Poetry
26. 12. 2015
Jonathan Locke Hart

Some Voices in, though, from and out of Canada

A Brief Note by Jonathan Locke Hart

In memory of Milan V. Dimić

Canadian literature has changed. In one sense, the oral literature of
Canada began with the stories that Natives told before Canada as a
nation existed. But it was also the stories of the Vikings who reached
the New World, and then much later, those of the English and French
and the many others groups who landed here.
The Natives, Acadians, Maritimers and New Englanders know
well that the borders of nations are artificial. But borders come, and
must be some reason for them. When we ask about what defines a
Canadian writer, we see how borders become porous. Some Can-
adian writers who were born here left, some have passed through,
and some only had ancestors who lived in Canada. Wyndham Lewis,
Malcolm Lowry, Saul Bellow, Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Bishop, Mark
Strand all fall into this field of vision. Others, like Robert Finch, P. K.
Page E. D. Blodgett, Dionne Brand, and Tom King, who are import-
ant figures in Canadian literature, were born elsewhere.
Although French and English are the official languages of Cana-
da, it has always been multilingual on the ground. The original lan-
guages are Native or indigenous languages. English and French are
newcomers after the Norse languages and along with Basque and
other languages, including the African and Asian languages that
early inhabitants brought. So Canada and Canadian culture and
literature become richer and more intricate with each new wave of
inhabitants who settle or pass through.
The original works collected here represent in a small way the
variety of voices Canada has to offer. We are fortunate to have E. D.
Blodgett lead off this selection of Canadian poetry and literature
with beautiful apostrophes. Next are the intricate “Calindromes” of
Călin Andrei Mihăilescu. Naomi McIlwraith’s powerful poems that
blend Cree and English bring a socially conscious voice to the table.
The delicate poems of Pushpa Raj Acharya that follow move between
Canada and Nepal. My own poems are followed by the accomplished
translations into French by Nicole Mallet of my sonnets. Two rich
and lovely poems by Monique Tschofen round off this collection. The
work will speak for itself and much more eloquently than I could
about it. These writers are accomplished, and I was fortunate to have
them join me in this selection. They have lived in various regions
of Canada, and were born here or come from the United States, Ro-
mania and Nepal. Canadian literature is free and changing: it is not
a matter of policing or control. It is a free state of mind that people
contribute to here and afar, then and now, in a future that will change
and, I hope, be creative, welcoming and magnanimous (excuse the
personification). What I have enclosed here is a celebration of diver-
sity with the hope for further celebrations. In the future I hope to
bring more French into the conversation. Circumstances did not
allow me to do so this time.

Poetry
26. 12. 2015
E. D. Blodgett

Fountain

At dusk it takes you by surprise, a turn into a garden that
you have never seen, and under trees the sound of rain that falls
slowly, playing against the leaves and touching water, rain but not
rain, a simple fountain giving droplets of water to the air,
the hovering trees, a pool at its feet where water echoes on the stone.
Everything seems to rest here, resting in the still fall
of water, an atom that contains a certain music, you, the stone

surrounding silence—time that seems to turn upon itself. You would
not dare to take a step for fear of altering the rhythms that
play upon the unknown world where you have strayed unable to
depart. Death is not noticed here, unless it is in inside the hollow
echo of the stones, of absence, sadness, a bird in darkness calling,
the notes barely heard and falling through your mind as any small
rain might fall, the traces that it leaves invisible but sure.

Frieze

It was a season cut from glass, of cautious birds, evening that
pauses in patches in the trees as if composed of memories
barely visible, and each fallen from a labyrinth
of stories to linger briefly here before the rising of the stars.
You see the thinness of it, its fragility, your eyes unsure
if all of it, the birds and stars, might have been spoken of in spells,
of spells adrift from larger tales and all unable to depart,

a season that has no way out and open in us like a frieze
where we begin to see ourselves in low relief, so delicate
that you might think that you are leaves of willows that have just begun
to give their softest green to air, and if a goddess were to be
needed, then this green were she, etched beside us in the air,
a melody of birds woven soundlessly into her hair,
all of us the merest echoes of a script without trace.

