Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana:
Colosseo Quadrato, also known as The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (The Palace of the Italian Civilization) was build as the symbol of fascism for the World Exposition in 1942. It lies in the EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma) district in Rome. The EUR was a large business centre initiated by Benito Mussolini.
It was built in 1942 as an icon of fascism to show to the world. An obvious reason for building the Colosseo would be to show the wealth and power of Italy to the rest of the world; showing off. That would explain why the Colosseo lies on a plateau in the EUR, which creates an even more prominent spot for the Palazzo. Hereby the Colosseo Quadrato was and still is the most iconic building in the area. This showing off, however, is just a simple explanation on the surface of the subject. Deeper issues and problems are often behind a building such as this. Yet, the structure is considered to be one of the most representative examples of fascist architecture at the EUR.
In this paper we would like to analyze the building and its background. We will try find out the problem behind the building and the reason for which it has been build. Being one of the most representative buildings of fascism, this would be an extremely interesting building to investigate and to find out the reasons for building it, as well as the problems it tried to overcome.
Our main theme will be fascism and the problems, which fascism tried to overcome. We will analyze the building and see how this fits in the fascistic plan of creating a new Italy. Our main research question will be: What are the main problems behind the Colosseo Quadrato, which it tries to over come? How do the main elements of the building underline the idea of fascism?
In order to answer these question, research has been conducted on location in Rome. Furthermore, in-depth literature review and analysis have also been done on a later stage of the research.
In this wikipage we will present the outcomes of the mentioned above research. Firstly we will give and overview of the relevant historical background. Secondly, we will analyse the main issue that Italy faced around the time of Benito Mussolini, thus, answering the first research question. Thirdly, the elements of the building will be discussed and linked to the main issues of fascism time in Italy. Thus, answering the second research question. Lastly, a profound conclusion of the research will be given in the last section of the wikipage
In the 18th century, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Italy consisted of different states or houses. Due to the diversity in culture on such a small land there were not one Italian people, but there were other populations living on the Italian peninsula. In the beginning of the 18th century there were several city-states present on the peninsula of what is now called Italy: the Kindgom of Sardinia, Venice, Sicily, the Republic of Genoa, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Papal States and other houses like Trent, Parma, Modena and Lucca.
The Italian people were a people with one same culture and one same language. They were very nationalistic and, therefore, had a strong sentiment for bringing the true Italian people together in one nation. At first, not everyone wanted a unified Italy. Partly due to the slight cultural differences between some populations there was tension between people that wanted to unify the area and others who were conservative. For instance, there was a big difference between the northern part of Italy and the southern part. Economically as well as culturally these parts of Italy differed to a great extent. Unless these cultural differences the idea of unification would have succeeded more easily. Due to the differences a period of tension arose, but still attempts were made to create a single Italy. This process did not happen overnight and was later declared unsuccessful.
The process of unifying Italy is called: il Risorgimento (Italian unification: The resurgence). The first attempts to unite the population were made during the congress of Vienna in 1815. Tension during the period maintained for more than a hundred years. It eventually led to a single Italy .
During the Risorgimento, Italy went through a sort of revolution. All small city states were unified step by step. Some voluntarily, some joined by force. Such political figures as Victor Emanuel II and Garibaldi played an important role in unifying the states. Officially, around the time of the Franco-Prussian war the Kingdom of Italy was born, however the Italians did not really feel united. The feeling of nationalism slipped a bit, but most importantly the Italians did not know how to cope with being "one". An important question was: What is Italy? Who are we as a people? The Italians did not really know the answer to that question, because they differed quite strongly on the cultural aspect .
This can be clearly seen in the building Vittorio Emanuele (Altare della Patria), which has no specific style. It can be seen as the embodiment of the Italian confusion and feeling of non-identity. Italy was officially one Kingdom, but the Italian people did not really know how to give meaning to this unity.
While a huge part of the Italian speaking area had been united, the belief of the Italian people to unify themselves maintained to be strong. So strong, in fact, that in the eyes of many Italians, the small parts which did not yet belong to Italy had to become Italian as well. Namely, small parts especially in the northern part of the Italian peninsula were considered to be Italian. However, until now these parts belonged to other countries such as Austria-Hungary. In other words, the Risorgimento was incomplete. The feeling of incompleteness led to a new movement: irredentism. Irredentism is the movement which takes the Risorgimento one step further and tries to regain the Italian inhabited parts in the north, for example Trieste and Trentino .
