Italian Election

April 7, 1948

Report Outline
East-West Conflict and Italian Election
Italian Parties and the Election Campaign
Totalitarianism vs. Democracy in Italy

East-West Conflict and Italian Election

Crucial Character of Electoral Decision in Italy

When italian voters go to the polls on Sunday, Apr. 18, to elect the first parliament of the new republic, they will make a political decision of far more than domestic significance. The coming election, in fact, is of the highest international importance, for the political contest in Italy has become a crucial factor in the struggle between the Soviet Union and the western powers. Its outcome may determine whether the tide of Soviet expansion is to engulf all of Europe or to be held at the present Baltic-Adriatic line. It may even determine the issue of peace or war.

If the Communists should gain control of the government at Rome and convert Italy into a Soviet satellite state, the independence of Greece and Turkey would be immediately jeopardized and the position of the United States and Great Britain in the Mediterranean and the Middle East made untenable. Communist success in Italy likewise would put France in line for Soviet domination which, if achieved, would gravely threaten continued Anglo-American occupation of western Germany and Austria.

Likelihood of a Split Vote in Italian Balloting

It is scarcely conceivable that such a chain of events could proceed very far toward its logical conclusion without precipitating war. If, on the other hand, the Communists should be definitely checked in their bid for power in Italy, the prospects for peace would improve. At least temporary relaxation of Soviet pressure could then be anticipated, and time would be gained for the Marshall Plan to put Europe in a stronger position to cope with future Communist threats.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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