Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Ebner, Michael


Fascism, Memorials, Memory, Monuments, War, World War One

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | European History | History | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


"Between Myth and Memory: The Case of Italian Fascist World War I Monuments" examines the relationship between Italian soldiers' testimonies from the First World War and later Italian Fascist monuments that commemorated their sacrifices. During the First World War, soldiers' diaries and letters home expressed feelings of abandonment, dehumanization, and a lack of patriotic enthusiasm for the war effort. Combined with the Supreme Command's widespread use of summary executions, the mass desertion at the Battle of Caporetto, and the Italian government's complete abandonment of its prisoners of war, the First World War was a tragic experience for many. By contrast, Italian Fascist World War I memorials largely omitted the negative aspects of war and painted a more positive, usable memory of the war. Through the examination of three local and three national monuments, I argue that Fascist World War I monuments displaced the reality of the war experience and promoted a Fascist narrative of the First World War. Moreover, the messages conveyed in these monuments suggest that the memorialization of fallen soldiers remained secondary to the goals of the regime. For the regime, it was critical to generate a Fascist narrative of the conflict as it attempted to cultivate support for a Fascist society that rejected the liberal values of the past and looked to an idealized future in which Italy would become a strong, imperial state.


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