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Mussolini, Benito, 1883-1945 / Foreign evidence on the war at the Italian front, 1915-1918

[Foreign evidence on the war at the Italian front, 1915-1918],   pp. 5-18 PDF (4.3 MB)

Page 5

In the vast amount of literature inspired to the World War, alto-
gether about fifteen thousand volumes in all languages, Italy is up to
now represented by a limited quantity of publications, not certainly
proportionate to the intensity of her effort. This so-called discretion
of hers, on the causes of which it is futile to linger, was useful to all
those who, for political reasons, tried to diminish the value of the
contribution of blood given by Italy to the Allied victory. This is the
motive for which, apart from the outstanding intrinsic value of the
book, I am happy to introduce to all my Italian readers, whether they
are veterans or not, General Alberti's volume, written with the object
of collecting and illustrating foreign testimonials on the part played
by Italy in the war. The book is everywhere replete with documentary
evidence, the subject-matter is well arranged, it is written in a concise
and therefore effective style; a book which brings to light many for-
gotten events, and teaches many things, most of them unknown to
the public. This book fully, splendidly justifies the magnificent test
which the Italian Army underwent, and what is more does so through
the words of our former enemies. This book should be read, circulated
and carefully considered, not in Italy alone, but in the whole world,
for it reveals truths which had been too long obscured by defamation
and falsehood.
I do not wish to pause on the first fifty pages devoted to the
period preceding our declaration of war and to the negotiations with
Austria. By this time it is recognized even by our onetime enemies
that Italy could not have accepted the vague terms offered her at the
last moment. Two testimonials are sufficient to prove this. That of
von Bilow, who in his ((Memoirs)) deplores Berlin's ((lack of
loyalty )), the continual (( wavering)) of Bethmann, Berchtold and
Burian; the ((senile susceptibilities)) for which the Italian allies had
always been treated as (( negligible quantities )), and lastly the fact
that he himself was only given a free hand when it was too late.

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