Second Battle of the Piave River
The Second Battle of the Piave River, fought between 15 and 23 June 1918, was a decisive victory for the Italian Army against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I. Though the battle proved to be a decisive blow to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and by extension the Central Powers, its full significance was not appreciated in Italy, yet Erich Ludendorff, on hearing the news, is reported to have said he'had the sensation of defeat for the first time'. It would become clear that the battle was in fact the beginning of the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the exit of Russia from the war in 1917, Austria-Hungary was now able to devote significant forces to the Italian Front and to receive reinforcements from their German allies; the Austro-Hungarian emperor Karl had reached an agreement with the Germans to undertake a new offensive against Italy, a move supported by both the chief of the general staff Arthur Arz von Straußenburg and the commander of the South Tyrolean Army Group Conrad von Hötzendorf.
In the autumn of 1917, the Germans and Austrians had defeated the Italians at the Battle of Caporetto. After Caporetto, the Italians fell back to the Piave and were reinforced by six French infantry divisions and five British infantry divisions as well as sizeable air contingents. Italy's defeat at Caporetto led to General Luigi Cadorna's dismissal and General Armando Diaz replaced him as Chief of staff of the Italian Army. Diaz set up a strong defense line along the Piave. Up until this point in the war, the Italian army had been fighting alone against the Central Powers. These, besides accounting for less than a tenth of the Italian forces in theater, had however to be redirected for the major part to the Western Front as soon as the German Spring Offensive began in March 1918; the Austro-Hungarian Army had recently undergone a change in command, the new Austrian Chief of Staff, Arthur Arz von Straußenburg, wished to finish off the Italians. After Caporetto, the Austro-Hungarian offensive had put many Italian cities, including Venice and Verona, under the threat of the Central Powers.
Austria's army had since longed to achieve these strategic prizes and force Italy into an armistice. Straußenburg's army group commanders, Conrad von Hötzendorf and Svetozar Boroević von Bojna, both wished to make a decisive assault against the Italians, but could not agree about the location of the attack. Conrad wanted an attack from the South Tyrolean Alps towards Vicenza. Boroević first favored a defensive action, but when pressed preferred a frontal attack along the Piave River. Straußenburg himself was in favour of an attack on the western part of the front leading to Brescia. Conrad and Boroević had a dislike for each other, Straußenburg and the emperor, unable to decide between these two strong personalities, divided the army between them, reserving only a small part of the forces for a diversionary action on the Giudicarie sector; the preparation of the offensive began in February 1918, after a meeting in Bolzano between the Austrian and German high commands. It was recommended by the Germans, as Ludendorff hoped that it could force the increasing American forces in France to be diverted to the Italian front, so Straußenburg modeled the attack after Erich Ludendorff's offensive on the Western Front.
The Austro-Hungarians, differently from their previous success at Caporetto and from the subsequent attempts to breakthrough on Monte Grappa, did not prepare the attack as a pinpoint one, but as an all-out frontal attack, employing the entire residual strength of their army all along the front. The Austro-Hungarian formations were trained to employ the tactics developed by the Germans on the Western Front for Operation Michael, as Austrian officers returning from the Eastern Front were extensively trained alongside their German counterparts. There were innovations on the Italian side. Analyzing the defeat of Caporetto, the staff of Armando Diaz concluded that the main tactical causes of it were the lack of mobility of Italian units, caught in a too rigid defensive scheme, the too centralized command and control system, the lack of depth of Italian defences, where too many soldiers were stuck on the frontline; the new schemes prepared for the battle led to the abolition of the continuous entrenchment and in the development of a mobile defence system, in which the smaller units were allowed to move between recognized strongpoints, independently decide to retreat or counterattack, or directly call the support of the artillery.
