The Reconstruction of Italy Part II

Through these political-parliamentary vicissitudes the economic reconstruction of the country continued briskly, with rapid and remarkable results. The credit for this goes to the forefront of individual and national energies; but the work of the cabinets presided over by De Gasperi assisted in the restoration; indispensable contribution was that of American aid.

The Constituent Assembly, although the legislative work was almost exclusively reserved for the ministry, was unable to complete the drafting of the constitution within the maximum deadline of one year and had to be extended. The constitution had the final approval of the assembly on December 22, 1947, with 453 votes against 62; it was signed on December 27 by the provisional head of state, Enrico De Nicola, who from that day officially took the title of president of the republic; and entered into force on January 1, 1948. The day after the signature, December 28, the former king Vittorio Emanuele III had died in Alexandria.

According to themeparktour, the task of the Constituent Assembly was also to authorize the ratification of the peace treaty with the United Nations. The elaboration of this took a long time: Prepared by the representatives of the four major powers (USSR, United States, Great Britain and France) between 1945 and 1946, it was discussed (July-August 1946) in the Conference of the twenty-one in Paris, then again discussed between the four, and finally signed in Paris on February 10, 1947. The Italian government took no part in the negotiations, but was repeatedly “heard”. The main object of the dispute was the fate of Venezia Giulia since the Mussolini war against Yugoslavia had destroyed the Treaty of Rapallo. Initially accepted the ethnic criterion in the division between Italy and Yugoslavia, the division line was then moved to the west to the advantage of Yugoslavia protected by Russia, taking away from Italy very Italian cities such as Pula, Rovinj and Parenzo (not to mention Rijeka and Zadar). Finally Trieste itself was detached from Italy to make it the Free Territory of Trieste, birth without life. The cession of the Mont Cenis, Briga and Tenda plateau to France was also imposed on the western border. The fate of the colonies, ceded by Italy to the consortium of winners, was reserved for further discussions, still ongoing. The Dodecanese was assigned, according to the criterion of nationality, to Greece. Reparations were imposed on the main powers, on Yugoslavia and Albania (the United States and England immediately renounced theirs). A rigorous disarmament of men and material was also imposed, for which (also considering the border movements) Italy remains open, especially to the East, to an invasion. Overall, the peace treaty did not represent, despite De Gasperi’s courageous and tenacious defense of Italian interests, and the official declarations contained in the preamble of the treaty itself, an adequate recognition of the contribution made by Italy to the cause of nations. United with the overthrow of fascism, with co-belligerence, and with the terrible sacrifices suffered during the partisan resistance.

After the Italian ratification of the peace treaty – authorized by the Constituent Assembly following a lively debate on 31 July 1947, with 262 votes against 68 and 80 abstentions – the admission of Italy to the United Nations was sponsored; but it was opposed several times by the Russian veto, as the USSR wanted the simultaneous admission of other states, not allowed by the Anglo-Saxon powers.

In March 1948 the three Western powers, the United States, Great Britain and France, proposed the return of the territory of Trieste to Italy, but so far Russia has not agreed to consider the proposal. On the same day on which this was announced (20 March), the foreign ministers C. Sforza and G. Bidault signed the commitment for a Franco-Italian customs union in Turin.

The Italian government had previously joined the Marshall Plan, participating in the first conference between the “sixteen” Europeans and the United States in Paris, in July 1947, and then in all subsequent works.

The Marshall Plan played a notable part in the electoral struggle for the election of the first Italian parliament (Chamber and Senate), following the approval of the constitution. The plan was fought by the Communist Party, according to the directives approved by the European Communist Parties at the Bialystock conference and published on October 5, 1947, and according to the guidelines of Russian politics, hostile to any agreement in Western Europe. The battle around it therefore framed, in a more general way, that between the People’s Democratic Front (made up of Communists, Socialists, and other minor elements, with the adhesion of independents) and the three government parties.

The elections of April 18, 1948, which took place in perfect calm and with enormous turnout (92%), gave the Christian Democracy an absolute majority (307 seats) for the Chamber of Deputies, which had won almost 49% of the votes. The Front had only 182 with a little over 30%. A good success was achieved by the Socialist Unity, that is the electoral cartel constituted by the PSLI with the group of that name (almost 1,900,000 votes and 32 seats). The National Bloc reached just one million votes, with 18 seats, while both the monarchist party and the republican fell below 3/4 of a million (14 and 9 deputies respectively). The MSI, which had aroused great expectations and fears, just exceeded half a million. For the Senate, the Christian Democrats also had an absolute majority of those elected.

On 11 May 1948, sen. Luigi Einaudi was elected president of the republic and on 24 May 1948 De Gasperi was called to form his 6th cabinet which has essentially maintained the same physiognomy as the previous one, with the exclusion of the extreme left and right. The existence of a stable parliamentary base has given the government the opportunity to tackle the various problems with greater energy and consistency. Faced with a somewhat blocked situation on the parliamentary level, the socialist and communist opposition has shown the tendency to shift its weight from parliament to the country. It was felt above all in July 1948, when, as a consequence of the attack on P. Togliatti (14 July), a great general strike paralyzed the life of the town for two days. This strike and the related unrest have poisoned the controversy over trade union unity that had been dragging on for months now. They – together with other and different non-union influences – were the wedge that managed to separate the Christian trade union current from the social-communist one in the CGIL, while the other currents (republican, social labor and anarchist) tried in vain to mediate. On 5 August the CGIL acknowledged the separation of the Christian current, which in the same month gave birth to the Free Italian General Confederation of Labor (LC: GIL). Extensive discussions in Parliament and abroad has also aroused the Fanfani plan for building reconstruction, while the concerns of large areas of public opinion are increasingly pointing to the region. On the international level, the question of the ultimate fate of our colonial territories has always remained open, while Italian foreign policy has achieved more concrete results with France: meeting De Gasperi Schuman in Paris in November and Sforza-Schuman in Cannes in December; report of the mixed Italian-French commission for the customs union (January 21, 1949); with Soviet Russia, the La Malfa trade mission managed to reach a satisfactory trade and repair agreement on 11 December; symptoms of d├ętente, with the will to resolve outstanding issues (Adriatic fishing, optants, etc.), occurred in relations with Yugoslavia; between December 1948 and January 1949 the gen. E. Marras, head of SM visited the US; a treaty of friendship was signed with Greece on 5 November 1948 in San Remo.

The Reconstruction of Italy 2