The Red Boot: the history of Italy in the Cold War (TLIAW)


Before I begin my alternative history, I think it is necessary to explain why I decided to write it.

I guess disappointment is the main reason. Since I joined this site more than six years ago, I have read and enjoyed many and original alternative histories. Unfortunately, this originality has never been used for Italy.

Despite our thousand-year history, the same alternative history scenarios are always used for my country.

Second, I am disappointed in the constant use of certain historical figures, regardless of the point of divergence. Mussolini, Balbo, Ciano, Togliatti and Berlinguer are used with alarming frequency, as if they were the only prominent political figures in Italian history.

For obvious reasons, Mussolini and his regime are the most frequently used scenario in alternative histories that feature Italy as the protagonist. Reading the timelines centered around my country, it seems that Italy never had any history before or after the rise to power of the Fascists.

Every now and then, an alternate history is written on this site where Italy, for one reason or another, is ruled by communists. Unfortunately, in these scenarios Italy is either a Stalinist hellhole led by Togliatti, or a libertarian paradise under Berlinguer.

There is no middle ground, and the bizarre history of the Italian left is completely ignored.

So, I simply decided to take action instead of continuing to complain. Having no confidence in my ability to concentrate and fearing to leave the work unfinished, I decided to write a TLIAW to explore a differente scenario starring a communist Italy.

Is this a realistic scenario? Probably not, but I like to think it will be at least somewhat original.

So let's start without delay. An hour from now I will start posting the ten chapters of the Red Boot, according to this release schedule:
  1. Today: The Iron Sicilian - The Trade Unionist
  2. Tuesday: The new rooster in the henhouse
  3. Wednesday: The Backstabber - The Liberal Stalinist
  4. Thursday: The Intellectual
  5. Friday: The Charmless Reformer - The Old Fox
  6. Saturday: The False Hope
  7. Sunday: The End of an Era?
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Also this is the cover image, because I think it is cool.

The Iron Sicilian


There are many factors that determined the outbreak of the Second Italian Civil War in 1948. First, Italy had suffered greatly during the Second World War. Much of its cities and infrastructure had been reduced to ruins, and entire families had been torn apart by the first civil war.
France's annexation of the Aosta Valley had only strengthened the communist and neo-fascist groups active in the country, both eager to exploit national humiliation and popular anger to control the government.

Finally, Italy had had the misfortune of having Mario Scelba as the new Prime Minister. Yet, at the time of his rise to power there was much hope in the young politician.

Scelba had been Alcide De Gasperi's right-hand man for years, becoming one of the founders of the Christian Democrats, and many considered him a hero for his support to various opposition groups, active during the Fascist government.
For this reason, Scelba was unanimously elected new leader of the DC after De Gasperi had been executed by the fascists in 1943.

In the first three years of his government, Scelba achieved many important results , including the abolition of the Savoyard monarchy and the full reintegration of the peninsula into the western political and diplomatic world.

Furthermore, in the immediate post-war period, the new Prime Minister initiated both the slow and inexorable regrowth of the Italian economy, and the first reconstruction works.

After more than twenty years of fascist dictatorship and two years of civil war, it therefore seemed that the worst was over for Italy. Unfortunately, this peace was only apparent.

Despite the efforts of Rome and the Allies to stabilize the political situation, Italy was still deeply divided. Many communist partisans had simply refused to lay down their weapons, forming various paramilitary groups hostile to the government, and some right-wing political groups still wanted to restore the old fascist regime.

Scelba's flaw that worsened the situation to the point of no return was the very reason he was appointed head of the DC: his staunch opposition to communism. The young Prime Minister was apparently obsessed with the idea that the PCI and its allies represented a serious threat to Italy.
For this reason, Scelba had tried to exclude the PCI from the first National Liberation Committee, and had expelled Togliatti's party from the government in 1946.

His paranoia, however, only increased after the expulsion of Palmiro Togliatti and other leftist politicians. The outbreak of civil wars in China and Greece convinced the Prime Minister that all leftist parties had as their sole objective the overthrow of the established order and the creation of a dictatorship similar to the fascist one.
In Scelba's eyes, every single problem that that afflicted Italy was Togliatti's fault. Strikes by workers in the industrial regions and by peasants in the South, the formation of neo-fascist groups, and even the economic problems of the First Republic were part of the communist plan to discredit his government.

