Something strange is happening in Italy. Most of the people are opposed to the country entering the war, as are most members of the country’s parliament. Yet Prime Minister Salandra and Sonnino, the foreign minister, appear to be succeeding in their campaign to bring the country to war with Austria-Hungary. The King has come round to their way of thinking. The nationalist press is full of bellicose fervour, helped along by inflammatory rhetoric from people like Gabriele D’Annunzio, the poet. Those who want to keep Italy neutral and at peace feel powerless to resist this march to war.
Now Italy’s parliament meets and ratifies the government’s decision to go to war. Despite their misgivings, anti-war liberal and Catholic parliamentarians vote for war. Only the socialists remain aloof, voting against war but knowing they are unable to stop it.
Gabriele D’Annunzio speaking in favour of war in Rome’s Costanzi Theatre (World War I Today)