49th Parallel

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The Partnership Between the Democrazia Cristiana and the United States,
1947 - 1948

Kaeten Mistry The University of Birmingham

One of the greatest misconceptions for historians analysing the 1948 Italian parliamentary elections is in underestimating the bilateral relationship between the Unites States and the leading Italian political party, the Democrazia Cristiana (DC). As the US looked to foster and sustain anti-communist governments in its reconstruction of post-war Europe, it is easy to dismiss parties such as the DC as merely following orders from Washington, who in the hands of an external force executed rather than made decisions.[1] This perception masks the fact that despite being the significantly weaker partner of the Americans, the DC was a partner nonetheless.


However, with a serious imbalance in power inherent to the relationship, the DC was constrained in all dealings with the US since the concessions on offer and the terms of the alliance were dictated by Washington. Behind the official rhetoric both maintained distinctly independent objectives, and in order to implement their own policies the DC looked to appease US foreign policy in order to foster economic and political support from Washington essential to realising their goals. This tactic was only possible through an interactive relationship between the two, despite the substantial disparity in power.


Among the numerous problems facing Italy as of the start of 1947, of the most pressing were a stern Peace Treaty that showed little sign of favourable ratification, insufficient economic support for a flagging economy, diplomatic impotence in international affairs, and suspicious European neighbours in Great Britain and France. Within this climate the popular leftwing parties of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and Italian Socialist Party (PSI) were making inroads into DC domination of Italian politics. Since Italy changed sides and joined the Allied war effort against the Nazis, only the US had “shown some goodwill and understanding toward Italian aspirations and needs,”[2] and given they were the only source of assistance, the decision of the DC to court US favour was a simple and obvious choice to make.


For the US, the growth in popularity of the Communist party in Italy was a serious threat to their designs for a post-war Europe aligned with Washington. While initial opinion of Italian Prime Minister and DC leader Alcide De Gasperi was cautious, the spectre of a communist victory in the upcoming elections was deemed increasingly likely, and as such the US committed its “prestige and economic resources to the only available bulwark against a communist-dominated Italian government- the Christian Democrat Party.”[3] Far from showing shared principles, the basis upon which the DC-US relationship was built was a “marriage of convenience”[4] in offering both sides an opportunity to tackle a common foe and to advance their respective strategies. While they shared a common goal of defeating a well organised and strong left-wing PCI-PSI Popular Front at the polls, both the Americans and Italians were working to very different agendas.


The alliance was based on a lowest common denominator of anti-Communism, which the election result of 1948 subsequently contributed to weakening. For the US the April vote went a long way to achieving their principle goal of ‘stabilising’ the country and was a further step in their plans to consolidate Western Europe firmly within a US domain. Varsori notes that after the election De Gasperi and Italian Foreign Minister Count Carlo Sforza found Italian attempts at pressing the US on the Communist issue were increasingly futile, as it “became largely an ineffective tool.”[5] This contrasts to the sixteen months prior to April 1948 when the American Government responded with great urgency and determination to allegations of Communist activity or ‘subversion.’


The relationship’s reliance on the anti-Communism issue began to show signs of strain in the lead up to the April vote as an increasingly over-anxious US policy placed De Gasperi’s election campaign at risk. The Italian leadership had repeatedly requested arms for internal security forces to counter what was described as a genuine threat of a Communist insurrection, but retracted its request a month before the election. The US Embassy in Rome reported in March 1948 that the DC leader no longer desired a covert shipment of weapons in case of the negative publicity it would generate if uncovered by opposition parties. In successive memos to the Embassy, Secretary of State George Marshall noted his “complete surprise” at this development in light of the previous grave and urgent calls for arms by De Gasperi’s government, and he urged reconsideration on the grounds that if Italy were insecure, it would “adversely affect US national interests.”[6]


De Gasperi was able to devise a compromise whereby the arms were stored in Germany until after the elections, but some in the US Administration subsequently considered the incident as a sign of the Italian Prime Minister’s reluctance to fight Communism.[7] While the affair serves to highlight a shrewd degasperiano move in accommodating an anxious US while still gaining a favourable outcome for Italy,[8] the episode also demonstrates how the alliance was based on a different interpretation as to the nature of the ‘communist menace’ and how best to defeat it.


