC, under the title A Promise Fulfilled.

Part one[edit]

Pietro Badoglio's use of mustard gas and his ordering of bombing of Red Cross-operated hospitals is shown in the first section. The emphasis is placed upon Italian war crimes committed during the Italian invasions of Ethiopia. The Italian revenge massacres after an attempted assassination of the Italian governor of Ethiopia are shown.

Italian war crimes committed against Slovene and Croatian civilians on the Italian-occupied territory of Kingdom of Yugoslavia are shown in the second section of the first part. The Rab concentration camp witnesses and atrocities in the Croatian village of Podhum near Rijeka are shown.

Part two[edit]

The second part, called A Pledge Betrayed, aired on November 8, 1989, exposes British (and American) hypocrisy, which prevented extradition of 1,200 Italian war criminals (the most wanted were Pietro Badoglio, Mario Roatta and Rodolfo Graziani), for whom Yugoslavia, Greece and Ethiopia provided full documentation of their crimes.

The documentary's cynical conclusion is Churchills quote about "the better tomorrow with a new world order."

Historical truth[edit]

If Italian officers were prosecuted by the (British controlled) court at all, they were accused only of the death of the British prisoners of war, but not of the death of the civil population in occupied territories. It was on September 9, 1943, the day of Allies' invasion of the Italian mainland, when anti-fascist Nicola Bellomo then commander of the XII MVSN Zone, formed a makeshift Italian force and counterattacked Germans that tried to occupy the port of Bari [1]. In this successful defence action, general Nicola Bellomo was wounded. As an anti-fascist, general Bellomo may have been considered a threat to the Badoglio government. Nicola Bellomo, as a gesture of military honour, preferred not to escape from the prison when the door was intentionally left open, after he was sentenced to death.

Non-prosecution of Italian war criminals[edit]

Yugoslavia, Greece and Ethiopia requested extradition of 1,200 Italian war criminals who were however never prosecuted because the British and American governments with the beginning of cold war saw in Pietro Badoglio a guarantee of an anti-communist post-war Italy.[1]

Italian public media[edit]

Italian public television RAI bought a copy of the film but for years it was never shown to an Italian audience because it would significantly change the opinion Italians have about their role during World War II - if asked about their country's role, they will remember Italian partisans fighting the Germans, but when asked about atrocities, Italians will only remember Tito's troops hurling Italians into ravines after the war without knowing anything about Italian war crimes against ethnic Slovene civil population, unlike the French who, having deconstructed resistance mythology, are aware of Vichy, too.[2]

After in the 1950s two Italian film-makers were jailed for depicting the Italian invasion of Greece, the Italian public and media were forced into the repression of collective memory, which led to historical amnesia and eventually to historical revisionism.[2][3]

In 2004 only the Italian private channel La7 has shown large excerpts of "Fascist Legacy". Showings of the documentary were also organized in Italy by groups with an anti-fascist orientation and members of the Slovene minority in Italy.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Effie G. H. Pedaliu (2004) Britain and the 'Hand-over' of Italian War Criminals to Yugoslavia, 1945-48. Journal of Contemporary History. Vol. 39, No. 4, Special Issue: Collective Memory, pp. 503-529 (JStor.org preview)
  2. ^ a b Carroll, Rory (June 25, 2003). "Italy's bloody secret". The Guardian (London, UK). Archived from the original on 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2013-10-07.  (Archived by WebCite®)
  3. ^ Alessandra Kersevan (2008) Foibe - Revisionismo di stato e amnesie della repubblica. Kappavu, Udine.

External links[edit]