This document must be regarded as being a sight of the war of 1915-1918, in relation to the advent of Fascism.

Before 1915. Assertion of Italy

As a nation, Italy exists only since 1861. It is a constitutional monarchy in which the king has wide capacities. The Parliament, then elected by the notable ones, is far from representing the whole of the social layers.

The first king, Victor Emmanuel II (1820-1878), carries out the Italian unit and cultivates the Franco-Italian friendship; The second, Humbert I (1844-1900), all the more moves away from France which the latter occupies Tunisia in 1881. In spite of the different one between Italy and Austria in connection with the grounds irredente (populated Austrian Italian possessions) Humbert I approaches then to Germany and Austria by signing the pact to Triplice.

During its reign Italy of North industrializes itself, whereas the south mainly remains poor and illiterate. But the lack of raw materials, the scandals banking and the military defeat of 1896 in Ethiopia (where Italy seeks to constitute a colonial empire), are at the origin of a social crisis which accentuates divisions between the middle-class and the popular masses acquired with a growing socialism. Riots burst and are repressed hard. In 1900 Humbert I, who represents a socially fixed company, is assassinated by an anarchist.

Victor Emmanuel III succeeds to him and leaves most of his capacity to the Prime Minister. The international economic conjuncture supports an industrial renewal of activity what causes to hoist Italy with the row of middle-class great power but also, by-effect, which accentuates social antagonisms. And one does not count any more the number of the calls to the general strike launched by the Socialists. As regards foreign policy the treaty of Triplice is renewed until 1915 but it is however restricted in 1902 by a secret agreement signed with France, agreement which subordinates the entry in war of Italy against France to the possibility of an attack of France against Germany. In 1911 Italy removes Libya in Turkey what revives, if need be, Italian nationalism.

At the end of 1914. Interventionism

Notable intervention of Mussolini

In October 1914, whereas the Great War has just begun and that France seems to be in bad posture vis-a-vis in Germany, Mussolini, socialist anti-interventionist, editor association of the socialist newspaper “Avanti” (newspaper anti-interventionist), invites Italy to engage militarily with dimensions of France.

Volte-face of Mussolini. Mussolini, hard Socialist, who refuses any collaboration with the middle-class and the state-middle-class men suddenly change speech into October 1914 and call with the war at the sides of France!
Not being qualified to speak about the reasons for this volte-face, we return our readers to studies specialized on the question. Always it is that the moment of this volte-face perhaps considered as being the starting point of the political career of Mussolini.

It is put at once at the door of the newspaper then it is expelled of the socialist party. It founds “it then Popolo d' Italia” in which it makes countryside in favour of the war. Interventionists (garibaldiens, nationalists, anarchists, irredentists, industrialists, etc) support it, all and sundry for various reasons.

For some the war against the Austro-Hungarian empire would allow, inter alia, to recover the grounds irredente and to fully carry out the unification of the Italian nation threatened by Austria.
For others, the war seems to be the miracle solution with all the interior problems the such rural underdevelopment, the disparity of the various areas (North - rich person and south - poor), the evolution of the communist ideas in the workmen and the demographic overload.
For others still, Italy cannot claim to become a Mediterranean and colonial great power all while being maintained apart from the conflict. It thus does not remain to him more but to choose its adversary! By sympathy, the entourage of the king would lean in favour of Germany from which he admires the organization and the discipline but, by interest, Italy will line up in the camp of those which will promise to pay most expensive its intervention.

1915. Entry in war of Italy

On May 14, 1915 Mussolini expresses in favour of the war

The large majority of Italian, Socialists at the head, wishes monnayer the neutrality of Italy. But, vis-a-vis the belligerents, it seems that it is only the entry in war which is monnayable (and not neutrality!). Finally, on April 26, 1915, in the name of - selfishness crowned (translation: to choose the camp which promises more), Italy signs with the Agreement (France, Great Britain, Russia) the secret treaty of London.