Moonlight

Voices of children playing in the street rise up and float into
the window where you sit, the beauty of it seizing you as if
someone gripped your throat, your one desire to lift them in your arms,
embracing them forever, not the little bodies, which will grow old
soon enough, but just the voices, as elusive as a wild
stream that in the spring begins to stumble over rocks, and then
you think your heart will break, and unresisting that is what it does,

the fragments of it floating through the window and away from you
beyond your grasp, despite the empty gestures of your hands, appeals
of the mind in silence, mingling with the voices of the children,
silence, ostinatos they might hear perhaps to dance against,
among them yours and mine perhaps, a certain sadness that pervades
the light of afternoon, all that one desires most a gift
of bodies, bodies that shed their evanescence, a moonlight given up.

Pool

The night my father died, the stars emerged and gave the sky its shape,
moving slowly from east to west until horizons took them and
they disappeared, the silence of their passage falling over all
of us as if it were a passing of an early snow that drifts
but briefly through the dark. If we spoke, it was in passing, an
opening of silence, a little spring that surfaced from the ground
and fell away, the grass around it bending momentarily

toward the water never seen before. If that is what you were,
moving in the briefest of springs and passing on as water does,
your silence must have been the silence of a stream invisible
whose passage lies beneath the ground, rising beyond sight to form
a pool and then depart, a pool where frogs rise up and sing throughout
the night, as if they were the bearers of a message that cannot
be known, but passed alone between themselves and the reflected stars.

Weeping

Weeping is a music that is composed of oboes and the fine
rain that falls on distant hills, muted but with echoes of
poplar leaves that hold it briefly before giving it up, the sound
departure makes, unable to resist, an eternity
of going away that enters everything that hears it–seasons, chairs,
the moon–and standing in an old house, there’s no running from
its rising from the walls, its dust invisible that settles on

your flesh without your feeling it. Weeping is a music that
exhales, coming over one as autumn mist that rises in
a valley, trees becoming ghosts, the ripple of the stream absorbed
but heard as weeping’s only rhythm, breath the soul of weeping’s cry,
the music that it makes drawn in, its waxing and its waning a
giving and a taking of the world, the stars that were so far
now brushing against our skin as if their sky had always been just there.

Poetry
26. 12. 2015
Călin-Andrei Mihăilescu

Anonymous is none of us

Anonymous
is none of us
though we lose name
where we don’t lose face
in the bed sheets
where we don’t lose curves
through straits and gardens of oranges
through and through
the litany
the thaumaturgy
the exhaustion
of limbs playing snakes to each other
each drop time gained and
pushed from mouth
to mouth like stars a pearl an Edelweiss
anonymous
is none of us

***

Don’t shout, dad, I can’t hear you
I can hear only whispers
the princess said in a badly translated Arabic
but given how many got crucified in Hollywood
why should she get special treats?
or my ears, voracious like the crocks?
Or the exerchist making fun of wars’ blood?
I am the pharmacy, your Highness
I came to ask for you daughter’s whisper

Pactriotism

It’s done: you don’t remember what
grand-grandpa ate or loved or saw
so you can’t think thoughts of the past
– it would be ghostly ghastly, meek –
instead you take the syringe there
a bunch of them to quick-inject
you own into the cemetery,
then dig them up, eyebrows high up,
and warn the kids that if the touch
the banner on the hill, will grow
the boner in the ground, the cause
of which you are the haughty effect

your innate ghost return to grandpa’s not

the fatherland’s the solitude of many
against the loneliness of each,
fracking for symmetry man eats another
showman while women birth amok

Poetry
26. 12. 2015
Naomi McIlwraith

A Sonnet for the Pimp and Liquor Lord

I’ll bet you think this stupid little song
can’t grapple with your sterling stainless crimes:
your girls, your gods, your guns, your drugs, your throngs
of money-grubbing fat cats with their chimes
and chings that ring out profits, assets, bombs.
Your liquor stores, your liquid love so fine
it souses babies’ brains. You do them wrong,
these wounded humans ruined by your cheapjack wine.
And yet, you are a friendly enemy—
you live with us, you eat with us, you sleep
with us. A stealthy kind of enmity
you practice, as you dispense your wares and keep
this killing that you make while tot’s impaired.
This reservoir of pain? There’s no repair.

Healing Circle

Sober, you hold the talking feather
as you speak. The Elder calls it
kihêw mîkwan and with a tremor
you rise with the eagle as you
embrace us with your wings of heartbreak.
Your story in this circle hurts
you to relive it as you tell it.
Your story in this circle hurts
me to see you relive it.
But you soar with the eagle
as you give us your story
you give us your pain
you give us your tears.