In 1915, when the first World War was being fought, the British invited Italy to join the Allies. Italy was promised territorial compensation at the expense of Austria-Hungary. These compensations were far more generous than when Italy would have been neutral during this war. Italy joined the Allies in order to regain the "Italian" regions in the northern part of Italy. This would make the Risorgimento complete and completely unify Italy .
With the end of the first World War, Italy was not given every region as promised . Some regions were from that time onward Italian, but Italy did not gain every region it originally wanted. To Italians this felt as a betrayal and moreover reawakened the insecurity of the Italian people about their identity. Who were the Italian people? What was there to make them proud? .
At first, the Risorgimento was considered to be incomplete, due to the missing parts in the north. However, after World War I many Italians felt that the unification process had failed. "There was no single Italy". The cultures still differed to a large extent and economically there were huge differences between the southern parts and the northern parts of the country.
Many Italians thought of the Risorgimento as their revolution; an Italian revolution. In France it had brought success to the country and new ways of thinking, politics and social structure. In Italy it had not been successful on subjects as class differences, social structure and inequality. It can therefore be considered a failed bourgeois revolution. Italians themselves also felt this way. Overall, the Risorgimento had failed.
During the early 1930’s the world economy was on its back. Hyperinflation, huge unemployment rates throughout the world and a big lack of trust in the banking system were only a part of the economical problems around the times . In short, all over the world people had much less to spend, many people were even really poor. Also in Italy this was the case.
Economic instability led to chaos. Economical chaos due to the crisis, social and political chaos due to the failed Risorgimento and a cultural chaos in which Italians did not know how to cope with their fellow Italians. It were uncertain times for the Italian people. Due to political incompetence at the time there was no real police force which actively participated in the social supervision. Criminality rose significantly because of a lack of supervision, but also a lack of wealth.
Chaos was a big problem in Italy and in other countries as well. Something had to be done in order to restrain the chaos and bring order once again. Italy had to be made as one again, creating one single Italian people instead of different cultures speaking the same language.
A possible solution to the problem was Fascism . Fascism was a political view with a radical authoritarian nationalist ideology. Fascism seeks to rejuvenate a nation based on a commitment from the people to the national community as a whole . This national community was seen as an organic entity in which individuals are bound together as one national system . This was the direct answer to the Italian disunity; a political ideology creating unity instead of coping with disunity.
Fascism came from the northern part of the country. This is mainly because that part was more economically developed; moreover, it had shown some resistance to the liberal regime in Italy. Southern part of the country had as slightly different culture, more economic problems and lower involvement in national politics. The liberal regime did not succeed in Italy because it could not solve the "social question" for the society and the country; this “question” and the problem mainly came from the Southern part of the country. This is also the question that fascism then tried to address and solve. During the war certain industries became stronger, e.g. steal, but after the war they were not necessary anymore, therefore, a lot of Italians were laid off. Moreover, during the war the government imposed a forced inflation policy and inadequate taxation system which put an even higher pressure on the nation, especially on the middle class.
As to the social structure of the country, it seemed that there was a problem with underemployment and low status of the peasants. It was also difficult for the people in the cities to improve their condition. Furthermore, during the war there was no ruling class established; therefore, it was more difficult to improve the situation and lead the country. It can be assumed that this social instability lead to more chaos.
As Italy stayed a rather regional and diverse country, the cultural and linguistic differences slowed down the growth of a united national culture. Even though after unification Italy became highly centralized, there were still vivid regional differences and some regions even had customs for good imported from other regions. "The social cleavage reinforced the cultural cleavage, a phenomenon that the Fascists were to do their utmost to overcome".
When Mussolini came to power he tried to change Italy and its problems. By solving the chaos and lack of identity within Italy, he needed to find a solution. His solution, and as many Italians saw it too, was Fascism.
Fascism is a political view on the world in which the State is one of the most important aspects . Mussolini tried to create a single Italy again and give meaning to "being Italian". This was done by creating one single State.
