Joshua W. Arthurs
This project offers a microhistory of the collapse of Fascism in 1943, spanning the forty-five day period between the fall of Mussolini and the Italian surrender to the Allies. Drawing on sources ranging from police reports, legal tribunals, and censored letters to memoirs and radio broadcasts, I interrogate everyday behaviors, emotions, and relationships during this phase of instability and (ultimately abortive) transition. I look especially at acts of retributive violence, iconoclasm, and public protest in order to understand how individuals and communities confronted the unsettling legacies of the past twenty years. Longstanding frustrations and antipathies resurfaced as they negotiated quotidian realities; claims to vengeance and clemency, guilt and victimhood, complicity and legitimacy—all were refracted through competing recollections of life under Mussolini. I am thus interested in the lived experience of aftermaths and regime change and their impact on later memory politics.