This article analyzes the battle between Italian Communists and anti-Communists during the early Cold War. Without denying the critical role of high politics or the rivalry between Washington and Moscow, the article places the home front at the center of its analysis, using a bottom-up perspective. Drawing on the rhetoric, remembrances, and visual propaganda produced by Communists and anti-Communists alike, the article shifts the focus of attention away from governments and diplomacy and toward imagination and culture as agents of historical change. Looking beyond the institutional-administrative sphere of politics, the article explores the aspirations, emotions, expectations, and hopes formulated by Italians under conditions of existential uncertainty. The article concludes that the Cold War in Italy was, above all else, an internal contest between two parties over what the recent past meant and what would ensure a just and stable order for society.

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