The Italian army is preparing for another offensive on the Isonzo. Cadorna hopes that this eleventh battle will be the one that finally breaks the Austro-Hungarians. He has assembled an impressive store of artillery and the Italian air force has control of the skies, so he is confident of success.
Not everyone is on board with the Italian commander’s martial vision. In Rome, Pope Benedict XV has called again for an end to the war, which he describes as “useless slaughter”. The Pope’s words strike a chord, with many wondering whether the cost of the war is worth enduring. Socialists and radicals also denounce the war in increasingly strident terms.
Within the army too a certain war weariness is becoming evident, though the military authorities do their best to keep the men in line with harsh discipline. Today in a trench near the front officers find a note scribbled on cardboard saying that the unit there will surrender to the enemy if they are not taken out of the front line. The culprit is not found, so the local commander orders four men to be chosen by lot and immediately executed.