Germany and Italy were participants in the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary. This was despite the fact that Germany and Italy had earlier been allies against Austria-Hungary. From the perspective of Germany during the period 1900-1914, was Italy a good partner?

What were Germany's goals for such an alliance in this period? Did Italy contribute to those goals? What did Germany have to give to Italy during this period?

  • 4
    Hi Kay and welcome to HistorySE. Your question is a bit vague, if you could flesh it out a bit, perhaps with reference to your research so far, you would get more/more relevant answers. I've also edited the typo - 1918 instead of 1818.
    – TheHonRose
    Oct 1, 2017 at 4:14
  • I improved the question by pointing out the apparent paradox. That's the kind of "hook" that you need to motivate your questions. Also, Mark Wallace linked your question to a wikipedia source.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 1, 2017 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


Germany would have been aware of many of Italy's deficiencies. They had been allied against Austria in 1866 when Italy lost its segment of the war, and was bailed out at the peace table by Germany. So Germany didn't expect much from Italy, who had done "just enough" to enable the Germans to win the war. Nor did Germany offer much.

Basically, the alliance with Italy was a defensive alliance. The terms of the Triple Alliance called for Italy to remain neutral in the event of a war between Austria-Hungary and Russia. It also called for Italy to participate only if Germany (or Austria) were attacked by France, and vice-versa. (Italy used this loophole to remain neutral in 1914; Germany struck the first blow against France.) Italy did later violate the terms of the alliance in 1915 by joining the Allies, specifically the Russians, in a war against Austria-Hungary (and Germany). This represented a "downward deviation" from Germany's expectations.

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