Conflict and Creation: The Futurist Paradigm

Diego Lazzarich

With the beginning of the twentieth century, Europe saw a moment of great political, economic and social stability. That period was dominated by a liberal discourse based on two main principles: the abolition of war and the need for the States to establish commercial relations in order to reduce conflict. This climate was interrupted by the birth of a new antagonistic discourse that took shape in Italy, attacking the idea of peace as a positive value and promoting hate and conflict as means to destroy the vices and weariness that, according to the intellectuals supporting this idea, characterized the new continent. The seeds of this new political and intellectual wave were sewn by the Futurist movement, starting with the publication, in 1909, of its Manifesto, which clearly stated that conflict was to be used as a means for the creation of a new artistic, social and political project. Conflict would serve to lead to a revolution of the consciousness that could erase the border between life and art. The firm conviction that only through a destructive conflict could there be the possibility of renewal for the existing world was made explicit by the apology of war that Futurism strenuously promoted: war as the only hygiene of the world. This movement allowed for the spread, inEurope, of a counter-discourse that was able to influence the public opinion in the direction of the unforeseen total mobilization of World War I.

With the beginning of the twentieth century a general sense of restlessness towards the European social, individual, economic and political life began to spread in the continent. This wind of change emerged unexpectedly, especially considering the apparent levels of freedom, progress, economic development, wealth and stability that characterized Europeat the dawn of the twentieth century, along with a solidity in the international relations among European States.[1]

Europe seemed to embody the accomplishment of the spiritual process of freedom, in accordance with the Hegelian philosophy of history, in which the Old Continent appeared to be “the absolute end of history, just as Asia is the beginning”.[2] The end of history was to be understood, in this view, as the completion of a secular political-philosophical process that would lead, through the affirmation of Western civilization, to a final worldwide stability and pacification of all people.

These are the years of what is referred to as the Belle époque, characterized [...] by the belief in progress, in the superiority of European civilization and its consequent right to colonize the people of other continents.[3]

The righteousness of the dominant European philosophical thought seemed also to find confirmation in the state of peace that, starting with the end of the French-Prussian conflict in 1871, pervaded the continent, and with the emergence of the progressive project characteristic of the oncoming century and the pursuit of the so-called path of Civilization. A period of international stability was consolidated in those years, contributing to the constitution of a new dimension not only of inter-State relations, but also - with subsequent larger consequences - of existential interactions, re-aligning lives and relations along the basic principle of peace.

On the philosophical-political level, the universalistic ideas of the Enlightenment become widespread, indicating “war not as part of the natural order or a necessary instrument of state power, but as a foolish anachronism, perpetuated only by those who enjoyed or profited by it”.[4] Within this philosophical framework, Kant’s philosophy acquired increasing authority. Deviating from the ideas of the philosophes, according to which “men were naturally good but had been corrupted by institutions”[5], Kant had elaborated a philosophical project that aimed at overcoming the particularities of the State. The concept of war as crime stems from this idea, according to which war should be banned from political life within a vision completely based on the concept of the universality of reason. To this end, Kant had developed a twofold project, working both internally and externally to the State. Internally, the project saw the adoption of a republican constitution: a contract that would guarantee equality, freedom, legality and informed citizenship;[6] externally, it would entail relinquishing a part of sovereignty in order to allow for a free federation of States and, ideally, of peoples.[7]

Kant’s philosophical-political vision had contributed to the spread, in Europe, of liberal thought, which had already developed in various cultural and political strata in the continent. On the economic level, the idea that the States should orient their choices in accordance with Montesquieu’s notion of doux commerce was increasingly spreading;[8] on the level of economic politics, John Stuart Mill had by that time oriented also economic liberalism towards a stronger defense of workers, trying to limit the conflict between labor and capital that had been sparked with the introduction of the masses into the production system;[9] finally on the juridical level, the doctrine of the Rechtsstaat (Rule of Law) and of subjective public rights, and, on the institutional level, the liberal political project both assigned a larger weight to the representative bodies.[10]

In such a climate, Western civilization appeared to be the best possible world, able not only to affirm its domination and superiority over the entire world but also to increasingly reduce the spaces of internal conflict, with a drastic decrease in wars and better living conditions for the masses. In this general marginalization of conflict, the highest and most destructive form of conflict itself – war – appeared to many as an inconceivable residue of that pre-modern irrationality that found no room in progressive, twentieth-century Europe. Indeed, in line with this theorization, in 1909, Norman Angell published The Great Illusion, which became a best seller, and a manifesto of the dominating optimism of the time, generating widespread and intense debates and commentary.[11] Responding to some supporters of war that had begun to voice their ideas from different parts of Europe, Angell maintained that the wealth and prosperity stemming from economic development made the outbreak of war impossible and that peace and serene collaboration among different populations had become the ineluctable fate of humanity.

