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Triple Alliance

On May 23, 1915 Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, its former ally as a member of the Triple Alliance. Clasping the hands of the German and Austro-Hungarian emperors Wilhelm II and Franz Josef, Italy's king Victor Emmanuel III conceals the tattered document behind his back.
Text:
Ihr Völker merkt für jetzt und später
So schwor zum Dreibund der Verräter
Your people note both now and later,
Thus swore to the Triple Alliance the traitor.
Reverse:
Militäramtlich genehmigt (Officially approved by the military)
Logo: EMM No. 9

On May 23, 1915 Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, its former ally as a member of the Triple Alliance. Clasping the hands of the German and Austro-Hungarian emperors Wilhelm II and Franz Josef, Italy's king Victor Emmanuel III conceals the tattered document behind his back.

Image text

Ihr Völker merkt für jetzt und später

So schwor zum Dreibund der Verräter



Your people note both now and later,

Thus swore to the Triple Alliance the traitor.



Reverse:

Militäramtlich genehmigt (Officially approved by the military)

Logo: EMM No. 9

Other views: Larger

The Triple Alliance was a defensive military compact agreed by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The terms of the Alliance called for members to mutually support each other in the event of an attack by another great power.

The Triple Alliance was built on the relationship between the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires with the German Empire being the dominant partner in the relationship. In 1866, the alliance of Italy and Prussia against Austria-Hungary required the Austrians to fight a two-front war: the Third Italian War of Independence and the Austro-Prussian War. The former tore Venetia in northeast Italy from the Empire; the latter confirmed Prussia rather than Austria as the dominant power of the German-speaking states. Prussia's victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 led to the proclaiming of King Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor of Germany.

Some in Berlin saw the Dual Alliance as a pan-German alliance countering the Slavs of Russia and the Balkans. As a multi-ethnic state with a significant Slavic population, Austria-Hungary could ill afford to take the same view.

Italy joined the alliance in 1882, but had an uneasy relationship with Austria-Hungary, primarily because of Italian hopes for continued expansion at the expense of Austria-Hungary by incorporating Italian-speaking parts of its neighbor including Trentino, Alto Adige, and Trieste.

In 1914, arguing that Austria-Hungary's war on Serbia was not defensive and did not meet the terms of the Alliance, Italy declared its neutrality.

Turkey's entry into the war in October, 1914 created a new triple alliance.

On May 23, 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary. It delayed declaring war on Germany until August 28, 1916.