Radio Milano-Libertà

  (Redirected from Radio Milano)

Radio Milano-Libertà, also referred to as Radio Milano Libertà or simply Radio Milano, was an Italian-language communist radio station, established in Moscow in 1937, which, during the Second World War, broadcast propaganda to Italy in support of the Italian resistance movement.

Palmiro Togliatti, General-Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, broadcast from and directed Radio Milano-Libertà during WWII


Radio Milano-Libertà was among a number of Soviet radio stations created prior to and during the Second World War to broadcast communist propaganda to other countries in local languages.[1] They operated from a wing of the headquarters of the Comintern, the Soviet propaganda organisation based in Moscow.[2] Radio Milano-Libertà began broadcasting in 1937 and was operated by Italian expatriates living in the Soviet Union and who were refugees from Mussolini's fascist regime.[1]

Second World WarEdit

In June 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and Stalin adopted the objective of creating a broad anti-fascist alliance across Europe.[3] Palmiro Togliatti, who was General-Secretary of the Italian Communist Party and had been in exile in the Soviet Union,[4] was given responsibility for the Italian radio stations, including Radio Milano-Libertà, in early summer 1941.[2] Adopting the pseudonym of Mario Correnti, Togliatti used the station to broadcast his own impassioned speeches to listeners in Italy encouraging them to rise up and overthrow Mussolini and the fascists.[3]

Although the station was broadcasting from Moscow, it adopted, what was at the time, the innovative strategy of pretending it was operating from Italy. The purpose was to give the impression that the resistance movement within the country was substantial and well organised. In fact, at that stage of the war, the opposite was the case. Although the audience may have been limited in numbers, there is evidence that the illusion was believed. For example, Vatican Radio was forced to declare that it was the only radio station that truly had authority to represent Italian Catholics.[5] Another innovation was that it began presenting itself not as a communist station but as a platform for all Italians across the political spectrum opposed to "fascist tyranny and German vassalage". This formed part of the strategy to create a broad anti-fascist alliance. The broadcasts were re-oriented to popular nationalist themes such as the Risorgimento, Garibaldi, the history of ancient Rome and the nationalist poetry of Leopardi and Carducci.[5] These were interspersed with crude personal insults directed at Mussolini and the fascist gerarchi.[6]

Following the Allied invasion of Italy and subsequent armistice, the fascists retreated to the centre and north of the country to establish the Italian Social Republic, a German puppet state. From September 1943, the resistance movement became more of a reality.[7][8] In a broadcast on Radio Milano-Libertà on 30 October 1943, Togliatti declared:

in the north and centre we must move to mass organised war against the Germans...the expulsion of the invader requires a struggle on our part organised in a particular way...It is the duty of the anti-fascists to undertake the creation everywhere of an organisation and a direction that allows us to move from more or less isolated acts or groups, to the real war of large units of partisans against the invader[9]

The struggle between the partisans and the fascists intensified into the bitter conflict now referred to as the Italian civil war.[8] Radio Milano-Libertà's part in this was to incite the killing of fascist officials and supporters, to disseminate information on where specific fascists lived, how they could be identified and tracked down and to issue intimidating warnings to them. The objective was, in part, to impact the morale of the fascists and to give them the sense of being hunted.[10]

As the Allies succeeded in pushing back the fascists and their German allies, the broadcasts moved from Moscow to Italy with Togliatti returning in April 1944.[11] On the 28 April 1945, with the final defeat of the Germans and the fascists imminent, Sandro Pertini, the Socialist partisan leader in northern Italy, broadcasting from Milan, announced on Radio Milano-Libertà:

...the head of this association of delinquents, Mussolini, while yellow with rancour and fear and trying to cross the Swiss frontier, has been arrested. He must be handed over to a tribunal of the people so it can judge him quickly. We want this, even though we think an execution platoon is too much of an honour for this man. He would deserve to be killed like a mangy dog.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Kennedy 2007, p. 805.
  2. ^ a b Romitelli 2012, p. 41.
  3. ^ a b Wilsford 1995, p. 460.
  4. ^ Wilsford 1995, p. 456-460.
  5. ^ a b Romitelli 2012, p. 42.
  6. ^ Romitelli 2012, pp. 42–43.
  7. ^ Quartermaine 2000, pp. 14, 21.
  8. ^ a b Payne 1996, p. 413.
  9. ^ Togliatti 1974, pp. 389–391.
  10. ^ Pavone 1991, p. 501.
  11. ^ Romitelli 2012, p. 43.
  12. ^ Moseley 2004, p. 282.


  • Kennedy, David M., ed. (2007). The Library of Congress World War II Companion. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-5306-9.