April 18th, 1948: winners and losers
The Luigi Sturzo Institute and the Institute for the History of Catholic Action and the Catholic Movement in Italy, in collaboration with the Institute of Political Studies St. Pius V, have opened their archives to show through posters, documents, photos and filmed the images and the emotions that they prepared and gave meaning and substance to the election day April 18, 1948, through which the republican Italy fixed fixed points for its own democratic future.
The Christian Democrats, on a number of voters equal to 92% of those entitled, received more than 48% of the votes against about 31% of the Popular Front and 7% of the Socialist Unit.
To the extraordinary success of April 18, never repeated, obtained by the party of De Gasperi and a leadership group formed by ex-popular and, in large part, by young leaders (Dossetti, La Pira, Moro, Fanfani and various others) contributed many factors: the anti-communist commitment of the Catholic Associations, especially of the Civic Committees directed by Luigi Gedda, fueled by the serious situation suffered by the Eastern European Churches and by the news of the communist coup in Czechoslovakia, the coagulation on the inter-class social programs of peasant and workers electoral bands as well as middle and middle classes, the explicit trust expressed by progressive Catholic groups eager for a profound renewal of the structure of the State.
After a bitter electoral campaign, made up of accusations and also of reciprocal insults (well highlighted and illustrated by the proposed documents), April 18 was the first positive experiment of the democratic competition established by the Constitution that all the anti-fascist parties had wanted as a symbol of the new unitary identification of the country. The political and social season that followed was difficult and did not quench the contrasts between the parties, but on that day Luigi Sturzo, in unison with De Gasperi, pointed out with clarity that the Christian Democrats “did not win for themselves, they won for the “Italy has won for Europe, it has also won for the western Atlantic continent”.
The documentary exhibition Vittoria Italiana, curated by Gloria Bianchino and Dario Costi, with the exhibition of some of the main and most widespread propaganda tools used by the Christian Democrats – documents, posters, magazines, photographs, film productions – highlighted the dialectic that characterized the electoral campaign of 1948 highlighting the diversity of the political communication of that time compared to today: from the crowded participations to the rallies to the innovative social channels offered by the network.