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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

Monday, March 15, 1915

"The Russians have burned nearly all the surrounding villages. In one village the inhabitants locked themselves into their huts to keep out the Russians. The Russians boarded up the doors from the outside and set fire to the huts. There is no longer any doubt that we will have to surrender. Betrayal and hunger have exhausted us.

As of yesterday, soldiers are getting better food rations to prepare them for the march. They are mere shadows, not people, they are skeletons, not men. The peasants have had everything taken from them, so as not to leave anything for the Russians. This was done ruthlessly, without any compassion. An act unworthy of the civilized Catholic nation that we are. It was cruel to give such an order, but those executing it were crueller still. How generous of them to leave the peasants their lives!"

Quotation Context

Entry for March 15, 1915 by Helena Jabłońska, a Polish Austro-Hungarian who was in the besieged fortress city of Przemyśl. A widow, she rented rooms to garrison soldiers. The Russians had first besieged the city after their victory in the Galician battles in August and September, 1914, a siege that was briefly broken, but not lifted. By March 1915, the Austro-Hungarian defense was nearing its end. The 'march' is the one the defeated soldiers will make to prisoner-of-war camps in Russia after the city falls.

Source

Intimate Voices from the First World War by Svetlana Palmer and Sarah Wallis, page 81, copyright © 2003 by Svetlana Palmer and Sarah Wallis, publisher: Harper Collins Publishers, publication date: 2003

Tags

1915, March, 1915-03-15, Przemysl, Przemyśl