Enrico Berlinguer

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Enrico Berlinguer (Italian pronunciation: [berliŋˈɡwɛr]) (25 May 1922 – 11 June 1984) was an Italian politician; he was national secretary of the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano or PCI) from 1972 until his death.



Early career

The son of Mario Berlinguer and Maria Loriga, Enrico Berlinguer was born in Sassari, Italy to a noble and important Sardinian family, in a notable cultural context, with family ties and political contacts that would heavily influence his life and career. His surname 'Berlinguer' is of Catalan origin,[1] a reminder of the period when Sardinia was part of the dominions of the Crown of Aragon.

He was a cousin of Francesco Cossiga (who was a leader of the Italian Christian Democrats and later became a President of the Italian Republic), and both were relatives of Antonio Segni, another Christian Democrat leader and President of the Republic. Enrico's grandfather, Enrico Berlinguer Sr., was the founder of La Nuova Sardegna, an important Sardinian newspaper, and a personal friend of Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini, whom he had helped in his attempts through his parliamentary work to improve the sad conditions on the island.

In 1937 Berlinguer had his first contacts with Sardinian anti-Fascists, and in 1943 formally entered the Italian Communist Party, soon becoming the secretary of the Sassari section. The following year a riot exploded in the town; he was involved in the disorders and was arrested, but was discharged after 3 months of prison.

Immediately after his detention ended, his father brought him to Salerno, the town in which the Royal family and the government had taken refuge after the armistice between Italy and the Allies. In Salerno his father introduced him to Palmiro Togliatti, the most important leader of the Communist Party.

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