Today, April 25th, Italy celebrates La Festa della Liberazione, or Liberation Day. This day in 1945 marks the first nation-wide radio announcement encouraging a popular uprising against the Nazi occupation and Fascist regime. This announcement lead to the capture and death of Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, three days later.
During the Second World War, the people of Italy were caught between an internal civil war and a war of liberation. This civil war was the confrontation of many citizens against the Fascist rule. The war of liberation was the struggle against the foreign occupation of Italy by the Nazi regime. Both factors sparked the formation of those who came to be known as i partigiani, or the Italian partisans. These partisans were made up of ex-military personnel along with farmers and factory workers. This group of up-risers was responsible for the radio broadcast that took place today some seventy-five years ago. As a result, several Italian cities came to be liberated by the partisans with the help of local men and women weary of their daily persecution and strife.
The date is largely symbolic, as the liberation of Italy began in September 1943 and formally concluded with the end of WWII in 1945.
Currently Italy finds itself under the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Italian cities would normally commemorate La Festa della Liberazione with marches, speeches, and parades. Instead this year Italians will remain in their homes and solemnly remember those who fought unceasingly to end a dictatorship and five years of war.
If this day in history has taught us anything, it is that the Italian people are resilient to hard times and oppression. We can be sure that much like in 1945, Italy is determined to fight and overcome any threat that presents itself.
Click on the button below for information on Italy's April 25th Virtual Event (in Italian). #iorestolibero
Many of us have heard the Italian tune, "Bella ciao", but did you know it was written about the partisan resistance? Although the song was not popularized until twenty years after the war ended, it is often played during times of world-wide hardship. It is best known to represent the "universal values of liberty and opposition of dictatorship and war, without references to politics or religion." Click on the button below to listen to this Italian anthem of freedom.
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