Fascism tends to stress the importance of the state and the "unimportance" as an individual. Individuals could only be important when combined together, as one, into the State. One of the main fascist aspect was to create a State which lives inside all individuals: the state inside the individual. The State Italy hereby became a way of life, coming back in all various aspects of daily life such as sports, education, party organization, culture and aesthetics. "There can be no conception of the State which is not fundamentally a conception of life: philosophy or intuition, system of ideas evolving within the framework of logic or concentrated in a vision or a faith, but always, at least potentially, an organic conception of the world." .
So fascism sees not only the individual, but the nation and the country which consisted of generations of individuals bound together by one moral code, common traditions and most importantly one duty. By creating one mindset among the people, the people would feel much more a nation than they did before. In this way, Benito Mussolini created one Italy again and solving the identity question many Italians had.
However, one can not just change a mindset of a people. This needed steps. fascism focuses on education and change (movement). "It aims at refashioning not only the forms of life but their content - man, his character, and his faith. To achieve this propose it enforces discipline and uses authority, entering into the soul and ruling with undisputed sway." . The discipline and authority leave no room for chaos. However, in order to change, movement and action is needed. Therefore, fascism wants man to be active and to engage in action. Moreover it wants him to be manfully aware of difficulties and ready to face those difficulties .
Another way of creating individuals with the State inside of them was via education. Fascist culture valued education and the education itself focused on becoming a fascist. Educative programs were set up by Mussolini and other fascist in order to generate the perfect fascist mindset. Moreover, fascist values were taught at school and the importance of the state was always stressed. The fascist State pursued policies of socials indoctrination through propaganda as well. They used propaganda in education, but also in media and regulation of production of educational and media materials .
Mussolini described politics as an art. "Certainly it is not a science, nor is it empiricism. It is thus art." In order to bring across his message of fascism there had to be clear aspects on which fascism was built. He used several political ways of aesthetics to reach his goal. Several aspects of fascism are strength, masculinity, a positive view on violence, the importance of education and profession, lack of ambiguity and a image of being modern.
Fascism wants man to be active and to engage in action. Moreover it wants him to be manfully aware of difficulties and ready to face those difficulties . In other words, a man must be strong and this must be seen in every aspect of fascist culture. This is one of the reasons that being good at sports was valued greatly at the time and moreover many fascist statues look muscular. Strength was an important aspect in fascist life. Mussolini used an aesthetic vision of a fascist society, namely that a man has to be strong. Be a warrior, totally submitted to the State. . "When one is strong, one is dear to friends and feared by enemies."
Other political aesthetics used by Mussolini were his strong language and his straightforwardness. Mussolini hardly used ambiguous language and was very clear in his speech. No ambiguity was one of his political aesthetics. The message had to be clear and to be easily understood. In this way it was clear what it meant to be a fascist. This straightforwardness, in contrary to a time of confusion about the identity of Italy, really gives direction and with its lack of ambiguity it brought a sense of direction in an otherwise chaotic country.
Strong language was part of the vision of strength and of how man should be. Moreover, strong language sometimes led to a slight aggressive tone. A positive view on violence and aggressiveness were other aesthetics used by Benito Mussolini. Fascists had a positive view on violence. So positive in fact, that Mussolini sometimes even romantically described violence as if imposing (fascist) violence was a virtue instead of a crime. He tried to turn around the feeling people had in relation to violence. From now on, violence was a good thing, for a good cause. This is what Mussolini had to say about squads that participated in the assault on the socialist newspaper Avanti! in 1919:
Mussolini romantically describes violence and hereby turns the participants into martyrs . He identifies fascism with positive violence, positive from a fascism point of view. He uses the dead from violent causes to affirm the value of the fascist movement. Hence, fascism can be related to violence and their positive view on it.
Mussolini tries to stress that the Italian people are fighting for a cause, for which the violence is tolerable. Fighting for a cause is therefore an important aspect in fascism. Another aesthetic aspect of fascism would be masculinity, which also comes forward in the fragment above. Fascist were known for their tendency to show off their strength. they did this in sports, but also showing this in their buildings (for example the Colosseo Quadrato).