Your mom sits beside you, her arm
on your young but manly shoulder as your knees shake
and your tears come with the words. You have
a daughter you say before passing
the talking feather to your mom.
When she holds the kihêw mîkwan
and speaks, your hand on her shoulder
comforts her as she tells us what happened to her
while carrying you for nine months.
Your tears over your daughter,
your mom’s hand on your shoulder,
and now your hand on her shoulder show me
finally, finally
about inter-generational trauma.

When my sweaty palm clutches
the kihêw mîkwan much later
after all the others, it shouldn’t
hurt me to tell you I didn’t
know about the wreckage of alcohol
until I was nearly an adult.
It shouldn’t hurt me to tell you
my two parents didn’t need
liquor in their home. It shouldn’t
hurt me to tell you I remember
four grandparents who loved me.

It shouldn’t hurt me to open
my wings to tell you.
But it does.

And in the tears and the telling
and the hearing, this circle wounds.
But in the tears and the telling
and the hearing, this circle heals.

You’ll Never Turn from Her Humanity

All I can see is the insanity.
Despite the bile and boil and frequent squalls,
you’ve never turned from her humanity.

Her ship, it pitches with profanity;
she’s prey to colonizer’s liquored gall.
His screech the source of the insanity.

Along with chaos came calamity:
malevolent excess of ethanol
that floods the hull of her humanity.

Perhaps her shame became the vanity
that lists with intoxicants to appall.
All I can see is the insanity.

Distiller’s swill still charts her destiny;
her predators, we hear them caterwaul.
You never turn from her humanity.

No anchor and no cure, adrift at sea:
prenatal exposure to alcohol.
Though all I see is the insanity,
you’ll never turn from her humanity.

Poetry
26. 12. 2015
Pushpa Raj Acharya

Grandparents’ Home

A lemon tree
in the garden

the scent of green
and yellow, mixed

with the dewdrops
in the dawn brea

Joy

In a dream last night,
I jumped into a great green lake

I discovered
it was a lake inside a lake inside a lake inside a lake…

where I found:

a wolf’s skin
a flute player
a white horse
a red canvas
and the memories
of my grandmother
engraved on stones

Peach Blossoms

We did not see the peach blossoms together

In the High Park
where the Spring clouds wrapped the sun
you watched them bloom

I stopped by the library at St. George Street, at midnight
when the moon dropped
on the canopy of the flowers

Frozen
between pink and white
we are standing
still
and watching

the peach blossoms split pain
into time and joy

Good News

On a branch of a tree
sits a little sparrow.
As time tumbles down from past
rolls up from future
and turns into present
a twig quivers
under the bird’s feet.

Poetry
26. 12. 2015
Jonathan Locke Hart

Three poems selected from the sequence,
“The Swimmer”

1.
She left in a grove
And shone with oil
She drank from the stream

And sang in the breeze
And, pausing, looked
Back to see what eyes

Might look from the green
Of the trees. She walked
Ahead, and in the sun

She felt unseen heat
A gaze unnoticed, a taste
On her tongue, her feet

Almost like vines
Rooted in the earth
And she began, dying

To breathe, to feel
The air sucked from her,
And in the thrill

She reeled, and panted
As she began to run
Until the sun hid

And she slipped
Like a sliver
Into the moonlit sea.

2.
The sea was blue
The sea was dark
The lake was near

Her words were clear
Her words were stark
They struck his ear

And fell away. The spark
On the flint stuttered in the rain
And left a burn that left its mark.

The river drains
The river pushes out
While she complains

To the wind and sea
That his tongue has come unstrung
And the hills are not what they used to be.

3.
Her toes played in the sand
The sea washed her feet
With seaweed like hair

And her tongue hung
In the wind. The sand
Stuck to her wet skin

And the salt sat on her lip
And the sea snuck to her lap
As the sun fell on her hair

Like a waterfall. And from
The shore, she heard him call
And the light shimmered on the sails

And fell back again on her face.
Invisible hands held
What she could not say

And all day the waves came
And played with her, and sand
And wind took her up.

