The article aims at reviewing the historical production on the Cold War in Italy (both research and teaching activities). Some preliminary remarks deal with the Italian university system and the role some historical disciplines, especially the history of international relations, play in such a context. In Italy, historical studies on the Cold War had their origins in the 1970s mainly as a consequence of both the availability of US records and of the interpretations developed by US revisionist historians. In an early stage, Italian historians' attention focused on Italy's involvement in the Cold War and US policy towards Italy; some interpretations were influenced by the domestic political debate that characterized the 1970s. During the 1980s, owing to the development of Cold War studies in other western European nations and of growing contacts between Italian scholars and foreign historians, Italian historians' attention focused, not only on the Italian case, but also on various aspects of the Cold War history that led to the analyses of wider topics and to extensive research in foreign archives. After the end of the Cold War, there have been relevant changes in the approaches to the study of the Cold War developed by Italian scholars. Some historians went on focusing their attention on wider Cold War themes following the opening of archives; others shifted their attention to topics related to other historical areas, such as the history of the European integration or the history of the international organizations, although the Cold War was regarded as a useful background. The most interesting and innovative results have been offered through more sophisticated and complex analyses and interpretations of Italy's role in the Cold War, that, however, mainly for linguistic reasons, have scant impact on Cold War historiography. Inspite of that, historical production on the Cold War seems to experience a positive season that is characterized by new research projects, some interesting contributions and a lively debate that involves historians from different backgrounds.
Cold War History