27 June 2018

Giorgio Almirante – politician

Leader who tried to make Fascism more mainstream

Giorgio Almirante founded his party shortly after the Second World War
Giorgio Almirante founded his party
shortly after the Second World War
Giorgio Almirante, the founder and leader of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, was born on this day in 1914 at Salsomaggiore Terme in Emilia Romagna.

He led his political party for long periods from 1946 until he handed over to his protégé, Gianfranco Fini, in 1987.

Almirante graduated in Literature and trained as a schoolteacher but went to work for the Fascist journal Il Tevere in Rome.

In 1944, he was appointed Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Culture to the Italian Social Republic, the short-lived German puppet state of which Benito Mussolini was the head after he was thrown out of office as Italy’s prime minister.

After the Fascists were defeated, Almirante was indicted on charges that he had ordered the shooting of partisans, but these were lifted as part of a general amnesty.

He set up his own fascist group in 1946, which was soon absorbed into the Italian Social Movement (MSI).

He was chosen as the party leader to begin with but was forced to give way to August de Marsanich as leader in 1950.

Giorgio Almirante in 1971, reading about his party's success in regional elections in Sicily
Giorgio Almirante in 1971, reading about his party's
success in regional elections in Sicily
Almirante regained the leadership in 1969 and sought to make his party more moderate by dropping the black shirt and the Roman salute.

He placed anti-communism at the centre of his policies in order to rival the Christian Democrats and merged with the Italian Democratic Party of Monarchist Unity.

He helped the MSI become more politically acceptable and was allowed to enter Communist Party HQ in 1984 to pay his respects to their dead leader, Enrico Berlinguer, something that would have once been unimaginable.

Almirante stepped down as leader because of poor health and died in 1988 in Rome.

After Almirante's death, Fini took the MSI further towards a traditional conservative position in the political spectrum, ultimately joining with members of the disbanded Christian Democrats to form a new party, Alleanza Nazionale.

The Liberty-style baths at Salsomaggiore Terme
The Liberty-style baths at Salsomaggiore Terme
Travel tip:

Salsomaggiore Terme, where Almirante was born, is a popular spa town in the province of Parma in Emilia-Romagna. Its water is strongly saline and there are terme (baths) in the town that have been regarded as therapeutic since the reign of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma early in the 19th century.

Parma is famous for parmesan  (parmigiano) cheese
Parma is famous for parmesan
(parmigiano) cheese
Travel tip:

A university city in the Emilia-Romagna region, with a population of almost 200,000, Parma is famous for Grana Parmigiana (Parmesan) cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham, as well as a wealth of Romanesque architecture, including a cathedral containing acclaimed frescoes by Antonio da Correggio, and a pink marble Baptistery next door. More works by Correggio - and by Canaletto - are displayed at the Galleria Nazionale inside Palazzo della Pilotta.


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