The author reappraises some major historiographical problems related to the Italian development model during the Cold War, taking into account the most important economic choices made from 1947, under the Christian Democratic governments led by Alcide De Gasperi, to the 1960s, under Centre-left governments. In assessing the role of political Catholicism, the historiography is split in two main groups of scholars. The first one denies that political Catholicism had any decisive influence on the Italian development model and highlights continuity with the past, the role of non-Catholic technicians and the influence of large economic interests or exogenous factors. The second one emphasizes, instead, the historical function of that political culture which, by granting a central role to the State, has also consolidated its own centrality in Italy’s political system. It has also strengthened the dialogue with other political cultures in its international relations, with the aim to foster a common social model of development in Europe.
Keywords: State and economy during the 20th Century, Cold War, Southern Question, Alcide De Gasperi, National and local development, Liberal Catholicism and Social Catholicism