Apocalypse Now: War, Hunger, and Mass Destruction
Some of the younger generation were fascinated by the Fascist colonial wars in Africa, while some were forcibly drafted into the Spanish Civil War. When Italy entered World War II, however, the majority of workers were worried. Employment rose, working conditions worsened, the cost of living skyrocketed, supplies were scarce. Anti-war rumors and conversations were met with jail and exile. On August 11, 1943, Terni was caught unprepared by the first of at least 100 air raids, that killed thousands and almost wiped out the city but did relatively little damage to the industrial sites. Those who could left the town and sought refuge in the countryside, generating a return to preindustrial living conditions and a complex exchange between city and rural people, food and shelter for soap, shoes, tobacco, clothes. When they returned, working-class families started to rebuild the bombarded homes that they had built with their own hands.