Antonio Polito Speaker Elastica 1
Polito Il Costruttore

Publication date

Mondadori

Data di uscita

May 2024

Genre

Non-fiction

Pages

204

On the seventieth anniversary of his death, through five extraordinarily timely lessons – ranging from his idea of democracy as “anti-dictatorship”, which brought him first to anti- fascism and then to anti-communism, to foreign policy, the management of public spending, and intervention in Southern Italy – Antonio Polito tells the story of the first and only “great prime minister” of the Republic: a model for today’s leaders or aspiring leaders of Italy, to the politicians of our times.

There are those who promise to pave over everything, those who propose sending it all to the scrapyard, those who threaten to bulldoze it down. Modern-day politicians love to destroy, they announce that they want to demolish the building of the past, even if they usually end up demolishing themselves. Instead, there was a man, when Italy was still a kingdom but was about to become a republic, who offered himself up as a “builder”: Alcide De Gasperi.

He was surrounded by the rubble of a war caused by a great “destroyer”. And yet, De Gasperi managed to rebuild Italy. In his eight years as prime minister he sent away the king, defended the territorial integrity of a defeated country, secured Marshall Plan funding, brought Rome into the North Atlantic Treaty and built the nucleus for a united Europe with France and Germany, created the Cassa del Mezzogiorno and Mattei’s Eni, promoted major social reforms and started the economic miracle. Instead of a revolution, he made a democracy. The one in which we live today.

Born poor, he remained humble, modest and pious, not only unlike contemporary politicians but also those of his time. And in fact he died as a “man alone” in the DC. But Italy understood and admired him: upon his death there was a wave of national sentiment and the train that transported his body from Borgo Valsugana to Rome was met by crowds in dozens and dozens of stations. Was he a saint? According to some, yes. The beatification process is underway in Rome, which could lead to the consecration of “venerability” by the 2025 Jubilee.

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