Australian Left Review


The Italian nation came out of the First World war in dire economic straits. In 1915

the country was still backward industrially, agricultural production was still all-important

to the economy, and it had been ill-prepared for the enormous expense of fighting a war. During the war years, state expenditure had risen enormously from 2,287 million to 30,857 million lire per annum. Simultaneously, the mobilisation of vast numbers of peasants had resulted in drastic

falls in agricultural production and consequently in national income from that important sector. In 1915-19, the grain crop had fallen from 52 to 46 million quintals; the maize crop from 25 to 22 million quintals, and the beet sugar crop from 21 to 15 million quintals. In 1919 the result was, as one post-war prime minister, Giolitti, put it, that "the public debt had risen from 13 to 94 billions", and there was an annual deficit of four thousand million lire. If immediate steps of extreme urgency were not taken, this would conduct the c o u n try to ruination. He concluded that the Italians would have to pay their debts themselves, or make their country ever-more indebted to countries like the United States.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.