Prime Minister of Italy
December 4, 1963 – June 24, 1968
|Preceded by||Giovanni Leone|
|Succeeded by||Giovanni Leone|
November 23, 1974 – July 29, 1976
|Deputy||Ugo La Malfa|
|Preceded by||Mariano Rumor|
|Succeeded by||Giulio Andreotti|
|Italian Minister of Justice|
July 6, 1955 – May 15, 1957
|Prime Minister||Antonio Segni|
|Preceded by||Michele De Pietro|
|Succeeded by||Guido Gonella|
|Italian Minister of Education|
May 19, 1957 – February 15, 1959
|Prime Minister||Adone Zoli
|Preceded by||Paolo Rossi|
|Succeeded by||Giuseppe Medici|
|Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs|
December 28, 1964 – March 5, 1965
|Preceded by||Giuseppe Saragat|
|Succeeded by||Amintore Fanfani|
May 5, 1969 – July 29, 1972
|Prime Minister||Mariano Rumor
|Preceded by||Pietro Nenni|
|Succeeded by||Giuseppe Medici|
July 7, 1973 – November 23, 1974
|Prime Minister||Mariano Rumor|
|Preceded by||Giuseppe Medici|
|Succeeded by||Mariano Rumor|
September 23, 1916|
Maglie, Apulia, Italy
|Died||May 9, 1978
Rome, Latium, Italy
|Political party||Christian Democracy|
Aldo Moro (Italian pronunciation: [ˈaldo ˈmɔːro]; September 23, 1916 – May 9, 1978) was an Italian politician and the 39th Prime Minister of Italy, from 1963 to 1968, and then from 1974 to 1976. He was one of Italy's longest-serving post-war Prime Ministers, holding power for a combined total of more than six years.
A leader of Democrazia Cristiana (Christian Democracy, DC), Moro was considered an intellectual and a patient mediator, especially in the internal life of his party. He was kidnapped on March 16, 1978, by the Red Brigades (BR), a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization, and killed after 55 days of captivity.
Moro was born in Maglie, in the province of Lecce (Apulia), into a family from Ugento. At 4, he moved with his family to Milan, but they soon moved back to Apulia, where he gained a classical high school degree at Archita lyceum in Taranto. Till 1939 he studied Law at the University of Bari, an institution where he was later to hold the post of ordinary professor of philosophy of Law and Colonial Policy (1941) and of Criminal Law (1942).
In 1935, he entered the Catholic university students' association (Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana, FUCI) of Bari. In 1939, under approval of Giovanni Battista Montini of whom he had befriended, Moro was chosen as president of the association; he kept the post till 1942, succeeded by Giulio Andreotti. During his university years Italy was under the Fascist government, and he took part in students competitions (Littoriali della cultura e dell'arte) organised by local fascist students' organisation (Gioventù Universitaria Fascista, GUF). He then founded the periodical La Rassegna, published in 1943–1945.
In 1945 he married Eleonora Chiavarelli (1915–2010), with whom he had four children: Maria Fida (born 1946), Agnese (1952), Anna and Giovanni (1958).
After teaching Law for twenty years in Bari, in 1963 Moro considered the possibility to move to the Sapienza University of Rome, as professor of Criminal Law and Procedure.
Moro developed his interest in politics between 1943 and 1945. Initially, he seemed to be very interested in the social-democratic component of the Italian Socialist Party, but then his Catholic faith moved him towards the newly constituted Democrazia Cristiana (DC). In the DC, he took part in the work of the leftist trend, headed by Giuseppe Dossetti. In 1945 he became director of the magazine Studium and president of the Graduated Movement of the Azione Cattolica.
In 1946 he was nominated vice-president of the Democrazia Cristiana and elected member of the Constitutional Assembly, where he took part in the work to redact the Italian Constitution. In 1948 he was elected to the Italian Parliament and nominated vice-minister of Foreign Affairs in the 5th De Gasperi cabinet (May 23, 1948 – January 27, 1950).
In 1953 Moro was re-elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies, where he held the position of chairman of the DC parliamentary group. He was chosen as Minister of Grace and Justice in the Antonio Segni 1st cabinet in 1955.