Rêveries

Deux Poèmes de Jonathan Locke Hart traduits par Nicole Mallet

1.
Les rameaux gisaient flétris par-delà la colline,
Le village niché creux du vallon, invisible
Comme ta main ce soir-là, la lune,
Reflet de cette éclipse, le taillis
Et la charmille cachés au bout du sentier, c’est alors
Que ta chair, rosée comme la prune,
Capta le soleil à son déclin, le jardin
En fleurs, alors que, la pénombre venant, le verger se taisait
Et que la quête de la nuit nous enveloppait
Presque le vieillard reste sans voix
Quand remontent ses sentiments, même comme un regain
Suranné, la moisson presque finie.
La moelle frémit et frissonne longtemps après le temps
Où le sang jeune palpite au vent d’avril.

26.
La teinte turquoise de l’eau n’est pas une illusion de carte postale.
La libération de la mer dans la lumière qui se meurt
N’est pas une supputation de poète. Ici, les vents

Peuvent être chauds en janvier. Aucune sirène ne s’élève
Des récifs: les bateaux sont alignés
Dans la baie comme s’il n’y avait jamais de tempête.

L’amour dans la moelle, peu importe que
Le terme soit gênant, se manifeste
Dans la chaleur et la lumière, les os et le vaisseau,

S’enfle et descend au premier et au dernier rayon de lumière.
Plus je vieillis, moins je sais. Tu as
Gravi, mon fils, une autre falaise.

Les marchands grecs et phéniciens connaissaient maints signes
De l’amour; ce n’est pas que la chaleur du sang.

Poetry
26. 12. 2015
Monique Tschofen

Epithalamium

Along such paths we have followed you, circling through
clamorous cities, to watch your voices, saffron and lavender,
opening together slowly, like dusk. It was always summertime
at the High Level, Brooklyn, and Minto Bridges, the air

shining with the pieces of you your lives knotted before us,
and I remember even on cold nights, underneath the cicadian buzz
of streetlights, snowflakes framed your faces with
garlands of petals. Your love–such a gentle reaching

for the sweet–has grown resplendent. As a garden leans
loud and lovely with bee-balm, beauty berry, and heart leaf
towards the madrigal call of the sun, so too do you, moving
together towards sky and wind, reverberate in joy, for what is love,

but a gift of sound to air? Say the words now–you love–
and we understand that the world’s fullness is not touched,
but held, as a river’s water is held, without being hushed,
as a kiss is held, in the breath, birthed with each syllable, sigh,

laugh, lament. Say you love again; sing it out da capo.
From the beginning, thought wants only to be named. Your lips touch,
each word as substantial as the movement of something moving
so sweetly, we break ourselves into hearing just to see.

Siren

I will feel my feathers fall,
my hard scales slough.
We’ll crawl together to the sea.
Roddy Lumsden, “My Descent”

I am finding it hard to write; you, still
in that other city with your aged dog,
are busy reading. That’s all I know.
Someone else’s words

pass your lips, their octopus shapes dance
in your mouth, while your urchin tongue
swells to drink in more brackish juice.
Otters watch you sink, reckless, into

currents, trembling with the kelp and eelgrass,
until the reefs read back the braille
of your bones through the parchment
of your golden skin.

You need only sing out, alone and tall;
I will feel my feathers fall.

I miss your voice. I would have tried to call,
but you said not after six; anyway, my heart
swarms with crickets, and my hands
are clenched in fists. What could I say?

That dry and wordless, I still reach for you
in the dark? That some remembrance
of your mouth’s mollusc dirge sweeps
from my mind the very names of things?

Nothing grows here and I haven’t rained
in years. No, this thing with you cannot be good.
You’re awash in a story many miles away,
while, mineral, I now stand exposed,

silent as a prairie bluff.
Sing out to me: my hard scales slough.

You’ll take the whole world up
and swallow it hard, flotsam and debris,
till those foamy words seed more fabular wrecks.
I forget all else. Your eyes’ blue depths unraveled me.

Come, sing; all I need is for you to breathe.
We’ll crawl together to the sea.

