Issue 16 | 2019


Massimo de LeonardisIntroduzione

L’Italia e la pace del 1919

Hubert Heyriès, La France et les négociations du Traité de Versailles entre espoir, intransigeance et désillusion

Abstract – Since November 11th 1918, the Armistice Day, the hope of French people was profound. Paris, because of the Peace Conference, was the centre of the democratic and free world and the people hoped to get a real and endless peace. But France was subjected to important human, economic, moral crises and numerous fears, which transformed the President of the Council George Clemenceau, alone empowered to negotiate at the Peace Conference, in providential venerated and intransigent hero. This intransigence has taken three forms: the League of Nations based on the collective security and the international arbitrage; the safety of the frontier with Germany, the firmness with the others heads of State and the confrontation with Germans. But the disillusion has been profound because some people thought this treaty of Versailles too hard and others thought it was too conciliatory. In fact, the synergy of hope, intransigence and disillusion in 1919 transformed the treaty of Versailles, which had got conciliating sides, in a truce and not a peace.

Francesco Randazzo, La Conferenza di Versailles, l’impegno militare italiano e la guerra civile russa

Abstract – The image extrapolated from Italian parliamentary debates, after the collapse of the Tsarist Empire, configures a policy that fails to elaborate a precise interpretation of the Russian events, and that fails to develop a coherent idea towards the “provisional Government”. In Italy, the dynamics of Russian conspiracies and secret policies were ignored. Diplomacy did not know the protagonists who would soon be players of the Bolshevik revolution, their ideology, their inspiring doctrine and the psychology of the masses. In this chaotic phase, during the outbreak of the Russian civil war, Italy decides, in agreement with the Allied powers, to send numerous military contingents to the aid of the counter-revolutionary militias. While the Peace Conference opens in Versailles to restore order in Europe, in Russian territory, armies from different European countries, decide to support the “white forces”, but with negative results. The White Armies, and the Bolsheviks, disappoint the expectations of the delegations present at Versailles, and renounce the proposal for a conference on Prinkipo Island, advanced by President Wilson. The Italian military will leave Russia in the autumn of 1919, during the civil war, shortly before the defeat of the counter-revolutionary troops, strongly divided internally.

Andrea Ungari, Da Vittorio Veneto a Versailles, la politica estera
di Vittorio Emanuele III

Abstract – The studies on the Italian Monarchy, although they have never disappeared from the historiographic investigation, have always concerned a small circle of authors and a very few publications. This does not mean that studies on the representatives of the House of Savoy have been lacking over the past few years; often, however, they have fluctuated either between an uncritical exaltation by pro-monarchist supporters or between open denigration by those who do not yet accept the role that the Savoy Monarchy played in the Risorgimento process and in the continuation of the unitary history. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to make a methodological choice that would put aside this kind of publicity and try to outline, and identify, a foreign policy of the sovereign during the Great War and how it dealt with the negotiations that were taking place in Paris. This essay aims to analyse the role played by Vittorio Emanuele III in the last year of war and during the Peace Conference. Retracing the sequence of events, from the proclamation of neutrality (August 1914) to the “Radiant May” in 1915, Vittorio Emanuele III appears – at the very least – to share all the most important decisions which led to the conflict: from the decision to maintain neutrality to the beginning of diplomatic negotiations and the November 19th reshuffle of the government, to the drafting of the “telegrammone” which initiated negotiations with the Allies, and the uncertainties of May to the decision to intervene. Certainly, the King always tried to look “constitutional” and to exercise his power of intervention in that grey area of relations with the political world, thus avoiding the visibility which would have exposed him; however, his ultimate power of intervention in bringing Italy to the point of war was decisive and was judged as such by foreign observers. This role of Vittorio Emanuele III continued during the war, sustaining the choice of intervention, receiving the foreign representatives and displayed a foreign policy focusing his attention to the Mediterranean area and to the Adriatic question. Role that he played also during the Peace Conference, looking to protect the Italian interests in these areas.

Angelo Savoretti, Gli obiettivi della Regia Marina italiana nel primo biennio post-bellico, 1919-20

Abstract – This paper aims at showing the new Italian geopolitical situation imposed, after the end of the First World War, by the Treaty of Versailles with the consequent “mutilated victory”. The huge number of documents from the Archive of the Historical Office of the Marina Militare italiana describes the events that the Regia Marina had to face the day after the end of the conflict, more especially in the so called two-year period 1919-20 (“Biennio Rosso”), such as: interior structural reorganization, including staff reduction and a new program approach given by the new Navy Minister, Admiral Giovanni Sechi; demobilization of the Austro-Hungarian Navy with prohibition to annex Austrian and German booty of war units to the Regia Marina; difficult Italian political situation with the consequent birth of “fascist” movement to which some awarded Gold Medal naval officers approached, including Costanzo Ciano, Raffaele Paolucci and Luigi Rizzo.


