Italy: Postwar Italy

Postwar Italy

In 1944 the unpopular Badoglio cabinet had resigned, and thereafter various coalition cabinets followed each other until Dec., 1945, when Alcide De Gasperi, a Christian Democrat, became premier. De Gasperi remained an important influence on Italian politics until his death in 1954. In May, 1946, Victor Emmanuel abdicated, having previously transferred his powers to his son, Humbert II. After a month's rule, Humbert was exiled when the Italians in a plebiscite voted by a small majority to make the country a republic. A new republican constitution went into effect on Jan. 1, 1948.

Following the war, Italy became firmly tied to the West, joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949 and the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1958. It was admitted to the United Nations in 1955. In internal politics, Italy's Christian Democrats, Communists, and Socialists emerged from the war as the chief parties. The split of the Socialists into the majority Socialists (the left wing) and the minority Social Democrats (the right wing) enabled the Christian Democrats to maintain power at the head of successive coalition governments with the Social Democrats (until 1959) and other center parties and to exclude the Communists from the government. However, in the postwar years the Communists dominated the local politics of Tuscany, Umbria, and Emilia-Romagna.

In 1962, Premier Amintore Fanfani, a Christian Democrat, formed a center-left coalition with a cabinet that again included the Social Democrats, as well as the parliamentary support of the Socialist party, led by Pietro Nenni. However, Fanfani's government fell after general elections in 1963 and there was considerable uncertainty before Aldo Moro, also a Christian Democrat, was able to form a center-left coalition in late 1963. The Moro government fell in 1964 and in 1966, but on each occasion was re-formed after a brief hiatus. In late 1966, N and central Italy suffered severe flooding, with resulting damage to art treasures and libraries, especially in Florence.

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