Moreover, 13 divisions, equipped with 6000 trucks, were organized in a central reserve, ready to be sent where it was needed. General Diaz learned the exact timing of the Austrian attack: 3:00 a.m. on 15 June, so at 2:30 a.m. the Italian artillery opened fire all along their front on the crowded enemy trenches, inflicting heavy casualties. In some sectors the artillery barrage had the effect of delaying or stopping the attack, as Austrian soldiers began to retreat to their defensive positions, believing they had to face an unexpected Italian attack, but on the greater part of the front the Austrians still attacked as planned. Boroević launched the first assault, moving south along the Adriatic coast and in the middle course of the Piave River; the Austrians were able to cross the Piave and gained a bridgehead 15 miles wide and 5 miles deep in the face of Italian heavy resistance, before Boroević was stopped and forced to order a retreat. On the subsequent days Boroević renewed the assault, but the artillery barrage destroyed many of the river's bridges and the Austrian
First Battle of the Isonzo
The First Battle of the Isonzo was fought between the Armies of Italy and Austria-Hungary on the Italian Front in World War I, between 23 June and 7 July 1915. The aim of the Italian Army was to drive the Austrians away from its defensive positions along the Soča and on the nearby mountains. Although the Italians enjoyed a 2:1 numeric superiority, their offensive failed because the Italian commander, Luigi Cadorna, employed frontal assaults after impressive artillery barrages; the Austrians had the advantage of fighting from uphill positions barricaded with barbed wire which were able to resist the Italian assault. The Italians had some early successes, they took Monte Nero, took Monte Colowrat, captured the heights around Plezzo. However, they were unable to dislodge the Austro-Hungarian troops from the high ground between Tolmino and the Isonzo, which would form a launching off point for the Caporetto Offensive; the heaviest fighting occurred around Gorizia. In addition to the natural defenses of the river and mountains, bastions were created at Oslavia and Podgora.
The fighting at Gorizia consisted of street-by-street urban combat interspersed with artillery fire. Italian troops, such as the Italian Re and Casale Brigades, were able to advance as far as the suburbs but could get no further and were driven back, they made small footholds at Adgrado and Redipuglia on the Karst Plateau south of Gorizia but were unable to do much else. On the Austrian-Hungarian side two commanders distinguished themselves: Major General Géza Lukachich von Somorja, commander of the 5th Mountain Brigade, who retook Redipuglia, Major General Novak von Arienti who retook Hill 383 with his 1st Mountain Brigade. Early in July the commander of the Austrian Fifth Army, General Svetozar Boroević, received two reinforcement divisions, which put an end to the Italian efforts at breaking through the Austrian lines; the final Italian gains were minimal: in the northern sector, they conquered the heights over Bovec. Austria–Hungary History of Austria Italy in World War I World War I Österreichisches Staatsarchiv/Kriegsarchiv Wien L'esercito italiano nella grande guerra Volume I - IV / Roma: Ministerio della Guerra - Ufficio Storico, 1929–1974 Ministero della Guerra Stato Maggiore centrale - Ufficio Storico.
Guerra Italo-Austriaca 1915-18. Le medaglie d'Oro. Volume secondo - 1916. Roma: 1923 Österreich-Ungarns letzter Krieg 1914-1918 Band II Verlag der Militärwissenschftlichen Mitteilungen Wien 1931-1933 Anton Graf Bossi-Fedrigotti: Kaiserjäger - Ruhm und Ende. Stocker Verlag, Graz 1977 http://www.worldwar1.com/itafront/ison1915.htm Macdonald, Željko Cimprič. Caporetto and the Isonzo Campaign: The Italian Front, 1915-1918. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2011. ISBN 9781848846715 OCLC 774957786 Page, Thomas Nelson, "Italy and the World War". New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, Full Text Available Online. Schindler, John R.. Isonzo: The Forgotten Sacrifice of the Great War. Praeger. ISBN 0275972046. OCLC 44681903. First Battle of the Isonzo, 1915 at FirstWorldWar.com Battlefield Maps: Italian Front 11 battles at the Isonzo The Walks of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation. The Foundation preserves and presents the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War in the area of the Isonzo Front for the study and educational purposes.
The Kobarid Museum Društvo Soška Fronta Pro Hereditate - extensive site
Battle of Mount Ortigara
The Battle of Mount Ortigara was fought from 10 to 25 June 1917 between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies for possession of Mount Ortigara, in the Asiago Plateau. The Italians decided to launch an offensive because the Strafexpedition of the previous year had improved the Austrian defensive positions, whence the Italian armies of Cadore and the Isonzo could be threatened; the battle was prepared with considerable means concentrated on a short segment of the front just a few kilometers long. However, although the Italians enjoyed a 3-to-1 numeric superiority in both men and guns, as they faced 100,000 Austro-Hungarians with 500 guns, the attack still presented several problems: The Austrian positions were strong; the arc formed by the opposing lines was such as to favor the Austrian artillery. The Italian lines were overcrowded; the Austrians expected the offensive, so there was no surprise. The attack began on 10 June and after fierce and bloody fightings the Italian 52nd Alpine Division managed to capture the top of Mount Ortigara.
