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Remembering May 25, 1915, when the nation officially entered World War I


This May 24 commemorates 109 years since Italy officially entered the First World War in 1915. As a nation they suffered losses of 650,000 victims among soldiers and 600,000 civilian victims. The Great War, with all its burden of deaths, tragedies, and devastation, had already been underway for 10 months when Italy abandoned neutrality and sided with the Entente forces against the former allies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany. The allied forces were composed of the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Italy, and Japan. In those “radiant days of May” which were the prelude to the declaration of war, the majority of the population was against Italy going to war, but the voices of those who pushed for intervention prevailed.

Elia Stelluto in his workshop, surrounded by his numerous photos of Padre Pio.


A photograph Stelluto took as a boy reveals the priest’s stigmata wounds.

It is a day that has remained in the historical memory of the country. As the famous lyrics of the Alpine military song say, “Perhaps the Piave River was truly murmuring calmly and placidly,” as Italian troops waged a decisive victory at the river in June of 1918 that changed the course of the war for Italy. However, in the interim between May 24, 1915, and the wars ending in 1918, there were extremely hard years of suffering and deprivation for both the soldiers and the population. More than three years after the war began a victory would come, but it was achieved at a high price.

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