Minister of Education in the following Adone Zoli and Amintore Fanfani-II cabinets, he introduced civic education into the national curriculum. In 1959, at the 6th party's congress he gained the post of National Secretary of the DC.
In 1963 he was nominated Prime Minister of Italy for the first time. His government was unevenly supported by the DC, but also by the Italian Socialist Party, along with the minor Italian Republican Party and Italian Democratic Socialist Party. The centre-left coalition, a first for the Italian post-war political panorama, stayed in power until the 1968 general elections. His 3rd cabinet (1966–68) stayed in power for 833 days, a record for Italy's so-called "First Republic".
In the 1968 DC's congress, Moro yielded the Secretariat and passed to internal opposition, while serving as Foreign Minister between 1969 and 1974. In 1974–1976 he re-gained the post of Prime Minister, and concluded the Osimo Treaty with Yugoslavia, defining the official partition of the Free Territory of Trieste. In 1976 he was elected President of the DC National Council.
Moro was considered a very tenacious mediator, particularly skilled in coordinating the different internal trends of DC.
At the beginning of the 1960s, Moro was one of the most convinced supporters of an alliance between the DC and the Italian Socialist Party, in order to widen the majority and integrate the socialists in the government system. In the 1963 party congress in Naples, he was able to convince the whole party directive of the strategy. The same happened in 1978, when he supported a "national solidarity" government with the backing of the Italian Communist Party.
Moro's main aim was to widen the democratic base of the government: the cabinets should have been able to represent a bigger number of voters and parties. He thought of the DC as the fulcrum of a coalition system, on the principles of consociative democracy.
Moro faced big challenges: especially, the necessity to conciliate the Christian and popular mission of the Democrazia Cristiana with the rising laicist and liberal values of the Italian society in the 1960s, and the necessity to integrate new important social groups (youth, women, workers) in the democratic system. DC's mission, in Moro's vision, was intended to recover the popular class that supported Fascism and ferry them in the democratic system. The contradiction of Moro's political stance was in trying to reconcile the extreme mobility of social transformations with the continuity of the institutions of representative democracy, and the integration the masses in the State, without falling into autocracy.
Following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) had taken a definitive distance from the Italian Communist Party (PCI), and Pietro Nenni had collaborated with the DC in the early 1960s. After the rise of the PCI of Enrico Berlinguer at the 1976 general elections, when the Communists scored 34,4% of the votes, Moro conceived the idea of a "national solidarity" cabinet, whose parliamentary base should include the PCI as well. Moro's idea was openly criticised, as such an "Historic Compromise" would have involved a PCI which was still under direct influence from Moscow. Berlinguer openly defused the proposition.
In 1976–1977, Berlinguer's PCI broke up with Moscow, and convened with the Spanish and French parties to draw the lines of Eurocommunism. Such a move made an eventual collaboration more acceptable for DC voters, and the two parties began an intense parliamentary debate, in a moment of deep social crises.
In 1977, Moro had been personally involved in international disputes. He strongly defended Mariano Rumor during the parliamentary debate on the Lockheed scandal, and a part of the press reported that he might have been Antelope Cobbler, an alleged bribe recipient. The accusation, aimed at politically destroying Moro and avoiding the risk of a "Historic Compromise" cabinet, failed when Moro was cleared on March 3, 1978, 13 days before his kidnapping.
The early-1978 proposition by Moro of a DC-PSI cabinet supported also by the PCI was strongly opposed by both super-powers: the USA feared that the collaboration of an Italian government with the Communists might have allowed these later to gain information on strategic NATO military plans and installations, and pass them to Soviet agents. Moreover, the participation in government of the Communists in a Western country would have represented a cultural failure for the USA. The USSR considered potential participation by the PCI in a cabinet a form of emancipation from Moscow and rapprochement to the Americans, therefore also opposing it.
Kidnapping and death
On March 16, 1978, on Via Fani, a street in Rome, a unit of the militant Communist organisation known as the Red Brigades (Italian: Brigate Rosse) blocked the two-car convoy transporting Moro and kidnapped him, murdering his five bodyguards. At the time, all of the founding members of the Red Brigades were in jail; the organisation led by Mario Moretti that kidnapped Moro, therefore, is said to be the "Second Red Brigades".