The alleged threat of the PCI and the possibility of a coup d’état was frequently emphasised by the Italians and highlights the only effective method at their disposal in influencing the US to provide assistance to the party.[9] The US responded to such warnings by reinforcing the DC economically, politically, and even militarily in order to secure their ‘national interests,’ as the Americans looked to promote anti-Communist Italian forces prior to the elections.[10] However, American intelligence and policy-makers consistently viewed the situation solely from their own agenda and never gave serious consideration to DC motives and the domestic situation within Italy in which they working. The consequences of a policy that failed to acknowledge internal forces within sovereign nation-states were never considered in early cases such as Italy where ruling elite’s remained predominantly pro-Western. This shortcoming in US interventionist foreign policy, eventually recognised in regions outside of Europe, would raise its head with disastrous effect in later Cold War cases.


To obtain more assistance, the DC established its position in accordance to the US from De Gasperi’s trip to America in January 1947, as “a stable, close relationship with Washington became the simultaneous objective and instrument of Italian foreign policy.”[11] The need for US support was crucial to Italian foreign policy in addition to consolidating the DC’s own domestic position, as De Gasperi and his party were always at the helm of coalition governments and never in sole command.[12] By welding their interests to that of the US the DC positioned itself as the natural ally for the American anti-Communist crusade, whilst guaranteeing that De Gasperi and Sforza, the key figures in Italian foreign policy, retained their hegemony of Italian politics.[13]


The January trip was equally significant for the Americans as they waited to see De Gasperi in person and listen to how he intended to tackle Communism before committing any support for him.[14] The communist issue was quickly established as the hot topic that aroused interest in Washington for the Italian question as De Gasperi noted in his dealings with influential Republican Congressional leaders.[15] The trip helped clarify to both the US and DC that a mutual alliance offered a solution to both their predicaments, with De Gasperi returning to Rome in the knowledge that US support would be forthcoming if Italians played to US concerns over Communism in the correct way.


From the very beginning the US declared what they regarded as the key issue and thus implicitly dictated the position the Italians would need to take if they wished to receive US aid. Thus, a vicious cycle was established whereby support would only be afforded to anti-Communist governments, but only anti-Communist governments would qualify for such assistance.[16] After speaking to President Truman and Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Italian Ambassador to Washington Alberto Tarchiani clarified the US position to De Gasperi in April stating the US favoured a “homogenous government,” indicating American assistance was only likely if the DC expelled the left wing parties from the coalition government.[17]


There is validity in Leffler’s claim that the removal of Communist groups from both the French and Italian governments in mid-1947 undoubtedly had their own domestic reasons, “but it is questionable whether they would have taken such risks without American encouragement and blandishments.”[18] De Gasperi had assumed fronting a government without the Communists was impossible prior to US sponsorship of the DC. His fears were allayed, particularly with the announcements of the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan, as it became apparent that with US support De Gasperi could safely rule without the left in his coalition.[19] This served to cement De Gasperi’s conviction in the alliance being the right choice for Italy,[20] however, this should not be confused as peddling to US demands for this was very much in Italian, and specifically DC, interests.


The American preoccupation with countering the PCI took precedent above and beyond all other concerns, thus allowing the DC an opportunity to solidify their conservative influence on Italian political life. At the end of June 1947, DC Minister of Labour Amintore Fanfani highlighted how the DC leader was able to dominate Italian politics to US officials in Rome, noting De Gasperi “is in a class by himself as a manipulator of purely political techniques.” On the same day Ugo La Malfa and Enrico Martino, two Republican Deputies of the Constituent Assembly, suggested De Gasperi was making “no serious attempt” to enlarge his government to admit more democratic parties as he had pledged, and as the US had been pressing him to do. These sentiments were reinforced by the outgoing secretary of the Action Party, Riccardo Lombardi, who reiterated De Gasperi’s reluctance to accommodate smaller moderate parties into his government and the nature of his party’s conservative policies.[21]

A memo from influential American Ambassador James Dunn in Rome confirms the US government had been made well aware there was a great amount of discord within the Italian political system toward tactics employed by the DC. In a meeting with Dunn, the leader of the Republican Party, Randolfo Pacciardi emphasised how the “time is ripe to unhinge De Gasperi from ‘right wing conservatives and monarchists,’” in order to give the Italian government a more democratic and representational feel.[22] In an authoritative study of US-Italian relations based largely on US documents, Miller notes “Italy’s conservatives, after surviving the debacle of fascism and the upheaval of the war, re-imposed their control over their society with American aid.”[23] The US were far from oblivious as to what the DC was doing, but being that they were so focused on defeating communism at the elections, any doubts took a backseat and were suppressed. While De Gasperi eventually did incorporate other moderate centre-parties into his coalition, this was done at a time of his choosing and in accordance with his terms, as the American Ambassador himself acknowledged at the end of the year.[24]