Angell warned that the idea that an industrialized country could find benefit in war was only a great illusion, masterfully synthesizing the philosophical-political framework in which the positivistic thought of the period was inscribed. The British writer worked within the fundamental assumption of the time, namely that men are moved by an economic rationality, aimed chiefly at calculating the relation between cost and benefit in every action, making it therefore impossible to become involved in a war that would only bring to waste the moral and material resources that had so laboriously been accumulated. Within the same rational-economic perspective, Angell affirmed that every advantage obtained thanks to a conflict was largely inferior to the price paid for war.

The different aspects of the political and cultural picture so far discussed show that at the beginning of the twentieth century an actual liberal discourse was gaining ground in Europe, dominating the public sphere with the assumption that peace was the necessary condition to spread the benefits of liberal politics.

The Re-discovery of conflict


Angell was, however, responding to actual voices supporting the idea of war. Whose voices were they? Who was contesting the early twentieth century European civilization model and its stability? The first attacks on the discourse that dominated Europe during that period come fromItaly, with a radical critique to the cultural, political, economic and social model that had developed in the country in particular during the years of Giolitti. The initial phase of such attack appeared in art and literary magazine Lacerba.[12] In one of its first numbers, founding editor Prezzolini stated that the magazine had been created by a number of people with a common sense of “true hate”:

Positivism, erudition, realist art, historical methodology, materialism, bourgeois and collectivist varieties of democracy – all this stench of phenol, grease and smoke, popular sweat, the grating of machines, this commercial business, this noise of réclame – are all things that are interconnected not only rationally, but also through a sentimental bond, that would make us hold them in disdain if they were far from us, and instead makes us hate them because they are close by.[13]

In Prezzolini's chaotic attack, we can detect Nitzschean, Bergsonian or even neo-idealist echoes, but actually what is more evident is the agonistic tension: the desire to give voice to a counter-discourse. In Europe there already was, of course, strong criticism against the liberal model on the part of the communist and anarchist movements, however, while their political project clearly underlined the instrumental role of conflict, Prezzolini's words focused solely the contours of conflict in itself, hate as a means to spark a conflict aimed at the destruction of the existing world: conflict with no project. This discourse produced a tear in the bourgeois public sphere and laid the foundations for a counter-discourse centered upon new values, in opposition to those dominating up to that point.

The full ripening of those first traces took place fully and finally only a few years later, through the Futurist movement. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti officially gave birth to the literary, artistic and political movement in 1909 with a Manifesto published first in Italian in Bologna'sGazzetta dell'Emilia on 5 February and, on 20 February, in French in Le Figaro, immediately attracting international attention on the new message that the movement proposed. Falling in the antagonistic strand of theoretical values, the Manifesto recuperated the concept of conflict as positive value, also using the positive suggestions coming from George Sorel's popular essayRéflexions sur la violence, that had sparked much debate on violence as a central means for political struggle.[14] All of Marinetti's work would later revolve predominantly around this point, writing his poetics into a semantic field of violence and conflict, and clearly marking the difference with the discourses that were integral, instead, to the dominant discourse of the time. Everything that was part of the existing order was put under attack: peace, stability, academies and libraries.[15]

The quest for conflict in every field also turned into a personal and artistic attitude that often actually clashed with the audience of the Futurists' performances, during which the intellectuals/artists violently provoked the public. The audience's aggressiveness was aroused with methods spanning from irritating powder to political attacks. The inclination to violent political controversy even brought diplomatic trouble to Italy in relation to Austria and the House of Habsburg.[16]

Creative Violence


In connection to philosophical irrationalism and pushing the fin de siècle confusion between art and life to its extremes, Futurism brought forth a vitalistic and activist attitude that was meant to revolutionize every artistic and cultural dominion, as well as the sphere of politics itself.

