xt7vhh6c359m https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7vhh6c359m/data/mets.xml Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922. 1920  books b92-233-31280906 English C. Scribners, : New York : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. World War, 1914-1918 Italy. Italy History 1815-1870. Italy History 1870-1915. Italy and the world war  / by Thomas Nelson Page ; with maps. text Italy and the world war  / by Thomas Nelson Page ; with maps. 1920 2002 true xt7vhh6c359m section xt7vhh6c359m 


















ITALY AND THE WORLD WAR

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ITALY



AND



THE



WORLD



WAIR



          BY
 THOMAS NELSON PAGE
 AMERICAN ANIBASSADOR TO ITALY
      FROM 1913 TO 1919





        W ITH MAPS










        NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
         1920

 




































    COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

  Published November, 1920

 




































                   IPEDICATFI)

             WITH PL:OYOUNI APPRECIATION

           TO TILE ITALIAN PEOPLE

 WHO, UNDER TIHEIR NOBLE LEADER, VICTOR EMINIANUEL III
BY THEIR HEROIC (COURAGE AND YET7 MORE IHEROIC SACRIFICES
          (ONTRTBUTE ) DURING THE GREAT WAR
          SO MIUCH TO SAVE THE CIVILIZATION
       WHICH THEY HAD DONE SO MUCH TO CREATE

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                     PREFACE

  It is not my intention to attempt a formal histcry of
Italy's part in the war, but only to narrate briefly the store
of her historic and actual relation to this-the greates;
Revolution of which the Annals of Humanity Contain any
record. A history would demand years of study and labor.
But as one who was present during the entire period of the
war and was a close and interested observer of all that wen-
on in Italy and about Italy, I feel that, possibly, I may be
able to throw some light on what has hitherto certainly not
been completely appreciated by those outside of Italy.
  One cannot live among a people during years of extreme
tension and sacrifice and devotion to a great cause without
coming to be in sympathy with them. 'No more does one
have to go the full length of extremists among a people to
testify such sympathy. Nor does Italy need any defense.
With her ten months' preparation and her three years and
a half of war; with her half-million dead and her million
and a half wounded, with the deprivation, hardships, and
sacrifices of her whole people unmeasured by anything similar
among her western allies, she needs to have presented and
made known only the sinmple truth.
  In undertaking to speak with any completeness o:- any
great historical movement, whether in a brief or broad com-
pass, it is necessary, in order to secure a proper background,
to go back a considerable distance, as no great movement
can be comprehended without a knowledge of the economic
and historical conditions which caused it or which, at least.
gave to it its distinctive character. Without a proper
background against which to project the picture, nc per-
spective can be obtained, and no sound idea can be had
of its relation to other contemporary movements. This is
necessary in any case, but it is more imperative in the case
of a country like Italy and a people like the Italian people,
                           VII

 

PREFACE



whose life goes back almost to the dawn of history, and
whose present is indissolubly connected with the past.
  How can a reasonably just picture be given of a country
whose capital is Rome and whose roads stretching north
and south therefrom were built by and bear the names to-
day of a decemvir and of a consul who was slain by Hanni-
bal, without taking into account the continuity of its people
and the causes which have contributed thereto The fol-
lowing anecdote may serve to illustrate this idea.
  O:-e of the famous palaces of Rome to-day is the Palazzo
MIassimo, the horne of Prince Massimo. The story goes
that Napoleon asked the present occupant's grandfather
if it were true that he was descended from Fabius Maxi-
mus. The reply was: "I do not know that it is true, but
it has been a tradition in the family for some thirteen or
fourteen hundred years."
  It is not only Rome that is eternal, it is the Italian People
that is eternal. It is Italy that is eternal, and that was
eternal even when Metternich declared that Italy was only
a Geographical Expression-as eternal as the seas which
wxasih her shores: seas which Ulysses sailed and which
Homer sang.
  Based on this idea-that the key to Italy's relation to the
War is to be found in her traditions; her history-especially
during the last hundred years-and in her geographical and
economic situation, this work is divided into three parts.
The first is introductory and contains in outline the History
of the Italian People in the long period when they were in-
cluded in and bound under the Holy Roman Empire. The
second contains the story of their evolution, from the con-
ception of their National Consciousness on through the long
and hitter struggle with the Austrian Empire for their
Libe:rty, down to the time when, under a Constitutional
Sovereign, they developed into a new and United Italy, to
become, almost at a bound, one of the Great Powers of
Europe; yet with one step before her: the complete round-
ing out of her People, and the possession of her ancient
strategic frontiers.



