It has been only thirty years since Vincenzo Vinciguerra published Ergastolo per il libertà (Arnaud, Florence, 1989) and in this thirty years there have been so many acquisitions of facts and documents that have gradually confirmed what Vinciguerra wrote in that book, starting a work of historical reconstruction which he has since continued in the existential condition as difficult as possible.
A rarely courageous historiography
In this long period of time good quality works were not lacking, which gave interesting contributions on specific points in the history of the strategy of tension: I recall, for example, the books by Paolo Cucchiarelli Il segreto di Piazza Fontana and the interesting study by Giacomo Pacini, Il Cuore occulto del potere (Nutrimenti, Rome, 2010), which provides an interesting and objective reconstruction of the role of the Confidential Affairs Office in the complex events of the post-war period.
Much less comforting is the picture of the studies that have attempted to reconstruct the overall framework of the strategy of tension, that is to say precisely that objective that Vinciguerra has pursued with tenacity, lucidity and objectivity in these three decades. Ideological prejudices, lack of familiarity with contemporary history as a whole, sometimes distorted use of document sources, partisan requirements, have prevented and often still prevent contemporary historians from obtaining that serenity of judgment and breadth of perspective without which they inevitably we fall back on the vulgate that many forces of power have every interest in feeding.
The meritorious study of Aldo Giannuli
In this overall disappointing panorama, the work of Aldo Giannuli, La strategia della tensione (Ponte alle Grazie, Florence, 2018) is distinguished by a decisive stance taken by the scholar precisely on the role that Vincenzo Vinciguerra had in clarifying the strategic lines along which this tragic and bloody history unraveled that has forever marked the republican history of our country.
Giannuli has shown, documents in hand, that Vinciguerra’s is the only interpretation that has constantly held up to the comparison with all the documents and factual evidence that have emerged over the long course of these thirty years. I cannot therefore fail to report here one of the most significant passages in this regard:
“Vinciguerra and his followers were left-wing fascists, supporters of the social vocation of fascism, therefore they placed themselves on positions of« national revolution »equally opposed both to communism and capitalism and, consequently, to the Warsaw Pact and to NATO.
(…) To enhance his contribution from the reconstruction of those years was first [the judge] Guido Salvini, but it must be said that afterwards, both the massacre Commission, as well as other judicial authorities and specialized production on the subject have drawn abundantly on his written or verbal. Today we can say that it is not possible to make a history of the strategy of tension in Italy regardless of the contribution of Vinciguerra”1.
Without being able to indulge in any triumphalism, since this historical truth has not yet become the patrimony of the collective conscience, however, the time has come, given that very few have felt so far in duty to do so, to affirm once and for all that the disinterested battle of truth undertaken by Vincenzo Vinciguerra proves to be victorious today.
And this is only because of the honesty, coherence, lucidity and commitment that have always characterized it, starting from the personal sacrifice that it entailed for Vinciguerra: life imprisonment. It is the demonstration of how individual courage and ideal purity can still win: even in the world of gold and compromise.
The limits of Aldo Giannuli’s study
Having said what was to be said, it is perhaps useful and necessary to make some critical remarks against Giannuli’s book, because too often the impression is that, despite a copious and well-organized amount of documents and information, the author then he struggles to draw that overall vision that is in fact the essential requisite for understanding where it comes from and why the strategy of tension has developed in Italy but not only.
For example, Giannuli did not collect a fundamental indication of the historical work of Vinciguerra, namely the accurate reconstruction of what happened, in Italy but not only, in the years between 1943 and 1945: in essence that secret war that the Allies have conducted in a masterly way, exploiting the political and moral weaknesses of the Italian ruling class, exactly as they had just done in Algeria with the French one2, and in many other places in the world thereafter.
The lack of recognition of this allied strategy, which obviously neither the Allies themselves nor the European ruling classes subservient to them have any interest in claiming either historically or politically, constitutes the original lie, the one that has since prevented, and still today it prevents the achievement of factual truth.
The end of Italian sovereignty
When, for example, the current vulgate continues to refer to the fascist police, which from the regime would have infiltrated the post-war democratic institutions after the war, it pretends not to know that this police was never fascist and indeed led a double-cross widely documented activity during the civil war (1943-1945): at best, to defend the Savoia’s monarchy, in the worst, certainly the most widespread, to save the skin of its middle-high level officials.
The story of Federico Umberto D’Amato (confirmed by many US documents, already public, but still not exploited by conformist historians) shows for example that the espionage network he efficiently organized in ’43 -’45, with US and British support, used without any difficulty and with excellent results just that strategic double game of officials who formally depended on RSI.
Finding them among the operatives of the post-war strategy of tension cannot therefore lead us back to a fascist strategy but to that of an Italian State controlled, in its fundamental apparatus, by the Atlantic winners.
Less known but numerous and no less important are the cases that can be reported, with names and dates: intelligence departments of Carabinieri, institutionally directed by US military intelligence; service officers of the Italian Navy discharged to operate in the US service and then returned to service in Italy at very high levels; old Badoglio’s intelligence people placed in key points of the new NATO apparatuses born in the immediate post-war time.
