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Andreotti and italy on the border

Andreotti and italy on the border

Autore: Paolo Gheda - Federico Robbe
Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
Casa editrice: Guerini e Associati

He was between two fires: caught in a grip between the Yugoslav Communists on one side and the Italian neo-fascists on the other. This is how Giulio Andreotti must have felt when he sent a letter dated 2nd December 1950 to the Foreign Minister Carlo Sforza. At the time he was a young undersecretary to the Prime Minister and he was worried about the free territory of Trieste split into two parts: a Zone A (including the city) controlled by Anglo-Americans and a Zone B controlled by Yugoslavian. The latter were denounced by Andreotti because they had established against the Italian citizens “a regime of police and tendentious starvation”. The worst aspect was that the USA and the Great Britain flattered Tito, after his break with Stalin, and they accepted in Zone B “a state of affairs full of the worst Nazi traditions” and this caused an enormous embarassment to the Italian Government.

On the other side there was the problem of the nationalist and nostalgic right-wing which took advantage of the situation to carry on its intense and effective propaganda work, able to gain national support. “Unfortunately, Andreotti wrote to Sforza, it is precisely from Trieste the risk of a reaction, and after that all the anti-fascists laws would be useless”. It must be remembered that a few years before, in November 1950, the Government prohibited the Congress of MSI in Bari and it had presented the project against neo-fascism, later went down to History like “Scelba Law” from the Minister of the Interior’s name.

The letter is cited in an interesting and well-documented essay by Paolo Gheda and Federico Robbe, “Andreotti and Italy on the border” (Guerini e Associati), where the authors analyze the role played by the Christian Democrat undersecretary between 1947 and 1954, as political referent of the Border Zones Office (UZC); this organization was responsible to protect the Italianity of Trentino Alto Adige, Valle d’Aosta and especially Friuli Venezia Giulia.Some academics which have dealt with the subject have accused Andreotti to have supported the extreme subversive right-wing working against Yugoslav, but the letter to Sforza proves that actually the future Prime Minister feared the rise of MSI and from other documents it comes out that he had a pragmatic attitude, concerned for the most to return Trieste to Italy.

For sure the UZC also used former Fascist agents in Venezia Giulia, for example the police commissioner Enrico Scopoli.  And Andreotti, supported by the Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi, worked in vain for the Italian parties to form a united electoral front, without excluding MSI militants, to protect Trieste’s national identity. But in the meantime,the same Andreotti and De Gasperi undermined the so-called “Sturzo operation” in Rome; an operation urged by Pio XII to aggregate Catholics and the right- wing people in municipal elections.
It is clear according to Gheda and Robbe, that Andreotti’s aim in Trieste was not to legitimize MSI, but “to absorb it in a broader front”, so that it would not constitute “a pole of attraction for the unsatisfied mass” of the Julian city.

Antonio Carioti, “Corriere della Sera”, 16/07/15


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