In an evolution of the ideas initially proposed in Lacerba, conflict now clearly became a means to create a new world, peopled by new men who, in order to embrace this new phase, would have to open to a new, vitalistic dimension of existence. The view of conflict proposed in the Futurist Manifesto indeed aimed at revolution, but a revolution in consciousness more than in politics. While the communist counter-discourse spoke to the proletariat (a collective subject in which individualities are lost); the Futurist counter-discourse spoke to individuals, using a “we” that was actually made of irreducible individualities. In fact, the Manifesto opens with the following words: “We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.”[17] The second point reads: “The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.”[18] Here Marinetti produces a message that would turn out to be fundamentally influential for the culture of the time, specifically in the transformation of certain moral aspects such as courage, audacity and rebellion into poetic and artistic acts. In Point Three the Manifesto states:

Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist.[19]

The turn to violence is the necessary step for a new art that increasingly blurs its borderline with life. The acts of every man can become art if they are carried out with courage, audacity and rebellion. Being “the man at the wheel” can itself become an artistic act.[20]Point Seven reads:

Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.[21]

It seems clear that the message of the Manifesto is addressed at the individual in order to shake off his numbness through a personal and violent movement, the only movement capable of opening up a conflictual dimension through which the status quo can be destroyed and space for a new world can be made.

The conclusion of the Manifesto thus declares:

We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt; the multi-colored and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals: the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of airplanes whose propeller sounds like the flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds.[22]


Here, the supreme intent of Futurism is declared; to liberate man from the limits of the modern world, to open him up to a new dimension and guide him into a future that, according to the time's progressive and evolutionary logic, cannot but be a better one.

The Apology of War


In the Manifesto, the constant reference to conflict reaches its peak in Point Nine:

We want to glorify war — the only cure for the world — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.”[23]

These words resonate with the echo of Hegel's assertion that war has a beneficial effect because it reinvigorates the ethics of the people.[24] The apology of war became one of the inevitable points of arrival of a counter-discourse completely addressed at the magnification of conflict. The celebration of war also became one of the distinctive traits of avant-guard culture, in particular within the irrationalistic current that, thanks to the fervent activism of figures such as Marinetti and Papini, came to strongly influence the formation of an actual culture of war.  This process contributed to the birth of a specific aesthetics of conflict – extremely influential on the narration of modern conflict – thanks also to the highly experimental expressions that characterized the irrationalist movement.[25] Within the avant-guard, Futurism represented the most innovative movement, with its subversive charge (subversive of both aesthetic canons and traditional values) that expressed the drive for change closely connected to the rising intolerance towards the bourgeoisie. Such intolerance circulated, at the beginning of the twentieth century, especially among the European youth (and indeed Futurism was mainly a “young” movement). As Jellamo underlines:

Futurism included the drive towards a subversion of reality, an elitist vocation, the search for absoluteness, the celebration of strength as power, an anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian drive, the search for a new existential model and a new political order.[26]

Futurism metabolized the thrust for change and the spirit of revolt in the face of “bourgeois thought” and re-elaborated it, mixing it with a magnification of war that came thus to be identified as the only real instrument that could bring about change, thanks to its destructive force able to completely reset the world in order to finally re-design it.[27]

These were, evidently, the voices Angell was responding to when he affirmed the validity of the dominant discourse, and his thought represents, in turn, the exact theoretical structure that the new vision of war was preparing to dismantle. As Giovanni Amendola observed in the magazine La Voce in 1911, the author of The Great Illusion seemed to overlook the fact that the motivations that bring to war are not ascribable to a simple economic calculation: there are other reasons that lay outside the rational sphere and dismantle any architecture of calculation and cohabitation[28]. War opens the doors to a different dimension, a new universe in which the laws regulating everyday life are subverted and new ones are instituted.