The Austro-Hungarian command promptly sent many trained reinforcements. On 25 June, the 11 Italian battalions guarding the summit were attacked by Austrian shock troops which retook it, the strenuous Italian resistance notwithstanding; the 52nd Division alone suffered about half the Italian casualties. General Ettore Mambretti, commander of the Sixth Army, was considered responsible for the heavy casualties and removed from command. A letter from a young soldier, written on the eve of the battle, is part of the museum of the Asiago War Memorial. Adolfo Ferrero wrote this letter to his family shortly before dying in combat, the letter was discovered in the personal effects of his page, whose body was exhumed from Mount Ortigara in the 1950s. Gooch, John; the Italian Army and the First World War. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521193078; the Battle of Ortigara
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest and the Po Valley; the countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania and Herzegovina, Italy and Slovenia. The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands located along the Croatian part of its eastern coast, it is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres. The Otranto Sill, an underwater ridge, is located at the border between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas; the prevailing currents flow counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast and back to the strait along the western coast. Tidal movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are known to occur occasionally; the Adriatic's salinity is lower than the Mediterranean's because the Adriatic collects a third of the fresh water flowing into the Mediterranean, acting as a dilution basin.
The surface water temperatures range from 30 °C in summer to 12 °C in winter moderating the Adriatic Basin's climate. The Adriatic Sea sits on the Apulian or Adriatic Microplate, which separated from the African Plate in the Mesozoic era; the plate's movement contributed to the formation of the surrounding mountain chains and Apennine tectonic uplift after its collision with the Eurasian plate. In the Late Oligocene, the Apennine Peninsula first formed, separating the Adriatic Basin from the rest of the Mediterranean. All types of sediment are found in the Adriatic, with the bulk of the material transported by the Po and other rivers on the western coast; the western coast is alluvial or terraced, while the eastern coast is indented with pronounced karstification. There are dozens of marine protected areas in the Adriatic, designed to protect the sea's karst habitats and biodiversity; the sea is abundant in flora and fauna—more than 7,000 species are identified as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic and threatened ones.
The Adriatic's shores are populated by more than 3.5 million people. The earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Etruscan and Greek. By the 2nd century BC, the shores were under Rome's control. In the Middle Ages, the Adriatic shores and the sea itself were controlled, to a varying extent, by a series of states—most notably the Byzantine Empire, the Croatian Kingdom, the Republic of Venice, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire; the Napoleonic Wars resulted in the First French Empire gaining coastal control and the British effort to counter the French in the area securing most of the eastern Adriatic shore and the Po Valley for Austria. Following Italian unification, the Kingdom of Italy started an eastward expansion that lasted until the 20th century. Following World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the eastern coast's control passed to Yugoslavia and Albania; the former disintegrated during the 1990s. Italy and Yugoslavia agreed on their maritime boundaries by 1975 and this boundary is recognised by Yugoslavia's successor states, but the maritime boundaries between Slovenian, Bosnian-Herzegovinian, Montenegrin waters are still disputed.
Italy and Albania agreed on their maritime boundary in 1992. Fisheries and tourism are significant sources of income all along the Adriatic coast. Adriatic Croatia's tourism industry has grown faster economically than the rest of the Adriatic Basin's. Maritime transport is a significant branch of the area's economy—there are 19 seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million tonnes of cargo per year; the largest Adriatic seaport by annual cargo turnover is the Port of Trieste, while the Port of Split is the largest Adriatic seaport by passengers served per year. The origins of the name Adriatic are linked to the Etruscan settlement of Adria, which derives its name from the Illyrian adur meaning water or sea. In classical antiquity, the sea was known as Mare Adriaticum or, less as Mare Superum, " upper sea"; the two terms were not synonymous, however. Mare Adriaticum corresponds to the Adriatic Sea's extent, spanning from the Gulf of Venice to the Strait of Otranto; that boundary became more defined by Roman authors – early Greek sources place the boundary between the Adriatic and Ionian seas at various places ranging from adjacent to the Gulf of Venice to the southern tip of the Peloponnese, eastern shores of Sicily and western shores of Crete.
Mare Superum on the other hand encompassed both the modern Adriatic Sea and the sea off the Apennine peninsula's southern coast, as far as the Strait of Sicily. Another name used in the period was Mare Dalmaticum, applied to waters off the coast of Dalmatia or Illyricum; the names for the sea in the languages of the surrounding countries include Albanian: Deti Adriatik. In Croatian and Slovene, the sea is referred to as Jadran; the Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, bordered in the southwest by the Apennine or Italian Peninsula, in the northwest by the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in the northeast by Slovenia, Croatia, B
Gorizia is a town and comune in northeastern Italy, in the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is located at the foot of the Julian Alps, it is the capital of the Province of Gorizia and a local center of tourism and commerce. Since 1947, a twin town of Nova Gorica has developed on the other side of the modern-day Italian–Slovenian border; the entire region was subject to territorial dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia after World War II: after the new boundaries were established in 1947 and the old town was left to Italy, Nova Gorica was built on the Yugoslav side. Taken together, the two towns constitute a conurbation, which includes the Slovenian municipality of Šempeter-Vrtojba. Since May 2011, these three towns have been joined in a common trans-border metropolitan zone, administered by a joint administration board. Gorizia is located at the confluence of the Vipava Valleys, it lies on a plain overlooked by the Gorizia Hills. Sheltered from the north by a mountain ridge, Gorizia is protected from the cold bora wind, which affects most of the neighboring areas.
