THE April 18 elections in Italy were a referendum for and against Communism, the Marshall Plan and collaboration with the western world. A large majority of the Italian people chose the democratic western course. They were voting for a way of life, not primarily for a political party, but, since the de Gasperi Government embodied the only force which could make this choice effective, they tended to vote for the Christian Democratic Party which is the basis of that Government.[i] Many who do not much favor the Christian Democrats cast their votes for the Catholic Party because they wished to see one non-Communist party predominant in parliament.
Prime Minister de Gasperi, who presented himself as a national leader, was the principal author of the victory. He is a man of long political experience, formerly a Catholic member of the Austrian Parliament, born in the borderline city of Trento under the Austrian Empire. When the electoral results were made public a great mass of people gathered before the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Party to cheer him, and after he had addressed the crowd he turned to some of his intimate friends and said: "I am still the Social Christian of my youth." The words Social Christian express his creed and, in a sense, his program. De Gasperi, his party and his Government adhere strictly to the Christian doctrine both in the moral and the social fields. He has often pointed out that the Communists have made reform difficult or impossible for his Administration because of their insistence upon making every economic problem a social problem and every social problem a political problem. Now the responsibility for Italian policy for the next five years rests on his shoulders.
From 1870 to 1922 Italy was the liberal state created by the Risorgimento. It suffered a crisis under the Fascist régime but did not completely disappear, for much of the old framework was retained by the dictatorship and men like Sforza, de Gasperi and Bonomi kept
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