For this reason, Scelba sought to strengthen security inside the Italian republic. Under his rule, not only were the funds and the number of recruits destined for the police force increased, but many suspected communists and socialists were also dismissed outright from political institutions and the army.

Scelba's anti-communist paranoia was so strong that between 1947 and 1948 the Prime Minister prevented any investigation into the attacks by criminal groups against strikers and trade unionists active in South Italy. Scelba probably had no connection to these attacks, but he feared that admitting the political reasons behind these acts of violence would have increased the popularity of the PCI.

Paradoxically, it was precisely the measures adopted by Scelba that weakened his government and strengthened his political opponents. Scelba's inability or refusal to stop the violence against trade unionists and peasants in the South seriously compromised the popularity of the DC, to such an extent that some areas of southern Italy abandoned the party in favor of the PCI, the PSI or the new Front National of Giorgio Almirante and Alfredo Covelli.

Many of the expelled soldiers became part of the various left-wing or right-wing paramilitary groups, active in the peninsula after the war. The open hostility of the government against anyone considered a leftist subversive also prompted Pietro Nenni and Giuseppe Saragat to ally with Togliatti to form the Fronte Nazionale Popolare (Popular Democratic Front).

Not only did Scelba's paranoia unite all of his left-wing opponents, but it also irreversibly divided the DC. In 1947, Giovanni Gronchi and a fairly large number of parliamentarians abandoned the DC to found Democrazia Popolare (Popular Democracy), stating that Scelba’s anti-comunist obsession was destroying the legacy of De Gasperi.

Internal tension reached its peak during the 1948 election. Togliatti and his allies were convinced that Scelba wanted to kill them, the Prime Minister feared that the Vatican too had been infiltrated by the communists, and Almirante accused both groups of being dangerous spies in the employ of Moscow and/or Washington.
The poll results were of particular concern to Scelba. While the DC was still the leading party in the South, much of Central and Northern Italy had started to prefer the DP and the FNP. Worse, even in South Italy the DC was losing precious votes to the neo-fascists/monarchists of the FN.

Even if the exact number could not be calculated, the DC was in danger of losing a large number of parliamentary seats after the election. In Scelba's eyes, the risk of an electoral victory of the National Popular Front was high.

In the end, Scelba's fears were not realized, as the DC remained the leading party in Italy. Unfortunately, Scelba also discovered that his party no longer had the number of seats in the Senate and Chamber needed to govern.
Indeed, none of the parties had won the number of seats required for the formation of a government. Less than two years after the birth of the First Republic, Italy was facing its first constitutional crisis.

Almost as a prelude to the subsequent conflict, the period between April and June 1948 is commonly known as "The Months of Lead", due to the massive violence that engulfed Italian cities.
In these two months, Italy found itself without a government, while Scelba and Togliatti both tried to convince the DP, now the third party in Italy, to ally with the DC or the FNP. At the same time, supporters of the DC and the FNP clashed with each other and with the police in the streets of the peninsula.

In the end, Togliatti became both the latest casualty of the Months of Lead and the first victim of the new civil war. On 14 July 1948 Antonio Pallante, a supporter of the overthrown monarchy, shot and killed the leader of the PCI.

How this assassination led to the outbreak of a new civil war depends on which version of events one decides to believe. According to the PCI and its allies, Togliatti's body was still warm as Scelba imposed martial law and ordered the arrest of the FNP leadership.
On the contrary, Scelba's supporters claim that the leaders of the FNP had already fled to Bologna well before Scelba knew of Togliatti's death. According to this version, Scelba would have imposed a state of emergency only because the FNP had declared war on his government, after forming the Second National Liberation Committee.

In any case, the Second Civil War became inevitable on July 4, 1948, when the troops stationed in Emilia Romagna refused orders from Rome, and swore allegiance to the government of Bologna.

