chapter  15
30 Pages

Resistance and renewal: Italy from 1943 to 1948

In July 1943 a ‘regime of popular unity founded on war’ col-lapsed; it was soon replaced by another regime of popular unity, founded this time on anti-Fascism. This was surprising, considering how tender a plant anti-Fascism was in 1943. Yet there were good reasons for its sudden success. The fall of Fascism left a political vacuum, and Italians abhorred that; the king had less influence on events after 8 September 1943, and could not block the anti-Fascists; the Communist leaders were moderate, and anxious for alliances; clerical politicians joined the other anti-Fascists, rather than setting up as rivals; the Americans were sympathetic and supportive. By June 1944 the anti-Fascist parties controlled the government in Rome, despite the king. By June 1946 they had established a Republic, and were drafting a new Constitution. So a new ‘regime’ emerged. It looked remarkably like the old pre-Fascist one, especially that of the Giolittian era – but without the king, without the Nationalists, without the militarism and without the High Politics.