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Indro Montanelli

Indro Montanelli

Overview
Indro Montanelli was an Italian journalist and historian, known for his new approach to writing history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 in books such as History of the Greeks and History of Rome.

Unanimously considered one of the greatest Italian journalists of the 20th century, he was among the “50 press freedom heroes of the past 50 years” in the list compiled by the International Press Institute
International Press Institute
International Press Institute is a global organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom and the improvement of journalism practices. Founded in October 1950, the IPI has members in over 120 countries....

 in 2000.

Indro Montanelli Bassi was born at Fucecchio
Fucecchio
Fucecchio is a town and comune of the province of Firenze in the Italian region of Tuscany. The main economical resources of the city are the leather industries, shoes industry and other manufacturing activities, although in the recent years their number has been decreasing because of a slight...

, near Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

.

Throughout his career he retained an idiosyncratic and particularly undiplomatic style, even when this made him very unpopular among his peers and employers.
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Encyclopedia
Indro Montanelli was an Italian journalist and historian, known for his new approach to writing history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 in books such as History of the Greeks and History of Rome.

Unanimously considered one of the greatest Italian journalists of the 20th century, he was among the “50 press freedom heroes of the past 50 years” in the list compiled by the International Press Institute
International Press Institute
International Press Institute is a global organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom and the improvement of journalism practices. Founded in October 1950, the IPI has members in over 120 countries....

 in 2000.

Career


Indro Montanelli Bassi was born at Fucecchio
Fucecchio
Fucecchio is a town and comune of the province of Firenze in the Italian region of Tuscany. The main economical resources of the city are the leather industries, shoes industry and other manufacturing activities, although in the recent years their number has been decreasing because of a slight...

, near Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

.

Throughout his career he retained an idiosyncratic and particularly undiplomatic style, even when this made him very unpopular among his peers and employers. This is particularly well illustrated in his book La stecca nel coro (which translates as "Going against the current") which is a list of leading articles he composed between 1974 and 1994 in the newspaper Il Giornale
Il Giornale
il Giornale is an Italian daily newspaper published in Milan, Italy.-History:The newspaper was planned in 1972 by the journalist Indro Montanelli, together with the colleague Enzo Bettiza, after some disagreements with the new pro-left editorial line adopted by the newspaper Corriere della Sera,...

which he founded and directed after being sacked from the very prestigious Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
The Corriere della Sera is an Italian daily newspaper, published in Milan.It is among the oldest and most reputable Italian newspapers. Its main rivals are Rome's La Repubblica and Turin's La Stampa.- History :...

, in October 1973. It was during this experience, in 1977 that the Red Brigade
Red Brigades
The Red Brigades was a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organisation, based in Italy, which was responsible for numerous violent incidents, assassinations, and robberies during the so-called "Years of Lead"...

 terrorists shot him four times in the legs in the streets of Milan.

The 1920s and 1930s


Montanelli's career began with a Law degree from the University of Florence in the early 1920s, where he wrote a thesis on the electoral reform of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

. Allegedly, in this thesis, he maintained that rather than a reform it amounted to the abolition of elections, which goes some way to illustrate the ambiguous nature of the Italian fascist censorship. According to him, it was a short experience of the French cultural atmosphere in Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, while he was taking language lessons, that he realised that his true vocation was that of the journalist.

Montanelli began his journalistic career by writing for the fascist newspaper Il Selvaggio ("The Savage"), then directed by Mino Maccari, and in 1932 for the Universale, a magazine published only once fortnightly and which offered no pay. Montanelli admitted that in those days he saw in fascism the hope of a movement that could potentially create an Italian national conscience that would have resolved the economic and socioeconomic differences between the north and the south. This enthisiasm for the fascist movement began to wane when in 1935 Mussolini forced the abolition of the Universale along with other magazines and newspapers that expressed opinions on the nature of fascism.

But it was in 1934, in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 that Montanelli began to write for the crime pages of the daily newspaper Paris Soir, then as foreign correspondent in Norway (where he fished for cod for a bit), and later in Canada (where he ended up working in a farm in Alberta!).