Viii1

 

                        PREFACE                         LX

  The third part contains the story of the Diplomatic strug-
gle to establish herself in a position to which Italy con-
sidered herself entitled as a Great Power and on which she
had set what she believes her legitimate Aspirations, by
virtue of her contribution to the World both ill the Past
and in this World War.
  What she performed in the War is related briefly that the
Reader may know what one who was present in [taly
throughout the War was able to learn on the spot of the
part played therein by the Italian People.
                                              T. N. P.

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                    CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                              PAGE
     I. INTRODI-CTORY-THE CONCEPTION OF ITALIAN NA-
         TIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS  . . . . . . . .         1

    II. NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE FIRST W AR FOR
          INDEPENDENCE . . . . . . . . . . .          1

   III. ITALY ATTAINS HER UNIoN.                      3

   IV. ITALY BETWEEN FRANCE AND AUSTRIA. . . .        54

   V. THE TRIPLE ALLI.A.NCE. . . . . . . . .         66

   VI. ITALY AND THE BALKANS   . . . . . . . .        72

   V II. 'UNDER THE TRIPLEi ALLIANC.                   85

 VIII. ITALY AND THE ANNEXATION OF BOSNIA AND HERZE-
          G;OVIN A. .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  . .  .  .   95

   IX. THE ITALIAN-TURKISH WAR AND THE TRIPLE- AL-
          LIANCF .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  . .  .  114

    X. ITALY'S SITU'ATION AT THE OUTBREAK OF WAR . . 142

    XI. ITALY S ATTITUDE IN THE BEGINNING OF THE WYAR . 162'

  XII. ITALIAN POLITICAL SITUATION IN THE AUTUMN_, OF 1914  179

  XIII. GERMAN AN-D AUSTRIAN INTRIGU7ES TO KEEP ITALY
         NEUTRAL.                                    191

 XIV. CONDITIONS VHEUN ITALY ENTERED THE WAR      . 208

 XV. ITALY'S FIRST YEAR. OF WAR.   .  .  .   .  .   222

 XVI. ITALY AND THE ALLIED CAUSE IN 1916 . . . . 245

 XVII. ITALY IN THE DARK PERIOD OF THE WAR -     .   277

XVIII. ITALY'S WORK IN THE OFFENSIVE OF 1917   , . 296

 



xii                   CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                             PAGE
XIX. TEE DISASTER OF CAPORETTO . . . . . . . 303

  XX. THE PACT OF LONDON AND THE PRESIDENT'S PRIN-
         CIPLES .  .  .  . .  .  .  . .  .  .  . .  324

 XXI. ITALY AND THE LAST CAMPAIGN   . . . . . . 353

 XXII. ITALY'S VICTORY AND THE COLLAPSE OF AUSTRIA  . 372

XXIII. ITALY'S DIFFICULTIES AFTER THE VICTORY . . . 387


       APPENDICES.   . .  .  .  . .  .   . . . . 405

       INDEX .  .  .  . .  .  .  . .  .  .  . .  .  413

 











                           MAPS
                                                      FACING PAGE
The Unification of Italy.  . . . . .         . . . .         3S

Istrian and Dalmatian Littoral with Ancient Venetian Boundary  5K6

Europe at the Time of Italy's Entry into the War  . . . . 206

Theatre of the Italian War.    .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .   . 224

The Trentino Offensive, May--June, 1916. .                  254

The Austro-German Drive at Caporetto, October, 1917, Show-
    ing the Breaks in the Italian Lines  . . . . . . . 310

