University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

South Bend, [Beginning of June], 1976

New Elections in Italy

The new elections in Italy scheduled to be held by the end of June have given rise to concern because it is feared that the Communist Party could come into power. The West has to deal with the question whether classified material of NATO can be entrusted to Italy should the Communists be in the government, or whether it would be better to transfer the headquarters of the 6th Fleet from Naples to somewhere else. How will Western Europe react to a possible victory of the Communists in Italy? And what will be the reaction of the United States?

The Danger of Euro-communism

The possible failure of social democracy in Italy is a matter of conscience for the West. Should the West trust the assertion of Enrico Berlinguer who, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, propagates that the Communism in Italy will follow democratic rules? The form of Euro-communism in Italy could spread to other countries. In that, an eminent danger can be seen.

South Bend, June 9/10, 1976

Carter the Leading Democratic Candidate

The primaries of June 8 brought for Jimmy Carter the decisive breakthrough. After he had won the primaries in Ohio and New Jersey, the opposition against him collapsed. Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota as well as Governor George Wallace of Alabama announced that they will no longer seek the Democratic nomination and that they will support Carter. Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago also declared that he will support Carter. As a result, the nomination of Jimmy Carter as presidential candidate of the Democrats is practically assured.

It speaks for the strength of American democracy that such a radical political force as launched by George Wallace did not lead to disintegration but has been absorbed within the Democratic Party and now stands unified behind Carter.

South Bend, June 15, 1976

Before the Italian Elections

America is deeply concerned about the upcoming Italian elections. If it should not be possible to protect Italy from Communism, how should the rest of Europe be protected. The organization “Americans for a Democratic Italy” started a letter writing campaign. About 200,000 Americans of Italian descent have been writing their relatives in Italy not to vote for the Communists. This apparently happened out of fear that Italy could in part turn into a people’s republic. At any rate, it is an indication how alarmed people are looking forward to these elections.

June 23, 1976

After the Elections

On June 20/21 a new parliament was elected in Italy. These were in many ways regarded as the most important parliamentary elections in Europe since 30 years. The result is neither encouraging nor disappointing. The Communists did not win to the extent they had hoped for. The Democrazia Christiana was able to stand its ground. Whether the Communists will be conceded a say in the new government remains to be seen. There is a general sigh of relief. But even if the Communists had won, America would have recognized the results of democratic elections.

Cincinnati, [End of June], 1976

Over the Rhine

An old district of Cincinnati with a view over the Ohio River is called “Over the Rhine.” It once was the residential area of German immigrants in the 19th century, who out of nostalgia for their homeland thought they had found a piece of the Rhine in America. In a way, this riverscape meets the illusion. But the German residents left long ago, the old half-timbered houses are dilapidated, the entire district has declined into one of the worst slums. As I was myself enticed by the name, I have come here expecting to find a Rhine idyll on the Ohio. The disappointment is therefore twice as great. Cincinnati has been mercilessly overrun by the new industrial development. It once was a flourishing metropolis, which had prospered from the Mississippi shipping industry and had given a boost to the American food business. Nowadays, the city is to a large extent run down. There is a lesson to be learned: Whatever has lost its function in America, goes down more so without mercy than anywhere else in the world.

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