London Agreement 1915

In faith, the undersigned signed this agreement and affixed their seals. The Treaty of London was signed on 26 April 1915. His provisions caused some difficulties at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. In reality, the geographical location of Italy – bordered on all sides by the sea and therefore under pressure from the great British navy – tended to favour the Entente. Moreover, earlier interactions between Italy and Austria-Hungary had been motivated more by mutual hostility than by alliance, as the Italians were forced to drive the Austrians out of their peninsula in order to achieve unification in 1860. When the Central Powers fought for Italy`s loyalty during World War I, they clashed over Germany`s desire to promise the Italians Trentino (now occupied by Austria) in exchange for their entry into the war. Although Austria-Hungary agreed to the surrender of Trentino in March 1915, the dismal performance of their army against Russia gave the Italians more bargaining power and led them to demand even more territory. Italy insisted and the Allies agreed that the Adriatic question between Zara and Istria be settled after the war. Italy also insisted that Serbia not be informed of the agreements. However, the Allies cancelled this by sending an official note to Serbia on August 4, 1915, confirming Serbia and Montenegro`s territorial claims after the war.

It was only after the secret signing of the treaty in April 1915 that anti-war leader Giolitti garnered enough parliamentary support to force Prime Minister Salandra to resign. While consulting the king to form a new government, Giolitti was informed that Italy was already engaged in war and faced the choice of tolerating or risking a crisis between parliament and the king and another between Italy and the other signatories of the treaty. Giolitti brought Salandra back to power. Most politicians, Catholics and other Italians were against the war. Reports from all over Italy showed that people feared war and cared little about territorial gains. The rural population saw war as a catastrophe, like drought, famine or plague. Businessmen generally opposed the war for fear of cumbersome government controls and taxes and the loss of foreign markets. A reversal of the decision seemed impossible, as the Tripartite Alliance did not want Italy to return and the king`s throne was in danger. Pro-war supporters took to the streets with tens of thousands of cries from nationalists, futurists, anticlericals and angry young men. Benito Mussolini, a key editor of the Socialist Party, assumed a leadership role, but he was expelled from the party by the state, and only a pro-war minority followed suit. Apart from Russia, it was the only left-wing political party in Europe that openly opposed the war. The zeal for war was a bitterly hostile reaction against politics as usual and the failures, frustrations and stupidities of the ruling class.

[4] [5] Approximate area according to the Secret Treaty of London, by Andria Radovitch. From the collections of the Library of Congress, Geography and Maps Division. Phone number, G6831. F2 1915. R3 safe. When the danger of imminent war loomed in July 1914, the Italian army under Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna had begun to prepare for war against France, according to Italy`s accession to the tripartite alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. However, under the terms of this agreement, Italy was only obliged to defend its allies if one of them was attacked first. Italian Prime Minister Antonio Salandra viewed the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia at the end of the month as an act of aggression, declaring that Italy was free of its obligations of alliance and officially neutral.

During the first year of the war, both sides – the Central Powers and the Entente, as the British-French-Russian axis was called – tried to recruit neutral countries such as Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece to join the war on their side. Italy, more than any other country, was clear about its goals of joining the war effort: to gain the largest possible territory for itself and elevate its status from small to large power. Berlin, however, would not remain passive. She urged Vienna to reconcile with Rome by offering Italy compensation in “unreabited countries” in exchange for Italian intervention. Vienna refused – it was only very late in March 1915 that it offered Trentino to Rome without making any concessions to Trieste. The sudden death of Di Sangiuliano on October 16, 1914 had triggered an impasse in diplomatic maneuvers. These intensified over the winter and led to a race between the Central Powers and the Entente for Italian support the following spring. In March 1915, the new Italian Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino (1847–1922) prepares a list of Italian applications for accession to the Entente: Trento and South Tyrol; Trieste and Istria – but without the Italian city of Fiume; Dalmatia; a protectorate over Albania; and indefinite compensation in the event of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire to create a counterweight to the Anglo-French colonial acquisition. Some allegations were based on ethnic grounds; others stemmed from what Sonnino called “a need for strategic security” – in reality, they reflected an imperialist push. Sonnino had combined nationalist and democratic demands to satisfy the two main currents of Italian interventionism. This fundamental contradiction was to continue to shape Italy`s conduct during the war and at the peace conference. The Treaty of London was signed on April 26, 1915, after the original powers of the Entente agreed on amendments.

Salandra presented the Italian parliament with a fait accompli the following week: Italy should declare war on all the enemies of the Entente within a month. However, the treaty should remain secret until the peace conference; This led to a paradoxical situation in which the majority of the Italian people, who had remained neutral, did not even know why they were fighting. Nevertheless, the other allies, especially the British – who had also promised Italy a loan of £50 million – were satisfied, for now the balance of power seemed to be shifting decisively in favour of the Entente. The four governments agree that whenever there may be an opportunity to discuss the terms of peace, none of the Allied Powers may establish terms of peace without prior agreement with each of the other Allies. WWI Document Archive > 1915 Documents > The Treaty of London (1915) The Treaty of London was a secret agreement signed on June 26, 1915. It was signed in 1915 by Italy, Britain, France and Russia and brought Italy into World War I on the side of the Entente. It therefore had a decisive influence on the conflict. Its content, however, included territorial promises to Italy that would reveal serious differences between the Allies at the peace conference. The partial implementation of the London Treaty had massive consequences in post-war Italy and beyond. In 1915, the battlefield stalemate on the Western Front during World War I forced England and France to reconsider their strategy against the Central Powers.

The Allies tried to gain military support from a then neutral Italy. In exchange for the opening of a front in the Alps, Italy was promised considerable amounts of land in Europe, Asia and Africa. The Treaty of London, as it was called, also contained promises of land to Serbia and Montenegro, as these nations were needed to compensate for Bulgaria`s entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers. The deal was later rejected by the US during peace negotiations and eventually cancelled. In the years that followed, Benito Mussolini and his fascist party often pointed to contempt for the treaty as a plague for Italian honor, which eventually led Italy to try to build an empire in Africa and the Balkans. Serbia and Montenegro tried in vain to seize the land it legally owed. The actions have left simmering simmering tensions between them and their southern neighbour, Albania. The Entente, for its part, offered much greater territorial gains – most of which now belong to the Austro-Hungarian Empire – and under these conditions Italy signed the Treaty of London on 26 April 1915. Italy has been promised the realization of its national dream: control of the territory on its border with Austria-Hungary, which stretches from Trentino to South Tyrol via Trieste.

In the treaty, the Allies gave them this and more, including parts of Dalmatia and many islands along the Austro-Hungarian Adriatic coast; the Albanian port city of Vlore (Italian: Valona) and a central protectorate in Albania; and territory of the Ottoman Empire. However, things took an unexpected turn. Financial credit to Italy soon proved insufficient to meet Italy`s war needs, and further loans followed, leading to astronomical Italian debt. Italy, ill-prepared for war, delayed its declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire until August 1915 and resisted pressure to declare war on Germany until August 1916, with negative consequences for inter-Allied coordination. When Rome learned of the Sykes-Picot agreement on the future division of the Ottoman Empire, it also demanded equal compensation with the Ottoman territories of the eastern Mediterranean, which affected Anglo-French influence in the region. Finally, Italy`s military effort proved less decisive than expected. Tensions between the Allies therefore continued throughout the conflict in order to adapt the Treaty of London to the realities of the war and to clarify what had remained unclear in the text – which led to the Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne Agreement of 1917. Done at London four times, 26 April 1915. .


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