Italian Social Policy for Mother and Child during the World War II (1943–1945)
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During the Second World War the fascism regime was called on to give concrete proof of the efficacy and efficiency levels of the welfare institutions they had created. This essay analyses one of those institutions: The National Agency for Maternity and Childhood [Opera nazionale per la protezione della maternità e dell’infanzia, ONMI] created in 1925. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, to analyse the birth of Fascist social policy aimed at mothers and children and its links with demographic policies and gender rules in fascist society. Second, to verify how social policies functioned during the occupation period in Italy. An analysis of ONMI activity, considering how it operated to meet the needs of mothers and children allows us to verify to what extent the regime’s propagandised welfare policies were realized and to what extent the Social Italian Republic (RSI) was really “social”. Moreover, the paper will compare the role played by the occupation forces (Anglo-American and Nazi troops) in the new organization during this dramatic, reconstructing ONMI activity in the North (RSI) and in the South (Kingdom of the South) of Italy.
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