New Order

Formed1953
Disbanded1978
First AttackAugust 8, 1969: New Order staged simultaneous explosions on about ten trains and stations. (Casualties unknown) [1]
Last AttackFebruary 12, 1978: New Order members detonated an explosive device outside the headquarters of a left-wing extraparliamentary organization in Rovigo, Northwest Italy. (0 killed, 1 wounded) [2]
UpdatedJune 20, 2012

Narrative Summary

New Order (ON) was the first major terrorist group to emerge in Italy after World War II. The group sought to overthrow Italian democracy and reinstate the fascist dictatorship that had ruled Italy under Mussolini prior to the war. It included former members of Mussolini's armed forces. [3] The group was a militant offshoot of the right-wing Italian Social Movement (MSI) parliamentary party, which later spawned other neo-fascist terrorist groups.

New Order was one of two main neo-fascist groups operating in Italy prior to the 1970s; National Vanguard was the other. [4] These "first-generation" right-wing groups were notable for indiscriminate bombing attacks against civilians, as opposed to the more targeted killings characteristic of the left wing terrorist groups that emerged in the late 1960s. Later right-wing groups were more likely to imitate left-wing tactics, like targeted assassinations. [5]

New Order and other right-wing terrorist groups benefited from state non-interference. Although New Order's goals violated Italian law by attempting to reconstitute the fascist party, the group operated relatively freely for nearly two decades and New Order members were seldom prosecuted for attacks prior to the mid-1970s.  The Italian government more often prosecuted members of the left-wing. Most famously, the Italian government initially arrested anarchists and communists for a 1968 bombing that was later attributed to New Order or its sympathizers with possible help from Italian secret services. However, New Order was eventually banned in the mid-1970s. [6]

It continued to stage attacks after it was banned, but much of the organization merged with other right-wing organizations into the group Black Order. [7] Black Order, in turn, became one of the dominant right-wing groups of the "second generation" of Italian right-wing terrorists in the mid- to late-1970s.

Leadership

New Order's early leaders were former members of Mussolini's armed forces who had become disillusioned with the Italian Social Movement (MSI),  the main right-wing  political party in Italy. [8]

  1. Giuseppe "Pino" Rauti (1953 to 1969): Rauti was one of two cofounders and an ideological leader of New Order. He had been a member of the parliament for MSI, and formed New Order with fellow dissident members of the party, advocating the overthrow of parliament. He left New Order with several others in 1969 to rejoin MSI when new, more militant leaders took over the party.[9]
  2. Clemente "Lello" Graziani (1953 to 1973): Graziani was a cofounder and militant leader of New Order.[10]

Ideology & Goals

New Order and other right-wing Italian terrorist groups embraced fascism, anti-Semitism, anti-Communism, and the idea of a racially pure and unified European state. [11]

The organization sought the reinstatement of a fascist dictatorship in Italy. Early on it tried to achieve this by fomenting violence that would prompt a state crackdown and the imposition of martial law. [12] The group later decided against this strategy, and after the mid-1970s, ON's successor groups settled on the broader goal of disrupting the Italian state, a strategy left-wing groups also embraced. [13]

Size Estimates

External Influences

New Order and other right-wing groups had many international contacts in Europe, the United States, Africa, and Latin America. These contacts often took the form of ideological alignment, collaboration, or training with other subversive groups. Less often, state secret services provided support and training.

New Order and other Italian right-wing groups were ideologically sympathetic to Germany's Nazis. The new fascists' ideology was less nationalistic, however, and promoted European unity against communists and Jews, among others. Members of New Order and other Italian right-wing groups were members of pan-European fascist movements, such as European New Order, founded in Germany, and Civic Action Movement, which was funded by Portuguese and German sources, among others, and had contacts with the United States' right-wing group the John Birch Society. [15]

As for official state support, the United States Central Intelligence Agency has been accused of funding right-wing terrorist groups such as New Order to combat Communism in Italy. [16] [17] Other secret service agencies, notably Greece's, also appear to have provided some funding and training to Italian right-wing terrorist groups. [18]

Members of right-wing groups including New Order fled to Spain and reorganized after being banned in the mid-1970s, although it is not clear if Spain's government officially extended safe haven to the group. [19] Members of New Order and other Italian right-wing groups also trained in South Africa and Libya. [20]



Geographical Locations

New Order had its headquarters in Rome and bases or members in at least 25 Italian cities. [21] It was especially active in the region around Venice. [22]

Targets & Tactics

New Order and other neo-fascist terrorist groups were known for indiscriminate explosive attacks in crowded areas such as train stations. Such high-profile and high-casualty attacks were part of a "strategy of tension" intended to provoke the government into declaring a state of emergency as a first step toward the imposition of a dictatorship. [23]

New Order and other right-wing groups, in contrast to left-wing groups, seldom claimed responsibility for attacks. This was part of a strategy to inspire a state crackdown on the left, which was often blamed for unclaimed attacks. [24] New Order members even occasionally bombed right-wing targets to cast suspicion on the left, or claimed responsibility for attacks on behalf of left-wing groups. [25]

The group also at one point directly attempted a coup. The plot was organized and set up with other right-wing groups and led by the group National Front, but was called off close to the execution stage. [26]

