SunBird American/Italian Club holiday party notice

Frank Nechvatal

Our November meeting was called to order by President Bob Sciaretta with new members/guests being recognized. The minutes from the October meeting were read and a Treasurer’s report followed. Plans for the Christmas party on December 8 at 6:00 p.m. in the Horizon Room were discussed. The menu will be salad, lasagna and a surprise dessert. The cost is $12; however, the club will pick up the cost! Those planning to attend must sign up in advance. If you are going to bring a guest you must pay $12 for your guest, also in advance of the 8th! Note: if you sign up and fail to attend you will be charged for the dinner. Plans for January’s meeting include a pizza night.

When last we posted an article we left off with the Unification of Italy in 1861. The Parliament formed with the unification was led by two noteworthy Prime Ministers. The first was Agostino Depretis, who initiated an experimental political idea called Trasformismo. This led to the formation of a Cabinet of select moderates and capable politicians from a non-partisan background. In practice this government was authoritarian and corrupt. The first government of Depretis ended with his resignation in 1877. The second government of Depretis began in 1881 and was again filled with corruption. Depretis was finally pushed out of office in 1887. The next Prime Minister, Francesco Crispi, held office from 1887 to 1891 and again from 1893 to 1896. His ministry proved to be extremely aggressive and would not be equaled until the rise of Fascism in the 20th century. Crispi deeply feared the Austro-Hungarian Empire and did his utmost to build Italy into a world power. A great deal of attention was paid to foreign policy as well as foreign expansionism. These efforts alienated the agricultural community and governmental monies were siphoned away from helping the land owners and small farmers to promote a larger army the backing of foreign affairs. In the end the the small farmers began to disappear and the large landowners skimmed their profits from their farms and would not put these funds back into their farms. Essentially this bankrupted the agricultural enterprises. The Italian government could not adequately deal with this problem as the previous Prime Minister Depretis’ spending had created a huge debt. Additionally, the government had committed itself to colonial expansion in Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. In 1896 Crispi left office after Italy was defeated in a war with Ethiopia. In the years that followed Italy continued to expand into Libya when it annexed Tripoli and the Dodecanese Islands.

Next up: Italy in WW I and the years following.