In some ways, it is striking how the conflict in Italy mirrored in many aspects the civil wars in China and Greece. In all three cases, the Nationalist government was soon forced to retreat in the face of the advancing Communists/Socialists, due to its internal divisions and poor training of its troops.

The DP's decision to join the FNP in January 1949 determined the victory of Bologna. After this event, the main industrial cities of Northern Italy, including Milan, Trieste and Venice, fell into the hands of the SCLN.
Despite the huge economic and military aid from NATO, Scelba's troops thus ended up clashing with a better armed and organized army.

Rome was abandoned by Scelba and his government on 23 May 1951 and Naples, the last capital of the First Republic in mainland Italy, fell after three days of intense fighting on 10 September of the following year.
Scelba was ,however, far from any fight at the time. The Prime Minister had loaded what was left of his government onto a plane bound for his native Sicily two days before the start of the siege.

Since most of the Italian fleet had sunk or sided with his government, Scelba counted on turning Sicily and Sardinia into safe havens from which to plan an eventual reconquest of mainland Italy.

Scelba's latest plan was only half successful: although the two islands still host the government of the First Italian Republic, Scelba never arrived in Sicily.
Indeed, his plane exploded somewhere over the Strait of Messina about an hour after takeoff, killing all the passengers. It is still unclear whether it was a simple accident or whether Scelba was killed by his enemies or former allies.

In any case, his death had no particular consequences on the conclusion of the civil war. Even if Bologna had no way to invade Sicily and Sardinia, the military government, that had suceeded Scelba, could not in any way reverse the tide of the conflict.

Thanks to the mediation of the Yugoslav and French governments, a sort of ceasefire was signed by both sides in early 1953. As in China and Greece, the country's mainland came under the total control of the communist forces and their allies. Instead, the government that had opposed them had to take refuge on an island, under the constant protection of NATO.

Although neither Bologna nor Cagliari were willing to diplomatically recognize each other's rule, both were forced to accept this new status quo as they could not continue fighting.

Thus began a new era of the history of Italy.
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And we’re off. Fascinating start to this TL. I love the idea of an Italian military dictatorship camped on Sardinia and Sicily. The US and its Allies are going to be pissed. I expect NATO to be far more militarised than OTL. I wonder how this will effect the tourism industry in the Mediterranean?
As the guy largely, possibly singularly responsible for the proliferation of Italo Balbo on this site, I salute your initiative in doing the TL you wanted to see. That's what's driven all of my TLs, after all.

As to the TL itself, great start! I'm curious to see the effect of (I presume) a more Tito-esque Italy in Cold War Europe. Looking forward to the rest of the week!
expect NATO to be far more militarised than OTL. I
Oh yeah. In more or less five years, the Soviets have expanded their influence in China, Greece and Italy. McCarthy is going to have a field day with this ITTL

wonder how this will effect the tourism industry in the Mediterranean?
France is the most visited destination after 1952. Crete and Sicily-Sardina are too close to the Soviet Union and its allies, while Turkey and the Iberian Peninsula are ruled by unstable dictatorships.
As the guy largely, possibly singularly responsible for the proliferation of Italo Balbo on this site, I salute your initiative in doing the TL you wanted to see. That's what's driven all of my TLs, after all.
Thanks! I should have added "Viva Balbo" is the exception

It was one of the first TLs featuring the guy, and I liked your focus on the troubles in Lybia.

curious to see the effect of (I presume) a more Tito-esque Italy in Cold War Europe. L
Yep, I also wanted to avoid the classic "Everyone in the PCI is a Soviet puppet, except Berlinguer" cliche

Red Italy and the Soviets are going to have a weird relationship.
The Trade Unionist

The Trade Unionist


According to legend, Beria was executed in 1949 because Stalin was convinced that the NKVD file on Giuseppe Di Vittorio had been falsified. Although this story is clearly false, it confirms in any case the atypicity of Di Vittorio compared to the other members of the PCI.