Prose
26. 12. 2015
Zoran Siriški

Baba Mara

July Sun had another merciless bout of devouring anything damp and
wet under its domain from puddles mirroring the blue of the bottom-
less sky by the country roads to saps in slender annual plants. Only
trees, robust maze and sturdier species used to such excesses of Heav-
ens still defied the scorching and all-desiccating march of the Sun.
Large bodies of water, so abundant in the village by God’s mercy as
well as due to man’s entrepreneurship in case of the Great Canal, were
also unaffected by the long hot and dry season as had been the case for
centuries. If crops from the fertile plains failed, the paors used to say,
the crops from equally plentiful water will save the day. It was not only
food they hoped to mine from the stale ripe-olive depths of the Bel-
yanska Bara, the river of Krivaya or the Canal but breezes and breaths
of refreshing air floating on the hood of night they expected and almost
unfailingly got. That wondrous patch of the Earth, the life-begetting
plains of Voyvodina, had an unlimited potential to feed but one had
to pay for the opulence by undergoing its extremes of climatic temper.
The day was at its boiling peak when the whole of Creation retracts
into silence and motionlessness so that no additional sweating or warm-
ing would be added to the burden of the already existing one. Even the
birds that vociferously laud the gifts of a warm day chose to crouch the
day away in the semi-dark of mulberry crowns or dappled shades of
locust trees. No matter how strangulating the heat was it seemed to be
insufficient to drive home a kneeling figure clad in dark attires frayed
from sunshine and washing. It was my grandma Baba Mara intent
on weeding a patch of carnations, black-eyed Susans, purslanes and
other garden plants grown solely to add color, vividness and beauty to
the vegetable back garden. The garden was a spacious expanse of land
fenced off the rest of the household and grown with locust trees along
its rectangle-shaped boundaries. It was the time-tested practice that
fructified in wisdom of paors and guided the choice of locusts for the
roles of soil nourishers, standby logwood or providers of thin shade
that both guarded the plants from the harshest winds or sunbeams
and yet filtered just enough of them for a successful growth. As she was
worming her way and plucking handfuls of lush intruder plants, Baba
Mara swore in a loud uncontrolled voice at them as if quarreling with
the plants’ spirits.
‘Burdocks, wild carrots, mugworts, spurges, creepers…How come
you make such a quick comeback? You keep droppin’ down from the
sky at night for sure… For Mother’s sake, get away from this patch of
mine or I’ll send you packing to hell !’.
The ‘Mother’ referred to may have been a hybrid concept of mytho-
logical pagan goddess of vegetation and Christian motherhood.
Common people in Voyvodina, like their parent stock living in Serbia
southwards of the Danube river, had never given up this dual approach
to the matters behind the horizons of the visible. Although quite a reli-
gious person herself, Baba Mara could not get rid of those layers of the
nation’s tradition.
As for the garden patch it was a miniature Eden with abundance of
plant species which was the reason why pests had never been much of
a nuisance to paors in the pre-chemical era. Common sense, while not
yet impaired by drives for profit and media ads, had always intimated
to people a need for as many plants per patch of land as possible, or as
paors used to say, ‘The way God wanted the things to be’. Even after
the time the chemicals made their intrusion upon the land Baba Mara
never used any on the garden patch. Seeds were traditionally saved for
next season and there was a shelf in the pantry or ‘komora’ for all the
tiny bottles, glass jars, hollow gourds or tin boxes where they were kept
in winter time. Mice would often leave their droppings on the shelf
in protest from being unable to poke their tiny head wedges into the
well sealed containers. Seeds kept in plastic containers were rumored
to lose their viability.
Apart from all common kitchen standbys from aubergine to zuc-
cini Baba Mara tended after a variety of fruit-bearing bushes such as
gooseberry, currants or loganberries. It was my idea to talk them one
day even into preserving an elderberry bush that threatened to tear
down the rammed-earth wall between their household and the next
door neighbor’s. Granddad Lazar, whose influence on my interests
made him proud but never to the point of showing this, was the first