On the day of his kidnapping, Moro was on his way to a session of the House of Representatives, where a discussion was to take place regarding a vote of confidence for a new government led by Giulio Andreotti (DC) that would have, for the first time, the support of the Communist Party. It was to be the first implementation of Moro's strategic political vision as defined by the Compromesso storico (historic compromise).
In the following days, trade unions called for a general strike, while security forces made hundreds of raids in Rome, Milan, Turin and other cities searching for Moro's location. Held for two months, he was allowed to send letters to his family and politicians. The government refused to negotiate, despite demands by family, friends and Pope Paul VI. In fact, Paul VI "offered himself in exchange … for Aldo Moro …"
During the investigation of Moro's kidnapping, General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa reportedly responded to a member of the security services who suggested torturing a suspected brigatista, "Italy can survive the loss of Aldo Moro. It would not survive the introduction of torture." The Red Brigades initiated a secret trial where Moro was found guilty and sentenced to death. Then they sent demands to the Italian authorities, stating that unless 16 Red Guard prisoners were released, Moro would be killed. The Italian authorities responded with a large-scale manhunt.
The Red Brigades (BR) proposed to exchange Moro's life for the freedom of several prisoners. There has been speculation that during his detention many knew where he was (in an apartment in Rome). When Moro was abducted, the government immediately took a hard line position: the "State must not bend" on terrorist demands. Some contrasted this with the kidnapping of Ciro Cirillo in 1981, a minor political figure for whom the government negotiated. However, Cirillo was released for a monetary ransom, rather than the release of imprisoned terrorists.
Romano Prodi, Mario Baldassarri, and Alberto Clò, of the faculty of the University of Bologna passed on a tip about a safe-house where the BR might have been holding Moro on April 2. Prodi claimed he had been given the tip by the founders of the Christian Democrats, from beyond the grave in a séance and a Ouija board, which gave the names of Viterbo, Bolsena and Gradoli.
During this period, Moro wrote several letters to the leaders of the Christian Democrats and to Pope Paul VI (who later personally officiated in Moro's Funeral Mass). Those letters, at times very critical of Andreotti, were kept secret for more than a decade, and published only in the early 1990s. In his letters, Moro said that the state's primary objective should be saving lives, and that the government should comply with his kidnappers' demands. Most of the Christian Democrat leaders argued that the letters did not express Moro's genuine wishes, claiming they were written under duress, and thus refused all negotiation. This was in stark contrast to the requests of Moro's family. In his appeal to the terrorists, Pope Paul asked them to release Moro "without conditions".
It has been conjectured that Moro used these letters to send cryptic messages to his family and colleagues. Doubts have been advanced about the completeness of these letters; Carabinieri General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa (later killed by the Mafia) found copies of the letters in a house that terrorists used in Milan, and for some reason this was not publicly known until many years later.
When the Red Brigades decided to kill Moro, they placed him in a car and told him to cover himself with a blanket saying that they were going to transport him to another location. After Moro was covered, they shot ten rounds into him, killing him: according to the official reconstruction after a series of trials, the killer was Mario Moretti. Moro's body was left in the trunk of a red Renault 4 in Via Michelangelo Caetani. Despite the common interpretation, the location was not midway between the national seats of DC and of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in Rome (in this case to symbolize the end of the Historic Compromise, the alliance between DC and PCI sought by Moro), but towards the Tiber River, near the Ghetto.
Antonio Negri's 1979 arrest and release
On April 7, 1979, Marxist philosopher Antonio Negri was arrested along with other leaders of Autonomia Operaia (Oreste Scalzone, E. Vesce, A. Del Re, L. Ferrari Bravo, Franco Piperno and others). Pietro Calogero, an attorney close to the PCI, accused the Autonomia group of masterminding left-wing "terrorism" in Italy. Negri was charged with a number of offences including leadership of the Red Brigades, being behind Moro's kidnapping and murder and plotting to overthrow the government. A year later, he was found innocent of Moro's assassination.
