Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: Italian Studies

First Advisor

Dario Del Puppo

Second Advisor

Joshua King

Third Advisor

Giuliana Palma


Biagio “Max” Corvo immigrated to the United States in 1929 at just ten years old with his mother and sister. As an anti-fascist activist, his father had previously fled Sicily to the United States. The Corvo family settled in Middletown, CT where there was a burgeoning community of other immigrants from their hometown of Melilli, Sicily. When the U.S. entered WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, many military age men volunteered or were drafted into the fight for their country. Relatively little attention has been hitherto paid to Italian Americans who contributed to the U.S. war effort and, in particular, to the military officers who helped turn the tide against the Axis powers. Max Corvo was one of these officers who made a difference in the struggle. He was a leading figure in the nascent intelligence movement (the OSS, a precursor of the CIA) and helped build the antifascist resistant in his native Sicily in preparation for the U.S. military landing there. Our research is based on the Max Corvo Archive (in the Watkinson Library, Trinity College). Besides learning about Corvo's remarkable life and also about the early days of the American intelligence community, we seek to understand what Corvo's journey and life story tells us about Italian Americans and their attitudes towards Italy during WWII, Italian nationalism both internal and external to the peninsula, as well as their motivations for fighting for the Allies in the war. Our study relies on primary archival sources, but also on the histories written about WWII in Italy and in particular about Sicily.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Italian Studies.