to catch up on that idea. Strangely enough, the bush soon grew into a
robust tree and learned to live along with the wall at peace.
There were several sorts of apple trees and a few old varieties of
pear trees, among them one that was called watermelon-pear. It bore
fig-sized fruits that had crimson sweet juicy flesh and was such a pro-
lific cropper that most of pears had to be stored into barrels for making
brandy. Quinces there were of several varieties and paors differentiated
between female and male ones. Every home used them for making de-
licious chutneys that were preserved in glass cellophane-covered jars
and usually kept atop old wooden wardrobes in warm bedrooms. In
spite of this quince chops seldom spoiled and were gladly greeted by all
as embellishment of often vitamin-poor winter diets. Then there were
plums and damsons, ringlov being among the most popular among
the latter fruits. No honey could compare to its sweetness and no drink
to its juiciness. Ringlov was relished by bipeds, quadrupeds, insects or
wild and household birds alike. As would be expected with its high
sugar content, its fruits were sacrificed mostly for fruit brandy that no
house was without. It was the custom in all Serbian homes to offer any
guests or comers a glass dishlet of slatko or sort of sweet fruit pickle,
a glass of water, while men were offered a glass of home-made brandy.
Many brandy lovers in Turiya had a scientific explanation for this prac-
tice. When one took a teaspoon of slatko, all the viruses from the body
dashed to cluster around it in the belly. Then quickly swallowing the
scorching liquid of brandy was the best way of getting rid of them and to
make sure this was done properly, at least three glasses had to be taken.
Now Baba Mara was on her way to pick up a pinch of dill and
fennel for her paorska chorba, which was a seasonal vegetable broth
that involved carrots, onions, potatoes, parsleys, peppers and tomatoes
as basic ingredients and a few plant species as condiment. Some hard
dough made of wheat flour and eggs was grated into it to add to its
peculiar taste while a pinch of poultry lard imparted a touch of both
more nutritious quality and refinement of the cook’s taste. Every single
ingredient of food, except salt and tropical spices, was the gift of their
own patch of land around home, the larger fields away from the village
and their sweat combined. They even had their own sugar supply as
part of payment in kind for the cooperative venture of growing sugar
beets with the sugar works in town.
Lunch time was nearing so she reckoned Lazar would soon come
back home from a nearby field they called ‘Over the Railroad’. They
grew maize on it and amid its shade cultivated yet another more spa-
cious garden for potatoes, carrots or other vegetables sold in bulk
on the greenmarket of the neighboring townlet of Srbobran. The old
couple seemed to disregard the blast furnace or deep freezer of heavens
in carrying out their daily chores for years strung out in a lengthy row.
The will to work was a well that sprang from inside their beings and
the outside circumstances only slightly altered its course and intensity.
Bula was fidgeting and fanning its sumptuous tail in the shade of
the artesian well enclosed in a square wooden box, which forebode the
comeback of someone dear to the home. Soon a farm wagon masked
in a load of green maize stubbles stopped in front of the gate and a
resonant voice pierced the noon quiet : ‘Mara, the gate!’
Baba Mara tucked the plants into one of a number of pockets of
her apron and covered a distance of some sixty yards from the garden
to the gate in an unalarmed waddle. After lifting a metal pin that se-
cured the gate in place she flung open its two wings that greeted this
temporary release with a long grinding sound. Jordan, the laziest of
horses north of the Danube, as some neighbors used to remark, gave
the wagon its final haul for the day with a strut and unhidden joy of
being back home.
‘You haven’t had much weeding to do, have you?’, was sort of a
greeting to her husband.
‘Well, with the land and sky so burning it’s a miracle the crops are
doing so damn well’, answered Lazar pulling at the rains to stop the
wagon.
He deftly shut the harness out and led the horse to the shade of
the stable then removed his weather-tanned and scorched hat to cool
his graying head. Attached to the stable which followed behind the
komora or pantry and the main body of the house in a row was an
improvised shed with a slanting roof that served as kitchen during

