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   Chapter 8 ITALY

The Inside Story of the Peace Conference By Emile Joseph Dillon Characters: 95644

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

Of all the problems submitted to the Conference, those raised by Italy's demands may truly be said to have been among the easiest. Whether placed in the light of the Fourteen Points or of the old system of the rights of the victors, they would fall into their places almost automatically. But the peace criteria were identical with neither of those principles. They consisted of several heterogeneous maxims which were invoked alternately, Mr. Wilson deciding which was applicable to the particular case under discussion. And from his judgment there was no appeal.

It is of the essence of statesmanship to be able to put oneself in the place-one might almost say in the skin-of the foreign peoples and governments with which one is called upon to deal. But the feat is arduous and presupposes a variety of conditions which the President was unable to fulfil. His conception of Europe, for example, was much too simple. It has been aptly likened to that of the American economist who once remarked to the manager of an English railway: "You Britishers are handicapped by having to build your railway lines through cities and towns. We go to work diligently: we first construct the road and create the cities afterward."

And Mr. Wilson happened just then to be in quest of a fulcrum on which to rest his idealistic lever. For he had already been driven by egotistic governments from several of his commanding positions, and people were gibingly asking whether the new political gospel was being preached only as a foil for backslidings. Thus he abandoned the freedom of the seas ... on which he had taken a determined stand before the world. Although he refused the Rhine frontier to France, he had reluctantly given way to M. Clemenceau in the matter of the Saar Valley, assenting to a monstrous arrangement by which the German inhabitants of that region were to be handed over to the French Republic against their expressed will, as a set-off for a sum in gold which Germany would certainly be unable to pay.[194] He doubtless foresaw that he would also yield on the momentous issue of Shantung and the Chino-Japanese secret treaty. In a word, some of his more important abstract tenets professed in words were being brushed aside when it came to acts, and his position was truly unenviable. Naturally, therefore, he seized the first favorable occasion to apply them vigorously and unswervingly. This was supplied by the dispute between Italy and Jugoslavia, two nations which he held, so to say, in the hollow of his hand.

The latter state, still in the making, depended for its frontiers entirely on the fiat of the American President backed by the Premiers of Britain and France. And of this backing Mr. Wilson was assured. Italy, although more powerful militarily than Jugoslavia, was likewise economically dependent upon the good-will of the two English-speaking communities, who were assured in advance of the support of the French Republic. If, therefore, she could not be reasoned or cajoled into obeying the injunctions of the Supreme Council, she could easily be made malleable by other means. In her case, therefore, Mr. Wilson's ethical notions might be fearlessly applied. That this was the idea which underlay the President's policy is the obvious inference from the calm, unyielding way in which he treated the Italian delegation. In this connection it should be borne in mind that there is no more important distinction between all former peace settlements and that of the Paris Conference than the unavowed but indubitable fact that the latter rests upon the hegemony of the English-speaking communities of the world, whereas the former were based upon the balance of power. So immense a change could not be effected without discreetly throwing out as useless ballast some of the highly prized dogmas of the accepted political creeds, even at the cost of impairing the solidarity of the Latin races. This was effected incidentally. As a matter of fact, the French are not, properly speaking, a Latin race, nor has their solidarity with Italy or Spain ever been a moving political force in recent times. Italy's refusal to fight side by side with her Teuton allies against France and her backers may conceivably be the result of racial affinities, but it has hardly ever been ascribed to that sentimental source. Sentiment in politics is a myth. In any case, M. Clemenceau discerned no pressing reason for making painful efforts to perpetuate the Latin union, while solicitude for national interests hindered him from making costly concessions to it.

Naturally the cardinal innovation of which this was a corollary was never invoked as the ground for any of the exceptional measures adopted by the Conference. And yet it was the motive for several, for although no allusion was made to the hegemony of Anglo-Saxondom, it was ever operative in the subconsciousness of the two plenipotentiaries. And in view of the omnipotence of these two nations, they temporarily sacrificed consistency to tactics, probably without conscientious qualms, and certainly without political misgivings. That would seem to be a partial explanation of the lengths to which the Conference went in the direction of concessions to the Great Powers' imperialist demands. France asked to be recognized and treated as the personification of that civilization for which the Allied peoples had fought. And for many reasons, which it would be superfluous to discuss here, a large part of her claim was allowed. This concession was attacked by many as connoting a departure from principle, but the deviation was more apparent than real, for under all the wrappings of idealistic catchwords lay the primeval doctrine of force. The only substantial difference between the old system and the new was to be found in the wielders of the force and the ends to which they intended to apply it. Force remains the granite foundation of the new ordering, as it had been of the old. But its employment, it was believed, would be different in the future from what it had been in the past. Concentrated in the hands of the English-speaking peoples, it would become so formidable a weapon that it need never be actually wielded. Possession of overwhelmingly superior strength would suffice to enforce obedience to the decrees of its possessors, which always will, it is assumed, be inspired by equity. An actual trial of strength would be obviated, therefore, at least so long as the relative military and economic conditions of the world states underwent no sensible change. To this extent the war specter would be exorcised and trying abuses abolished.

That those views were expressly formulated and thrown into the clauses of a secret program is unlikely. But it seems to be a fact that the general outlines of such a policy were conceived and tacitly adhered to. These outlines governed the action of the two world-arbiters, not only in the dictatorial decrees issued in the name of political idealism and its Fourteen Points, which were so bitterly resented as oppressive by Italy, Rumania, Jugoslavia, Poland, and Greece, but likewise in those other concessions which scandalized the political puritans and gladdened the hearts of the French, the Japanese, the Jugoslavs, and the Jews. The dictatorial decrees were inspired by the delegates' fundamental aims, the concessions by their tactical needs-the former, therefore, were meant to be permanent, the latter transient.

All other explanations of the Italian crisis, however well they may fit certain of its phases, are, when applied to the pith of the matter, beside the mark. Even if it were true, as the dramatist, Sem Benelli, wrote, that "President Wilson evidently considers our people as on the plane of an African colony, dominated by the will of a few ambitious men," that would not account for the tenacious determination with which the President held to his slighted theory.

Italy's position in Europe was in many respects peculiar. Men still living remember the time when her name was scarcely more than a geographical expression which gradually, during the last sixty years, came to connote a hard-working, sober, patriotic nation. Only little by little did she recover her finest provinces and her capital, and even then her unity was not fully achieved. Austria still held many of her sons, not only in the Trentino, but also on the other shore of the Adriatic. But for thirty years her desire to recover these lost children was paralyzed by international conditions. In her own interests, as well as in those of peace, she had become the third member of an alliance which constrained her to suppress her patriotic feelings and allowed her to bend all her energies to the prevention of a European conflict.

When hostilities broke out, the attitude of the Italian government was a matter of extreme moment to France and the Entente. Much, perhaps the fate of Europe, depended on whether they would remain neutral or throw in their lot with the Teutons. They chose the former alternative and literally saved the situation. The question of motive is wholly irrelevant. Later on they were urged to move a step farther and take an active part against their former allies. But a powerful body of opinion and sentiment in the country was opposed to military co-operation, on the ground that the sum total of the results to be obtained by quiescence would exceed the guerdon of victory won by the side of the Entente. The correctness of this estimate depended upon many incalculable factors, among which was the duration of the struggle. The consensus of opinion was that it would be brief, in which case the terms dangled before Italy's eyes by the Entente would, it was believed by the Cabinet, greatly transcend those which the Central Powers were prepared to offer. Anyhow they were accepted and the compact was negotiated, signed, and ratified by men whose idealism marred their practical sense, and whose policy of sacred egotism, resolute in words and feeble in action, merely impaired the good name of the government without bringing any corresponding compensation to the country. The world struggle lasted much longer than the statesmen had dared to anticipate; Italy's obligations were greatly augmented by Russia's defection, she had to bear the brunt of all, instead of a part of Austria's forces, whereby the sacrifices demanded of her became proportionately heavier. Altogether it is fair to say that the difficulties to be overcome and the hardships to be endured before the Italian people reached their goal were and still are but imperfectly realized by their allies. For the obstacles were gigantic, the effort heroic; alone the results shrank to disappointing dimensions.

The war over, Italian statesmen confidently believed that those supererogatory exertions would be appropriately recognized by the Allies. And this expectation quickly crystallized into territorial demands. The press which voiced them ruffled the temper of Anglo-Saxondom by clamoring for more than it was ever likely to concede, and buoyed up their own nation with illusory hopes, the non-fulfilment of which was certain to produce national discontent. Curiously enough, both the government and the press laid the main stress upon territorial expansion, leaving economic advantages almost wholly out of account.

It was at this conjuncture that Mr. Wilson made his appearance and threw all the pieces on the political chessboard into weird confusion. "You," he virtually said, "have been fighting for the dismemberment of your secular enemy, Austria. Well, she is now dismembered and you have full satisfaction. Your frontiers shall be extended at her expense, but not at the expense of the new states which have arisen on her ruins. On the contrary, their rights will circumscribe your claims and limit your territorial aggrandizement. Not only can you not have all the additional territory you covet, but I must refuse to allot even what has been guaranteed to you by your secret treaty. I refuse to recognize that because the United States government was no party to it, was, in fact, wholly unaware of it until recently. New circumstances have transformed it into a mere scrap of paper."

