Tuesday, November 29, 2005


A former law professor, Orlando held several positions in the Italian government from 1903 onwards before becoming prime minister on 30 October 1917 following Italy's defeat at the Battle of Caporetto.

He replaced General Cadorna with General Diaz, and when a major offensive was launched against the disintegrating Austro-Hungarian army in the last weeks of the war, Italy won a major victory at Vittorio Veneto. The Italians hoped that this would assist their claim for territorial expansion.Orlando represented Italy at the Paris Peace Conference but clashed repeatedly with President over the scale of Italian territorial demands.

Orlando left the conference early and only returned in May 1919 to sign the completed document. His failure to secure territory that matched up with Italy's expectations undermined his position, and he resigned from office in June.Orlando supported Benito Mussolini in the early 1920s, but repudiated him following the murder of the socialist leader Giacomo Matteoti. After World War II, he was the first president of the Constituent Assembly, from 1946 to 1947. He died in Rome in 1952.


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