Consumption and Salaries in the Immediate Post-war Period
Despite its harshness, in Trieste the Anglo-American military occupation is remembered as a serene period. After the hard years of war, people were starting to make plans for the future again. In Zone A, the American way of life could be seen up close, but it was out of reach for the majority of the population.
Although in 1946, nightclubs, dance halls, and cinemas multiplied in Trieste, only about 0.8% of a working-class family’s budget could be “invested” in entertainment. Despite newspapers and periodicals publicising the latest fashions of the time, most women had to repair or adapt clothes since they could not afford new ones.
In 1953 a Trieste newspaper titled Women rebel! ran an article about the length of the skirt, but it would be a long time before this was actually possible. Even if much desired, appliances had almost no presence among the housewives of Zone A. Finally, in 1946 only 10% of working-class households had a toilet.
“Efficiency” is the Catchword
The newspaper Il Corriere di Trieste: Women and consumption in Zone A
Il Corriere di Trieste (1945–1960) is the newspaper that best highlights the complexity of the post-war period and the early years of the Cold War in Zone A. It also proves to be a useful tool for investigating the market and female consumers’ desires.
The Trade Show
During the military occupations, goods were illegally trafficked from Zone B to Zone A and vice versa. From Zone B, Kozara or Jadran cigarettes were smuggled in particular. From Zone A – in particular from the Pula zone –it was more oil and foodstuffs.
An American Starlette
Young, Good-looking, in Love, and Successful
Just Like a Boy
Reconstruction also means a need for comfort.
Furthermore, a notion that was previously reserved only for the wealthiest began to spread: leisure time. So, a pair of trousers, a blouse, and a sweater become the unisex outfit for a bike ride, a picnic or a walk by the sea.