Primary Documents - Treaty of London, 26 April 1915

Italian Premier Vittorio Orlando The primary Allied powers - Britain, France and Russia - were, by 1915, keen to bring neutral Italy into World War One on their side.

Italy however drove a hard bargain, demanding extensive territorial concessions once the war had been won, including Trent, Southern Tyrol, Istria, Gorizia and Dalmatia.

Despite the Allies' eventual agreement the terms of the secret treaty were to cause problems at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

Since the Italian territorial demands included the Yugo-Slavic lands under Austria-Hungary, Italy needed to negotiate future borders with two of her wartime allies, Serbia and Montenegro; she did however refuse to negotiate with any delegate to Versailles who had served within an enemy government (including Austro-Hungarian deputies); she finally agreed to such negotiations however, under pressure from U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

Ultimately Italy was granted Trentino, Trieste, (the German-speaking) South Tyrol, and Istria.  But Dalmatia was excluded, as was Fiume; so, too, were any colonial territories in Africa or Asia and any claim on Albania.  Nationalists consequently argued that Italy had been robbed of its rightful gains.

Extracts from the Treaty of London, 26 April 1915

Article 1

A military convention shall be immediately concluded between the General Staffs of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia.  This convention shall settle the minimum number of military forces to be employed by Russia against Austria-Hungary in order to prevent that Power from concentrating all its strength against Italy, in the event of Russia deciding to direct her principal effort against Germany...

Article 2

On her part, Italy undertakes to use her entire resources for the purpose of waging war jointly with France, Great Britain, and Russia against all their enemies.

Article 3

The French and British fleets shall render active and permanent assistance to Italy...

Article 4

Under the Treaty of Peace, Italy shall obtain the Trentino, Cisalpine Tyrol with its geographical and natural frontier, as well as Trieste, the counties of Gorizia and Gradisca, all Istria as far as the Quarnero and including Volosca and the Istrian islands of Cherso and Lussin, as well as the small islands of Plavnik, Unie, Canidole, Palazzuoli, San Pietro di Nembi, Asinello, Gruica, and the neighbouring islets...

Article 5

Italy shall also be given the province of Dalmatia within its present administrative boundaries...

Article 6

Italy shall receive full sovereignty over Valona, the island of Saseno and surrounding territory...

Article 7

Should Italy obtain the Trentino and Istria in accordance with the provisions of Article 4, together with Dalmatia and the Adriatic islands within the limits specified in Article 5, and the Bay of Valona (Article 6), and if the central portion of Albania is reserved for the establishment of a small autonomous neutralised State, Italy shall not oppose the division of Northern and Southern Albania between Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece...

Article 8

Italy shall receive entire sovereignty over the Dodecanese Islands which she is at present occupying.

Article 9

Generally speaking, France, Great Britain, and Russia recognise that,... in the event of total or partial partition of Turkey in Asia, she ought to obtain a just share of the Mediterranean region adjacent to the province of Adalia...

Article 11

Italy shall receive a share of any eventual war indemnity corresponding to their efforts and her sacrifices.

Article 13

In the event of France and Great Britain increasing their colonial territories in Africa at the expense of Germany, those two Powers agree in principle that Italy may claim some equitable compensation...

Article 14

Great Britain undertakes to facilitate the immediate conclusion, under equitable conditions, of a loan of at least 50,000,000 pounds...

Article 16

The present arrangement shall be held secret.

Source: Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, London, 1920, LI Cmd. 671, Miscellaneous No. 7, 2-7.

At the Battle of Sarikamish the Turks suffered a disastrously high 81% casualty rate.

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