This language was not understood by the Italian people. For them the sacredness of treaties was a dogma not to be questioned, and least of all by the champion of right, justice, and good faith. They had welcomed the new order preached by the American statesman, but were unable to reconcile it with the tearing up of existing conventions, the repudiation of legal rights, the dissolution of alliances. In particular their treaty with France, Britain, and Russia had contributed materially to the victory over the common enemy, had in fact saved the Allies. "It was Italy's intervention," said the chief of the Austrian General Staff, Conrad von Hoetzendorff, "that brought about the disaster. Without that the Central Empires would infallibly have won the war."[195] And there is no reason to doubt his assertion. In truth Italy had done all she had promised to the Allies, and more. She had contributed materially to save France-wholly gratuitously. It was also her neutrality, which she could have bartered, but did not,[196] that turned the scale at Bucharest against the military intervention of Rumania on the side of the Teutons.[197] And without the neutrality of both these countries at the outset of hostilities the course of the struggle and of European history would have been widely different from what they have been. And now that the Allies had achieved their aim they were to refuse to perform their part of the compact in the name, too, of a moral principle from the operation of which three great Powers were dispensed. That was the light in which the matter appeared to the unsophisticated mind of the average Italian, and not to him alone. Others accustomed to abstract reasoning asked whether the best preparation for the future régime of right and justice, and all that these imply, is to transgress existing rights and violate ordinary justice, and what difference there is between the demoralizing influence of this procedure and that of professional Bolshevists. There was but one adequate answer to this objection, and it consisted in the whole-hearted and rigid application of the Wilsonian tenets to all nations without exception. But even the author of these tenets did not venture to make it.

The essence of the territorial question lay in the disposal of the eastern shore of the Adriatic.[198] The Jugoslavs claimed all Istria and Dalmatia, and based their claim partly on the principle of nationalities and partly on the vital necessity of having outlets on that sea, and in particular Fiume, the most important of them all, which they described as essentially Croatian and indispensable as a port. The Italian delegates, joining issue with the Jugoslavs, and claiming a section of the seaboard and Fiume, argued that the greatest part of the East Adriatic shore would still remain Croatian, together with all the ports of the Croatian coast and others in southern Dalmatia-in a word, twelve ports, including Spalato and Ragusa, and a thousand kilometers of seaboard. The Jugoslavs met this assertion with the objection that the outlets in question were inaccessible, all except Fiume and Metkovitch. As for Fiume,[199] the Italian delegates contended that although not promised to Italy by the Treaty of London, it was historically hers, because, having been for centuries an autonomous entity and having as such religiously preserved its Italian character, its inhabitants had exercised their rights to manifest by plebiscite their desire to be united with the mother country. They further denied that it was indispensable to the Jugoslavs because these would receive a dozen other ports and also because the traffic between Croatia and Fiume was represented by only 7 per cent. of the whole, and even that of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia combined by only 13 per cent. Further, Italy would undertake to give all requisite export facilities in Fiume to the Jugoslavs.

The latter traversed many of these statements, and in particular that which described Fiume as a separate autonomous entity and as an essentially Italian city. Archives were ransacked by both parties, ancient documents produced, analyzed, condemned as forgeries or appealed to as authentic proofs, chance phrases were culled from various writers of bygone days and offered as evidence in support of each contention. Thus the contest grew heated. It was further inflamed by the attitude of Italy's allies, who appeared to her as either covertly unfriendly or at best lukewarm.

M. Clemenceau, who maintained during the peace negotiations the epithet "Tiger" which he had earned long before, was alleged to have said in the course of one of those conversations which were misnamed private, "For Italy to demand Fiume is to ask for the moon."[200] Officially he took the side of Mr. Wilson, as did also the British Premier, and Italy's two allies signified but a cold assent to those other claims which were covered by their own treaty. But they made no secret of their desire to see that instrument wholly set aside. Fiume they would not bestow on their ally, at least not unless she was prepared to offer an equivalent to the Jugoslavs and to satisfy the President of the United States.

This advocacy of the claims of the Jugoslavs was bitterly resented by the Italians. For centuries the two peoples had been rivals or enemies, and during the war the Jugoslavs fought with fury against the Italians. For Italy the arch-enemy had ever been Austria and Austria was largely Slav. "Austria," they say, "was the official name given to the cruel enemy against whom we fought, but it was generally the Croatians and other Slavs whom our gallant soldiers found facing them, and it was they who were guilty of the misdeeds from which our armies suffered." Official documents prove this.[201] Orders of the day issued by the Austrian Command eulogize "the Serbo-Croatian battalions who vied with the Austro-German and Hungarian soldiers in resisting the pitfalls dug by the enemy to cause them to swerve from their fidelity and take the road to treason.[202] In the last battle which ended the existence of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy a large contingent of excellent Croatian troops fought resolutely against the Italian armies."

In Italy an impressive story is told which shows how this transformation of the enemy of yesterday into the ally of to-day sometimes worked out. The son of an Italian citizen who was fighting as an aviator was killed toward the end of the war, in a duel fought in the air, by an Austrian combatant. Soon after the armistice was signed the sorrowing father repaired to the place where his son had fallen. He there found an ex-Austrian officer, the lucky victor and slayer of his son, wearing in his buttonhole the Jugoslav cocarde, who, advancing toward him with extended hand, uttered the greeting, "You and I are now allies."[203] The historian may smile at the na?veté of this anecdote, but the statesman will acknowledge that it characterized the relations between the inhabitants of the new state and the Italians. One can divine the feelings of these when they were exhorted to treat their ex-enemies as friends and allies.

"Is it surprising, then," the Italians asked, "that we cannot suddenly conceive an ardent affection for the ruthless 'Austrians' of whose cruelties we were bitterly complaining a few months back? Is it strange that we cannot find it in our hearts to cut off a slice of Italian territory and make it over to them as one of the fruits of-our victory over them? If Italy had not first adopted neutrality and then joined the Allies in the war there would be no Jugoslavia to-day. Are we now to pay for our altruism by sacrificing Italian soil and Italian souls to the secular enemies of our race?" In a word, the armistice transformed Italy's enemy into a friend and ally for whose sake she was summoned to abandon some of the fruits of a hard-earned victory and a part of her secular aspirations. What, asked the Italian delegates, would France answer if she were told that the Prussians whom her matchless armies defeated must henceforth be looked upon as friends and endowed with some new colonies which would otherwise be hers? The Italian dramatist Sem Benelli put the matter tersely: "The collapse of Austria transforms itself therefore into a play of words, so much so that our people, who are much more precise because they languished under the Austrian yoke and the Austrian scourge, never call the Austrians by this name; they call them always Croatians, knowing well that the Croatians and the Slavs who constituted Austria were our fiercest taskmasters and most cruel executioners. It is na?ve to think that the ineradicable characteristics and tendencies of peoples can be modified by a change of name and a new flag."

But there was another way of looking at the matter, and the Allies, together with the Jugoslavs, made the most of it. The Slav character of the disputed territory was emphasized, the principle of nationality invoked, and the danger of incorporating an unfriendly foreign element which could not be assimilated was solemnly pointed out. But where sentiment actuates, reason is generally impotent. The policy of the Italian government, like that of all other governments, was frankly nationalistic; whether it was also statesman-like may well be questioned-indeed the question has already been answered by some of Italy's principal press organs in the negative.[204] They accuse the Cabinet of having deliberately let loose popular passions which it afterward vainly sought to allay, and the facts which they allege in support of the charge have never been denied.

It was certainly to Italy's best interests to strike up a friendly agreement with the new state, if that were feasible, and some of the men in whose hands her destinies rested, feeling their responsibility, made a laudable attempt to come to an understanding. Signor Orlando, whose sagacity is equal to his resourcefulness, was one. In London he had talked the subject over with the Croatian leader, M. Trumbic, and favored the movement toward reconciliation[205] which Baron Sonnino, his colleague, as resolutely discouraged. A congress was accordingly held in Rome[206] and an accord projected. The reciprocal relations became amicable. The Jugoslav committee in the Italian capital congratulated Signor Orlando on the victory of the Piave. But owing to various causes, especially to Baron Sonnino's opposition, these inchoate sentiments of neighborliness quickly lost their warmth and finally vanished. No trace of them remained at the Paris Conference, where the delegates of the two states did not converse together nor even salute one another.

