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Empires at War1911-1923$
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Robert Gerwarth and Erez Manela

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702511.001.0001

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The Italian Empire

The Italian Empire

Chapter:
(p.34) 2 The Italian Empire
Source:
Empires at War
Author(s):

Richard Bosworth

Giuseppe Finaldi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702511.003.0003

It is a commonplace that early twentieth-century Italy was the ‘least of the Great Powers’ and only possessed an ‘empire of rags and patches’. Often an acknowledgement of its weakness is accompanied by a semi-racist dismissal of Italy’s fighting strength and purpose, whether in the First World War or in any other modern combat. Italians, or so it is often concluded, are too nice a people ever to have been violent perpetrators and are, by definition, better suited to love and cuisine than battle.Yet, it was Italy which set events rolling, when, in 1911, it attacked the Ottoman administration of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, by 1912 succeeding in occupying a colonial territory which Italians, on the model of classical Rome, called Libya. The chapter explores the mobilization and demobilization of Italy as an aspiring empire.

Keywords:   Italy, First World War, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica

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