History
26. 12. 2015
Mila Mihajlović

The role of Italy in saving the Serbian Army and people, 1915-1916

1. Introduction
At 6 o’clock on the afternoon of July 23, 1914 Austro-Hungarian envoy,
Baron Giesl von Gieslingen, personally delivered his government’s ulti-
matum note into the hands of the Serbian minister, Lazo Paču, in Bel-
grade and five days later Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Italy
was bound by a tripartite alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany
on the basis of the fifth version of the Tripartite Pact signed December
5, 1912 in Vienna and valid to 1920. The seventh, and most important,
Article of the Pact outlined the retention of the status quo in Eastern
Europe, including the Balkans and the Turkish-held coasts and islands
in the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. But if the actions of some third power
made it impossible to sustain the status quo, the accord allowed for the
temporary, or permanent, occupation of these regions only after the
prior agreement of the Pact co-signatories concerning mutual com-
pensation. At the same time, Italy did not conceal its opposition with
respect to the expansionist policies of Austria-Hungary from the time
of the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the
intensive four-day debates held December 1-4, 1908 in the Italian Par-
liament and recorded on almost 200 pages. 1

2. Italy and the First World War, 1914
On July 24, 1914, the day after the ultimatum was delivered to Serbia,
Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs Antonino Paterno-Castello, Mar-
quis of San Giuliano, sent a protest note to the German ambassador in
Rome which said that Italy will consider a war between Austria-Hun-
gary and Serbia as a premeditated act of aggression by Vienna. 2 At
the same time, he also sent a letter to the King in which he expressed,
among other things, his conviction that „it would be extremely diffi-
cult and certainly very dangerous to involve Italy in an eventual war
provoked by Austria and which would be conducted exclusively in the
interest of Austria.“ 3 On the same day he sent another letter to General
Secretary for Foreign Affairs De Martin in which he said that „without
the prior agreement of Italy, Austria’s occupation of Serbia, even if tem-
porary, would represent a breach of Article 7 of the Tripartite Pact and
which Italy would have to challenge.“ 4
The situation developed rapidly during the next seven days and to
the end of July 1914: general mobilization was declared in Russia and
Austria-Hungary and war preparations also commenced in Germany
which declared war on Russia August 1, on France August 3 and the
English-German war began August 4. At its meeting of August 2, the
government of Italy declared its neutrality based on Article 4 of the Pact
and announced its decision the following day.
Austria-Hungary was not at all surprised by Italy’s position. In that
regard, it is sufficient to cite the letter of Gottleib von Jagow, former
Austrian ambassador in Rome and newly appointed secretary of state
for external affairs, sent July 15, 1914 to the German ambassador in
Vienna, Heinrich von Tschirsky, in which it states: „The Italian media is
as much on the side of the Serbs as it is generally austrophobic. As far as
I am concerned, I have no doubt that, in the event of an Austro-Serbian
war, it will immediately switch to Serbia’s favour.“ 5 On August 3 the Aus-
trian ambassador in Rome, Kajetan von Merey, advised his minister,
Leopold Berchtold: „During yesterday’s discussions, the Italian min-
ister for foreign affairs again presented the reasons which are coercing
Italy to [adopt a position of] neutrality. He especially underlined the
great sacrifices and dangers to which Italy would be exposed, beyond
any proportional benefit, in [the event of] war.“ 6
This decision of Italy’s Austria interpreted as an announcement of a
declaration of war and gave precise instructions to General Franz Rohr
von Denta, commander of the forces on the Southeastern Front, which
said: „From the many indicators it is understood that Italy is preparing
to realize its aspirations in our southern provinces, especially since our
forces are occupied on other battlefields. (…) For now, it is impossible
to specify when and how Italy’s first attack will occur; in any event,
we must be prepared for such an attack and respond forcefully and
resolutely.“ 7
In Italy the decision concerning neutrality was at first welcomed
unanimously. However, behind the political and diplomatic backdrop
a different scenario was being prepared. Andrea Carlotti di Ripabella,
Italian ambassador in Moscow, advised his minister for foreign affairs
that Sergei Dimitrijević Sazonov, Russian minister for foreign affairs,
had confided to him that Russia, France and England had reached a
framework agreement in which Italy would be guaranteed the territory
of Trentino and supremacy in the Adriatic. 8 That would give space to
the advocates of intervention whose primary representative was Sidney
Sonnino, the new Italian minister for foreign affairs, who was sup-
ported by the new prime minister of Italy, Antonio Salandra.
Meanwhile, the political situation in Europe was evolving rapidly.
On September 23 Italy and Romania signed an agreement of concurrent
renunciation of their neutrality which would be succeeded by a new
agreement concerning reciprocal military assistance in the event of
Austrian aggression against one of the co-signatories. At the end of Oc-
tober Turkey aligned itself with Germany against the Entente Powers
who were joined by Portugal some time later.

