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date: 13 June 2024

Italy: The Military in Politicslocked

Italy: The Military in Politicslocked

  • Nicola LabancaNicola LabancaDepartment of Historical Sciences and Cultural Heritage, University of Siena


The Italian case is virtually nonexistent in almost all the best general works on military intervention in politics, but understanding the Italian case could add much to the academic debate as the debate seems to be again investigating the role of the military in established democracies.

The most important key to understanding the story of Italian civil–military relations is not military professionalism. Rather, a specific feature of these cases could lay in the reduced strength of the different players (the military, the civilians). These widespread and common weaknesses end up being a continuity along all Italian history: the first years of Risorgimento and Liberal Italy, fascism, the advent of the Republic and democracy after the end of World War II, and even in the post-Cold War decades. Because of this continuity, the work of historians could be most useful for political scientists. What is interesting is that whether the Italian military was strong or weak, it almost always managed to have its demands met by influencing, penetrating, and conditioning the political system. Almost always, the military did not need to intervene directly. And this is another reason to better understand this case without the influence of old, biased national stereotypes and as studied by Italian scholars but ignored in its subtleties by international scholarship.


  • History and Politics

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