The Liberal State 1911-18 (Impact of the First World War) (War (Salandra…
The Liberal State 1911-18 (Impact of the First World War)
Salandra argued that Italy should join the war. On April 26th 1915 Italy signed the Treaty of London pledging to support Britain, France and Russia.
Salandra hoped that the war would unite the Italian people
Italy formally declared war on Austria on 25th May 1915
Nearly 5 million men were conscripted into the army, rations were low and many did not understand why the war was being fought. Soldiers who survived prisoner-of-war camps felt abandoned by the government
The Italians were defeated due to poor leadership and low morale. 10,000 were killed and 30,000 injured. 300,000 were taken prisoner and 400,000 vanished.
The Battle of Caporetto
Austria signed an armistice on 4th November and the war in Italy came to an end
The effects of war
There were 2 machine guns per Italian battalion, compared to Austria's 12.
Fiat established itself in World War One and was producing 25,000 vehicles in 1918.
Steel production in 1914 in Italy was one million tonnes compared with Austria's 2.6 million tonnes
By the end of the war Italy had produced 20,000 machine guns and 7,000 pieces of heavy artillery
War brought about inflation and massive cuts in government spending
War made Italy more divided- those who backed the war and those who stayed at home
Fiat increased its workforce by 24,000
By June 1919, the debt stood at 84.9 billion lire with 15 billion lire owed to Britain and 8.5 billion to the USA.
The Norths economy grew by 20% between 1911 and 1921
Bread and pasta began being rationed by 1917, meat and sugar consumption were in shortage
Real wages fell by 25%
Italy had suffered 650,000 casulalties, its economy was even more distorted between the North and South and suffered debt and inflation