After New Order was banned in the mid-1970s, its successor groups engaged in more precise targeting involving firearms in a deliberate imitation of leftist tactics. They clashed with left-wing groups at demonstrations and in universities but, like left-wing groups, typically targeted magistrates and the police. [27] New Order's first claimed targeted assassination of a political figure took place in 1976, relatively late in the organization's life. [28]

Political Activities

New Order began as the Center for the Study of a New Order after breaking with the right-wing political party Italian Social Movement (MSI).  [29] The group was not fully clandestine, and undertook public political activities as well as criminal activities. [30] It ran seminars and lectures, published its own ideological writings, including an official newspaper called New Order as well as books and pamphlets, and was also supported by other right-wing periodicals. [31]

Major Attacks

  1. August 8, 1969: New Order staged simultaneous explosions on about ten trains and stations. (Casualties unknown).[32]
  2. December 12, 1969: New Order is suspected of involvement in bombing Milan's Piazza Fontana. It was the first major terrorist attack in post-World War II Italy and is typically cited as the inaugurating attack of more than a decade of terrorist violence in Italy. (17 killed, 84 wounded).[33]
  3. November 20, 1974: New Order members detonated an explosive in an apartment building in Savona in Northwestern Italy. (1 killed, 7 wounded).[34]
  4. July 10, 1976: One or more New Order members on a motorcycle shot dead a Roman assistant state attorney who had been investigating neo-fascist terrorism and its ties to Italian secret service agencies. (1 killed).[35]
  5. February 2, 1978: New Order militants wounded an Italian Communist Party (PCI) militant in Naples. (1 wounded).[36]
  6. February 12, 1978: New Order members detonated an explosive device outside the headquarters of a left-wing extraparliamentary organization in Rovigo, Northwest Italy. (1 wounded).[37]

Relationships with Other Groups

New Order emerged from the right-wing Parliamentary party Italian Social Movement (MSI). Several of its members later rejoined the party as the new leadership increasingly tolerated militancy. [38]  

New Order collaborated with other fascist groups, in particular National Front and National Vanguard, the latter of which had broken from New Order in 1960. [39] There is evidence that the three groups jointly planned a coup attempt in 1970. [40] It also seems that members of militant neo-fascist groups migrated between groups and that group membership was not as strictly defined on the right as it was on the left. [41]

After being banned in the mid-1970s, New Order joined the remnants of other banned right-wing organizations, which were then absorbed into Black Order. Black Order's members attempted to collaborate with leftist groups it had previously fought. It also increasingly imitated left-wing tactics such as raids on banks and armories for resources. [42]


References

  1. ^ Feltrinelli, Carlo. Feltrinelli. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Harcourt, 2001. p. 283.
  2. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 83.
  3. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 35.
  4. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 43.
  5. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 46.
  6. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 45.
  7. ^ Sheehan, Thomas. Italy: Terror on the Right. New York Review of Books. January 22, 1981. Available: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1981/jan/22/italy-terror-on-the-right/?pagination=false and Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 36
  8. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 35.
  9. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 35; Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 41.
  10. ^ Barbato, Tullio. Il Terrorismo In Italia Negli Anni Settanta : Cronaca E Documentazione. Milano: Bibliografica, 1980. p. 24.
  11. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 59
  12. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 86
  13. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 46.
  14. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 53.
  15. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. pp. 59-60.
  16. ^ Bellu, Giovanni Maria. "Strage di Piazza Fontana Spunta un Agente Usa." La Repubblica (Fatti). February 11, 1998. Available: http://www.repubblica.it/online/fatti/fontana/fontana/fontana.html
  17. ^ Borrowed from the Nazis and Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 77
  18. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 233.
  19. ^ Sheehan, Thomas. Italy: Terror on the Right. The New York Review of Books. January 22, 1981. Available: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1981/jan/22/italy-terror-on-the-right/?pagination=false
  20. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 37
  21. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 53
  22. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 124
  23. ^ Bellu, Giovanni Maria. "Strage di Piazza Fontana Spunta un Agente Usa." La Repubblica (Fatti). February 11, 1998. Available: http://www.repubblica.it/online/fatti/fontana/fontana/fontana.html
  24. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 124
  25. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 124
  26. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 43.
  27. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 37.
  28. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 146.
  29. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 53
  30. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 58
  31. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. Threats to Democracy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. p. 54
  32. ^ Feltrinelli, Carlo. Feltrinelli. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Harcourt, 2001. p. 283.
  33. ^ Two members of New Order, and a third accomplice associated with a Milanese right-wing group, were convicted for the attack but acquitted on appeal for lack of evidence. Source: "Piazza Fontana, nessun colpevole: Assolti in appello gli imputati." La Repub
  34. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 83.
  35. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 76 and Associazione Italiana Vittime
  36. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 83.
  37. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 83.
  38. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 41.
  39. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 37.
  40. ^ Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 43.
  41. ^ Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 36
  42. ^ Sheehan, Thomas. Italy: Terror on the Right. The New York Review of Books. January 22, 1981. Available: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1981/jan/22/italy-terror-on-the-right/?pagination=false

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