The DC cannily worked to appease potential American reservations by presenting anti-communism as a mutual goal they both shared. This originated from a perilous Italian assessment that a “lack of experience on the part of the Americans” offered “experienced and Machiavellian European politicians some good chances to exploit American naive enthusiasm.”[25] However, concessions were more forthcoming when the Italian situation was intricately tied to general US Cold War objectives, as can be seen by De Gasperi’s request for arms to counter a communist insurrection. This task was far from easy to accomplish, and as Galante notes, “the process of welding the national interests of the DC and the strategic interests of the United States was an arduous process in view of the need to overcome, elude or ingest numerous national and international obstacles.”[26] Nevertheless, this approach was fundamental to bridging the substantial asymmetry of power between the partners and was the only means through which the DC was able to gain American attention for their ‘mutual interests.’

The Italian leaders pressed for a firm commitment to the DC but was presented as principally serving American Cold War interests. In a meeting with Acting Secretary of State Robert Lovett, Tarchiani stated his government’s belief that a broad Soviet strategy to dominate Europe threatened the independence of Italy. He pointed out how the US commitment to Greece and Turkey had deterred Russian intentions since the Marshall Plan had brought the fellow Mediterranean states under “direct US protection.” Tarchiani asserted the PCI could count on the support of  the Soviet Union and Tito in Yugoslavia, and indirectly suggested the US adopt a similar stance in regards to Italy.[27] The DC adopted an approach whereby “any request for support was presented as mutually desirable, as a manifestation of the matching interests of the United States and the Christian Democrat domestic policy.”[28]


Toward the end of 1947, Dunn reported to Washington that De Gasperi, “wishes to speak to me about an idea that he has of the US making a statement recalling the treaty of peace with Italy and the Charter of the UN and reminding the public of the proper right and duty of intervening whenever the territorial integrity of Italy might be in danger or the democratic anti-totalitarian form of the government of the country might be threatened.”[29] Although the US would make no such comment, the memo demonstrates how the DC aimed to appease US concerns, while looking to safeguard their own position of power within Italy, to the extent of compromising its territorial sovereignty by issuing an open invitation for US intervention. With firm US support, the DC looked to implement their own foreign policy goal of bringing Italy’s European status up to a par with Britain and France, since De Gasperi and Sforza always looked to their fellow European nations as the more ‘natural’ partners to the Italians.[30] US support for DC hegemony was fundamental to allowing the ruling Italian elite the space and freedom in which to pursue their own objectives.


Although the US proposed a model of democratic European nations, their desire for an anti-Communist government in Italy took precedence, thus leaving the stamp of the DC’s conservative policies further impressed on Italian politics. Italy was drawn further from the reformist objectives that could have addressed the serious imbalance in wealth between the middle and working classes, which Fortune magazine reported in September 1947 as being principally due to the laissez-faire economic policies of the Minister of Finance, Luigi Einaudi. While able to control the rate of inflation of the lira, Einaudi was largely responsible for the injustices of the economic climate, which benefited wealthy industrialists but punished the poorest members of society, namely the majority of Italians. The subsequent mass redundancies and strikes were construed as evidence of the start of a Communist insurrection, but many studies suggest the blame can be traced back to the DC’s own policies which created “a wider and more bitter breach between the state and the working-classes.”[31]


US hopes for reform in Italy faced a binary conflict alongside their desire for a staunch anti-Communist ruling party. The inconsistency and contradiction in US foreign policy allowed actors like the DC the freedom to operate in their relations with the US,[32] so that despite the skewed balance of power, the Italians were able to benefit despite having little to offer in return aside from vocal reassurances and sentiments of compliance. “Italy was no stranger to crisis,” writes Di Nolfo, and “throughout the centuries of the modern era, experienced many of them, both before and after its unification, and the lesson they had taught was the traditional one of pendularity, of exploitation of contradictions among the victors.”[33] The skill in exploiting the vulnerabilities of their stronger partner enabled the DC to shrewdly use the issue of communism to extract concessions from Washington while furthering their own goals.


