What Problems Did Italy Face After World War I?

One of the key lasting impacts of World War I upon Italy was the sheer human cost and psychological trauma of it, particularly events like Caporetto. This battle, in addition to claiming the lives of around 300,000 Italian soldiers, also greatly diminished the nation's pride and morale. When the war finished in 1918, the total loss of Italian life tallied to more than 600,000 soldiers and 589,000 civilians, with approximately 950,000 wounded and 250,000 permanently disabled.

The financial cost of World War I also took its toll upon Italy. The government had spent more on fighting Austria-Hungary than they had spent internally throughout the past half-century. Coupled with a feeling of humiliation at having been under-recognized by the other Allied Powers in the negotiations of Versailles, especially in their relatively modest receipt of small parts of Austria and few North African territories, Italy succumbed to internal hardships and schisms.

The economic difficulties led to civil discontent, protests and riots and ultimately to the increased popularity of the Fascist politician, Benito Mussolini, supported by the Blackshirts. Following a successful coup to become prime minister in Rome, the stage was set for Mussolini to lead Italy to war against the Allies in World War II.