The Reconstruction of Italy Part I

According to thefreegeography, the resistance, crowned by the final insurrection, produced the so-called “north wind”, that is, a strengthening of the already existing diffuse and confused aspiration, to a radical change in Italian politics, to a renovatio abimis: men and institutions. An essential part of this desire for renewal was the idea of ​​a social revolution, of which neither the program nor the methods were specified, and which, in any case, had nothing to do with the program and tactics of the Communist Party which it was then distinctly democratic-legalitarian; while it found more correspondence in the exuberance of the head of the Socialist Party, Pietro Nenni. A preparatory formula for this dreamed-of total renewal was:

In fact, revolutionary preparation, disposition and organization were almost completely lacking; and the “north wind” produced no other effect than the replacement of Bonomi with the leader of the partisans F. Parri, who made a ministry more strictly adherent to the CLN, in which the leaders of the six parties entered. This Ministry aimed to hold a center-left address and to prepare the free election of a constituent, while appointing the long-planned national council (essentially composed of those designated by the six parties), which was inaugurated on 25 September 1945. The president of the advice, however, soon appeared an isolated, between a liberal-Christian Democrat right that opposed him, and a social-communist left that, supporting him in words, it actually embarrassed him with the turmoil of the General Confederation of Labor. This was reconstituted on the foundation of a single union, theoretically non-partisan; but the representatives of the three major Communist, Socialist and Christian Democratic parties had taken the lead, even formally – with a clear preponderance of the first which, through the pact of unity of action, dominated the second. In November, the Liberals broke their trust in Parri, and the Christian Democrats followed them; hence the resignation, and on 9 December the formation (again on the basis of the six parties) of the De Gasperi cabinet, the head of the Christian Democrats. Shortly thereafter (at the beginning of February 1946) the Action Party split, leaving the Parri-La Malfa group, which advocated a democratic republican orientation, clearly distinct from the socialist parties.

The conflict on the institutional question, and on the very procedure for resolving it, now became more vivid. The referendum method was supported by the conservative and pro-monarchical currents, reserving to the Constituent Assembly the elaboration of the new constitution (monarchical or republican, depending on the outcome of the referendum itself). This solution was adopted with the approval of the Council. Of the still institutionally undecided parties, the Christian Democrat voted by a majority for the republic, and the liberal for the monarchy, however, both renouncing to constrain the vote of the members and to make propaganda for the solution adopted. Almost on the eve of the vote, the king, with an act judged by many to be in substantial contradiction with the commitments made at the time of the establishment of the lieutenancy, he abdicated on 9 May and Umberto II ascended the throne, with the formal commitment to respect the result of the referendum. This, on June 2, 1946, gave 12,717,923 votes to the republic against 10,719,284 to the monarchy. King Umberto, having entered into conflict with the government about the modalities of the period of transmission of powers, left Italy on 13 June without recognizing either then or later the popular verdict, but releasing the functional and military oath of loyalty.

In the elections for the Constituent Assembly, the Christian Democrats were in the lead, with more than 8 million votes and 207 seats, the Socialist Party of Proletarian Union with more than 4 million and 700,000 votes and 115 seats, the Communist Party with more than 4 million 300,000 votes and 104 seats. Various other left and right formations followed, including the Italian Republican Party (the so-called historical republicans), with almost 1 million votes and 23 seats. The Constituent Assembly, which met on 25 June, elected Enrico De Nicola as provisional head of state on the 28th with a very large majority. The latter charged with the formation of the new De Gasperi cabinet, which constituted, on 12 July 1946, the first republican government, founded on the coalition of the three major parties and the historic Republican Party. This was the so-called “Tripartite” government (the fourth republican party had very little influence there, although now strengthened by the entry of the Parri-La Malfa group). It soon took the form of a combination of opposites: Christian Democracy on the one hand, Communists on the other. The Socialist Party, having emerged from the elections in a dominant position, was reduced to the “brilliant second” of Communism, renouncing the mediating and guiding function. The discontent within the party, due to this conduct of its leaders Nenni and Basso, led in January 1947 to a split led by Saragat and the founding of the Socialist Party of Italian Workers (PSLI). The small but authoritative group of Socialist Unity was held between PSI and PSLI, around Italy Silone and IM Lombardo, with the intention of restoring the unity of the party. Some elements of the Action Party joined Socialist Unity, while the majority decided to join the PSI. A surprise, in the elections of 2 June, had been the success of the Party of Any Man (see in this App.): An ephemeral success, because indifference was not long in pulverizing itself.

On January 20, 1947, De Gasperi, then returned from a trip to the United States, resigned. After asking and not obtaining the collaboration of the PSLI – which had drawn roughly half of the socialist parliamentary group to itself – he set up a new tripartite cabinet on February 2 (the Republicans also refused). The disagreement with the Communists was accentuating: in the background the hostility of the United States to communism appeared more and more clear, while in the foreground there was the repeated agitation – including political strikes – of the CGIL. On May 13, 1947, De Gasperi resigned again; and, after a failed assignment to Nitti, he set up a “black cabinet” on May 31 (Christian Democrats plus a few independent ones): the liberal L. Einaudi was vice president of the council and budget minister, not officially representing the party. The cabinet withstood the repeated assaults of the left in the constituent assembly thanks to the concurrence of votes of the right (liberals, indifferent, monarchists), and the tolerance of the PSLI and the PRI. In the end these two parties entered the government with the reshuffle of 15 December 1947. R. Pacciardi (republican) and G. Saragat were vice presidents alongside Einaudi.

The Reconstruction of Italy 1