However, it is important not to exaggerate the dynamic between the DC and US government. As willing as the Americans were in supporting anti-Communist forces, they were always in control of the direction the relationship took. The US did not look beyond integrating Italy into a western system favourable to themselves, as they were less interested in the international dimension to Italian reconstruction and drew a line between Italian international and domestic concerns. Given the emphasis Italian leaders such as Sforza placed on Italy’s international status in Europe and the Mediterranean, it again highlights how Italian objectives, that were reliant on US backing, could only be realised if calls for American support were made in accordance with US Cold War concerns.


De Gasperi’s political astuteness allowed him to prevent the US from sending a covert shipment of arms but American determination in securing their interests in Italy meant they were happy to conduct operations that would not be disclosed to their Italian partners. The arrival in January 1948 of a US Marine regimental combat team to bolster US naval forces in the Mediterranean was uncovered and heavily criticised as an aggressive manoeuvre by both the Communist press and the New York Times. Washington’s claims of innocence could not mask a deliberate gesture of flexing their military might by bolstering their presence in the region. De Gasperi was not aware of the US move since the Americans were never obliged to report to their junior partner. Similarly, Truman’s authorisation of covert operations in response to the National Security Council’s 1/3 directive was made solely with US interests in mind, as De Gasperi had previously made it quite clear he disfavoured any activity that could have a devastating affect on his election chances through bad publicity.[34]


The American conception of the partnership was very different to the one interpreted by the Italians, yet the DC’s appeasing approach also helped to maintain the disparity in power. Italian subservience in order to gain concessions from the US emphasised ‘shared values’ but led to a miscalculation whereby the US assumed that what they looked to do in Italy was also in the interest of the DC. The Americans subsequently failed to note what the Italians were looking to accomplish from the relationship. When the truth finally became apparent, it served to diminish the view of Italian politics in Washington and US faith in the DC.

Italian enthusiasm for the Marshall Plan was immediate from the moment the Secretary of State made his speech, with Tarchiani announcing the Italian government’s “full adherence”[35] to Marshall’s economic aid package. The Italians linked their cause to that of the US but the Americans failed to consider the DC could be acting in their own interests. Esposito provides an enlightening study into how both the Italian and French governments were able to use Marshall Plan funds for their own economic policies and deflect US attempts to impose an economic model based on the wishes of Washington. She states, “on balance, what is most remarkable is that American and European documents all show that both France and Italy, each in its own way, managed to maintain an independent position vis-à-vis the American superpower consistently.”[36]


In a later memo sent to Sforza analysing the problems of Italian utilisation of Marshall Plan funds, Italian Ambassador to Paris Pietro Quaroni aptly summarised the difficulties that had developed between the DC and US:


The American authorities underrated our problems, our lack of organisation and capacity to benefit from U.S. aid. We disregarded some American fixed ideas…we provided them with wrong information, we made promises, which we were unable or did not want to keep… The Americans have no confidence in our ability and they think our Government is unable to rule, our Civil Service to carry out any programme, our people to believe any plan. American confidence in our promises, in our projects, in our effectiveness is very scanty.[37]


A misconception as to the nature of the relationship was not exclusive to the US, as the election result led some Italians “to an over-estimation of the role Italy could have in American strategy. Some top officials believed that the support the Truman Administration had shown for De Gasperi’s policy could be regarded as the achievement of an Italian-American special relationship.”[38] In fact, this idea had been emphasised by Italian conservative circles, both inside and outside the DC, after De Gasperi’s return from America in January 1947. During the announcement of a $100m Export-Import Bank loan to Italy, strong public statements asserted its retraction if the government passed into the hands of the left.[39] The DC presented themselves as the sole party that could gain the assistance needed for Italian recovery and the only party who enjoyed a favourable relationship with the US.


As the election date drew closer the US increasingly aligned themselves with the DC through official statements and gestures along with the covert campaign it undertook to boost the DC coalition at the voting booth. This was construed as a ‘privilege’ afforded the DC by the US, and subsequently misread as exclusive treatment for the party. However, this was a continuation of a theme the DC utilised in their domestic election campaign as they never missed an opportunity to emphasise their unique partnership with the Truman Administration. At the second DC National Congress in November 1947, De Gasperi responded to alleged PCI-inspired violence as an attack on ‘his government and democracy,’ and promised further co-operation with the Americans.[40] The DC exaggeration of their relationship with the US was partly due to their own delusion.