Krzysztof Strzałka, Elementi strategici nelle relazioni italo-polacche negli ultimi cent’anni

Abstract – The centenary of the establishment of Italian-Polish relations can be analyzed and evaluated taking into account the foreign policy strategy of both countries in the last hundred years, in particular the role of Poland in italian foreign policy and Italy in polish foreign policy. Furthermore, various conditions, both external and internal, to which Italian-Polish relations were subject should be identified. Firstly they include the changing geopolitical and international situation of both countries, located in significantly distant places in Europe, subjected to slightly different influences and processes. When it comes to internal conditions, the main element was the changing system of government in both countries, often resulting from geopolitical and international conditions. Short reflections on this topics are based on the publication prepared by the author “Italy in Poland’s foreign policy. One hundred years of experience”.

Massimo de Leonardis, Giovanni Messe: l’ultimo Maresciallo d’Italia

Abstract – Giovanni Messe (1883-1968) was the last officer of the Italian Royal Army to be appointed in 1943 to the top rank of Marshal of Italy. He enlisted in 1901 as a cadet sergeant and fought in the Libyan war and in the Great War, being wounded twice and receiving various decorations. He emerged as an outstanding officer and a charismatic commander of the storm troops (Arditi). For four years he was one of the titular Aides-de-camp of King Vittorio Emanuele III. In the Second World War, he commanded, notably, the expeditionary corps in Russia and the 1st Army in Tunisia, where he could only delay defeat in a desperate situation. A convinced monarchist, after the armistices of September 1943, he was released by the British from imprisonment and appointed by the Royal Italian government Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. In all roles, he performed his duties in an excellent way and no blemish tarnished his reputation. He was the Italian General who emerged from the Second World War surrounded by the highest prestige. Neither a great strategist nor a military thinker, he was a brave officer with a strong character, an inspiring leader of his soldiers, caring for their equipment, an excellent tactician and a good organizer.

Enrico Fassi, A Strange Approach. Susan Strange’s Contribution to International Political Economy and International Relations Theory

Abstract – Esattamente 40 anni fa, con la pubblicazione dell’articolo “International Economics and International Relations: A Case of Mutual Neglect”, Susan Strange contribuiva, insieme a pochi altri pionieri, alla creazione di quella che sarebbe poi diventata nota come International Political Economy (IPE). L’articolo analizza il contributo di Strange sia in rapporto all’IPE, sia alle Relazioni Internazionali (IR), a partire dalla comprensione della “relazione genetica” tra questi due ambiti e dal ruolo svolto dalla sua produzione intellettuale nell’evoluzione di entrambi. Vengono quindi esaminati alcuni elementi fondamentali del suo “approccio eclettico”, concentrandoci in particolare sulle idee di Strange in merito alla teoria, sulla sua ridefinizione di politica e sul concetto di potere strutturale. Prima di analizzare alcuni dei problemi che sembrano aver impedito alle sue elaborazioni teoriche una diffusa accoglienza, vengono illustrati alcuni dei suoi contributi espressamente pertinenti alle Relazioni Internazionali: in particolare la sua tesi della “Ritirata dello Stato” e il suo approccio alla teoria dei regimi. In conclusione, si suggerisce come l’opera di Susan Strange, e in particolare gli aspetti qui analizzati, possano essere ancora oggi utilmente applicati, rivisitati e migliorati per esprimere finalmente tutto il potenziale del suo contributo.

Giulia Bassi, Tra eurocentrismo e lotta di classe internazionale. Il discorso anticoloniale del Partito Comunista Italiano (1956-1966)

Abstract – This essay analyses the Italian communist discourse on the anti-colonialist movement between the 1950s and 1960s. During those years, the Italian Communist Party (ICP) analysed this phenomenon more than other Italian party; at the same time, however, it produced a discourse strongly influenced by political bias. In fact, the ICP projected its political categories, tropes and principles – based on the deterministic Marxist(-Leninist) theory – on the colonial countries, finally denaturalising their cultural, political, and sociological specificities. Through an analysis of the main party publications (“l’Unità”, “Rinascita”, “Vie nuove”, “Nuova generazione”, and so on), this essay intends to show the modalities and consequences of this narrative path and the very eurocentric nature of communist foreign politics, which was heavily influenced by internal political motivations.

Gli Autori

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