All these characteristics of fascism together make it that fascism worked so well in its mission to solve Italy’s problems at the start of the twentieth century. The authority and discipline ended the chaos. Other regimes failed until now to create order in chaos and fascism has outgrown the dilemma of monarchy versus a republic . By educating people the moral values of a true fascist, Italians felt more consensus and unity than before. This was also done by creating the state in side of the people by educating them and by propaganda. Stressing the importance of a collective and a State (above the individual) created a more or less single Italy once again. The straightforwardness was very clear and left no confusion. Moreover, the positive view on violence might have helped the Italians deal with their frustration and anger they still had due to economic trouble as well as their tainted honour.
Already in beginning of the doctrine  Mussolini stresses the system of education was one of the practical expressions to fascism. It was the way to engage the people in action intellectually. Moreover, the state that Mussolini created was also perceived as the main educator of the Italian people. However, the education system was one of the main tool of the state to promote the "right" idea and create the new fascist nation. In the Doctrine (1932), Mussolini openly says that "The State educates the citizens to civism, makes them aware of their mission, urges them to unity". This is in line with the further analysis of the building. Some aspects of the building, e.g. statuary, also shows that the education aspect was highly important on the way of becoming a "true" fascist. During this education process the new generation of Italians was influenced by fascist ideas already in schools in all disciplines, but mostly in science, art, law and human solidarity. It can also be argued that the memories which were transmitted to the new generation were selected in order to promote the underlying ideas of fascism and its goals. Therefore, it is likely that the heroes and their glory from the Roman Empire times were mentioned, explained and praised during the history classes, for example.
Furthermore, the Italian youth was influenced not only by the schools, but also by the youth organizations, as there were only some specific, government approved associations. Of course, we can assume that their main goal was to influence the new generation also outside school, thus, on every aspect of their lives.
One of such organizations was Opera Nazionale Balilla; a youth association that functioned next to the school education. It played a role in Mussolini's idea of creating the Italian youth from anew, by influencing both their moral and physical education and understanding. Not surprisingly, it was also considered as a paramilitary group Italian youth; to help them make better, more suitable career choices. Apart from Balilla and Roman Catholic Church the other kind of association was banned. Moreover, for most part the exercises and camps of Balilla resembled the military training a lot.  The stadium in Rome is a very clear example of this approach to education and the whole notion of being a real and true fascist.
According to Chirard  in Fascist Italy during the 1920-30s State funded exhibitions were perceived as a chance for the new architectural talents to show their abilities. Doordan  states that buildings and architecture in general were used to communicate political ideas. This was done my using political emblems in the architectural elements and the overall design. The World Exhibition (E'42) which was planned to take place in 1942 in Rome was also one of those occasions and most buildings have been used to transmit political ideas. It was also the occasion to celebrate the 20 years of Fascism in Italy. For this purpose a very complex and vast project was undertaken – to rebuild a part of the city which is now known as Esposizione Universale di Roma (also known as EUR). 
According to the competition rules that were emphasised by the State, the architects had to integrate the elements of the traditional Italian architecture into their designs, most of all the local Roman traditions of architecture. Such elements as colonnades and the use of travertine were highly emphasised to achieve the monumentality and axiality in the newly designed buildings.  Some elements of The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (Colosseo Quadrato) , such as colonnades and the use of travertine, the arches and the statues, confirm the existence of this trend in architecture. Moreover, the fact that the building is placed on a kind of a pedestal (a high base with staircase) and is successfully separated from the rest of the EUR buildings, most viewers would most likely perceive it as monumental. However, regardless of the focus on tradition and rules, the EUR, as well as The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, share some elements of modern and urban design.
Colosseo Quadrato, also known as The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (The Palace of the Italian Civilization) was build at the symbol of fascism for the World Exposition in 1942. It was one of the central building of the new district in Rome - EUR or E'42 (Esposizione Universale Roma). The architects of this project were Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano. It was initiated in 1938 and was finished in 1943. Due to the beginning of the World War II the World Exposition never took place, however, the building is still perceived as one of the most vivid and important symbols of Fascism in Rome.
The location of the building is central in the EUR district. However, the way it is presented is even more noticeable. It stands on a kind of a pedestal, which gives the perception of it being more important than other buildings. Also, it puts forward the monumentality of the building itself. It is also located on the hill. Therefore, all together it makes the impression that it is higher, more important and stronger than the other buildings. Therefore, the building is closely related to how fascism had to be perceived - strong and more important than any other ideology. The building stands on its own, therefore, it also brings the impression of being well arranged, not chaotic and not influenced in any way by the buildings surrounding it.
