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Book description

This is an important reassessment of British and Italian grand strategies during the First World War. Stefano Marcuzzi sheds 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 defence and Italy's ambition for imperial expansion. Taking Anglo-Italian bilateral relations as a special lens through which to understand the workings of the Entente in World War I, he reveals how the ups-and-downs of that relationship influenced and shaped Allied grand strategy. 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.


‘Abandoning the stereotype of a greedy Italy selling itself to the highest bidder, Stefano Marcuzzi skilfully disentangles the threads of Anglo-Italian war-time diplomacy, strategy and economics. Finally we have an authoritative account of a complex bi-lateral relationship and an explanation of how and why the two allies ultimately drifted apart.’

John Gooch - University of Leeds

‘In a brilliant demonstration of how diplomatic history should be written, Stefano Marcuzzi reinterprets Anglo-Italian relations in the First World War as an asymmetric alliance based on incompatible imperial projects, making the ‘humiliation’ of Italy at Paris in 1919 both inevitable and understandable. Revisionist history at its best.’

John Horne - Trinity College Dublin

‘Stefano Marcuzzi's detailed, ambitious, and original book significantly enhances our understanding of Italian strategy and war aims in the First World War, and offers important insights into the huge challenges faced by the Entente and in alliance warfare more generally.’

Vanda Wilcox - John Cabot University

‘This is a novel addition to the English-language literature on the subject. The book is widely researched in both languages, and Marcuzzi conducted a considerable amount of archival research.’

Charles Coutinho Source: International Affairs

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