Alcide Degasperi was a Christian Democratic politician, considered one of the fathers of the democratic Italy and the European Union.
Alcide Degasperi was born on the 3rd of April 1881 in Pieve Tesino in the Valsugana valley. After graduating in philosophy at the University of Vienna, he worked as an editor. In 1911 Degasperi was elected to the Austrian Parliament and later also to the Innsbruck State Parliament, where he took care of the interests of the Italian minority in Welschtirol (Trentino). From 1917 he was particularly committed to the refugees and prisoners and in 1918, on behalf of the Trentines, he expressed the desire to join Italy. The wish soon became reality, and Degasperi joined the People’s Party (Partito popolare), whose first party conference he was allowed to chair in Bologna.
He soon came into conflict with Mussolini, who wanted to abolish the special autonomy of the Trentino on the occasion of the electoral reform in 1924. After the dissolution of the People’s Party, he was captured and spent 6 years behind bars. Afterwards Alice Degasperi worked for the libraries of the Vatican. As a member of the CLN Partisans, he campaigned for a moderate line.
As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Italian Kingdom and the new Italian Republic, Degasperi showed skill and realism, so at the signing of the peace treaties in 1947.
After 1948 he sharpened Italy’s international role by joining the NATO. He is known for his commitment to a common Europe and became the first President of the ECSC Assembly.
Alcide Degasperi died in 1954 in Borgo Valsugana. Today, together with Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer, he is regarded as one of the fathers of European unification.