Italy, the Marshall Plan and the "Third Force"

WHEN the war ended, the first question that a great many Europeans asked themselves, standing face to face with the ruins heaped upon their countries by another world war, was "How can the inhabitants of this impoverished, disorganized and tightly compartmented Continent work for peace and a stable system among the nations of the world?" The answer was not obscure. The first step toward the resurrection of Europe was economic collaboration among the European nations. Since this so plainly was the path toward peace and stability, I shall note at the outset some of the reasons why for two years no progress was made in that direction.

In the first place, the Allies did not make the best use of the available political forces within each European state after the liberation of the Continent, nor did they perceive how ready was public opinion to support European collaboration. Only a few leaders were prepared to proclaim in 1944 what all recognize as necessary in 1948 -- and some who did proclaim it were branded Utopians. In the second place, at least in Italy, the seemingly unavoidable need of including Conservatives, Christian Democrats, Socialists and Communists in the same government made any organic program impossible. So long as cabinets were composed of such un assimilable elements, the situation was bound to remain static, as the author of this article, who belonged to three such cabinets, had opportunity to observe. In addition, Italy, one of the great states of Europe, was stupidly humiliated and dangerously mutilated by the Treaty of Peace, while the division between the Great Powers created a bottomless abyss in the heart of Europe -- Germany. The burden of mediation, which grew heavier every day as the tension between the United States and Russia grew more acute, fell on the shoulders of France; and France herself felt insecure and could not find any real guarantee against new aggressions in the postwar international system.

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