The town thus enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate throughout the year. The name of the town comes from the Slovene word gorica'little hill', a common toponym in Slovene-inhabited areas. Originating as a watchtower or a prehistoric castle controlling the fords of the Isonzo River, Gorizia first emerged as a small village not far from the former Via Gemina, the Roman road linking Aquileia and Emona; the name Gorizia was recorded for the first time in a document dated April 28, 1001, in which Holy Roman Emperor Otto III donated the castle and the village of Goriza to the Patriarch of Aquileia John II and to Count Verihen Eppenstein of Friuli. The document referred to Gorizia as "the village known as Goriza in the language of the Slavs". Count Meinhard of the Bavarian Meinhardiner noble lineage, with possessions around Lienz in Tyrol, is mentioned as early as 1107; the borders of the county changed in the following four centuries due to frequent wars with Aquileia and other counties, to the subdivision of the territory in two main nuclei: one around the upper Drava near Lienz, the other centered on Gorizia itself.
Between the 12th century and early 16th century, the town served as the political and administrative center of this independent County of Gorizia, which at the height of its power comprised the territory of the present-day regions of Goriška, southeast Friuli, the Karst Plateau, central Istria and East Tyrol. From the 11th century, the town had two different layers of development: the upper castle district and the village beneath it; the first played the second a rural-commercial role. In 1500, the dynasty of the Counts of Gorizia died out and their County passed to Austrian Habsburg rule, after a short occupation by the Republic of Venice in the years 1508 and 1509. Under Habsburg dominion, the town spread out at the foot of the castle. Many settlers from northern Italy started their commerce. Gorizia developed into a multi-ethnic town, in which Friulian, Venetian and the Slovene language were spoken. In mid-16th century, Gorizia emerged as a center of Protestant Reformation, spreading from the neighboring northeastern regions of Carniola and Carinthia.
The prominent Slovene Protestant preacher Primož Trubar visited and preached in the town. By the end of the century, Catholic Counter-Reformation had gained force in Gorizia, led by the local dean Janez Tavčar, who became bishop of Ljubljana. Tavčar was instrumental in bringing the Jesuit order to the town, which played a role in the education and cultural life in Gorizia thereafter. Gorizia was at first part of the County of Görz and since 1754, the capital of the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca. In ecclesiastical matters, after the suppression of the Patriarchate of Aquileia in 1751, the Archdiocese of Gorizia was established as its legal successor on the territory of the Habsburg Monarchy. Gorizia thus emerged as a Roman Catholic religious center; the archdiocese of Gorizia covers a large territory, extending to the Drava River to the north and the Kolpa to the east, with the dioceses of Trieste, Trento and Pedena subject to the authority of the archbishops of Gorizia. A new town quarter developed around the Cathedral where many treasures from the Basilica of Aquileia were transferred.
Many new villas were built conveying to the town the typical late Baroque appearance, which characterized it up to World War I. A synagogue was built within the town walls, another example of Gorizia's tolerant multi-ethnic nature. During the Napoleonic Wars, Gorizia was incorporated to the French Illyrian Provinces between 1809 and 1813. After the restoration of the Austrian rule, the Gorizia and its County were incorporated in the administrative unit known as the Kingdom of Illyria. During this period, Gorizia emerged as a popular summer residence of the Austrian nobility, became known as the "Austrian Nice". Members of the former French ruling Bourbon family, deposed by the July Revolution of 1830 settled in the town, including the last Bourbon monarch Charles X who spent his last years in Gorizia. Unlike in most neighboring areas, the revolutionary spri
Austria-Hungary referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy in Central and Eastern Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed by giving a new constitution to the Austrian Empire, which devolved powers on Austria and Hungary and placed them on an equal footing, it broke apart into several states at the end of World War I. The union was a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and came into existence on 30 March 1867. Austria-Hungary consisted of two monarchies, one autonomous region: the The Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia under the Hungarian crown, which negotiated the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement in 1868, it was ruled by the House of Habsburg, constituted the last phase in the constitutional evolution of the Habsburg Monarchy. Following the 1867 reforms, the Austrian and the Hungarian states were co-equal. Foreign affairs and the military came under joint oversight, but all other governmental faculties were divided between respective states.