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   ITALY AND THE WORLD WAR

                      CHAPTER I
                      INTRODUCTORY
   THE CONCEPTION OF ITAL]:AN NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS
   To understand fully Italy's relation to the great war, we
 must go back to the historic causes. To have a complete
 conception of the underlying principles and motives which
 controlled her action, one must have a reasonably complete
 knowledge of her relation toc France and Austria during the
 period of the reconstruction of Europe-and especially dur-
 ing the last century. Where the problem is so complex,
 one must know the clew to find the true solution.
 The relations of the European States to each other are, in
 fact, so complex, and the questions involved in those rela-
 tions are so inextricably entangled, that without a know-.-
 edge of their history it is quite impossible to understand
 them. They extend back through the centuries, and ir.-
 clude dynastic rivalries and territorial claims; they include
 and are intensified by religious antagonisms, and racial and
 traditional contentions. But under all lie economic and
 fundamental causes-the eternal law of supply and demanu..
 And with these the prizes that men strive for through the
 ages, and will strive for more and more as population in-
 creases and civilization advances-the means of living more
 and more easily, and of displaying more and more the power
 of superior organization of human forces. And closely con-
 nected with this is the command of the highways of traffic.
 Nineveh, Babylon, Carthage, Rome, Bagdad, Constanti-
 nople, Venice, Paris, London-the story at bottom is the
same-the aim to possess the fertile places of the earth, and
to gain access thereto, whether in Spain, North Africa, the
Valley of the Po, the Danube, or the Rhine. And the con-
                           1

 

ITALY AND THE WORLD WAR



trol of the highways by land or by sea lies at the base of
their history in ancient as in modern times, whether it be
of the Brenner or the Carnic Passes; of the Adriatic or
zgean Seas, or of the eastern Mediterranean, most noted
of all historic highways; of the I)ardanelles and Bosphorus;
or of the Suez Canal and the Hamburg-Bagdad Railway.
  The Punic wars were for the wheat-fields of Sicily and
North Africa; for the coastwise and inland trade and the
control of the Mediterranean; anld for the supremacy of the
conflicting civilizations engaged therein. The World War
was fundamentally for the control of the great fields of en-
terprise in Asia and Africa, and of the highways leading
thereto; and for the dominance of the conflicting ideas ap-
plied in the process. It was this aim which brought the
Medes and Persians down into Mtesopotamia; the Huns and
Goths into Italy in ancient days; which brought the Cos-
sacks to the Don; the Franks to France; the Slays into the
Balkan peninsula-to the shores of the Ionian and Adriatic
Seas; which brought the Ottoman Turks to Constantinople
and to the gates of Vienna. And it was this which set on
foot the enterprise of reducing the world under German
rule.
  The history of Italy during the Middle Ages is so bound
up xith that of what is now known as Austria; but was
then known sometimes as "the German Empire," some-
tirmes as "the Holy Roman Empire," that to understand
the one we must comprehend the other also, and the rela-
tions between them.
  Without going back save to state that, although when the
chief ruler of Europe and the source of future Emperors,
Charlemagne, was crowned Emperor at Rome (A. D. 800)
it resulted in what was termed later "the transferrence of
the Empire from the Greeks to the Franks," it may be
said that "the Holy Roman Empire," in the sense which it
commonly bore in later centuries as "The Sovereignty of
Germany and Italy under a Germanic prince," began with
Otto the Great, descended from  Charlemagne through a
female line.



2

 