The true nature of the relationship became most evident in the post-election period when Italian need for US assistance was less urgent and the bond between the partners became increasingly tenuous. In their efforts to reconstruct Europe, the US could not overcome “the fact that the other non-communist states were always to retain a very different conception of their national interests from the one that Washington advanced for them.”[41] Far from cementing the strong alliance that would serve US national security interests in the Mediterranean, the April elections proved to be the climax of a perennially uneasy relationship with a DC Italian government. American policy toward Italy in the 1950’s evidences there was no longer a mutual anti-Communist consensus between the two as the US embarked on an aggressive covert campaign to not only nullify the PCI but to completely eradicate it.[42]


The radical US policy “collided with the intrinsic conservatism of the centrist and moderate stabilization promoted by the Christian Democrats,”[43] and saw the final nail hammered into the coffin of the partnership. Subsequently, not only did the US step up their direct interference in the country, particularly through the Italian trade unions, but came to realise the DC use of anti-Communist rhetoric was in a very different context to their own. In 1953 new US Ambassador to Rome Clare Booth Luce “rejected the caution to avoid flagrant American intervention in Italy’s domestic affairs,” and revealed how anti-Communism was the only way the DC was continually able to receive money and support from the US government.[44] As Del Pero succinctly summarises:


Political opportunism certainly helps to explain the lukewarm reception given by Christian Democratic representatives to American pressures. (With) guaranteed American economic support and military protection within the western security system, Christian Democrats…frequently tailored their ‘Atlanticism’ to the possibility of obtaining additional aid and concessions from Washington. This strategy could be implemented only by preserving the presence of a strong (but not too strong) Communist Party, which obliged the USA to support the DC (as the only reliable interlocutor Washington had in Italy), consequently strengthening the DC hold on political power… Christian Democracy never ceased regarding the PCI as a justus hostis, a legitimate enemy to be defeated, rather than eliminated as the United States would have wished.[45]



The election brought together the focused efforts of numerous actors, including the US, DC, Vatican, Italian Socialist Workers Party (PSLI), Italian Republican Party (PRI), Italian-American lobby group, Great Britain, and France. Akin to the DC-US relationship, rather than highlighting similar values, the combined effort of all the parties merely represented a point at which mutual lines of interests intersected one another.[46] DC belief in a ‘special relationship’ with Washington was testament to their misunderstanding of US motives toward the election itself. Some Italian officials felt that with this ‘privileged position’ in hand, Italy could achieve her main goal of re-establishing herself as a European power on an even keel with Great Britain and France.[47] Once more, the consequences of such erroneous sentiments were not seen in the 1947-1948 period when DC-US relations were at their strongest but would be felt in the aftermath of the election as the coalition began to drift apart.


The frequently branded “empire by invitation”[48] phrase is a useful point of reference in any debate on US involvement in Italy prior to elections in April 1948, as there is no doubt the DC wanted the US to come into their country with their money and political weight. However, the definition clouds the fact that Italy was only one case among several at the start of 1947, and the US had no overall plan for Europe when they inherited responsibility for Greece from the British in February. The US was evidently ‘invited’ into Italy by the DC, but there was also an interactive relationship, albeit restricted, between the two parties, which played a significant role in shaping the face of Italy.


While the Italians looked to US support, there were no great aspirations toward American values or general agreement with their Cold War aims.[49] De Gasperi originally looked to maintain a neutralist stance for Italy but it quickly became evident that to accept American aid demanded a firm commitment to the American camp. There is a certain element of truth to the accusations made by the PCI-PSI Front in early 1948 against the DC elite of “turning Italy into an American satellite, sacrificing national independence in exchange for American backing for their personal political futures.”[50] These sacrifices are understood in the context of Italy’s position as of the start of 1947 and taking into consideration the political aims of the DC.


