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Luiss Guido Carli

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Luiss Open: 70 years of NATO

Professor Andrea Ungari talks about Italy's role in the intergovernmental military alliance


Founded on April 4, 1949, NATO turns 70 this year. For Italy, signing the treaty was, above all, a diplomatic-military decision, that had been indicated by the April 18, 1948 election.

Organized by the Italian Army and the University of Padua's Department of Political, Legal and International Sciences, the international conference Italy and NATO: a Historic Analysis gave experts the opportunity to weigh in on the complexity of the treaty and consequences of the decision. The conference was held in the archive of Palazzo Bo and the Museum of the Italian Third Army and welcomed the participation of professors, diplomats from the era and representatives or the armed forces.

After making the choice to join, with the weight of the lost war and harsh clauses of the Peace Treaty still heavy, Italy became a part of the Alliance, taking on an increasingly important role that allowed the country, on one hand, to quickly rearm its Armed Forces, and, on the other, to participate in the defense of the south side of the alliance and in the Cold War that developed between the late 1970s and the early 1980s.

The installation of Pershing 2 in Cosimo in response to the Soviet nuclear deployment was one ofItaly's most important contributions in the Alliance, leading to large peace protests led by the Italian Communist Party. However, this role of Italy in NATO was not only of political and military importance. If we think, in fact, of the role played in the eastward enlargement of the Alliance after 1989, we can say that Italy played a diplomatic role in the Atlantic Alliance, albeit with slightly less power.

Although not well publicized, Italy also played a significant role in the fields of scientific research and industrial cooperation. In the first, Italy was one of the first promoters of scientific cooperation programs launched in 1957, aiming to promote research and studies related to NATO defense. This research frequently had effects on civilian life as well, for example, studies on radars and oceans, to which Italy gave large financial contributions.

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