Old and New Democracy: Placing the Italian Anomaly in a European Context
Historians have often dismissed the post-war Italian Socialist Party (PSI) as an “anomaly” in the history of anti-communist, reformist and governmental (Western) European socialism. As the only major socialist party to maintain its alliance with the communists as the Cold War began in 1947−1948, it saw its right wing secede, found itself ostracized from government and was reduced to playing second fiddle to the communists. This chapter demonstrates that we can make more sense of the post-war history of the PSI if we place it in a pan-European context. By adding the Eastern European socialist parties to the equation, it understands the PSI as part of broader socialist current in which a new generation of leaders sought to dispense with the legacy of inter-war socialism.