In a recent study, Lundestad suggests the traditionalist, revisionist and post-revisionist schools of analysis have proved insufficient in satisfactorily explaining the Cold War. He calls for a new way to study the topic that pays renewed attention to facts while acknowledging the different actors involved in the conflict:


We always have to remember that there were other powers in addition to the United States and the Soviet Union and that, even in regions where one power had over-all control, circumstances varied from country to country and local actors influenced the pace, and sometimes even the basic outcome, of events.[51]


There is a great need to move beyond a US-focused approach to Cold War history for this inherently diminishes the contribution of other protagonists. Along with the Vatican, the DC played a more crucial role in determining the 1948 election outcome than the US, but the Italians were nevertheless reliant on the Americans for economic and political assistance. While the DC were able to adapt their significantly subordinate position to exploit American aid, there is a danger in overestimating the influence of local actors as not all enjoyed the limited autonomy granted the Italians. Ultimately they were restricted by the terms set by the Americans and it was established that anti-communism was to be the uneasy adhesive holding their alliance together. Nevertheless, the DC was an important local actor that did not succumb to every US demand. The partnership was asymmetric, littered with misconceptions, political opportunism and confusion, but this was an alliance nonetheless as both sides needed one another to help pursue their own divergent policy objectives.


I am greatly indebted to Professor Ennio Di Nolfo who kindly offered me access to State Department documents he collected at the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.


[1] A problem as suggested by Severino Galante, “La scelta americana della Dc,” (“The American Choice of the DC”) in M Isnenghi, & S Lanaro (eds.) La Democrazia Cristiana dal fascismo al 18 Aprile (Christian Democracy from Fascism to 18th April) (Venezia: Marsilio, 1978), p.112.

[2] Antonio Varsori, “Italian Diplomacy and Contrasting Perceptions of American Policy after World War II,” Storia Nordamerica (Vol.3, No.2, 1986) p.77.

[3] James Miller, The United States and Italy, 1940-1950: The Politics and Diplomacy of Stabilization (Chapel Hill & London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1986) p.5, and for the Vatican’s cool stance on the DC leader see p.237. For more on initial antipathy toward De Gasperi, see Antonio Varsori, “De Gasperi, Nenni, Sforza and their Role in Post-War Italian Foreign Policy,” in Josef Becker & Franz Knipping (eds.) Power in Europe? Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany in a Postwar World, 1945-1950 (Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1986) pp.89-90.

[4] Mario Del Pero. L’alleato Scomodo: gli USA e la DC negli anni del centrissimo, 1948-55 (The Uncomfortable Alliance: The USA and DC in the Centrist Years, 1948-55) (Roma: Carocci, 2001) p.30.

[5] Varsori “De Gasperi, Nenni, Sforza and their Role in Post-War Italian Foreign Policy,” p107.

[6] Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947, Vol. III, ‘The British Commonwealth; Europe’ (United States Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1972) pp.784, 784-5, 785-7. Henceforth noted as FRUS, year and volume.

[7] FRUS 1947, III, pp.787-8. Varsori “De Gasperi, Nenni, Sforza and their Role in Post-War Italian Foreign Policy,” p107.

[8] Del Pero, L’alleato scomodo, p.29.

[9] See also FRUS, III, pp.981-3, 889-91, and FRUS 1948, Vol. III, ‘Western Europe’ (United States Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1974) pp.738-9, 835-6.

[10] The US was also actively looking to fund other non-Communist parties such as the PSLI. For more see James Miller, “Taking Off the Gloves: The United States and the Italian Elections of 1948,” Diplomatic History, 7 (Winter 1983) pp.46-7.

[11] Varsori “De Gasperi, Nenni, Sforza and their Role in Post-War Italian Foreign Policy,” p102.

[12] Furthermore, it must be noted the higher echelons of the DC-led government was not a homogenous group itself. De Gasperi was a moderate figure representing the centrist element of the DC, while Foreign Minister Count Carlo Sforza, although not an inscribed member of the Republican Party, clearly associated himself with the PRI as an ‘independent figue.’ This is in addition to Minister of Finance Luigi Einaudi, a conservative economist from a classic liberal tradition with ties to the Liberal Party, and members of the PSLI and PRI, including their respective leaders Saragat and Pacciardi, holding Cabinet posts from the middle of December 1947. It is important to stress the diverse personalities and figures representing a broad spectrum of political inclination within the Italian government, and acknowledge that the complexities of the domestic Italian situation were not only along party lines but also within individual political parties themselves.

[13] See Varsori “De Gasperi, Nenni, Sforza and their Role in Post-War Italian Foreign Policy,” p. 99, Di Nolfo “The Shaping of Italian Foreign Policy during the Formation of the East-West blocs,” p.487, and Galante, “The Genesis of Political Impotence,” pp.192-3. All in Becker & Knipping (eds.), Power in Europe?

