The paper provides an insight into the history of Italian communist party (pci) by focusing on its reaction to the oil crisis of 1973. The hike in oil prices caused the internal debate of the Communist Party to focus on the limits of capitalist development. This debate took place in the weeks following the launch of the "historic compromise" strategy, which Pci’s General Secretary Enrico Berlinguer made public after the Chilean coup of 11 September 1973. The essay will thus analyse the connection between the oil crisis and the new strategy of the Communist Party, and reflect from this perspective on the political culture of the "historic compromise".
Keywords: Storia del comunismo, storia dei partiti politici, Partito comunista italiano, crisi petrolifera, compromesso storico.