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Politica islamica e propaganda fascista in Siria e Libano (1932-1940)

Piras, Mauro (2012) Politica islamica e propaganda fascista in Siria e Libano (1932-1940). [Doctoral Thesis]

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Abstract

This dissertation analyses the policy of fascist Italy towards Syria and Lebanon under French Mandate in the 1930s, and especially the propagandistic activities carried out by the Italian government, in order to achieve his specific political aims in the Levant. In the early 1930s, Mussolini’s regime started an “Islamic policy” with new characteristic, in comparison with the traditional “Arab policy” of pre-fascist Italy. Mussolini’s ambitions in the Mediterranean sea were, in fact, the same of the Italian governments in the liberal age, i. e. the conquer of a political, economical and strategic hegemony in the so-called “mare nostrum”. Fascist “Islamic policy” tried to fight French and British influence in the Near East, not only by traditional diplomatic and political means, but appealing directly to the Arab peoples, to their political and intellectual élites, and to their public opinion. This policy was carried out mostly by a massive propagandistic campaign in the Arab world, conducted through modern media such as press, radio and, to a lesser extent, cinema. In Lebanon and Syria, where the press was more developed and influent than in the rest of the Arab countries (with the exception of Egypt), Italian subventions to the newspapers played a central role, in the attempt to gain political influence, and to curb that of France. But, in order to compete with French cultural influence in the Levant, Italian government also promoted the creation and improvement of Italian schools, charities, and all the activities that could earn prestige to Italy, like sport associations, and the society life of the Italian communities. The French authorities, worried for the blows that Italian propaganda could inflict to their prestige, contrasted it with an increasing decision, especially after the Popular Front’s victory. But the final failure of fascist “Islamic policy”, before World War II, was not due to the French reaction, or – as some historians wrote – to the fact that Mussolini’s “Arab policy” was just a means to exert pressure on Great Britain, in order to achieve a “general agreement” in the Mediterranean sea. The Italian “Islamic policy” failed because the Arabs were not attracted by fascist ideology, and even less by Mussolini’s policies. The ephemeral consent gained by the “duce” in the Arab world, between the conquer of Ethiopia and the Easter Pact, was due to the illusion that fascist Italy could be an ally for the Arab nationalism, against French and British presence in the Near and Middle East. This hope was wiped out by a series of Italian actions, in foreign and colonial policy; and in 1939, after the aggression to Albania, Italian prestige in the Arab world was virtually as low as it was at the beginning of the decade, when ‘Umar al-Mukhtar had been hanged in Cyrenaica.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date:23 March 2012
Tutor:Novelli, Cecilia, Melis, Nicola
PhD classes:Ciclo 24 > Storia, istituzioni e relaz.internaz. Asia e Africa
Coordinator:Carcangiu, Bianca Maria
Institution:Universita' degli Studi di Cagliari
Divisions:Dipartimenti (fino a dicembre 2011) > Dipartimento Storico politico internazionale dell'età moderna e contemporanea
Subjects:Area 10 - Scienze dell'antichità, filologico-letterarie e storico-artistiche > L-OR/10 Storia dei paesi islamici
Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-STO/04 Storia contemporanea
Uncontrolled Keywords:Politica islamica, propaganda fascista, mandato francese, Siria, Libano, stampa araba, islamic policy, fascist propaganda, Syria, Lebanon, arab press, french mandate
ID Code:739
Deposited On:27 Mar 2012 17:59

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