The struggle for autonomy
After end of the Second World War the victorious powers refuse South Tyroleans the right of self-determination, but obligate Italy and Austria to conduct negotiations over South Tyrol. On 5 September 1946 the Italian Prime Minister Alcide Degasperi and the Austrian Foreign Minister Karl Gruber sign the Paris Treaty, which secures special provisions for South Tyrol as regards the development of language, economy and culture. The Gruber-Degasperi accord forms an integral part of the peace treaty signed by the Allies with Italy and at the same time officially becomes an international matter.
As the Paris Treaty has yet to be implemented 15 years following its signing, Austria appeals to the UN. At the same time tensions in South Tyrol are escalating. On the night of 11 June 1961 dozens of electricity pylons throughout South Tyrol are blown up. The “night of fire” draws the attention of the Italian and European public to South Tyrol.
Following the debates at the UN and the bomb attacks at the beginning of the 1960s, lengthy negotiations between Rome, Bozen/Bolzano and Vienna finally produce a whole “package” of measures, introduced as the Second Autonomy Statute. The new autonomy for South Tyrol comes into force on 20 January 1972 and secures equal rights and protection for all three language groups in the land.