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By Paolo Matthiae

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18 During the war, compared to his cultural work, Croce's direct interventions in political affairs remained rather limited and can be characterized as patriotic and liberal. ' The policy of isolation, imposed by the 'maximalist' faction on the Socialist Party, against the protests of Turati, proved fatal both to socialism and to democracy during and after the war. Croce also praised the army for giving moral cohesion to the Italian people, through the education and the discipline it imparted to millions of peasants.

He even believed that Italy's interests lay with the Central Powers, and regarded an intervention against Germany as an act of betrayal. Though he certainly had no sympathy for Austria and its obtuse policies, he had strong ties with German culture and allowed these feelings, for a while, to interfere with his political judgment. Despite his pro- 28 Benedetto Croce and Italian Fascism claimed realism, while war was raging, he continued to contrast German historicism with French Jacobinism, Latin superficiality with Teutonic seriousness.

The Giolitti Cabinet In Italy, the political strife and the social agitation that followed the end of the war and the conclusion of the peace conference were made more difficult and almost intractable by the results of the general elections, which were held within a system of proportional representation. The elections of 1919 were a disaster for the liberal groups; almost two-thirds of their candidates went down to defeat. However, they were a triumph for the Socialist Party and for the Catholic Popular Party.

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Ebla. La città rivelata by Paolo Matthiae

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