The Armistices of 1918, by Leonard V. Smith
No fewer than five armistice agreements began to close down fighting in the Great War. Under international law, an armistice is not a surrender, rather an agreement to cease hostilities as a prelude to making a permanent peace. An armistice is thus both a military and political document. Therein in lay the problem of the armistices of 1918. The military outcome on the various fronts argued in favor of an armistice. However, the mobilization of populations required to achieve this outcome favored a radicalized, “total” peace, notably on the side of the allies. Many of the issues that later in the Paris Peace Conference can be traced to this tension between the military and political purposes of the armistice, and to its decline as an instrument of international law.
Keywords: Armistice, international law, Paris Peace Conference, Mudros, Salonika, Villa Giusti, Rethondes, Belgrade.
Rites of passage. The failure of the moral economy of recognition in Italy (1919-1921), by Marco Mondini
The article aims to problematize the relationship between the ritual (and, more generally, the cultural) side of the demobilization in Italy and the failure of the demobilization process after 1918. A winner, and finally admitted to the club of the great powers at the end of the First World War, the Kingdom of Italy lived a quite paradoxical and frustrating experience, usually remembered as “the myth of the mutilated victory”. Most of the public opinion believed sincerely that Italy was deceived by its old Allies and that it didn’t receive a fair recompense for its participation to the First World War. Basically, this was the result of huge fake news produced by a hysterical and nationalist-oriented media system. Eventually, the article debates the link between the inability of the traditional élites to create a patriotic, persuasive narration about the War as a consensual and noble national ordeal and the rise of fascism.
Keywords: Demobilization; Victory; Rites; Transition; Mediatization.
The post-war recomposition of Habsburg Central Europe (1918-1919), by Étienne Boisserie
This article reflects on the conditions of the seizure of power by new political forces in post-Habsburg territories in the weeks and months following the end of the Great War. The discussion mostly focuses on the peripheral territories of the former Dual Monarchy, territories in which several types of fractures combine with national, social and cultural cleavages. This paper is based on recent historiographic renewals, in particular the shift in scale which brings a finer and more nuanced examination of the political and social phenomena at stake in the immediate aftermath of WWI. The paper focuses on the political fragmentation, the diverse forms of violence and their articulation with the takeover conditions of those peripheral territories. It finally observes the tools of mobilisation/remobilisation and stabilisation used by the political authorities claiming to exercise legitimate authority over these territories.
Keywords: Habsburg History; Central Europe; Postwar violence; Aftermath of World War One; Self-determination.
Redefining peace: Fascist Italy and fallen soldiers of the First World War, by Hanna Malone
Italy’s Fascist regime exploited the difficulties that arose from the transition to peace after the First World War. As a highly contested event, the war destabilised Italy’s liberal state and paved the way for Benito Mussolini’s rise to power. Although Italy was on the winning side, a disappointing peace treaty deepened divisions between Italians who remembered the war as a glorious triumph or as a pointless slaughter. Having taken hold in a society fractured by war, Fascism adopted a narrative of victory as a unifying device, a foundational myth, and a source of legitimacy. This article focuses on a group of ossuaries, or bone depositories, which were built by Mussolini’s regime in 1929–39 for the reburied remains of fallen soldiers in order to show how Italian Fascism rewrote public memories of the war and its outcomes. Through their architecture, their uses, and related discourses, the ossuaries helped to project a positive image of the war, to bolster Mussolini’s power, and to prepare Italians for future military engagements.
Keywords: First World War; Peace; Fascism; Commemoration; Architecture.
