The same amount were evacuated or fled from provinces neighbouring the Piave River. This wave of Italian citizens fleeing to the interior prompted the government to reorganize welfare for refugees and led to the birth of many charitable associations, since refugees were housed in all the provinces of the Kingdom except Sardinia. Until June , the Italian state did not clarify the difference between these categories of refugees, although they differed both in their reasons for fleeing and their origins.
Military history of Italy during World War I
Only after the evacuation of 76, Italian citizens in June did the authorities create a consistent welfare system for displaced people and legally classified them into four categories: rimpatriati repatriated , profughi refugees, regardless of whether they were Italian or Austrian citizens , fuoriusciti political refugees, who made a conscious choice in favour of Italy and internati internees, i.
Until that time, all these different categories had been legally included in the vague notion of profugo refugee and often housed in the same places, creating misunderstandings. More importantly, the semantic vagueness of the concept until had meant that the refugee was perceived by the police authorities and host populations as a hybrid figure and a suspect. In short, precisely at a time when even Italian citizens became refugees, the whole issue acquired political relevance. Previously, the refugee issue was administered as a question of public order, the management of which was entrusted to the prefects, who acted in a discretionary manner, often exercising control instead of providing assistance.
After the Battle of Caporetto, the relevance of the refugee issue radically changed. The invasion of the country brought with it the need to portray the refugees of Caporetto as heroic victims of the war. This served to strengthen the Italian home front, but also to provide the political representatives of refugees with a unanimous interpretation of the exodus: those who took refuge in the interior regions were depicted as having given up their property in order to maintain freedom.
Thus, the suspicion that the ruling classes had fled from the enemy, abandoning their public duties, was denied, although only the clergy had decided to remain in the occupied lands. As a result, assistance for refugees was structured in a more systematic way and the number of relief workers increased.
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The two institutions that dealt with refugee assistance at central level were the Alto Commissariato per i profughi di Guerra and the Comitato Parlamentare Veneto per l'assistenza ai profughi di Guerra , both established at the end of Nevertheless, the absence of clear and fixed norms, and the plethora of organizations dealing with the relief work for refugees often lead to overlapping or inconsistent measures in providing assistance. After returning to their homes, those who had fled after the Battle of Caporetto found an atmosphere of deep social tension.
Italy in World War II
The people who had remained in the occupied area had looted everything that was available and, for this reason, were sometimes accused of collaborating with the enemy. Those who had fled were, in turn, accused of civil desertion. At the end of the war, they returned to their homes and obtained Italian citizenship.
However, during the war they had developed a strong aversion to the Italian authorities, who had treated them as suspect. Eventually, there was no place for refugees in the Italian memory of the war. Only from the s onwards have historians examined the issue of war refugees, albeit concentrating their analyses on refugees evacuated by the Austrian authorities. The first detailed study of refugees in Italy was not published until Frizzera, Francesco: Refugees Italy , in: online.
Italy During WWII
International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. DOI : Version 1. Refugees Italy. By Francesco Frizzera. Table of Contents 1 Different Categories of Refugees 1. Ceschin, Daniele: Gli esuli di Caporetto. Ermacora, Matteo: Assistance and surveillance.
Citation Frizzera, Francesco: Refugees Italy , in: online. The nationalists, however, were horrified. To start with, Mussolini was against the war:.
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Down with arms and up with humanity. Or do you want to be its fighters? Mussolini was kicked out of the Socialist Party in Italy but many young socialists agreed with Mussolini and left the party and followed him. Therefore, they greeted the news of April 26th , the entry of Italy into the war. In , Italy had signed the secret Treaty of London. Such an offer was too tempting for Italy to refuse.
Britain and France wanted Italy to join in on their side so that a new front could open up t the south of the Western Front.
The plan was to split still further the Central Powers so that its power on the Western and Eastern Fronts was weakened. The plan was logical. The part Italy had to play in it required military success. This was never forthcoming.
Between and , Italian troops only got 10 miles inside Austrian territory. But in October came the disaster of Caporetto. In this battle, in fact a series of battles, the Italians had to fight the whole Austrian Army and 7 divisions of German troops.
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