La guerra narrata. Le Forze Armate italiane e la “guerra dei Boxer” (1900-1901) nel racconto delle fonti coeve

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] The war narrated. The Italian Armed Forces and the "War of the Boxers" (1900-1901) in the story of the contemporary sources

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

[Autom. eng. transl.] The campaign for the suppression of the Boxer revolt (1910-1901) represented a significant example of multinational collaboration conducted in a short time, in a particular situation and in the presence of heavy logistic and operational constraints. Hastily set up against the sudden deterioration of the 'long-term' crisis of the Manchurian Empire, it involved eight national contingents (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, Russia and the United States), lined up on the camp over the course of four months, between the beginning of June (Seymour column) and the second half of September 1900 ('Ostasiatische Expeditionskorp' von Waldersee), to reach a consistency of over 50,000 members. To these, it is then necessary to add the approximately 100,000 men deployed by the Russia of Nicholas II to defend the railway lines, the rear lines and the infrastructures built or under construction in Manchuria, which have become a 'rewarding' target during the initial phase of the revolt, and those of the naval forces, deployed in the waters of China or in their proximity, more or less permanently, by the different powers involved in the intervention. For Italy, however, the intervention has taken on an even more particular meaning. Even within the limits of its numerical consistency, it constituted a considerable effort (both financially and logistically) for a country that was struggling to break away from its position of 'last of the great [Powers] or before small'. National interests in China - especially economic ones - were limited and could not be compared to those of other Powers. Even on a symbolic level, the protection of Chinese missionaries and Christians, targets of Boxer violence, by the 'lay' Third Republic and the Anglo-Saxon (Protestant) powers (Great Britain and the United States) appeared more solid than the ambitions of a 'Italy struggling with the aftermath of the' Roman question '. Lastly, the expedition was weighed down by the double shadow of the military defeat of Adua (1896) and the socio-political crisis which, involving the country during the 'long sunset' of the nineteenth century, would have involved the Armed Forces and the Crown itself, culminating - in material and symbolic terms - in the assassination of Umberto I at Monza, a few days after the departure of the Expeditionary Corps from Naples, on 19 July 1900. In this sense, participation in operations in China represents an important step in terms of both (re) affirmation of the 'projection' capabilities of the Italian Armed Forces, both of building / consolidating the image of the Country in the eyes of the other European Powers. Despite the limited dimensions and the limits that have characterized it, it has constituted the 'in large' return of Italy to the international political-military scene after the difficulties of previous years. Starting from these premises, the contribution aims to illustrate - in the light of the representations given by contemporary sources - the impact and implications of Italian participation in the campaign against the Boxers both in the framework of the so-called 'defense of Legations', and in the action of the multinational contingent. In particular, the aim is to highlight, on the one hand, the scope and political significance, on the other the more strictly military aspects, especially as regards the 'inter-force' dimension of operations, the relations between civil authorities and military leaders, and the relationships (not always linear) that have been established between the Italian contingent and the other national contingents.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] The war narrated. The Italian Armed Forces and the "War of the Boxers" (1900-1901) in the story of the contemporary sources
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationActa del 39° Congresso della Commissione Internazionale di Storia Militare, “Le operazioni interforze e multinazionali nella storia militare”, Torino, 1-6 Settembre 2013, Tomo I
Pages257-265
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventCongresso della Commissione Internazionale di Storia Militare, “Le operazioni interforze e multinazionali nella storia militare” - Torino
Duration: 1 Sep 20136 Sep 2013

Conference

ConferenceCongresso della Commissione Internazionale di Storia Militare, “Le operazioni interforze e multinazionali nella storia militare”
CityTorino
Period1/9/136/9/13

Keywords

  • Forze Armate italiane
  • Guerra dei Boxer

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