Italian performance in the First World War has been generally disparaged or ignored compared to that of the armies on the Western Front, and troop morale in particular has been seen as a major weakness of the Italian army. In this first book-length study of Italian morale in any language, Vanda Wilcox reassesses Italian policy and performance from the perspective both of the army as an institution and of the ordinary soldiers who found themselves fighting a brutally hard war. Wilcox analyses and contextualises Italy's notoriously hard military discipline along with leadership, training methods and logistics before considering the reactions of the troops and tracing the interactions between institutions and individuals. Restoring historical agency to soldiers often considered passive and indifferent, Wilcox illustrates how and why Italians complied, endured or resisted the army's demands through balancing their civilian and military identities.
This is a major new account of the role and performance of the Italian army during the First World War. Drawing from original, archival research, it tells the story of the army's bitter three-year struggle in the mountains of Northern Italy, including the eleven bloody battles of the Isonzo, the near-catastrophic defeat at Caporetto in 1917 and the successful, but still controversial defeat of the Austro-Hungarian army at Vittorio Veneto on the eve of the Armistice. Setting military events within a broader context, the book explores pre-war Italian military culture and the interactions between domestic politics, economics and society. In a unique study of an unjustly neglected facet of the war, John Gooch illustrates how General Luigi Cadorna, a brutal disciplinarian, drove the army to the edge of collapse, and how his successor, general Armando Diaz, rebuilt it and led the Italians to their greatest victory in modern times.
For almost all nations the First World War was an unparalleled disaster, but the Italian experience especially was to have catastrophic consequences. Weakened and embittered, trying and failing to come to terms with 600,000 dead and with an entire generation of men militarized by fighting, Italy gave birth to a new form of political life: Fascism. Richard Bosworth brings to life the period when Italians participated in a vast and ultimately ruinous political experiment under their dictator, Benito Mussolini, and his fascist henchmen. The fascists were the first totalitarians, aiming to reshape Italy and its people utterly. Their regime was based on a cult of violence and obedience. Yet, despite this, Italians found ingenious ways of adapting, limiting, undermining and ridiculing Mussolini's ambitions for them. The heart of this book is its engagement with the life of these ordinary Italians and their families, struggling through terrible times. Bosworth creates a powerful, plausible and entertaining picture of Italian life and a regime which - as the world hurtled towards the cataclysm of the Second World War - was to force humiliation, defeat, invasion and the utter collapse of the nation state.
Il diario di guerra presentato in questo lavoro fu redatto sul fronte da un soldato lombardo che partecipò alla prima guerra mondiale. Nonostante l'italiano approssimativo il diario descrive con uno stile conciso il corso degli eventi vissuti in trincea, dai periodi di stasi ai giorni definiti più "spaventosi". Il diario, seppur scritto in un italiano rudimentale, è di notevole drammaticità, ed è da considerarsi di un certo interesse storico, anche perché sono pochi i contributi di questo tipo redatti da semplici soldati, a causa della scarsissima alfabetizzazione dell'epoca.
Drawing on both wartime discourse about women and the voices of individual women living at the Italian Front, Allison Belzer analyzes how women participated in the Great War and how it affected them. The Great War transformed women into purveyors and recipients of a new feminine ideal that emphasized their status as national citizens. Although Italian women did not gain the vote, they did encounter a less empowering form of female citizenship just after the war ended with Mussolini's Fascism. Because of the Great War, many women seized the opportunity to participate in a society that continued to recognize them as guardians of the nation.