The phenomenon of armed associations will firstly be studied from a national perspective. That should outline the national political framework which influenced the armed associations operating within a given country.Read more
The project will focus on pre-WWI armed movements as agents of political mobilisation and radicalisation and as experiences and patterns which should be taken into account to explain post-war paramilitary movements also in those countries that did not experience ethnic conflicts, defeat or civil wars. In this regard, the focus on associative aspects can be really beneficial to understand whether the presence of armed associations as agents of mobilisation could represent an obstacle or resource for the emergence of authoritarian regimes.
These approaches allow us to analyse important issues like the nationalisation process before the Great War, support of the War itself and also the origin of paramilitary movements in its aftermath, and mainly in Western Europe, which was not affected by the ethnic and geopolitical turmoil that characterised Eastern and Central Europe.
If political violence and armed associations were widespread also in neutral (Spain) or even victorious countries (Italy, Portugal), explanations and interpretative models based on the idea of First World War as the main cause for the emergence of paramilitary groups need to be amended and integrated.