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This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2010) Palmiro Togliatti Italian Minister of Justice In office 21 June 1945 – 1 July 1946 Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi Preceded by Umberto Tupini Succeeded by Fausto Gullo General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party In office 1927–1964 Preceded by Antonio Gramsci Succeeded by Luigi Longo Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies In office 1948–1964 Constituency Latium - XV Born 26 March 1893(1893-03-26) Genoa, Italy Died 21 August 1964(1964-08-21) (aged 71) Yalta, Soviet Union Nationality Italian Political party Italian Socialist Party (until c. 1918), Italian Communist Party (c. 1918 - 1964) Palmiro Togliatti (26 March 1893 - 21 August 1964) was an Italian politician and leader of the Italian Communist Party from 1927 until his death. Contents 1 Biography 1.1 Early life 1.2 Exile 1.3 "Salerno turn" and shooting 1.4 1950s and 1960s 1.5 Death and legacy 2 References 3 See also Biography Early life Born in Genoa to a middle class family, Togliatti began his political life in the Italian Socialist Party prior to the First World War. He served as a volunteer officer during the war, and was wounded in action and sent home for illness. Returning at the end of the conflict, he was a part of the group around Antonio Gramsci's L'Ordine Nuovo paper in Turin, while working as a tutor. He was a founding member of the Communist Party of Italy (PCd'I, later PCI) and, after Gramsci was jailed by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime, he became the senior leader of the PCd'I until his death, for which he also directed Il Comunista. Exile When the party was banned by the Italian Fascist government in 1926, Togliatti was one of few leaders not to be arrested, as he was attending a meeting of the Comintern in Moscow. In exile during the late 1920s and the 1930s, he organized clandestine meetings of the PCd'I at Lyon (1926) and Cologne (1931). In 1927 he took the position of Secretary of the party. In 1935, under the nom de guerre Ercole Ercoli, he was named member of the secretariat of the Comintern. In 1939 he was arrested in France: released, he moved to the Soviet Union and, remained there during World War II, broadcasting radio messages to Italy, in which he called for resistance to Nazi Germany and the Italian Social Republic. "Salerno turn" and shooting He returned to his native country in 1944 and it was under his direction that the PCI carried out the svolta di Salerno, the "Salerno Turn" — this change in policy was the turn of the party to support of democratic measures of reform in Italy (the birth of the Italian Republic), and the refusal to engage in armed struggle for the cause of Socialism. In effect, the turn moved the party to the right, in contrast with many demands from within; it also meant the disarmament of those members of the Italian resistance movement that had been organized by the PCI (the Garibaldi Brigades). Togliatti briefly served as Justice Minister. After having been minister without portfolio in the Pietro Badoglio government, he acted as vice-premier under Alcide De Gasperi in 1945. In opposition with the dominant line in his own party, he voted for the including of the Lateran Pacts in the Italian Constitution. At the 1946 general election, the PCI obtained 19% of the votes and 104 seats. Communist ministers were evicted during the May 1947 crisis. The same month, Maurice Thorez, head of the French Communist Party (PCF), was forced to quit Paul Ramadier's government along with the four others communist ministers. As in Italy, the PCF was very strong, taking part in the Three parties alliance (Tripartisme) and scoring 28.6% at the November 1946 elections. In 1948, Togliatti led the PCI in the first democratic election after World War II.[1] He lost to the Christian Democrat party (DC – Democrazia Cristiana) after a violent campaign in which the United States, viewing him as a Cold War enemy, played a large part.[2] The CIA, which had just been created, allegedly massively interfered in the elections. Allied with the PSI in the Popular Democratic Front, the left-wing achieved 31% of the votes. Until 1996, the left-wing coalition was unable to prevail in the national political elections, while scoring many successes in local administrative elections. The only tentative to include the PCI in government, under Enrico Berlinguer's leadership, through the historic compromise, ended up with Aldo Moro's 1978 assassination. In 2000, the Olive Tree left-of-center coalition released a report explicitly accusing Washington of having followed a strategy of tension in Italy "to prevent the PCI, and in a lesser measure the PSI, of acceding to power." On 14 July 1948, Togliatti was shot three times, being severely wounded — his life hung in the balance for days and news about his condition was uncertain, causing an acute political crisis in Italy (which included a general strike called by the Italian General Confederation of Labour).[3] Carlo Lucarelli's "Via delle oche," the final book in his De Luca trilogy, contains a vivid fictionalized account of that day. 1950s and 1960s Under his leadership, the PCI became the second largest party in Italy, and the largest non-ruling communist party in Europe. Although permanently in the opposition at the national level during Togliatti's lifetime, the party ran many municipalities and held great power at the local and regional level in certain areas. In 1953, he fought against the so-called "cheat or swindle law", an electoral one voted by the Christian Democracy-led majority of the time, which aimed at using first past the post to augment the center-right's power. Ultimately, the law was to prove of no use for the government in the elections of that year, which won Togliatti's PCI 22.6% of the vote; it was repealed in November 1953. Despite his allegedly tight relationship with Soviet Union, Togliatti's leadership remained unscathed after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (which was everywhere else a cause for major conflicts within the left). He coined the development of the polycentrism theory (unity in diversity within the communist parties in all countries). In the 1958 elections, the number of Communist votes was still on the rise. In the 1963 elections, the PCI gained 25.2% of the votes, but again failed to reach a relative majority. Death and legacy Togliatti died as a result of cerebral haemorrhage while vacationing with his companion Nilde Iotti in Yalta, then in the Soviet Union. According to some of his collaborators, Togliatti was travelling to the Soviet Union in order to give his support to Leonid Brezhnev's election as Nikita Khrushchev's successor at the head of Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His favourite pupil, Enrico Berlinguer, was later elected as his successor to the National Secretary of the PCI position, though Berlinguer's time in office saw the rejection of some policies advocated by Togliatti. The Russian city of Stavropol-on-Volga, where Togliatti had been instrumental in establishing the AutoVAZ (Lada) automobile manufacturing plant in collaboration with Fiat, was renamed Tolyatti (as transliterated from Тольятти, the Russian spelling of his name) in his honor in 1964, after his death. References ^ How to Hang On, Time, April 19, 1948 ^ The Battle Continues, Time, May 3, 1948 ^ Blood on the Cobblestones, Time, July 26, 1948 See also Attempt on Togliatti's life Italian Communist Party Nilde Iotti History of the Italian Republic Political offices Preceded by Umberto Tupini Italian Minister of Justice 1945–1946 Succeeded by Fausto Gullo Assembly seats Preceded by Title jointly held Constituent Assembly of Italy 1946 - 1948 Succeeded by Title jointly held Preceded by Title jointly held Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Legislatures I, II, III, IV 1948 - 1964 Succeeded by Title jointly held Party political offices Preceded by Antonio Gramsci Secretary of the Italian Communist Party 1927–1964 Succeeded by Luigi Longo v · d · eSecretary of the Italian Communist Party Amadeo Bordiga  · Antonio Gramsci  · Palmiro Togliatti  · Luigi Longo  · Enrico Berlinguer  · Alessandro Natta  · Achille Occhetto Persondata Name Togliatti, Palmiro Alternative names Short description Date of birth 26 March 1893 Place of birth Genoa, Italy Date of death 21 August 1964 Place of death Yalta, Soviet Union