The building is square shaped and exactly the same from all four sides. Just as fascism tried to solve the chaos and create a strong, united Italian nation, the building clearly send the message of being strong, straightforward, with not chaos and no unambiguity. It is simple yet strong and organized and secure.
The use of travertine marble in the building brings back the memories of ancient Rome when this type of material was widely used. It also gives the building a strong, serious and monumental look. On the other hand, the glass that is used inside the building puts forward the idea that even though it is unambiguous, united and strong, it is still transparent. In the outer layer of the buildings there is no glass, but only hallow halls of arches; there is clear movement and transparency at the same time. On the inside it is transparent, but at the same time it is still, arranged and there is no chaos or movement possible. At least not from coming from the outside.
The use of arches and columns indicated the connection to antiquity. The time when Rome and the Roman people were powerful and united as an empire. In a way it also created the impression that the building is simple, yet unambiguous, transparent and full of movement.
Fascist architecture has a distinctive focus on lettering.  An example on lettering is also on each facade of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, which states:
VN POPOLO DI POETI DI ARTISTI DI EROI DI SANTI DI PENSATORI DI NAVIGATORI DI TRANSMIGRATORI
"A PEOPLE OF POETS, OF ARTISTS, OF HEROES, OF SAINTS, OF THINKERS, OF SCIENTIST, OF NAVIGATORS, OF IMMIGRANTS"
The writing is in engraved in classical capital letters . This writing is closely related to the main ideas of fascism stressed in the doctrine of fascism in 1932. It relates closely to these lines of the doctrine:
- "The Fascist State [..] dwells in the heart of the man of action and of the thinker, of the artist and of the man of science: soul of the soul"
- The State [..] transmits to future generations the conquests of the mind in the fields of science, art, law, human solidarity; [..] hands down to future generations the memory of those who laid down their lives to ensure its safety or to obey its laws; [..]sets up as examples and records for future ages the names of the captains who enlarged its territory and of the men of genius who have made it famous. 
The statues of the facade towards the valley of the Tiber:
- The Supremacy of Navigation (G. Galletti)
- Law (F. Longo)
- Architecture (A. Biggi)
- Inventive Genius (G. Salvi)
- History (R. Assanti)
- Astronomy (T. Bertolini)
The statues of the facade to the sea:
- Archaeology (M. Mascerini)
- Industry (G. Nicolini)
- Commerce (M. Vucetich)
- Philosophy (M. Guerrisi)
- Agriculture (M. Montececoni)
- Labor (B. de Lisi)
- Social order (A. Bellini)
- Political Genius (U. Baglioni)
The statues of the façade to Rome:
- Natural Sciences (A. Biggi)
- Geography (G. Galletti)
- Medicine (G. Giordani)
- Physics (G. Calori)
- Chemistry (V. Volterrani)
- Genius of Theatre (M. Mascherini)
- Mathematics (G. Tonnini)
- Sculpture (C. Rivalta)
The statues of the main façade:
- Handicrafts (L. Minguzzi)
- Music (L. Venturini)
- Heroism (N. Martinuzzi)
- Military Genius (A. Biancini)
- Painting (A. Biancini)
- Genius of Poetry (C. Abate)
The four statues outside the building send a rather aggressive message that the building is well secured. It also shows fascism had no problem with sending the message of violence and aggressiveness to the outside. However, to the building itself and the people who are supposed to be the core of the regime, it might mean that it is secure from all four sides. As to the statues themselves, they highly resemble the Roman antique statues.
It can be argued that the smaller statues are closely related with the aforementioned lettering on the facade of the building. Some statues, especially, the Genius of Poetry, represent the poets. Artists are represented by such statues as Music and Painting. Furthermore, Heroism stands for heroes. It can be assumed that the Genius of Military might also be perceived as a hero in the times of Mussolini. Philosophy stands for thinkers; scientists is a well represented group in the statues, there are medicine, physics, chemistry, mathematics, natural sciences to name some. Navigators and Immigrants can be connected to such statues as Geography or the Supremacy of Navigation.