Treaty of London. By the secret treaty signed on April 26, 1915 France the United Kingdom and Russia promise with Italian all that they ask: the grounds irredente; islands of the coasts of Dalmatie; the control of Albania; part of the German colonies; and finally a zone of influence in the Middle East. These promises are made in condition, of course, that Italy declares the war in Austria-Hungary and its allies (Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey).

On May 3 Italian the Prime Minister, Salandra, denounces Triplice without consulting the Parliament. This last rises, Salandra resigns, Mussolini and the interventionists (minority) support it while expressing in all the country. Salandra is recalled by the king and on May 24, 1915 Italy declares the war in Austria-Hungary.

Mussolini soldier

Mussolini in 1917

As into France, the war enlise very quickly and is transformed into war of position which, days after days, sees to lengthen the list of dead without notable progression of the face.

Mussolini, bersagliere, are an exemplary soldier. In February 1916, on Isonzo, it is named corporal for his acts of bravery

Isonzo (north-eastern of Italy), it is the equivalent of Verdun (north-eastern of France) for the roughness of the engagements. Offensives as well Italian as Austrian follow one another between 1915 and 1917 and make it hundreds of thousands of victims in the two camps. Also, being appointed corporal in such a context is an undeniable honor. More especially as the quotation of Mussolini is more eulogistic:

Because of its exemplary activity, of its moral superior and his coolness. Always the first at the time of the perilous missions. Heedless of the difficulties, dedicated and scrupulous in the achievement of its duty.

Seriously wounded in February 1917, Mussolini is transported towards the reformed back then.

This February 23, 1917, the Italians carry out shootings with a bomb thrower of trench. Two cases of ammunition were already emptied when it is the accident. Perhaps in consequence of the heating of the mortar, one of the projectiles bursts in the tube and sifts the score of men who are in his immediate vicinity. Mussolini is projected with ground and a glare breaks the right leg to him. Unconscious it is brancardé towards the back and is transported to the hospital of Udine. A delicate operation enables him to preserve its leg but it is reformed.

1917. Caporetto

Loading for the face

The war which lasts for ever and the increase in the cost of living make it possible to the socialist agitators to start serious riots with the back. Thus, in Turin, on August 23, 1917, an insurrection, with confusions and barricades, led to a confrontation between police force and risen. The assessment of the drama gives a report of 57 dead and hundreds of casualties.

On the face of Isonzo the terrible defeat of Caporetto does not improve the moral one of Italian.

Caporetto. In October 1917, the Italian defeat is balanced (with dimensions Italian), by 40.000 died, 90.000 wounded, 330.000 missings, and an inserted face so much so that the Italians carry out with haste a retirement of 140 km.

Mussolini, which took again the direction of the newspaper “It Popolo d' Italia”, continues its feather then to support the combatants. From city downtown it goes fustigating the defaitists and the profiteurs. He denounces the injustice which makes weigh on poorest - the blood tribute and proposes, for after war, which the boasting ones and the parasites are neutralized and which the war veterans see themselves offering a place privileged in the government. Then it specifies that the government according to war will have to be exerted by a rather energetic and pitiless man to give a skilled of brush: a dictator, to some extent!

During this time the captain Gabriele d' Annunzio, writer and poet interventionist who engaged at 52 years to fight, become little by little national hero, which somewhat eclipses the standpoint of Mussolini.

1918. Victory

Gathered on Right Bank of Piave, after Caporetto the Italians succeed in containing the enemy. In August 1918 they take again the initiative and in October they gain the victory of Vittorio Veneto who constrained Austria-Hungary to ask the armistice (signed on November 4, 1918 with the Giusti Villa).

Italy is victorious! In addition to Vittorio Veneto, in three years it gained remarkable successes as well over ground as over sea (with its motor torpedo boats) that in the airs (763 victories for 166 lost planes). It is the euphoria!

All the Italians await the application of the treaty of London!

Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)

It Duce (the chief, it)

Civil statue

Born in Dovia di Predappio (Italy) on July 29, 1883, he is the son of an anarchistic blacksmith and an enthusiastic catholic teacher and receives a Christian education.

After an animated political life, slipping of the revolutionary militancy to the dictatorship, he is assassinated in Mezzegra (Italy) on April 28, 1945.


As of the 17 years age it is registered with the Socialist party. After having been replacing teacher, in 1902 it is exiled in Switzerland to withdraw itself from the military service. It is there operation and trade unionist until 1904, date on which it is solved to return to Italy to achieve his military service.

Then, journalist, in 1909 it takes the direction of the socialist weekly magazine, “Lotta di class” (the Class struggle). And in 1912 he becomes editor association of the Avanti newspaper (newspaper of the socialist party).

In 1914 he preaches the Interventionist pro-England and France (whereas the Socialists are non-interventionists). He is immediately excluded from the Socialist party.

In 1915 Italy declares the war in Austria and Mussolini leaves on the face until 1917, date on which it is seriously wounded. Reformed, he then works with the newspaper “He popolo of Italia”, in which he denounces the methods of control of the war.

In 1919 it founds “Fasci Italiani di Combattimento” (Italian Beams of Combat) which it transforms into Fascistic National Party (PNF) in 1921.

In the unstable context of post-war period, its - Beams intimidate as well the successive governments as the trade unions. And thus in 1922 Mussolini legally seizes the power and transforms it little by little into dictatorship.

Duce is an example, inter alia for Hitler near which it approaches after 1935. And during the Second world war it lines up at its sides, against the Allies.

After the Italian successive defeats, in 1943 it is stopped by order of the King. The Germans release it and help it to found an Italian Social republic.

On April 25, 1945 it is captured by - Italian partisans and is shot at once.

Gabriele d' Annunzio (1863-1938)

of Annunzio

Civil statue

Italian writer, born in Pescara in 1863, he is the son of a rich person family. After a life during which alternate glory and crossed desert, he dies in 1938, forgotten by almost all his fellow-citizens.


D' Annunzio is author of poems, plays and French and Italian novels, written sometimes. He alternates writing and policy (in 1987 he is elected with the House of Commons) before leaving for France, in 1910, covered of debts.

Of return in Italy, interventionist in 1914, it militates for the entry in war at the sides of France. In 1915, with the declaration of war of Italy against Austria-Hungary, it engages in the army as captain. It is then 52 years old!

Infantryman on Isonzo, then marine in the Adriatic, it is many times wounded. In 1917, after a flight of 450 km in the airplane, it bombards the Austrian naval base of Cattaro. On August 9, 1918 it accomplishes a flight of more than 1000 km and coward of the leaflets on Vienna.

At the end of the war he became a national hero and fact of the shade with Mussolini.

On September 12, 1919 it seizes the port of Fiume which the Allies refuse in Italy and it controls it (on behalf of Italy) until the last days of 1920. Indeed, on November 12, 1920 the kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Serb, Croatian and Slovenien sign the treaty of Rapallo by which they are committed recognizing the independence complete of the State de Fiume. D' Annunzio refuses to recognize this agreement and is expelled of the city by the Italian troops.

After this epopee, it falls slowly into the lapse of memory until its death in 1938.

The fascists took again his safety - with the Roman and her war cry: “Noi has! Eia! Eia! Alalà!”.

Interventionism of Mussolini.

Italy against Austria-Hungary.


Year of the defaitists.

Vittorio Veneto, etc

Summary biography.

Summary biography.

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Maginot line - Italy in war 1915-1918; Document carried out starting from elements of various origins of which, particularly, for the comments of Paulette Jarrige (teaching of history) which we warmly thank. E_R Cima ©2005-2008

0_*; Local files; 1_*; Introduction; 2_*; At the end of 1914; 3_*; 1915. Entry in war; 4_*; Mussolini soldier; 6_*; 1918. Victory