An Austro-Hungarian mountain soldier taking aim with his rifle silhouetted against Alpine peaks shrouded in clouds © IWM (Q 114805)

100 Years Ago Today: Italy enters the First World War

Posted on on 23 May 2015
Share |

Italy entered hostilities on the Allied side on May 23rd 1915, declaring war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  

The Italians had originally been bound to Germany and Austria in the Triple Alliance.

But they joined sides with Britain, France and Russia in April 1915, encouraged by offers of Austrian territories in the Tyrol and along the Dalmatian coast (present day Slovenia and Croatia).

Italy signed the secret Treaty of London and went to war within a month, as agreed.

The move opened a new front in the First World War, much of it in Europe's highest mountains, the Alps.

The harsh conditions of fighting in snow and ice led to the conflict being called 'The White War.'

On the eastern side of the front, Italy fought repeated offensives in the hope of achieving a breakthrough on the Isonzo River.

Sources: Wikipedia/various

Images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum (© IWM Q 114805)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News