Gonella, Guido

   A journalist from Verona, Guido Gonella first made his name in the Catholic students’movement, the Federazione Universitaria Cattolici Italiana/Catholic University Graduates’ Movement of Italy (FUCI). Members included many postwar leaders of the Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy Party (DC), such as Aldo Moro and Giulio Andreotti. Like Andreotti, Gonella became one of the young Catholic intellectuals close to, and inspired by, Alcide De Gasperi. As early as 1932, Gonella was the managing editor of the bimonthly Illustrazione Vaticana, a journal used to disseminate De Gasperi’s views. He was also editor of Rassegna Internazionale di documentazione. Because of these journals’ purported antifascist slant, Gonella was arrested in 1939 on the eve of war in Poland. Catholic opinion favored Poland, but the Fascist regime was allied to Germany. Gonella was sentenced to a spell of “political surveillance,” but he was still able to became assistant editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the influential Vatican daily newspaper. In 1943, he founded Il Popolo, which was to become the daily broadsheet of the DC. He remained at its helm until 1946. In the DC, his role included writing much of the program at the party’s initial convention. From a Catholic background shared by his fellow DC militants, Gonella wanted to establish for his party a mass base among those who had been the backbone of the Fascist movement: small property owners and the lower middle class, who feared the Bolshevik menace. Artisans, shopkeepers, small businessmen, and white-collar workers sought assurances that Catholic morality and property rights would not suffer and that individual initiative would be protected from monopoly capitalism as well as from the ideological zeal of the left. Gonella was elected to the Constituent Assembly and subsequently to the Chamber of Deputies in the first Parliament of the new republic. Consistently reelected to Parliament, he served as minister of education in De Gasperi’s first five governments (1946–1951) and was also political secretary of the DC between 1950 and 1953. He subsequently served in almost every government until the 1972–1973 cabinet formed by Giulio Andreotti. He did not, however, serve in the mid-1960s administrations of Aldo Moro that carried out the opening to the left. Gonella was elected to the Senate in 1972 and served as a senator, and, after 1979, as a member of the first elected European Parliament, until his death in 1982.
   See also Press.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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