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Mussolini's Greek Island: Fascism and the Italian Occupation of Syros in World War II

Overview

A powerful and unique study of the realities and long-term impact of occupation, Mussolini's Greek Island reveals the Italian dictator's imperial vision, the mechanisms of Italian occupation and its tragic consequences. The small island of Syros is a vital entry-point illuminating Italian imperialism - its ethos, fascist connection, pretension and administrative achievements, marred by famine. Here Lecoeur examines the devastating effects of war and occupation on the local community - starvation, corruption and ...

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Overview

A powerful and unique study of the realities and long-term impact of occupation, Mussolini's Greek Island reveals the Italian dictator's imperial vision, the mechanisms of Italian occupation and its tragic consequences. The small island of Syros is a vital entry-point illuminating Italian imperialism - its ethos, fascist connection, pretension and administrative achievements, marred by famine. Here Lecoeur examines the devastating effects of war and occupation on the local community - starvation, corruption and survival - and, drawing on local archives and interviews with survivors, offers new insight into this crucial but little known episode. Enriching our understanding of Mussolini's hegemonic visions and the mechanisms of occupation, a key issue of our times, this path-breaking book will appeal to scholars of fascism, World War II and military occupation in general.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sheila Lecoeur has written a path-breaking and moving study of the Italian wartime occupation of the Greek island of Syros. This is the very first study I know which shows the realities of Italian fascist - as opposed to German - Second World War occupation from the ground up, thanks to the survival of a very rich archive on the island of the local wartime administration. Lecoeur makes adroit use of Greek and oral sources too. This is a grim story - a case study of how not to do occupation - which culminated in a devastating famine, mostly as the result of Mussolini's ill-thought out imperial ambitions.

Mussolini's Greek Island shows how the tragedy was compounded by Fascist visions of breaking Greece up and absorbing the Cyclades into an enlarged Aegean zone of influence. This is a real addition to the scholarly literature, I think, on occupation and fascism, and a major intervention in the growing debate about Mussolini's visions of international fascist order. It should have a broad scholarly readership … and will appeal to scholars of fascism, the Second World War and military occupation in general. In the context of the ongoing historiographical reassessment of the Nazi New Order in Europe, this is an important contribution which offers us a badly needed point of comparison with German policy elsewhere." - Professor Mark Mazower, Department of History, Columbia University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sheila Lecoeur received her PhD from Birkbeck College, University of London, UK, and is Coordinator of Italian in the Humanities Department at Imperial College London.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Charts
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Syros and the Greek State
2. Political Objectives and Administrative Policy, 1941-42
3. The Economic Impact of the 'Distacco'
4. The Famine
5. Public Assistance and Crisis Management
6. Propaganda and the Control of Information
7. The Occupiers: Soldiers' Lives
8. The Social Impact of Occupation
9. Conclusion
Abbreviations
Bibliography
Index

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