Andrea Carteny has a PhD in History of Europe and is Assistant professor in East European History at the Sapienza University of Rome since 30 December 2011.
He is Secretary of the Institute for the History of Italian Risorgimento (the Rome Committee), an editorial board’s member of “Hungarian Studies Review” (“Rivista di Studi Ungheresi”, Sapienza University’s journal) and a scientific committee’s member of the Italian-Romanian Studies’ Institute of “Babes-Bolyai” at the University of Cluj (Romania). Taking part in several international conferences (as those organised by ASN at Columbia University in New York and by ASEN at London School of Economics), he also published many papers and books. The topics of these publications are national minorities issues in the Danube region and Balkans before and after the Great War, and the Italian policies surrounding these issues.
During the Great War, before and after the Italian defeat of Caporetto (1917), a strong positioned group of several Italian circles – among them the influent newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, and the group headed by the columnist and senator Luigi Albertini – wanted to give real support to the oppressed nationalities of Austria-Hungary. The aim of a new Italian “nationalities’ policy” was to support the Southern Slavs directly and to “renounce” (from this word originates the pejorative definition of rinunziatari for the Corriere’s group) the London Pact. Unofficial negotiations in London focused on the Italian and Yugoslavian question, especially on the boundaries of Istria and Dalmatia, after which a general agreement called Torre-Trumbić was signed. On 8th April in Rome the congress of “oppressed nationalities of Austria-Hungary” opened. This so-called Rome Pact was based on the consideration of the delegates that 30 million Slavs and Latins were fighting against 20 million Germans and Hungarians. While at the Italian High Command, General Pietro Badoglio prepared papers to launch beyond the lines so as to spread the new national policy among the enemy ranks. Minister Sonnino did not sincerely sustain this action, trying to keep the London Pact to preserve the Italian national aims. All the observers agree to consider the Italian attitude of double-faced policy towards the issue of nationalities as the different positions between Orlando and Sonnino. As main consequences of the Rome Pact, we have to mention the achieved idea of a dissolution of Austria-Hungary through the organization of Legions of former war prisoners (Czech-Slovaks, Yugoslavs, Romanians, Poles) and the active propaganda over and beyond the enemy lines, to call for desertion and to pass to the Entente side.
Through the action of Luigi Albertini and his works (mainly but not only, see Epistolario. 1911-1926, II vol.: “La Grande Guerra”, Milano 1968) it is possible to follow steps and details of this turning point in Italian policy during the war.