President Wilson's visit to Rome, where, to use an Italian expression, he was welcomed by Delirium, seemed to brighten Italy's outlook on the future. Much was afterward made by the President's enemies of the subsequent change toward him in the sentiments of the Italian people. This is commonly ascribed to his failure to fulfil the expectations which his words or attitude aroused or warranted. Nothing could well be more misleading. Mr. Wilson's position on the subject of Italy's claims never changed, nor did he say or do aught that would justify a doubt as to what it was. In Rome he spoke to the Ministers in exactly the same terms as in Paris at the Conference. He apprized them in January of what he proposed to do in April and he even contemplated issuing a declaration of his Italian policy at once. But he was earnestly requested by the Ministers to keep his counsel to himself and to make no public allusion to it during his sojourn in Italy.[207] It was not his fault, therefore, if the Italian people cherished illusory hopes. In Paris Signer Orlando had an important encounter with Mr. Wilson,[208] who told him plainly that the allotment of the northern frontiers traced for Italy by the London Treaty would be confirmed, while that of the territory on the eastern Adriatic would be quashed. The division of the spoils of Austria there must, he added, be made congruously with a map which he handed to the Italian Premier. It was proved on examination to be identical with one already published by the New Europe.[209] Signor Orlando glanced at the map and in courteous phraseology unfolded the reasons why he could not entertain the settlement proposed. He added that no Italian parliament would ratify it. Thereupon the President turned the discussion to politico-ethical lines, pointed out the harm which the annexation of an alien and unfriendly element could inflict upon Italy, the great advantages which cordial relations with her Slav neighbor would confer on her, and the ease with which she might gain the markets of the new state. A young and small nation like the Jugoslavs would be grateful for an act of generosity and would repay it by lasting friendship-a return worth far more than the contentious territories. "Ah, you don't know the Jugoslavs, Mr. President," exclaimed Signor Orlando. "If Italy were to cede to them Dalmatia, Fiume, and eastern Istria they would forthwith lay claim to Trieste and Pola and, after Trieste and Pola, to Friuli and Gorizia."

After some further discussion Mr. Wilson said: "Well, I am unable to reconcile with my principles the recognition of secret treaties, and as the two are incompatible I uphold the principles." "I, too," rejoined the Italian Premier, "condemn secret treaties in the future when the new principles will have begun to regulate international politics. As for those compacts which were concluded during the war they were all secret, not excluding those to which the United States was a party." The President demurred to this reservation. He conceived and put his case briefly as follows: Italy, like her allies, had had it in her power to accept the Fourteen Points, reject them, or make reserves. Britain and France had taken exception to those clauses which they were determined to reject, whereas Italy signified her adhesion to them all. Therefore she was bound by the principles underlying them and had forfeited the right to invoke a secret treaty. The settlement of the issues turning upon Dalmatia, Istria, Fiume, and the islands must consequently be taken in hand without reference to the clauses of that instrument. Examined on their merits and in the light of the new arrangements, Italy's claims could not be upheld. It would be unfair to the Jugoslavs who inhabit the whole country to cut them off from their own seaboard. Nor would such a measure be helpful to Italy herself, whose interest it was to form a homogeneous whole, consolidate her dominions, and prepare for the coming economic struggle for national well-being. The principle of nationality must, therefore, be allowed full play.

As for Fiume, even if the city were, as alleged, an independent entity and desirous of being incorporated in Italy, one would still have to set against these facts Jugoslavia's imperative need of an outlet to the sea. Here the principle of economic necessity outweighs those of nationality and free determination. A country must live, and therefore be endowed with the wherewithal to support life. On these grounds, judgment should be entered for the Jugoslavs.

The Italian Premier's answer was equally clear, but he could not unburden his mind of it all. His government had, it was true, adhered to the Fourteen Points without reservation. But the assumptions on which it gave this undertaking were that it would not be used to upset past compacts, but would be reserved for future settlements; that even had it been otherwise the maxims in question should be deemed relevant in Italy's case only if applied impartially to all states, and that the entire work of reorganization should rest on this ethical foundation. A régime of exceptions, with privileged and unprivileged nations, would obviously render the scheme futile and inacceptable. Yet this was the system that was actually being introduced. If secret treaties were to be abrogated, then let the convention between Japan and China be also put out of court and the dispute between them adjudicated upon its merits. If the Fourteen Points are binding, let the freedom of the seas be proclaimed. If equal rights are to be conferred upon all states, let the Monroe Doctrine be repealed. If disarmament is to become a reality, let Britain and America cease to build warships. Suppose for a moment that to-morrow Brazil or Chile were to complain of the conduct of the United States, the League of Nations, in whose name Mr. Wilson speaks, would be hindered by the Monroe Doctrine from intervening, whereas Britain and the United States in analogous conditions may intermeddle in the affairs of any of the lesser states. When Ireland or Egypt or India uplifts its voice against Britain, it is but a voice in the desert which awakens no echo. If Fiume were inhabited by American citizens who, with a like claim to be considered a separate entity, asked to be allowed to live under the Stars and Stripes, what would President Wilson's attitude be then? Would he turn a deaf ear to their prayer? Surely not. Why, in the case of Italy, does he not do as he would be done by? What it all comes to is that the new ordering under the flag of equality is to consist of superior and inferior nations, of which the former, who speak English, are to possess unlimited power over the latter, to decide what is good for them and what is bad, what is licit and what is forbidden. And against their fiat there is to be no appeal. In a word, it is to be the hegemony of the Anglo-Saxon race.

It is worth noting that Signor Orlando's arguments were all derived from the merits of the case, not from the terms or the force of the London Treaty. Fiume, he said, had besought Italy to incorporate it, and had made this request before the armistice, at a moment when it was risky to proclaim attachments to the kingdom.[210] The inhabitants had invoked Mr. Wilson's own words: "National aspirations must be respected.... Self-determination is not a mere phrase." "Peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game. Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any adjustment for compromise of claims among rival states." And in his address at Mount Vernon the President had advocated a doctrine which is peculiarly applicable to Fiume-i.e.:

"The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship, upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement, for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery."[211] These maxims laid down by Mr. Wilson implicitly allot Fiume to Italy.

Finally as to the objection that Italy's claims would entail the incorporation of a number of Slavs, the answer was that the percentage was negligible as compared with the number of foreign elements annexed by other states. The Poles, it was estimated, would have some 30 per cent. of aliens, the Czechs not less, Rumania 17 per cent., Jugoslavia 11 per cent., France 4 per cent., and Italy only 3 per cent.

In February the Jugoslavs made a strategic move, which many admired as clever, and others blamed as unwise. They proposed that all differences between their country and Italy should be submitted to Mr. Wilson's arbitration. Considering that the President's mind was made up on the subject from the beginning, and that he had decided against Italy, it was natural that the delegation in whose favor his decision was known to incline should be eager to get it accepted by their rivals. As neither side was ignorant of what the result of the arbitration would be, only one of the two could be expected to close with the offer, and the most it could hope by doing this was to embarrass the other. The Italian answer was ingenious. Their dispute, they said, was not with Serbia, who alone was represented at the Conference; it concerned Croatia, who had no official standing there, and whose frontiers were not yet determined, but would in due time be traced by the Conference, of which Italy was a member. The decision would be arrived at after an exhaustive study, and its probable consequences to Europe's peace would be duly considered. As extreme circumspection was imperative before formulating a verdict, five plenipotentiaries would seem better qualified than any one of them, even though he were the wisest of the group. To remove the question from the competency of the Conference, which was expressly convoked to deal with such issues, and submit it to an individual, would be felt as a slight on the Supreme Council. And so the matter dropped.

Signor Orlando knew that if he had adopted the suggestion and made Mr. Wilson arbiter, Italy's hopes would have been promptly extinguished in the name of the Fourteen Points, and her example held up for all the lesser states to imitate. The President was, however, convinced that the Italian people would have ratified the arrangement with alacrity. It is worth recording that he was so sure of his own hold on the Italian masses that, when urging Signor Orlando to relinquish his demand for Fiume and the Dalmatian coast, he volunteered to provide him with a message written by himself to serve as the Premier's justification. Signor Orlando was to read out this document in Parliament in order to make it clear to the nation that the renunciation had been demanded by America, that it would most efficaciously promote Italy's best interests, and should for that reason be ratified with alacrity. Signor Orlando, however, declined the certificate and things took their course.

In Paris the Italian delegation made little headway. Every one admired, esteemed, and felt drawn toward the first delegate, who, left to himself, would probably have secured for his country advantageous conditions, even though he might be unable to add Fiume to those secured by the secret treaty. But he was not left to himself. He had to reckon with his Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was as mute as an oyster and almost as unsociable. Baron Sonnino had his own policy, which was immutable, almost unutterable. At the Conference he seemed unwilling to propound, much less to discuss it, even with those foreign colleagues on whose co-operation or approval its realization depended. He actually shunned delegates who would fain have talked over their common interests in a friendly, informal way, and whose business it was to strike up an agreement. In fact, results which could be secured only by persuading indifferent or hostile people and capturing their good-will he expected to attain by holding aloof from all and leading the life of a hermit, one might almost say of a misanthrope. One can imagine the feelings, if one may not reproduce the utterances, of English-speaking officials, whose legitimate desire for a free exchange of views with Italy's official spokesman was thwarted by the idiosyncrasies of her own Minister of Foreign Affairs. In Allied circles Baron Sonnino was distinctly unpopular, and his unpopularity produced a marked effect on the cause he had at heart. He was wholly destitute of friends. He had, it is true, only two enemies, but they were himself and the foreign element who had to work with him. Italy's cause was therefore inadequately served.

