History of European Ideas 36 (3):324-329 (2010)

Alberto Castelli
University of Parma
In 1911, the prominent Italian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ernesto T. Moneta and, with him, a number of Italian “pacifists” actively supported the invasion of Libya by the Italian army. On the columns of “La Vita Internazionale”, journal edited by Moneta since 1898, Italian “pacifists” not only agreed that it was good and convenient for Italy to conquer a part of North Africa, but showed an enthusiasm they had never manifested before in support of pacifist initiatives. The question is why an ardent pacifist and wise intellectual, as Moneta was, renounced so easily his pacifist ideals to support a bloody war and a harsh repression of the Arab rebels, as the one which followed the defeat of the Turkish army. To answer this question, the essay analyzes the articles published by Moneta and other contributors on “La Vita Internazionale” and discusses them with regard to both the international political events occurred during the first decade of the 20th century and the dominant ideologies of the time . The essay concludes that Moneta's agreement with the colonialist war has been prepared and made possible by a number of pre-war ideological and political influences which had transformed his democratic and peace-oriented ideas of nation, people and state into nationalist and aggressive ones
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DOI 10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2010.05.002
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