The Great War

In Italy, between 1896 and 1899, many young men were called to arms. Many, however, preferred to desert and escape abroad. In the south of Italy, many young people escaped enlisting by hiding in the fields and surviving by means of nature. Some guys joined and then they became unavailable immediately afterwards. In some cases, the enrolled young men caused themselves wounds to obtain a license, or they delivered themselves to the enemy hoping for better living conditions. To escape military life, others tried to simulate mental illness, difficult to prove. 

After 1916, the living conditions on the front began to improve. The soldiers had helmets, the footwear became more robust and coats were also assigned. In some cases, combat techniques improved, and soldiers could leave their backpack in the trenches to be more agile in movements. General Cadorna, on the other hand, is remembered for his cruelty towards his soldiers. They were forced to get out of the trenches and fight even when their death was almost certain. In some cases, Italian policemen were deployed who shot those who hesitated or refused. The soldiers could not read the newspapers to not know what was happening and could not send letters to their families informing them of the real situation. 

General Cadorna was very severe even with punishment. In addition to shooting in the most serious cases of desertion or refusal to fight, many soldiers were punished simply for returning late from a license or for being surprised to write wrong in a letter from a superior, or even for having doubted the tactic of war decided by the Supreme Command.   
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Leonardo Galatioto


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