With Futurism, the theme of war found a fertile ground in Italy in the early twentieth century. In artistic and literary magazines such as above mentioned Lacerba and La Voce, along with Regno and others, the debate on war took shape and became very vital – with rather strong controversies among those embracing diverse perspectives on war itself – contributing to the development and spread of the above-mentioned culture of war.[29]

The 1911-12 Italian War in Libya was, in fact, welcomed by the public opinion, that had been influenced by the Futurist discourse. That war saw the beginning of the spread of a narration of war in which the explosion of vital impulses were associated with conflict, which in turn was considered as the manifestation of a hidden force constantly kept latent in worldly life.[30] Thus, war started to be seen as an instrument of national power and wealth, and an expression of traditional values of solidarity, sacrifice and abnegation. Basically, war was transformed into the key to a new order, since – as Papini wrote – “only when every faith will have been destroyed a new culture will be born; only when disorder becomes perfect, then the new order, the new equilibrium will take shape”.[31]

When Italy officially entered World War I in 1915, Futurism finally had the chance to claim the accomplishment of its vision. As Calvesi writes, Italy was at war as a consequence, also, of the pressure the Futurists exercised and this appeared to embody the convergence between art and life and bare testimony to the efficacy and urgency of an aesthetic action that extended from museums to public squares. Tying the so far only hypothesized link between actions and language, the success of the Futurists in relation to World War I functioned as an incentive for a further elaboration, on a wider scale, of linguistic structures, and made the horizon of its possible applications broader.[32]

With Futurism, war falls fully into a semantics of saviourism; this feature does not change after the actual start of the war. Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of Marinetti's apology of war is that it remains consistent with its original traits even with the start of the war; he uses the same themes and images, contributing to the transformation of war into the first grand political and intellectual discourse of the turn of the century. As Angelo D'Orsi suggests, with the Futurist Manifesto, war in Italy starts to run along a path that makes it not only a means of politics, but also “good” for politics.[33]

Even with the onset of the conflict and its deadly consequences, war continued to be considered “the world's only hygiene”: a cleansing moment that leaves individuals freer to give way to their deepest and most archaic instincts.[34] If the bourgeois world cages individuals with social constraints made up of fear and cohabitation, war can, with its violent charge, reawaken the vital instincts that find nourishment in the very blood circulating in the human bodies at war, leading, within this aesthetics, to a form of erotic fascination with violence itself. This sensual and seducing quality of war finds its foremost expression in Marinetti's texts, with an actual eroticization of the national sentiment.[35] Along with the declamatory and idealizing tones, we find the “muscular and emotional adherence to war as an exuberant form of gymnastics, a ludic and agonistic space-time, a sports match […], a vital rush, […] the proof of existence: war for the sake of war.”[36]

War is thus transformed into a hymn to life, because it is “power of youth, heroism, rush, resistance […] violence of bloody instincts.”[37] Here, war goes from being a feared and fearful event to one welcomed and sought after: “We shall go to war dancing and singing.”[38]

Along with Marinetti, in Italy other authors trace the outlines of these new visions of war. Many intellectuals produce texts on this theme, but Papini is definitely one of the most important contributors to the Italian debate, defining conflict as a necessary event. “We needed, in the end, a warm bath of dark blood after so many humid and tepid washes in maternal milk and brotherly tears”. War, “justifying and consoling hate,” is the real adventure that deserves to be experienced with virile passion and love.[39]

Papini's words also resonate with a positive vision of war, according to which conflict strengthens souls and bodies and re-writes them following a script otherwise untraceable elsewhere. “Let us love war and taste its wonders while it lasts.”[40] A sensual dimension of conflict is inscribed in these words; like a succulent dish, it must be tasted and devoured vehemently, not only because of its amazing taste, but also due to its fickle character.

Marinetti and Papini's philosophy of war was corroborated by an image of war as “explosion of the deepest and most vital impulses, a return to an original Nature, a humanity that is measured upon the eternal borderline of struggle”. From this perspective, the history of humanity can only be read as a history of struggle and conquest: “struggle for life, for progress, for civilization”. What is more important, however, is that the natural dimension of struggle becomes a “naturalness of war.”[41]

A political landscape accompanies the sensual characterization of conflict; in this new landscape, war serves to create a new elite, a “new aristocracy” that would chase away the specters of socialism that were threatening the bourgeoisie, proposing a theme that was common also to the German ideology of war. A further common theme, in this sense, was the anti-democratic one that developed alongside the twentieth century philosophy of war:

While the low democrats scream against war as a barbarian advancement of ferocious pasts, we see it as the supreme re-awakener of the weakened, as a fast and heroic means to obtain power and richness.[42]

