Italian general election, 1948
The Italian elections of 1948 were the first democratic elections with universal suffrage ever held in Italy. They were held on 1948-04-18.
They were won by the conservative Christian Democracy, defeating the left-wing, pro-Soviet Popular Alliance (also known as the Democratic Popular Front or by its Italian acronym FDP).
The elections are likely unmatched in verbal aggression and fanaticism in Italy's history, on both sides. The Christian Democrat propaganda became famous in claiming that in Communist countries "children sent parents to jail", "children were owned by the state", "people ate their own children", and claiming disaster would strike Italy if the left were to take power.
The 1948 general election was heavily influenced by the United States as part of their ongoing effort to fight communism. In order to influence the election, the US agencies undertook a campaign of writing ten million letters, made numerous short-wave radio broadcasts of propaganda and funded the publishing of books and articles, all of which warned the Italians of what the US felt would be the consequences of a communist victory. The CIA also funded the centre-right political parties and was accused of publishing forged letters in order to discredit the leaders of the Italian Communist Party (PCI).
Perhaps because of this campaign, the Christian Democrats won the 1948 election with 48 percent of the vote, while the FDP only received 31 percent. A leftist coalition would not win a general election for the next 48 years, till 1996. This was due to the Italians' traditional bend for conservatism, on one side, but even more importantly to the Cold War, with the US closely eyeing Italy, and often heavily meddling in its politics, not always by licit means (see: strategy of tension), after their desire to maintain a vital NATO presence amidst the Mediterranean.