Elena Tonezzer

Trentines in the Austro-Hungarian empire: building the national identity

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Italian national identity - Trentine - Early 20th Century

Trentine was included in the Italian national state at the end of the First World War. Until then, its inhabitants, who had lived for centuries in a multiethnic and multilingual area, had developed a mixed cultural identity. In the late nineteenth century, the emergence of German nationalistic associations threatened the Italian culture and language in the Trentine valleys and caused a reaction, which emphasized the Italian identity of the population. The local political associations set up monuments and promoted leisure activities and meetings in order to reinforce through rituals and symbols the identification among Trentine and the Italian national identity. The outbreak of First World War and the repression by Austrian authorities induced the population and Trentine-borned soldiers to weaken their bonds of loyalty with the empire. Nevertheless, the Italian annexation of Trentine did not solve once for ever the issue of the national identity, since Trentine society did not easily accept to integrate in a traditionally centralist national state.

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