Austria-Hungary was a multinational one of Europe's major powers at the time. Austria-Hungary was geographically the second-largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire, at 621,538 km2, the third-most populous; the Empire built up the fourth-largest machine building industry of the world, after the United States and the United Kingdom. Austria-Hungary became the world's third largest manufacturer and exporter of electric home appliances, electric industrial appliances and power generation apparatus for power plants, after the United States and the German Empire. After 1878, Bosnia and Herzegovina was under Austro-Hungarian military and civilian rule until it was annexed in 1908, provoking the Bosnian crisis among the other powers; the northern part of the Ottoman Sanjak of Novi Pazar was under de facto joint occupation during that period but the Austro-Hungarian army withdrew as part of their annexation of Bosnia. The annexation of Bosnia led to Islam being recognized as an official state religion due to Bosnia's Muslim population.
Austria-Hungary was one of the Central Powers in World War I which started when it declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia on 28 July 1914. It was effectively dissolved by the time the military authorities signed the armistice of Villa Giusti on 3 November 1918; the Kingdom of Hungary and the First Austrian Republic were treated as its successors de jure, whereas the independence of the West Slavs and South Slavs of the Empire as the First Czechoslovak Republic, the Second Polish Republic and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and most of the territorial demands of the Kingdom of Romania were recognized by the victorious powers in 1920. The realm's official name was in German: Österreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie and in Hungarian: Osztrák–Magyar Monarchia, though in the international relations better Austria-Hungary was used; the Austrians used the names k. u. k. Monarchie and Danubian Monarchy or Dual Monarchy and The Double Eagle, but none of these became widepsread neither in Hungary, nor elsewhere.
The realm's full name used in the internal administration was The Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of St. Stephen. German: Die im Reichsrat vertretenen Königreiche und Länder und die Länder der Heiligen Ungarischen Stephanskrone Hungarian: A Birodalmi Tanácsban képviselt királyságok és országok és a Magyar Szent Korona országai The Habsburg monarch ruled as Emperor of Austria over the western and northern half of the country, the Austrian Empire and as King of Hungary over the Kingdom of Hungary; each enjoyed considerable sovereignty with only a few joint affairs. Certain regions, such as Polish Galicia within Cisleithania and Croatia within Transleithania, enjoyed autonomous status, each with its own unique governmental structures; the division between Austria and Hungary was so marked that there was no common citizenship: one was either an Austrian citizen or a Hungarian citizen, never both. This meant that there were always separate Austrian and Hungarian passports, never a common one.
However, neither Austrian nor Hungarian passports were used in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. Instead, the Kingdom issued its own passports which were written in Croatian and French and displayed the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia-Dalmatia on them, it is not known what kind of passports were used in Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the control of both Austria and Hungary. The Kingdom of Hungary had always maintained a separate parliament, the Diet of Hungary after the Austrian Empire was created in 1804; the administration and government of the Kingdom of Hungary remained untouched by the government structure of the overarching Austrian Empire. Hungary's central government structures remained well separated from the Austrian imperial government; the country was governed by the Council of Lieutenancy of Hungary – located in Pressburg and in Pest – and by the Hungarian Royal Court Chancell
The German Empire known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918. It was founded in 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation. On 1 January 1871, the new constitution came into force that changed the name of the federal state and introduced the title of emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. Berlin remained its capital, Otto von Bismarck remained Chancellor, the head of government; as these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War. The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families, they included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, one imperial territory. Although Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory.
Prussian dominance was established constitutionally. After 1850, the states of Germany had become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron and railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people. A rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. By 1900, Germany was the largest economy in Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom, as well as the second-largest in the world, behind only the United States. From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest reigning Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. Broad reforms and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. Claiming much of the leftover territory, yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire after the British and the French ones.
As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers the British Empire. Germany became a great power, boasting a developing rail network, the world's strongest army, a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated; this period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882, it retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany.
In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris in the autumn of 1914 failed. The war on the Western Front became a stalemate; the Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, contributed to bringing the United States into the war. The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff controlled the country, but in October after the failed offensive in spring 1918, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, Bulgaria had surrendered; the Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. This left a postwar federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism; the German Confederation had been created by an act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris.
German nationalism shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848, called Pan-Germanism, to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states, he envisioned a Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the Franco-Prussian War against France in 1870–71; the German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. The war resulted in the partial replacement of the Confederation in 1867 by a North German Confederation, comprising the 22 states north of the Main; the patriotic fervour generated by the Franco-Prussian War overwhelmed the remaining opposition to a unified Germany in the four stat