Alcide De Gasperi

Alcide De Gasperi
Alcide de Gasperi 2.jpg
30th Prime Minister of Italy
In office
10 December 1945 – 17 August 1953
MonarchVittorio Emanuele III (1945–46)
Umberto II (1946)
Lieutenant GeneralPrince Umberto
PresidentEnrico De Nicola (1948)
Luigi Einaudi (1948–53)
DeputyLuigi Einaudi (1947–48)
Randolfo Pacciardi (1947–48)
Giuseppe Saragat (1947–50)
Attilio Piccioni (1948–53)
Giovanni Porzio (1948–50)
Preceded byFerruccio Parri
Succeeded byGiuseppe Pella
President of the Common Assembly
In office
11 May 1954 – 19 August 1954
Preceded byPaul-Henri Spaak
Succeeded byGiuseppe Pella
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
26 July 1951 – 17 August 1953
Preceded byCarlo Sforza
Succeeded byGiuseppe Pella
In office
12 December 1944 – 18 October 1946
Prime MinisterIvanoe Bonomi
Ferruccio Parri
Preceded byIvanoe Bonomi
Succeeded byPietro Nenni
Minister of the Interior
In office
14 July 1946 – 2 February 1947
Preceded byGiuseppe Romita
Succeeded byMario Scelba
Provisional Head of State of Italy
In office
12 June 1946 – 28 June 1946
Preceded byKing Umberto II
Succeeded byEnrico De Nicola
Minister of the Italian Africa
In office
10 December 1945 – 19 April 1953
Preceded byFerruccio Parri
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Secretary of the Christian Democracy
In office
28 September 1953 – 29 June 1954
Preceded byGuido Gonella
Succeeded byAmintore Fanfani
In office
31 July 1944 – 22 September 1946
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byAttilio Piccioni
Personal details
Alcide Amedeo Francesco De Gasperi

(1881-04-03)3 April 1881
Pieve Tesino, Tyrol, Austria-Hungary
Died19 August 1954(1954-08-19) (aged 73)
Borgo Valsugana, Trentino, Italy
Political party
Francesca Romani (1894–1998) (m. 1922)
Alma materUniversity of Innsbruck
University of Vienna
  • Journalist
  • philologist
  • politician

Alcide Amedeo Francesco De Gasperi (Italian: [alˈtʃiːde de ˈɡasperi]; 3 April 1881 – 19 August 1954) was an Italian statesman who founded the Christian Democracy party.[1]

From 1945 to 1953, De Gasperi was the Prime Minister of Italy, leading eight successive coalition governments. He was the last Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy, serving under both Victor Emmanuel III and Umberto II. He was also the first Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, and also briefly served as provisional head of state after the Italian people voted to end the monarchy and establish a republic. His eight-year term in office remains a landmark of political longevity for a leader in modern Italian politics. De Gasperi is the fifth longest-serving Prime Minister since the Italian Unification.

A Catholic, he was one of the founding fathers of the European Union along with fellow Italian Altiero Spinelli.

Early years

De Gasperi was born in Pieve Tesino in Tyrol, which at that time belonged to Austria-Hungary, now part of the region of Trentino-Alto Adige in Italy. His father was a local police officer of limited financial means. From 1896 De Gasperi was active in the Social Christian movement. In 1900 he joined the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy in Vienna, where he played an important role in the inception of the Christian student movement. He was very much inspired by the Rerum novarum encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891. In 1904 he took an active part in student demonstrations in favour of an Italian language university. Imprisoned with other protesters during the inauguration of the Italian faculty of law in Innsbruck, he was released after twenty days. In 1905, De Gasperi obtained a degree in philology.

In 1905, he began to work as editor of the newspaper La Voce Cattolica (The Catholic Voice) which was replaced in September 1906 by Il Trentino and after a short time, he became its editor. In his newspaper, he often took positions in favor of a cultural autonomy for Trentino and in defense of Italian culture in Trentino in contrast to the Germanisation plans of the German radical nationalists in Tyrol. However, he never questioned whether Trentino should belong to Austria–Hungary and claimed that in the case of a referendum 90% of the people of Trentino would nevertheless choose the popular Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria over Italy.

In 1911, he became a Member of Parliament for the Popular Political Union of Trentino (UPPT) in the Austrian Reichsrat, a post he held for 6 years. He was politically neutral during World War I, which he spent in Vienna. However, he sympathized with the ultimately unsuccessful efforts of Pope Benedict XV (1914–1922) and Bl. Karl I of Austria to obtain an honorable peace and stop the war and mass killing. When his home region was transferred to Italy in the post-war settlement, he accepted Italian citizenship. He however never tried to hide his love for Austria and German culture and often preferred speaking German to his family, many of whom spoke German as their first language.

Opposition to Fascism

In 1919, he was among of the founders of the Italian People's Party (PPI), with Luigi Sturzo. He served as a deputy in the Italian Parliament from 1921 to 1924, a period marked by the rise of Fascism. He initially supported the participation of the PPI in Benito Mussolini's first government in October 1922.

As Mussolini's hold on the Italian government grew stronger, he soon diverged with the Fascists over constitutional changes to the powers of the executive and to the election system (the Acerbo Law), and to Fascist violence against the constitutional parties, culminating in the murder of Giacomo Matteotti. The PPI split, and De Gasperi became secretary of the remaining anti-Fascist group in May 1924. In November 1926, in a climate of overt violence and intimidation by the Fascists, the PPI was dissolved.

De Gasperi was arrested in March 1927 and sentenced to four years in prison. The Vatican negotiated his release. A year and a half in prison nearly broke De Gasperi's health. After his release in July 1928, he was unemployed and in serious financial hardship, until in 1929 his ecclesiastical contacts secured him a job as a cataloguer in the Vatican Library, where he spent the next fourteen years until the collapse of Fascism in July 1943.

During the 1930s, De Gasperi wrote a regular international column for the review L'Illustrazione Vaticana in which he depicted the chief political battle as one between Communism and Christianity. In 1934, he rejoiced in the defeat of the Austrian Social Democrats, whom he condemned for "de-Christianizing" the country, and in 1937 he declared that the German Church was correct in preferring Nazism to Bolshevism.[2]

Founding Christian Democracy

During World War II, he organised the establishment of the first (and at the time, illegal) Christian Democracy (DC) party, drawing upon the ideology of the PPI. In January 1943, he published "Ideas for Reconstruction" (Italian: Idee ricostruttive), which amounted to a programme for the party. He became the first general secretary of the new party in 1944.

De Gasperi was the undisputed head of the Christian Democrats, the party that dominated Parliament for decades. Although his control of the DC appeared almost complete, he had to carefully balance different factions and interests, especially with regards to relations with the Vatican, social reform, and foreign policy.

When Southern Italy was liberated by the Allies, he became one of the main representatives of DC in the National Liberation Committee. During the government led by Ivanoe Bonomi, De Gasperi was appointed Minister without portfolio and, in Ferruccio Parri's cabinet, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Alçide Qasperi
Bahasa Indonesia: Alcide de Gasperi
Lëtzebuergesch: Alcide De Gasperi
Bahasa Melayu: Alcide De Gasperi
Nederlands: Alcide De Gasperi
português: Alcide De Gasperi
Simple English: Alcide De Gasperi
slovenčina: Alcide De Gasperi
slovenščina: Alcide De Gasperi
српски / srpski: Алчиде Де Гаспери
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Alcide De Gasperi
Tiếng Việt: Alcide De Gasperi