Last April, when I left New York for Europe, Italy was on the verge of entering the great war. According to the meager reports that a strict censorship permitted to reach the world, Italy had been hesitating for many months between a continuance of her precarious neutrality and joining with the Allies, with an intermittent war fever in her pulses. It was known that she was buying supplies for her ill-equipped army - boots and food and arms. Nevertheless, American opinion had come to the somewhat cynical belief that Italy would never get further than the verge of war; that her Austrian ally would be induced by the pressure of necessity to concede enough of those national aspirations, of which we had heard much, to keep her southern neighbor at least lukewarmly neutral until the conclusion of the war. An American diplomat in Italy, with the best opportunity for close observation, said, as late as the middle of May: I shall believe that Italy will go into the war only when I see it!

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