Amintore Fanfani

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Amintore Fanfani
Amintore Fanfani crop.jpg
32nd
Prime Minister of Italy
In office
17 April 1987 – 28 July 1987
President Francesco Cossiga
Preceded by Bettino Craxi
Succeeded by Giovanni Goria
In office
1 December 1982 – 4 August 1983
President Sandro Pertini
Preceded by Giovanni Spadolini
Succeeded by Bettino Craxi
In office
26 July 1960 – 21 June 1963
President Giovanni Gronchi
Antonio Segni
Deputy Attilio Piccioni
Preceded by Fernando Tambroni
Succeeded by Giovanni Leone
In office
1 July 1958 – 15 February 1959
President Giovanni Gronchi
Deputy Antonio Segni
Preceded by Adone Zoli
Succeeded by Antonio Segni
In office
18 January 1954 – 10 February 1954
President Luigi Einaudi
Preceded by Giuseppe Pella
Succeeded by Mario Scelba
Italian Minister of the Interior
In office
28 July 1987 – 13 April 1988
Prime Minister Giovanni Goria
Preceded by Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
Succeeded by Antonio Gava
In office
16 July 1953 – 12 January 1954
Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi
Giuseppe Pella
Preceded by Mario Scelba
Succeeded by Giulio Andreotti
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
23 February 1966 – 5 June 1968
Prime Minister Aldo Moro
Preceded by Aldo Moro
Succeeded by Giuseppe Medici
In office
5 March 1965 – 30 December 1965
Prime Minister Aldo Moro
Preceded by Aldo Moro
Succeeded by Aldo Moro
In office
5 March 1965 – 30 December 1965
Prime Minister Aldo Moro
Preceded by Aldo Moro
Succeeded by Aldo Moro
In office
1 July 1958 – 15 February 1959
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Giuseppe Pella
Succeeded by Giuseppe Pella
Italian Minister of Agriculture
In office
26 July 1951 – 16 July 1953
Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi
Preceded by Antonio Segni
Succeeded by Rocco Salomone
Italian Minister of Work
In office
31 May 1947 – 21 January 1950
Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi
Preceded by Giuseppe Romita
Succeeded by Achille Marazza
Personal details
Born (1908-02-06)6 February 1908
Pieve Santo Stefano, Tuscany, Italy
Died 20 November 1999(1999-11-20) (aged 91)
Rome, Latium, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party National Fascist Party
(until 1943)
Christian Democracy
(1943-1994)
Italian People's Party
(1994-1999)

Amintore Fanfani (Italian pronunciation: [aˈmintore faɱˈfaːni]; 6 February 1908 – 20 November 1999) was a Italian politician and former Prime Minister of Italy. He was one of the best-known Italian politicians after the Second World War, and a historical figure of the left-wing section[1] (pro-socialist) of the Christian Democracy (Italian: Democrazia Cristiana – DC).

Fanfani and Giovanni Giolitti still hold the record as the only statesmen to have served as prime minister of Italy in five non-consecutive periods of office. Fanfani was one of the dominant figures of the Italian Christian Democrats for over three decades.

Background[edit]

Fanfani was born in Pieve Santo Stefano, in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany, to a large and humble family. He graduated in economics and business in 1932 at the Università Cattolica in Milan. He was the author of a number of important works on economic history dealing with religion and the development of capitalism in the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe. His thesis was published in Italian and then in English as Catholicism, Capitalism and Protestantism in 1935.

He joined the Italian fascist party supporting the corporatist ideas of the regime promoting collaboration between the classes, which he defended in many articles. "Some day," he once wrote, "the European continent will be organized into a vast supranational area guided by Italy and Germany. Those areas will take authoritarian governments and synchronize their constitutions with Fascist principles."[2]

He also wrote for the official magazine of racism in Fascist Italy, The Defence of the Race (Italian: La difesa della razza). In 1938, he was among the 330 that signed the antisemitic Manifesto of Race (Italian: Manifesto della razza)[3] – culminating in laws that stripped the Italian Jews of any position in the government, university or professions which many previous had.

During the years he spent in Milan, he knew Giuseppe Dossetti and Giorgio La Pira. They formed a group known as the "little professors" who lived ascetically in monastery cells and walked barefoot. They formed the nucleus of Democratic Initiative, an intensely Catholic but economically reformist wing of the post-war Christian Democratic Party,[4][5] holding meetings to discuss Catholicism and society. After the surrender of Italy with the Allied armed forces on 8 September 1943, the group disbanded. Until the Liberation in April 1945, Fanfani fled to Switzerland dodging military service, and organized university courses for Italian refugees.