INTRODUCTORY



   From this time the struggle for supremacy over It aly
 proceeded with fluctuating degrees of success down to our
 own time, and the history of Italy has never been wholly
 free from the effects of this struggle. Emperors succeeded
 each other and Imperial houses rose and fell, one after an-
 other, all exercising or claiming rights over Italy which af-
 fected, in greater or less degree, Italy and the Italian reo-
 ple. Popes rose and passed away, contesting or yielding to
 the Imperial claims; often conquered; sometimes victoricus;
 but always Italy and dominion over the Italian people ere
 the prizes for which they strove, and the Italian people Nvere
 the victims of their strife. Emperor after Emperor invaded
 Italy and claimed sovereignty over her dismembered pa.ts,
 accepted by the rulers or resisted by them; working vxith
 theri or rejected by them. At tinmes the claims were re-
 linquished only to be reasserted later on.
 The contest that went on so long was intensified by the
 rivalry between the head of the Empire and the head of the
 Church for supremacy. It began far back. It had its
 origin in the very foundation of the Empire on a Christian
 basis, and of Christianity on an Imperial basis. The "I)o-
 nation of Constantine" wits a long-subsequent invention to
 meet a certain political situation; but the contention for
 the supremacy between the Emperor and the Pope had
 long raged, each claiming that the other was his subordi-
 nate and vassal. With a relation at first accepted by both,
 one side from time to time encroached on the rights of Em-
 peror or Pope, drawing their people into the quarrel. It
 had its apogee, after a long contest over investitures of
 ecclesiastics, when in 1077 at Canossa the Emperor Herry
 IV, excommunicated by the Pope and abandoned by many
 of his supporters, stood barefooted in the snow to do pen-
 ance before Pope Gregory VII. Both Emperor and Pope
 died in exile; but both maintained their contention and
 handed it down to their successors to be the source of fu-
 ture quarrels as immortal as their respective titles. It has
 been said that the resentment felt by the German people,
or their rulers, at the humiliation put on the German Ein-



3

 

ITALY AND THE WORLD WAR



peror by the Roman Supreme Pontiff had its direct fruit
in the Reformation and the su)pcpirt it found in Germany
three centuries later. And all through the centuries, what-
ever their relations otherwise might be, the respective
claims to supremacy kept them ill an unending rivalry
which colored and emphasized the division between their
respective peoples and furnished ever fresh grounds for re-
newed conflict.
  The long and fateful conflict (1160-90) between the Em-
peror Barbarossa and the Pope Alexander, in coalition
with the Lombard League and Sicily, whatever prescriptive
right there may have been on the Emperor's side, and what-
ever selfish political ambition may have been on the side
of the others, was at bottom a contest as to whether Italy
should be governed by Italian or by foreign rulers; and the
latter won. Then came Innocent III, who asserted his
claim to rule all Italy, and for a time appeared to have made
it good against the Henrys of Germany. Then after a time
the old fight was renewed and presently Italy was divided
in the long contest between Guelfs and Ghibellines: repre-
sentatives of, at least, the contest between domestic and
foreign tyranny and later between degrees of the former.
  After the interregnum which covered the period from the
death of Frederick II, or of his son, Conrad IV, the con-
ditions becamne so insupportable that a new German Em-
peror had to be chosen, and the choice fell on Rudolph,
Count of Hapsburg, who was chosen in 1273 and became the
founder of the Austrian House and Empire.
  It was a long road that stretched before them, but from
the beginning to the end, however the tides of fortune ebbed
and flowed, there was always Italy left, its people, however
divided and antagonistic among themselves, still Italians,
still proud, even arrogant, because of Rome, because of
Italy with her memories of Rome. Sunk in misery, debased
in some sections by conditions which would have debased
any people and might have destroyed any other; engaged
as they were in interminable internecine strifes, and subject
to the rule of strangers, they yet retained something that



4

 

INTRODUCTORY



held them by a common bomd united against the Stranger's
subjugation, and this was the Italian spirit. Its great soui ce
was far back in the past, and like that river which cour-es
under mountain and ocean to burst forth in the Garden of
the Sun, its current was lost in the desert of the Dark Apes
to issue forth with unabated force and ever-increasing vol-
ume in later days. In the past they-the people-had been
conceded as their portion, at least, panm et circenses, and
they still held that their right to food and recreation was in-
alienable. They were ever ready to rise for their rights; to
close their gates and to ring their bells against all invasion
thereof, as against even the victorious Charles VIII. Often
they rose against their local tyrants; at times, indeed, against
Emperors and Kings and Popes. And, although the ccst
was dear, they possessed inherent traits which made it posi-
ble to pay it and still survive with a potential endowment
of racial and even nationtl consciousness which to-day is
found in the Italian word "Italianith."
  It would lead too far afield to undertake to follow in any
detail the tortuous and broken course of Austria's viola-
tion of and dealings with Italy.
  Italy, from the death of Frederick II in 1230, had been
sensibly emancipated from  the Imperial power, although
several Emperors entered Italy and many claimed Imlperial
power over her; and some, even of the great Italians, dreamed
of an Emperor, suzerain of all powers and peoples under him,
and an Italy recognizing his suzerainty, yet free within her-
self. This Utopian dream filled even great Dante's cosmic
nind. But the reign of the last German Emperor who was
crowned in Rome, Frederick III, ended the year after
America was discovered and thenceforward, however di-
vided and torn by internecine strife; however invaded by
Imperial rulers; and bound and harried by ducal scions of
the Imperial German-Austrian House, Italy's dreams we:re
of herself. From Dante and Petrarch and Tasso to -Maz-
zini and Carducci, the dreams were of Italy-the Italy of
the Italians, free and rounded out.
  Maximilian I, who has been said to be the true founder



5

 

ITALY AND THE WORLD WAR



of the House of Hapsburg, came to the throne the year
after America was discovered, and, although he obtained
from the Pope (Julius II) the right to the title of "Em-
peror Elect," he never reached Rome and he was essentially
Emperor of the German Empire, rather than of the Roman
Empire.1
  His grandson, Charles V, was crowned by the Pope, but
at Bologna, and, however his power may have extended
over northern Italy, it did not reach Rome.
  Strengthened on the one hand by the acquisition of the
Netherlands, the Austro-German Emperor had lost on the
other by the repudiation of his suzerainty on the part of
Poland, Bohemia, Switzerland, and Burgundy, as well as
Italy.  Thenceforth, however persistently the House of
Hapsburg claimed and invaded and fought for it, conquered
parts of it and established its provinces in its duchies, Italy
was Italy, and the Italians were Italians.
  Whatever the leaders may have thought, the people
felt differently-and with them feeling was deeper than
thought.
  Meantime, a stronger power had grown up on the western
side of Italy: the Kingdom of France.
  In the last half of the fifteenth century, Burgundy and
Provence fell to France, and Switzerland was breaking
loose, to become practically independent of the German
Empire in 1500, and be recognized by Europe a century
and a half later (Treaty of Westphalia, 164S) as an inde-
pendent state.
  The great Duchy of Burgundy, falling to France, made
the latter a formidable rival to the Austro-German Empire;
and this rivalry, extending to the contest for dominion os-
tensibly over Burgundy and northern Italy, but really over
central Europe from the North Sea to the Adriatic, was the
true source of a struggle which has lasted intermittently and
with varying fortunes down to our own time.
  Although France was defeated by the Emperor of Austria-
Germany in the great struggle for Italy, and lost at Pavia
      1 Bryce's Holy Roman Empire, chapter on the Renaissance.



6

 

INTRODUCTORY



all save honor, the genius of her people in time recouped her
disaster, and eventually made her the mistress of cent -al
Europe. The French civilization almost eclipsed that of
Italy, and the Grand Monarch, served by the most re-
cloubtable armies of Europe, bade fair to restore once mcre
the prestige of the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne.
Then, following the law that appears to govern nations
with almost rhythmic regularity, she sank under the com-
hined forces without and within, until she lost to her fces
her great colonies and her prestige, and fell into revolution
only to rise again and acquire for a time, under an Italian
by race, all and more than she had ever lost in Europe-
including all that had ever belonged to the Holy Roman
Empire.
  The Holy Roman Empire which had survived until, as
Voltaire said, it was "neither holy, Roman, nor an Em-
pire," perished at length (in 1806) before the overwhelm-
ing power of an Italian 1Li race, if French by citizenship.
He conquered the western part of the continent of Europe
as Charlemagne had done, and crowned himself King of
Italy, and gave to his only son the title of "King of Rome."
As the master of continental Europe, he drove out of Italy
the tyrants great and small, who had ruled and misruled
from one end of the peninsula to the other, and with a view
to making Italy secure he laid off her northern bounda-y
along the highest ridge of the Alps, including the Brenner
Pass, a confine which Italy claimed in this war, and has just
been accorded by the treaty of peace.
  Napoleon was certainly not interested in giving to Italy
entire Liberty in the sense in which we regard it to-day.
He, however, intended to free Italy from the subjection of
foreign rulers, and to become himself her sole ruler and, no
doubt, his intentions were not inspired by any lofty ideas
regarding Liberty, for he allied himself with the Austrian
Emperor and, when it served his purpose, handed oxver
Venice to Austria without compunction.
  When, unsatiated with conquest and still aiming at new
worlds to conquer, Napoleon failed before the aroused fear



i

 

ITALY AND THE WN ORLD WAR



and hostility of Europe, the Congress of Vienna, repre-
senting nations whose united fear and hatred had over-
thrown him, partitioned out his conquests, and handed
Italyr back to those whom Napoleon had driven out: mainly
scions and wards of the Austrian Emperor, the head of the
House of Hapsburg. Even so, however, Italy was less di-
vided than she had been previously. There were fewer
states and fewer tyrants. Previously there had been many
more separate states in Italy, now there were but eight.
These were all dependent directly or indirectly on the Aus-
trian. Empire.
  In these transactions not the slightest attention was paid
to the wishes of the Italian people, high or low. They were
considered simply objects of barter and sale. When Tal-
leyrand, who presided, declared the Congress open in the
name of Public Right, the Prussian representative, Baron
von Humboldt, rose in some indignation and demanded to
know what right had the public with which that Congress
was concerned. When the English representative referred
to England as interested in the rights of Peoples, Metternich
declared that whoever might consider themselves repre-
sentatives of the People, Austria held herself as the cham-
pion of the Rights of Dynastic succession. Such was the
temper in which the Congress undertook its labors, and the
result of its labors was what the Congress promised. The
resubjection of Italy to foreign rulers who, set up by ex-
ternal force, were maintained in their position by external
force until their tyranny, their mismanagement and mis-
rule, unexcelled if not unequalled during the whole course
of human history, so roused the Italian people, even habitu-
ated as they were to misrule, that the spirit of Liberty in the
Italian people, immortal under all conditions, burst forth and
eventually brought about that great revolution known as the
Risorgimento, or the Resurrection of Italy, which overthrew
the governments of the tyrants, great and small, who had
attempted to destroy Italy, and resulted in the union of the
Italian states and of the Italian people in that great king-
dom which is the Italy of to-day, great because founded on



8

 

INTRODUCTORY



the love of liberty of a great people united under a great
constitutional sovereign: King Victor Emmanuel III.
  The story of this Resurrection covers almost exactly one
hundred years, one continuous whole, as it begins toward
the end of the second decade of the last century and comrs
down through the misadventures and activities from N'o-
vara to Caporetto-from (.aporetto to the final victory of
the Piave and the Vittorio-Yeneto to-dav.
  In the long contest between the Austro-German 'Empi e
and Italy, when to antagonisms of races and dynasties and
rivalries of trade and commerce, were added immortal hos-
tilities of religions, across the Alps and the Adriatic a new
power arose where, toward the end of the first one thousand
years A. D)., Cisalpine Gauls and Latins, now becoime Ital-
ians, had sought refuge from barbarian invasion on to e
islands formed by the currents of the Piave and the Adige,
and established as a seafaring people the great democratic
commercial Italian city of Venice, destined to become one
of the great promoters of commerce and civilization of the
world. The form of government was republican, like that
of its young rival across the peninsula: Genoa. The chief
magistrate was the Doge--the Duke. The government bE-
came an oligarchy. It grew so marvellously as to become 
proverb for wealth and magnificence and power. It took-
part in the Crusades. It extended its rule across the Adri-
atic, where it possessed itself of Istria and Dalmatia, and
planted colonies and built cities along the coast, which
carried the Italian name and tongue, and the Italian civili-
zation, from Trieste to the Cattaro. cities which, through
all vicissitudes and subjugations, exist down to the present.
  Its Doge added to his titles that of Doge of Dalmatia.
It fought the Greek Emperors of Constantinople and seized
the Greek islands, and one of its Doges refused the Irmperial
crown. It penetrated the East. It fought the Turlk and
the Austrian. Like a second Rome, it conquered and an-
nexed its rivals, and subjugated the cities and provinces be-.
tween the Alps and the Po. The Republic, which had lasted.
longer than any Republic in history, in time lost its power



9

 

ITALY ANTD THE WORLD WAR



and its possessions at the hands of its traditional enemies,
Turk and Austrian, and a century or more ago perished at
the hands of the Conqueror of Europe, who remorselessly
handed it over to its traditional enemy, Austria. But later
on it revolted, to become, some fifty years ago, a part of
United Italy.
  During its more potent days the Holy Roman Empire,
or that part of it which was Austria and under Austrian
dominion, lay as a bulwark against the advance of the new
and menacing power of the Ottoman Turk, a branch of
the power which, having swept over southwestern Asiq.
Africa, and southeastern Europe, where its capital in the
fourteenth century was Adrianople, had overthrown the
Eastern Empire in 1453, and, establishing itself at Constan-
tinople, proceeded to complete its conquests of southeastern
Europe. Substantially the entire Balkan peninsula-Greek,
Slav, and Venetian-fell into its hands, and its sway ex-
tended to the Adriatic and to the very gates of Vienna.
Defeated by Charles of Lorraine and John Sobieski in 1683,
its power gradually declined under its internal conditions
of rottenness and the enmity of Christendom. Its strategic
position, however, enabled it, owing to the jealousy of the
European Powers, to maintain itself down to our own time,
holdin, sway over a large part of the Balkans until the Eu-
ropean Powers could agree among themselves as to the di-
vision of the spoils of the Ottoman Empire.
  While the Holy Roman Empire, or Austria, and Italy were
engaged during these later centuries with their own internal
troubles and external conflicts, there had arisen in eastern
Europe a new power so vast as to threaten, should it now
become fully organized and awake to the realization of its
strength, the very existence of the older States of Europe.
The great Empire of Russia, about the beginning of the eigh-
teent:h century, under the commanding genius of its Tzar,
Peter the Great, suddenly arose like some young giant from
long and profound sleep, and made Europe aware of a power
which, already weighty, might in no long time become peril-
ous--the power of the Slav. The head of this gigantic power



10

 
INTRCODUCTORY



established its capital at St. Petersburg, and proceeded to
open the way to the North Sea by conquering the Baltic
provinces; reconquered from Poland Little Russia, and then,
defeating the Turk, wrested from him Azov and established
himself on the Black Sea at the head of the waterway to
the high seas. From this time Russia and Turkey wvere il
necessary antagonism, for Russia, which had received her
faith from the Eastern Empire, looked, by virtue of her
power, to extend her sway over the fat regions which the
Eastern Empire once held, and to become, by virtue of her
race and religion, the head and guardian of the Slav-ic
race which had swept down centuries before and now in-
habited those regions. This brought her naturally into
antagonism  with Austria-Hungary, which viewed with
jealousy any extension of the influence of her powerful
neighbors over her weaker neighbors, all of whom she r&-
garded as within her sphere of influence and destined in the
not remote future to become subject to her control. Di.
versity in religion only accentuated her jealousy, for the
two churches were even more antagonistic than the polit..
ical States.
  At times the antagonism between the Austrian and the
Turk faded before the hostility and fear of the growing,
and as yet unknown power of the Russians, as when Rus-
sia's advance southward aroused the apprehension of Eu-
rope, and Austria was able to rally to the aid of Turkey,
but really to her own aid, the strong, if poorly handled,
power of the Allies against Russia in the Crimean War, or
as when yet later, in 1878, 'Russia, claiming the guardian-
ship of the Slav race, once Anore pushed southward to the
gates of Constantinople and was stopped by the Allies'
warnings-and the treaties of San Stefano and the Congress
of Berlin followed. In all of these Austria and Itali were
interested and took part. ][n all of these their interests,
however they may temporarily have coincided for a cer-
tain occasion or to attain a certain object, were at bottom,
when the occasion had passed or the temporary object had
been gained, fundamentally ia conflict. The rivalry was for



11l

 

12         ITALY   AND    THE WORLD      WAR

the fertile plains of Lombardy and Venetia and the control
of the Adriatic with its island-guarded ports and its com-
merce both to the East and the WVest; and for the posses-
sion of the Alpine passes and valleys which were the gate-
wavs of traffic for half of Europe an