Approaches to understanding the inaugural CIA covert operation in Italy: Exploding useful myths

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The Italian election of April 1948 represented the first occasion on which the CIA intervened to influence events abroad. Understanding of the operation has been shaped by three dissimilar approaches that have been critical, celebratory, and stressed continuity. These approaches have, in turn, fuelled a series of useful myths around the episode. Agency declarations of greater ‘openness’ after the Cold War promised to advance historiographical debates on this – and other – interventions through the declassification of records, although proved a false dawn. This article offers an alternative method to analyse the case through a broader international frame of inquiry that considers CIA action in the context of both American and Italian efforts during the election. In so doing, it challenges the useful myths around 1948.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-268
Number of pages23
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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