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Italy's Liberation Day.

The role of underground press.

During fascism, the press was one of the most important political instruments. The news disseminated was either approved or potentially censored by the government. Free press emerged with the Liberation. In a single day, dozens of newspapers were published, ready to assert their positions.

The first newspaper of the Resistance was circulated while Rome was still being fought for: it called on the population to join the Resistance struggle. Among the activities that animated the Antifascist movement during the Regime and the Resistance in the war years, a decisive role was played by the press and the dissemination of clandestine publications, important and risky activities mainly carried out by civilians.

Clandestine printing became crucial after the murder of Matteotti (June 10, 1924) and Mussolini's subsequent speech in January 1925, in which the foundations of the dictatorial regime were laid with the official banishment of political parties and the limitation of individual and social freedoms. Printing was considered clandestine when produced and disseminated without any authorization by illegal organizations, and its contents aimed to hinder, during the years of the Resistance, the implementation of plans by the German occupiers.

There was no regular periodization, and even printing techniques were subject to circumstances and possibilities. Everything was always lacking: paper, cyclostyles, ink, and the production conditions were prohibitive. Printing was done in hiding, in farmhouses or basements, with constant fear of denunciations. A relatively large part of the printing, especially from military commands and the most important Committees of Liberation, was dedicated to information on the partisan war: this information was collected through a dense network of couriers – confirming the importance of women in the struggle for liberation, referred to as "silent resistance" – who brought more extensive reports to the centers, from which, often simply by cutting out the most significant passages, concise statements to be disseminated were derived.

Where non-violent resistance was involved, the work of illegal printing presses often emerged as one of the riskiest activities and also the highest level of opposition, fulfilling the tasks of counter-information, propaganda, and dissemination of alternative thinking. In many respects, it was the vehicle of hope, paving the way for expectations of a better world.

The liberation of Italy – the first step towards democracy – allowed, after decades of regime propaganda dissemination and censorship countered only by the clandestine press, the affirmation of the basic principles of information, which would later be enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

We recommend some excellent books on Italian partisans that tell, with words and images, the story of partisan warfare, the composition of guerrilla groups, the actions carried out in the mountains and hills, the sabotage, and the struggles in the cities during the Italian liberation war.

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