Italy’s political leaders are intent on war with Austria-Hungary. They have signed a secret agreement to enter the war on the side of the Allies in return for territorial gains at Austria-Hungary’s expense. Italy has yet to declare war and has not even began to mobilise its armed forces, but it is increasingly obvious that its days of peace are numbered.
But not everyone in Italy is in favour of war. Italian socialists oppose war, as does Pope Benedict XV. Veteran liberal politician Giovanni Giolitti also throws his weight behind the anti-war faction. He tells a journalist that pro-war politicians like Salandra and Sonnino should be shot. Giolitti also tells Salandra and King Vittorio Emanuele III that Italy’s entry into the war would be a disaster: the army is not ready and any war will be long and bloody.
In the face of this anti-war agitation, Prime Minister Salandra and his cabinet tender their resignation to the King. The way is now open for those opposed to the war to form their own government.
Pope Benedict XV (Wikipedia)
Giovanni Giolitti (Wikipedia)