From there he began a collaboration with Webb Miller
Webb Miller (journalist)
Webb Miller was an American journalist and war correspondent. He covered the Pancho Villa Expedition, World War I, the Spanish Civil War , the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the Phoney War, and the Russo-Finnish War of 1939...

 of the United Press in New York. While working for the United Press he learned to write for the lay public in an uncomplicated style that would distinguish him within the realm of Italian journalism. One lesson he took to heart from Miller was to "always write as if writing to a milkman from Ohio". This open and approachable style was something he never forgot and he'd often recall that very quote during his long life. Another indelible American moment occurred while teaching a course. Someone had asked him to explain the composition that Montanelli had just read. Montanelli told him he'd repeat it since he clearly didn't understand... Hitting the table, the red-faced student cut him off and angrily told him, as a matter of fact, that if he hadn't understood Montanelli's composition, then it was Montanelli who was the imbecil! [and needed to change it]. It was then that he realized that he, who had come from the authoritarian regime of fascist Italy, had just had a confrontation with democracy. During this time Montanelli conducted his first interview with a celebrity: Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

 - who surprised him by admitting he did not have a driver's license. During the interview, surrounded by American art depicting pastoral and frontier subjects, Ford began to reverentially talk about the Founding Fathers. Looking at the decor, Montanelli astutely asked him how he felt about having destroyed their world. Puzzled, Ford asked what he meant. Undaunted, Montanelli pressed on that the automobile and Ford's revolutionary assembly line
Assembly line
An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added to a product in a sequential manner using optimally planned logistics to create a finished product much faster than with handcrafting-type methods...

 system had forever transformed the country. Ford looked shocked, and Montanelli realized that, like all geniuses, Ford hadn't had the slightest idea of what he'd really done.

The war in Abyssinia


When Mussolini declared war on Abyssinia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 with the intent of making Italy an empire (Second Italo–Abyssinian War), Montanelli immediately abandoned his collaboration with the United Press and became a voluntary conscript for this war. He believed then, along with many Italians of the time, that this was the chance for Italy to bring civilization to the 'savage' world of Africa, an enthusiasm that Montanelli blamed also on his passion for the works of Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

. In spite of these initial passions, it was this very experience that led to Montanelli's biggest change of mind with regards to Italian fascism.

This amounted to the realisation that the Abyssinia experience was none other than a pretext to elevate Mussolini on an ever higher pedestal, a show more than the substance of a revolutionary change of the colonization and civilization of Africa. With few exceptions, such as the defense of Gondar
Gondar
Gondar or Gonder is a city in Ethiopia, which was once the old imperial capital and capital of the historic Begemder Province. As a result, the old province of Begemder is sometimes referred to as Gondar...

, the conquest had been uneven and uneventful. One of the fascist leaders of the time, Farinacci, not finding enemies, began throwing hand grenades in the lake of Ascianghi: one exploded in his hand resulting in a silver medal award.

Montanelli began writing about the war to his father who - in Montanelli's total ignorance - sent the letters to one of the most famous journalists of those times, Ugo Ojetti, who published them regularly on the most prestigious Italian newspaper: Il Corriere della Sera.

The Spanish Civil War


On his return from Abyssinia, Montanelli became foreign correspondent in Spain for the daily newspaper Il Messaggero, where he experienced the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 on the side of Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

's troops. In this period he shared a room with Kim Philby
Kim Philby
Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby was a high-ranking member of British intelligence who worked as a spy for and later defected to the Soviet Union...

, who, decades later, would reveal himself to the world as one of the greatest Soviet mole spies that ever existed. One day he disappeared. Years later Montanelli received a mysterious note saying: "Thanks for everything. Including your socks". It was Philby. After the capture of the city of Santander
Santander, Cantabria
The port city of Santander is the capital of the autonomous community and historical region of Cantabria situated on the north coast of Spain. Located east of Gijón and west of Bilbao, the city has a population of 183,446 .-History:...

