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April 25 is Italy’s Liberation Day, La Festa della Liberazione. It celebrates the liberation of Italy from Nazi fascists and commemorates the partisans and the Italian resistance. The symbol of this day is the song Bella Ciao. Let’s discover the history of this day together!
You can find the VIDEO in Italian with EXERCISES here
25 April: Italy’s Liberation Day
April 25 is Italy’s Liberation Day. It is celebrated the liberation of Italy, which took place in 1945, from the fascist dictatorship of Mussolini and the German Nazi occupation. We remember in particular the Italian Resistance formed by partisans who helped the Anglo-American forces to liberate Italy. As a symbolic date was taken the liberation of the city of Milan on April 25, 1945.
In Italy, April 25 is a public holiday, so you don’t go to work or school. The cities organize various events and the event in Milan is especially big.
The symbol of this day is the partisan song Bella Ciao, which has become world famous thanks to the Netflix series la casa de papel.
A little history
Let’s start with the fascist regime of Mussolini. Mussolini was the leader of the National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista) and organized the famous March on Rome in 1922. About 50,000 Blackshirts (Mussolini’s forces) marched to Rome, where the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele III was staying. Mussolini wanted to gain leadership of the Kingdom of Italy and threatened to seize power by force. The king gave in to Mussolini’s pressure and instructed him to form a new government. Thus began the Fascist regime (1922-1945), which developed into a full-fledged dictatorship.
The Second World War (1939-1945)
In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and thus began the Second World War. Italy entered the war a year later, in 1940, alongside Hitler. Italy and Germany, together with Japan, formed the so-called Axis Powers. On the other side fought the Allies, whose four main powers were the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, the United States and China.
In 1943 the war did not go very well for fascist Italy. On July 9, the Allies landed in Sicily and on July 25, the king had Mussolini arrested and his place in the government was taken by General Badoglio. On September 8, Italy signed the armistice with the Allies, so Italy was no longer fighting the Anglo-American forces.
At this point, the German army liberated Mussolini and occupied the territories in northern and central Italy as far as Rome. The king fled Rome and sought refuge further south where the Allies were. On Hitler’s orders, Mussolini established the Italian Social Republic (RSI) in the north, also known as the Republic of Salò. This was not a real state, but a puppet state under the control of the German military. Rebel groups, the partisans, formed in the areas occupied by the Nazi fascists.
Who were the partisans?
The partisans were the Italian resistance against the fascist dictatorship and the Nazi occupation. Their help was crucial for the liberation of Italy by Anglo-American troops. The partisans were common people who armed themselves as best they could. They belonged to different political tendencies (communists, shareholders, monarchists, socialists, democrats, liberals, republicans, anarchists) gathered in the Committee for National Liberation (it. Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale). They hid mainly in the mountains and weakened the enemy with insurrections and sabotage, for example by damaging communication and transportation routes. Women also played an important role and were often the relay women, carrying information and messages.
The general insurrection
In April 1945, the general insurrection was organized by the partisans and the majority of the Italian cities of northern Italy were liberated before the arrival of the Allied troops. On April 25, the city of Milan, seat of the Partisan Command of Upper Italy, was liberated and this date was taken as a symbolic date for the liberation of all Italy from the Nazi fascists.
The end of the war
On April 28 Mussolini was killed and on May 2 the Surrender of Caserta (it. Resa di Caserta) was signed, sealing the end of the war in Italy. A few months later, on September 2, 1945, the Second World War ended worldwide.
The Resistance played a fundamental role in the liberation of Italy and in it can be seen the origins of the Italian Republic. The Italian Constitution was written by exponents of the political parties that had created the Committee for National Liberation. They based the Constitution on the synthesis of their respective political traditions and inspired it with the principles of democracy and anti-fascism.
Oh bella ciao! Bella ciao! Bella ciao, ciao, ciao!
Listen to the song in Italian and read the translation.