Giolitti, Giovanni

born Oct. 22, 1842, Mondovì, Piedmont, Kingdom of Sardinia
died July 17, 1928, Cavour, Italy

Italian politician and prime minister five times between 1892 and 1921.

He served in parliament (1882–1928). As a political leader, he used the technique later called giolittisma, which emphasized personal deals rather than party loyalty, as well as electoral corruption. As prime minister (1892–93), he instituted reforms but became enveloped in a bank scandal; he cleared himself but greatly damaged his successor, Francesco Crispi. As minister of the interior (1901–03) and prime minister (1903–05, 1906–09), he was both praised and criticized for his calm attitude toward widespread strikes. In his fourth ministry (1911–14) he oversaw the Italo-Turkish War, then opposed Italy's entrance into World War I. In his final term as premier (1920–21), he undertook Italy's reconstruction. He tolerated the early Fascists but in 1924 withdrew his support.

* * *

▪ prime minister of Italy
born Oct. 22, 1842, Mondovì, Piedmont, Kingdom of Sardinia [now in Italy]
died July 17, 1928, Cavour, Italy

      statesman and five times prime minister under whose leadership Italy prospered. He had many enemies, however, and retained power by using the highly criticized technique called giolittismo, which is associated with corruption and violence on election days and with personal deals rather than with party loyalty.

      After graduating in law from the University of Turin (1860), Giolitti entered the civil service and spent the next 20 years gaining experience in finance and as an administrator. Somewhat reluctantly, he became a deputy in the Italian parliament (1882), a position he held until his death.

      Giolitti first came to public attention by criticizing the minister of finance, Agostino Magliani (February 1886), after whose downfall Giolitti became the minister of the treasury (March 1889). Many were surprised when Giolitti, the bureaucrat, was chosen prime minister in May 1892. He outlined a program of reform and reorganization but was soon enveloped in a bank scandal, in which many government officials were implicated. Furthermore, his moderate reaction to strikes in Sicily proved unpopular and forced him to resign in November 1893.

      Viciously attacked by his successor as prime minister, Francesco Crispi (Crispi, Francesco), for his part in the bank scandal (1894), Giolitti presented evidence clearing himself but greatly damaging Crispi. After the eventual downfall of Crispi in March 1896, Giolitti took an influential behind-the-scenes role in forming governments. After a widespread outbreak of strikes in 1901, he delivered an important speech; in it he argued that the government should maintain order but remain neutral in labour disputes. As minister of the interior (February 1901–June 1903) and as prime minister (November 1903–March 1905), he adopted toward strikes a calm attitude that earned him both praise and criticism. Strikes and protests in the south were still repressed in the old way, however. Giolitti's critics, from the socialists to statesman Gaetano Salvemini, lambasted him on his policies toward the south, where deputies continued to maintain power through corruption and violence and where the reformist impetus of the period failed to make an impact. Giolitti resigned his second ministry but saw to it that one of his supporters filled his place. His third ministry, formed in May 1906, was marked by useful reform and concessions to the church on education; and he resigned while still powerful (December 1909). He began a fourth ministry in March 1911, during which he bowed to nationalistic pressures and began the Italo-Turkish War (1911–12), which ended with Italian possession of Libya. He also introduced wider suffrage (1913). Nevertheless, dissatisfaction with his leadership increased, and he resigned in March 1914.

      Giolitti actively opposed intervention in World War I because he knew that Italy, which had declared neutrality in August 1914, was unprepared. Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies in May 1915. As prime minister for the last time, Giolitti in June 1920 undertook the reconstruction of Italy. Shunning a repressive policy, he tolerated the Fascist squadristi (“armed squads”) when he could have crushed them, and, as the Fascists gained strength, he welcomed their support. He resigned in June 1921. While he was waiting for the right moment to take power again, the Fascists marched on Rome (October 1922) and took over Italy. Giolitti seemed to back the new regime, but in November 1924 he formally withdrew his support. He remained in the parliament, where, shortly before his death, he spoke against the new Fascist election bill.

Additional Reading
Alexander De Grand, The Hunchback's Tailor: Giovanni Giolitti and Liberal Italy from the Challenge of Mass Politics to the Rise of Fascism, 1882–1922 (2001), examines Giolitti's tenure as prime minister.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Giolitti, Giovanni — (1842–1928)    Giolitti’s legacy is much contested, but no one doubts that this statesman from Mondovi in Piedmont made a critical contribution to Italian history. Giolitti entered politics in 1882 after a brilliant career in the finance ministry …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Giolitti, Giovanni — (1842–1928)    Italian Premier in 1892–1893 and for most of the period from 1903 to 1915. At the beginning of the twentieth century, two factions dominated Italian politics. The first represented nondemocratic and authoritarian political and… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Giolitti, Giovanni — ► (1842 1928) Estadista y jurisconsulto italiano. Redujo el índice de desempleo y fomentó la ley de sufragio universal. * * * (22 oct. 1842, Mondovi, Piamonte, Reino de Cerdeña–17 jul. 1928, Cavour, Italia). Político italiano que fue primer… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Giolitti — Giolitti, Giovanni …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Giovanni Giolitti — (* 27. Oktober 1842 in Mondovì/Piemont; † 17. Juli 1928 in Cavour/Piemont) war ein italienischer Politiker und mehrfacher Ministerpräsident. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Giovanni — (as used in expressions) Giovanni Antonio Canal Giovanni da Bologna Tommaso Di Giovanni Di Simone Guidi Stefano di Giovanni Albinoni Tomaso Giovanni Boccaccio Giovanni Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito Bononcini Giovanni Giovanni Caboto Casanova… …   Universalium

  • Giovanni — (as used in expressions) Albinoni, Tomaso (Giovanni) Boccaccio, Giovanni Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito Bononcini, Giovanni Caboto, Giovanni Giovanni Antonio Canal Casanova, Giovanni Giacomo Giovanni Coralli Peracini Gabrieli, Andrea y Giovanni… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Giovanni Giolitti — Mandats 19e, 25e, 29e, 32e et 37e président du Conseil italien …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Giovanni Goria — Mandats 69e président du Conseil italien 28 juillet 1 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Giovanni Spadolini — Mandats 65e président du Conseil italien 28 juin 1981 – 1 …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.