In the New York Review of Books, Thomas Sheehan wrote at the time in Negri's defense, "Negri is a figure of some stature in Italy, and his arrest might be compared, imperfectly, to jailing Herbert Marcuse a decade ago on suspicion of being the brains behind the Weathermen."
In the same journal in 2003, Alexander Stille accused Negri of bearing moral but not legal responsibility for the crimes, citing Negri's words from one year later:
Every action of destruction and sabotage seems to me a manifestation of class solidarity.... Nor does the pain of my adversary affect me: proletarian justice has the productive force of self-affirmation and the faculty of logical conviction.
The antagonistic process tends toward hegemony, toward the destruction and the annihilation of the adversary.... The adversary must be destroyed.
Alternative points of view about Moro's death
In BR member Alberto Franceschini's book, Aldo Moro is described as one of Gladio's founders. Evidence has emerged to support this view of American involvement in overarching the strategy of tension and of known strong American foreign policies against the then looming historic (unprecedented in post war times) coalition that would have admitted the eurocommunist PCI into a government of national unity, the fear on the US side being that Italy thereafter might withdraw from NATO and that the US would then lose access to vital Mediterranean ports.
Moro's widow later recounted Moro's meeting with U.S. President Nixon's advisor, Henry Kissinger, and an unidentified American intelligence official, who warned him not to pursue the strategy of bringing the Communist Party into his cabinet, telling him "You must abandon your policy of bringing all the political forces in your country into direct collaboration...or you will pay dearly for it." Moro was allegedly so shaken by the comment that he became ill and threatened to quit politics.
But finally Aldo Moro did not quit politics; in the month following the Kissinger/Moro meeting, Aldo Moro was heading to the Italian Parliament for the crucial vote Moro had proposed when Moro was kidnapped and subsequently murdered.
Mino Pecorelli's May 1978 article
Investigative journalist Mino Pecorelli thought that Aldo Moro's kidnapping had been organised by a "lucid superpower" and was inspired by the "logic of Yalta". He painted the figure of General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa as "general Amen", explaining in his review, the Osservatorio politico, in an article titled Vergogna, buffoni! (Shame on you, buffoons!), that it was Dalla Chiesa that, during Aldo Moro's kidnapping, had informed the then Interior Minister Francesco Cossiga of the location of the cave where Moro was detained. But he would have been ordered not to act on his information because of the opposition of a "lodge of the Christ in Paradise", referring to Propaganda Due masonic lodge. Pecorelli then wrote that Dalla Chiesa was also in danger and would be assassinated (Dalla Chiesa was murdered four years later). After Aldo Moro's assassination, Mino Pecorelli published some confidential documents, mainly Moro's letters to his family. In a cryptic article published in May 1978 Pecorelli drew a connection between Moro's death and Gladio, NATO's stay-behind anti-communist organisation whose existence was publicly acknowledged by Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti only in October 1990. During his interrogation, Aldo Moro had referred to "NATO's anti-guerrilla activities." Mino Pecorelli, who was on Licio Gelli's list of P2 members discovered in 1980, was assassinated on March 20, 1979. The ammunitions used for Pecorelli's assassination, a very rare type, were the same as those discovered in the Banda della Magliana 's weapons stock hidden in the Health Minister's basement. Pecorelli's assassination has been thought to be directly related to Giulio Andreotti, who was first condemned to 24 years of prison for homicide in 2002  and finally acquitted by the Supreme Court of Cassation in 2003.
Carlos "the Jackal"'s declarations
In a 2008 interview with the Italian news network ANSA (news agency), Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal stated from his cell in the prison at Poissy that there had been a deal to exchange Aldo Moro for several imprisoned members of the Red Brigades. Under the terms of the deal struck with "patriotic" members of the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI (Carlos' words), several Italian servicemen and members of a Palestinian resistance group would escort the prisoners to an Arab country. The deal fell through while the plane sat on a runway in Beirut, perhaps because a PLO official's loose tongue alarmed a "pro-NATO" faction within SISMI. (Carlos maintains that NATO wanted Moro dead, while the Soviets wanted him alive.) The officials in charge of the operation were subsequently purged or forced to resign.
