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THE BIRTH OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC

After the war he began to question the monarchical form of government. King Vittorio Emanuele III attempted to save the royal power abdicated in favour of his son Umberto II, however, on June 2, 1946, a plebiscite marked the end of the monarchy and the birth of the Italian Republic at the same time were elected delegates to Assembly Constituent Assembly, with the task of drafting a new constitution. For the first time in Italy, the women had the right to vote.

On July 1, Enrico De Nicola was appointed the first President of the Italian Republic. June 25, 1946 officially began the work of the Constituent Assembly with Giuseppe Saragat the Presidency and the new republican constitution came into force on 1 January 1948.

In the meantime, had been signed in 1947 with the Treaty of Paris which was formally and finally signed peace with the Allied powers were enshrined and the consequences of the entrance and defeat in World War II, with national territorial mutilation: Istria and Dalmatia transferred to the nascent Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Dodecanese to Greece, the hill of the Colle di Tenda and Briga to France, the Isle of Saseno Albania, the payment of war reparations to the Soviet Union and the loss of all the Italian colonial possessions.

In those years, Italy worked the crucial choices that would determine his own destiny: led by Alcide De Gasperi, who presided over a national unity government composed of three anti-fascist parties of the Committee of National Liberation, Italy agreed to join the sphere of influence of the Atlantic, pro-American and anti-Communist, as opposed to the Soviet bloc. This position, however, lit a political competition between the two major parties, the DC and the PCI. The latter will then be confined to the opposition because of ideological and financial ties with the totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union, bonds that would have resulted, in the case of an entry to the government, any rupture with the international United States and of the agreements of Yalta. Such a political settlement also deprive Italy of a logic of alternation until the fall of the Berlin Wall, generating an anomaly compared to other western democracies where Communist parties enjoyed a strength and a consensus much smaller than in Italy. This situation will degenerate into consociational practices more or less hidden.

Another anomaly typically Italian was the attitude of the Socialist Party (then called PSIUP), which in contrast to the situation in other Western countries decided to squeeze more and more on the positions of the Communists, for fear of being subtracted from them hegemony over working masses, thus accepting also the dependence on Moscow. Some members of the party, led by Saragat, disapproving the choice of binding to a totalitarian regime like the Soviet Union, worked a split in January 1947, creating the Socialist Party of Italian Workers, which later become Italian Social Democratic Party.

The third De Gasperi government fell on May 31, 1947 for the release of socialists and communists. Began a long period of government known as “centrism”, because it is dominated by parties exclusively located in the center of the political spectrum. Italy became a great site, thanks to the Marshall Plan aid bestowed by the United States, which helped to restore of the state budget. In contemporary developments occurred in politics and morality.

In the elections of 1948, fears grew for a victory of the Left, united in the Popular Democratic Front, also for the succession of incidents of retaliation by the PCI devices not only against ex-fascists, but also against ordinary citizens, priests, and anyone who was not explicitly affiliated to communist ideology, accused of fascism only because it was considered “class enemy”. Among the most disturbing, there was the occupation of the prefecture of Milan by the exponent of the PCI Giancarlo Pajetta with the help of armed gangs, which was followed by two days of insurrection in which seemed to approach a coup, as long as the national leader of the PCI Togliatti, under pressure from Stalin, ordered the rebels to retreat.

Despite the competition from Front of Common Men the 1948 elections were resolved finally with the victory of the Christian Democrats, and the burning, unexpected defeat of the Popular Front: this had not gone beyond the sum of the votes of the PSI and PCI obtained in 1946. The home defeat communist was badly digested, the discontent erupted suddenly during an attack in Togliatti 14 July 1948, when the news of his supposed death there were uprisings in all Italian cities who demanded the dismissal of the De Gasperi government democratically elected. Togliatti did not die, and was saved by the doctors, and it was a providential his own radio announcement in which he called the “comrades” to lay down their arms.

In 1949, at the request of the United States, Italy decided to join NATO, an alliance between all the countries of Western Europe as opposed to the Soviet bloc, a decision that sparked the protests and uprisings back of the left in the Italian squares. In addition to the political unrest Italy was still rebuilding. The high prevalence Democrat governments that succeeded, all led De Gasperi, allowed to launch important reforms such as the House plan, by which the state facilitated the construction of 75,000 houses for the workers. He was then launched in 1950 agrarian reform, which is considered among the most important of the Second World War, which implemented through the forced expropriation of the great landowners, the distribution of uncultivated lands to agricultural labourers thus making them small business owners. If on the one hand the reform was to meet the demands of the farmers of the South, in other respects considerably reduced the size of farms, in fact removing the ability to transform them into business advanced farms.

Among other acts of the season centrist I note there was the implementation of a tax reorganisati and the establishment of the Fund for the South to finance industrial projects aimed at economic development of southern Italy. Industrial production accelerated and appeared the first signs of consumerism. In 1954 also the first start of the RAI television, which led to a dramatic increase in the sale of televisions.

