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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The early postwar years marked a challenging and dynamic phase for Christian Democracy (DC). In this period, the party stabilized the county and shaped its democratic institutions in a spirit of national reconciliation, while working for Italy’s modernization and its inclusion in the “West.” After the split with the Communists, the party appeared both as a bastion against communism and as promoter of modernization, combining social progress with traditional Italian values. In the 1950s, the party was torn: while many of its leaders aimed at “opening to the left” to tackle the country’s social challenges with other political forces, mounting anticommunism and Church pressures pushed it right. The “opening to the left” materialized with the formation of the first center-left government in 1962, marking the peak of Christian Democracy’s reformism. However this government was met with strong opposition, and by 1964 this most reformist phase of the DC’s rule had ended.

Keywords: Christian Democracy, communism, modernization, anticommunism, Catholic Church

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