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Author Sica, Emanuele, 1975-

Title Mussolini's army in the French Riviera : Italy's occupation of France / Emanuele Sica
Published Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2016
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Description 1 online resource
Series The History of Military Occupation
History of military occupation.
Contents Chronology of the Italian Occupation of Southeastern France -- Part I. The Latin Sisters and the Coming of the Second World War -- Introduction -- Countdown to War -- Part II. The Armistice Period : June 1940-November 1942 -- The Italian Armistice Commission with France (CIAF) -- Italian Irredentism and French Patriotism in the Cote d'Azur -- A Prelude to Full Occupation -- Part III. The Italian Occupation of Southeastern France : November 1942-September 1943 -- The November 1942 Invasion -- The Italians Settle In -- Life under the Occupation -- Military Repression, Civilian Resistance -- Collaboration and Accommodation -- The Italian Jewish Policy in France -- Drawing the Curtain on the Occupation -- Conclusion
Summary "Following the conquest of Europe during the WWII, the Axis powers implemented occupation policies, often savage and brutal, to consolidate their European empire. After the war, a myth of Italiani Brava Gente (Italians, good fellows) perpetuated the belief that Italian soldiers were essentially good-natured and, unlike the German forces, incapable of perpetrating massacres against local civilians. In this study, Emanuele Sica examines the Italian military occupation of the French Riviera and Alpine region from June 1940 to September 1943, with particular attention to the relationship between Italian soldiers and the local population. The Italian occupation policy in France, unlike the one in the Balkans, was moderate and low in casualties. This mild approach to occupation of foreign soil was due in part to pragmatic reasons. Italian local commanders understood that softening their occupation policy was the best means of preventing the formation of partisan groups in the area. In fact, the Italians' strategic nightmare would have been an Allied seaborne invasion from the Mediterranean while concurrently fighting a Resistance uprising in France. Confronted with overstretched lines, pervasively poor morale within the ranks of the Italian occupation army in France and outdated materiel, the local command avoided harsh measures that could drive the French population towards resistance. However, Sica also asserts that the cultural proximity between the soldiers and the local population, 1/4 of which was Italian, played an important role in positively shaping the relationships between occupiers and occupied, smoothing the sharp angles of miscommunication and minimizing inevitable cultural faux-pas at a time of great uncertainty and tension"-- Provided by publisher
"In contrast to its brutal seizure of the Balkans, the Italian Army's 1940-1943 relatively mild occupation of the French Riviera and nearby alpine regions bred the myth of the Italian brava gente, or good fellow, an agreeable occupier who abstained from the savage wartime behaviors so common across Europe. Employing a multi-tiered approach, Emanuele Sica examines the simultaneously conflicting and symbiotic relationship between the French population and Italian soldiers. At the grassroots level, Sica asserts that the cultural proximity between the soldiers and the local population, one-quarter of which was Italian, smoothed the sharp angles of miscommunication and cultural faux-pas at a time of great uncertainty. At the same time, it encouraged a laxness in discipline that manifested as fraternization and black marketeering. Sica's examination of political tensions highlights how French prefects and mayors fought to keep the tatters of sovereignty in the face of military occupation. In addition, he reveals the tense relationship between Fascist civilian authorities eager to fulfil imperial dreams of annexation and army leaders desperate to prevent any action that might provoke French insurrection. Finally, he completes the tableau with detailed accounts of how food shortages and French Resistance attacks brought sterner Italian methods, why the Fascists' attempted 'Italianization' of the French border city of Menton failed, and the ways the occupation zone became an unlikely haven for Jews"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Italy. Esercito -- History -- World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945 -- Social aspects -- France -- Riviera.
World War, 1939-1945 -- France -- Riviera.
France -- History -- Italian occupation, 1942-1943.
Riviera (France) -- History, Military -- 20th century.
Riviera (France) -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
Genre/Form History.
Military history.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0252097963 (electronic bk)
9780252097966 (electronic bk)