Several months' trial showed the unwisdom of Baron Sonnino's attitude, which tended to defeat his own policy. Italy was paid back by her allies in her own coin, aloofness for aloofness. After she had declined the Jugoslavs' ingenious proposal to refer their dispute to Mr. Wilson the three delegates[212] agreed among themselves to postpone her special problems until peace was signed with Germany, but Signor Orlando, having got wind of the matter, moved every lever to have them put into the forefront of the agenda. He went so far as to say that he would not sign the Treaty unless his country's claims were first settled, because that document would make the League of Nations-and therefore Italy as a member of the League-the guarantor of other nations' territories, whereas she herself had no defined territories for others to guarantee. She would not undertake to defend the integrity of states which she had helped to create while her own frontiers were indefinite. But in the art of procrastination the Triumvirate was unsurpassed, and, as the time drew near for presenting the Treaty to Germany, neither the Adriatic, the colonial, the financial, nor the economic problems on which Italy's future depended were settled or even broached. In the meanwhile the plenipotentiaries in secret council, of whom four or five were wont to deliberate and two to take decisions, had disagreed on the subject of Fiume. Mr. Wilson was inexorable in his refusal to hand the city over to Italy, and the various compromises devised by ingenious weavers of conflicting interests failed to rally the Italian delegates, whose inspirer was the taciturn Baron Sonnino. The Italian press, by insisting on Fiume as a sine qua non of Italy's approval of the Peace Treaty and by announcing that it would undoubtedly be accorded, had made it practically impossible for the delegates to recede. The circumstance that the press was inspired by the government is immaterial to the issue. President Wilson, who had been frequently told that a word from him to the peoples of Europe would fire their enthusiasm and carry them whithersoever he wished, even against their own governments, now purposed wielding this unique power against Italy's plenipotentiaries. As we saw, he would have done this during his sojourn in Rome, but was dissuaded by Baron Sonnino. His intention now was to compel the delegates to go home and ascertain whether their inflexible attitude corresponded with that of their people and to draw the people into the camp of the "idealists." He virtually admitted this during his conversation with Signor Orlando. What he seems to have overlooked, however, is that there are time limits to every policy, and that only the same causes can be set in motion to produce the same results. In Italy the President's name had a very different sound in April from the clarion-like tones it gave forth in January, and the secret of his popularity even then was the prevalent faith in his firm determination to bring about a peace of justice, irrespective of all separate interests, not merely a peace with indulgence for the strong and rigor for the weak. The time when Mr. Wilson might have summoned the peoples of Europe to follow him had gone by irrevocably. It is worth noting that the American statesman's views about certain of Italy's claims, although originally laid down with the usual emphasis as immutable, underwent considerable modifications which did not tend to reinforce his authority. Thus at the outset he had proclaimed the necessity of dividing Istria between the two claimant nations, but, on further reflection, he gave way in Italy's favor, thus enabling Signor Orlando to make the point that even the President's solutions needed corrections. It is also a fact that when the Italian Premier insisted on having the Adriatic problems definitely settled before the presentation of the Treaty to the Germans[213] his colleagues of France and Britain assured him that this reasonable request would be complied with. The circumstance that this promise was disregarded did not tend to smooth matters in the Council of Five.

The decisive duel between Signor Orlando and Mr. Wilson was fought out in April, and the overt acts which subsequently marked their tense relations were but the practical consequences of that. On the historic day each one set forth his program with a ne varietur attached, and the President of the United States gave utterance to an estimate of Italian public opinion which astonished and pained the Italian Premier, who, having contributed to form it, deemed himself a more competent judge of its trend than his distinguished interlocutor. But Mr. Wilson not only refused to alter his judgment, but announced his intention to act upon it and issue an appeal to the Italian nation. The gist of this document was known to M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George. It has been alleged, and seems highly probable, that the British Premier was throughout most anxious to bring about a workable compromise. Proposals were therefore put forward respecting Fiume and Dalmatia, some of which were not inacceptable to the Italians, who lodged counter-proposals about the others. On the fate of these counter-proposals everything depended.

On April 23d I was at the H?tel Edouard VII, the headquarters of the Italian delegation, discussing the outlook and expecting to learn that some agreement had been reached. In an adjoining room the members of the delegation were sitting in conference on the burning subject, painfully aware that time pressed, that the Damocles's sword of Mr. Wilson's declaration hung by a thread over their heads, and that a spirit of large compromise was indispensable. At three o'clock Mr. Lloyd George's secretary brought the reply of the Council of Three to Italy's maximum of concessions. Only one point remained in dispute, I was told, but that point hinged upon Fiume, and, by a strange chance, it was not mentioned in the reply which the secretary had just handed in. The Italian delegation at once telephoned to the British Premier asking him to receive the Marquis Imperiali, who, calling shortly afterward, learned that Fiume was to be a free city and exempt from control. It was when the marquis had just returned that I took leave of my hosts and received the assurance that I should be informed of the result. About half an hour later, on receipt of an urgent message, I hastened back to the Italian headquarters, where consternation prevailed, and I learned that hardly had the delegates begun to discuss the contentious clause when a copy of the Temps was brought in, containing Mr. Wilson's appeal to the Italian people "over the heads of the Italian government."

The publication fell like a powerful explosive. The public were at a loss to fit in Mr. Wilson's unprecedented action with that of his British and French colleagues. For if in the morning he sent his appeal to the newspapers, it was asked, why did he allow his Italian colleagues to go on examining a proposal on which he manifestly assumed that they were no longer competent to treat? Moreover a rational desire to settle Italy's Adriatic frontiers, it was observed, ought not to have lessened his concern about the larger issues which his unwonted procedure was bound to raise. And one of these was respect for authority, the loss of which was the taproot of Bolshevism. Signor Orlando replied to the appeal in a trenchant letter which was at bottom a reasoned protest against the assumed infallibility of any individual and, in particular, of one who had already committed several radical errors of judgment. What the Italian Premier failed to note was the consciousness of overwhelming power and the will to use it which imparted its specific mark to the whole proceeding. Had he realized this element, his subsequent tactics would perhaps have run on different lines.

The suddenness with which the President carried out his purpose was afterward explained as the outcome of misinformation. In various Italian cities, it had been reported to him, posters were appearing on the walls announcing that Fiume had been annexed. Moreover, it was added, there were excellent grounds for believing that at Rome the Italian Cabinet was about to issue a decree incorporating it officially, whereby things would become more tangled than ever. Some French journals gave credit to these allegations, and it may well be that Mr. Wilson, believing them, too, and wanting to be beforehand, took immediate action. This, however, is at most an explanation; it hardly justifies the precipitancy with which the Italian plenipotentiaries were held up to the world as men who were misrepresenting their people. As a matter of fact careful inquiry showed that all those reports which are said to have alarmed the President were groundless. Mr. Wilson's sources of information respecting the countries on which he was sitting in judgment were often as little to be depended on as presumably were the decisions of the special commissions which he and Mr. Lloyd George so unceremoniously brushed aside.

On the following morning Signori Orlando and Sonnino called on the British Premier in response to his urgent invitation. To their surprise they found Mr. Wilson and M. Clemenceau also awaiting them, ready, as it might seem, to begin the discussion anew, curious in any case to observe the effect of the declaration. But the Italian Premier burned his boats without delay or hesitation. "You have challenged the authority of the Italian government," he said, "and appealed to the Italian people. Be it so. It is now become my duty to seek out the representatives of my people in Parliament and to call upon them to decide between Mr. Wilson and me." The President returned the only answer possible, "Undoubtedly that is your duty." "I shall inform Parliament then that we have allies incapable of agreeing among themselves on matters that concern us vitally." Disquieted by the militant tone of the Minister, Mr. Lloyd George uttered a suasive appeal for moderation, and expressed the hope that in his speech to the Italian Chamber, Signor Orlando would not forget to say that a satisfactory solution may yet be found. He would surely be incapable of jeopardizing the chances of such a desirable consummation. "I will make the people arbiters of the whole situation," the Premier announced, "and in order to enable them to judge with full knowledge of the data, I herewith ask your permission to communicate my last memorandum to the Council of Four. It embodies the pith of the facts which it behooves the Parliament to have before it. In the meantime, the Italian government withdraws from the Peace Conference." On this the painful meeting terminated and the principal Italian plenipotentiaries returned to Rome. In France a section of the press sympathized with the Italians, while the government, and in particular M. Clemenceau, joined Mr. Wilson, who had promised to restore the sacredness of treaties[214] in exhorting Signor Orlando to give up the Treaty of London. The clash between Mr. Wilson and Signor Orlando and the departure of the Italian plenipotentiaries coincided with the arrival of the Germans in Versailles, so that the Allies were faced with the alternative of speeding up their desultory talks and improvising a definite solution or giving up all pretense at unanimity in the presence of the enemy. One important Paris journal found fault with Mr. Wilson and his "Encyclical," and protested emphatically against his way of filling every gap in his arrangements by wedging into it his League of Nations. "Can we harbor any illusion as to the net worth of the League of Nations when the revised text of the Covenant reveals it shrunken to the merest shadow, incapable of thought, will, action, or justice?... Too often have we

made sacrifices to the Wilsonian doctrine."[215] ... Another press organ compared Fiume to the Saar Valley and sympathized with Italy, who, relying on the solidarity of her allies, expected to secure the city.[216]

While those wearisome word-battles-in which the personal element played an undue part-were being waged in the twilight of a secluded Valhalla, the Supreme Economic Council decided that the seized Austrian vessels must be pooled among all the Allies. When the untoward consequences of this decision were flashed upon the Italians and the Jugoslavs, the rupture between them was seen to be injurious to both and profitable to third parties. For if the Austrian vessels were distributed among all the Allied peoples, the share that would fall to those two would be of no account. Now for the first time the adversaries bestirred themselves. But it was not their diplomatists who took the initiative. Eager for their respective countries' share of the spoils of war, certain business men on both sides met,[217] deliberated, and worked out an equitable accord which gave four-fifths of the tonnage to Italy and the remainder to the Jugoslavs, who otherwise would not have obtained a single ship.[218] They next set about getting the resolution of the Economic Council repealed, and went on with their conversations.[219] The American delegation was friendly, promised to plead for the repeal, and added that "if the accord could be extended to the Adriatic problem Mr. Wilson would be delighted and would take upon himself to ratify it even without the sanction of the Conference.[220] Encouraged by this promise, the delegates made the attempt, but as the Italian Premier had for some unavowed reason limited the intercourse of the negotiators to a single day, on the expiry of which he ordered the conversation to cease,[221] they failed. Two or three days later the delegates in question had quitted Paris.

