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Photo credit: © L’Osservatore Romano

By Fr. George W. Rutler, Crisis Magazine, September 23, 2019

Fr. George W. Rutler

The cracks in the Axis powers became clear when the Armistice of Cassibile was announced on September 8, 1943, after the Italian government broke with the Nazis and joined the Western Allies. The National Socialists under the codename Unternehmen Alarich tried to take over the Italian zones of occupation in southern France and the Balkans before disarming the army of Italy itself, but they were foiled. Like the people they led, Hitler and Mussolini were birds of very different feathers, and their marriage of convenience was bound to fail. As languages reveal the psychology of the people who speak them, German and Italian are almost drolly unlike. For instance, German has many words for “invade,” such as überfalleneinfallen, and einmarschieren, while Italian for the most part simply has invadere, used more often than not in the passive tense.

What the German language may lack in mellifluousness (although Lieder have their beguilements) it makes up in its brilliant precision.  If words are inadequate, it just makes up new ones by cobbling old ones together. While German may be superior for expressing thought, the elegant art of the Italian language lies in its ability to articulate vacuity. Or, more precisely, it employs melodic vowels to give the occasional impression of thought when there is none. Here, of course, the ghosts of Dante and Petrarch may stir to haunt me, but they were derivative of the Latin school. It is a long and downward spiral from Cicero to Il Duce. ….