ITALY: Brawl

"Democracy," warned Premier Alcide de Gasperi before the packed Chamber of Deputies, "will be defended at all costs to compel respect for free institutions and prevent violence."

Around the chamber, Italy's legislators sat tense and silent as the solemn Premier asked formal approval of his new, slightly reshuffled cabinet. Communist Boss Palmiro Togliatti beat a nervous finger tattoo on his desktop. The party's L'Unita that morning had threatened: "The opposition will know how to ram De Gasperi's lies and provocations down his throat."

The Premier's voice droned on. He drew a sharp historical...

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