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Most Italians favored neutrality, diplomatic niceties be damned, a choice that was confirmed when word of the horrors of trenches and mass death on the battlefield reached them.
Yet there were some Italians who favored entering the war — on the Allied side.
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I’ve castigated America’s entry into the war, two years later, as a bad idea.
But that wasn’t obvious at the time, while it should have been clear to anybody with open eyes in the spring of 1915 that no sensible neutral wanted anything to do with the Great War.
There were bad generals in the 1914-1918 conflagration — there are in every war — but there were good ones too, and those tend not to get a lot of credit in popular memory. All that said, this weekend — fittingly the Memorial Day long weekend in America — we commemorate something that stands apart from my usual caveats about the First World War.
One hundred years ago Italy chose to enter that terrible conflict.
fit=300,225" data-large-file="https://i1com/italofile.com/wp-content/uploads/viaxxsettembregenova.jpg? fit=500,375" /Via XX Settembre in Genova by Flickr user Cebete " data-medium-file="https://i1com/italofile.com/wp-content/uploads/viaxxsettembregenova.jpg?Following unification, local governments began renaming streets after this momentous event.In many cases, the former street names referred to popes.By the end of 1914, intervention had loud champions in Italy, among them a rabble-rousing socialist-turned-nationalist named Benito Mussolini, who forcefully argued that joining the Allies would get Italy easy conquests as well as a much-needed social revolution at home.Influential generals and politicos increasingly agreed, helped along by covert action by British and French intelligence, which wanted to get Rome in the war on their side, and facilitated that by secretly funding vocal interventionists, Mussolini included.