In Papini, as in Marinetti, the magnification of war started before 1914, and already then, alongside his apologetic tones[43], we find the more political view that depicted war as a means to reach a better place or, to follow malthusian suggestions, a means for demographic control, since “in order to decrease the number of these detrimental mouths anything is good: eruptions, earthquakes, plagues. And since, as such, these fortunes are rare and not enough, we welcome general and collective killing.”[44]

War appeared as the accomplishment of a discourse on war that developed transversally in society and bestowed power and legitimation upon every person it touched and every category that resonated with it. Driven by such cultural vigor, war began to assume an actual centrality in the categorial architecture of twentieth century political thought and culture.

Soon the Futurist idea of conflict spread over to other countries. In England, for example, a group of Futurists artists and intellectuals was formed. They, too, were “seduced” by the concept of war not only by virtue of the “promise of visibility”, that conflict appeared to offer to different members of the social body, but also by the idea that violence should become a means to reach such ends. In an issue of the magazine Blast, published in 1914, the “enthusiastic adhesion to conflict” was transformed into “the focus of its very aesthetic program”. The promotion of war started thus to turn into the pursuit of yet another “violent aggression”: that on “common sense”. The armed confrontation against the armies of the Axis powers transformed war into a providential event which would serve to purify and save the idea of homeland from the waste of the bourgeoisie, from the “romantic and rural stereotypes and [...] free the artist, finally, so that he can fully achieve his individuality from social obligations.”[45]

The Futurist influence on the European intellectuals and public opinion contributed to the production of a discourse that became very potent. Obviously, that discourse is not itself directly responsible for the outbreak of World War I, but it is definitely connected to the extraordinary total mobilization that the event generated.[46] The continuous celebration of conflict contributed to the birth of the myth of war that brought millions of men to participate in war itself, hoping to change the world and to give a new sense to their lives.[47]

The antagonistic and war-exalting discourse was so deeply embedded in that moment of European and Western culture that, even after millions of people had died in the Great War, Mussolini still drew inspiration from its lexicon and semantics, sewing the seed of a new and tragic phase of European and world history.[48] This tragic trail cannot but serve as a warning for all succeeding generations: that the rhetoric of conflict is a powerful weapon the range of which is always very difficult to calculate.



[1] Angelo Ventrone, Piccola storia della Grande Guerra, Roma: Donzelli, 2005, p. 3.

[2] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History: introduction, reason in history (translated from the German edition of Johannes Hoffmeister from Hegel papers assembled by H. B. Nisbet), New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1975 (or. ed.1837), p. 97.

[3] Gianni Vattimo, Tecnica ed esistenza, Milano: Bruno Mondatori, 2002, p. 1.

[4] Michael Howard, The Invention of Peace & Reinvention of War, London: Profile Books, 2001, p. 26.

[5] Ibid., p. 30.

[6] Immanuel Kant, Zum ewigen Frieden, Königsberg: Friedrich Nicolovius, 1795.

[7] Ibid., Section II, article II.

[8] Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois, Geneve: Barrillot & fils, 1748, book XX, chapter 2.

[9] John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, London: Parker, 1848. See also: Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse, Liberalism, New York: H. Holt and company, 1911.

[10] Georg Jellinek, System der subjektiven öffentlichen Rechte, Freiburg: Mohr, 1892.

[11] Norman Angell, The Great Illusion: A Study of the relation of Military Power to National Advantage, London: William Heinemann, 1909.

[12] The magazine was published from January 1903 to August 1907.

[13] Giovanni Prezzolini, “Alle sorgenti dello spirito”, Leonardo, 3, 1903, in Delia Frigessi (ed.), La cultura italiana del Novecento attraverso le riviste: «Leonardo», «Hermes», «Il Regno», vol. I,Torino: Einaudi, 1960, p. 14.

[14] Georges Sorel, Réflexions sur la violence, Paris: Marcel Rivière et Cie, 1908.

[15] These cultural institutions are explicitly condemned in Point Ten of the Manifesto.

[16] Pär Bergman, “Futurismo”, Enciclopedia del Novecento, Treccani, Roma, 1978.

[17] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Manifesti del futurismo, Firenze: Edizioni di “Lacerca”, 1914, p. 6.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Point 5 of the Manifesto, ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid, p. 7.