To begin with, Di Vittorio did not come from a working-class family in the North, but from a family of Apulian labourers. Despite being one of the founding members of the PCI, De Vittorio also did not share Togliatti's admiration for Stalin at all.
During the fascist dictatorship, in fact, Di Vittorio had refused to follow Togliatti and the rest of the PCI in exile in Moscow, preferring to stay in Paris. During his stay in France, Di Vittorio had proposed for the first time the creation of a common front between the socialists and the communists, breaking away from the official position of the Comintern.

Di Vittorio's political rise began thanks to the Nazi invasion of France. In 1941, Vicky authorities arrested the Italian exile and deported him to Italy, where he was sentenced to more than twenty years in prison for his opposition to the fascist regime and support for Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.
Barely three years later, the fascist regime had been overthrown, Di Vittorio was free and the First Civil War had begun. The new conflict thus led to the rebirth of the CGIL in 1944, when Di Vittorio persuaded the communist, socialist and Catholic trade unionists to create a common front against the Salo regime.

Paradoxically, the return of democracy in Italy made Vittorio even more combative and distrustful of the government in Rome. Elected parliamentarian in 1946, Di Vittorio became famous for his frequent interventions in Parliament against Scelba's anti-leftist rhetoric, and his apparent indifference to the violence and poverty in South Italy.
The chaos of those years greatly increased Di Vittorio's political influence. The CGIL became the largest trade union in Italy, responsible for the numerous strikes that blocked the peninsula between 1946 and 1948.

Di Vittorio's real fortune was being in Bologna during the assassination of Togliatti. When the news of the death of the PCI leader spread, his collaborators and other FNP leaders were more concerned with escaping from Rome than reacting to what happened.
Unlike them, Di Vittorio was safe in the city, which many considered the inofficial capital of Italian communism. On the evening of June 14, 1948, the communist channels of the Italian radio started broadcasting Di Vittorio’s first speech in favor of the armed insurrection against Scelba.

When Saragat, Pietro Secchia and the other members of the FNP arrived in Bologna a few days later, Di Vittorio had already established the Second National Liberation Committee, and appointed the first commanders of the new Italian People's Army. At that point, his election as the new leader of the FNP was inevitable.

According to Italian propaganda, his skills as a mediator were fundamental in securing the victory of Bologna. It was Di Vittorio who persuaded the DP to side with the SCLN, and the contacts of the CGIL allowed the various armed insurrections, which conquered much of Northern Italy between 1949 and 1950.

On September 10, 1952, what remained of the army of the First Republic either surrendered, or hurried to flee to Sicily and Sardinia. After four years of war, most of the EPI and Central Italy were loyal more to Di Vittorio than to the rest of the FNP.
Di Vittorio was then the new leader of mainland Italy. It was not a particularly enviable position at that time.

The new conflict had devastated Italy once again, destroying most of its cities, and many areas in the South were controlled by gangs of brigands. Rome was also isolated internationally, as President MacArthur and other Western leaders refused to open any diplomatic contact with the new Italian government.

In addition, many of Di Vittorio's old allies were turning against him. Many of them had learned what had happened in those years in Czechoslovakia, where the communist government had purged many of its old allies.
The socialist and DP militias had stopped collaborating with Bologna, and were ready to start a third civil war if necessary.

There was in fact strong pressure from the Soviets and the more extreme members of the PCI on Di Vittorio to get rid of “the internal enemies of the revolution”. But the leader of the CGIL surprised many, agreeing to meet the other leaders of the FNP in neutral Venice, to discuss the future of Italy.

Di Vittorio, in fact, had noticed that, in addition to the Socialists and other Czechoslovak political opponents, the Soviets had eliminated any communist, not completely loyal to Moscow. If accepting a compromise with the rest of the FNP was going to save him from becoming a Russian puppet or dying under mysterious circumstances, Di Vittorio was ready to cut a deal.

The Historic Compromise of February 13, 1953 laid the foundations of the Second Italian Republic. Di Vittorio and his cabinet (now called the Politburo) were recognized as the highest political authority, but all initiatives of the new Prime Minister had to be approved by Parliament.

The model of the CGIL was then applied to the whole of mainland Italy: the socialists and the communists divided among themselves the control of the new institutions and the government of the various Italian regions. The first action of the new Parliament was to vote unanimously for the ban and dissolution of the DC in the new state.

