Alcide De Gasperi (3 April 1881 – 19 August 1954) was an Italian statesman andpolitician and founder of the Christian Democratic Party. From 1945 to 1953 hewas the prime minister of eight successive coalition governments. His eight-yearterm in office remains a landmark of political longevity for a leader in modernItalian politics. A conservative Catholic, he was one of the Founding fathers ofthe European Union, along with the Frenchman Robert Schuman and the WestGerman Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Christian Democratic Party
EARLY YEARSDe Gasperi was born in Pieve Tesino in Tyrol, which at that time belongedto Austria-Hungary, now part of the Trentino in Italy. In 1900 he joined theFaculty of Literature and Philosophy in Vienna, where he played an importantrole in the inception of the Christian student movement. In 1911 he became aMember of Parliament for the Popular Political Union of Trentine inthe Austrian Reichsrat, a post he held for 6 years. He was politically neutralduring World War I
FOUNDING THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTYDuring World War II, he organized the establishment of the first ChristianDemocracy party, drawing upon the ideology of the Popular Party. In January1943, he published "Ideas for reconstruction” which amounted to a partyprogramme for the party. He became the first general secretary of the new partyin 1944.De Gasperi was the undisputed head of the Christian Democrats, the party thatdominated Parliament for the next decades. Although his control of the DCappeared almost complete, he had to carefully balance of different factions andinterests, especially over relations with the Vatican, over social reform, and overforeign policy.
1948 electionsThe general elections in April 1948 were heavily influenced by the cold-warconfrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States.The election campaign remains unmatched in verbal aggression andfanaticism in Italys history on both sides. The Catholic Church in Italy workedhard to encourage people to vote against communist candidates. The ChristianDemocratic propaganda became famous.In the US a campaign was launched to prevent a victory of the CommunistThe Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funneled "black bag" contributions toanti-communist. 92.2% Majority Minority party party Leader Alcide De Palmiro Gasperi Togliatti Party Christian Popular Front Democracy
DEATH AND LEGACYIn 1952, the party overwhelmingly endorsed his authority over the government andover the party. However, it was also the start of his decline. He came under increasingcriticism from the emerging left wing in the party. Their main accusations were that hewas too cautious in social and economic reform, that he stifled debate, and that hesubordinated the party to the interests of government.When the Christian Democrats did not gain a majority in the elections of 1953, DeGasperi was unable to establish a workable government and was forced to resign asPrime Minister. The following year he also had to give up the leadership of the party.Two months later, on 19 August 1954, he died in Sella di Valsugana, in his belovedTrentino. He is buried in the Basilica di San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, a basilica inRome. The process for his beatification was opened in 1993.
Europeanism was, undoubtedly, the most significant aspect of the last yearsof activityDe Gasperi policy. As Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer, theother two "fathers of Europe", was a frontiersman, was Catholic and wasconvinced that the European peoples had a common heritage of spiritualand moral values to share the same Christian origin. But it was not easy tomove from this conviction to a concrete policy for the union of theEuropean countries.
In the first years after World War II, De Gasperi did not think that this ideawas paramount: so were other concerns, as reading can check the officialprograms of the Christian Democrats. Only at the end of “The ideas of theChristian Democratic reconstructive”, is mentioned a"community”, Europe, "in which Italy could collaborate" with loyalty“ Thisreference, however, seemed more oriented to define the geographical area inwhich Italy should "restore its function secular civilizing“ that the possibilityof supranational institutions.De Gasperi was convinced that Europe was the only way to solve theproblems of countries. In their cultural elements found to give political andideological weight to your idea and become one of the most tireless andconsistent advocates the unification of the continent.
And his Catholic faith meant a natural predisposition to ecumenism anduniversality, political experiences in the multinational Habsburg Empire andthe careful analysis of international events of the thirties from the vantagepoint of the Vatican he was guaranteed opening ideas and sensitivity tointernational relations rare among posfascismo Italian politicians. From late1949 multiplied interventions De Gasperi Europeans, already announced inhis speech in Brussels on 20 November 1948, entitled "The moral basis ofdemocracy."
The facts gave strength to the proposals European. De Gasperi insisted and foundmuch internationally resistance to Italy could participate in at least the last phasenegotiations in May 1949 that led to the Council of Europe. In May 1950 agreedthat Italy could join immediately to negotiations on the plan Schuman, the April18, 1951 led to the creation of the first European: the European Coal and SteelCommunity (ECSC). The instructions given to Paolo Emilio Taviani, head of theItalian delegation, required that the delegation should have "a postureEuropean fair “ and also seek the participation of Great Britain in the agreement.
De Gasperi supported him, it was because, as he has said, he wasconvinced that European unity would be through the army or thecurrency, it was because he saw immediately Europeans possibilitiesthat hid the plan. It was the right time to start limited integration to themilitary aspects only and reach an integration economic policy andsimplify the solution of the traditional problems of delay of thepeninsula. The biggest problem was to make the public understandItalian, in his most still insensitive to the ideal Europeanist.