This book begins by presenting the vision of America shared by Palmiro Togliatti and George F. Kennan during the onset of the Cold War. The leader of the fastest-growing Communist Party in the West and the architect of America's containment strategy against Soviet Communism, from their opposite points of view, nurtured a similar pessimism about the United States' role as leader of the Western world. Togliatti's indictment of the United States was occasioned in May 1947 by former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles's press statements that the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) was an insurrectionary party funded by the Soviet Union. These declarations coincided with the political crisis that a few days later led Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi—allegedly under pressure from Washington—to expel the PCI from the government's national coalition, which had been in place since the last year of the war.
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