, Montanelli wrote that '(...) it had been a long military walk with only one enemy: the heat'. This judgement contrasted with the propaganda of the times that painted that 'battle' as a glorious bloodshed on the side of the Italian contingent. In fact the only casualty he noted, but never reported, by Montanelli was a single death in the Alpini
Alpini
The Alpini, , are the elite mountain warfare soldiers of the Italian Army. They are currently organized in two operational brigades, which are subordinated to the Alpini Corps Command. The singular is Alpino ....

 regiment caused by a mule kick that threw the unfortunate trooper down into a dry river bed. For this article he was reimpatriated, tried and expelled from the Fascist party and from the 'journalist book'. When, in the trial, he was asked why he had written such an unpatriotic article, he replied: "Show me a single casualty of that battle: because a battle without casualties is not a real battle!" The trial ended with a full absolution.

Foreign correspondent with the Corriere della Sera


The position taken against fascism led him to first serious disagreements. He was taken off the ticket of the Party and he did nothing to get it back. So to avoid the worst, in 1938, the then minister of culture, Giuseppe Bottai, offered Montanelli the job of director of the Institute of Culture in Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, and lecturer in Italian at the University of Tartu
University of Tartu
The University of Tartu is a classical university in the city of Tartu, Estonia. University of Tartu is the national university of Estonia; it is the biggest and highest-ranked university in Estonia...

. In this period the then director of the Corriere della Sera, Aldo Borelli, asked Montanelli to engage in a 'collaboration' as foreign correspondent (he could not be employed as journalist, because this had been forbidden by the fascist regime). Montanelli began to correspond for this newspaper from Estonia and Albania (during the Italian annexation of this country).

Invasions of Poland, Baltic countries and Finland


On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

. Montanelli was sent to report from the front in a Mercedes accompanied by German state functionaries. In the vicinity to the city of Grudziądz
Grudziadz
Grudziądz is a city in northern Poland on the Vistula River, with 96 042 inhabitants . Situated in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship , the city was previously in the Toruń Voivodeship .- History :-Early history:...

 the car was stopped by a convoy of German tanks. On one of these stood Hitler himself, but a few feet from Montanelli. When Hitler was told that the only person in casual clothes was Italian, he jumped out of the tank and eyeing Montanelli like a madman, began a ten minute hysterical speech followed by military salute and exit. Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

, who had also been in the convoy with fellow artist Arno Breker
Arno Breker
Arno Breker was a German sculptor, best known for his public works in Nazi Germany, which were endorsed by the authorities as the antithesis of degenerate art....

, corroborated the story in 1979. Apart from this episode - which Montanelli was forbidden to report - there had been little to report because the invasion of Poland was completed so rapidly that it was over within weeks. It was allegedly him who reported about the Skirmish of Krojanty and created a myth from it.

Montanelli was not welcome in Italy, and decided to move to Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

. The joint German-Russian invasion of Poland instinctively told him that more was brewing on the Soviet Union border. His instinct was correct because shortly after his arrival in Kaunas
Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

 - the seat of Lithuanian government - the Soviet Union declared an Ultimatum to the Baltic Republics. At this point Montanelli continued to travel towards Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

 as it was his wish to see the last of a free and democratic Estonia, which was soon invaded by Soviet Union. At this point, Montanelli was not popular in Italy, nor Germany because of his pro-Estonian and pro-Polish articles and had been expelled by the Soviet Union for being a foreigner. So he was forced by the events to cross the Baltic sea and reach Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

.

In Finland Montanelli began writing articles about the Lapps and the reindeer, although this was not for long as Molotov had made requests on the Finnish government for the annexation of part of the Finnish land to the Soviet Union. The Finnish delegation, headed by Paasikivi, had refused to give in to these requests and on their return it was clear that war was in the air. Montanelli was not able to write about the details of the talks between the Soviet and Finnish delegations, as they were shrouded in strict secrecy, although he was able to interview Paasikivi, who was happy to fill him in on everything except for the content of the talks.

