Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Andreotti, Giulio (1919–)

Italian journalist, politician, and premier. Born on 14 January 1919 in Rome, as a youth Giulio Andreotti became active in the Catholic Students' Federation headed by Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini (later Pope Paul VI). In 1941 Andreotti received a law degree from Rome University and then went to work as a journalist for the newspaper Il Popolo. During Italy's fascist era, he came to know future Italian Premier Alcide De Gasperi and would later become one of his closest confidantes and collaborators.

Following the Allied liberation of Rome in June 1944, Andreotti was named coordinator of Catholic youth and worked in the Christian Democratic Party with De Gasperi. In 1945 Andreotti was elected to the Constituent Assembly and held elective office thereafter until 1987. From 1947 to 1953, he served as premier undersecretary in four of De Gasperi's governments.

Andreotti enjoyed a brilliant political career, having served as minister of the interior in 1954, of finance in 1955 and again in 1958, of treasury during 1958–1959, and then of defense during 1959–1974. He was also minister of industry in 1966 and 1968. In 1972 he became premier of the Italian Republic, a position he occupied seven different times. As Italy's foreign minister from 1983 to 1989, he forged closer ties to Eastern bloc countries and was influential in the fall of communism in Europe in the late 1980s.

On 1 June 1991, Andreotti was named senator for life, but in 1995 he was accused of having had ties to the Italian Mafia and of having planned the assassination of the journalist Mino Pecorelli. After several years and multiple trials, Andreotti was ultimately acquitted.

An able politician and diplomat, Andreotti was considered one of Italy's most powerful men. He maintained Italy's central role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and brokered a deal for the deployment of U.S. Pershing Missiles in Italy in the 1980s, despite public protests. At the same time, he was also able to reach agreements with Arab states and the Soviet Union. It was under his leadership that Italy's Fiat struck an economic deal with the Soviet Union. He also maintained close ties with the Vatican during his tenure in office. In domestic politics, he fought against the Italian Communist Party's influence but was also the man who brokered the so-called Historical Compromise, which supported the government by not opposing the seating of communists after the 1976 elections.

Andreotti was not just the most dynamic Italian politician of the postwar years but was also probably the most influential one during the Cold War era. To this day, he is still highly regarded by many Italians. Throughout his tireless political career, he found the time to write several books about his political experiences and about the people he knew. As a journalist, he headed the Catholic magazine Concretezze from 1955 to 1976 and currently edits the magazine 30 Giorni.

Alessandro Massignani


Further Reading
Ginsberg, Paul. A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943–1988. New York: Penguin, 1990.; Pallotta, Gino. Giulio Andreotti: Il Richelieu della Politica Italiana. Rome: Newton Compton, 1988.
 

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