DP11758 Historical Roots of Political Extremism: The Effects of Nazi Occupation of Italy
We study the impact of the Italian civil war and Nazi occupation of Italy in 1943–45 on postwar political outcomes. The Communist Party, which was more active in the resistance movement, gained votes in areas where the Nazi occupation was both longer and harsher, mainly at the expense of centrist parties. This effect persists until the late 1980s. These results suggest that civil war and widespread political violence reshape political identities in favor of the political groups that emerge as winners. This benefits extremist groups and hurts moderates since the former are more involved in violent conflict.