The Italian Socialist Party (PSI) had a marginal role in republican Italy, due to the fact that (until the crisis determined by the Fascist attack in the immediate aftermath of the war) its leadership was marked by voluntarism and anarcho-sindacalism, which inevitably sapped the strength and limited the appeal of the Party. It was the Communist Party which in Italy after World War II promoted social-democratic policies, although regulated and governed according to anti-democratic norms (co-optation and centralism) deriving from the Bolshevik experience, norms which made impossible a real turnover in the leadership and which produced an increasing inability to understand the deep changes occurring in Italian society. The Italian Communist Party (PCI), actually born in 1941 in the new international political context created by the antifascist alliance between the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and which became politically significant in 1943, had nothing to do with the violence and social horrors perpetrated in Bolshevik Russia and during the Stalinist terror. This is the PCI which succeeded in guiding first the partisan groups and then the left-wing opposition in republican Italy, with the contribution of young political cadres who (contrary to the theses of R. De Felice and many other historians and commentators) did not pass directly from fascism to communism, thus continuing their adhesion to totalitarism, but rather took a route influenced by the liberal-democratic experience.
Keywords: Communist ideology, stalinism, violence and social horrors, Socialist Party, Communist Party, socialdemocracy.