Conquerors, notables and Senusiyya. The Italian “chiefs’ policy” in Cyrenaica, between counterguerrilla warfare and “pacification” (1912-1922), by Stefano Marcuzzi
This work fills a gap in the literature on the Italian endeavour in Libya by analysing the “policy of chiefs” pursued by the colonisers in Cyrenaica from the end of the Italo-Turkish war of 1911-12 to the beginning of the Italian reconquest of the country. In so doing, it complements those studies published on Tripolitania, offering a broader understanding of the relationship between colonisers and colonised in Libya. The author studies the evolution of Italy’s colonial policy – from a tool of “pacification” during the periods of transition between war and peace, to a counter-guerrilla tactic during the military escalations. Through a comparative and transregional analysis, he challenges some long-standing interpretations of the structure of the local tribes and their relations with the Sanusiyya Order, understanding these as the product of bottom-up negotiations instead of top-down mechanisms, the consequences of which can still be felt in today’s Libya.
Keywords: Colonialism; World War I; Transition; Italy; Libya.
Without history or memory: military literature before the Great War, by Mattia Roveri
The First World War marked the end of an era. One of the most affected institutions of Italian society was the military, which had continuously struggled with its internal and external challenges and was finally put to an epic test in WWI. For the first time in the history of the modern Italian nation-state, lower and higher class Italians were effectively forced to join the military making the institution grow and expand beyond what it had seen hitherto. However, not only was Italy’s military power increased, but also the way that war was experienced had been completely revolutionized: military and war experience were recorded and written in numerous personal letters and fictional works that lent a strictly human dimension to the suffering and destruction of the Great War. In the years leading to WWI, military personnel had not only been busy writing memoirs and historical analyses of conflicts and military strategies but had also been involved in writing works of fiction that dealt with their military experience during peacetime. Such ‘military writers’ include bestselling authors like Edmondo De Amicis, but also a whole host of forgotten authors like Maurizio Basso, Giulio Bechi and Arturo Olivieri San Giacomo. This widely popular genre of ‘military literature’ almost completely disappeared with the advent of WWI. This paper will examine the neglected literary field of ‘military literature’, its emergence, popularity and decline, and will argue that WWI not only ended peace, but also this popular literary genre. In other words, WWI fundamentally changed the way military experience has been recorded in works of fiction, studied in academia, and understood in society more broadly.
Keywords: First World War; Literature and history; War literature; Military Literature.
Religions and confessional ‘freedom’ in the Middle Ages according to law, by Isabella Gagliardi
This article investigates the relationship between “freedom” and religious non-conformism in medieval times through the sources of the legal doctrine and the law. The sources were chosen both because they generated the norm, which in turn generated practices, and because they generated a true philosophical and theological scales of values. The doctrinal texts and the legislation were investigated in relation to the phenomena of “deviance” within Christianity but also in relation to other religions to delimit the environment of religious diversity before the so-called Crusades. Ancient canonistic intimately connects other religions and Christian heresies without ever overlapping them. So-called heresies can be persecuted because the Christian heretics are still subject to the jurisdiction of the church owing to their baptism, while non-Christians have a different jurisdictional status because they haven’t the baptism. Later canon law (late 12th and early 13th century), on the other hand, overlapped heresies and other religions and thus legitimised the Crusades and the offensives of Christian princes against Iberian Islam. This overlap marked a very important turning point and coincided with a sharpening of the dissent repression. The result of this turning point was the construction of a very precise model of social organisation of legality that went far beyond the confines of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, eventually making possible the “embodiment” of the papal monarchy project.
Keywords: Libertas religionis; Dissent; Legality; Repression; Religious Diversity in the Middle Ages.
For a portrait of a women’s association group. Notes in the context of an exhibition, by Aurora Savelli
Women’s associationism has been studied above all for experiences that can be included in a proto-feminist or feminist action, of engagement for the improvement of women’s social and legal conditions. This contribution, taking the opportunity of an exhibition, offers the occasion for an in-depth study of a women’s group that is still active today. The aim, through this particular lens, is to identify long-term elements that characterise female membership and female associationism within the Contrade of Siena, and its peculiarities with respect to other types of association.
Keywords: Women’s Associations; Archives of Women’s History; Cultural Heritage.