[14] Ennio Di Nolfo, Le paure e le speranze degli italiani: 1943-1953 (The Fear and the Hope of the Italians: 1943-1953) (Milano: A. Mondadori, 1986) p.235.

[15] Miller, The United States & Italy, p.217.

[16] Galante, “La scelta americana della DC,” p.142.

[17] Alberto Tarchiani, Dieci anni tra Roma e Washington (Ten Years Between Rome and Washington) (Milano: Mondadori, 1955) p.136

[18] Melvyn Leffler, “The American Conception of National Security and the Beginnings of the Cold War, 1945-48,” The American Historical Review (Vol.89, No.2, April 1984) p.281.

[19] While De Gasperi was ultimately responsible for making the decision to remove the left wing parties from his government, it is important to note that for the PCI and PSI, the time had come to break away. In standing in opposition to the DC-dominated government, the Popular Front were thus freer to establish their own policies. The exit of the Communist-Socialist coalition from the Italian government was in the interests of all parties concerned and it is important to respect this local dimension to the Cold War which many histories ignore.

[20] Di Nolfo, Le paure e le speranze, p.237.

[21] Rome Embassy to Secretary of State, “Conversation with Ugo La Malfa and Enrico Martino,” 27 June 1947. 865.00/6-2747. Rome Embassy to Secretary of State, “Conversation with Amintore Fanfani, Minister of Labor,” 27 June 1947. 865.00/6-2747. Rome Embassy to Secretary of State, “Conversation with Riccardo Lombardi, Outgoing Secretary of Action Party,” 3 July 1947. 865.00/7-347. Record Group 59: General Records from the Department of State, Central Decimal File. (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.) Henceforth noted as (NARA, RG59).

[22] Dunn to Secretary of State, 28 August 1947. 865.00/8-2847. (NARA, RG59).

[23] Miller, The United States & Italy, p.251.

[24] Dunn to Secretary of State, 6 November 1947. 865.00/11-647. (NARA, RG59).

[25] Varsori, “Italian Diplomacy and Contrasting Perceptions of American Foreign Policy after World War II,” p.79. It is important to stress that this dangerous assumption was the perception of certain figures in the DC hierarchy. For more, see the same article, particularly the role of Count Vittorio Zoppi, the segretario generale (Secretary-General) of the Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) at Palazzo Chigi, Rome.

[26] Galante, “The Genesis of Political Impotence,” p.192.

[27] FRUS, 1947, III, pp.969-70.

[28] Galante, “The Genesis of Political Impotence,” p.193.

[29] FRUS, 1948, III, pp.736-7.

[30] Varsori “De Gasperi, Nenni, Sforza and their Role in Post-War Italian Foreign Policy,” p102.

[31] Quote from Joyce & Gabriel Kolko. The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1945-54 (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1972) p.371. See also Miller, The United States & Italy, pp.213, 232, 243, Paul Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943-1988  (London: Penguin Books, 1990) pp.112-3. For the most complete study of economic policies see John Lamberton Harper, America and the Reconstruction of Italy, 1945-1948 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986) particularly Chapter 9.

[32] Del Pero, L’alleato scomodo, p.18.

[33] Di Nolfo “The Shaping of Italian Foreign Policy during the Formation of the East-West blocs,” p.488.

[34] Miller, “Taking Off the Gloves,” pp.45, 48. The NSC directives toward Italy in the FRUS edition omit key passages relating to covert operations. The fully declassified version of the NSC 1 series, including NSC 1/3, “The Position of the US With Respect to Italy in the Light of the Possibility of Communist Participation in the Government by Legal Means,” 8 March 1948, can be found at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, Independence, Missouri. Papers of Harry S. Truman: President’s Secretary’s Files: Subject File, 1945-1953: National Security Council- Meetings, Box 176.

[35] Memo of conversation between Tarchiani and H. Freeman Matthews, 20 June 1947. FW 840.50 RECOVERY/6-1847. (NARA, RG59).

[36] Chiarella Esposito, Americas Feeble Weapon: Funding the Marshall Plan in France and Italy, 1948-1950 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994) p.207.

