I volontari italiani nelle Waffen-SS

I pensiero politico, la formazione culturale e le motivazioni al volontariato. Una storia orale

Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2012

400 Pages

Abstract or Introduction

My doctoral dissertation examines the experiences of the Italian volunteers in the Waffen-SS troops using in-depth interviews with former volunteers as the main primary source. This phenomenon, even if significant in size (depending on the source, some 15 000-20 000 Italian men volunteered in the Waffen-SS), has been hitherto largely unknown to historical research. The available literature on the Italian volunteers, mainly written by military history enthusiast journalists and methodologically weak, concentrates mainly on the combat operations and military organization, and offers a rather stereotypical profile of the volunteers. My dissertation does not aim to reconstruct the military history of the different divisions of the Waffen-SS in which Italian volunteers operated but instead to examine the subjective, private and intimate experience of the volunteers in order to understand the motivations, attitudes, beliefs and cultural and family background, as well as their political ideas. The main objective of my doctoral dissertation is to discover the ideological precepts of the volunteers’ political credo. As the last phase of fascism and its ideology, often defined as the “Germanisation” or “Nazification” of fascism, is still the object of wide academic debate, a better understanding of the volunteers’ ideology also contributes to deepening overall knowledge of the nature of this last phase. The theoretical frame of my dissertation lies in oral history, in particular in the postmodernist approach to oral history, through which I reconstruct the volunteers’ ideology. In-depth interviews with former volunteers are the main primary source, but multiple data collection methods have been adopted. Phone interviews and correspondence with the volunteers have also been considered as primary sources. In addition to interviews and correspondence, family archives consisting of diaries, correspondence with the volunteers’ relatives and photographic material have also been collected and examined. An ethnographic observation of the volunteers’ domestic spaces has been conducted during the in-depth interviews, and photo self-elicitation techniques have been used in cases where the volunteers were willing to share their photographs. An exhaustive portrait of the ideological structure of the volunteers has been obtained, as well as of the cultural and social origins of the values that contributed to the rise and adoption of this ideology. [...]


I volontari italiani nelle Waffen-SS
I pensiero politico, la formazione culturale e le motivazioni al volontariato. Una storia orale
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
waffen-ss, second world war, SS
Quote paper
Adjunct Professor, PhD Nicola Guerra (Author), 2012, I volontari italiani nelle Waffen-SS, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/509671


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