April 18th, 1948: winners and losers

On April 18th, 2018, at  Baldassini Buildings, was held the Conference The Republican Italy is born. April 18, 1948: winners and losers, promoted by the Institute and the Institute of Political Studies S. Pio V.

The event wants to remember and reason on the passage through which Republican Italy set the fixed points for its own democratic future. The Christian Democrats, on a number of voters equal to 92% of those entitled, collected more than 48% of the consents against about 31% of the Popular Front and 7% of the Socialist Unit.

The extraordinary success of April 18th, obtained by De Gasperi’s party and a leading group formed by ex-popular and, in large part, by young leaders (Dossetti, La Pira, Moro, Fanfani and various others) contributed many factors: the anticommunist commitment of the Catholic Associations, especially of the Civic Committees directed by Luigi Gedda, fueled by the serious situation that the Eastern European Churches suffered and by the news of the communist coup in Czechoslovakia; coagulation on the social interclassist programs of peasant and workers electoral bands as well as middle and bourgeois classes; the explicit trust expressed by progressive Catholic groups desiring a profound renewal of the structure of the state.

After a bitter campaign, made of accusations and mutual insults, April 18 was the first positive experiment of the democratic competition established by the Constitution that all the anti-fascist parties wanted as a symbol of the new unitary identification of the country. The political and social season that followed was difficult and did not dull the contrasts, but on that day Luigi Sturzo, in unison with De Gasperi, pointed out with clarity that the Christian Democracy did not win for itself, won for Italy, won for Europe, also won for the western Atlantic continent.


The conference was followed by the inauguration of  a documentary exhibition Vittoria italiana, curated by Gloria Bianchino and Dario Costi, who used the propaganda material preserved in the archives of the Luigi Sturzo Institute and the San Pio V Institute to show through posters, documents , photos and filmed images and emotions that prepared and gave meaning and substance to that election day

The exhibition, using and of the Institute for the history of Catholic Action and the Catholic movement in Italy, intends to highlight the dialectic that characterized the electoral campaign of 1948, the first positive experiment of the democratic competition established by the new Constitution.

It was a real media campaign, the one programmed by the Christian Democrats, by the Civic Committees, by all the forces that opposed the Popular Front formed by the Italian Communist Party and the Socialist Party.

Posters, banners, posters, printed sheets of all kinds and of course, newspapers and magazines with their titles “screamed” through precise graphic formulas. To these are added films projected grzie to trucks sent around the country, in the squares, in the streets to denounce the red danger, the dictatorship of the countries of the east and the USSR, but the relationship with the public in the rallies remains decisive. , in squares and spaces where it is polemized, we clash, we explain ourselves and we seek consensus. All this emerges also in photographs that, by themselves, with their skewed points of view, the rough print, sometimes even blurred, testify to a poor, disorganized, difficult world, where the tools for effective communication are lacking, but which leaves understand the desire for rebirth