Alcide De Gasperi was born on April 3, 1881 in Pieve Tesino, in the province of Trento (at the time the province of Tyrol, one of the regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).
In 1900 he enrolled in the faculty of philosophy at the University of Vienna and came into contact with the social Christian movement: he is a proud opponent of liberal capitalism and socialism.
In 1911 he was elected to the Parliament in Vienna, where he defended the linguistic rights of the Trentinians, and, at the outbreak of the war against Austria, stands for Italian neutrality. After the war, Trentino passed to Italy and in May 1921 De Gasperi was elected deputy on the popular party lists, which in 1924 was appointed secretary. The rise of fascism towards the totalitarian dictatorship with a single party forced him to resign in late 1925. In March 1927, he was arrested in Florence on charges of illegal immigration. At the end of the long trial he is sentenced to two years and six months of imprisonment. It is the most difficult time of his life.
He gets sick and spends his detention in a surveillance clinic. He stays hereuntil July 1928, when he is finally granted the guarded freedom, thanks to the intercession of the Holy See. He lives in Rome with his wife and daughters. Here he works as german translator and in March 1929, with the help of Bishop Montini, he was employed in the Vatican Apostolic Library where he remained until the collapse of the fascist regime.
After the war he became the leader of Christian Democracy and won the 1948 elections. In the years of reconstruction De Gasperi has two great projects: to anchor Italy to the West and build a great Catholic party. He is an authoritative political man recognized by the winning powers. He is able to get the help of the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of the Italian economy and has a prominent role in the European integration process, becoming one of the founding fathers of the European Union.
The Christian Democrat leader is committed to creating a mass party that holds together the various souls of the Catholic movement, which occupy the center of political deployment and is inter-class. DC wins the 18 April 1948 elections against the Popular Front, which unites the PSI and the PCI. The first Republican legislature was born and the 'centrism' season begins: De Gasperi is the Prime Minister during the hegemony of DC in the national political life.
From 1948 to 1953, De Gasperi's activity is focused on reformist policy that does not upset the social equilibrium and which guarantees the DC the consensus of the popular masses and, in particular, of the rural ones that represent its electoral basin. This is the time when the Christian Democrat leader is battling for the most important policies of his government: agricultural reform, the establishment of the South Coast fund, the Fanfani plan for the construction of popular houses and tax reform.
In order to make the government coalition more stable, De Gasperi changes the electoral law, shortly before the 1953 political elections. The aim is to allocate 65% of the seats to the party, or party group, to obtain half plus one vote. In June elections, however, the majority prize does not slip and De Gasperi undergoes the first major political defeat. It is the end of centrism and of his political career.
He died less than a year later at Borgo Valsugana, on August 19, 1954, in the Trentino region, which in the meantime became the autonomous region of the Italian Republic.