Stefano MarcuzziApr 14, 2021
Britain and Italy in the Era of the First World War
Defending and Forging Empires
Cambridge University Press 2020
This is a reassessment of British and Italian grand strategies during the First World War. Dr. Stefano Marcuzzi, Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, tries to shed new light on a hitherto overlooked but central aspect of Britain and Italy's war experiences: the uneasy and only partial overlap between Britain's strategy for imperial defense and Italy's ambition for imperial expansion in his book: Britain and Italy in the Era of the First World War: Defending and Forging Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
Taking Anglo-Italian bilateral relations as a special lens through which to understand the workings of the Entente in World War I, Dr. Marcuzzi reveals how the ups-and-downs of that relationship influenced and shaped to a limited degree Allied grand strategy. Dr. Marcuzzi considers three main issues – war aims, war strategy and peace-making – and examines how, under the pressure of divergent interests and wartime events, the Anglo-Italian 'traditional friendship' turned increasingly into competition by the end of the war, casting a shadow on Anglo-Italian relations both at the Peace Conference and in the interwar period.
While not everyone will be convinced by some of his arguments and propositions (such as the partial rehabilitation of such rightly discredited figures as Salandra and Sonnino), that does not take away from the great effort that Dr. Marcuzzi has made.
Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.