Amintore Fanfani

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Amintore Fanfani
Amintore Fanfani 1983-04-14.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
President of the Italian Senate
In office
9 July 1985 – 17 April 1987
Preceded by Francesco Cossiga
Succeeded by Giovanni Francesco Malagodi
In office
5 July 1976 – 1 December 1982
Preceded by Giovanni Spagnolli
Succeeded by Tommaso Morlino
In office
5 June 1968 – 26 June 1973
Preceded by Ennio Zelioli-Lanzini
Succeeded by Giovanni Spagnolli
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
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 Labour
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
Political party National Fascist Party
(until 1943)
Christian Democracy
(1943–1994)
People's Party
(1994–1999)
Spouse(s) Biancarosa Provasoli
(1939–1968)
Maria Pia Tavazzani
(1975–1999)

Amintore Fanfani (Italian pronunciation: [aˈmintore faɱˈfaːni]; 6 February 1908 – 20 November 1999) was an 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; he is also considered one of the founders of the Italian centre-left.

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.

Early life[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 National 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. Fanfani also became a professor at the School of Fascist Mysticism in Milan.

In Milan, Fanfani wrote "Catholicism and Protestantism in the historical development of Capitalism", in which he proposed a bold interpretation of the phenomena of capitalism, with particular reference to the conditioning of the religious factors and fundamentally disagree with the thesis of Max Weber. This work brought him to the forefront among US Catholics, especially was much appreciated by John F. Kennedy. At the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Kennedy called with megaphone Fanfani, who was in court, pointing to the audience and acknowledged that the influence of Fanfani and of his words were a major cause of his entry into politics.

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.

Early 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. On 28 February 1949 Fanfani launched a seven-year plan for popular housing to increase the stock of economic housing by means of construction or purchase of economic accommodation. The law also established a special housing fund (INA-Casa) within the National Institute for Insurance (Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni, or INA).[7]

"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 to 1959.[8] 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.[9]

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 of Italy[edit]

First government[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.[10] 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] But his government failed in receving the confidence vote.

General election in 1958 and second government[edit]

Amintore Fanfani during a Christian Democracy rally in 1960s.

In the 1958 general election, Fanfani run as Secretary of the Christian Democrats and main candidate to become Prime Minister. The election gave similar results of five years before and, consequently, the same problems of political instability of the Centrist coalition. The Christian Democracy was polarized by a fraction which liked more leftist politics, and another one which urged for a rightist route. Fanfani was in the first field, and called for a dialogue with the Italian Socialist Party, which had frozen its relationships with the Italian Communist Party after the Hungarian Revolution; this was considered the beginning of the Organic Centre-left coalition. Fanfani led a year-term government, but the reaction of the conservative fraction gave the power to Antonio Segni, followed by Fernando Tambroni who received a decisive vote of confidence by the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement. The MSI had been banned by any type of political power since its birth under the theory of the Constitutional Arch, which stated that any government or opposition party which had voted the Italian Constitution, had to refuse any relationship with fascist and monarchist forces, seen as anti-constitutional groups. Strikes and revolts causing some casualties erupted through the country, and Tambroni had to resign. Fanfani returned to the premiership, this time with an openly centre-left programme supported by the socialist abstention. The government created the middle school for workers' sons, and the ENEL after the electric energy nationalisation.

After the opposition of the majority of the Christian Democrats to the implementng of centre-left politics, but also to the excessive concentration of power in the hands of Fanfani, he was forced to resign on 26 January 1959, due the so-called "snipers" , which often put his government in minority. Fanfani also resigned as Secretary of the Christian Democracy.[11]

The conservative DC politician Antonio Segni was appointed as new Prime Minister, forming a government with a centrist majority; while Aldo Moro was elected as new Secretary of the party, after a troubled national council at the "Domus Mariae".

Third and fourth government[edit]

Fanfani learned from the experience, and became wiser in the ways of cooperating and compromising. In July 1960 he formed his third cabinet, after the resignatione of Fernando Tambroni. The government was formed only by DC ministers, but was supported also by centrist parties and the abstention of Socialist and Monarchist.

With Fanfani as Prime Minister and Moro as Secretary of the party, the Organic Centre-left period officially began; Fanfani 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.

Amintore Fanfani in 1970s.

In February 1962, after the National Congress of the Christian Democracy, Fanfani reorganised his cabinet and gained the benign abstention of the Socialist leader Pietro Nenni.[12]

During this term as Prime Minister Fanfani carried out a number of reforms in areas such as health, education, and social security. On 8 April 1962 the cabinet introduced broad provisions covering building areas. Local governments were obliged to provide plans of areas suitable for economic housing, while strict price controls for building areas were introduced to prevent speculation.[7]

On 31 December 1962 the Parliament approved a law that extended compulsory education to the age of 14 and introduced a single unified curriculum, lasting for a 3-year period after primary education.[7] On 12 August 1962 Fanfani introduced a supplementary pension payment, equal to one-twelfth of the annual amount of pension minima, while also introducing child supplements for pensioners.[7] Moreover on 5 March 1963 he introduced a voluntary pension insurance scheme for housewives.[7]

On 19 January 1963 the government proposed a bill that extended the insurance against occupational diseases to artisans, while general improvements to cash benefits were carried out: all pensions were to be adjusted every third year to the minimum contractual wage in the respective industrial sector, while earnings-replacement rates were raised to correspond to contractual disability rates.[7]

In February 1963 improved health benefits for agricultural workers, with the introduction of free pharmaceutical assistance and the flat-rate sickness indemnity replaced by an earnings-related indemnity equal to 50% of minimum contractual pay (in each province) for a maximum of 180 days.[7]

General election in 1963 and resignation[edit]

Fanfani with John F. Kennedy at the White House, in 1963.

