Italian historiography has dealt later with the Istrian exodus. The first scientific and comprehensive study was published in 1980. Then, just a couple of studies in the Nineties and an explosion of them in the new century. The main questions examined by the historians concerned the number and the ethnic identity of the refugees, the timing of migration, the motivations of the exiles and those of the Yugoslav authorities, the relationship between choice and compulsion, the comparison with other forced population transfers in Europe. These will be the topics of the report, which gives a survey of the latest trends in Italian historiography. When it comes to quantifying the exodus, the most recent studies estimate the migratory flow from the territories formerly belonging to the Italian state and which passed in various respects under Yugoslav control in the post-war period to be about 300,000 people. urthermore, it is possible to hypothesize - with a certain degree of precision - how many of the refugees had been born on the territory, their origin, and their native language. Regarding the phases of the exodus, we may distinguish preventive exodus (like Pola 1946), clandestine exodus (persons who had incurred the wrath of the authorities and who therefore fled to avoid prison or to save their lives) and legal exodus connected with exercising the right to opt for Italian citizenship 43 Italian Historiography on the Istrian Exodus. Topics and Perspectives – with the consequent obligation to move to Italy – foreseen by the Peace treaty and the London Memorandum . Of course, the question concerning the reasons for the exodus is most important from the interpretative point of view. Today, Italian historiography refers to the general scheme formulated by Ferrara and Pianciola as regards forced population movements in nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe. This scheme distinguishes deportations from expulsions and exoduses. In the case of the Julian-Dalmatians, Italian historiography has analyzed the reasons of the Yugoslav authorities and those of citizens of Italian nationality separately, and then combined them. As regards the Yugoslav authorities, it was discussed whether or not there existed a preventive project to expel the entire Italian community from Venezia Giulia and the policy of selective integration called “Italian-Slavic brotherhood” has been studied in particular depth. On the other hand, coeval documentation and oral sources enable us to determine very well how widespread among Italians was the conviction that life in Yugoslavia had become unbearable and that the only option for the Italians to maintain their identity was to go into exile. A particular strand of studies deals with the communists: i.e. the component of the Italian national group for which the “brotherhood” policy had been conceived. In fact, in the course of time, the Italian Communists were transformed from being supporters of the Yugoslav regime into “enemies of the people” after the Cominform crisis. Other studies have examined the attitude of the Italian government regarding the exodus. Generally speaking, the government in Rome noted with concern the abandonment of Istria by the Italians and tried to limit it. Later, the Italian authorities tried to solve the problems of re-settling the refugees and used them for political ends. Finally, one of the most important acquisitions of Italian historiography concerns the need to frame the exodus of the Julian-Dalmatians in a context broader both diachronically (as part of a longer history of forced migrations in the Upper Adriatic area in which economic and political factors were inextricably intertwined) and synchronically (within the great population movements that involved the countries of the “European Middle East” during the 1940s).

Italian Historiography on the Istrian Exodus. Topics and Perspectives

PUPO, RAOUL
2015

Abstract

Italian historiography has dealt later with the Istrian exodus. The first scientific and comprehensive study was published in 1980. Then, just a couple of studies in the Nineties and an explosion of them in the new century. The main questions examined by the historians concerned the number and the ethnic identity of the refugees, the timing of migration, the motivations of the exiles and those of the Yugoslav authorities, the relationship between choice and compulsion, the comparison with other forced population transfers in Europe. These will be the topics of the report, which gives a survey of the latest trends in Italian historiography. When it comes to quantifying the exodus, the most recent studies estimate the migratory flow from the territories formerly belonging to the Italian state and which passed in various respects under Yugoslav control in the post-war period to be about 300,000 people. urthermore, it is possible to hypothesize - with a certain degree of precision - how many of the refugees had been born on the territory, their origin, and their native language. Regarding the phases of the exodus, we may distinguish preventive exodus (like Pola 1946), clandestine exodus (persons who had incurred the wrath of the authorities and who therefore fled to avoid prison or to save their lives) and legal exodus connected with exercising the right to opt for Italian citizenship 43 Italian Historiography on the Istrian Exodus. Topics and Perspectives – with the consequent obligation to move to Italy – foreseen by the Peace treaty and the London Memorandum . Of course, the question concerning the reasons for the exodus is most important from the interpretative point of view. Today, Italian historiography refers to the general scheme formulated by Ferrara and Pianciola as regards forced population movements in nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe. This scheme distinguishes deportations from expulsions and exoduses. In the case of the Julian-Dalmatians, Italian historiography has analyzed the reasons of the Yugoslav authorities and those of citizens of Italian nationality separately, and then combined them. As regards the Yugoslav authorities, it was discussed whether or not there existed a preventive project to expel the entire Italian community from Venezia Giulia and the policy of selective integration called “Italian-Slavic brotherhood” has been studied in particular depth. On the other hand, coeval documentation and oral sources enable us to determine very well how widespread among Italians was the conviction that life in Yugoslavia had become unbearable and that the only option for the Italians to maintain their identity was to go into exile. A particular strand of studies deals with the communists: i.e. the component of the Italian national group for which the “brotherhood” policy had been conceived. In fact, in the course of time, the Italian Communists were transformed from being supporters of the Yugoslav regime into “enemies of the people” after the Cominform crisis. Other studies have examined the attitude of the Italian government regarding the exodus. Generally speaking, the government in Rome noted with concern the abandonment of Istria by the Italians and tried to limit it. Later, the Italian authorities tried to solve the problems of re-settling the refugees and used them for political ends. Finally, one of the most important acquisitions of Italian historiography concerns the need to frame the exodus of the Julian-Dalmatians in a context broader both diachronically (as part of a longer history of forced migrations in the Upper Adriatic area in which economic and political factors were inextricably intertwined) and synchronically (within the great population movements that involved the countries of the “European Middle East” during the 1940s).
978-961-6964-40-1
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