1.1 Military Governments in a Nutshell

Home Zone A Way of Life Military Governments in a Nutshell

The Institutional Set-Up after the Second World War  

On 9 August 1945, the Julian March (Venezia Giulia) was divided between two military occupations: Zone A under Anglo-American control and Zone B under the Yugoslavian one. A few days later (12 August), the Allied Military Government (AMG) “Venezia Giulia” was established in Zone A, whose territory was organized into three zones: the Trieste zone, that of Gorizia and the enclave of Pula.

According to the provisions of the Peace Treaty of Paris, on 15 September 1947, the Free Territory of Trieste (FTT) was established. This was also divided into Zone A and Zone B. Zone A, which included only the province of Trieste, remained under Anglo-American military administration; Zone B was under the control of the Provisional Administration of the Yugoslav Army (VUJA). The Anglo-American administrative and military apparatus remained in office until 26 October 1954. The following day, and by the London Memorandum (5 October 1954), Zone A definitively passed to Italy. The Treaty of Osimo abolished the FTT in 1975.

Erica Mezzoli
WeCanIt – University of Ljubljana


Starting from the End

Video 1.1.a – Almost ten years after the disengagement from Zone A, it seems that the memory that the Britons keep was that of a long vacation in the Mediterranean. Real life was much more complex.


The AMG-“Venezia Giulia”: Direct Rule and Balance of Power

In Zone A, the Allies immediately established an administration characterized by direct rule, in other words, the assumption by the Anglo-American military authorities of all powers. In 1947, Trieste and Zone A represented one of the main areas of containment: the US policy aimed at countering Soviet expansion in Europe.

arrivo truppe alleate 1945
Fig. 1.1.b.1 – Trieste, Unità d’Italia Square awaits the arrival of the Allied troops on 12 June 1945.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Archivio Comunale, inv. F175702)
Sbarco truppe alleate dopoguerra trieste
Fig. 1.1.b.2 – An ordinary changeover of American troops.
(Archivio Vitrotti)



Fig. 1.1.c – X Population present in Zone A AMG-“Venezia Giulia” (Trieste, Gorizia, and Pola zones) as of 31 December 1946.
(Erica Mezzoli, Labour Data for the Zone A-AMG Venezia Giulia and the Zone A-Free Territory of Trieste, 1945-1955 – forthcoming dataset)


Zone A-FTT: the “Teams”

In June 1945, the Venezia Giulia territory was divided into Zone A and Zone B.
In compliance with the peace treaty, in 1947, the Allied troops were organized into the TrUST and the BETFOR. In their task of maintaining public order, they were supported by Polizia Civile (Venezia Giulia Police Force).

partita di calcio zona a e zona b trieste dopoguerra
Fig. 1.1.d.1 – Zone B-Zone A football match, Koper, March 1949.
(NŠK, Magajna, 1949_811-9)
baseball Giants Bentegodi a Opicina (Trieste) nel 1952
Fig. 1.1.d.2 – Trieste US Troops (TrUST) was made up of 5,000 men from the 88th Infantry Division. In the photo, a Giants Bentegodi baseball match in Opicina (Trieste) in 1952.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Borsatti – proprietà Fondazione CRTrieste, UB NP 334_990)
Rugby Italia-FFAA Alleate a Trieste nel 1953
Fig. 1.1.d.3 – The British Element Trieste FORce (BETFOR) was also made up of 5,000 men. In the photo, Rugby Italia-Allied Armed Forces rugby match in Trieste in 1953.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Borsatti – proprietà Fondazione CRTrieste, UB NP 335)


A Big Toy

carro armayto dopoguerra trieste
Fig. 1.1.e – Post-war in Zone A also meant playing on a real tank.
(NŠK, Magajna, 1951_1841-1)


Red Light Post-war

Perhaps due to the massive presence of Allied troops, prostitution was rife in the old city of Trieste in particular. This represented a danger in terms of public order and health. For this reason, the Women’s Section of Polizia Civile was created in Trieste in 1947.

città vecchia trieste dopoguerra
Fig. 1.1.f.1 – Two American soldiers in an alley of Trieste old city.
(NŠK, Magajna, Staro mesto Trst, 1953)
Segnale “Out of bonds” trieste
Fig. 1.1.f.2 – “Out of bonds” warning indicating places or businesses of questionable morals, and therefore forbidden to Anglo-American troops.
(NŠK, Magajna, Staro mesto Trst 1953 )
Segnale “Out of bonds” trieste bordello
Fig. 1.1.f.3 –“Out of bonds” sign at the entrance to a brothel in the old city of Trieste.
(NŠK, Magajna, Staro mesto Trst 1953)



YMCA trieste
Fig. 1.1.g– Headquarters of the Y.M.C.A (Young Men’s Christian Association) of Trieste. With the arrival of Allied troops, came also new types of masculinity and associations.
(NŠK, Magajna, 1952_2103-9)


Bye Bye Baby!

bacio stazione trieste dopoguerra
Fig. 1.1.h -The Allied troops left Trieste and Zone A of the FTT for good on 26 October 1954.
(Fototeca CMSA, Trieste – Giornalfoto, inv. F104629)