What is the legacy?

Resistance to the Nazi occupation: myth and actuality

During the period 1943- 45 most of the groups of  Italian partisans in the north fought against both German and Fascist forces. They often hid in the houses of local farmers who, willingly or not, were also obliged to  provide food and shelter. This was both a war of  liberation against the Nazi  occupation and also a civil war amongst Italians: fascists against anti-fascists. But the majority of the Italian civil population suffered the war and the occupation  without taking up any definite position  for or against fascism.


After the war the resistance began to be presented as a fight against the oppression of the entire people even  though  the Italian resistance movement was a minority.  This virtually ignored the high degree of consensus in favour of fascism from  the 1920s  until at least 1940.  At the same time  the Resistance was presented  in a simplified way as a  unified movement when, in reality, there were partisan groups. In this way a myth of the resistance was forged which allowed all Italians to identify themselves with the partisans, thereby erasing completely one uncomfortable part of their history.

The massacre at Monte Sole became an important corner-stone of this process of myth-making.



Mario Musolesi, also known as Il Lupo, leader of the Brigata Stella Rossa; a partisan group operating in the Monte Sole region in 1943-45. Il Lupo was not a nomme de guerre. It was given to him by his friends when he was still a boy.