The political tension between DC and PCI, however, not attenuated. The growth on the right side of the Italian Social Movement, born from the ashes of the Italian Social Republic, and the Monarchist National Party of owner Achille Lauro, would also have been able to steal votes to DC. Several Christian Democrats, including the De Gasperi, preferred to avoid entering into agreements with these smaller forces to form a single block anti-communist, who looked with favour instead representatives of the Catholic Church itself, choosing to attack them head-on. It was thus passed the Scelba law prohibiting reconstitution of the dissolved Fascist Party (although never applied), and a new electoral law, “swindle law”, which involved a majority of the premium to the party (the DC in intention) that had exceeded the threshold of 50% of the votes. This law would hurt both the left who maintained a broad consensus elections in the country, but precisely the rights that they would have seen excluded or reduced their representatives to Parliament. In the elections of 1953, however, by a whisker the DC did not get an absolute majority of votes, and the mechanism of “fraud law” is not clicked. It was a defeat for the DC that brought an end to the political experience of De Gasperi.

The following governments, rather weak (Pella, Fanfani, Scelba), made out the need of a breach of centrism, now that the DC struggled to govern alone with its minor allies of the center. A new scenarios that would allow such an opening to the Socialists will look more and more favour with the new president Giovanni Gronchi, leftist Christian Democrat, backed by entrepreneur Enrico Mattei, President of Agip, one of the most important and powerful view post-war Italian, who gave a decisive impulse to the oil development of Italy, as opposed to the dominance of the so-called seven sisters.

Major upheavals were produced in house communist, following the death of Stalin in 1953, then surrounded by an aura of myth, his figure was heavily downsized a few years later when it was revealed the face of ruthless by his successor Khrushchev, who denounced the crimes and atrocities, such as the purges and deportations to the gulag. The news of the lawsuit was a shock to the communist world, who tried to deny the crimes, but had consequences in Hungary in 1956 rebelled against the regime Soviet leaving the Warsaw Pact. The resulting bloody suppression of the Hungarian uprising by the Soviet armed aroused waves of anger and aversion to communism in Western countries. In PCI emerged for the first time dissent, by the intellectuals of the Manifesto of the 101, who were expelled from the party, while Togliatti decided to defend the Soviet repression and to continue to side with the USSR.

In 1954, meanwhile, had been signed the Memorandum of London with which the Free Territory of Trieste was divided into two zones, one assigned to Italy and once in the former Yugoslavia. In 1955, Italy was also admitted to the UN.

Between 1958 and 1963 the Italian economy, but also the society and families, underwent a radical transformation from a predominantly agricultural country Italy became one of the seven major industrial powers of the world.

Then Italy excelled especially in two large high-tech sectors such as microelectronics and chemistry, thanks to industrial groups such as Olivetti and Montecatini, but also in the pharmaceutical industry, in nuclear power, aviation, telecommunications, sectors that Following disappear or end up in the hands of the foreigners.

There were important changes in nutrition and women's lives, thanks to the diffusion of household appliances, in particular washing machine and refrigerator. Even cars and motorcycles goods became accessible to a large number of Italians. It claimed brands like Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Autobianchi, Gilera, Piaggio & C..

Contributed to the rapid growth of Italy the high availability of labor, due to a strong flow of migration from the countryside to the cities, and from the South to the North. This phenomenon is caused to some extent an increase in the economic gap between the North and the South. But growth also contributed to an external factor, namely the creation of the European Common Market (ECM), preceded by the creation in 1951 of the European Coal and Steel Community and the creation of the EEC in 1957, to which Italy joined immediately. With the creation of the MEC, there was the opening of European borders to trade, with the consequent increase in exports and trade in Europe.

If the country emerged from backwardness in which it poured, there were, however, negative aspects linked to the “economic miracle”, as a tumultuous growth of urban centers. This remarkable development had to among other things, to state intervention in the economy , made possible mainly by the increase in public spending and the creation of state-owned companies. Crucial in this respect was the realisation of certain infrastructures necessary for the development of the market: an important role was filled by IRI, a public institution of origin fascist founded in 1933, which intervened substantially in the construction of the motorway network (with the establishment of the Società Autostrade ) and strengthening of the transport sector, not only automotive, but also urban, marine and aviation (foundation Alitalia).

With the departure of De Gasperi, the void left in the leadership of the DC was gradually filled by two new personalities, Amintore Fanfani and Aldo Moro. Already in 1956 Fanfani thought the time ripe for an alliance with the PSI, now that this party had decided to break ties with the Communist Party, contesting its submission to the Soviet communist regime, especially during the Soviet repression of the Hungarian uprising. In the PSI remained strong resistance against a possible alliance with the Christian Democrats.

The 1958 elections marked a major success of the members of the center-left parties envisioned by Fanfani. The latter then formed a government centered on the alliance with the Social Democrats of Giuseppe Saragat, as a premise for a future alliance with the Socialists of Pietro Nenni. Among the major acts of the new government, oriented on issues dear to the left, as a pro-Arab foreign policy or the support of Eni from Enrico Mattei, there was the abolition of brothels with the Merlin Law, and the launch the new rules of the road to cope with the severe increase in car accidents, due to the progressive mass motorisation.