Despite the particular political structure and seemingly neutral name, it quickly became clear that the Second Republic was a communist country. The first Plan of the Five Years envisaged, in fact, the almost total abolition of private property in mainland Italy.
The factories and agricultural fields in each Italian region came under the control of the Regional Councils for Economic Development, whose members were chosen by the governor of the region but answered directly to the Minister of Economy.

Di Vittorio also concentrated the economy of the Second Republic towards the industrialization and reclamation of many Italian territories. Convinced that Italy should have been as independent as possible, the new Prime Minister's Five-Year Plan focused mainly on certain sectors, such as wheat cultivation and weapons production.

The CGIL became an unofficial government organization. The other trade unions were banned, and every worker in Italy had to register with the CGIL if they hoped to advance their careers.

On the other hand, the Second Republic was notable for its ambiguous and difficoult relationship with the Kremlin. Di Martino distrusted the Soviets, but mainland Italy desperately needed economic aid.
Italy's fate improved in April 1953 when Stalin, finally proving ha had an heart, died from a stroke. Nikolai Bulganin, eager to consolidate his new position of General Secretary as quickly as possible, agreed to help Rome only in exchange for the opening of Italian ports to the Soviet fleet, rather than Rome's accession to the Stalingrad Alliance.

And of course the Second Republic agreed to unquestionably follow Moscow’s foreign policy. Between 1953 and 1956, Italian propaganda completely adopted both the Kremlin's anti-Western and anti-American rhetoric, and Moscow's official line regarding the purges against Bulganin's political rivals.

For this reason, Di Vittorio made a single trip outside mainland Italy during his rule. In 1955, the Prime Minister traveled to Israel, as Bulganin believed that the visit would further strengthen the new alliance between Moscow and Tel Aviv.

However, relations between Moscow and Rome fell into crisis in 1956, following the Soviet suppression of the Bulgarian Uprising. While many communist newspapers in Europe and the rest of the world praised the Soviet military intervention, L'Unità supported in part the cause of the rioters.
Even if the Italian newspaper did not support the anti-communist cause of the Bulgarian rebels, the anonymous author of the article nevertheless denounced Georgi Dimitrov's incompetence and corruption as the main cause of the uprising. In addition, Moscow’s armed intervention was criticized as contrary to Marx’s ideals, and detrimental to the stability of European communist regimes.

Although hardly anyone read that article outside the Second Republic, the Soviet ambassador to Italy immediately requested a meeting with the Prime Minister. Neither the Soviets nor the Second Republic have any records of the conversation between Di Vittorio and the ambassador, but it certainly had no positive outcome.

A few days later, Moscow suddenly announced that interest rates for loans to the Second Republic had been raised.
Worse still, the Kremlin reminded the ambassador of the Second Republic that many Italian soldiers, who had participated in the invasion of Russia in 1941, were still prisoners in the Siberian gulags. Although the Kremlin had agreed to have them repatriated, the agreement could be interrupted at any time.

The 1956 diplomatic crisis was eventually won by Moscow. L’Unità retracted the article, and Enzo Tortora, its possible author, was fired.

However, the disproportionate Soviet reaction had important consequences for the domestic policy of the Second Republic. Suddenly, a large part of the population of the peninsula shared Di Vittorio’s distrust of Moscow.

In the last year of his government, Di Vittorio began purging various Stalinists and other pro-Soviet communists from the government, and began to take an interest in foreign policy, starting to send weapons to the forces of Hossein Fatemi during the Iranian Civil War.

Di Vittorio’s last political action was the signing of the Treaty of Eternal Friendship with the Republic of San Martino on 9 September 1957, recognising the independence of the city state in exchange for its continued neutrality.
Obviously the effects of the treaty were insignificant, but Italian propaganda still claims that it demonstrated Rome’s complete independence from Moscow.

Perhaps for this reason, many conspiracy theorists believe that Di Vittorio did not die of a heart attack, but was poisoned by Moscow two months after the signing of the treaty. Obviously these conspiracy theories tend to ignore that Di Vittorio had long suffered from heart problems, and that his designated successor was even more anti-Soviet than he was.