The statues also seem to represent diverse competences and qualities that a true fascist had to master. As fascism stresses the idea that a individual has to be engaged in the action with all his/her energies, here we can see that all of them are represented. This is because in the statues all the cultural aspects are represented, thus, artistic, religious, scientific. The work values that are mentioned in the Doctrine of Fascism, namely, economic, political, ethical, and intellectual, are also present in the statuary of the building.  All together the statues cover the physical, social, military and moral aspects of the "true fascist". Also, the statues most of the statues have the same visual effect as in the Roman times. More precisely, they show an example of a physically strong and beautiful or handsome person. This would imply that to become a fascist and to be part of the Italian civilization is a tough job, need a lot of physical and moral education and strength. As all the statues are on the ground floor of the building, they are as if the "holding" part of it. They are the basic strength and the fundamental aspect of the building, therefore, fascism. It "stood" on its nation's shoulders; the nation of good fascists who represented all those professions.
The fact that the statues are represented in this way also indicate the importance of the physical education that the fascists emphasised so much upon.
Before Benito Mussolini took over the Italian political area, Italy had many problems to cope with. Mentioned earlier, Italy was trying to overcome many problems in the early 20th century. The Italian people tried to unify the Italian states, but this Risorgimento failed. Moreover, there was economical chaos, disunity and a low feeling of self-worthiness among Italians and a lack of a real Italian identity. This situation faced by the Italian nation, in turn, led to the main problem. The main problem, therefore, was the chaos as a whole.
To successfully cope with these difficulties and the main problem of overall chaos, Italy needed unity and it needed strong and powerful leadership. Mussolini was the leader Italians were looking for and with him came fascism. Fascism was a political ideology which perceived the State as one of the most important aspects. Hereby, Mussolini tried to create a single Italy, as well as giving a meaning to the understanding of the "Italian nation".
Many steps were needed in order to restructure Italy and more importantly, to create one Italy with one people. The creation of one closely united Italy was done by creating a single state: a state inside the individual. The State Italy hereby became a way of life, coming back in all various aspects of daily life such as sports, education, party organization, culture and aesthetics. The people was Italy and Italy was the nation, its people. All these aspects were very important to change the mindset of the Italian people and let them think alike. More importantly, make them this in line with the ideology of Mussolini and his political regime. In order to do this, every aspect needed to be aligned to the fascist feeling. For example, architecture needed to resemble unity, education needed to teach the importance of the State and art showed the importance of being strong.
Fascism was the direct answer to the Italian disunity; a political ideology creating unity instead of coping with disunity. Italy needed fascism, where fascism needed a symbol to show its strength, power and influence to the Italian people and the rest of the world. While Mussolini had a strong grip on society it seemed as if fascist did everything to convince each and everyone that fascism was the one and only right mindset, the single correct way of life, development and progress. The need to prove themselves was high. Ironically, this extreme need for proof towards others actually shows how uncertain they were.
Showing off was important for fascist, so there it was: Il Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also known as the Colosseo Quadrato. The Colosseo Quadrato was the symbol of fascism, and rightly so. Many of the aspects discussed symbolize fascism in some way and the whole style, architecture contain many elements of fascism. The location transmits the feeling of influence and importance of the building. The shape brings forward the attempts to create a powerful and strong chaos-free state. It is was an attempts to give an answer to the ambiguity and uncertainty face by the Italian people at the time. The material of the building brought back the glory and pride of Italian nation in the times of Ancient Rome. The same was achieved by statuary surrounding the Colosseo Quadrato. It was a mélange between the glory of the ancient Rome and what the Italian nation was heading toward with Mussolini as its leader. The State was the people, different kinds of persons representation the diversity and heritage, the strength within Italy itself. This, in turn, is represented by the lettering in the building. Movement was another strong belief of fascism and it is present in the building due to its architectural structure and use of arches. The strong architecture, the symmetry, the clear and understandable message are among the aspects which give a clear fascistic message and feeling to the building.
Even after so many years, the building straightforwardly brings out the feeling and message that was supposed to show to the people of the Mussolini time. Nowadays, the inaccessibility due to the fence around it saying: "Vietato L’accesso", only strengthens the feeling.
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