The Balkans, Italy & Africa 1914–1918: From Sarajevo to the Piave and Lake Tanganyika

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Amber Books Ltd, 22.03.2012. - 224 страница
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Italy had been allied with the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires since 1882 as part of the Triple Alliance. However, the nation had its own designs on Austrian territory in Trentino, Istria and Dalmatia. Rome had a secret 1902 pact with France, effectively nullifying its alliance. At the start of hostilities, Italy refused to commit troops, arguing that the Triple Alliance was defensive in nature, and that Austria-Hungary was an aggressor. The Austro-Hungarian government began negotiations to secure Italian neutrality, offering the French colony of Tunisia in return. However, Italy then joined the Entente in April 1915 and declared war on Austria-Hungary in May. Fifteen months later, it declared war on Germany. Faced with Russia, Austria-Hungary could spare only one third of its army to attack Serbia. After suffering heavy losses, the Austrians briefly occupied the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Serbian counterattacks, however, succeeded in driving them from the country by the end of 1914. The Serbs suffered defeat near modern day Gnjilane in Kosovo, forces being evacuated by ship to Greece. In late 1915 a Franco-British force landed at Salonica in Greece, to offer assistance and to pressure the government to declare war against the Central Powers. Only at the end of the conflict were the Entente powers able to break through, which was after most of the German and Austro-Hungarian troops had been withdrawn. Some of the first clashes of the war involved British, French and German colonial forces in Africa. On 7 August, French and British troops invaded the German protectorate of Togoland. On 10 August German forces in South-West Africa attacked South Africa; sporadic and fierce fighting continued for the remainder of the war.

 

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David Jordan is Senior Lecturer at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham, where he teaches Intermediate and Advanced Staff courses. He joined the Defence Studies Department of Kings College London in June 2000 from the University of Birmingham. He is Chairman of the Board of Examiners for the MA in Defence Studies. He is the author of several books, including The Timeline of World War II, Wolfpack and the History of the French Foreign Legion.

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