Throughout the so-called Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 which ensued, Montanelli wrote hotly pro-Finnish articles both from the front and from bomb-stricken Helsinki writing about the almost mythical enterprises of the battle of Tolvajarvi, and of men like captain Pajakka who with 200 Lapps successfully confronted 40,000 Russians in the region of Petsamo. Back in Italy Montanelli's stories had been followed with great enthusiasm by the public, but not so enthusiastic was the response of the fascist leaders who were committed to an alliance with the Soviet Union. When Borelli, director of the Corriere della Sera, had been ordered to censor Montanelli's articles, he had had the courage to reply that "thanks to his articles the Corriere increased its sales from 500,000 to 900,000 copies: are you going to reimburse me?". When the Winter War was over, and the non-aggression pact was signed between the Soviet Union and Finland, Montanelli was personally thanked by the elusive Mannerheim himself, for writing in favour of the Finnish cause.

Invasion of Norway


Before his return to Italy Montanelli witnessed the invasion of Norway, and was arrested by the German army for his hostility towards the German-Italian alliance. He escaped with the help of his friend Quisling
Quisling
Quisling is a term used in reference to fascist and collaborationist political parties and military and paramilitary forces in occupied Allied countries which collaborated with Axis occupiers in World War II, as well as for their members and other collaborators.- Etymology :The term was coined by...

, and made a run for the north of the country where the English and the French were disembarking their troops at Narvik. He was met by the one-eyed, one-armed Major Carton de Wiart who explained that there were no more than 10,000 Allied troops in Norway - many of them not even trained for battle. Nobody seemed to know where their garrison was. The British wanted to go inland and attack the Germans, but the French wanted to stay put and consolidate their positions. After having seen the clockwork invasion of Poland by the German troops, this disarray was a worrying sight. When the Germans began bombing these positions the Allies were forced to embark once again and beat a hasty withdrawal to England.

The Balkans and Greece


With Italy's entrance in the war (June 1940), Montanelli was sent to France and the Balkans; then he was assigned with the responsibility of following the Italian military campaign from Greece and Albania as correspondent. Here he recounted to have written little:

« I remained at that front various months, writing almost nothing, a small reason was because I fell ill with typhus and a huge one because I refused to push as a glorious military campaign the quaking pummeling that we caught down there.»

An article published on the September 12th, 1940 issue of Panorama
Panorama
A panorama is any wide-angle view or representation of a physical space, whether in painting, drawing, photography, film/video, or a three-dimensional model....

 was considered "defeatist" by the censors of Minculpop (Ministero della Cultura Popolare), who in turn ordered the closure of the periodical.

Condemned to death


After witnessing war and destruction in the Balkans, and the disastrous Italian invasion of Greece, Montanelli decided to join the partisan movement against the fascist regime, by joining the Partito d'Azione
Partito d'Azione
-History:It was an anti-fascist political party in the tradition of Giuseppe Mazzini and the Risorgimento. Founded in July 1942 by former militants of Giustizia e Libertà , liberal socialists, democrats...

. Here he met with socialist Sandro Pertini (who would be president of Italy from 1978 to 1985).

He was eventually once again captured by the Germans, tried and condemned to death. In the Milan prison of San Vittore he met with Mike Bongiorno
Mike Bongiorno
Michael Nicholas Salvatore Bongiorno , known as Mike Bongiorno, was an American-born Italian television host. He started his career on Italian TV in the 1950s and was considered to be the most popular host in Italy...

, who would later become one of the most famous quizmasters of Italian TV. In the prison he also made the acquaintance of General della Rovere
General della Rovere
General della Rovere is a 1959 Italian film directed by Roberto Rossellini. The film is based on a novel by Indro Montanelli which was in turn based on a true story.-Plot:...

