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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.

Our posts have covered the following topics (click through and you will find links to the other bloggers’ posts): May 2011: Why I Write About Italy June 2011: Driving July 2011: Favorite Art in Italy August 2011: vacation month, just like the Italians!

September 2011: “Back to School” or “What Italy Has Taught Me” October 2011: Fall November 2011: Comfort Food December 2011: Gifts January 2012: Crafts February 2012: The Elements March 2012: Roots April 2012: Invitations May 2012: Anniversaries (the post you’re reading now!

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.

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