Salvare la nazione: La coscienza femminile della Seconda guerra mondiale
Brewer, Jordan Lin
After the end of World War II in Italy, historians largely ignored the role of the Italian woman in the Resistance movement. Given the lack of analysis on the participation of Italian female civilians and partigiane, the figure of the woman during the war remained indistinguishable from the entire female population, an unimportant representative of a supposedly fleeting and spontaneous “contribution” to the armed Resistance conducted by male partisans. Since the 1970s, this insular approach has been proven wrong many times over, beginning with studies on the involvement of mobilized female partisans active in Piedmont. Recurring themes in these texts surround their concerns for food availability, their role as mothers, and their assessment of their place in the Resistance and the development of the nation as a whole.This study aims to analyze these three themes through four autobiographical works written by Italian partisans: Noi Donne (a periodical published by the women’s organization I Gruppi di difesa della donna), Diario partigiano by Ada Gobetti, Storie di un anno grande by Maria Luigia Guaita, and Bortolina by Elsa Oliva. By crystalizing their activities, aspirations, and fears in written testimonies, female partisans active during the Second World War and, more specifically, the German occupation of 1943-1945, offer indisputable evidence that the connection between the war and the Italian female consciousness is more profound than it was initially purported. In fact, this investigation concludes with an analysis of a recent historiographical text which does not sufficiently consider the female wartime experience, and therefore offers proof that, without continued study, the partigiane and their acute sense of responsibility and growth, both as an individual and a social class, may again be absorbed into the vague multitude of voiceless others.
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