What this exchange of views seems to have demonstrated to open-minded Italians was that the Jugoslavs, whose reputation for obstinacy was a dogma among all their adversaries and some of their friends, have chinks in their panoply through which reason and suasion may penetrate.

When the Italian withdrew from the Conference he had ample reason for believing that in his absence peace could not be signed, and many thought that, by departing, he was giving Mr. Wilson a Roland for his Oliver. But this supposed tactical effect formed no part of Orlando's deliberate plan. It was a coincidence to be utilized, nothing more. Mr. Wilson had left him no choice but to quit France and solicit the verdict of his countrymen. But Mr. Wilson's colleagues were aghast at the thought that the Pact of London, by which none of the Allies might conclude a separate peace, rendered it indispensable that Italy's recalcitrant plenipotentiaries should be co-signatories, or at any rate consenting parties. About this interpretation of the Pact there was not the slightest doubt. Hence every one feared that the signing of the Peace Treaty would be postponed indefinitely because of the absence of the Italian plenipotentiaries from the Conference. That certainly was the belief of the remaining delegates. There was no doubt anywhere that the presence or the express assent of the Italians was a sine qua non of the legality of the Treaty. It certainly was the conviction of the French press, and was borne out by the most eminent jurists throughout the world.[222] That the Italian delegates might refuse to sign, as Signor Orlando had threatened, until Italy's affairs were arranged satisfactorily was taken for granted, and the remaining members of the inner Council set to work to checkmate this potential maneuver and dispense with her co-operation. This aim was attained during the absence of the Italian delegation by the decree that the signature of any three of the Allied and Associated governments would be deemed adequate. The legality and even the morality of this provision were challenged by many.

But it may be maintained that the imperative nature of the task which confronted the Conference demanded a chart of ideas and principles different from that by which Old World diplomacy had been guided and that respect for the letter of a compact should not be allowed to destroy its spirit. There is much to be said for this contention, which was, however, rejected by Italian jurists as destructive of the sacredness of treaties. They also urged that even if it were permissible to dash formal obstacles aside in order to clear the path for the furtherance of a good cause, it is also indispensable that the result should be compassed with the smallest feasible sacrifice of principle. Hopes were accordingly entertained by the Italian delegates that, on their return to Paris, at least a formal declaration might be made that Italy's signature was indispensable to the validity of the Treaty. But they were not, perhaps could not, be fulfilled at that conjuncture.

Advantage was taken in other ways of the withdrawal of Italy's representatives from the Conference. For example, a clause of the Treaty with Germany dealing with reparations was altered to Italy's detriment. Another which turned upon Austro-German relations was likewise modified. Before the delegates left for Rome it had been settled that Germany should be bound over to respect Austria's independence. This obligation was either superfluous, every state being obliged to respect the independence of every other, or else it had a cryptic meaning which would only reveal itself in the application of the clause. As soon as the Conference was freed from the presence of the Italians the formula was modified, and Germany was plainly forbidden to unite with Austria, even though Austria should expressly desire amalgamation. As this enactment runs directly counter to the principle of self-determination, the Italian Minister Crespi raised his voice in energetic protest against this and the financial changes,[223] whereupon the Triumvirs, giving way on the latter point, consented to restore the primitive text of the financial condition.[224] Germany is obliged to supply France with seven million tons of coal every year by way of restitution for damage done during the war. At the price of fifty francs a ton, the money value of this tribute would be three hundred and fifty million francs, of which Italy would be entitled to receive 30 per cent. But during the absence of the Italian representatives a supplementary clause was inserted in the Treaty[225] conferring a special privilege on France which renders Italy's claim of little or no value. It provides that Germany shall deliver annually to France an amount of coal equal to the difference between the pre-war production of the mines of Pas de Calais and the Nord, destroyed by the enemy, and the production of the mines of the same area during each of the coming years, the maximum limit to be twenty million tons. As this contribution takes precedence of all others, and as Germany, owing to insufficiency of transports and other causes, will probably be unable to furnish it entirely, Italy's claim is considered practically valueless.

The reception of the delegates in Rome was a triumph, their return to Paris a humiliation. For things had been moving fast in the meanwhile, and their trend, as we said, was away from Italy's goal. Public opinion in their own country likewise began to veer round, and people asked whether they had adopted the right tactics, whether, in fine, they were the right men to represent their country at that crisis of its history. There was no gainsaying the fact that Italy was completely isolated at the Conference. She had sacrificed much and had garnered in relatively little. The Jugoslavs had offered her an alliance-although this kind of partnership had originally been forbidden by the Wilsonian discipline; the offer was rejected and she was now certain of their lasting enmity. Venizelos had also made overtures to Baron Sonnino for an understanding, but they elicited no response, and Italy's relations with Greece lost whatever cordiality they might have had. Between France and Italy the threads of friendship which companionship in arms should have done much to strengthen were strained to the point of snapping. And worst, perhaps, of all, the Italian delegates had approved the clause forbidding Germany to unite with Austria.

That the fault did not lie wholly in the attitude of the Allies is obvious. The Italian delegates' lack of method, one might say of unity, was unquestionably a contributory cause of their failure to make perceptible headway at the Conference. A curious and characteristic incident of the slipshod way in which the work was sometimes done occurred in connection with the disposal of the Palace Venezia, in Rome, which had belonged to Austria, but was expropriated by the Italian government soon after the opening of hostilities. The heirs of the Hapsburg Crown put forward a claim to proprietary rights which was traversed by the Italian government. As the dispute was to be laid before the Conference, the Roman Cabinet invited a juris consult versed in these matters to argue Italy's case. He duly appeared, unfolded his claim congruously with the views of his government, but suddenly stopped short on observing the looks of astonishment on the faces of the delegates. It appears that on the preceding day another delegate of the Economic Conference, also an Italian, had unfolded and defended the contrary thesis-namely, that Austria's heirs had inherited her right to the Palace of Venezia.[226]

Passing to more momentous matters, one may pertinently ask whether too much stress was not laid by the first Italian delegation upon the national and sentimental sides of Italy's interests, and too little on the others. Among the Great Powers Italy is most in need of raw materials. She is destitute of coal, iron, cotton, and naphtha. Most of them are to be had in Asia Minor. They are indispensable conditions of modern life and progress. To demand a fair share of them as guerdon for having saved Europe, and to put in her claim at a moment when Europe was being reconstituted, could not have been construed as imperialism. The other Allies had possessed most of those necessaries in abundance long before the war. They were adding to them now as the fruits of a victory which Italy's sacrifices had made possible. Why, then, should she be left unsatisfied? Bitterly though the nation was disappointed by failure to have its territorial claims allowed, it became still more deeply grieved when it came to realize that much more important advantages might have been secured if these had been placed in the forefront of the nation's demands. Emigration ground for Italy's surplus population, which is rapidly increasing, coal and iron for her industries might perhaps have been obtained if the Italian plan of campaign at the Conference had been rightly conceived and skilfully executed. But this realistic aspect of Italy's interests was almost wholly lost sight of during the waging of the heated and unfruitful contests for the possession of town and ports, which, although sacred symbols of Italianism, could not add anything to the economic resources which will play such a predominant part in the future struggle for material well-being among the new and old states. There was a marked propensity among Italy's leaders at home and in Paris to consider each of the issues that concerned their country as though it stood alone, instead of envisaging Italy's economic, financial, and military position after the war as an indivisible problem and proving that it behooved the Allies in the interests of a European peace to solve it satisfactorily, and to provide compensation in one direction for inevitable gaps in the other. This, to my thinking, was the fundamental error of the Italian and Allied statesmen for which Europe may have to suffer. That Italy's policy cannot in the near future return to the lines on which it ran ever since the establishment of her national unity, whatever her allies may do or say, will hardly be gainsaid. Interests are decisive factors of foreign policy, and the action of the Great Powers has determined Italy's orientation.