His reformist policy produced a significant mistrust of the Italian industrial class and the right-wing of the Christian Democracy; multinational potentates poorly endured the opening to the Arab countries led by Fanfani ally Enrico Mattei, founder of ENI.

The 1963 general election, fell after the launch of the Organic Centre-left formula by the Christian Democracy, a coalition based upon the alliance with the Socialist Party which had left its alignment with the Soviet Union. Some rightist electors abandoned the DC for the Italian Liberal Party, which was asking for a centre-right government and received votes also from the quarrelsome monarchist area.

With the decline of electoral support, the majority of DC members decided to replace Fanfani with a provisional administration led by impartial President of the Chamber of Deputies, Giovanni Leone; however in autumn, when the congress of the Socialist Party authorized a full engagement of the party into the government, Leone resigned and Aldo Moro, Secretary of the DC and leader of the more leftist wing of the party, became the new Prime Minister and ruled Italy for more than four years. Fanfani was appointed by Moro Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Minister, President of the Senate and Presidential ambitions[edit]

He failed to become President of the Republic in 1964 presidential election, 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 from 1966 to 1968. He also served (1965–66) as President of the United Nations General Assembly ; he is the only Italian to have held this office.

On 5 June 1968 Fanfani was elected President of the Senate and remained in office since 26 June 1973.

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, by the new President Giovanni Leone.[6]

Fanfani with the United States President Richard Nixon in 1970.

In 1973 Fanfani became Secretary of the Christian Democrats for a second time, repleacing his former protegé Arnaldo Forlani, who was a supporter of centrist politics. 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; in fact key figures like Moro, Mariano Rumor, Emilio Colombo and Francesco Cossiga, who belived in the defeat at the referendum.

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. The new Secretary of the party was Benigno Zaccagnini, who was initially supported by Fanfani, but after his ideas of starting a cooperation with the Italian Communist Party, Fanfani, Giulio Andreotti and Flaminio Piccoli tried to forced Zaccagnini to resignation, but they failed. Anyway Fanfani was appointed President of the Christian Democracy by the party's leader. In December 1979, Fanfani was re-elected President of the Sanate.

Kidnapping of Aldo Moro[edit]

In March 1978, a political crisis was overcome by the intervention of Aldo Moro, who proposed a new cabinet, again formed only by Christian Democratic politicians, but this time with positive confidence votes from the other parties, including the PCI. This cabinet was formed on 16 March 1978, the day on which Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the left wing terrorist group the Red Brigades. The dramatic situation which followed brought PCI to vote for Andreotti's cabinet for the sake of what was called "national solidarity", despite its refusal to accept several previous requests.[13]

During the kidnapping of Moro, despite Andreotti and Cossiga's position, Fanfani did not refused any negotiation with the terrorists. Moro was killed by the Red Brigades in May 1978.[14] Fanfani was the only Christian Democratic leaders to be allowed by Moro's family to partecipated to the funeral.

Prime Minister again[edit]

Amintore Fanfani with the other G7 leaders in 1983, Virginia, U.S.

Fifth government and 1983 election[edit]

From 1982 to 1983 Fanfani served as the Prime Minister for the fifth time, leading a coalition with Socialists, Social Democrats, Republicans and Liberals. After the 1983 general election, which were marked by a bad result for the Christian Democrats, Fanfani resigned and the Socialist leader Bettino Craxi was appointed as new Prime Minister.

The DC Secretary Ciriaco De Mita accused Fanfani of the electoral defeat and did not candidate him as President of the Senate, preferring Francesco Cossiga. But when Cossiga was elected head of State in 1985, Fanfani was re-elected 1985 President of the Senate.

Sixth goverment[edit]

In April 1987, when De Mita decided not to support more Craxi's government, Fanfani became Prime Minister for the sixth time, until July 1987.

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.

Death and legacy[edit]

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 Christian Democracy 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. ^ a b c d e f g Growth to Limits: The Western European Welfare States Since World War II Volume 4 edited by Peter Flora
  8. ^ Young Initiative, Time Magazine, 12 July 1954
  9. ^ Out for the Big Win, Time Magazine, 26 May 1958
  10. ^ Roman Circus, Time Magazine, 8 February 1954
  11. ^ Italy's Fanfan, Time Magazine, 16 June 1961
  12. ^ A Sinistra?, Time Magazine, 12 January 1962
  13. ^ Discorsi parlamentari di Enrico Berlinguer, Italian Chamber of Deputies, ed. M.L. Righi, 2001, p. 183. (Italian)
  14. ^ Moro, Aldo (1978). "Il Memoriale di Aldo Moro" (PDF) (in Italian). Retrieved 17 October 2010. 

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
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Acting 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
Parliament re-established
Member of Parliament for Siena
Legislature: 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
Legislature: 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 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
Yasuhiro Nakasone
Chair of the G7
1987
Succeeded by
Brian Mulroney