Founding fathers of the EU: Alcide De Gasperi
From 1945 to 1953, in his roles as Italian Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister,
Alcide De Gasperi forged the path of the country’s destiny in the post-war years.
He was born in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol) which, until 1918, belonged
to Austria. Along with other exceptional statesmen of his time, he campaigned actively for
European unity. His experiences of fascism and war — he was imprisoned between 1927
and 1929 before finding asylum in the Vatican — led to his conviction that only the union
of Europe could prevent their recurrence.
Time and time again he promoted initiatives aimed at the fusion of Western Europe,
working on the realisation of the Marshall Plan and creating close economic ties with
other European countries, in particular France. Furthermore, he supported the
Schuman Plan for the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community, and helped develop the idea of the
common European defence policy.
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