Maxwell M. Rabb e l’Italia: la strategia repubblicana sull’immigrazione, 1952-1953


Maxwell Rabb is remembered as the longest-serving United States Ambassador to Italy, from 1981 to 1989. What is less known, contrary to the popular belief that he was chosen because of his prominence in the Jewish community of New York, is that Rabb’s appointment was in fact due to his deep knowledge of Italian politics. Such knowledge can be traced back to 1953, when Rabb was working as an advisor for the Eisenhower Administration and a shepherd of the Refugee Relief Act through Congress. The aim of this paper is threefold: first, to provide information on Maxwell Rabb, given the lack of specific academic publications on his person; second, to expand on the Eisenhower strategy on immigration in 1952 and 1953, which marked a definite shift away from the restrictionist stance that had characterized the Republican Party up to that point; and last, to sketch the important political capital that Rabb acquired through his work on immigration policies. This paper does not aim at providing an account of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Italy regarding the Refugee Relief Act, nor does it question the independence of Italian foreign policy in those years. The present work will instead demonstrate how Rabb’s work greatly contributed to forging a specific role for Italy in the Republican strategy of deterrence, making immigration a powerful weapon in the Cold War strategies of the United States.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a4n1p145

Keywords: Maxwell Rabb; Refugee Relief Act; United States Cold War policies; Italian immigration

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