Gaetano Salvemini

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Salvemini, Gaetano


Born Sept. 18, 1873, in Molfetta, Bari; died Sept. 6, 1957, in Sorrento. Italian political figure, historian, and publicist. From 1902 to 1925 history professor at the universities of Messina, Pisa, and Florence.

Salvemini joined the socialist movement in 1893. However, he did not accept the directives of the socialist party’s reformist leadership on several questions, especially the Southern Question. Unlike the reformists, who to all intents and purposes ignored the interests of the southern peasantry, he called for a radical solution to the problem of the south. Salvemini left the socialist party in 1911. From the early 20th century he was a leader of the democratic wing of the Meridionals (from the Italian meridionale, or “southern”), who advocated the economic modernization and rebirth of the south. From 1919 to 1921 he was a deputy to parliament.

Salvemini resolutely opposed Fascism; for this reason he was arrested and convicted. In 1925 he emigrated to France, where he emerged as a leader of the anti-Fascist Justice and Liberty (Giustizia e Libertà) movement. He lived in the United States from 1934 to 1948 and taught at Harvard University. In 1949, Salvemini returned to his homeland and became head of the history faculty at the University of Florence.


Magnati e popolani in Firenze dal 1280 al 1295. [Turin] 1960.
La rivoluzione francese. Milan, 1905.
La questione dell’Adriatico, 2nd ed. Rome, 1919. (With C. Maranelli.)
Il partito e la questione romana. Florence, 1922.
The Fascist Dictatorship in Italy. New York, 1967.
La Terreur fasciste, 4th ed. Paris, 1930.
Under the Axe of Fascism. London, 1936.
Prelude to World War II. London, 1953.
Scritti sulla questione meridionale, 2nd ed. Turin, 1958.
Memorie di un fuoruscito. Milan [1960]
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Originally published in 1922 as La piu belle pagine de Carlo Cattaneo scelte da Gaetano Salvemini, this volume collects a representative selection of Cattaneo's writings as put together by the Italian anti-fascist historian and activist Salvimini, who also provides a biographical introduction to the life of Cattaneo.
The Florentine magnates have been studied from their origins as a disenfranchised violent group in the magisterial works of Gaetano Salvemini and Nicola Ottokar, and by more recent figures.
Gaetano Salvemini, in fact, described the Fascist's failure to increase the birth rate as proof that the majority of Italian women had declared "a reproductive general strike" as their protest against the regime.