Di Vittorio is still a controversial figure both in continental Italy and abroad. His admirers praised his conduct before and after the Second Civil War, particularly his decision to preserve Italian democracy, and his social reforms, such as the legalization of abortion and divorce.

His detractors, on the contrary, consider him a common dictator. The foundation of the Ministry of Ideological Integrity caused the arrest and exclusion of many politicians and ordinary citizens, accused of having collaborated with Scelba or simply having sympathies for "capitalist fascism". In fact, it is not possible to justify in any way the arrest of Gronchi, the suspected death of Saragat, or the decades-long exclusion of the DP from the political life of Mainland Italy.

Many, moreover, point precisely to Di Vittorio’s economic and social policies as the cause of the violence and misfortunes that struck the Second Republic in the following decade, including the tragic end of his successor.

In any case, Di Vittorio is still considered one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, whose face decorates posters and T-shirts around the world.
This is very good, I like the various small changes like Iran, Bulgaria and so on. Will there be a mention of relations between the Second Republic and its neighbors?
This is very good, I like the various small changes like Iran, Bulgaria and so on. Will there be a mention of relations between the Second Republic and its neighbors?
Thanks. The next chaper will start focusing on the Second Republic's foreign policy.
Like the story so far but cant help to wonder what this means for the Trieste Free State and how the relations to Yugoslavia are if the Italian government follows a strict adherence to Moscow
The new rooster in the henhouse

The new rooster in the henhouse


"Ugly as sin, charming as a rock, and probably one of the smartest men I’ve ever known." This is how J.William Fulbright, former Secretary of State to President John C. Stennis, described Luigi Longo in his autobiography.
Fulbright was not the only one to have this contradictory opinion about Longo (or Gallo as some of his companions had nicknamed him three decades earlier). Many of his contemporaries describe Di Vittorio’s successor as a man completely devoid of charisma, but whose intelligence was fundamental to the government of the Second Republic.

Since joining the PCI in 1921, Longo had played many prominent roles within the party. He was the one who had managed the finances of the PCI during the party’s exile from Fascist Italy, and, later, also took care of the relations between its various members spread throughout Europe.
Despite not having any military experience, Longo had also personally led the Italian communist troops both during the Spanish Civil War and during the First Italian Civil War.

After World War II, his popularity was such that Togliatti was almost forced to appoint him his deputy secretary, despite their many ideological contrasts. Thanks to his influence within the PCI, in 1948 Longo managed to persuade the Italian communists to ally with the PSI to form the FNP.

At the outbreak of the Second Civil War, Longo agreed to support Di Vittorio’s appointment as the new leader of the social-communist forces. Aware of the need to maintain a united front and the advanced age of Di Vittorio, Longo had preferred to side with the head of the CGIL rather than accidentally causing the victory of Scelba’s forces.
In return for his support, Longo had been appointed Minister of the Interior, and had secretly become Di Vittorio’s designated heir.

Between 1952 and 1957, Longo personally took care of the reconstruction of the Italian peninsula, in order to adapt the country to its new social-communist nature. Many streets and monuments, especially those previously dedicated to real or alleged enemies/opponents of the revolution (including churches in northern Italy), were rebuilt or modified in honor of Lenin and other communist/socialist figures.
Thanks to his numerous connections with the various European communist parties, Longo also played important diplomatic roles. He led the Italian delegation at Stalin’s funeral, and later also negotiated Soviet funding for the reconstruction of the Italian peninsula.

In the last years of Di Vittorio’s government, Longo enthusiastically supported the Prime Minister’s anti-Soviet move, indicating which members of the PCI needed to be expelled from Parliament.

Predictably, Luigi Longo was appointed new Prime Minister after Di Vittorio’s death. As with many other communist governments prior to his, Longo’s rule began with a purge.
Less than a year after his rise to power, Abruzzo was hit by a violent earthquake. Although the tremors were not particularly strong, most of the buildings built in the area collapsed or were severely damaged, due to their many structural irregularities.

