Ferruccio Parri

Senator for life
Ferruccio Parri
29th Prime Minister of Italy
In office
June 21, 1945  December 8, 1945
Monarch Victor Emmanuel III
Lieutenant General Prince Umberto
Preceded by Ivanoe Bonomi
Succeeded by Alcide De Gasperi
Minister of the Interior
In office
June 21, 1945  December 10, 1945
Preceded by Ivanoe Bonomi
Succeeded by Giuseppe Romita
Minister of the Italian Africa
In office
June 21, 1945  December 10, 1945
Preceded by Ivanoe Bonomi
Succeeded by Alcide De Gasperi
Personal details
Born (1890-01-19)January 19, 1890
Pinerolo, Italy
Died December 8, 1981(1981-12-08) (aged 91)
Rome, Italy
Political party Action Party
Italian Republican Party
Popular Unity
Radical Party

Ferruccio Parri (Italian pronunciation: [ferˈruttʃo ˈparri]; January 19, 1890 in Pinerolo December 8, 1981 in Rome) was an Italian partisan and politician who served as the 29th Prime Minister of Italy for several months in 1945. During the resistance he was known as Maurizio.


Parri was born in Pinerolo, Piedmont. A soldier during World War I, he was wounded four times and received four decorations.[1] He studied literature and after the war he was a journalist with the Corriere della Sera.

Antifascist militant

He became active against Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime and joined Carlo and Nello Rosselli's group Giustizia e Libertà (Justice and Liberty), the principal Italian non-Marxist antifascist movement.[2]

In 1926 he was involved in the escape of the reformist socialist leader Filippo Turati, together with Carlo Rosselli and Sandro Pertini. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison.[3] He was arrested several times and banished to the islands Ustica and Lipari. In 1930 he was again banished for five years together with other leaders of Giustizia e Libertà.[4]

During World War II, Parri joined the Italian resistance movement to fight the Nazi German occupiers and Mussolini's Italian Social Republic, leading the Action Party (Partito d'Azione) – founded in 1942 by former militants of Giustizia e Libertà – and its partisan groups in northern Italy (alongside representatives of other factions, such as Sandro Pertini, Rodolfo Morandi and Lelio Basso). He was also president of the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale.[5]

In January 1945 Parri was arrested in Milan. He was released in March 1945 in Lugano (Switzerland) as part of Operation Sunrise – a series of secret negotiations between Allen Dulles, head of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and representatives of the German Wehrmacht command in Northern Italy, which led to the unconditional surrender of the German forces in Northern Italy and Western Austria on May 2, 1945. The release of Parri was requested from the Germans as an evidence of good faith and the ability to act.[6][7] He returned in time to take part in the conclusive phase of the resistance and in the uprising in April.

Prime Minister of Italy

After the end of World War II, he was appointed leader of a government supported, among the others, by the Action Party, the Christian Democracy, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the Liberal Party. A middle-of-the-road man, he had been chosen as the compromise leader of a compromise Cabinet. He was also the Minister of the Interior (in charge of the police).[1] When the Liberals withdrew their support from the coalition government, Parri resigned from his position.[8]

At the time Parri warned: "Beware of civil war ... of reopening the door to fascism. ... There are rumors that Washington and London have no trust in me. The real reason for this lack of trust is that Italy has only a fragile front of antifascism. ... I hope my successors will follow the only worthy policy for Italy: left of center... ."[8]

The Action Party quickly faded from the Italian political scene. Parri founded, together with Ugo La Malfa, the movement Concentrazione Democratica, which was later absorbed into the Italian Republican Party (Partito Repubblicano Italiano – PRI). In 1953 he left the latter party to create the short-lived Unità Popolare with Piero Calamandrei. In 1957, the party merged into the Italian Socialist Party (Partito socialista italiano – PSI).

In Parliament

In 1946, he was elected to the Italian Italian Constituent Assembly and in 1948 to the Italian Senate.

In 1958 he was elected in the Senate on the list of the PSI. Parri proposed to form a Parliamentary Antimafia Commission to investigate the Sicilian Mafia. The proposal was not taken up by the parliamentary majority; and in 1961 the Christian Democrat party (DC – Democrazia Cristiana) in the Senate and Sicilian politicians such as Bernardo Mattarella and Giovanni Gioia (both later accused of links with the Mafia) dismissed the proposal as useless.[9] However, in 1962 a Commission was formed to deal with the issue, and Parri became a member.

In 1963, President Giuseppe Saragat appointed Parri senator for life. He adhered to the Independent Left group, and was for long its chairman. In March of the same year, he became the editor of the magazine L'Astrolabio, in which he argued in favour of a more accomplished democracy and denounced the resurgence of neofascism.[10][11]


Parri was the president of the Federazione italiana associazioni partigiane (FIAP), and authored several important studies on the history of the Italian resistance.

Parri died in Rome in 1981 at the age of 91. He once characterized himself: "I am a common man – uomo della strada. I am just another guy – uomo qualunque ... I hope a typical one. My job is not only to prevent the right and left wings from exercising undue influence on the Government, but I have to think too of the enormous masses of peasants sweating in the fields under the sun, blacksmiths beating their anvils in villages, workers, men and women everywhere who have no taste for politics and are outside parties. ... I am just a uomo della strada... ." [1] Parri is buried at the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno in Genoa.


  1. 1 2 3 Common Man, Time Magazine, July 2, 1945
  2. Outside Party Lines, by Alexander Stille, The New York Times, December 19, 1999
  3. Biography of Sandro Pertini
  4. (Italian) Biography of Parri on Antifascismo
  5. Miller, James Edward (1999). "Who chopped down that cherry tree? The Italian Resistance in history and politics, 1945–1998". Journal of Modern Italian Studies. 4 (1): 37–54. doi:10.1080/13545719908454992.
  6. Intelligence cables covering the capitulation of the Nazi armies in northern Italy, Center for the Study of Intelligence
  7. Operation Sunrise: America’s OSS, Swiss Intelligence, and the German Surrender 1945, by Stephen P. Halbrook in "Operation Sunrise". Atti del convegno internazionale (Locarno, 2 maggio 2005), a cura di Marino Viganò - Dominic M. Pedrazzini (Lugano 2006), pp. 103-30.
  8. 1 2 Split, Time Magazine, December 3, 1945
  9. (Italian) L'istituzione della prima Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sulla mafia in: L'art. 41-bis l. 354/75 come strumento di lotta contro la mafia, by Elisa Fontanelli, bachelor's degree dissertation, Florence university, 2005
  10. (Italian) Ferruccio Parri, Centro Studi Politici e Sociali F. M. Malfatti (accessed January 30, 2011)
  11. Roland Sarti Italy: a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present, Infobase Publishing, 2004, p.532


Italian Senate
Title jointly held Member of the Senate of the Republic
Legislatures: I, III

Title jointly held
Presidential appointment Senator for life
Legislatures: III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII

Died in office
Political offices
Preceded by
Ivanoe Bonomi
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Romita
Minister of the Italian East Africa
Succeeded by
Alcide De Gasperi
Prime Minister of Italy
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