Italy undoubtedly gained a great deal by the war, into which she entered mainly for the purpose of achieving her unity and securing strong frontiers. But she signed the Peace Treaty convinced that she had not succeeded in either purpose, and that her allies were answerable for her failure. It was certainly part of their policy to build up a strong state on her frontier out of a race which she regards as her adversary and to give it command of some of her strategic positions. And the overt bearing manner in which this policy was sometimes carried out left as much bitterness behind as the object it aimed at. It is alleged that the Italian delegates were treated with an economy of consideration which bordered on something much worse, while the arguments officially invoked to non-suit them appeared to them in the light of bitter sarcasms. President Wilson, they complained, ignored his far-resonant principle of self-determination when Japan presented her claim for Shantung, but refused to swerve from it when Italy relied on her treaty rights in Dalmatia. And when the inhabitants of Fiume voted for union with the mother country, the President abandoned that principle and gave judgment for Jugoslavia on other grounds. He was right, but disappointing, they observed, when he told his fellow-citizens that his presence in Europe was indispensable in order to interpret his conceptions, for no other rational being could have construed them thus.

The withdrawal of the Italian delegates was construed as an act of insubordination, and punished as such. The Marquis de Viti de Varche has since disclosed the fact that the Allied governments forthwith reduced the credits accorded to Italy during hostilities, whereupon hardships and distress were aggravated and the peasantry over a large area of the country suffered intensely.[227] For Italy is more dependent on her allies than ever, owing to the sacrifices which she offered up during the war, and she was made to feel her dependence painfully. The military assistance which they had received from her was fraught with financial and economic consequences which have not yet been realized by the unfortunate people who must endure them. Italy at the close of hostilities was burdened with a foreign debt of twenty milliards of lire, an internal debt of fifty millards, and a paper circulation four times more than what it was in pre-war days.[228] Raw materials were exhausted, traffic and production were stagnant, navigation had almost ceased, and the expenditure of the state had risen to eleven milliards a year.[229]

According to the figures published by the Statistical Society of Berne, the general rise in prices attributed to the war hit Italy much harder than any of her allies.[230] The consequences of this and other perturbations were sinister and immediate. The nation, bereft of what it had been taught to regard as its right, humiliated in the persons of its chiefs, subjected to foreign guidance, insufficiently clad, underfed, and with no tangible grounds for expecting speedy improvement, was seething with discontent. Frequent strikes merely aggravated the general suffering, which finally led to riots, risings, and the shedding of blood. The economic, political, and moral crisis was unprecedented. The men who drew Italy into the war were held up to public opprobrium because in the imagination of the people the victory had cost them more and brought them in less than neutrality would have done. One of the principal orators of the Opposition, in a trenchant discourse in the Italian Parliament, said, "The Salandra-Sonnino Cabinet led Italy into the war blindfolded."[231]

After the return of the Italian delegation to Paris various fresh combinations were devised for the purpose of grappling with the Adriatic problem. One commended itself to the Italians as a possible basis for discussion. In principle it was accepted. A declaration to this effect was made by Signor Orlando and taken cognizance of by M. Clemenceau, who undertook to lay the matter before Mr. Wilson, the sole arbitrator in Italian affairs. He played the part of Fate throughout. Days went by after this without bringing any token that the Triumvirate was interested in the Adriatic. At last the Italian Premier reminded his French colleague that the latest proposal had been accepted in principle, and the Italian plenipotentiaries were awaiting Mr. Wilson's pleasure in the matter. Accordingly, M. Clemenceau undertook to broach the matter to the American statesman without delay. The reply, which was promptly given, dismayed the Italians. It was in the form of one of those interpretations which, becoming associated with Mr. Wilson's name, shook public confidence in certain of the statesman-like qualities with which he had at first been credited. The construction which he now put upon the mode of voting to be applied to Fiume, including this city-in a large district inhabited by a majority of Jugoslavs-imparted to the project as the Italians had understood it a wholly new aspect. They accordingly declared it inacceptable. As after that there seemed to be nothing more for the Italian Premier to do in Paris, he left, was soon afterward defeated in the Chamber, and resigned together with his Cabinet. The vote of the Italian Parliament, which appeared to the continental press in the light of a protest of the nation against the aims and the methods of the Conference, closed for the time being the chapter of Italy's endeavor to complete her unity, secure strong frontiers, and perpetuate her political partnership with France and her intimate relations with the Entente. Thenceforward the English-speaking states might influence her overt acts, compel submission to their behests, and generally exercise a sort of guardianship over her, because they are the dispensers of economic boons, but the union of hearts, the mutual trust, the cement supplied by common aims are lacking.

One of the most telling arguments employed by President Wilson to dissuade various states from claiming strategic positions, and in particular Italy from insisting on the annexation of Fiume and the Dalmatian coast, was the effective protection which the League of Nations would confer on them.[232] Strategical considerations would, it was urged, lose all their value in the new era, and territorial guaranties become meaningless and cumbersome survivals of a dead epoch. That was the principal weapon with which he had striven to parry the thrusts of M. Clemenceau and the touchstone by which he tested the sincerity of all professions of faith in his cherished project of compacting the nations of the world in a vast league of peace-loving, law-abiding communities. But the faith of France's leaders differed little from unbelief. Guaranties first and the protection of the League afterward was the French formula, around which many fierce battles royal were fought. In the end Mr. Wilson, having obtained the withdrawal of the demand for the Rhine frontier, gave in, and the Covenant was reinforced by a compact which in the last analysis is a military undertaking, a unilateral Triple Alliance, Great Britain and the United States undertaking to hasten to France's assistance should her territory be wantonly invaded by Germany. The case thus provided for is extremely improbable. The expansion of Germany, when the auspicious hour strikes, will presumably be inaugurated on wholly new lines, against which armies, even if they can be mobilized in time, will be of little avail. But if force were resorted to, it is almost certain to be used in the direction where the resistance is least-against France's ally, Poland. This, however, is by the way. The point made by the Italians was that the League of Nations being thus admittedly powerless to discharge the functions which alone could render strategic frontiers unnecessary, can consequently no longer be relied upon as an adequate protection against the dangers which the possession of the strongholds she claimed on the Adriatic would effectively displace. Either the League, it was argued, can, as asserted, protect the countries which give up commanding positions to potential enemies, or it cannot. In the former hypothesis France's insistence on a military convention is mischievous and immoral-in the latter Italy stands in as much need of the precautions devised as her neighbor. But her spokesmen were still plied with the threadbare arguments and bereft of the countervailing corrective. And faith in the efficacy of the League was sapped by the very men who were professedly seeking to spread it.

The press of Rome, Turin, and Milan pointed to the loyalty of the Italian people, brought out, they said, in sharp relief by the discontent which the exclusive character of that triple military accord engendered among them. As kinsmen of the French it was natural for Italians to expect that they would be invited to become a party to this league within the League. As loyal allies of Britain and France they felt desirous of being admitted to the alliance. But they were excluded. Nor was their exasperation allayed by the assurance of their press that this was no alliance, but a state of tutelage. An alliance, it was explained, is a compact by which two or more parties agree to render one another certain services under given conditions, whereas the convention in question is a one-sided undertaking on the part of Britain and the United States to protect France if wantonly attacked, because she is unable efficaciously to protect herself. It is a benefaction. But this casuistry fell upon deaf ears. What the people felt was the disesteem-the term in vogue was stronger-in which they were held by the Allies, whom they had saved perhaps from ruin.

By slow degrees the sentiments of the Italian nation underwent a disquieting change. All parties and classes united in stigmatizing the behavior of the Allies in terms which even the literary eminence of the poet d'Annunzio could not induce the censors to let pass. "The Peace Treaty," wrote Italy's most influential journal, "and its correlate forbode for the near future the Continental hegemony of France countersigned by the Anglo-American alliance."[233] Another widely circulated and respected organ described the policy of the Entente as a solvent of the social fabric, constructive in words, corrosive in acts, "mischievous if ever there was a mischievous policy. For while raising hopes and whetting appetites, it does nothing to satisfy them; on the contrary, it does much to disappoint them. In words-a struggle for liberty, for nations, for the equality of peoples and classes, for the well-being of all; in acts-the suppression of the most elementary and constitutional liberty, the overlordship of certain nations based on the humiliation of others, the division of peoples into exploiters and exploited-the sharpening of social differences-the destruction of collective wealth, and its accumulation in a few blood-stained hands, universal misery, and hunger."[234]

Although it is well understood that Italy's defeat at the Conference was largely the handiwork of President Wilson, the resentment of the Italian nation chose for its immediate objects the representatives of France and Britain. The American "associates" were strangers, here to-day and gone to-morrow, but the Allies remain, and if their attitude toward Italy, it was argued, had been different, if their loyalty had been real, she would have fared proportionately as well as they, whatever the American statesmen might have said or done.

