Explain the Economic and Political Effects of the First World War on Italy Between 1915 and 1918

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Explain the economic and political effects of the First World War on Italy between 1915 and 1918 The war imposed serious strains on the Italian economy. The cost of keeping soldiers armed and fed led to a large budget deficit. So as a result they were forced to borrow heavily from abroad. Spiralling war debt ended up at 85 billion Iira, fivefold increase on 1914 figure. Due to this debt the government then resulted in printing money and this resulted in inflation. Inflation destroyed savings of the middle class and especially effected land owners as they relied on rent. State employees and factory workers purchasing power fell by 25% because of the value of the Iire. The state also spent 148 billion lire on the war effort and inflation increased with the price index quadrupling, and rising from 100 in 1914 to 413 in 1918. Conscription soaked up rural unemployment and some peasants grew prosperous. Fiat received cheap loans to re-equip factories and military contracts because of the strength of demand for army vehicles. Fiat also grew fivefold. The industrial north benefited most from the war, describing it as a ‘total war’ and in the south the gap with the poverty stricken grew wider. By the time it came to 1918 food shortages had caused riots and discontent and the government was finding it difficult to keep the army supplied. Industrialists became independent on war time business and they severely struggled when the war came to an abrupt end in 1918. Due to the opposition from many neutralists the government operated through the use of emergency powers, where parliament played the role of simply rubber stamping legislation. The Italian socialists openly condemned the conflict as a capitalist or ‘bosses’ war. Italian politics was largely divided during war years. The majority of the Chamber of Deputies had been opposed to intervention and divisions lasted the

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