The Missing Italian Nuremberg
In this book, Michele Battini explains how the trial of the entire military command of the Nazi power structure in Italy, prepared by the Allies following the Nuremberg model, came to be replaced by a few contradictory trials of very minor significance. This resulted in an enormous historical misrepresentation of the Nazi occupation of Italy and reduced it to the scale of individual responsibilities.
Michele Battini teaches modern European history and political thought at the University of Pisa.
“Battini’s excellent book tells a fascinating story of the immensely important trial against the entire Nazi military command in Italy for war crimes committed against civilians between 1943 and 1945. In short, of the ‘Italian Nuremberg.’ Or rather, what would have been the Italian Nuremberg, because this trial never happened. Battini presents massive evidence on how the Allies, especially the British, between 1945 and 1947, worked on the project of setting up such a trial. Battini interestingly probes the crucial and embarrassing question of why and how the project was eventually abandoned, in the face of the changing political context in Europe. Two larger and mutually related questions loom over the work: one is the painful and contested process of constructing a shared memory, the second is the subject of seeking international justice for war crimes against humanity.”–Marta Petrusewicz, Professor of History, Hunter College, City University of New York“The book deals with a recent and significant historical subject: the problem of seeking international justice for war crimes against humanity. These considerations are highly relevant today, in matters ranging from the atrocities committed during the war in ex-Yugoslavia, to trying despots from the state of Iraq. Battini is a historian of ideas, and concentrates on what he rightly calls the Italian ‘deconstruction of memory’ in comparative perspective. Why have the Germans reached a reckoning day with their history, while the Italians have chosen the path of what Battini calls ‘a voluntary collective amnesia’? What is the importance in general of the reconstruction of memory, or its absence?”–Paul Ginsborg, Professor of History, University of Florence“The accurate analysis of a great variety of primary sources together with a detailed investigation of the cultural, social and political pressures present in post-war Europe offer an important insight into the reasons for the ‘missing Italian Nuremberg’. Battini’s clear, fluent writing style in combination with frequent direct quotes from primary documents render the book accessible to all including non-historians and allow the reader to follow the line of his arguments with great ease.” –Aline Sierp, Political Studies Review
Chronology * Introduction * Prologue: Trials and Lessons of History * The Deconstruction of Memory * Why the Maxi-Trial for War Criminals Was Never Held * The Kesselring Trial * Judiciary Oblivion and the Sins of Memory * A Brutal Peace and the Nuremberg Consensus * The “Mirror” of Vichy * Epilogue Without End
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