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Italy
Undeniably an economic power, the cradle of the Roman Empire, Italy was one of the founder members of the European Union. Falling victim to civil war during the Middle Ages it was unified by Piedmont in 1861, then launched into the colonial adventure. It took part in the First World War but the ensuing national climate that was extremely disturbed fostering the rise of Mussolini and fascism, who took power in 1922. After the Second World War Italy rebuilt mainly under the rule of Christian Democracy and its first President Alcide de Gasperi, one of the “Fathers of Europe”. Christian Democracy remained in office until 1993 in coalition with other parties, then Italy experienced a period of political alternation.
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