Giovanni Amendola

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Giovanni Amendola
Giovanni Amendola 1923.jpg
Amendola in 1923.
Minister of the Colonies
In office
26 February 1922 – 30 October 1922
Prime MinisterLuigi Facta
Preceded byGiuseppe Girardini
Succeeded byLuigi Federzoni
Member of the Italian Chamber
In office
1 December 1919 – 7 April 1926
Personal details
Born(1882-04-15)15 April 1882
Naples, Italy
Died7 April 1926(1926-04-07) (aged 43)
Cannes, France
Political partyItalian Socialist Party
Italian Radical Party
Democratic Liberal Party
(m. 1906⁠–⁠1926)
; his death
ChildrenGiorgio (1907–1980)
Adelaide (1910–1980)
Antonio (1916–1953)
Pietro (1918–2007)
Alma materUniversity of Florence
ProfessionJournalist, philosopher

Giovanni Amendola (15 April 1882 – 7 April 1926) was an Italian journalist and politician, noted as an opponent of Italian Fascism.


Early life[edit]

Amendola was born in Naples in 1882. He moved to Rome, where he obtained the middle school diploma. At fifteen he joined the socialist youth. The following year he was an apprentice to the newspaper of the Italian Radical Party "La Capitale." He graduated with a degree in philosophy, he collaborated with such newspapers as Il Leonardo of Giovanni Papini and La Voce of Giuseppe Prezzolini. After that, he obtained the chair of theoretical philosophy at the University of Pisa.

Political career[edit]

Attracted by politics, he was elected three times to the Italian Chamber of Deputies for Salerno. In the 1910s, Amendola supported the Italian liberal movement, but he was completely against the ideology of Giovanni Giolitti. During World War I, he adopted a position of democratic irredentism and, at the end of the war, was nominated minister by Prime Minister Francesco Saverio Nitti.

His critical positions while confronting the right-wing extremism cost him a series of attacks by hired Fascist hitmen. In 1924 Amendola refused to adhere to the "Listone Mussolini", and attempted to become Prime Minister, at the head of a liberal coalition which ran in the elections. He was defeated, but continued the democratic battle by writing columns for the Il Mondo, a new daily newspaper which he founded together with other intellectuals.

During the height of the Matteotti Crisis, Amendola published the Rossi Testimony in one of his newspapers, on 27 December 1924. The document directly implicated Prime Minister Mussolini in the murder of Giacomo Matteotti, the leader of the Socialist PSU party, on the 10 June 1924. In the same document, Amendola also declared that Mussolini was behind the reign of terror which led up to the April 6th, 1924 general elections.

Resented by Mussolini for his prominent activism, Amendola was, together with the Unitary Socialist Party deputy Giacomo Matteotti and the popular priest Don Giovanni Minzoni, one of the régime's earliest victims, as he was beaten by 15 Blackshirts with clubs in July, 1925.

Amendola formulated the notion of totalitarianism as total political power which is exercised by the state in 1923, describing Italian Fascism as a system which was fundamentally different from conventional dictatorships.[1] The term was later assigned a positive meaning in the writings of Giovanni Gentile, Italy's most prominent philosopher and leading theorist of fascism. He used the term totalitario to refer to the structure and goals of the new state which was to provide the "total representation of the nation and total guidance of national goals."[2]


Amendola died in April 1926 at Cannes, France, in agony from violence inflicted when he was beaten by 15 Blackshirts with clubs.

Personal life[edit]

Amendola married Eva Kuhn in 1906, and they remained together until Amendola's death in 1926. Together, they had four children together : Giorgio Amendola (1907-1980), who became an important communist writer and politician, Adelaide (1910-1980), Antonio (1916-1953), and Pietro (1918-2007), who also became a journalist and politician.

In popular culture[edit]

In the Florestano Vancini's film The Assassination of Matteotti (1973), Amendola is played by Damiano Damiani.


  1. ^ Pipes, Richard (1995). Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: Vintage Books, Random House. p. 243. ISBN 0394502426.
  2. ^ Payne, Stanley G. (1980). Fascism: Comparison and Definition. University of Washington Press. p. 73. ISBN 9780299080600.


  • Eva Kühn Amendola: Life with Giovanni Amendola, Parenti, Florence 1960
  • Giorgio Amendola: A choice of life, Rizzoli, Milan, 1976 ISBN 88-17-12610-1
  • Simona Colarizi: The Democrats in the Opposition: Giovanni Amendola and the National Union (1922-1926), Il Mulino, Bologna, 1973
  • Antonio Sarubbi: The World of Amendola and Cianca and the collapse of liberal institutions (1922-1926), Milan, 1998, ISBN 978-88-464-0514-2 (1986, 1998)
  • Elio d'Auria: Liberalism and democracy in the political experience of Giovanni Amendola, Southern Publishing Company, Salerno-Catanzaro, 1978
  • Elio d'Auria: Giovanni Amendola: Epistolario 1897-1926, 6 volumes, La Terza and La Caita, Rome-Bari, 1986-2011
  • Elio d'Auria (edited by): Giovanni Amendola and the Crisis of the Liberal State. Political Writings from the Libyan War to the Opposition to Fascism, Newton Compton Editori, Rome, 1974

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Italian Minister of the Colonies
Succeeded by