In the following weeks, the state media pointed to the local governor’s corruption as the cause of the disaster, and Longo founded the Ministry of Internal Security to investigate these allegations. Investigations and arrests soon spread to the entire South, where many politicians, considered too pro-Soviet and/or corrupt, were arrested by the new Agenzia Nazionale di Controllo e Protezione (National Control and Protection Agency).
This move was not only due to Longo’s need to find a scapegoat for the many mistakes Rome made in South Italy. The new Prime Minister believed that the industrialization of southern Italy would free the Second Republic from Soviet influence.

The purge was followed by a new Five Years' Plan, which provided extensive funding for southern industries and infrastructure. Many of these funds were used to build numerous arms factories.

The defeat of the Belgian troops at the Battle of Ponte-Noire had in fact shown that the old colonial empires were dying, despite the violent European opposition. This opened up numerous political and economic opportunities for the Second Republic.
The Beretta MG 42/59 soon became the most exported Italian product in the world, being used in numerous conflicts in North Africa, including the violent violent collapse of Georges Bidault’s Independent State of Algeria.

The sale of arms allowed the Second Republic to repay most of its debts, while increasing its influence in the Third World.
However, like his predecessor, Longo was forced to maintain good relations with Moscow. The West was still openly hostile to non-capitalist countries, and the People’s Republic of China was living in a self-imposed international isolation after the beginning of the Great Leap Forward.

Longo’s only option was to improve relations between Rome and Sarajevo. Like his Italian counterparts, Tito was allied with Moscow simply because there were no other alternatives. Although diplomatic relations between the two countries were still strained due to Tito’s failed attempt to invade Istria near the end of WW2, it was now clear that the Second Republic and Yugoslavia needed each other.

After years of negotiations, in 1963 Italy and Yugoslavia announced a new series of diplomatic and trade agreements. Not only did the number of soldiers and border controls decrease, but it was also announced that the two countries would cooperate in economic matters.

While Longo was able to ease tensions with Yugoslavia, the Prime Minister was not as successful in the Second Republic. On 5 October 1959, a bomb exploded at the CGIL headquarters in Rome, killing 19 people.
The attack on the CGIL was only the beginning of the "Italian troubles", that is the period between 1959 and 1971, in which right-wing and leftist extremists were responsible for numerous kidnappings and murders in the vain hope of being able to overthrow the government.

Despite increasing funds for the secret police, Longo was unable to stop the violence completely. According to rumors, many investigations were covered up, because the government feared causing a diplomatic incident with Moscow or Washington.

By the end of 1967, Longo had assumed a controversial reputation. Under his rule, the 1960s coincided with the beginning of the economic boom in the Italian peninsula. Finally, average annual growth was higher than many other communist states in Europe, and unemployment, poverty and illiteracy were disappearing.

The government of Rome also realized the ambitious project of giving a television to every Italian family. Not only would this project have demonstrated the superiority of the new social-communist economy, but it would have unified the Italian peninsula on a cultural and social level. For this purpose, UTRI (Unione Televisioni e Radio Italiane), the conglomeration of all the TV and radio stations present in the Second Republic, was founded.

Longo’s decision to sell arms to anyone who was not capitalist and could afford it (including Islamist rebels active in the kingdoms of Libya and Egypt) was still met with strong resistance from Parliament.
Likewise, the Italian policy of welcoming Chinese intellectuals, scientists and nuclear physicists, fleeing the constant purges of Chen Boda, only increased Soviet distrust of the Second Republic. At the same time, Longo was declared persona non grata throughout the European Commonwealth, due to his support for separatists in Catalonia and Valle d'Aosta, and terrorist groups in Sicilia-Sardinia.

Longo’s fatal mistake was his diplomatic visit to the People’s Republic of Greece in 1968.
Longo was a supporter of the Greek Spring, initiated by the government of Grigoris Lambrakis. Not only did Longo hope to obtain a new trading partner, but also that the success of the Greek reforms would push the Soviet bloc to adopt a less hostile policy towards NATO.

