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World War II must be warning memory to Italy

By Marzia De Giuli (Xinhua)

18:55, May 10, 2013

ROME, May 9 (Xinhua) -- "History is the best early warning mechanism. Let us never forget what happened to our countries when nationalism and demagogy prevailed," Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said on Thursday.

Speaking at the State of the Union in Florence, an annual conference for high-level reflection on the European Union, Bonino said that to defend the European construction it is fundamental to rediscover its mission.

"Europe's founding fathers knew from their tragic experience that it was an illusion to ensure peace and security by building fortresses and walls. They chose integration, and rejected barriers," she said.

Bonino said that Europe needs to actively work to solve its problems of recession and populism in order to protect the level of democracy, prosperity and stability that it has achieved since the 1950s.

"If we adopt a new vision, engage our citizens and unite our governments, we could start a new phase of boosting growth and fostering democratic legitimacy and global influence," the foreign minister added.

Wednesday was the "Victory in Europe" Day to commemorate the 68th year of the end of the World War II, but young Italians have no sense of this anniversary, a history professor of La Sapienza University of Rome, Anna Maria Isastia, told Xinhua.

"Our duty is to make students realize that they cannot understand the present if they do not know history at least starting from the French Revolution," she said.

However, she pointed out, war is something that they see as very far both in time and space, which has nothing to do with them.

"In so many years of teaching experience I have never heard one of my students mentioning the possibility that a war could break out in Europe again," the professor noted.

Young Italians are too much used to a united Europe, to travelling and sharing the same currency across the eurozone, they cannot even imagine the reasons of a war, they even find it difficult to understand wars in other parts of the world, Isastia highlighted.

"In fact, we belong to a generation which has only heard about the war but does not know what it exactly means," a history adjunct assistant professor and historian, Alessandro Visani, said.

But actually, he told Xinhua, one of the reasons why there is long-lasting peace in Europe is awareness of the World War II's tragedy.

The World War II not only was unique for the Nazi concentration camps but also because it was the first war in the world to directly involve common people whose home cities were bombarded and destroyed, Visani noted.

It was a "total war" to be always remembered and hoped never repeated by the people who love peace all over the world, he said.

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