During the winter of 1943 Raffaele Guariglia wrote an article on the subject of Eurafrica1. He was one of the most important diplomats working for the Italian Foreign Office. At that time he was Italy's ambassador to the Vatican, though he was due to be transferred to Turkey. Previously he had been the Ministry's General Director and he had represented Italy in Madrid, Buenos Aires and Paris. After Mussolini's removal from power on 25 July 1943, he became Foreign Minister of the new Badoglio government. These were difficult times indeed . After the Allied landings in North Africa, the Axis powers were organising their last resistance in Tunisia. Despite his formal faith in the final victory, the author foresaw that Italy would soon be thrown out of Africa, which would cause the break of a crucial link in the consolidation of the country's economic power. Guariglia thought that Eurafrica realised the indissoluble union of the two continents and that Italians were necessarily drawn towards Africa, like the French and the Spanish. Africa still offered “vast prospects” to colonisation, production, trade and to the search for raw materials. In his opinion, Europe lasting pre-eminence would only be possible through the union of the two continents, which should become one of the fundamental tenets of the “New Order”. Instead, the penetration of the United States into Algeria and Morocco heralded their informal hegemony (accepted by local people as forwarding the chance to get rid of European colonialism), thus consecrating the “American Century”. This trend was in tune with the policies carried out by the South African government, which aimed at replacing British and French imperialism and proclaimed that Africa should be left to Africans. Guariglia criticised Germany for being almost entirely focussed on the East, therefore neglecting the Mediterranean (he forgot, however, that Mussolini had sent an army corps to Russia, endowed with the most modern armaments, which could have been put to better use on the Libyan front). On the contrary, the Mediterranean sea, far from separating the two continents, united them, and the conception of Eurafrica was an essential question for Italy's destiny, as the country boasted of considering “Work” its very own “Rule of Life”, by means of its “soldiers-colonists and colonists-soldiers”. Eurafrica could represent the harmonic junction of Italian, Japanese and German vital spaces: with Germany in the Balkans and in the Caucasus, because Italy wished to expand eastwards beyond the Suez Canal, whilst it would share with Japan the Westernmost limit of the Japanese co-prosperity sphere on the sea. The plan for an Italian trans-Saharan road was revived: it was supposed to link Libya to Somalia, through Egypt and the Sudan, from Tripoli to Mogadishu, where a large port would be created in order to project the Italian empire towards the Indian Ocean. ____________ 1 R. Guariglia, “L'Eurafrica nella guerra e nel dopoguerra.” (Eurafrica during the war and the post-war period), Gli Annali dell'Africa Italiana, a. 6 (1943), vol. 1, pp. 6-15. A typewritten copy can be found in the Historical and Diplomatic Archives of the Italian Foreign Ministry (from now on called ASDMAE), Ministry for Italian Africa (from now on called MAI), Africa V, Materials recovered in the North, b. 11. Italian war aims were very ambitious, even though it is doubtful they could ever be realised in practice, due to German difficulties in recognising the real political and economic supremacy of Italy in Croatia and in other areas of the Balkans. Demographic colonisation ideally represented the noblest objective, because the birth of the new Italian Africa consecrated Fascism's universal mission. Libya and Ethiopia, in particular, were going to be widely settled by Italian colonists. In the latter, it was believed that the decadent African population would be quickly overtaken by the more prolific and vital Italian race, providing ample scope for demographic colonisation. In Libya the coastal regions were subdivided into four provinces, which were then annexed to the mother country. The regime's pro-Islamic policies favoured the recognition of a special kind of citizenship to Libyan subjects, although they remained in a subordinate position in relation to Italians; the plan was also conceived to extend compulsory military service to all young men belonging to the Gioventu' Araba del Littorio (GAL - Fascist Arab Youth Organisation), the organisation especially set up for Libyan youths. The division of labour and the economic and social organisation of Italian Africa were established before the Second World War: Eritrea and the Addis Ababa area were destined to become AOI's (Italian East Africa) industrial regions as well as the main hubs for services, whilst the other Ethiopian territories would be characterised by mixed-type agriculture, that is, both small-scale farming and capitalistic production. This latter type should become predominant in Somalia, where foodstuffs would be produced for the imperial market, and where banana cultivation had been especially developed both for the Italian market and for export. In Tripolitania demographic colonisation would be integrated with manufacturing and the service industry in the capital, whilst in Cyrenaica it should be largely prevalent. However, the construction of the fascist empire, directly planned by Mussolini, must always be investigated on two different planes: that of myth and that of reality, with the two levels constantly intersecting, though the first was certainly predominant, since Mussolini's aims were strongly political and ideological rather than economic.
|Titolo:||Eurafrica. Vital Space, Demographic Planning and the Division of Labour in The Italian Empire|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||3.1 Monografia,trattato scientifico|