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The poet, novelist, and political activist Gabriele d'Annunzio speaking in favor of Italy's entry into the war on the side of the Entente Allies, and against 'Giolittismo' at the Costanzi Theater in Rome, May, 1915. Giovanni Giolitti was five-time Prime Minister of Italy, and opposed intervention in the Great War. Illustration by Achille Beltrame.
Text:
Le grandi manifestazioni contra il 'giolittismo'; Gabriele d'Annunzio parla al popolo di Roma, nel Theatro Costanzi.
The great demonstrations against the 'Giolittism'; Gabriele d'Annunzio speaks to the people of Rome, in Theatro Costanzi.

The poet, novelist, and political activist Gabriele d'Annunzio speaking in favor of Italy's entry into the war on the side of the Entente Allies, and against 'Giolittismo' at the Costanzi Theater in Rome, May, 1915. Giovanni Giolitti was five-time Prime Minister of Italy, and opposed intervention in the Great War. Illustration by Achille Beltrame.

Image text

The great demonstrations against the 'Giolittism'; Gabriele d'Annunzio speaks to the people of Rome, in Theatro Costanzi.

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Wednesday, May 12, 1915

"Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet and demagogue, returned from his 'exile' in France, arriving in Rome on 12 May [1915] to be welcomed by a massive crowd of nearly 100,000. In his first address, from his hotel balcony, he told them: 'For three days a stink of treason has been suffocating us. . . . Romans, sweep away all the filth, chuck all the garbage back into the sewer. . . . Friends, it is no longer time for talk but for action.' The next day he declared: 'If it is a crime to incite citizens to violence, I shall boast of this crime. . . . Form platoons, form citizens patrols.' A thousand students, led by some professors, tried to storm the parliament building and then searched the streets 'for friends of Giolitti to assault.' Troops were called out to protect persons and property. The demagogues quickly termed these le radiose giornate — 'the Radiant Days' — pointing to these events as evidence of 'massive' support for intervention."

Quotation Context

On April 26, 1915, the Italian Ambassador to the United Kingdom signed the Pact of London committing Italy to enter the war on the side of the Entente Allies one month later. Prime Minister Antonio Salandra and Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino were strong supporters of war against Austria-Hungary, Within Italy there was significant irredentist support for seizing ethnically Italian territory from Austria-Hungary, particularly Trentino and the port city of Trieste. There was also significant sentiment to remain neutral. Former (and future) Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti, who had held office during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911 and 1912, recognized that Italy was unprepared for war.

Source

The Origins of World War I by Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, page 384, copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003, publisher: Cambridge University Press, publication date: 2003

Tags

1915-05-12, May, 1915, Italy, D'Annunzio