Randolfo Pacciardi: defense minister in the years of reconstruction

17/11/20

Randolfo Pacciardi was a patriot and one of the fathers of the Italian Republic. Born in 1899, Tuscan and of humble origins.

From an early age interested in politics, in 1915 he joined the Italian Republican Party. He was a young officer in the First World War, first in the 11th and then in the 8th Bersaglieri Regiment. He distinguished himself during the retreat of Caporetto (1917) by demonstrating sacrifice, dedication and contempt for danger. He took part in the Piave offensive (1918).

During the conflict he was decorated with two silver and one bronze medals, and for his collaboration on the Piave with British and French troops he was decorated with the Military Cross and Croix de guerre avec palm trees.

After the war he will continue with his studies and in 1922 he obtained a degree in law. These were difficult years and with the advent of fascism he immediately proved anti-fascist; in 1926 he was assigned to confinement but managed to escape arrest and in fact led him into exile (in January 1927 he crossed the Swiss border).

He took part in the Spanish Civil War alongside Republican Spain against General Franco. He was commander of the battalion Garibaldi, inserted in the XII brigade

international, with the rank of major and then of lieutenant colonel.

During the Second World War he lived in the United States and returned to Italy in the summer of 1944.

On 2 June 1946 he was elected Deputy to the Constituent Assembly in the ranks of the Republican Party. Vice-President of the Council of Ministers (1947-1948) and Minister of the

defense (1948-1953) in the De Gasperi governments.

As Minister he had considerable merits: he reorganized the Armed Forces, reconstituted the secret services by creating the Sifar (Armed Forces Information Service) and the Sios (Operational and Situation Information Service).

With Pacciardi, November 4th became the feast of the Italian Armed Forces. He promoted the establishment of the Superior Defense Council. In those years Italy joined the Atlantic Pact and NATO (1949).

He was anti-communist and a staunch supporter of presidentialism, drawing inspiration from the model that was introduced in France in 1958 with De Gaulle (Pacciardi was an admirer of the general).

His counter-current ideas led him to clash with his party line until he was expelled in 1963, after voting against the first center-left government

led by Moro.

The sixties and seventies were not easy for Pacciardi as he was accused of being involved in the emergency government theorized in the days of Piano Solo in 1964, and the “coup

bianco ”by Edgardo Sogno from 1974. Accusations that led to nothing for him.

In 1980 he was readmitted to the Republican Party. On April 14, 1991 he died in Rome and two days later he had a state funeral "wanted by President Francesco Cossiga"1.

I am well aware that what I wrote is not enough to tell Randolfo Pacciardi, but with these lines of mine I have tried to remember him in particular in his past as a

fighter - for the Fatherland and Freedom - and minister.

Francesco Sisto

1 P. Palma, Randolfo Pacciardi. Political profile of the last Mazzinian, Rubettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2012, p. 152