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Birth of a republic – Giuliano Milani

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Federico Fornaro
June 2, 1946. History of a referendum
Bollati Boringhieri, 202 pages, 14 euros

The rites with which the feast of the republic is usually celebrated are the military parade, the president’s homage to the unknown soldier, the feats of the tricolor arrows. The fact that this year, due to the pandemic, the display of warlike values ​​is partially reduced allows us to reflect differently on June 2, 1946: on the institutional referendum that led from the monarchy to the republic, on the extension of the right to vote to women, on the end of the transition from fascism to democracy.

This book details the various processes that led to those events: the allies in conflict with each other for control of the Mediterranean, but interested in keeping Italy away from revolutionary changes; the complicated coexistence of the Kingdom of Italy in the south with the resistance in the north; the discussions between the parties that led to the “referendum compromise”; the beginning of a phase in which the renewal of the state slows down with respect to the forces compromised by fascism, which would later be further slowed down by the start of the cold war.

A last chapter tells with vivacity and in detail the breathless days of the vote, the controversies, the rumors about fraud and appeals. And it convincingly demonstrates that that vote expressed the will of the Italians, but also taking into account how contradictory and complex was the origin of the political system in which we live.

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