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Alcide De Gasperi

  • He was born at Pieve Tesino on 2 April 1881, and died at Sella di Valsugana 19 August 1954.
  • He graduated in Philosophy.
  • In Trent, he devoted himself to social and political work and founded the People's Party of Trent, and became the editor of daily newspaper "La Voce Cattolica", which he edited for twenty years.
  • After the First World War he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1921 on the slate of the People's Party, and became President of the parliamentary group in the Chamber of Deputies and in July 1923 Party Secretary replacing Sturzo.
  • He was forced to leave office as Secretary in 1925 and his parliamentary mandate was withdrawn in 1926. He was arrested by the Fascist Government in March 1927 and imprisoned.
  • During the Second World War he drew up the programme for the new Catholic Party which was being organised underground and drafted the document "Ideas for the reconstruction of Christian Democracy" which was the birth certificate of the Catholic Party.
  • As a member of the National Liberation Committee he became Secretary of the Christian Democrat Party in 1944, and then a Minister without Portfolio in the 1st Bonomi Government and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 2nd Bonomi and Parri Government.
  • In December 1945 he became Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and for Italian Africa, and it was in this capacity that he conducted the Paris peace negotiations.
  • After the referendum on the Republic, Provisional Head of State De Nicola confirmed him as Prime Minister, a post that he held until 1953 for seven consecutive Governments; in the 2nd Government he was also Minister of Foreign Affairs and for Italian Africa for a few months; in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Governments he remained Minster for Italian Africa, and in the 7th and 8th Governments he was once again appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • The launch of the Republican Constitution, the ratification of the Peace Treaty, the adoption of the Marshall Plan, Italy's membership of the Atlantic Alliance, and Italy's commitment to a federation of European Democratic States were among the main acts of his Governments that were always inspired by the ideal of peaceful cooperation between States.
  • Jointly with Adenauer, Schuman and Monnet he laid the foundations for what was to become the common market. The idea was limited to creating a common coal and steel market between the six founding States (France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy) but it immediately proved to be a peace initiative by succeeding in bringing together the vanquished and the victors of the Second World War. De Gasperi took part not only in its design but all the following phases and in May 1953 was elected President of the Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community. De Gasperi placed great hopes not only in the ECSC but also in the EDC, the draft for the European Defence Community, which was another French idea for overcoming European nationalism, but which came to naught in August 1954 when the French Assembly voted against the project.

last update: 08/11/2007

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