Sforza, Carlo

(1872–1952)
   A career diplomat, Sforza played a crucial role in restoring Italy to the society of nations in the immediate post-1945 period. He began his career in 1896 and swiftly rose in the ministerial hierarchy to become ambassador to China between 1911 and 1915. Francesco Saverio Nitti gave him his first ministerial post, as undersecretary for foreign affairs in 1919, and in the same year he was appointed to the Senate. In 1920, in the last cabinet formed by Giovanni Giolitti, Sforza became foreign minister, and in this role negotiated the treaty of Rapallo with Yugoslavia that ended the diplomatically sensitive crisis over Fiume. In 1922 Sforza became ambassador to France. He was in Paris when Benito Mussolini took power in October 1922. Unlike many Italian liberals, Sforza denounced Fascism immediately. Returning to Italy, he collaborated with the democratic forces that tried to organize opposition to the dictatorship after the murder of Giacomo Matteotti and wrote articles critical of the regime for the Corriere della Sera. In October 1926, his home was sacked by a Fascist squad in the wake of a failed attempt on Mussolini’s life, and he was constrained to immigrate, first to Belgium and then to the United States. For the next 15 years, he was one of the dictatorship’s most uncompromising public critics.
   In July 1942, at a conference of antifascist exiles in Uruguay, Sforza unveiled an eight-point plan for a Constituent Assembly that would draw up a democratic republic in Italy after the fall of Fascism. This move presaged his return to Italy after the fall of Mussolini, when he became foreign minister in the government formed in Allied-held territory in October 1943 by Pietro Badoglio. Sforza held office in Badoglio’s second, short-lived administration in April 1944 and then joined the Salerno-based government of Ivanoe Bonomi. When Bonomi resigned in November 1944, Sforza was nominated as his successor, but his republicanism caused the British to veto his election. He held no place of significance in the second Bonomi cabinet (December 1944 to June 1945) but was given the sensitive post of high commissioner for the punishment of the Fascists’crimes. He resigned from this post in January 1945. In February 1947, Sforza returned to the ministry of foreign affairs, a post he continued to hold until 1951. Almost his first action as foreign minister was to request amendments to the treaty of peace signed by Italy on 10 February 1947. Sforza followed a strongly pro-American policy during his tenure as foreign minister. The culmination of his political and diplomatic career was Italy’s accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 and the active role he took in promoting European economic integration. Sforza died in Rome in 1952.
   See also Foreign Policy.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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