Keywords: Administration; Citizenship; State-building; Social Rights; State Continuity.
This article retraces the institution of the Ministero per l'assistenza post-bellica, in June 1945, by reconstructing its structure and the cultural background shaping it. It breaks up the social, cultural and institutional aspects of the post-war transition, showing how the development of social policies combined with an effort to reform public administration and with a project aimed to change the Italians' civic morality. By analysing the peculiarity of the management of the Ministry and evaluating the influence of some important international models in its creation, it describes the planning and the development of public services for the citizens. The article finally shows how the emergency nature of the post-war humanitarian intervention, the achievement of a new national cultural code of mourning and the difficulties in articulating public and private action precluded the fulfilment of this project, aimed to make the right to social assistance the basis of the new democracy.