May 2015


Steven Hughes – Virility, Blood, and Honor: Italy’s Belated Entry into WWI in 1915

  • Wednesday, 6 May 2015 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

To commemorate the centennial of Italy's entry into the First World War in May 1915, Steven Hughes will speak on the "Interventionist Crisis" and its consequences for Italian history. Thus, as the great powers went to war in August of 1914, Italy – despite its thirty-year old defensive alliance with Germany and Austria – declared itself neutral in the conflict, as did Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Switzerland. However, unlike these other states, Italy did eventually enter the war (albeit on the side of the France, England, and Russia) in May of 1915 after a series of debates, demonstrations, and street struggles that would manage to betray the anti-war sentiment of much of the populace while undercutting the opposition of a substantial majority of the parliament.  

This “Interventionist Crisis” is considered by many historians to be a defining moment in the failure of Italian democracy and the genesis of the fascist movement. This talk will lay out the forces at play during the crisis and will focus on how tropes of masculinity, virility, and blood variously played their part in mobilizing large sectors of the middle classes to take to the streets – sometimes with targeted violence – in support of the war. Conversely, Hughes will look at why the language of honor was less commonly used than one might assume during the debates and will then finish with a discussion of how the crisis helped determine the course of the post war period.

Steven Hughes is Department Chair and Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland and a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

This lecture will be given in English.
This event is in collaboration with the Fulbright Commission.