3. Treaty of London – Italy enters the War
As Prime Minister Salandra had specified in Parliament, Italy was pre-
paring for an intervention, although on December 3 it had declared
its “neutrality, but with powerful armaments and readiness for every
eventuality.” At the end of the year Minister for Foreign Affairs Sidney
Sonnino began negotiations with both opposing blocks and on April
26, 1915 concluded secret meetings with the Entente Powers with the
signing of the Treaty of London. The agreement called for: Italy’s com-
mitment to enter the war within a month, for Britain’s pledge to give
Italy loans of at least 50 million pounds for armaments, and Italy was
promised Brennero, Gorica, Gradiška on the Soča, Istria to Kvarner,
central Dalmatia, Valona, the Dodecanese islands [in Greece] and the
territory of Antalya in Turkey.
On May 3 Italy withdrew from the Tripartite Pact and declared gen-
eral mobilization. In the meantime, the following was happening in the
field: German Field Marshal August von Mackensen was winning on
the Russian Carpathian Front; after it had liberated Belgrade, Serbia
halted leaving the enemy time to withdraw and re-organize, but that is
why Serbia’s troops advanced toward Drač [Albania] while the Monte-
negrin troops advanced directly to occupy Skadar; the French-British
forces were in an extremely difficult position compared to the Turk-
ish forces at the Gallipoli peninsula; and Italy declared war on Aus-
tria-Hungary on May 23. In such a situation, that act stunned Italy’s am-
bassadors in Vienna and Berlin whose correspondence reads as follows:
„In my long diplomatic career I have not had the opportunity to witness
our foreign policy being handled in such a sordid and disloyal manner
as Sonnino and the government are doing. And the idea to withdraw
from the Tripartite Pact with respect to Austria-Hungary, but not also
with respect to Germany, I consider pure childish ’finesse’ and stupidity
which can emanate [only] from the minds of small brains such as these
currently in our authority.“ 9 Giuseppe Avarna, Italian ambassador in
Vienna, wrote these words to his colleague and friend Riccardo Bollati,
Italian ambassador in Berlin.
The declaration of war did not surprise Austria-Hungary which was
anticipating this outcome. On May 20, 1915, three days before the war
declaration, the Austrian High Command had already given operating
instructions to Archduke Eugene, commander of the forces in the Bal-
kans and later in the entire Southwestern Front. The instructions read:
_________________________

1) Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XXII, discussioni. Roma, Camera dei
Deputati, libro 32, anno 1908.
2) Gian Paolo Ferraioli, Politica e diplomazia in Italia tra XIX e XX secolo
(Soveria Mannelli:Rubettino, 2007).
3) San Giuliano al Re, 24.7.1914, (MAE, DDI, Series IV 1908-1914, volume XII,
doc. 470).
4) San Giuliano a De Martino, 24.7.1914, (MAE, DDI, Series IV 1908-1914,
volume XII, doc. 449).
5) Luigi Albertini, Le origini della guerra del 1914 (Milano: Fratelli Bocca
Editore, 1942).
6) Ibid.
7) Ufficio Storico SME, L’esercito italiano nella Grande Guerra 1915-1916,Roma,
1983, volume II.
8) Carlotti a San Giuliano, 1029/50 of 8.8.1914, (MAE, DDI, Series V, volume I,
doc. 133).
9) Lettera di Avarna a Bollati, of 13.5.1915, (MAE, DDI, Series V 1914-1918,
volume III, doc. 682).

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Претплатите се и дарујте независни часописи Људи говоре, да бисмо трајали заједно

даље

Људи говоре је српски загранични часопис за књижевност и културу који излази у Торонту од 2008.године. Поред књижевности и уметности, бави се свим областима које чине културу српског народа.

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Уредништво

Мило Ломпар
главни и одговорни уредник
(Београд, Србија)

Владимир Димитријевић
оперативни уредник за матичне земље
(Чачак, Србија)

Радомир Батуран
оперативни уредник за дијаспору
(Торонто, Канада)

Александар Петровић
уредник за културу
(Београд, Србија)

Жељко Продановић
уредник за поезију
(Окланд, Нови Зеланд)

 

Небојша Радић
уредник за језик и писмо
(Кембриџ, Енглеска)

Жељко Родић
уредник за уметност
(Оквил, Канада)

Никол Марковић
уредник енглеске секције и секретар Уредништва
(Торонто, Канада)

Џонатан Лок Харт
уредник енглеске секције
(Торонто, Канада)

Лектори

Душица Ивановић
Торонто

Сања Крстоношић
Торонто

Милана Сувачаров
Београд

Графички дизајн

Антоније Батуран
Лондон

Технички уредник

Радмило Вишњевац
Торонто

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