LA GRANDE GUERRA DELLE PROTESI

Fabio Montella

Abstract


The Great War of the implants

During the fi rst two years of WW1, the Italian government found itself unprepared to face the serious issue of disabled and mutilated people. So it gave the managment of it to local initiatives, which were not well linked among them and very badly coordinated, rasing ineffi ciencies and wastes. The production and supply of artifi cial limbs appeared as a “prothesic babel” due to the differences and the bad communication among the different facilities across the Country. Excluding Turin’s and part of Milan’s area few and small were the other companies operating on the national market. More than once and bypassing the rules, the powerful American industry tried to make room for itself in a booming market, after it had been abandoned by the German companies due to the Triple Alliance breakdown. This commercial infi ltration that was causing serious damages to the national industry was mainly stemmed by the two leading centres in the prothesic industry: Bologna and Milan. The 1917 law gave rise to the “Opera Nazionale”, an organization for the protection and assistence of the war invalids. The organization entrusted the leading role in the prothesis’ production to Bologna and Milan. However, especially in the civil sector, the unsolved problems were still many, and it took long time before the rights of a modern welfare state were recognized to disabled people and amputees.


Keywords


World War I, Amputees, Disabled people, Prothesis, Welfare State

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