1945-1949 History of Italy 1969-1990

Italy, 1949-1969

Administration . Foreign Policy . Domestic Policy . The Economy . Demography . Cultural History

Foreign Policy . Italy joined NATO in 1949. Somalia was returned to Italian administration, but gained independence in 1960. Italy joined the ECSC in 1951, the EEC in 1957 as a founding member. In 1955, Italy was admitted as a full member of the United Nations.
When the UN called on her member states to come to the aid of South Korea ( Korean War), Italy sent a military hospital.
In 1954 Trieste A (i.e. the city) was reintegrated into Italy, while Triest B (the rural hinterland) was integrated into Yugoslavia ( Slovenia / Croatia.

Domestic Policy . Technically, Italy had a democratic constitution. Yet the PCI (Communist Party) was one of the two forces dominating parliament, with at times over 40 % of the seats. The PCI only distanced herself from USSR policies in the wake of the Spring of Prague 1968. Italy's US allies made it clear that they did not want the PCI in government. As a consequence the remaining political parties - the large DC (Democrazia Christiana) and the smaller ones - had to form coalition governments. Practically there was little choice in the formation of coalition governments - The DC had to be the major coalition partner, and the smaller democratic parties had to join. As a consequence, Italian politics over the years became more and more corrupt (Tangentopoli, a scandalous situation sorted out in the Mani Pulite affair of the 1990es); state subsidies intended to develop the backward Mezzogiorno (as later EEC subsidies for the same purpose) mostly drained without visible result.
In the 1960es, disaffected voters turned either to the communists or to the neofascists, both regarded as honest, the latter establishing themselves as a political force and making the formation of government coalitions even more difficult, as they also were regarded unfit for government. Government coalitions were short-living, as prime ministers frequently stepped down and new coalitions had to be formed.

The Economy . Economically, Italy benefitted from the Marshall Plan as well as from EEC membership. The 1950es saw significant development; the years 1958 to 1963 are referred to as the Italian Economic Miracle. In these years, Italy's oil company, ENI, grew into a significant entity; Italy's car and fashion industries contributed to the country's rapidly rising exports. Yet, in addition to the problem of corruption and organized crime (Mafia) the country saw frequent labour unrest, strikes being called the Italian Disease. The currency, the Lira, lost further in value. The tourism industry of Italy, because of the country's history and cuisine, had enormous potential, but due to her notorious reputation for pickpockets and petty thieves, failed, and continues to fail to live up to it. Italy, despite her own economic deveopment, continued to see further emigration, not only to the U.S., Australia, Latin American countries such as Argentina, but also labor migration to Switzerland, the FRG, the UK, Belgium etc. Due to the concentration of Italy's industries in the country's north there was another, less well recorded migration - of southern Italians to the north, or to the administrative center in Rome, in search for employment.

Cultural History . Cortina d'Ampezzo hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1956; Rome hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1960. In 1959 Italian Salvatore Quasimodo won the Nobel Prize for Literature; in 1963 Italian Giulio Natta was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. In 1968, initiated by Aurelio Peccei and Alexander King, the Club of Rome was established, a club of scientists which focussed world attention on the fact that natural resources are limited.

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
ENI (It. Oil Company), has extensive history section
Olympic Games Rome 1960, from olympic.org
Article Club of Rome by Wikipedia
Club of Rome official website
CASCON Case STY : South Tyrol 1957-1969, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Italy
Historical Population Statistics : Italy, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
Tne North Atlantic Treaty, April 4th 1949, from The Great Powers and the Division of Europe : 1945-1949
REFERENCE History Book Reviews : Italy

Frances Winwar, The Land and People of Italy, Philadelphia : Lippincott (1951) revised edition 1971 [G]
Chapter 11 : What's going on in Italy ?, pp.141-159 in : John Gunther, Inside Europe Today, NY : Harper & Bros. 1961 [G]
Article Italy, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1950 pp.388-390, 1951 pp.391-394, 1952 pp.386-388, 1953 pp.387-389, 1954 pp.386-388, 1955 pp.438-441, 1956 pp.375-377, 1957 pp.438-440, 1958 pp.376-378, 1959 pp.374-376, 1960 pp.368-370, 1961 pp.373-375, 1962 pp.367-369, 1963 pp.485-487, 1964 pp.471-473, 1965 pp.459-461, 1966 pp.432-434, 1967 pp.452-455, 1968 pp.451-457, 1969 pp.441-443 [G]
Arthur Marwick, The Sixties., Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958-c.1974, Oxford : UP 1998, 903 pp KMLA Lib.Sign. 940.55 M891s
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 1957 pp.412-415, 1961 pp.388-391, 1962 pp.393-396, 1963 pp.354-357, 1964 pp.351-354, 1965 pp.366-368, 1967 pp.374-377, 1968 pp.369-372, 1969 pp.374-377, 1970 pp.379-382 [G]
Article : Italy, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopaedia Year Book 1952 pp.221-223, 1961 pp.172-174 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on March 2nd 2007

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