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Giolitti, Giovanni

(430 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Giolitti, Giovanni (October 27, 1842, Mondovì [Piedmont] – July 17, 1928, Cavour [Turin]), Italian politician who served as prime minister. One of the most influential Italian politicians of the prewar period, the liberal Giolitti practiced Realpolitik with a bureaucratic approach. He served as prime minister for five separate terms: 1892–1893, 1903–1905, 1906–1909, 1911–1914, and then 1920–1921. Indeed, the years from the turn of the century to 1914 are known in Italy as the “Giolitti Era.” During this period Giolitti ushered in…

Eugen of Austria

(275 words)

Author(s): Jerabék, Rudolf
Eugen of Austria (May 21, 1863, Gross-Seelowitz, Moravia – December 30, 1954, Meran/Merano, Italy), archduke of Austria, and Austro-Hungarian field marshal. Eugen was the son of Archduke Karl Ferdinand and Archduchess Elisabeth, and brother of the supreme army commander Archduke Friedrich. After training in the Tyrolean Imperial Rifle Regiment and on the general staff, he was a successful commander of, among others, the 13th Infantry Regiment. In 1900 he was appointed commanding general of XIVth Co…

San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di

(368 words)

Author(s): Isnenghi, Mario
San Giuliano, Antonino Paternò Castello Marchese di (December 10, 1852, Catania – October 16, 1914, Rome), Italian politician (foreign minister). San Giuliano’s political career began in the ranks of the liberal right wing, at a time when many political figures of national standing, among them Francesco Crispi, were emerging from Sicily. A member of the Italian parliament from 1882, he became undersecretary of state in 1892, and in 1898 served as a minister in the reactionary government of General Pell…

Alpine Warfare

(2,447 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Alpine Warfare When the Italian declaration of war was delivered on May 23, 1915, it plunged Austria-Hungary into a desperate situation. While this move by Italy did not come unexpected, almost all the forces of the Danube Monarchy were tied up on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans, where the Central Powers had in that year taken the initiative. Only weak, improvised forces were available to secure the 600-km long border with Italy, among them almost 30,000 militia reserves (Standschützen). By t…

General Government/Occupation Government

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Zilch, Reinhold
General Government/Occupation Government In World War I, a general government was a conquered territory under the supreme command of a governor general. This territory would have its own administrative unit attached, and was divided into the front, and the administrative zones. The governor general possessed the highest legislative, judicial, and executive power in the general government, and the troops stationed in the area were also placed under his com…

Central Powers

(325 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Central Powers Title indicating the German-Austro-Hungarian alliance that expanded to include the Ottoman Empire in 1914 and Bulgaria in 1915. Before the outbreak of war in 1914, this title was seldom used. Reference was made instead to the Triple Alliance among Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. To be sure, Bismarck’s Dual Alliance of 1879 between Germany and Austria-Hungary still existed alongside the Triple Alliance of 1882. Furthermore, it was clear to contemporaries that the earlier Dual Alliance was closer …

Adriatic

(463 words)

Author(s): Massignani, Alessandro
Encyclopedia Adriatic For most of the belligerents the Adriatic was of secondary importance, but for Italy and Austria-Hungary it was a major theater of naval warfare. Unlike the Italian coastline, that of Dalmatia is very rugged; the naval bases of the Austro-Hungarian navy located there were protected by numerous offshore islands. Their heavy units were stationed in Pola (modern Pula in Croatia); the lighter warships lay in Cattaro (modern Kotor in Montenegro). When the war opened the Habsburg n…

Salonica (Thessalonika)

(669 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Salonica (Thessalonika) Port in northern Greece. From October 1915 the base of the Entente’s so-called Army of the Orient. The multinational Entente campaign against Bulgaria was fought from the end of 1915 in inhospitable territory, and remained bogged down for…

Berchtold, Leopold Count

(508 words)

Author(s): Kronenbitter, Günther
Berchtold, Leopold Count (April 18, 1863, Vienna – November 21, 1942, Pereznye Castle near Ödenburg, modern Sopron, Hungary), Austro-Hungarian politician. Berchtold joined the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service in 1893 and served as the Dual Monarchy’s ambassador in Saint Petersburg from 1906 until 1911. In February of 1912 he took office as Foreign Minister, and in the autumn the First Balkan War presented him with a sudden, massive threat to Austria-Hungary’s position of power in the region. Ber…

Troop Strength

(1,120 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
Troop Strength The initial numbers of soldiers mobilized for immediate wartime service. The peacetime strength of the individual armies before 1914 provided the foundation for troop strength in the war. A cadre of commanders for reserve units and an attachment of reservists for these troop units were included in their mobilization plans. This would make it possible to raise units to wartime strength once the mobilization was begun. The troop strengths planned in the event of war, and the troop str…

Foch, Ferdinand

(633 words)

Author(s): Becker, Jean-Jacques
Foch, Ferdinand (October 2, 1851, Tarbes – March 20, 1929, Paris) French field marshal. In the course of the large-scale German offensive in March of 1918 the Allies realized that the lack of a central military command on the Western Front might result in a defeat. Up to that point, British generals (with some exceptions) had categorically refused to serve under French command. Now, however, General Foch was given the task of coordinating the operations of the French and British armies; later he r…

Looted Art

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Kott, Christina
Looted Art Originally a term for cultural assets taken away by the enemy in times of war, the looting of art today denotes an illegal act under international law that is perpetrated by belligerent powers and involves the theft of artistic and cultural items in the course of military operations or during occupation. The protection of cultural property had since the end of the 19th century, if not earlier, been one of the fundamental tenets of international law: in particular Article 56 of the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907) banned “[a]ll seizure of, …

Fortresses

(737 words)

Author(s): Storz, Dieter
Fortresses Sites provided with permanent, artificial reinforcement, so as to protect them from capture by the methods of field warfare. For this reason, the battle for fortresses was always given a particular designation as “fortress warfare,” to distinguish it from “field warfare,” or war as waged by mobile field forces. The technical design of fortresses closely paralleled developments in artillery, which made tremendous advances during the 19th century (introduction of guns made from drawn steel, long-range howitzers, armor-piercing shells).…

Polish Activism Abroad

(509 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Polish Activism Abroad The term here refers to the activities in particular of the Polish National Democrats under Roman Dmowski and cooperating Polish politicians in the West, who achieved a political breakthrough following the proclamation for an independent Polish state by the Provisional Government of Russia on March 30, 1917, and the ensuing declaration by the French President Raymond Poincaré on June 4, 1917, announcing the formation of Polish army units in France. Thanks to the initiative of…

Wartime Coalitions

(2,117 words)

Author(s): Dülffer, Jost
Wartime Coalitions Before the World War, the European system of states had become strongly polarized. On the one side stood the Central Powers, namely the Dual Alliance of German Reich and Austria-Hungary that had been formed in 1879 as well as the (independently concluded) Triple Alliance of German Reich, Austria-Hungary, and Italy; however, the latter country declared itself neutral at the beginning of the war. On the other side stood the Entente Powers, among which France and Russia had been bound by a military alliance since 1893/1894, while France and Great Bri…
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