[23] Ibid, p. 6.

[24] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, Berlin: Nicolai, 1821, § 323.

[25] On the irrational character of futurism see: Salvatore Cingari - Marco Di Cosimo, “Irrazionalismo e politica in Marinetti e nell’avanguardia futurista”, Protocols, Bezalel, History and Theory, Issue 19, 2011 available at:

[26] Anna Jellamo, “Una nuova filosofia della guerra”, Parole chiave, 20/21, 1999, p. 78.

[27] Diego Lazzarich, Guerra e pensiero politico. Percorsi novecenteschi, Napoli: Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, 2009, p. 37.

[28] Giovanni Amendola, “La grande illusione”, La Voce, 9, 1911.

[29] On the common cultural grounds of these journals, see Norberto Bobbio, Profilo ideologico del Novecento, Milano: Garzanti, 1990, cap. 3. For further analysis see Delia Frigessi (ed.),1960; Gianni Scalia (ed.), La cultura italiana del Novecento attraverso le riviste: «Lacerba», «La Voce» (1914-16), vol. IV, Torino: Einaudi, 1961.

[30] For an analysis of the role of intellectuals in the war in Libya see Angelo D'Orsi, I chierici alla guerra. La seduzione bellica sugli intellettuali da Adua a Baghdad, Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 2005.

[31] Giovanni Papini, La necessità della rivoluzione (first ed. 1913), in id., L'esperienza futurista. 1913-1914, Firenze: Vallecchi, 1981, p. 98.

[32] Maurizio Calvesi, “Futurismo artistico”, Enciclopedia del Novecento, Treccani, Roma, 1978.

[33] Angelo D'orsi, 2005, p. 19.

[34] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Guerra sola igiene del mondo, Milano: Edizioni Futuriste di poesia, 1915, p. 9; Marinetti also writes: “Humanity is a mass of erotic and bloody instincts, overpowering and greedy, painfully caged in fear, society, cohabitation”. In Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Taccuini (1915-21), ed. by A. Bertoni, Bologna: il Mulino, 1987, p. 496.

[35] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, La battaglia di Tripoli: 26 ottobre 1911, Padova: Tip. Elzeviriana, 1912 and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, L'alcova d'acciaio, Milano: Vitagliano, 1921.

[36] Mario Isnenghi, Il mito della Grande Guerra: da Marinetti a Malaparte, Bari: Laterza, 1970, p. 23.

[37] Filppo Tommaso Marinetti, 1987, p. 496.

[38] Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, La battaglia di Tripoli, in id.,1915, p. 19.

[39] Giovanni Papini, “Amiamo la guerra”, Lacerba, 20, 1914, in Gianni Scalia (ed.), 1961, p. 331.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Anna Jellamo, 1999, p. 81.

[42] Giovanni Papini - Giuseppe Prezzolini, Vecchio e nuovo nazionalismo, Milano: Studio editoriale lombardo, 1914, p. 13.

[43] “The future, like the ancient Gods of the forests, needs blood on its path. It needs victims, massacres [War is not be despised, but rather must be welcomed in a natural way, because it makes us] what we are – namely superior to the offspring of monkeys [War is indispensable in order for civilization to progress] Conquest of lands and wealth – conquest of truth and freedom: victims, victims, victims. Absolutely necessary victims.” In Giovanni Papini, “La vita non è sacra”, Lacerba, 20, 1913, in Gianni Scalia (ed.), 1961, p. 207.

[44] Ibid., p. 208.

[45] Alessandra Marzola, Guerra e identità. Percorsi della letteratura inglese nel Novecento, Roma: Carocci, 2005, p. 30.

[46] On the “total mobilization” of the World War I see: Ernst Jünger, Die Totale Mobilmachung, Berlin: Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1930.

[47] On the Myth of the Great War see: George L. Mosse, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

[48] See Emilio Gentile, Le origini dell'ideologia fascista (1918-1925), Bari: Laterza, 1975, pp. 191-194.

Diego Lazzarich, Ph.D., is lecturer in History of Political Thought at the Faculty of Political Science “Jean Monnet” of the Second University of Naples. His main research interests focus on the relation between war and political thought (including the war-communication relation); democracy theory; and the history of modern political thought in the Reign of Naples.

Conflict: Antagonism and Creation