From War to Crisis
In Italy, armistice came in early fall 1943, and after official end of hostilities, Italy held referendum
and abolished the monarchy, establishing republic, declared June 2, 1946
Italy, like Germany, had only just developed instruments which had a kind of democratic character.
German democracy established after WWI with Weimar Republic. So, too, in Italy – fascists to
power in 1923, Mussolini’s march on Rome. So, Italians looking back to prefascist period had little
to look back upon that was truly democratic. Many wanted restoration of govt that was most
benevolent, traditional, not revolutionary or modern like fascism – 12.7 million called for abolition,
10.7 million would have opted for retention of the monarchy.
Cigarettes so precise as currency that you could track cost of bicycle with cigarettes. Currency
fluctuated in value very regularly.
Given terrific poverty, understandable that communism was an attractive alternative to govt offered
by western occupying forces
Everyone exaggerated and said they had been resistance, not collaborationist.
In 1946, French communist party won about 30% of vote, and this was similar across Europe.
Iconography of looking hopefully into the future – upward glance into distance. It was in “The
Murderers Are Among Us.” Whenever Susannah was discouraged, she looked down.
People turned to center left or center right. Something to do with the way people debated causes of
catastrophe. Those on left blamed capitalism itself. Fascism was “monopoly capitalism” or “last
crisis phase of capitalism” so that justified turn to capitalism. Those to right inclined to see fascism
as a catastrophic but understandable response to threat of Bolshevism or communism – fascism
was an example of modern nihilism, loss of moral orientation such as in Harry Lime. What was
needed in postwar was a return to traditional values, to order, and established authority. Helps to
explain why, in early postwar period, a kind of conservative pragmatism was found in most W.
Adenauer (German Ganchellor, CDU). Gasperi (CDP and Prime Minister of Italy)
Era of diminished expectations where fascism associated with utopian desire to make over all of
society. Many people turned to tradition when that was discredited. Many supported ideal of
rationalizing and modernizing economy, stabilizing economy with strong govt direction, govt
insurance for employed, sick, etc. State planning. Even today, centerright conservative parties are
Christian Democracy – MLP in France – governed with wide support. CDU in Germany (Adenauer).
But did face some strong opposition from SPD (mainstream socialist party). But, in elections and
election iconography, SPD had to use same imagery to invoke idea of stability and tradition.
Traditionalist images used by SPD just as much as CDU.
In Italy, Christian Democracy postes, “Mothers! Save your sons from Bolshevism – Vote Christian
Christian democracy – traditionalist in orientation but not deeply or fervently Christian, anchored in
European traditions, emphasize national unity over political division. Christianity was less distinctive
religious doctrine and rather a stabilizing religious heritage. Also emphasizes family values.
Emphasizes redemptive role of mothers as stabilizing, traditionalist force. Woman had been outside the home, in industry, and early postwar was trying to put women back in
traditional roles in the home. Women were more likely to report themselves as religious than men –
with enforced dom