Alcide De Gasperi

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Alcide De Gasperi

Alcide De Gasperi or actually Degasperi (born April 3, 1881 in Pieve Tesino near Trento , Tyrol , Austria-Hungary ; † August 19, 1954 in the Sella district of Borgo Valsugana , Italy ) was an Italian statesman who initially lived in the cisleithan part of Austria- Hungary and after the First World War in Italy worked. He was the first chairman of the Democrazia Cristiana and from 1945 to 1953 Italian Prime Minister . De Gasperi is considered one of the founding fathers of the European Communities .


Alcide De Gasperi's birthplace Pieve Tesino is in Trentino , which until 1918 belonged to Tyrol and thus to Austria. He grew up in a predominantly Catholic, Italian-speaking (Welschtiroler) environment and came from a relatively modest background. His father was the police officer Amedeo Degasperi, his mother Maria geb. Morandini was from Predazzo . De Gasperi studied philosophy and literature in Vienna . There he learned perfect German and played an important role in the Christian student movement. The young De Gasperi was particularly committed to the establishment of an Italian law faculty (a major concern of the Trentino students), for which he was briefly imprisoned.

Journalist and politician in Austria-Hungary

As an autonomist from Trentino, De Gasperi took part in the celebrations on the occasion of the opening of the Italian Faculty of Law in Innsbruck in 1904, which led to the so-called Fatti di Innsbruck . In 1905 De Gasperi began to work as editor of the newspaper Il Trentino ; after a short time he became director. In his newspaper he often took a stand in favor of financial autonomy for Welschtirol (today's Trentino) and in defense of Italian culture in Trentino, in contrast to the Germanization plans of the most radical German nationalists in Tyrol . However, he never questioned whether Trentino was part of Austria-Hungary and claimed that in the event of a referendum, 90% of the Trentino residents would vote for the emperor.

In 1911 he became a member of the Trentino People's Party (PPT) in the Austrian Imperial Council . In his constituency of Fiemme-Fassa-Primiero-Civizzano, he received 3,116 votes out of 4,275 voters (72.9%). In 1914 he was also elected to the Tyrolean state parliament. His political activity in Austria was also aimed at gaining autonomy for Trentino. Nevertheless, in March 1915, on behalf of the Italian nationalist bishop Celestino Endrizzi from the Archdiocese of Trento, he met with the Italian Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino to negotiate privileges for the Catholic Church of Trentino in the event of an Italian annexation.

Italy between the world wars

After the end of the First World War , Trentino (together with South Tyrol) fell to the Kingdom of Italy as a result of the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Saint-Germain . De Gasperi was subsequently one of the co-founders of the Partito Popolare Italiano ( Italian People's Party ; PPI), from 1921 its member of parliament, later the leader of the parliamentary group. He was one of the closest collaborators of Luigi Sturzo , whom he followed in July 1923 as General Secretary of the PPI. In contrast to Sturzo, De Gasperi advocated participation in the government and, from 1922, cooperation with the fascist leader Benito Mussolini .

In the church of Borgo Valsugana De Gasperi married Francesca Romani (1894–1998) in 1922, the sister of a befriended parliamentarian. The marriage resulted in four daughters.

After Giacomo Matteotti's assassination (June 10, 1924), De Gasperi again took a resolute opposition position. During the fascist dictatorship he served a 16-month prison sentence from May 1927. After his release he worked in the Vatican library , from where he organized the founding of the initially illegal Democrazia Cristiana during the Second World War .

Prime Minister after the Second World War

From 1944 he was foreign minister of the post-fascist all-party governments under Ivanoe Bonomi and Ferruccio Parri . He was Prime Minister from December 12, 1945 to October 18, 1946. On June 2, 1946, the Italians decided in a referendum suggested by De Gasperi for the republic as the form of government, after which he was temporarily provisional head of state. He participated in the Paris Peace Conference in part and signed in September, for the autonomy of South Tyrol important Gruber-De Gasperi Agreement .

After the break with the communist PCI and the socialist PSI in 1947, De Gasperi led seven changing coalition governments of the Democrazia Cristiana (DC) with the right-liberal PLI , left-liberal PRI and the social democratic PSLI until 1953 . In terms of foreign policy, in the early years of the Cold War he advocated the integration of Italy into the West , including joining NATO , as well as (West) European cooperation and understanding. Together with Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer , De Gasperi was actively involved in establishing the coal and steel union.

De Gasperi's tomb by the Italian sculptor Giacomo Manzù ( San Lorenzo fuori le mura , Rome)

On September 24, 1952, he was awarded the international Charlemagne Prize in Aachen “in recognition of his constant promotion of European unification” .

On May 11, 1954, De Gasperi was elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the ECSC , the forerunner of the European Parliament. He died three months later in his adopted home Borgo Valsugana .

Beatification process

In 1993 the diocesan beatification process was opened in the Archdiocese of Trento .



  • Giulio Andreotti : De Gasperi visto da vicino. Rizzoli, Milan 1986, ISBN 88-17-36010-4 .
  • Adolf Kohler: Alcide de Gasperi. 1881-1954. Christian, statesman, European. Europa-Union-Verlag, Bonn 1979, ISBN 3-7713-0116-5 .
  • Nico Perrone : De Gasperi e l'America. Un dominio pieno e incontrollato. Sellerio, Palermo 1995, ISBN 88-389-1110-X ( La nuova diagonale 3).
  • Paolo Pombeni: The young De Gasperi. The career of a politician (Writings of the Italian-German Historical Institute in Trieste, Volume 26) (from the Italian by Bettina Dürr), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-428-84023-6 .
  • Pietro Scoppola: La proposta politica di De Gasperi. Il Mulino, Bologna 1977, Universale Paperbacks Il Mulino 59, ZDB -ID 192535-0
  • Michael Völkl: The German image Alcide De Gasperis (1881–1954). A contribution to the Italian perception of German , Diss. Phil. Munich 2004, published as PDF (2 MB).
  • Nico Perrone: La svolta occidentale. De Gasperi e il nuovo ruolo internazionale dell'Italia . Castelvecchi, Rome 2017, ISBN 978-88-6944-810-2 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Alcide De Gasperi  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Völkl, p. 58 f.
  2. Völkl, p. 56 f.
  3. digitized version
  4. ^ The International Charlemagne Prize in Aachen. The Charlemagne Prize winner 1952 Alcide de Gasperi ( German, English, French, Dutch ) In: . Retrieved March 1, 2019.