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Today I learnt history about World War 1 and I have a question that has been bothering me.

According to what I have studied, the Triple Alliance (1882-1915) was an alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. And the term of the alliance is that if Italy was attacked by a power, Austria-Hungary and Germany would assist her. And likewise, if Austria-Hungary and Germany were attacked, Italy would assist them too.

How did Italy cancel the "agreement" in the Triple Alliance? I meant there were "fights" and "agreements in advance". Why did not Italy and how did it have the right not to participate into the WWI?

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The core of the Triple Alliance was Germany and Austria-Hungary who promised to protect each other against attack by any third party. Italy was an "adjunct" member, who promised and was promised protection against attack only by France. But since Germany attacked France first, Italy used that as an excuse to "opt out" of the alliance.

The Achilles heel of the alliance was that Italy and Austria-Hungary basically hated each other, perhaps even more than either hated France. Each feared "retaliation" by the other; Italy in Venice, Austria-Hungary in Tyrol.

Italy "got around" to joining the Allies in 1915 when they promised her Tyrol and Trieste as spoils of war. (Ironically, Germany and Austria-Hungary even offered her South Tyrol to rejoin them.)

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    That's a little thing called "diplomacy". When the high-falutin' treaties are being signed it's "All for one, and one for all!", but after the cannons start cannonading it's, "...and every man for himself!". – Bob Jarvis Dec 28 '16 at 0:13

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