- Mini Bio
- Name: Alcide Amedeo Francesco de Gasperi
- Born: 3rd April 1881, Pieve Tesino, Tyrol, Austria-Hungary
- Died: 19th August 1954, Borgo Valsugana, Trentino, Italy
- Occupation: Politician and prime minister of the Italy (10th December 1945 – 17th August 1953)
- Alma mater: University of Innsbruck and University of Vienna
- Firsts: During WWII he founded the Christian Democracy party that was to become a stalwart of the Italian political scene for decades to come
"In the secrecy of the polling booth, God sees you - Stalin doesn't"Alcide de Gasperi
"From 1919 to 1939, some seventy international treaties were concluded – and all became mere pieces of paper when it came to their implementation"Alcide de Gasperi
"I saw how carefully the representatives of the little nations defended the text of their constitutions, in relation to the European army"Alcide de Gasperi
"This is a coalition of democracies founded on the principle of freedom. That is our bastion, that is our platform, that is our struggle"Alcide de Gasperi
"We must be guided above all by the overriding realisation that it is essential to build a united Europe"Alcide de Gasperi
"A politician looks to the next election. A statesman looks to the next generation"Alcide de Gasperi
"There is in Italy a quarter Party, who is able to paralyze and to frustrate all our efforts, organizing the sabotage of the loan and the flight of capital"Alcide de Gasperi
"His words are not simply constructive criticism, they are a torpedo, an attempt at sabotage"Alcide de Gasperi
"In Europe we go forward together in freedom"Alcide de Gasperi
"Only if united we are strong"Alcide de Gasperi
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Alcide de Gasperi Biography
Alcide de Gasperi was a rare breed of a politician who earned the esteem of the Italian people for his selfless life and devotion to duty that saw him suffer from the persecution of the Fascists, spend years in the political wilderness and eventually rise back up to lead his broken nation out of the ashes of the Adolf Hitler inspired WWII. He was a humble man that was raised in the Italian speaking region of Trentino-Alto in the Austro Hungarian empire
His first taste of success in the political arena was in 1911 when he was elected to office to represent Trentino in the Austrian parliament. WWI then erupted and in its aftermath his Trentino region was absorbed into Italy, by 1921 he had his own political party the PPI (Partito Popolare Italiano) and he was elected to parliament. The 1920's saw a surge in Fascism and through Mussolini's blackshirt intimidation the PPI was dissolved and de Gasperi was jailed in 1927.
Throughout this period Gasperi stood firm in critique of the Blackshirt policies whilst many of his erstwhile allies melted in the shadows of his political stance. The Vatican negotiated his release in 1929 and he spent the next 14 years dusting off the books in the Vatican's library. During WWII he clandestinely founded the Christian Democracy party and the seeds were set for them to rule Italian politics for decades to come. Alcide took the reins of Italian power in 1945 and after his resignation in 1953 he was and still is recognised as Italy's longest serving prime minister.
Gasperi had lived through 2 world wars and he was determined not to see another so one of his many lasting legacies was to lay the seeds to bring Europe together and he is widely considered as one of the founding fathers of a united Europe. His former secretary and later Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti was quoted as saying this of him:
"De Gasperi was against exacerbating conflict. He taught us to search for compromise, to mediate".
He has the distinction of being the 44th and last prime minister of the Kingdom Of Italy (10th December 1945 - 10th July 1946) and the 1st prime minister of the Italian Republic (10th July 1946 - 17th August 1953). The finest political minds make the greatest one liners so here is my compilation of 10 of the best Alcide de Gasperi quotes
Quotes About Alcide de Gasperi
Post WWII, Gasperi made a good impression on future U.S. president Richard Nixon:
"When I returned to the U.S. and, along with my colleagues, reported to the congress, I was confident of the future of Italy because, first, I had seen a great Italian leader"
The journalist Indro Montanelli saw his patriotic side:
"He was an Italian! And he was right. De Gasperi was ours"
Carlo Casini Italian MEP described his legacy:
"His memory must not only be a celebration, but must guide our future action. In Italy, he is remembered as the President of the reconstruction"
The politician Amintore Fanfani was impressed to say:
"He was one of the very few men from whom I never heard a disrespectful judgment towards anyone"