SunBird American / Italian Club news

Frank Nechvatal

In December our club celebrated Christmas with a dinner in the Horizon Room on Tuesday, December 8. Club members brought canned goods or toys to the dinner for the food bank. The meals were great; two dishes were available, lasagna or chicken parmigiana. For January we are planning a movie night. Right now we have La Dolce Vita. This movie is Italian with English subtitles. If this proves to be too distracting we will have a back-up film. We need for members to bring some goodies leaning toward the theme of the movie night. Candy, popcorn, etc. would lend themselves well to the theme. Remember that will be on Tuesday, January 12.

We left off with our history as Italy was on the brink of World War I. WW I was the unfortunate result of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria as he visited Serbia. The Austrian army immediately occupied Serbia whereupon England and France protested the move. Germany, an ally of the Austrian Hungarian Empire, jumped in and declared war on England and France. Italy was at this time a member of the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria, Italy), but remained neutral for a time until extreme Italian nationalists won out and Italy agreed secretly to the London Pact and entered the war against Germany and Austria, hoping to gain territory north of Italy. The expense to Italy was enormous; some 650,000 Italian troops were killed and nearly one million other Italian troops were wounded. Additionally, the Italian economy suffered greatly and had to be funded by the allies to survive the war costs. At the end of the war Italy received a portion of the Tyrol, Trieste, Istria and the city of Zadar. Following WW I Italy’s economy was suffering along with the labor movement. Benito Mussolini established a coalition of nationalists and liberals to form the Fascist Movement. They gained popularity with the promise to reestablish order and normalcy. In 1926 Mussolini and his party gained control of the Parliament in an election. Over the next four years Mussolini removed the checks and balances that limited his power. By the end of the decade all political parties were banned and Parliamentary elections were replaced by plebiscites in which the Grand Council of Fascism nominated a single list of candidates.

Next: the rise of Nazism and Fascism ally with each other and provoke a Second World War.