Perceptions of success: the United States, Italy and political warfare, 1945-1948

Mistry, Kaeten D. (2008). Perceptions of success: the United States, Italy and political warfare, 1945-1948. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The thesis analyses US foreign policy toward Italy in the postwar period by considering the multi-faceted nature of the relationship between the countries. It looks at the motivations and challenges facing American visions of a stable anti-communist Italy, as well at the hopes and limitations facing Italian interlocutors in their interaction with the US hegemon. In analysing the overlaps and dissimilarities between policy toward the country and broader approaches in Europe, it explores how the Cold War shaped the US attitude toward Italy and how Italy influenced American conceptualisation of the Cold War. With particular focus on the attempt to bolster anti-communist groups before the first Italian national election in April 1948, it charts the emergence of a perception of success within the Truman Administration vis-à-vis the effectiveness of its efforts to prevent a communist ascension to power. Confident that they had shaped the election outcome, US officials considered intervention as an inaugural case of ‘Political Warfare,’ which was defined as the use of ‘all means short of war’ to achieve national objectives. Such perceptions were significant for how American officials considered events in Italy during the previous years, while it held important ramifications for the future, problematic, trajectory of US-Italian relations and ongoing American efforts to engage in organised Political Warfare.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DG Italy
E History America > E151 United States (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on


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