Arditi di ritorno. Le alterne fortune dell’“arditismo” nella repubblica sociale italiana


The “Arditi” assault troops' legacy, in the First world war, constitutes one of the founding myths of fascism. It is historically proven that, over two decades, Italian army did little to improve its skills for special forces' training in order to reach the level of German or British ones. The first serious effort to create units comparable to “Brandenburgers” or “Commandos” was done after Mussolini’s debacle in North Africa in late 1941, when it was too late to affect the war's outcome. New “Arditi” troops were built up in the wake of 1942 by army, navy and air force, but with little success. After Italian surrender in September 1943, some of these units decided to continue the war on German side, while the new Mussolini’s regime further emphasized the role of the “Arditi”, recalling again “Great War” memories; in most cases, the new units – usually built up under German rule – were badly equipped and undertrained. Their role, far from the bombastic propaganda tones used by RSI, was the same of other “blackshirt” militias: antipartisan duties under SS Polizei direct orders.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a4n2p415

Keywords: Fascism; Arditi; First world war; Second world war; Civil war; Mussolini; Italian social republic (RSI)

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