All that clearly shows that the Anglo-Americans, even in competition each other in the Mediterranean theater, assumed the full and unchallenged control of the Italian information and security systems, as well as of the stay-behind networks, set up throughout Europe in operation before anti-Nazifascist, in ’43 -’44, then anti-communist and anti-extremist in the immediate post-war period.
It is therefore a typical organization of the so-called Permanent State, that is to say built in the vital ganglia of a modern State, which since then remains in defense of Italy’s Atlantic alignment.
The comfortable blinders of anti-fascism
Only the Anglo-Americans were in any case able to conduct an action of such a depth and pervasiveness, for two irrefutable reasons: the first, that they had won the conflict thanks to their superior ability to strategically use the secret war in the broadest sense (intelligence, deception, psycological political economic warfare); the second, that, due to the civil war in Italy, following the tragedy of 8 September 1943, our country had lost not so much the war as its possibility to recover its sovereignty in peace.
For these reasons, the historically repeated ritual of the strategy of tension as a neo-fascist subversive instrument, which would have been adhered to (no one knows for what reasons …) the apparatus of the Italian State, no longer holds, as it never did, under consideration by an analysis conducted with the ordinary tools of the historical method.
Such a complex and refined strategy, which the Anglo-Americans have shown they know how to develop following the centuries-old British experience, could certainly not be set nor developed effectively by a political world that had been physically annihilated in the massacres (variously estimated at around 60 thousand fallen) followed in April 1945 in Italy: a reason for which, correctly, Vinciguerra denies the very possibility of speaking not only of fascism but not even of neo-fascism after that date.
The history of fascism closes with the blood of those days: what happened after that is a completely different story – not taking note of that means falsifying history here too.
Depending on these essential elements, some really significant gaps appear in Giannuli’s book. For example, that truly singular but fundamental laboratory that was, probably not only for Italy (perhaps also for Switzerland and Germany, besides Austria), terrorism and counter-terrorism in South Tyrol is not addressed: just think also there to the role of the police dependent on the Italian Ministry of the Interior, of military services and similar international organizations that in those events is repeatedly highlighted.
The non-consideration of the etiological role of the events of the Second World War, in a work of such wide scope as well, has prevented Giannuli from even accounting for the truly strategic role of intelligence structures in the Catholic world, such as those that the Dominican father Felix Morlion organized in a dense network, internationally and not only Italian, starting in Belgium since the years immediately before the WW II: weaving for over forty years of political-informative relations between the Church and the United States, the Church and the Jewish world and the newly established State of Israel, the Church and the world of Over-Curtain, as it was named then.
It is actually precisely the attendance (and at what levels!) of Morlion in the first few months of the Anglo-American occupation of Italt, the original matrix of the power of Giulio Andreotti, of which the Noto Servizio (“Well Known Secret Service”), although so documented by Giannuli, is probably only one of the manifestations, certainly not attributable to a single, albeit authoritative, Italian political figure.
Lastly, only to limit ourselves to less specialized observations, Giannuli has programmatically stopped in his studio in the mid-Seventies of last century, considering at that point the strategy of tension exhausted, excluding not only episodes such as the Bologna station massacre (2 August 1980) but the whole line of so-called leftist terrorism, just when in the last few years extremely illuminating confirmations of continuity, contiguity and strategic relations of these events with those of the Seventies are emerging: just remember the new elements that emerged from the Fioroni Report on the Moro kidnapping or the recent acquisitions on the Bologna massacre.
State, Mafia, Allies: who are the subversives?
In this sense, the discussion, to which Giannuli dedicates ample space, has an academic flavor, in our opinion, on the so-called theory of the Double State, which, as always in the case of sociological theorizing, takes little account of the harsh reality of facts: that of a conquered country, which first of all saw a convoy of several railway wagons departing across the Atlantic, with tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of documents that constituted the most delicate and essential historical heritage of the whole unified Italy.
Even those attempts of honest historical reconstruction that still inevitably fall into the re-flow of the neo-fascist subversive forces at work in the strategy of tension, as well as in the phenomena connected to it (just think of the role of the mafia, revitalized and placed in key places by the Liberatori), are therefore no longer historically acceptable: they distort the truth in an essential point, that is that the strategy of tension as well as the mafia are not understandable without admitting a strategic role internal to the Italian State of those conditioning forces that assure the political, economic, cultural and international alignment of Italy.
For this reason it would still be important today, not only in a merely symbolic sense, that truly “sovereign” Italian governments, perhaps with the help of honest historians such as Giannuli, would formally demand to our own, seemengly indispensable Allies to give back to Italy this heritage of documents that for modern states, like it or not, is the essential basis not only for effective popular sovereignty, but above all for real political, economic and cultural independence.
This could be a first step because events like those of the strategy of tension find their correct place in the complex unitary history of Italy, as the only possible guarantee that they will no longer have to repeat either in Italy or anywhere else.
This, let us add, would be a first, due acknowledgment of Vincenzo Vinciguerra’s victory in his long battle for the truth.
- A. Giannuli, La strategia della tensione, Ponte alle Grazie, Firenze, 2018, pp. 375-379
- I refer to the French part of the reconstruction by Anthony Cave Brown, “C”: The Secret Life of Sir Stewart Graham Menzies, Spymaster to Winston Churchill, New York, MacMillan Publishing, 1987, passim.