The Italian press breathed fiery wrath against its French ally, who so often at the Conference had met Italy's solicitations with the odious word "impossible." Even moderate organs of public opinion gave free vent to estimates of France's policy and anticipations of its consequences which disturbed the equanimity of European statesmen. "It is impossible," one of these journals wrote, "for France to become the absolute despot of Europe without Italy, much less against Italy. What transcended the powers of Richelieu, who was a lion and fox combined, and was beyond the reach of Bonaparte, who was both an eagle and a serpent, cannot be achieved by "Tiger" Clemenceau in circumstances so much less favorable than those of yore. We, it is true, are isolated, but then France is not precisely embarrassed by the choice of friends." The peace was described as "Franco-Slav domination with its headquarters in Prague, and a branch office in Agram." M. Clemenceau was openly charged with striving after the hegemony of the Continent for his country by separating Germany from Austria and surrounding her with a ring of Slav states-Poland, Jugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and perhaps the non-Slav kingdom of Rumania. All these states would be in the leading-strings of the French Republic, and Austria would be linked to it in a different guise. And in order to effect this resuscitation of the Hapsburg state under the name of "Danubian federation," Mr. Wilson, it was asserted, had authorized a deliberate violation of his own principle of self-determination, and refused to Austria the right of adopting the régime which she preferred. It was, in truth, an odd compromise, these critics continued, for an idealist of the President's caliber, on whose every political action the scrutinizing gaze of the world was fixed. One could not account for it as a sacrifice made for a high ethical aim-one of those ends which, according to the old maxim, hallows the means. It seemed an open response to a secret instigation or impulse which was unconnected with any recognized or avowable principle. Even the Socialist organs swelled the chorus of the accusers. Avanti wrote, "We are Socialists, yet we have never believed that the American President with his Fourteen Points entered into the war for the highest aims of humanity and for the rights of peoples, any more than we believe at present that his opposition to the aspirations of the Italian state on the Adriatic are inspired by motives of idealism."[235]

The fate of the disputed territories on the Adriatic was to be the outcome of self-determination. Poland's claims were to be left to the self-determination of the Silesian and Ruthenian populations. Rumania was told that her suit must remain in abeyance until it could be tested by the same principle, which would be applied in the form of a plebiscite. For self-determination was the cornerstone of the League of Nations, the holiest boon for which the progressive peoples of the world had been pouring out their life-blood and substance for nearly five years. But when Italy invoked self-determination, she was promptly non-suited. When Austria appealed to it she was put out of court. And to crown all, the world was assured that the Fourteen Points had been triumphantly upheld. This depravation of principles by the triumph of the little prudences of the hour spurred some of the more impulsive critics to ascribe it to influences less respectable than those to which it may fairly be attributed.

The directing Powers were hypersensitive to the oft-repeated charge of meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. They were never tired of protesting their abhorrence of anything that smacked of interference. Among the numerous facts, however, which they could neither deny nor reconcile with their professions, the following was brought forward by the Italians, who had a special interest to draw public attention to it. It had to do with the abortive attempt to restore the Hapsburg monarchy in Hungary as the first step toward the formation of a Danubian federation. "It is certain," wrote the principal Italian journal, "that the Archduke Joseph's coup d'état did not take place, indeed (given the conditions in Budapest) could not take place, without the Entente's connivance. The official communiqués of Budapest and Vienna, dated August 9th, recount on this point precise details which no one has hitherto troubled to deny. The Peidl government was scarcely three days in power, and, therefore, was not in a position to deserve either trust or distrust, when the heads of the 'order-loving organizations' put forward, to justify the need of a new crisis, the complaints of the heads of the Entente Missions as to the anarchy prevailing in Hungary and the urgency of finding 'some one' who could save the country from the abyss. Then a commission repaired to Alscuth, where it easily persuaded the Archduke to come to Budapest. Here he at once visited all the heads of missions and spent the whole day in negotiations. 'As a result of negotiations with Entente representatives, the Archduke Joseph undertook a solution of the crisis.' He then called together the old state police and a volunteer army of eight thousand men. The Rumanian garrison was kept ready. The Peidl government naturally did not resist at all. At 10 P.M. on August 7th all the Entente Missions held a meeting, to which the Archduke Joseph and the new Premier were invited. General Gorton presided. The Conference lasted two hours and reached an agreement on all questions. All the heads of Missions assured the new government of their warmest support."[236]

Another case of unwarranted interference which stirred the Italians to bitter resentment turned upon the obligation imposed on Austria to renounce her right to unite with Germany. "It is difficult to discern in the policy of the Entente toward Austria anything more respectable than obstinacy coupled with stupidity," wrote the same journal. "But there is something still worse. It is impossible not to feel indignant with a coalition which, after having triumphed in the name of the loftiest ideas ... treats German-Austria no better than the Holy Alliance treated the petty states of Italy. But the Congress of Vienna acted in harmony with the principle of legitimism which it avowed and professed, whereas the Paris Conference violates without scruple the canons by which it claims to be guided.

"Not a whit more decorous is the intervention of the Supreme Council in the internal affairs of Germany-a state which, according to the spirit and the letter of the Versailles Treaty, is sovereign and not a protectorate. The Conference was qualified to dictate peace terms to Germany, but it wanders beyond the bounds of its competency when it construes those terms and arrogates to itself-on the strength of forced and equivocal interpretations-the right of imposing upon a nation which is neither militarily nor juridically an enemy a constitutional reform. Whether Germany violates the Treaty by her Constitution is a question which only a judicial finding of the League of Nations can fairly determine."[237]

It would be impolitic to overlook and insincere to belittle the effects of this incoherency upon the relations between France and Italy. Public opinion in the Peninsula characterized the attitude of Prance as deliberately hostile. The Italians at the Conference eagerly scrutinized every act and word of their French colleagues, with a view to discovering grounds for dispelling this view. But the search is reported to have been worse than vain. It revealed data which, although susceptible of satisfactory explanations, would, if disclosed at that moment, have aggravated the feeling of bitterness against France, which was fast gathering. Signor Orlando had recourse to the censor to prevent indiscretions, but the intuition of the masses triumphed over repression, and the existing tenseness merged into resentment. The way in which Italians accounted for M. Clemenceau's attitude was this. Although Italy has ceased to be the important political factor she once was when the Triple Alliance was in being, she is still a strong continental Power, capable of placing a more numerous army in the field than her republican sister, and her population continues to increase at a high rate. In a few years she will have outstripped her rival. France, too, has perhaps lost those elements of her power and prestige which she derived from her alliance with Russia. Again, the Slav ex-ally, Russia, may become the enemy of to-morrow. In view of these contingencies France must create a substitute for the Rumanian and Italian allies. And as these have been found in the new Slav states, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Jugoslavia, she can afford to dispense with making painful sacrifices to keep Italy in countenance.

A trivial incident which affords a glimpse of the spirit prevailing between the two kindred peoples occurred at St.-Germain-en-Laye, where the Austrian delegates were staying. They had been made much of in Vienna by the Envoy of the French Republic there, M. Allizé, whose mission it was to hinder Austria from uniting with the Reich. Italy's policy was, on the contrary, to apply Mr. Wilson's principle of self-determination and allow the Austrians to do as they pleased in that respect. A fervent advocate of the French orthodox doctrine-a publicist-repaired to the Austrian headquarters at St.-Germain for the purpose, it is supposed, of discussing the subject. Now intercourse of any kind between private individuals and the enemy delegates was strictly forbidden, and when M. X. presented himself, the Italian officer on duty refused him admission. He insisted. The officer was inexorable. Then he produced a written permit signed by the Secretary of the Conference, M. Dutasta. How and why this exception was made in his favor when the rule was supposed to admit of no exceptions was not disclosed. But the Italian officer, equal to the occasion, took the ground that a military prohibition cannot be canceled by a civilian, and excluded the would-be visitor.

The general trend of France's European policy was repugnant to Italy. She looked on it as a well-laid scheme to assume a predominant r?le on the Continent. That, she believed, was the ultimate purpose of the veto on the union of Austria and Germany, of the military arrangements with Britain and the United States, and of much else that was obnoxious to Italy. Austria was to be reconstituted according to the federative plans of the late Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to be made stronger than before as a counterpoise to Italy, and to be at the beck and call of France. Thus the friend, ally, sister of yesterday became the potential enemy of to-morrow. That was the refrain of most of the Italian journals, and none intoned it more fervently than those which had been foremost in bringing their country into the war. One of these, a Conservative organ of Lombardy, wrote: "Until yesterday, we might have considered that two paths lay open before us, that of an alliance with France and that of an independent policy. But we can think so no longer. To offer our friendship to-day to the people who have already chosen their own road and established their solidarity with our enemies of yesterday and to-morrow would not be to strike out a policy, but to decide on an unseemly surrender. It would be tantamount to reproducing in an aggravated form the situation we occupied in the alliance with Germany. Once again we should be engaged in a partnership of which one of the partners was in reality our enemy. France taking the place of Germany, and Jugoslavia that of Austria, the situation of the old Triple Alliance would be not merely reproduced, but made worse in the reproduction, because the Triplice at least guaranteed us against a conflict which we had grounds for apprehending, whereas the new alliance would tie our hands for the sake of a little Balkan state which, single-handed, we are well able to keep in its place.

"We have had enough of a policy which has hitherto saddled us with all the burdens of the alliance without bestowing on us any advantage-which has constrained us to favor all the peoples whose expansion dovetailed with French schemes and to combat or neglect those others whose consolidation corresponded to our interests-which has led us to support a great Poland and a great Bohemia and to combat the Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Spain, to whose destinies the French, but not we, were indifferent."[238] A press organ of Bologna denounced the atrocious and ignominious sacrifice "which her allies imposed on Italy by means of economic blackmailing and violence with a whip in one hand and a chunk of bread in the other."[239]

Sharp comments were provoked by the heavy tax on strangers in Tunisia imposed by the French government,[240] on strangers, mostly Italians, who theretofore had enjoyed the same rights as the French and Tunisians. "Suddenly," writes the principal Italian journal, "and just when it was hoped that the common sacrifices they had made had strengthened the ties between the two nations, the governor of Tunisia issued certain orders which endangered the interests of foreigners and the effects of which will be felt mainly by Italians, of whom there are one hundred and twenty thousand in Tunisia.[241] First there came an order forbidding the use of any language but French in the schools. Now the tax referred to in the House of Lords gives the Tunisian government power to levy an impost on the buying and selling of property in Tunisia. The new tax, which is to be levied over and above pre-existing taxes, ranged from 59 per cent. of the value when it is not assessed at a higher sum than one hundred thousand lire to 80 per cent. when its estimated value is more than five hundred thousand lire." The article terminates with the remark that boycotting is hardly a suitable epilogue to a war waged for common ideals and interests.

