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Allied EncountersThe Gendered Redemption of World War II Italy$
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Marisa Escolar

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823284504

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823284504.001.0001

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Redeeming Destination Italy

Redeeming Destination Italy

A Guide to the Occupation of Enemy Territory

(p.17) 1 Redeeming Destination Italy
Allied Encounters

Marisa Escolar

Fordham University Press

This chapter argues that the gendering of Italy as a “fallen” woman depends upon and breathes new life into a long-standing rhetorical tradition by reading U.S. military guidebooks that prepare soldiers for invasion, for the post-Armistice period, and for their Cold War friendship. Analyzing the Guide to Occupation of Enemy Territory—Italy (1943), I demonstrate how soldiers were instructed to negotiate their role as redeemers during the invasion of Sicily vis-à-vis their warnings against local prostitutes. Reading the prostitute as the guidebook’s paradigm for false, beautiful Italy, I show how redemption is positioned as a dialectic between Americanization and the restoration of “destination Italy,” an idealized site of tourism. Then, I use the postwar Pocket Guides to Italy, revised and republished periodically during the Cold War, to show how these contradictory goals play out and to what end.

Keywords:   Cold War, guidebooks, Italy, prostitute, redemption, Sicily, tourism, U.S. military, World War II

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