The Kingdom of Italy During World War I Part 2

The impossibility of remaining neutral was soon evident. “No people, on the altar of fidelity to a treaty, will ever be able to sacrifice the reasons for their existence” had already said Bismarck. If the governments of Vienna and Berlin had long been convinced that they could not count on Italian intervention in their war for the reasons already mentioned (see world war), and had at first officially justified the Italian attitude, nevertheless the Austro-Germanic resentment foreshadowed the will to punish the ally for her defection. Meanwhile, politicians and the press were trying to influence Italian public opinion in favor of the Central Empires, in the same way as the Entente was trying to do in its own interest. The offers of this were not dropped by the foreign minister Di San Giuliano, which at the same time presented Austria with the thesis of any remuneration for its action, on the basis of art. 7 of the Triplex.

According to, the diplomatic action, carried out until the middle of October 1914 by Di San Giuliano, was continued by Sonnino on the same basis as the negotiations with Austria, since only their demonstrated impossibility would have justified in the eyes of all the agreement with the Understanding, which Di San Giuliano had thought with clear ideas about the nature of the war, the need for Austria to be hit by Italy and for a strong post-war alliance to be prepared already during the war. And therefore, while not neglecting the approaches of the Entente, at first Sonnino essentially waited for action against Austria for the compensation. The Italian passions and conflicts made the negotiations more difficult, which dragged on throughout the winter of 1914-15 without Vienna resigning itself to the idea of ​​giving up its own territories, envisaging the possibility of compensation in Albania, or in turn making claims for the Italian occupation of Vallona (December 1914). Neither the Prince of Bülow, who was rushed from Berlin to Rome to influence the negotiations and prevent intervention, obtained better results for the tenacious Austrian opposition and for the growth of the Italian interventionist currents. Since Austria tenaciously rejected the Italian requests for the sale of Trentino, of Venezia Giulia up to the Isonzo (with Gorizia and Gradisca), of some islands of the Adriatic and of the constitution of Trieste as a free city, Sonnino had the government of London the memorandum on the conditions of a possible intervention alongside the Entente (4 March). Set on a typically irredentistic basis, the Italian proposals did not take into account the global importance of a war in which the destinies of peoples and empires were being decided. Ideally connected to the tradition of the Risorgimento that we wanted to conclude, they did not reflect the new and different needs of the life of a great nation: and the London agreement of April 26, 1915, which will bind Italy to the Entente, if it protects up to a some point the Italian Adriatic interests (but Fiume will be excluded for singular misunderstanding), will neglect or place in an uncertain and ineffective way the claim of adequate economic and colonial advantages. The errors of approach committed in good faith by the Italian negotiators, who among other things believed in the brevity of the war and gave the impression of not wanting to commit themselves against Germany,

Shortly afterwards, Italy denounced the Triple Treaty (3 May), they tried the Central Empires to run for cover with wider offers (these and the previous ones spoiled by the conditions on the time of execution, but more seriously by the later confessed insincerity ) and at the same time neutralism made a last and more powerful effort, resorting to murky parliamentary maneuvers and deplorable intrigues with representatives of Vienna and Berlin. Meanwhile D’Annunzio launched an appeal to the people for war at the “festival of Quarto” (May 5). The Salandra cabinet resigned, but Giolitti, to whom the proponents of neutrality regarded as the man who could have achieved “a lot” without entering the war, having known the commitments that already linked Italy to the Entente, recognized it impossible to change course . Recalled to the ministry the Salandra in an atmosphere of red-hot passion, on 20 May he was granted by parliament with 407 votes against 74 against, mostly socialists, full powers for the case of war. And this was declared to Austria on the 23rd.

The Kingdom of Italy During World War I 2

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