Prisoners of War to Partisans: Australian Experiences in Italy during the Second World War

Peter Monteath, Katrina Kittel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

After the Armistice of September 1943, a large proportion of Allied prisoners
of war (POWs) in Italy were released from captivity. This article
considers the relatively small number of those men who made their way into the Italian resistance as partisans, drawing in particular on examples of Australian POWs who were in work camps in Piedmont at the time of the Armistice. In doing so it considers not only the circumstances and motivations guiding the POWs to become partisans, but also the factors which persuaded Italian communities and partisan groups to accept Allied POWs among them. The argument draws on Eric Hobsbawm’s notion of ‘social banditry’ to explain the conversion from POW to partisan, while also contending that the phenomenon was complex, dynamic, and best understood from Allied and Italian perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-205
Number of pages18
JournalWar and Society
Volume40
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • prisoners of war, Australians in the Second World War, Italy in the Second World War, resistance, banditry
  • Australians in the Second World War
  • Italy in the Second World War
  • resistance
  • banditry

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