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Title: Italy : defence industries and the arms trade, 1949-1989
Author: MacIntosh, Elizabeth C.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1990
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Italy became one of the major exporters of arms by the early 1980s, behind only the United States, the Soviet Union, and France. Although its position was later overtaken, it remained one of Europe's main producers and suppliers, without the presence of pronounced military and foreign policy ambitions at the state level. The military industries grew as a result of Italy's close association with other Western and in particular the American defence establishment beginning in the late 1940s. The Italians had access to some of the most advanced military technology through co-production and licence arrangements with its senior allies. By the 1970s, the defence area became the fastest growing sector of the Italian economy when markets were exploited mainly in the Third World. Although about two-thirds of the industry was state-owned, Italian businessmen acted independently in selling arms through Italian trade networks which thrived with very little government direction or intervention. The absence of government assistance actually appeared to favour the export of Italian weapons, because the lack of interest in the sector also meant that Italy maintained perhaps the most lenient export legislation in the West. As the industry expanded, manufacturers availed themselves increasingly of representatives of the foreign trade ministry, the secret services and military attaches abroad in the promotion of Italian war equipment. And as Italy came into the circle of the world's major economic powers, its politicans attempted for a time to adopt the defence industry as a tool of international prestige. However supporters of the industry did not resolve the contradiction between the low priority Italy continued to give to defence and foreign policy, and the success of the country's industrialists in supplying arms to areas of tension. As business began to decline sharply in the late 1980s for Italy's defence firms, industrialists turned to the possibility of reconversion programs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available