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The Matteotti Battalion was an Italian anti-fascist exile group which fought with the Spanish Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. The group was named after Giacomo Matteotti, an Italian socialist leader killed by Mussolini's Fascists in 1924.

History

Following the attempted coup d'état by the Spanish army on 19 July 1936, Camillo Berneri with Gilioli Rivoluzio, Romagno Castagnoli and perhaps also Antonio Cieri, met at Berneri's home in exile, to plan the creation of an anarchist column to fight in Spain. This developed into a more ecumenical, non-communist unit organized by Berneri, Socialists Carlo Rosselli, Mario Angeloni, Umberto Calosso and the Spanish anarchist Diego Abad de Santillán.

This Italian column was officially constituted a month after the beginning of the fascist rising on 17 August.

Upon reaching Barcelona, the Italian volunteers were attached to the Ascaso Column Formation of the CNT-FAI anarchists. The Column Francisco Ascaso had been named in memory of an anarchist fighter killed on 20 July in Barcelona during the seizure of the Atarazanas barracks.

The first military formation of the Italians, a battalion of 150 volunteers, left Barcelona headed for the Aragon front the day of its formation and participated in the Battle of Monte Pelato. This first engagement assumed particular meaning because it was the first push on the Aragon front and because the republicans overcame a much larger and better trained and equipped force.

About 3500 [1] Italian expatriates fought on the anti-fascist side in the Spanish Civil War.

Sources


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