In March 1959, however, within the DC, was emerging the current Dorotei, which challenged the decisiveness of Fanfani, and the fact that he concentrated in his hands three powers: the President of the DC, Chairman of the Board, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Dorotei arrived in Sicily to support the Democratic Silvio Milazzo, supported by a convergence of MSI and Communists, against the candidate of Fanfani: Barbaro Lo Giudice. Finding himself isolated, no longer rely on his hard trying to find an agreement with the PSI, Fanfani resigned from all three positions.

In 1960, the President of the Republic Giovanni Gronchi then entrusted to Fernando Tambroni the government that was supposed to finally launch the new course of the center-left. Faced with yet another procrastination Nenni and socialist basis, however, Tambroni decided to look elsewhere for the votes he needed, and he found them in the Italian Social Movement, who gave in exchange for his “customs clearance”. The government Tambroni thus received several allegations by the opposition of neo-fascism, but it was only a few months later, on the pretext of a congress of the MSI to keep in Genoa, a city regarded as “anti-fascist” because gold medal of the Resistance, which broke out of heavy street protests instigated by the PCI, who were killed in clashes and also in other Italian cities.

Following serious events in Genoa Tambroni resigned and was replaced by Fanfani returned he found that this time the socialists no longer available to an alliance with the Christian Democrats, mindful of the experience just passed, from which the MSI will suffer isolation from the so-called constitutional period that will last at least until the mid-eighties. It was launched as a government that was standing on outside support of the PSI, defined by Aldo Moro of “parallel convergences', which will last almost three years. Among his acts of relief there was the nationalisation of electricity (which in 1964 lead to the emergence of Enel) ordered by the forces of the left, but opposed by the PLI and private companies Edison and Adriatic Society of Electricity. Then there was the extension of compulsory education up to 14 years with the creation of the unified school, to prevent drop out of the boys started to work early.

In August of 1960 had taken place in the meantime the Olympics in Rome. Although the Italian national unity is now consolidating themselves, thanks to the spread of the common language conveyed by television, persisted episodes of separatism, including the Night of the fires in 1961 in South Tyrol. Also in 1961 occurred the centenary celebrations of Italian unification: the President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy said: “All of us, in the broadest sense, we owe something to the Italian experience. It is an extraordinary historical fact: what we are and where we believe it originated in this strip of land that juts out into the Mediterranean. Everything for the protection of which we fight today originated in Italy, and before that in Greece. (…) The Risorgimento, which gave birth to modern Italy, such as the American Revolution that gave origins to our country, has been the awakening of the most deep-rooted ideals of Western civilisation: the desire for freedom and defence of individual rights. The state exists to protect these rights, there are thanks to the generosity of the state. This concept, which dates back to Greece and Italy, was, in my opinion, one of the most important factors in the development of our country. (…) As modern Italy has only a century of life, culture and history of the Italian peninsula go back more than two thousand years. Western civilisation as we know it today, whose traditions and spiritual values ​​have given great meaning to life in Western Europe and in the western Atlantic community, was born on the banks of the Tiber ».

The following 1963 elections saw a weakening of the DC and the PSI, and a simultaneous strengthening of the PCI on the left, who had harshly criticised their covenant, and to the right of the PLI, which had accused the government of causing the rise in prices and to inflate public spending. Fanfani was forced to retire from the political scene, while it formed a government for the summer “beach” waiting for new developments. It was in the fall of that year occurred the terrible failure of the Vajont dam, in the valley of Veneto, which caused the death of about 2,000 people.

In December 1963 he was appointed Aldo Moro to form the first true government of center-left “organic”, with the actual entry of the Socialists in the government. It was a christening in which both the DC and the PSI arrived exhausted after years of negotiations, conferences, and hesitations. Also on this occasion there were the discontent within both parties, which exploded a few months later, in May 1964, when the Moro government fell to a question of public funding for Catholic schools. But already the Minister for the Budget, the Christian Democrat Emilio Colombo, Moro had criticised for excessive docility towards some reforms advocated by socialists, like the one on the Regions and urbanism, and Nenni on which he refused to give in, even though the PSI had outvoted its most radical exponent, Riccardo Lombardi.

In front of the stall had been created, the President of the Republic Segni summoned the commander of the Carabinieri Giovanni De Lorenzo, who took part in following a meeting with Moro and some leaders of DC. A few years later we will talk about the attempt, or rather the threat, to implement a subversive plan, known as the “Piano Solo”, to fall into line the left, and convince her to soften their positions. Nenni, probably made aware of this possibility, he decided to return to the PSI to the government; Lombardi left the direction of the PSI, and his confidant Giolitti was never confirmed as a minister in the new government, which will be in the years during which to be much more moderate than the last, and whose political agenda will be removed the reforms sought by the Socialists. There was also a split in the PSI by the largest component of the extremist party, which gave birth to the PSIUP.

In 1966, instead of the PSI, the direction of which was passed by Nenni to Francesco De Martino, after helping to elect Saragat President of the Republic, will merge with the PSDI, fixing the splitting of the same Saragat in 1946, so going to the Party Socialist Unity. The merger, however, will prove to be unsuccessful in the elections of 1968, after which the two parties will return to be divided.


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