Anti-aircraft construction, bombing and public spirit: Catania 1940-1943

Journal title STORIA URBANA
Author/s Lorenzo Aiello
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2022/171 Language Italian
Pages 20 P. 107-126 File size 114 KB
DOI 10.3280/SU2022-171005
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The essay investigates a hitherto unexplored local study: the functioning of the anti-aircraft protection apparatus in Catania during the Second World War. The article is based on original research, conducted on unpublished sources, preserved at the State Archive of Catania, the Central State Archive, the National Central Library of Florence and the Museo dello Sbarco in Catania. The focus is not on active defence, or anti-aircraft artillery, but on passive defence, which includes all the means used to protect people and things. After a brief account of the measures taken in the city, the study analyses the main passive defence tool: anti-aircraft construction. The galaxy of anti-aircraft shelters ranged from large public shelters to smaller home shelters, passing through school shelters. The state of the shelters is documented at the beginning and at the end of hostilities, analysing the poor level of adequacy. The anti-aircraft shelters were the symbol of the new city’s everyday life, caught in between the constant air threat and the increasing material deprivations. The perspective of civilians on war, in particular on the air offensive, revealed by reports of war censorship and police headquarters. From these documents emerges the trend of public morale and, above all, the progressive detachment that the Allied bombings produced between regime and citizens.

Keywords: Catania, Anti-Aircraft Housing, Air-Raid Shelters, Bombing, Public Spirit.

Lorenzo Aiello, Edilizia antiaerea, bombardamenti e spirito pubblico: Catania 1940-1943 in "STORIA URBANA " 171/2022, pp 107-126, DOI: 10.3280/SU2022-171005