Foreign relations / History of Italy

Great War anniversary conjures old ghosts in Italy

On 24 May 1915 Italy entered World War I. It won the war, so it is supposed to be celebrating; however the tone was not only understandably subdued, but also veined by controversies.

The Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano, after reacting harshly to an order from Rome to fly the Italian flag, in the end accepted to comply… but the flag will fly at half-mast.

Trentino Alto Adige/Sudtirol was Austrian territory until the war and it has tried desperately to get back to its homeland. The region was the subject of two high-level international agreements, one between Mussolini and Hitler and the second with reborn Austria just after World War II. Even after Vienna officially renounced to get back the two provinces, there were decades of terrorist attacks against the Italian Authorities.

Meanwhile in Rome a plaque will be discovered with an official apology from the State to the soldiers which were arbitrarily executed during the war by military kangaroo court or in “decimations”, collective punishments inflicted to units which had showed “cowardice” in battle. In decimations one soldier in ten, chosen randomly, was executed.

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