Fascism and the Italian-Scottish Community in Interwar Scotland

  • Remigio Petrocelli

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Abstract

Between 1922 and 1940, the Italian government sought to win over to Fascism Italian emigrants. It was hoped that they would play an essential part in extending the influence and prestige of Italy under the Fascist regime and were to be used as a tool for the expansion of Fascist ideology. Through establishing and using fasci and Case d’Italia abroad and developing Italian schools, youth groups, and a network of social and propaganda activities, the Italian government attempted to ‘fascistise’ the Italian diaspora.

Through micro-historical research and extensive use of a range of hitherto neglected Italian primary sources, this thesis will investigate the ‘life’ of the fasci in Scotland from their foundation in the early 1920s until 1940. It will analyse its founders and focus on the activities, ordered and arranged by the Fascist government in Rome or spontaneously promoted, employed by the fasci in the Italian community throughout the interwar period in Scotland. By examining the recreational, political and propaganda activities, and assessing fasci membership and community participation in fascist activities, this thesis will demonstrate the pioneering role of the Glasgow fascio in Britain, the multifaceted approach of the Italian-Scots toward Fascism and the fasci’s results.

This thesis will shed light on the central role that Fascism, and the rhetoric used by proponents of Fascist ideology, played in Italian community-building and other aspects of the Italian-Scottish diaspora which, before the rise of Fascism in Italy in 1922, were wholly neglected by the Italian-Scots. It will also be demonstrated that the policies adopted by the Fascist regime in Italy throughout the years were mirrored by the fasci and impacted the small Italian-Scottish community. The prominent militaristic attitude of the regime of the second half of the 1930s that was put into action with the war in Abyssinia in October 1935 led to Italophobia that eventually exploded in June 1940 after the Italian declaration of war on Britain. Finally, this thesis will also explore the opposition of Italian and Scottish anti-fascists to the fasci in Scotland and Italian Fascism more generally.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPerry Willson (Supervisor) & Graeme Morton (Supervisor)

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