Political career[edit]

Upon his return to Italy, he was elected vice-secretary of the newly founded Christian Democratic Party. He was as one of the youngest party leaders and a protégé of Alcide De Gasperi, the undisputed leader of the party for the following decade. Fanfani represented a particular ideological position, that of conservative Catholics who favoured socio-economic interventionism, which was very influential in the 1950s and 1960s but which gradually lost its appeal. "Capitalism requires such a dread of loss," he once wrote, "such a forgetfulness of human brotherhood, such a certainty that a man's neighbour is merely a customer to be gained or a rival to be overthrown, and all these are inconceivable in the Catholic conception ... There is an unbridgeable gulf between the Catholic and the capitalist conception of life."[2] Private economic initiative, in his view, was justifiable only if harnessed to the common good.[6]

He was elected to the Constituent Assembly, and was a member of the Commission that drafted the text of the new Republican Constitution. The first article of the new constitution reflected Fanfani's philosophy. He proposed an article, which read: "Italy is a democratic republic founded on labor." In 1948 he was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

Under de Gasperi, Fanfani took on a succession of ministries. He was Minister of Labour from 1947–1948 and again from 1948–1950; Minister of Agriculture from 1951–1953; as well as Minister of the Interior in 1953 in the caretaker government of Giuseppe Pella. As Minister of Labour, he developed the "Fanfani house" program for government-built workers' homes and put 200,000 of Italy's many unemployed to work on a reforestation program. As Minister of Agriculture, he set in motion much of the Christian Democrats' land reform program.

"He can keep going for 36 hours on catnaps, apples and a few sips of water," according to a news report in Time Magazine. Once, when someone proposed Fanfani for yet another ministry, De Gasperi refused. "If I keep on appointing Fanfani to various ministries, I am sure that one of these days I will open the door to my study and find Fanfani sitting at my desk," he said.[5]

Reorganizing the party[edit]

After De Gasperi's retirement in 1953 Fanfani emerged as the anticipated successor, a role confirmed by his appointment as party secretary from 1954-1959.[7] He reorganized and rejuvenated the national party organization of the Christian Democrats after the dependence on the church and the government which had typified the De Gasperi period.[8]

However, his activist and sometimes authoritarian style, as well as his reputation as an economic reformer, ensured that the moderates within the DC, who opposed the state’s intrusion into the country’s economic life, regarded him with distrust. His indefatigable energy and his passion for efficiency carried him far in politics, but he was rarely able to exploit fully the opportunities that he created. "Fanfani has colleagues, associates, acquaintances and subordinates," one politician once remarked. "But I have never heard much about his friends."[2]

Prime Minister[edit]

After the death of De Gasperi, from 1954 to the mid-1960s Fanfani's weight both in the party and in national politics was at its height. He served as Prime Minister in several of governments, some of them short-lived. His first government in 1954 lasted only 21 days when it failed to win approval in the Parliament.[9] As Minister of the Interior, with orders to step up measures against Communist subversion, Fanfani had named young (35) Giulio Andreotti, another protégé of De Gasperi.[5]

He became head of government again from July 1958 to January 1959, when his steamroller tactics lost him the support of his own Christian Democratic colleagues.[10] He learned from the experience, and became wiser in the ways of cooperating and compromising. From July 1960 to February 1962 and from February 1962 to May 1963 he was the prime minister once more, securing the support of the Italian Socialist Party (Italian: Partito Socialista Italiano, PSI), thus involving the centre-left in Italian politics.

He had been a leading proponent of such an "opening to the centre-left" for years. The opportunity arose when a liberal Pope, John XXIII, was elected in 1958, and the Socialists loosened their ties with the Communists. In February 1962 he reorganised his cabinet and gained the benign abstention of the PSI leader Pietro Nenni.[11] But he was too powerful to be allowed to be the Prime Minister of the first such government which actually included the Socialists in the coalition of the 1963 government that was headed by Aldo Moro.

During his various terms as prime minister, a number of reforms in areas such as health, education, and social security were carried out.

Later career[edit]

He failed to become president of the Republic in 1964, and for much of the 1960s he was forced in the background. A strong supporter of the European Economic Community (EEC), Fanfani was foreign minister in 1965 and in 1966-68. He also served (1965–66) as president of the United Nations General Assembly - he is the only Italian to have held this office. In 1971 he was again his party's candidate for the presidency, but in the secret ballot a sizeable number of his own party colleagues failed to support him. As a consolation, he was made Senator for life in 1972.[6]

He was the president of the Senate from 1968 to 1973. Fanfani became secretary of the Christian Democrats for a second time in 1973. As such, he led the campaign for the referendum on repealing the law allowing divorce, which he fought in typically combative style, alienating the pro-divorce groups unnecessarily, without achieving the victory that would have given him predominance in his own party.

The defeat of the divorce referendum provoked his resignation as party secretary in 1975. He had to content himself with the status of President of the Senate, formally the second office of the state. In the later part of his career his aspiration was to be elected President of the Republic, but notwithstanding the formal party nomination he never secured the sufficient support in the electoral college.

