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Italy 1919

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Introduction

How did the First World War contribute to the difficulties faced by the Liberal state in 1919? Italy faced many difficulties after World War One they lost a huge amount of money and gained very little territory which they were promised. Italy considered their win as a 'mutilated victory'. Many historians consider Italy's participation in World War One. There were many effects the world war one had on different factors, and in short term and long term. Political, territorial, and economical factions of Italy were affected and this led to a huge transformation in Italy. In the years that led up to World War One, Italy had sided with Germany and Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance. In theory, Italy should have joined in the sides of these two nations when war broke out in August 1914. Italy did not. Italy's experience in World War One was disastrous and ended with the insult of her 'reward' at the Versailles Settlement in 1919. What Italy did was to wait and see how the war progressed. On April 26th 1915, she came into the war on the side of the Triple Entente - Britain, France and Russia. ...read more.

Middle

In the Versailles settlement, Italy failed to gain Fiume, becoming an example of the "mutilated victory". In September 1919 d'Annunzio, with 2000 supporters including 300 war veterans, seized the area and held it for 15 months. The Italian Government did nothing, and thousands of supporters rushed to join him. For the entire occupation d'Annunzio was in the public eye, and he demonstrated how violence and direct action was a viable alternative to the politics of the liberal government. The occupation also highlighted the weaknesses and divisions with the liberal government. Nitti, Prime Minister when d'Annunzio seized Fiume did nothing, but Giolitti, the next Prime Minister drove d'Annunzio out. Further more it to 15 months for the government to act. In addition, Italians could contrast the dynamic leadership and action of d'Annunzio with the poor performance of the liberals at the Versailles treaty. Between "1918-1920" unions grew in popularity. By 1920, the socialist unions had 2 million members, and the Catholic unions had over 1 million. This resulted in a wave of strikes in industry and agriculture, a major threat to big business and large landowners. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nowadays historians believe Italy got a fair reward, but at the time most Italians felt cheated. By the end of the war in 1918, 600,000 Italians were dead, 950,000 were wounded and 250,000 were crippled for life. The war cost more than the government had spent in the previous 50 years - and Italy had only been in the war three years. By 1918, the country was hit by very high inflation and unemployment was high. But at least Italy had been on the winning side and could expect her just rewards at Versailles......... In fact, Italy got very little at Versailles. The Italian public believed that her leaders there had been humiliated as the "Big Three" (Wilson of America, Lloyd George of Britain and Clemenceau of France) all but ignored the Italian delegations that were seen as secondary figures at Versailles. This heaped further humiliation on the government. The Italians did not get what they felt had been promised at the Treaty of London and that caused resentment especially at the losses Italy had endured fighting for the Allies. The government came over as weak and lacking pride in Italy. For nationalists, the failure of the government to stand up to the "Big Three" at Versailles was unforgivable. ...read more.

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