From Neutrality to Intervention

  • John Gooch


Until 1914 Italian military planning was conducted in an atmosphere of functional specialisation. When soldiers and politicians met formally to discuss strategy, which rarely happened, the debates were narrowly technical in scope and the broader underlying considerations were conceived in social terms. The political dimension of strategy was left aside. Thus when the July crisis overwhelmed Europe, Italy was doubly unprepared. Her planning had been largely defensive and she lacked a strategy for aggressive war against Austria-Hungary, which her politicians might require; and she also lacked the habit and experience of debating strategy in political terms. Her civilian leaders were not ready to listen to political arguments from the military; her military did not speak with a single voice; and her soldiers were materially unready to fight. After some ten months, circumstance and tradition combined to put the army once more at the service of the state in a gamble for limited aims.


Central Power Foreign Minister Military Family Full Mobilisation General Staff 
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From Neutrality to Intervention

  1. 6.
    Malagodi, Conversazioni della guerra, Milan—Naples, 1960, I, p. 17 (3 August 1914 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Gooch 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gooch
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LancasterUK

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