Italy Between the 1960’s and 1970’s Part 4
It was thus unavoidable, while waiting for a clarification of the situation, to have recourse as five years before to a mono-color ministry of the DC chaired by Leone, who obtained the confidence of the Chamber and the Senate after the abstention of the socialists and republicans. From 23 to 28 October 1968 the first congress of the unified socialist party was then held in Rome, which took the name of PSI: Nenni was confirmed president and Ferri elected to the secretariat, but with a very small majority, the congress not having healed the fracture in various currents of what had been the PSDI and the autonomist current of the PSI. By a large majority, however, it had been decided to resume ministerial collaboration, so that, when Leone resigned, the first Rumor ministry was born in December with De Martino as vice president and Nenni for foreign affairs.
According to Remzfamily, the Rumor ministry had to face the culminating phase of the student protest, the most sensational but not the only manifestation of a ferment that was shaking the country, until it ordered the eviction by the public force of the University of Rome on 1 March 1969, busy. That government also set itself a rapid resumption of the reform demands, from the renewal of the state to full employment, from university reform to the improvement of pensions as priority commitments. Finally, on the international level, the Rumor ministry itself reached the signing of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, drawn up, after long negotiations, at the Geneva conference on disarmament. The Senate and the House had authorized its signature on 19 and 26 July 1968, but the occupation of Czechoslovakia, on 21 August,
The government was short-lived, however. Internal dissidence resumed sharply within the individual parties. And while in the DC the contrasts between the currents worsened (at the end of 1968 Moro broke away from the Dorotean current, which gradually narrowed its strength, while continuing to rule the party with the help of the Fanfanian current after the Milan congress of November 1967), in the new PSI the contrasts between the Social Democratic and the Socialist wings exploded, both for the fear of the former being overwhelmed on an organizational level, and for the open-minded tendencies towards the PCI which were emerging in the wing of De Martino and who responded to the prospects of the XII National Congress of the PCI held in Bologna at the beginning of 1969. The contrast led in July to a new split and the creation of the PSU (Unitary Socialist Party), which gathered a small part of former socialists, led by Tanassi and Preti. Following the withdrawal from the government of the ministers of the new party, Rumor was forced to resign. Unable to return immediately to an organic center-left government, Rumor then composed his second ministry with the sole participation of the DC, while the former allies assured him of external support.
In December 1969, the Ministry was able to announce to Parliament the actual launch of the high-atesino problem, which had torn for years the relations with Austria (v. High – Tyrol, in this App.). The Italian government had proposed to submit the dispute over the application of the agreement to the International Court of Justice, while Austria had preferred to have recourse to the United Nations; the fifteenth general assembly in the autumn of 1960 (and again the sixteenth the following year) had urged the parties to resume negotiations. Bilateral meetings had taken place in January, May and June of 1961, without leading to any result, while terrorism exploded, which in that year caused 55 attacks, of which about twenty in the night of 12 June. While he was forced to proceed with the necessary security measures, the Italian government had appointed a study commission chaired by the Hon. P. Rossi, that in the space of three years he was able to submit to the government a whole series of proposals centered on the expansion of provincial autonomy within the regional framework. On this basis – of an autonomous Italian initiative, however validated by Austrian approval – talks with the Austrian government were resumed, in particular with the Saragat-Kreisky meetings in Milan and Geneva in May and September 1964, which long contacts followed – facilitated in recent times by the attenuation of terrorism and the weakening of the weight of Tyrolean extremist tendencies – which finally came to an end on November 30, 1969 with the meeting between the two foreign ministers Moro and Waldheim in Copenhagen.
Precisely in those days, on the internal plane, the “hot autumn” reached its peak. It was a long and complex series of strikes and trade union unrest, aimed at renewing the employment contracts of the most important and numerous categories. Not only that: but the contestative upheaval which resulted in ferments of violence destined to override, and sometimes to paralyze, the same trade unions was accentuated and widened. Ferments of left-wing extremism mixed with increasingly evident and threatening strands of right-wing extremism, or radicalism, influenced by the resurgence of fascist and Nazi ideologies (and there was also no lack of mixed nuclei, Nazi-Maoists: “black guards and red guards” as it was written in those years). In that heated climate, in December 1969, the dramatic attack on the Banca dell ‘ Agriculture in Milan, the attack in Piazza Fontana (with all its following, not yet dissolved, of legal events), an attack that caused the death of seventeen people. It was a climate of tension and growing exasperation: so Rumor took the initiative to urge the resumption of government collaboration. The need for a return to an organic policy of reforms and also of fear of early political elections led on March 27, after a tormented crisis, also characterized by a Moro attempt blocked by the problem of divorce, to the third Rumor ministry, with the return of socialists, social democrats and republicans in government. As if to escape the growing dangers of what was not by chance called the “strategy of tension”.