Carlos also claimed that the plotters originally planned to kidnap, along with Moro, the industrialist Gianni Agnelli and a judge of the Italian Supreme Court. He expressed surprise to learn that the Catholic Church was ready to pay a huge ransom for Moro's release.
"Sacrifice Aldo Moro to maintain the stability of Italy"
Steve Pieczenik, a former member of the U.S. State Department sent by President Jimmy Carter as a "psychological expert" to integrate the Interior Minister Francesco Cossiga's "crisis committee", was interviewed by Emmanuel Amara in his 2006 documentary Les derniers jours d'Aldo Moro ("The Last Days of Aldo Moro"), in which he alleged that: "We had to sacrifice Aldo Moro to maintain the stability of Italy."
He alleged that the U.S. had to "instrumentalize the Red Brigades," and that the decision to have him killed was taken during the fourth week of Moro's detention, when he started revealing state secrets through his letters  (allegedly the existence of Gladio). Francesco Cossiga also said the "crisis committee" also leaked a false statement, attributed to the Red Brigades, saying that Moro was dead.
A number of films have portrayed the events of Moro's kidnapping and murder, with varying degrees of fictionalization:
- Todo modo (1975), directed by Elio Petri, in which the character of the president is evidently inspired by Aldo Moro. The film is based on a novel by Leonardo Sciascia.
- Il caso Moro (1986), directed by Giuseppe Ferrara and starring Gian Maria Volonté as Moro.
- Year of the Gun (1991), directed by John Frankenheimer.
- Broken Dreams (Sogni infranti, 1995), a documentary directed by Marco Bellocchio.
- Five Moons Plaza (Piazza Delle Cinque Lune, 2003), directed by Renzo Martinelli and starring Donald Sutherland.
- Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, notte, 2003), directed by Marco Bellocchio, portrays the kidnapping largely from the perspective of one of the kidnappers.
- Romanzo Criminale (2005), directed by Michele Placido, portrays the authorities finding Moro's body.
- Emmanuel Amara, Les derniers jours d'Aldo Moro (The Last Days of Aldo Moro), 2006
- Il Divo (2008): La Straordinaria vita di Giulio Andreotti, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, highlighting the responsibility of Giulio Andreotti.
- Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy (2012) (Romanzo di una strage) directed by Marco Tullio Giordana; Aldo Moro is impersonated by actor Fabrizio Gifuni.
- Renato Moro, Aldo Moro negli anni della FUCI, Studium 2008; Tiziano Torresi L'altra giovinezza. Gli universitari cattolici dal 1935 al 1940, Cittadella editrice 2010
- Fontana, Sandro (1982). "Moro e il sistema politico italiano". Cultura e politica nell'esperienza di Aldo Moro. Milan: Giuffrè. pp. 183–184.
- Wagner-Pacifici, Robin Erica (1986). The Moro Morality Play. Terrorism as Social Drama. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 30–32., Cucchiarelli, Paolo; Aldo Giannuli (1997). Lo Stato parallelo. Rome: Gamberetti Editrice. p. 422.
- 1978: Aldo Moro snatched at gunpoint, "On This Day", BBC (English)
- Holmes, J. Derek, and Bernard W. Bickers. A Short History of the Catholic Church. London: Burns and Oates, 1983. 291.
- Report of Conadep (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons): Prologue – 1984
- Quoted in Dershowitz, Alan M. Why Terrorism Works, p.134, ISBN 978-0-300-10153-9
- 100 Years of Terror, documentary by History Channel
- June 17, 1998 hearing of the Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sul terrorismo in Italia e sulle cause della mancata individuazione dei responsabili delle stragi directed by senator Giovanni Pellegrino (Italian)
- Popham, Peter (December 2, 2005). "The seance that came back to haunt Romano Prodi". London: The Independent. Retrieved November 28, 2008.
- Fasanella, Giovanni; Giuseppe Roca (2003). The Mysterious Intermediary. Igor Markevitch and the Moro affair. Einaudi.