[37] Quaroni to Sforza, 30 August 1950. Report no. 641/3663 from the Archivio Storico del Ministero degli Affari Esteri, (Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Rome, noted in Varsori, “Italian Diplomacy and Contrasting Perceptions of American Foreign Policy after World War II,” p.89.

[38] Varsori, “Italian Diplomacy and Contrasting Perceptions of American Foreign Policy after World War II,” p.80.

[39] Galante, “La scelta americana della DC,” p.124.

[40] Miller, The United States & Italy, p.251.

[41] Kolko & Kolko. The Limits of Power, p.11.

[42] For more on US operations in Italy in the 1950’s, see Del Pero, L’alleato scomodo, and Maria Eleonora Gausconi, L’altra Faccia della Medaglia: Guerra psicologica e diplomazia sindacale nelle relazioni Italia- Stati Uniti durante la prima fase della guerra fredda, 1947-1955 (The Other Side of the Coin: Psychological Warfare and Trade Union Diplomacy in the Relations Between the United States and Italy During the First Phase of the Cold War, 1947–1955) (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 1999).

[43] Del Pero, Mario. “Containing Containment: Rethinking Italy’s Experience during the Cold War,” Journal of Modern Italian Studies (Vol.8, No.4, 2003) p.548.

[44] Del Pero, Mario. “The United States and “Psychological Warfare” in Italy, 1948-1955,” The Journal of American History (Vol.87, No.4, March 2001) <http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jah/87.4/del_pero.html> paragraph 47, and Del Pero, L’alleato scomodo, p.32.

[45] Del Pero, “Containing Containment,” p.549. The justus hostis term comes from Carl Schmitt’s, The Concept of the Political.

[46] The US, DC, Vatican, Italian Socialist Workers Party (PSLI), Italian Republican Party (PRI), Italian-American lobby group, Great Britain and France, all to differing degrees worked to thwart the PCI-PSI coalition from winning the election. For a comprehensive analysis of American initiatives see William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Montreal: Black Rose, 1998) Chapter 2 on Italy, Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy, pp.115-7, Miller, “Taking Off the Gloves,” Miller, The United States & Italy, pp.243-9, Miller, “Roughhouse Diplomacy: The United States Confronts Italian Communism, 1945-1958,” Storia delle Relazioni Internazionali (Vol.5, No.2, 1989) pp.292-4, and for details of the CIA’s role see Christopher Simpson, Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988) pp.90-2. For an analysis of the DC and Vatican’s propaganda use see David Ellwood, “The 1948 Elections in Italy: A Cold War Propaganda Battle,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television (Vol.13, No.1, 1993). The role of Great Britain is detailed in Antonio Varsori, “La Gran Bretagna e le elezioni  politiche italiene del 18 Aprile 1948,” (“Great Britain and the Italian Political Elections of 18 April 1947”) Storia contemporanea (Vol.13, No.1, 1982) and Effie Pedaliu, Britain, Italy and the Origins of the Cold War (New York: Palgrave, 2003) Chapter 3. For an overview of British and French efforts in the period see John Young, Britain, France, and the unity of Europe, 1945-51 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1984) and relations between France and Italy are covered in Jean Baptiste Duroselle & Enrico Serra (eds.), Italia e Francia: 1946-1954 (Italy and France: 1946-1954) (Milano: Angeli, 1988).

[47] Varsori, “Italian Diplomacy and Contrasting Perceptions of American Foreign Policy after World War II,” pp.80-2. See also Antonio Varsori, “Italy’s Position towards European Integration, 1947-58,” in Christopher Duggan & Christopher Wagstaff (eds.) Italy in the Cold War: Politics, Culture & Society, 1948-1958 (Oxford: Berg, 1995).

[48] Geir Lundestad, “Empire by Invitation? The United States and Western Europe, 1945-1952,” in Charles Maier (ed.) The Cold War in Europe: Era of a Divide Continent (New York: Markus Wiener, 1991).

[49] Del Pero, L’alleato scomodo, p.30. See also the memo from Quaroni to Sforza on 7 October 1947 in Varsori, “Italian Diplomacy and Contrasting Perceptions of American Foreign Policy after World War II,” pp.78-9.

[50] Miller, The United States & Italy, p.243.

[51] Geir Lundestad, “How (Not) to Study the Origins of the Cold War,” in Odd Arne Westad (ed.) Rewriting the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory (London, Portland: Cass Series, Cold War History 1, 2000) p72.