These manifestations irritated the French and were taken to indicate Italy's defection. It was to no purpose that a few level-headed men pointed out that the French government was largely answerable for the state of mind complained of. "Pertinax," in the Echo de Paris, wrote "that the alliance, in order to subsist and flourish, should have retained its character as an Anti-German League, whereas it fell into the error of masking itself as a Society of Nations and arrogated to itself the right of bringing before its tribunal all the quarrels of the planet."[242] Italy's allies undoubtedly did much to forfeit her sympathies and turn her from the alliance. It was pointed out that when the French troops arrived in Italy the Bulletin of the Italian command eulogized their efforts almost daily, but when the Italian troops went to France, the communiqués of the French command were most chary of allusions to their exploits, yet the Italian army contributed more dead to the French front than did the French army to the Italian front.[243] At the Peace Conference, as we saw, when the terms with Germany were being drafted, Italy's problems were set aside on the grounds that there was no nexus between them. The Allies' interests, which were dealt with as a whole during the war, were divided after the armistice into essential and secondary interests, and those of Italy were relegated to the latter class. Subsequently France, Britain, and the United States, without the co-operation or foreknowledge of their Italian friends, struck up an alliance from which they excluded Italy, thereby vitiating the only arguments that could be invoked in favor of such a coalition. When peace was about to be signed they one-sidedly revoked the treaty which they had concluded in London, rendering the consent of all Allies necessary to the validity of the document, and decreed that Italy's abstention would make no difference. When the instrument was finally signed, Mr. Wilson returned to the United States, Mr. Lloyd George to England, and the Marquis of Saionji to Japan, without having settled any of Italy's problems. Italy, her needs, her claims, and her policy thus appear as matters of little account to the Great Powers. Naturally, the Italian people were disappointed, and desirous of seeking new friends, the old ones having forsaken them.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the consequences which this attitude of the Allies toward Italy may have on European politics generally. Her most eminent statesman, Signor Tittoni, who succeeded Baron Sonnino, transcending his country's mortifications, exerted himself tactfully and not unsuccessfully to lubricate the mechanism of the alliance, to ease the dangerous friction and to restore the tone. And he seems to have accomplished in these respects everything which a sagacious statesman could do. But to arrest the operation of psychological laws is beyond the power of any individual. In order to appreciate the Italian point of view, it is nowise necessary to approve the exaggerated claims put forward by her press in the spring of 1919. It is enough to admit that in the light of the Wilsonian doctrine they were not more incompatible with that doctrine than the claims made by other Powers and accorded by the Supreme Council.

To sum up, Italy acquired the impression that association with her recent allies means for her not only sacrifices in their hour of need, but also further sacrifices in their hour of triumph. She became reluctantly convinced that they regard interests which she deems vital to herself as unconnected with their own. And that was unfortunate. If at some fateful conjuncture in the future her allies on their part should gather the impression that she has adjusted her policy to those interests which are so far removed from theirs, they will have themselves to blame.


[194] This clause, which figured in the draft Treaty, as presented to the Germans, provoked such emphatic protests from all sides that it was struck out in the revised version.

[195] In an interview given to the Correspondenz Bureau of Vienna by Conrad von Hoetzendorff. Cf. Le Temps, July 19, 1919.

[196] The Prime Minister, Salandra, declared that to have made neutrality a matter of bargaining would have been to dishonor Italy.

[197] King Carol was holding a crown council at the time. Bratiano had spoken against the King's proposal to throw in the country's lot with Germany. Carp was strongly for carrying out Rumania's treaty obligations. Some others hesitated, but before it could be put to the vote a telegram was brought in announcing Italy's resolve to maintain neutrality. The upshot was Rumania's refusal to follow her allies.

[198] On the eastern Adriatic, the Treaty of London allotted to Italy the peninsula of Istria, without Fiume, most of Dalmatia, exclusive of Spalato, the chief Dalmatian islands and the Dodecannesus.

[199] The present population of Fiume is computed at 45,227 souls, of whom 33,000 are Italians, 10,927 Slavs, and 1,300 Magyars.

[200] Another delegate is reported to have answered: "As we need Italy's friendship, we should pay the moderate price asked and back her claim to have the moon."

[201] A number of orders of the day eulogizing individual Slav officers and collective military entities were quoted by the advocates of Italy's cause at the Conference.

[202] Official communiqué of June 17, 1918.

[203] Journal de Genève, April 25, 1919.

[204] Cf. Il Corriere della Sera and Il Secolo of May 26, 1919.

[205] In the Senate he defended this attitude on March 4,1919, and expressed a desire to dispel the misunderstanding between the two peoples.

[206] In April, 1919.

[207] This fact has since been made public by Enrico Ferri in a remarkable discourse pronounced in the parliament at Rome (July 9, 1919). It was Baron Sonnino who deprecated the publication of any statement on the subject by President Wilson. Cf. La Stampa, July 10, 1919.

[208] On January 10, 1919.

[209] It gave eastern Friuli to Italy, including Gorizia, split Istria into two parts, and assigned Trieste and Pola also to Italy, but under such territorial conditions that they would be exposed to enemy projectiles in case of war.

[210] The National Council of Fiume issued its proclamation before it had become known that the battle of Vittorio Veneto was begun-i.e., October 30, 1918.

[211] Speech delivered at Mount Vernon on July 4, 1918.

[212] Of the United States, France, and Great Britain.

[213] Between April 5th and 12th.

[214] In his address to the representatives of organized labor in January, 1918.

[215] L'Echo de Paris, April 29, 1919.

[216] Le Gaulois, April 29, 1919.

[217] These meetings were held from March 28 till April 23, 1919.

[218] See Marco Borsa's article in Il Secolo, June 18, 1919; also Corriere della Sera, June 19, 1919.

[219] From May 5 to 16, 1919.

[220] Il Secolo, June 19, 1919.

[221] On April 23, 1919.

[222] "Can and will our allies treat our absence as a matter of no moment? Can and will they violate the formal undertaking which forbids the belligerents to conclude a diplomatic peace?... The London Declaration prohibits categorically the conclusion of any separate peace with any enemy state. France and England cannot sign peace with Germany if Italy does not sign it.... The situation is grave and abnormal, for our allies it is also grave and abnormal. Italy is isolated, and nations, especially those of continental Europe, which are not overrich, flee solitude as nature abhors a vacuum."-Corriere della Sera, April 26, 1919. Again: "'The Treaty of London' restrains France and England from concluding peace without Italy. And Italy is minded not to conclude peace with Germany before she herself has received satisfaction."-Journal de Genève, April 25, 1919.

[223] On May 6, 1919, at Versailles.

[224] Cf. Corriere della Sera, May 10, 1919.

[225] Annex W of the Revised Treaty.

[226] This incident was revealed by Enrico Ferri, in his remarkable speech in the Italian Parliament on July 9, 1919. Cf. La Stampa, July 10, 1919, page 2.

[227] Cf. The Morning Post, July 9, 1919.

[228] On July 10th the Italian Finance Minister, in his financial statement, announced that the total cost of the war to Italy would amount to one hundred milliard lire. He added, however, that her share of the German indemnity would wipe out her foreign debt, while a progressive tax on all but small fortunes would meet her internal obligations. Cf. Corriere della Sera, July 11 and 12, 1919.

[229] Cf. Avanti, July 19, 1919.

[230] Shown in percentages, the rise in the cost of living was: United States, 220 per cent.; England, 240 per cent.; Switzerland, 257 per cent.; France, 368 per cent.; Italy, 481 per cent.

[231] Enrico Ferri, on July 9, 1919. Cf. La Stampa, July 10, 1919.

[232] At a later date the President reiterated the grounds of his decision. In his Columbus speech (September 4, 1919) he asserted that "Italy desired Fiume for strategic military reasons, which the League of Nations would make unnecessary." (The New York Herald (Paris edition), September 6, 1919.) But the League did not render strategic precautions unnecessary to France.

[233] Corriere della Sera, May 11, 1919.

[234] La Stampa, July 16, 1919.

[235] Avanti, April 27, 1919. Cf. Le Temps, April 28, 1919.

[236] Corriere della Sera, August 9, 1919.

[237] Corriere della Sera, September 3, 1919.

[238] Quoted in La Stampa of July 20, 1919.

[239] Ibidem.

[240] Corriere d' Italia, June 29, 1919.

[241] Cf. Modern Italy, July 12, 1919 (page 298).

[242] Echo de Paris, July 7, 1919.

[243] Cf. "An Italian Exposé," published by The Morning Post, July 5, 1919.

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