Well, Operation Gladio
is a neglected component of the Cold War - neglected even though Cold War studies are obsessed with the struggle for Europe. The term itself embraces an array of different anti-communist repressive strategies deployed throughout Europe, using 'stay-behind' armies to thwart leftist upsurge wherever necessary. Revelations, well after the fact, are gradually emerging about the extent of secret operations conducted by European states against the Left, not always under the rubric of NATO. Recently, Paddy Woolworth produced a detailed history of Spanish state terrorism following the overthrow of fascism in that country - essentially a story of key structures of the fascist state persisting under the constitutional monarchy to orchestrate terrorist attacks that were attributed to ETA while at the same time conducting horrendous repression against the Basque revolutionaries. The revelation that Britain considered promoting an anti-communist coup in Italy to help thwart the Left is, as Philip Willan
points out, unsurprising in this light. It was, after all, a fairly commonplace idea among the ruling elites that popular participation in political life should be restricted to choosing between an exceptionally narrow range of political forces, especially during the raging years of the 1970s. One small irony, of course, is that it was the same Labour government that elements in the security services and British ruling class had considered a coup against that were considering the overthrow of the centrist government in Italy.
Labels: cold war, communism, operation gladio, socialism, terrorism