, who was said to have been arrested while on a secret mission on behalf of the Allies. The reality was that this man was a thief called Giovanni Bertoni, a spy for the Germans. But Bertoni was so taken in by the military character he was playing that he refused to relay any information to his German masters and was executed like a real general. After the war Montanelli was to devote a book to this incident (Il generale Della Rovere, 1959, later turned into an award winning movie directed by Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini was an Italian film director and screenwriter. Rossellini was one of the directors of the Italian neorealist cinema, contributing films such as Roma città aperta to the movement.-Early life:Born in Rome, Roberto Rossellini lived on the Via Ludovisi, where Benito Mussolini had...

 and starring Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio de Sica
Vittorio De Sica was an Italian director and actor, a leading figure in the neorealist movement....

).

Salvation came at the end of 1944 with the help of unknown conspirators who arranged for his transfer to a prison in Verona. The transfer was then transformed into a dash for the Swiss border. The identity of these conspirators remained a mystery until decades later, when it appeared that it had been the result of collusion by several agencies. Among them, Marshall Mannerheim allegedly put pressure on his German allies ("You are executing a gentleman" he said to von Falkenhorst, the commander of the German troops stationed in Finland) resulting in Berlin's opening of an inquiry.

In 1945 while hiding in Switzerland, he published the novel Drei Kreuze, later appeared in Italian with the title Qui non riposano (Here they do not rest). Inspired by Thornton Wilder
Thornton Wilder
Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.-Early years:Wilder was born in Madison,...

's The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the story begins on September 17, 1944 when a Val d’Ossola priest buries three unknown corpses and commemorates them with three anonymous crosses.

Last years


Montanelli continued his career at the Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
The Corriere della Sera is an Italian daily newspaper, published in Milan.It is among the oldest and most reputable Italian newspapers. Its main rivals are Rome's La Repubblica and Turin's La Stampa.- History :...

newspaper in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, famously authoring deeply sympathetic articles from Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
1956 Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956....

. His first hand reportages inspired him to write the play, I sogni muoiono all'alba (Dreams Die at Dawn), later adapted to film. From the mid-1960s, after the death of the paper's proprietors, Mario and Vittorio Crespi, and the serious illness of the third brother, Aldo, ownership of the paper was vested upon Aldo's daughter, Giulia Maria. Under her tight control (earning her Montanelli's moniker the czarina), the daily took a sudden turn to the left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

. This new launch took place in 1972 with the abrupt dismissal of the director Giovanni Spadolini
Giovanni Spadolini
Giovanni Spadolini was a liberal Italian politician, the 45th Prime Minister of Italy, newspaper editor, journalist and a noted historian.-Biography:Spadolini was born in Florence....

. Montanelli expressed a cutting indictment of the procedure in an interview on L'espresso
L'Espresso
l'Espresso is an Italian newsmagazine. It is one of the two most prominent Italian weeklies, the other being Panorama. Since the latter has been acquired by right-wing tycoon and politician Silvio Berlusconi, l'Espresso enjoys the reputation of being the main politically independent newsmagazine...

, declaring: "A director is not sent away like a thieving domestic" and, turning to the Crespi family, he branded their "authoritarian, bullying junta ways that they have chosen in order to impose their decision".

After subsequently breaking definitely with Corriere della Sera he founded and directed the Milan daily Il Giornale
Il Giornale
il Giornale is an Italian daily newspaper published in Milan, Italy.-History:The newspaper was planned in 1972 by the journalist Indro Montanelli, together with the colleague Enzo Bettiza, after some disagreements with the new pro-left editorial line adopted by the newspaper Corriere della Sera,...

in 1973, together with Enzo Bettiza
Enzo Bettiza
Enzo Bettiza is a Dalmatian-born Italian novelist, journalist and politician.-Biography:Bettiza was born in Dalmatia, in a rich family of the Italian minority. His mother stemmed from a family of the Croatian isle of Brač...

.

On 2 September 1977, Montanelli was shot four times in the legs by a two-man commando of the Red Brigades
Red Brigades
The Red Brigades was a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organisation, based in Italy, which was responsible for numerous violent incidents, assassinations, and robberies during the so-called "Years of Lead"...

