REPUBLIC IN ITALY
(go Back to the main menu of
History of Italy)
Coming out of the Second World War completely ruined and crippled
by the severe territorial restrictions imposed by the peace
treaty (Paris, 1 February 1947), the new Italian Republic had
to face the many problems of material and moral reconstruction.
It did this with an impressive effort that in the space of a
few years produced extraordinary results. Thanks were also due
to the massive aid given by the United States through the Marshall
Plan and made available to the other European countries, Germany
included, that had been so heavily damaged in the conflict.
A policy of reconstruction and economic development was followed
by the various governments in power after 1948, the year in
which the party of the Democrazia Cristiana acquired a large
parliamentary majority. Initially this took the form of severe
anti-inflation measures and then a lifting of restrictions combined
with public intervention through a re-launching of the Institute
for the Reconstruction of Industry (the Senigallia Plan for
the development of the iron and steel industry).
The establishment of the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (funds for
the development of Southern Italy) set in motion a complex series
of extraordinary interventions to provide the southern regions
with the necessary basic structures (roads, drainage, services
etc.) to assist in economic and above all agricultural development.
Agrarian reform was particularly necessary in combating the
centuries-old landede states of the South. Nevertheless a new
and even greater migration occurred, this time not overseas
but towards the countries of northwestern Europe (Germany, France,
Belgium, England, Switzerland etc.), where the post-war industrial
boom required large quantities of manpower. However, the movement
of population towards the north of Italy (Piedmont, Lombardy
and Liguria) was even greater, due to the efforts of private
initiative in creating an industrialized climate, whose rapid
and often disorderly growth created talk of an `economic miracle'.
This was borne witness to by the large increase in national
income and a profound and radical transformation in the country's
social and economic structure.
Even at the beginning of the 1960s, the majority of the working
force was employed in the industrial sector, while agriculture
continued to diminish and the service industries began their
expansion. In the international sphere, with her entry to the
United Nations and participation in military alliances and economic
agreements with the other western countries (European and North
American), Italy began to regain the dignity and prestige due
to her geographical position and the richness of her historical
and cultural traditions.
(go Back to the main
History of Italy)