Italy backs out of Triple Alliance | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

Italy was an interesting
actor in World War I because it was one of the original members of the Triple Alliance. In 1882, Italy becomes a member
of the Triple Alliance. The whole reason why it was called a Triple Alliance is because it was between Italy, Austria-Hungary and Germany. Despite being part of that defensive pact, that they would defend
each other if any of these other parties like
Russia were to attack them, or France were to attack them, it was an awkward alliance because Italy was a historical enemy of Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary had some
territory, especially some territory where some
Italian speakers were. Some Italian nationalists
were interested in recapturing or having claims on
some of that territory. I’ve circled some of that right over here. Right from the get-go it
was an awkward alliance. Even in that first Triple
Alliance, Italy got an exception for this defensive alliance. It says we don’t want to be
at war with Great Britain. Then in 1902, Italy gets
into another secret … or I guess this is the first
of many secret deals … with France. If you’ve
ever played Diplomacy, this is what Diplomacy’s all about. You make a deal with one
person, but maybe in secret you’re making exceptions
with other people. They get into a secret pact with France where Italy’s essentially
saying, “Look, you know, even though we’re a member
of this Triple Alliance and we’ve already said
we’re not going to be at war with Great Britain, we’re also going to say that for France as
well. We’re really not in a mood to be at war with you.” Then when you fast forward to 1914, and we’re now at the
beginning of World War I, August, Germany declares, July, Austria-Hungary
declares war on Serbia, Russia begins to mobilize, Germany declares war on
Russia and on France, Italy, because of this kind of awkwardness in this Triple Alliance, actually decides to stay neutral. Italy stays neutral. Their justification for staying neutral is that the Triple Alliance
is a defensive pact. It says, “Hey, we’re
going to defend each other if anyone attacks us,” but they’re saying that in 1914 at the
beginning of World War I it was Austria-Hungary that
decided to take the offensive. It was Germany that took
the offensive, just based on mobilization in Russia, that took the offensive against France and in terms of declaring war on Russia. So Italy says, “Hey, look, this is a
defensive pact. The other two members of the Triple
Alliance, they’re being offensive. We don’t want … That
means that we aren’t bound to it. We’re only bound to it in the event of defense. As you can imagine, a lot of it was them just trying to figure out
who’s likely to win this, in which scenario are they
likely to gain the most. So you fast forward to 1915,
in particular April 26. The Italians are
negotiating with the allies thinking about what type of
territory they could capture especially from Austria-Hungary. On April 26 they sign
the Treaty of London, which at this point is a secret. Treaty of London. It’s
not broadcast to the other members of the Triple
Alliance, but it’s an agreement with the triple
entente that hey, look, we are on your side.
We are going to declare war on the central powers imminently. They do so in May 1915, on May 3. They back out of the Triple Alliance … out of Triple Alliance …
out of Triple Alliance. Then on May 23 they declare war on their historical enemy, but one of the co-signers of the Triple
Alliance declare war on the Austro-Hungarian empire. On the Austro-Hungarian empire. As we’ll see, this was actually, Italy’s entering into the war on
the side of the allies against Austria-Hungary, actually played a major role in the eventual downfall of the Austro-Hungarians
and I’ll go into that into more detail in the next video.

Comments 11

  • It's like modern history, only on my youtube sub box.

  • Diplomacy is a vicious destroyer of friendships and the best board game ever. LOL

  • Khanacademy where learning is fun

  • Someone… Please . . . give me good reasons why Germany and Austro-Hugary needed to go to war? Was one of them more anxious than the other to do so?

  • Territory is the simple answer. Both were empires based on expanding, annexing and improving surrounding countries. They had been for some time. No easy access to the ocean or wide empty lands, so no colonies for resources.

    Also, the Russian industry was weak but expanding rapidly with the investments of French capital, building railroads, factories. Russia was becoming a modern nation, and a threat. If they wanted to win, they needed to do so sooner rather than later.

  • I believe it dates back to the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, in which the Austrians got walloped. It was Austria on one side, Prussia and Italy on the other side. The war ended with Northern Germany unifying under Prussia, creating the Germany you see in WWI, Italy getting Venetia from Austria, and Austria losing essentially all of its power. The next year, 1867, Austria and Hungary signed a treaty creating the Austro-Hungarian empire. They all had bad blood with France, hint: Napoleon.

  • In the 1870s, Napoleon III tried to get Austria to enter war again with unified Germany, hoping it would weaken the Prussian army and make Napoleon the ruler of Europe. But he refused to allow Italy to control Rome, which was the capital of Italy, out of fear of essentially open revolt in France, who were very Catholic and enjoyed controlling Rome. So his refusal to give up Rome, coupled with a few military loses, destroyed the Alliance between France, Italy, and Austria and Prussia won.

  • So very, very excited. Next year's US Academic Decathlon's topic is WWI, and there are so many resources! (so, so, so excited!)

  • portugal was on the first war.

  • very helpful thanks 

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