With the dismemberment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, after World War One, Italy was no longer threatened upon her eastern frontier and in the Adriatic by a hostile Power controlling 51 million subjects. Her neighbours to the east were now the Republic of Austria and newly created Yugoslavia. The former had no more than 6 million inhabitants, and was disarmed and neutralized. The latter had a population of 12 million, and was far more interested in cultivating Italian friendship against the German—Hungar. ian-Bulgarian threat than in alienating Italy by a preconceived policy of hostility. If one compares France's post-war situation with Italy's, one must conclude that Italy's success in World War One outranked that of France. By eliminating the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the map of Europe, Italy had, in fact, essentially solved the problem of her security towards Central Europe. France, on the contrary, was still confronted with the compact mass of Germany: the problem of her security remained unsolved. As Germany reorganized, the value of Italian friendship could only increase in the eyes of France, Germany, and the Danubian countries. Italy, which seventy years before had been a mere "geographical expression", had now become a Power to be reckoned with much more than previously.
Yet the Italian people emerged from the war in a state of dejection and bitterness.
From August 1914, when it declared its neutrality in the war between the Central Powers and the Entente Powers, to May 1915, when it entered the war, the Italian Government had been in a most favourable bargaining position between the two fighting coalitions. Italy's Foreign Minister, Sonnino, squeezed—or thought he had squeezed—every possible advantage from this opportunity. In the Treaty of London ( April 26, 1915), in return for pledging Italy's intervention in the war on the side of the Entente Powers against the Central Powers, he was promised that in the event of victory Italy would receive: (1) Italian-speaking Trentino; (2) the cities of Gorizia and Trieste, and Western Istria, whose inhabitants were predominantly Italian; (3) the German-speaking South Tirol (in Italian, Alto Adige); (4) the hinterland of Gorizia, Trieste, and Western Istria, inhabited by a compact Slav population; (5) a free hand in Albania; (6) a substantial slice of Dalmatia and most of the islands off 'the coasts of Dalmatia inhabited by an overwhelmingly