- 안또니오 네그리의 글모음
- Giovanni Fasanella and Alberto Franceschini (with a postscript from Judge Rosario Priore, who investigated on Aldo Moro's death), Che cosa sono le Brigate Rosse ("What are the Red Brigades"), Published in French as Brigades rouges : L'histoire secrète des BR racontée par leur fondateur (Red Brigades: The secret [hi]story of the RBs, recounted by their founder), Alberto Franceschini, with Giovanni Fasanella. Editions Panama, 2005, ISBN 2-7557-0020-3.
- Sporchi trucchi – "The CIA's anti-communist scheming in postwar Italy is well-documented, but the plot thickens with new revelations about British involvement." (1976 Foreign Office papers declassified. The Guardian, UK)
- Moore, Malcolm (March 11, 2008). "US envoy admits role in Aldo Moro killing". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved November 12, 2008.
- Arthur E. Rowse, "Gladio: The Secret US War to Subvert Italian Democracy", Covert Action Quarterly, Washington, DC, Number 49, Summer 1994.
- Further Reading, infra, "ROME: GANGSTER ENTOMBED IN A PAPAL CRYPT. The Vatican, the Central Intelligence Agency, Emanuela Orlandi and the Entombment of Enrico De Pedis", at page 113
- as quoted by The Guardian in May 2003
- Moro's ghost haunts political life, Philip Willan in The Guardian, May 9, 2003
- Omicidio Pecorelli – Andreotti condannato, La Repubblica, November 17, 2002 (Italian)
- «Il Sismi tentò invano di salvare Moro», Corriere della Sera, June 28, 2008 (Italian)
- CARLOS: COSI' SALTO' L'ULTIMO TENTATIVO DI SALVARE ALDO MORO, ANSA (news agency), June 28, 2008 (Italian)
- Emmanuel Amara, Les derniers jours d'Aldo Moro (The Last Days of Aldo Moro), Interview of Steve Pieczenik put on-line by Rue 89
- Hubert Artus, Pourquoi le pouvoir italien a lâché Aldo Moro, exécuté en 1978 (Why the Italian Power let go of Aldo Moro, executed in 1978), Rue 89, February 6, 2008 (French)
- Emmanuel Amara, Les derniers jours d'Aldo Moro (The Last Days of Aldo Moro), Interview of Steve Pieczenik & Francesco Cossiga put on-line by Rue 89
- "Europa nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg:Freiheitliche Demokratien oder Satelliten der USA?" (in German). .zeit-fragen.ch. June 9, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
- "Murdered Italian PM Aldo Moro 'could be beatified,'" The (London) Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/9569471/Murdered-Italian-PM-Aldo-Moro-could-be-beatified.html
- Interview with Giovanni Moro, Aldo Moro's son by La Repubblica, March 16, 1998.
- Giovanni Fasanella, Secret of State. The truth from Gladio to the Moro case (with G. Pellegrino, Einaudi, 2000)
- Giovanni Fasanella and Giuseppe Roca, The Mysterious Intermediary. Igor Markevitch and the Moro case (Einaudi, 2003)
- Gianfranco Sanguinetti, On Terrorism and the State
- Emmanuel Amara, Nous avons tué Aldo Moro, Paris: Patrick Robin, 2006, ISBN 2-35228-012-5.
- Tobias Hof: The Moro Affair – Left-Wing Terrorism and Conspiracy in Italy in the Late 1970s. Historical Social Research Vol. 38 (2013), No. 1, pp. 129–141.
- Richard Drake (1996). The Aldo Moro Murder Case. Boston: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01481-2.
- "ROME: GANGSTER ENTOMBED IN A PAPAL CRYPT. The Vatican, the Central Intelligence Agency, Emanuela Orlandi and the Entombment of Enrico De Pedis" by B.W. Spear, at Lulu.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Aldo Moro|
- Banca dati della memoria: Moro's letters and +
- Memorial Moro on strategy of tension
- Buongiorno, notte, 2003 film about the kidnapping
- Piazza Delle Cinque Lune, 2003 film about the kidnapping
- Italian document March 2, 1987