21/8/1917 Anti-war riots in Turin while crowds in Milan demand a Cadorna dictatorship

Italian troops are continuing to make gains on the Isonzo, where the Austro-Hungarians are reeling from the impact of the eleventh Italian offensive there. Away from the front however signs of war weariness are appearing in Italy. In Turin today a demonstration against food shortages erupts into a full scale riot that is eventually suppressed by the army with great loss of life. The incident is disturbing to the authorities, as the rioters’ demands stretch beyond simple economic issues and to demands that the war be brought to and end. Aside from the rioting in Turin there are also reports of workers in factories organising joint strikes and preparing workers councils, reminiscent of the soviets that have sprung up in Russia.

But not everyone in Italy is against the war. Throughout the summer there have been pro-war demonstrations in Milan and other cities, calling for Cadorna, the army commander, to be made dictator; these demonstrations may have been organised by Cadorna’s own agents. Rumours begin to swirl around that Cadorna is planning to stage a coup, either on his own or with sympathetic conservative politicians. If the fighting on the Isonzo continues to go Italy’s way then perhaps Cadorna will acquire the prestige that allows him to become the master of Italy.

image sources:

Riot (25 Agosto 1917. A Torino scoppia la “Rivolta del Pane”)

Luigi Cadorna and friends (Storiaverità: Il Convegno di Peshiera)

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