Labor Uprising in Italy 1914

[ 1914 ]

While a new Italian government was being formed by Premier Antonio Salandra (1853-1931), a moderate conservative, radicals of all kinds were extremely vocal, resisting taxation, demanding wage increases, and opposing militarism. On June 7, 1914, popular uprisings ("Red Week") began in the Marches and Romagna, with rebellious landless laborers confronting strike breakers hired by local landowners. Incited by firebrands like Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), then editor of a socialist newsaper in Milan, the strikers and rebels staged an antidraft demonstration in Ancona, provoked gunfire from the police, and attempted reprisals. Bologna was taken over by dissidents who effected a general strike, sacked shops, and destroyed telegraph lines and railroad tracks. Ancona and other towns proclaimed themselves independent communes; Romagna declared itself a republic; Ferrara and Ravenna capitulated to the rebels. More than 100,000 soldiers had to be called into action before order was restored; but by early July 1914, Italy -- despite its alliance with Germany and Austria -- was so preoccupied with moves to declare neutrality that the problems of its restless laborers were temporarily shelved.

Related Conflicts

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