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11-08-2015, 16:09

Italy Enters the War

In the Mediterranean, Italy joined the Allies in May. The Italians had been courted by both sides. Led by Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino, the Italian government got a pledge of extensive territorial gains to be won at the expense of Austria-Hungary. These included the South Tirol and vast regions along the eastern coast of the Adriatic. Sonnino expected to wage a limited war in conjunction with Italy's new allies, fighting only against Austria-Hungary and confining military operations to the areas where Italy sought its territorial rewards. The mountainous border between the two antagonists offered few possibilities for an effective offensive. General Luigi Cadoma, like his counterparts elsewhere a fervent believer in the decisive offensive, hurled his forces against Austrian territory at two points: northward into the Trentino and eastward through the region of the Isonzo River toward Gorizia and Trieste. In June, the poorly equipped and badly led Italians experienced the first of numerous bloodbaths assaulting Austria's mountain defenses along the Isonzo. As in France, the war here bogged down in costly stalemate.