CEA AS history-unit 2- Italy topic 1


Neutralists vs interventionists


  • Giolitti and like minded liberalists.
  • -felt Italy was militarily unprepared for war.
  • -German government held secret meetings with Giolitti to keep Italy neutral, offering territory from Austro-Hungarian empire.
  • -liberal government supported neutral stance and believed war had nothing to do with Italy.
  • socialists- condemend war as capitalist 


  • (Nationalists,syndicists,republicans and anarchists)
  • war might lead to territorial gains - italia irredentia 
  • treaty of london 1915 promised land in line with italian requests 
  • establish italy as great power and create italian empire 
  • syndicitst,republicans and anarchists believed war would create circumstances favourable to revoloution and destroy monarchy and capitalism.
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military and economic effects of WW1


  • massive casualties- death of 600,000 italians 
  • conscription of 5 million men- weak army.
  • government blamed for mishandling war effort- general Cadorna used inefective tactics and blamed failings on weak government.
  • disaster of caparetto- huge humiliation and weakened credibility of liberal government.- caused replacment of General cardona and the governemtns promise of social reform post war.
  • however, army experienced sucess with victory of Vittorio Veneto.
  • low governement spending, army was ill-equipped, moral was extremely low, harsh weather conditions resulted in poor military effort.


  • government spent 148 billion lire to finance war- resulted increasing national debt 16 billion lire in 1914-- 85 billion lire in 1919
  • inflation rose sharply.
  • some industry such as fiat and pirelli had massive expansion due to wartime production. 
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political and social effects of WW1


  • socialists nor cathloics took part in government, liberals divided over conduct of war.
  • majority of chamber of deputies held neutral stance.
  • giolitti was politically isolated due to neutral stance.
  • wartime governments where weak and failed to rally national enthusiams for war.
  • added to italian dissolousion in political system.
  • nationalists viewed peace treaty as "mutilated victory".
  • italy gained Trentino,South Tyrol and Istria and claims for Italian Irredentia where met 
  • however there was anger as italy didnt gain Dalmatia and Fiume.


  • war caused discontent due to 50 killed at turin riots in summer 1917- food shortages 
  • return of soldiers caused land redistribution 
  • role of women who where working during the war was returned to normal- created anger
  • purchasing power of wages fell by 25% between 1915-1918
  • growing resentment of urban workforce due to working conditions and inflation 
  • growing membership of socialist party and trade unions 
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disappointments of Paris Peace Settlement

failure to meet promises of treaty of london

  • Italians felt cheated due to not recieving Adriatic part of Fiume.
  • loss of Fiume had great impact and resonated with the Italian people.
  • led to D'Annunzio's take over of Fiume 1919 and inspired Mussolini to form first fascist government to challenge liberal government.
  • didn't recieve Dalmatia 

orlandos lack of success

  • walked out of discussions which made italy look weak.
  • criticised by many italians - inability of italy to acquire Fiume 

unpopularity of war 

  • amount of casualties and little gain in territory 
  • 600,000 deaths and returning soldiers experienced horrible conditions 

italian people seen Paris Peace Settlement as "mutilated victory"

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Reasons not to be disappointed with P.P.S.

  • italy made more territorial gains than any other victorious nations.
  • terms of paris peace settlement where largly in line with treaty of london.

Italy obtained:

  • Trentino 
  • South Tyrol
  • Istria 
  • 200,000 german speaking austrians 
  • little justification to be disappointed with paris peace settlement.
  • nationalists had exaggerated italian success in war and Orlando made mistake of emanding more from allied leaders 
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