Unfortunately, Longo’s visit convinced the Kremlin that Lambrakis was on the verge of rebelling against the Stalingrad Accords. Less than a week after Longo’s visit to Athens, Soviet troops invaded Greece to establish a more conservative government.

According to rumors never confirmed, Longo openly wanted to denounce the Soviet invasion, but was met with firm resistance from his Politburo and Parliament. Many Italian politicians were still loyal to Moscow, and some went so far as to blame Longo’s recklessness for what happened in Greece.
While Longo could arrest the most brazen parliamentarians and replace his too pro-Soviet ministers, the Prime Minister was not particularly keen to challenge Parliament, and risk his position.

However, Longo could change the composition of Parliament to gain full support for his foreign policy. Over the next five months, Longo met several times with Aldo Moro, leader of Popular Democracy.
During that period, the two politicians determined which members of the DP would become members of the Politburo of Longo, and later also of the Parliament. According to his collaborators, Longo was even planning to cede the governorship of some southern regions to Moro’s party.

However, Longo’s project would never come to fruition. On 21 January 1969, while the Prime Minister was on his way to Parliament to form his new Politburo, his car was attacked by an armed group. After his escort was killed, Longo was forced into the car of one of the kidnappers.
A few hours after the incident, the neo-fascist group Forza Nuova declared that the Prime Minister would have been released, only if the government had freed some terrorists arrested in the previous years.

The Parliament rejected the proposal. For the next fifty-five days, both the regular army and the secret police scrambled to find out where the terrorist group was holding Longo. Apart from many human rights violations, no concrete results were achieved.
On March 18, 1969, an anonymous phone call to Longo’s family reported that his body was in the trunk of a red Fiat, abandoned just outside Rome.

There’s been a lot of speculation about Longo’s kidnapping and murder. Although almost everyone agrees that it was the neo-fascists who pulled the trigger, some suspect that the terrorists did not act alone. According to these conspiracy theories, the CIA and/or the NKVD helped Forza Nuova to eliminate a dangerous and inconvenient communist leader.
Some even claim that the Italian government itself provided the members of Forza Nuova with informations on Longo’s route and escort. The parliamentarians would have deliberately left Longo to die, to prevent politicians, who were not part of the FNP, from putting their power at risk.

The actions of Longo’s successor have only increased the popularity of these conspiracy theories.
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Like the story so far but cant help to wonder what this means for the Trieste Free State and how the relations to Yugoslavia are if the Italian government follows a strict adherence to Moscow
It was already implied in the first chapter, but ITTL Trieste and Dalmatia remained in Italian hands after WW2.

Originally I wanted to use the Trieste Free State as a East Berlin/Hong Kong equivalent. However I also needed a good POD tp edplain the FNP's electoral fortunes
It was already implied in the first chapter, but ITTL Trieste and Dalmatia remained in Italian hands after WW2.

Originally I wanted to use the Trieste Free State as a East Berlin/Hong Kong equivalent. However I also needed a good POD tp edplain the FNP's electoral fortunes
So no Paris peace treaty? And you need a really good reason for why the Big four would allow Italy to keep territory conquered during WW2
So no Paris peace treaty? And you need a really good reason for why the Big four would allow Italy to keep territory conquered during WW2
I mean Dalmatia and Trieste were conquered in WW1 so I don't think it would be an issue.

Also I needed a realistic POD to further justify Scelba's impopularity. I basicallu seitched the Aosta Valley and Dalmatia's OTL fates
I mean Dalmatia and Trieste were conquered in WW1 so I don't think it would be an issue.

Also I needed a realistic POD to further justify Scelba's impopularity. I basicallu seitched the Aosta Valley and Dalmatia's OTL fates
Hmmm only Zadar/Zara and some minor mostly uninhabited islands were assigned to Italy after WW 1, the Governate of Dalmatia was formed from territory ceded by the Independent state of Croatia in 1941
Hmmm only Zadar/Zara and some minor mostly uninhabited islands were assigned to Italy after WW 1, the Governate of Dalmatia was formed from territory ceded by the Independent state of Croatia in 1941
You are right about Dalmatia. I accidentaly mixed it with Istria.
BTW this map should give you an idea of the Italian borders before 1948: