Sacro Egoismo or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neutrality

Nice chapter, but you repeated a couple of paragraphs
Although exploration of the complex Italian political situation is not the main topic of this book, a digression is still needed to explain the events that will involve Albania in the period of the Great War and in the following period.

Now we have already mentioned the circumstances that had led to an almost total situation of anarchy in Albania, but we must also understand why Italy decided to intervene in the country.

The sudden death of Castello and the rise of Orlando must be seen as the main causes rather than the attack against the ambassador: with the various members of the liberal Coalition still in conflict about the Great War, the irregular circumstances that had brought upon the appointment of Orlando it was more than natural that the new government would try to self-legitimize itself through a conflict, deemed small.

Although exploration of the complex Italian political situation is not the main topic of this book, a digression is still needed to explain the events that involved Albania during the Great War and in the following period.

Now we have already mentioned the circumstances that led to an almost total situation of anarchy in Albania, but we must also understand why Italy has decided to intervene in the country.

The sudden death of Castello and the rise of Orlando must be seen as the main causes rather than the attack against ambassador Carlo Maria Alberto Aliotti : with the various members of the liberal Coalition still in conflict over the Great War, the irregular circumstances that led to the Orlando's appointment was more than natural for the new government to seek self-legitimacy through what it was considered a small conflict.
 
The Trento accord is absolutely unrealistic. NO WAY Austria-Hungary would ever have acceded anything similar. Trento was a fundamental military position, a mountain-protected citadel surrounded by forts we never took OTL. At best one Italian-language university could have been established in Trieste and MAYBE some dozens square kms of Bisicaria west of the Isonzo river ceded. Maybe. That's everything Franz Joseph could concede.
 
NO WAY Austria-Hungary would ever have acceded anything similar.
Actually offering Trentino to keep Italy neutral was a solution that was actually considered in OTL (the Von Bulow mission).
I simply made it happen a few months earlier than OTL
 
The Trento accord is absolutely unrealistic. NO WAY Austria-Hungary would ever have acceded anything similar. Trento was a fundamental military position, a mountain-protected citadel surrounded by forts we never took OTL. At best one Italian-language university could have been established in Trieste and MAYBE some dozens square kms of Bisicaria west of the Isonzo river ceded. Maybe. That's everything Franz Joseph could concede.

Actually offering Trentino to keep Italy neutral was a solution that was actually considered in OTL (the Von Bulow mission).
I simply made it happen a few months earlier than OTL

Well:

1- sure that was that was what FJ would concede realistically and Italy will have surely refused to remain favorable neutral to the CP for that kind of compensation/pittance, regardless of who's in the goverment, nobody in Italy can permit to A-H to go in an 'all you can eat' buffet in the Balkans to receive basically nothing, a fact that even Conrad understood and he personally supported the idea to give up Trentino (but keeping all the right pass so it can be occupied by them in less of 24h...his words).

2- it also true the fact that A-H in the end offered something very similar at this treaty (Pelogosa and some border adjustment near the Isonzo were also included) just before Italy signed with the entente...and that after negotiations easy like the peace conference between Israel and Palestine and the talk regarding the Iranian nuclear program; that because for all their fault, the Hapsburg enstablishment was not stupid and frankly desired avoid another front, still the internal situation of the empire made extremely difficult do that.

3 - if you found that this position are mutual exclusive, well it's not true because there is also another factor to take in consideration...the austrian were lying more than the PRC regarding the coronavirus; for this reason they insisted in OTL to give the territory promised after the war and that they will never had the intention to follow up with this agreement and the italian know that perfectely, the more optimistic like Giolitti tought that in the end Italy will have received something else as compensation like Tunisia other believed that no reward will have come from being neutral (better rememeber that neutrality was not easy
 
Austria would be unwilling to cede territory under normal circumstances, but with the threat of Italian intervention and German pressure I can see a more moderate agreement like the one posted here.
The question is what they demand in return- neutrality, but also perhaps a free hand in serbia.
 
Austria would be unwilling to cede territory under normal circumstances, but with the threat of Italian intervention and German pressure I can see a more moderate agreement like the one posted here.
The question is what they demand in return- neutrality, but also perhaps a free hand in serbia.

Historically; neutrality benevolent for the CP, free hand in the balkans, dropping of other claim over other A-h territory in perpeuity
 
Historically; neutrality benevolent for the CP, free hand in the balkans, dropping of other claim over other A-h territory in perpeuity

Neither of those last two would be on offer IMO, at least not officially. I could maybe see rome accepting something like the modern Italian borders, but Trento by itself is not enough to abandon all claims in perpetuity. Nor would a free hand in the balkans be worth ceding, though Albania was offered so thats already off the table. The triple alliance could have functioned but only if both governments were willing to meet in the middle. Frankly I think the austrians were less willing to bend; realistically it would take German pressure to make the alliance work, or else a severe shakeup in leadership in both countries. Ideally both.
 
Neither of those last two would be on offer IMO, at least not officially. I could maybe see rome accepting something like the modern Italian borders, but Trento by itself is not enough to abandon all claims in perpetuity. Nor would a free hand in the balkans be worth ceding, though Albania was offered so thats already off the table. The triple alliance could have functioned but only if both governments were willing to meet in the middle. Frankly I think the austrians were less willing to bend; realistically it would take German pressure to make the alliance work, or else a severe shakeup in leadership in both countries. Ideally both.

Their reasoning was that by the end of the war Italy will have to accept it even if she don't want due to the effective control A-H have on the territory and his renewed power and and new political situation in Europe).ely
 
Invasions
The invasion of Albania began on January 15, 1915. The transition of the government could be said to have gone very well, given that Vittorio Emanuele Orlando had been appointed prime minister for less than two weeks.

In demonstration of the chaos that had engulfed Albania, two different governments in exile condemned the Italian invasion: the government of Prince Wied in exile in Austria and Essad Pasha Toptani from France.
The two former heads of state also seemed more interested in calling each other illegitimate and usurpers than in doing something concrete for Albania

Although Cadorna had originally favored a more aggressive strategy, the Italian government had forced him to adopt a less risky strategy, based primarily on the occupation of the coastal area of Albania. Once La Regia Marina had occupied the coastal cities of Durres and Vlora, the Italian army would have landed in the two cities and started occupation of the Albanian coast.
Only after the entire coast had been made safe could have the army continued inland. Still mindful of the difficulties encountered in the occupation of Libya at the end of the Italian-Turkish war, the Italian government had decided to use sufficient caution in its mission in Albania.
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Italian troops landing on the island of Sazan (21/1/15)

It was finally decided that Prince Filiberto would arrive in Albania only after the city of Tirana had been secured by Italian troops, as this would allow control of the hinterland of the region, avoiding unnecessary dangers for the new monarch.

It must be said that for the first part the operation went smoothly: the island of Sazan was the first part of the Albanian territory to capitulate. Separated from the outside world and without resources, the island was conquered in a couple of days with few losses by the Italian army.
The area was then used as a nerve center to organize the Albanian occupation with Cadorna establishing its headquarters there.
It must be said that the locals at least initially welcomed the Italian soldiers positively: even foreign occupation was seen as a better alternative to the chaos that had swamped the region after the expulsion of Wied.
The fact that the Albanians had no reason to resent the Italians, unlike their usual relationship with the Greeks and the Serbs, helped in part.
Obviously this does not mean that at the time there was no resistance: already at the end of January of the same year, the members of the 1st Grenadiers Regiment of Sardinia reported cases of armed resistance by the local population in the southern portion of the island.
This first resistance, however, was poorly organized, and seems to have been the result of the action of peasants concerned about the damage that the Italian army could have caused.

It is difficult to say if Avni Rustemi started planning his attack during this period or if it was the consequence of subsequent events ...

-Except from Blood and Soil: the tragedy of the Balkans during the Great War, Richard M. Nixon

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General Luigi Cadorna discusses with his aides shortly after establishing his quarters on the Sazan Island
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For the most part, the Italian invasion of Albania was greeted with contempt and mockery by the rest of Europe: while the rest of the continent fought to decide who would be its master, Italy preferred to invade a small backward country devoid of any military or strategic importance. Indeed Greece was the only european country that actually protested the italian attack

The protection of the western front however gave the Austrian government time to change its war strategy: if before the Trento agreement, General Conrad von Hötzendorf had prepared plans for a possible offensive on the Italian peninsula, the actions of Castello allowed him to focus more attention on the Eastern front and on the Serbian front.

Now there were two possible solutions to be adopted:
-Concentrate the war effort against Serbia. The idea was based on the hope that a collapse of the Serbian state would convince Bulgaria to take sides with the Central Powers. The main risk, however, was to leave the eastern front free for an eventual Russian advance in Hungarian territory
-Concentrate troops on the Eastern front. This was particularly suggested by the German high command, in the hope that a joint attack could force the Russian army to withdraw from Polish territory. In this case Vienna feared that in the event of failure Romania would declare war against Vienna.

The final decision to concentrate most of the new forces against Serbia may seem counterproductive, with Przemyśl still under siege, but it must be seen as both a strategic and an ideological decision.
From the documents of the time we discovered that the Austrian high command was desperately looking for some military victory after the failures of the previous year and at the same time wanted to affirm its independence from the German empire. There was a firm belief that the conquest of Serbia, the nation that had caused the Great War in the first place, would fulfill both objectives.

By the start of February 1915, the Austrian High command was organising a new offensive against Serbia in the hopes the new troops would have finally forced the country to capitulate.

-Except from An history of European warfare: from the Hundred Years' War to The Great War, Roland Monsier
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Newly arrived austrian soldiers pose for a photo shortly before being sent to the serbian front (4/2/15)
 
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Well, Conrad being Conrad he'll find a way to screw things up, but without the "Punitive Expedition" in Trent I suspect the Brusilov Offensive would be... less successful. It's hard to see this ending well for the Entente, especially if Italy does the natural thing and jumps in opportunistically once Russia collapses.
 
Well, Conrad being Conrad he'll find a way to screw things up, but without the "Punitive Expedition" in Trent I suspect the Brusilov Offensive would be... less successful. It's hard to see this ending well for the Entente, especially if Italy does the natural thing and jumps in opportunistically once Russia collapses.
Oh, i can assure Italy will suffer too.

February 1915 - bit early for tin hats?
Yeah, sorry. I will try to find better photos to replace them
 
Oh, i can assure Italy will suffer too.

Well, she already suffer, even being neutral is not a bed of rose with the disruption of the trade worldwide and the Entente will try to retaliate in the economic sphere...Italy being a great power mean that she can get away with more things and be treated very differently than the Netherlands or Norway, still there will be a lot of economic pain (relatively speaking naturally) and even during this period there were a lot of social strife...sure nothing (in both term) compared to the war and postwar but still hardly a quiet period
 
I apologise for the lack of updates in last couple of months. Unfortunately I had a series of school problems that prevented me from writing new updates.
This timeline isn't dead and i have intention to restart it in September or October.
Again i am sorry for the delay and for not advising you earlier
 
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A new ideology
Anarchism, socialism and nationalism are generally seen as the main political ideologies that have defined and in some cases still define the 20th century.. The actions of the followers of these ideologies have had profound repercussions on the rest of the world.
Yet these ideologies have a single point in common: although their success is normally associated with the events of the Great War, their origins predate the outbreak of the conflict by decades.
Indeed, together with other minor ideologies such as Marxism, they are seen as the inevitable result of the social and political changes initiated by the industrial revolution.

Perhaps it is for this reason that the ideology we will talk about in this chapter is so particular: its origin and its ideas are completely linked to the war and to the decisions of the Italian government at that time.
A mistake made by many of my other colleagues is to treat the birth of this new ideology, the Great War and the internal situation of the Kingdom of Italy between 1914 and 1919 as completely separate events, without any connection. In reality these events must be seen as dominoes, all happening as a consequence of each other, as can be seen with the events related to the Italian Socialist Party and Benito Mussolini.

The Italian socialists, like many of their European colleagues, soon found themselves divided on the course of action to be taken regarding the conflict and above all what relationship to have with the government of, seen by many as a successor of the previous Giolitti government. In fact, in addition to the socialists who favored the conflict and those who preferred neutrality, there was a third camp made up of some radicals who were simply opposed to any kind of relationship with the new government.

Two important factors influenced the final result: first of all, the decision of the Prime Minister Castello to inform the party leaders that an agreement was underway with Vienna and the stalemate developed in more or less all the war fronts. For the latter reason, there was a palpable fear among the upper echelons of the party that a prolonged war would inevitably involve the industrialized cities of Northern Italy, ie their main electoral bases. The final decision was reached in mid-October 1914 when it was decided that the party would favor Castello's attempts to negotiate with the Etente and the Central Powers against any attempts by Sonnino to bring Italy into the conflict, but they would not formed any coalition government with him except in cases of absolute necessity.

This is the moment the story of Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini begins.
Mussolini was already known at the time as a left-wing radical, having already supported the maximalists of Costantino Lazzari in 1912 and being at the head of the Bolshevik wing of the Italian Socialist Party in Milan at the outbreak of the Great War. However, his decision to support the war came as a surprise, being also known for his firm opposition to the Italo-Turkish war and having actually agreed with Turati that the country needed to take no sides in the Great War for the first weeks of the discussion.

The reasons for his radical change of stance just a few days before Turati's line prevailed (a change so sudden he ended up writing an anti-war article and a pro-war article less than twenty-four hours apart) have been debated for years: although many historians have theorized that he was simply influenced by Italian nationalists and other pro-conflict European socialist parties, a certain percentage of scholars believes his final decision was influenced by his rivalry with Turatti and other moderates. A further element of investigation was the revelation from ex-wife Ida Dalser that the French government had begun to finance him in the hope that his line would prevail and a new front against the Central Empires would be opened. If this were the case, Paris ended up wasting a considerable sum of money: with the signing of the forthcoming Treaty of Trent Mussolini found himself isolated within the socialist party, with only a few radicals and some members of the syndicalist party still on his side. Even his expulsion from the party on September 1914 did not put an end to its activity and at the end of the same month, together with other radicals, including the trade unionists Filippo Corridoni and Angelo Oliviero Olivetti, he created the pro-interventionist newspaper "Il Cittadino".

The situation definitively worsened with the signing of the treaty and the definitive confirmation that Italy would have not entered the conflict, which led Mussolini to write his infamous article "Win! And we will win", the content of which managed to cause horror both to interventionists and to the neutralists.
In it Mussolini called for a complete overthrow of the Italian government, including the monarchy (mistakenly believing that the king was also in favor of neutrality) and the creation of a new regime of a socialist / communist nature dedicated to the liberation of Italians under the reactionary rule of Vienna.

This was obviously unacceptable to the Italian government and resulted in Mussolini's arrest on 15 December 1914 for sedition and his sentence to nine years in prison. He actually stayed there for less than two months, as the new government decided to free him after the invasion of Albania to avoid providing a martyr to the syndicalists and other radical left movements. The imprisonment deeply entrenched Mussolini: abandoned by most of his former allies (including his wife who had broken all contacts with her husband while in prison after the discovery of numerous cases of infidelity) and believing that he was the victim of an injustice and / or conspiracy by part of the corrupt Italian government, he set to work for the realization of his new political ideal.
After a short stay with one of his lovers, Rachele Guidi, Mussolini resumed contact with some of his old collaborators, many of whom were disappointed by the decision of neutrality.
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Mussolini is arrested outside his house in Milan (15 December 1914)

After five months of work Mussolini and his collaborators (now calling themselves the National Syndicalist Union of the Italian Workers) published his most important book "La Rinascita" ("The Rebirth") to expose what he himself called "a program for the redemption of the Italian people in the face of an unforgivable betrayal". Now to understand the strange mixed nature of the new ideology we have to analyze individually the main points of Mussolini's thesis:

1) After his opening statement in which he argued that true democracy was one in which the government did what the people wanted and only defended the interests of the people, Mussolini argued that a complete reform of society was the best way to do it. Similar to anarchism and Marxism, there was a total rejection of the political apparatus in place at the time. This was based on the belief that the internal members of the government had manipulated the Italian people into accepting peace. Similarly to the Bolsheviks, it was the authors' belief that government should have been replaced by a group of individuals (generally referred to as experts from different social classes), who should have cleaned up the country’s national culture and society to create a truly free Italian People (also this last part seems to have been conditioned by the artistic movement of the Futurists).

2) “For a good revolutionary syndicalist, there is nothing better than another revolutionary syndicalist.” This last part was aimed above all at demonstrating how any war against the Austro-Hungarian Empire would have been a conflict of class and social liberation and not just a nationalistic conflict. The whole idea was based on the premise that even under the rule of the worst Italian capitalists the Italian minorities in Istria, Dalamzia and other Habsburg territories would be freer and happier. This was based on Mussolini's belief that even under the worst parts of capitalism there were still a series of national values and ideals that facilitated the relationship between workers and industrialists. According to his logic, this made the cultural revolution even more fundamental as it facilitated this relationship and above all allowed to find those who adhered to these values only superficially or were even unable to understand them.
Interesting this also meant that not christian and not white individuals could have been integrated into this new society, as long as they shared the same values.

3)"Work is the right and duty of men". In this part Mussolini, perhaps mindful of the support that some industrialists had given him during the publication of "Il Cittadino", considerably softened his position towards the Italian bourgeoisie, arguing that they too, like the lower social classes, had been deceived by the anti-revolutionary government of Castello and could have participated in the national revolution. The new state in order to function would have needed the collaboration of all social classes and therefore there was a need to facilitate contact between workers and the bosses. For this reason the author suggested the formation of specific councils, made up of representatives of both groups, which were supposed to defend workers' rights and protect investments. In short, he proposed replacing the normal trade unions with restricted groups similar to the council that was supposed to manage the new state.

Upon its publication, the book was greeted with derision and contempt by both the Italian left and right. The whiplash of the rest of the Italian Sindacaòist Party was so bad that Mussolini and his collaborators were forced to chant the name of their new ideology "Revolutionary Renaissance" (although Mussolinism later became a popular nickname, mostly to mock its founder).

While this ideology had little success in Italy, the events of the Great War would guarante its place in the sun in other countries ....

-Excerpt from All men are created equals, but some are more equals than others: fake revolutions and their lies, Eric Arthur Blair.
 
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