, outside the Milanese head-office of the Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
The Corriere della Sera is an Italian daily newspaper, published in Milan.It is among the oldest and most reputable Italian newspapers. Its main rivals are Rome's La Repubblica and Turin's La Stampa.- History :...

. His friend and surgeon was amazed on how "four shots could hit those [long, thin] chicken legs of his and still completely miss a major artery or nerve bundle". He credited his indoctrination as a child in the Balilla
Balilla
Balilla was the nickname of Giovan Battista Perasso, a Genoese boy who started the revolt of 1746 against the Habsburg forces that occupied the city in the War of the Austrian Succession by throwing a stone on an Austrian official....

 fascist youth and its mantra, "to die on your feet", for saving his life. He maintained that had he not held on to the railing during the incident the fourth shot would have surely hit him in the stomach. In his typical ironical and satirical vein he also thanked Il Duce. In a petty instance of insult to injury the "Corriere della Sera" dedicated an article to the incident omitting his name from the title ("Milan [...] journalist kneecapped").

When Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

, the then proprietor of Il Giornale, entered politics and founded a new right-wing party Forza Italia
Forza Italia
Forza Italia was a liberal-conservative, Christian democratic, and liberal political party in Italy, with a large social democratic minority, that was led by Silvio Berlusconi, four times Prime Minister of Italy....

, Montanelli came under heavy pressure to switch his editorial line to a position favourable to Berlusconi. Montanelli never hid his bad opinion of Berlusconi: "He lies as he breathes", the journalist declared. In the end, protesting his independence, he founded a new daily, for which he resurrected the name La Voce ("The Voice"), which had belonged to an historical newspaper run by Giuseppe Prezzolini
Giuseppe Prezzolini
Giuseppe Prezzolini was an Italian journalist, editor and writer, later an American citizen.-Biography:...

. La Voce, always an elitist paper, folded after about a year, and Montanelli returned to Corriere della Sera. In 1994, Montanelli was awarded the International Editor of the Year Award
International Editor of the Year Award
International Editor of the Year Award is a prize awarded yearly to journalists and press editors outside the United states by World Press Review magazine....

 from the World Press Review
World Press Review
World Press Review is an independent, nonpartisan New York based magazine founded in 1974 and initially published by Stanley Foundation and Teri Schure, with an online edition which was launched in 1997...

.

From 1995 to 2001 he was the chief letters editor of Corriere della Sera, answering a letter a day on a page of the newspaper known as "La Stanza di Montanelli" ("Montanelli’s Room"). Montanelli spent his last years vigorously opposing Silvio Berlusconi’s politics. He was mentor to a significant group of colleagues, followers and students including Mario Cervi, Marco Travaglio
Marco Travaglio
Marco Travaglio is an Italian investigative journalist, writer and commentator.-Biography:Travaglio was born in Turin. He started his career writing for Catholic publications such as Il nostro tempo , then worked for the renowned journalist Indro Montanelli for newspapers such as Il Giornale and...

, Paolo Mieli
Paolo Mieli
Paolo Mieli is an Italian journalist who has been director of Italy's leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera.Born in Milan, Mieli debuted as journalist at 18 for L'Espresso, where he remained for some 20 years. As a member of Potere Operaio he initially adhered to far-left positions...

, Roberto Ridolfi, Andrea Claudio Galluzzo
Andrea Claudio Galluzzo
Andrea Claudio Galluzzo is an Italian writer, historian and journalist.Graduated in Law at University of Siena and in Ancient History at New York University, writes historical and biographical books...

, Beppe Severgnini
Beppe Severgnini
Giuseppe "Beppe" Severgnini, OBE, is an Italian journalist, writer and columnist.-Biography:Born the 26 December 1956 in Crema, Severgnini graduated in law at the University of Pavia....

and Roberto Gervaso.

He died on July 22, 2001 at the La Madonnina clinic in Milan. The following day, Corriere della Sera published a letter on its front page: "Indro Montanelli's farewell to his readers".