UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Strategy of Tension

The most prominent example of the use of violence for political gain was the Strategy of Tension in the 1970s by the prominent political party in Italy, the Christian Democratic Party, and the former neo-fascist political party Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI). In the Strategy of Tension campaign, the extreme center right political parties, supported by the P2 secret Masonic lodge, conducted three well-known terrorist operations in Italy with the goal of blaming center left political dissidents for the terrorist attacks. Terror increased people's desire for security at the expense of their desire for change. The party that suffered most from terror was the PCI, because it proposes the renewal of society in the most radical and unpredictable way. This is the Strategy of Tension.

At least 13 were killed at Milan's Banca dell' Agricoltura in Piazza Fontana on 12 December 1969. Over 4,000 arrests were made in the aftermath of the bombings and one of the suspects, Guiseppe Pinelli, died after falling out of the fourth floor window of the police station where he was being held. The bombing marked the start of a series of attacks known as "the strategy of tension" between 1969 and 1974 by the right wing group, Ordine Nuovo. Their aim was to prevent the country falling into the hands of the left -wing by duping the public into believing the bombings were part of a communist insurgency.

Two major campaigns in 1970 and in 1973-74 comprised three major coup attempts (and a few aborted ones that never reached the pages of major newspapers, but which were revealed by those involved). The 1970 campaign consisted of multiple bombings, culminating in the Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan in 1969, in which 12 people were killed, and the Borghese coup d'état in 1971. The 1973-74 campaign witnessed two major bombings, the Italicus train massacre and the Piazza della Loggia massacre in Brescia, culminating in two separate attempted coups d'état: the Rosa deiVenti coup in 1973 and the Sogno "white" coup in 1974.

Although the President of Italy, Saragat, wanted to declare a state of public emergency, something that had never occurred in the history of the Italian Republic, which would have led to future elections favoring the extreme right, Aldo Moro opposed the move. Moro's assessment of the situation in which Italy found itself convinced him that political stability could be achieved only by seconding into government the second largest party in the country, the PCI. This conviction cost him his life in 1979. He was kidnapped by the Red Brigades on the same day that Andreotti was to present his government to parliament, a government which for the first time since 1947 included the PCI. Moro was then killed 54 days later.

The attacks appeared to come to an end in 1974 but the worst strike was to come in 1980. Rosella Dossi wrote "In 1980, a bomb exploded in the waiting room of Bologna train station, killing 85 people and injuring another 200. In December 1984, another bomb exploded on the so-called "Christmas" train enroute from Florence to Bologna, killing another 15 people and injuring 267. In 1981, it was discovered that the highest levels of society, from generals to ministers of the republic, belonged to a secret Masonic Lodge intent on taking over state institutions. In 1990, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti admitted to parliament that a secret organization, made up of military men and civilians, had existed since the 1950s, the purpose of which was to oppose, by all possible means, a government which included the Communist party.

"For the past twenty or thirty years, observers of the Italian political scene have postulated the existence of "poteri occulti" - covert powers - at work in Italy... Then in 1991, for the first time, a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry used the unspeakable words in a Report of the Massacres Commission to parliament: "il Doppio Stato" - the Dual State."

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list