De Gasperi, Alcide

De Gasperi, Alcide

(älchē`dā dā gä`spārē), 1881–1954, Italian premier and a founder of the Christian Democratic party. Born in the Trentino—then under Austria—he represented Italian irredentists in the Austrian parliament and after the transfer of the Trentino to Italy at the end of World War I served (1921–24) as a Catholic deputy in the Italian parliament. After 16 months of imprisonment as an anti-Fascist, De Gasperi received (1931) a position at the Vatican Library; there he organized during World War II the center-right Christian Democratic party. A successor in part to Luigi Sturzo's Popular party, the moderately conservative group derived its program from the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. After the Italian surrender in 1943 he held several cabinet posts. From 1945 to 1953 he was premier of eight successive coalition cabinets dominated by the Christian Democrats, and as such was the main architect of Italy's initial postwar, post-Fascist recovery. In 1947, De Gasperi excluded the Communists and left-wing Socialists from the government, and in 1948 his party won a major electoral victory. De Gasperi inaugurated land reform, championed close cooperation with the United States, and led Italy into the European Recovery Program and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

De Gasperi, Alcide

 

Born Apr. 3, 1881, in Pieve Tesino; died Aug. 19, 1954, in Sella Val Sugana. Italian politician and statesman.

From 1919 to 1926, De Gasperi was a member of the National Council of the Italian Popular Party (a Catholic party), and from 1923 to 1926 he was the party’s secretary. In 1921 he was elected a deputy to parliament, but in 1926 the fascists deprived him of his deputy’s mandate for his involvement in the Aventine Bloc. Between 1930 and 1944, De Gasperi was secretary of the Vatican Library. From 1944 to 1946 he was political secretary of the Christian Democratic Party (which was formed in 1943 and succeeded the former Popular Party), and from 1946 to 1953 he was chairman of the party’s National Council. De Gasperi was chairman of the Italian Council of Ministers from December 1945 through July 1953.

Maneuvering in a complicated domestic political setting and enjoying the support of the Vatican, US imperialist circles, and Italian monopoly capital, De Gasperi played a major role in ensuring the Christian Democratic Party’s ascendancy in postwar Italian politics. As a result of a government crisis in 1947, Communists and Socialists were removed from the De Gasperi government. In foreign policy De Gasperi was oriented toward the USA.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.