1943-1945 History of Italy 1949-1969

Italy, 1945-1949

Foreign Policy . Domestic Policy . The Economy . Cultural History

Foreign Policy : Italy had to cede its colonial possessions, the Dodecanese Islands (1945 British military administration, 1947 annexed by Greece), its outposts in Dalmatia, Fiume and most of Istria (to Yugoslavia). The Territory of Trieste was separated from Italy, its future to be decided later by plebiscite. Venezia Giulia came briefly, later Trieste, under US military administration.
A treaty with Austria was signed, granting special status to the region of South Tyrol, with its ethnic German population majority. Italy was given a Peace Treaty on February 10th 1947, which went into force later that year. Italy became a founding member of the Council of Europe in 1949; following Tito's break with Stalin, relations between Italy and Yugoslavia improved, despite the unsolved Trieste issue.

Domestic Policy : In general, Italy received rather lenient treatment from the side of the victorious allies; allied conquest of the peninsula was widely perceived as liberation. A civilian administration was reestablished in Rome. In 1945, Italy introduced Universal Womanhood Suffrage. Political parties had been (re-)founded in the later stage of World War II, Christian Democrats (DC), Communists (PCI), Socialists (PSI) etc. A party associated with Fascism, Il fronto del' Uomo qualunque (Front for the Common Man; short-lived) competed in the local elections of 1946. In Italy no pendant to Denazification was implemented. Cabinets were short-lived. In 1947 a new democratic, republican constitution was passed - the monarchy, after a plebiscite, was abolished; King Victor Emmanuel III. had abdicated in 1946.

The Economy : As elsewhere, Italy's economy, in the immediate years after the war, suffered from a lack of almost everything. Emigration to the US picked up. The peace treaty required Italy to pay repatrations - 125 million $ to Yugoslavia, 105 million to Greece, 25 million to Ethiopia, 5 million to Albania. In 1947, Italy heavily subsidized bread in order to keep prices low, i.e. affordable to the poor; inflation, in a deregulating economy, was a major concern. Italy benefitted from Marshall Plan aid in 1948-1950. Prices stabilized and the unemployment rate declined sharply.

Cultural History : Italian athletes won 29 medals in the Summer Olympics held in London in 1948; the country ranked 4th in the final medal standings. Roberto osselini in 1945 filmed Open City, in 1946 Paisa, in 1948 Germania, Anno Zero.

Cronologia, Italian language site on Italian and World History
History of Italy : Republic, from Wikipedia
Political Resources on the Net : Italy
Timeline of Italian history, from BBC News, focussed on recent history
The History of Fiat, from Fiat New Zealand, from Fiat, from Wikipedia
De Gasperi Net, in Italian
Simone Pelizza, the 1948 Italian Elections, from World Conflicts Document Project
Biography of Alcide de Gasperi, by Dan Launer, from Wikipedia
Article Italian War Crimes, from Wikipedia
You can be like us. Selling the Marshall Plan, by David Ellwood, posted on Phil Taylor's Website; on Italy
Italy 1947-1948. Free Elections Hollywood Style, from William Blum, Killing Hope, U.S. interventions in the Third World, posted by Third World Traveller
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Italy
Historical Population Statistics : Italy, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
1947 constitution, from ICL, Univ. Würzburg, and from Agreement for the Provisional Administration of Venezia Giulia; June 9, 1945, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
World Conflicts : Historical Documents
Declaration of the founding of the Cominform at the Conference of the Communist Parties of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, the U.S.S.R., France, Czechoslovakia and Italy, Wiliza 1947, from The Great Powers and the Division of Europe : 1945-1949
Paris Peace Treaty for Italy 1947, from Australian Treaty Series
Letter by Alcide de Gasperi, proposing a referendum on the Italian constitution, April 6th 1946, from World Conflicts : Historical Documents
Photos of the Italian Election of 1946, from World Conflicts Document Project
Olympic Games 1948, Final Medal Standings, from Olympic Museum
Image - Marshall Plan in Italy, from ena
Image - Marshall Plan Housing Project in Italy, from ena
1949 article from Corriere della Sera on Marshall Plan in Italy, from ena
1947 article from Corriere della Sera on Marshall Plan in Italy, from ena
REFERENCE History Book Reviews : Italy

Article Italy, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 pp.410-412, 1947 pp.428-430, 1948 pp.414-416, 1949 pp.366-369 [G]
Article Fascism, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 p.300, 1947 p.313, 1948 pp.297-299
Article Italy, in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.22 pp.165-247, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.22
Article : Italy, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.365-369; Peace Conference and Pacts pp.542-546 (on events of 1946) [G]
Article : Italy, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.230-233 [G]
P.A. Allum and Donald Sassoon, Italy, pp.168-184 in : Martin McCauley (ed.), Communist Power in Europe 1944-1949, London : MacMillan 1977 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 25th 2009

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