From 1982 to 1983 Fanfani served as the prime minister for the fifth time. From 1985 to 1987 he was the president of the Senate again. From April to July 1987, he was Prime Minister for the sixth time. Fanfani was elected to the prestigious post of chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Senate in 1994 and assumed the post until 1996.

Fanfani died in Rome on 20 November 1999. He saw the corporate state as the ideal, and in what he calls a "temporary aberration" turned to Fascism. He has never tried to hide his Fascist record; but unlike many of his countrymen, he freely admits that he was wrong.[2] He held all positions and offices a politician could possibly aspire to, except the one he craved most: president of the Republic. The factionalism of the DC turned out to be the biggest obstacle to the emergence of Fanfanismo, the pale Italian version of Gaullism, and one by one he lost his offices.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Franzosi, The Puzzle of Strikes, PA202 p. 202
  2. ^ a b c d Moving to the Left, Time Magazine, 14 July 1958
  3. ^ (Italian) Fanfani il "modernizzatore", Quotidiano della Basilicata, 6 February 2008
  4. ^ Illness in the Family, Time Magazine, 18 January 1954
  5. ^ a b c The Little Professor, Time Magazine, 25 January 1954
  6. ^ a b c Obituary Amintore Fanfani, The Guardian, 22 November 1999
  7. ^ Young Initiative, Time Magazine, 12 July 1954
  8. ^ Out for the Big Win, Time Magazine, 26 May 1958
  9. ^ Roman Circus, Time Magazine, 8 February 1954
  10. ^ Italy's Fanfan, Time Magazine, 16 June 1961
  11. ^ A Sinistra?, Time Magazine, 12 January 1962

Further reading[edit]

  • Giulio Andreotti, De Gasperi e il suo tempo, Milan, Mondadori, 1956.
  • Amintore Fanfani, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism, reprint, Norfolk: IHS Press, 2003.
  • Nico Perrone, Il segno della DC, Bari, Dedalo, 2002, ISBN 88-220-6253-1.
  • Luciano Radi, La Dc da De Gasperi a Fanfani, Soveria Manelli, Rubbettino, 2005.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Giuseppe Romita
Italian Minister of Work
1947 – 1950
Succeeded by
Achille Marazza
Preceded by
Antonio Segni
Italian Minister of Agriculture
1951 – 1953
Succeeded by
Rocco Salomone
Preceded by
Mario Scelba
Italian Minister of the Interior
1953 – 1954
Succeeded by
Giulio Andreotti
Preceded by
Giuseppe Pella
President of the Italian Council of Ministers
1954
Succeeded by
Mario Scelba
Preceded by
Adone Zoli
President of the Italian Council of Ministers
1958 – 1959
Succeeded by
Antonio Segni
Preceded by
Giuseppe Pella
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
1958 – 1959
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Pella
Preceded by
Fernando Tambroni
President of the Italian Council of Ministers
1960 – 1963
Succeeded by
Giovanni Leone
Preceded by
Antonio Segni
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs as PM
1962
Succeeded by
Attilio Piccioni
Preceded by
Aldo Moro acting
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
1965
Succeeded by
Aldo Moro acting
Preceded by
Aldo Moro acting
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
1966 – 1968
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Medici
Preceded by
Giovanni Spadolini
President of the Italian Council of Ministers
1982 – 1983
Succeeded by
Bettino Craxi
Preceded by
Bettino Craxi
President of the Italian Council of Ministers
1987
Succeeded by
Giovanni Goria
Preceded by
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
Italian Minister of the Interior
1987 – 1988
Succeeded by
Antonio Gava
Preceded by
Emilio Colombo
Italian Minister of Budget
1988 – 1989
Succeeded by
Paolo Cirino Pomicino
Italian Chamber of Deputies
Preceded by
None, Parliament re-established
Member of Parliament for Siena
Legislatures: CA, I, II, III, IV

1946 – 1968
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Italian Senate
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Italian Senator for Tuscany
Legislature: V

1968 – 1972
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Italian Lifetime Senator
Legislatures: V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII

1972 – 1999
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Preceded by
Ennio Zelioli-Lanzini
President of the Italian Senate
1968 – 1973
Succeeded by
Giovanni Spagnolli
Preceded by
Giovanni Spagnolli
President of the Italian Senate
1976 – 1982
Succeeded by
Tommaso Morlino
Preceded by
Francesco Cossiga
President of the Italian Senate
1985 – 1987
Succeeded by
Giovanni Francesco Malagodi
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alcide De Gasperi
Secretary of Christian Democracy
1954 – 1959
Succeeded by
Aldo Moro
Preceded by
Arnaldo Forlani
Secretary of Christian Democracy
1973 – 1975
Succeeded by
Benigno Zaccagnini
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Alex Quaison-Sackey
President of the United Nations General Assembly
1965–1966
Succeeded by
Abdul Rahman Pazhwak
Preceded by
Bettino Craxi
Chair of the G7
1987
Succeeded by
Brian Mulroney