Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 April 2018
Italy entered the war in May 1915; the USA, in April 1917. One hundred years on, this paper examines the viewpoint of Antonio de Viti de Marco, the renowned Italian economist who was one of the founders of the pure theory of public finance. It first focuses on De Viti’s interpretation of the economic and political aspects of the Great War, and reconstructs his vision of the world conflict as a struggle between liberal democracies and authoritarian states. Second, the paper highlights the convergence of De Viti’s ideals with those of President Wilson, seen as the powerful international leader of the Italian democratic interventionists. It also clarifies that the “Wilsonianism” of this movement originated in the Italian Risorgimento, and suggests that this convergence was not coincidental. Finally, it shows how, after the war, the unconditional admiration De Viti felt for the American positions gave way to bitter disappointment.
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