Under special surveillance: Italy through German eyes, 1975–76 (Englisch)

In: Journal of Modern Italian Studies   ;  20 ,  3  ;  330-345  ;  2015

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A new document found in Willy Brandt's personal correspondence provides a particularly important insight into German views on Italy in the mid-1970s. The document is a report on Italy's political and economic situation, signed by the former German ambassador in Rome, Rolf Lahr, on 15 December 1975. This article first illustrates the portrait of Italy painted by Lahr. It then contextualizes the document, by explaining why Lahr's analysis may in places seem influenced by his perception of his country, the Federal Republic of Germany. Finally, it argues that Lahr's report was also reflecting a narrative that, as the following G7 summit of Puerto Rico, in June 1976, clearly demonstrated, had wider political implications for German attitudes towards Italy. All of a sudden, West Germany seemed to have moved to the side of the ‘watchers’, while Italy was considered once again a ‘problem’ for European and international politics.

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