3783 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
In two days of hard fighting, 13,000 Austrians were captured and counter-attacks
were repulsed. Later in the month, the important post of Monte Santo was taken, after
which the Italians attacked the tremendously
strong position known as Monte San Gabriel.
After many days of bitter fighting, the Italians succeeded in reaching the top of Monte
San Gabriel and also made progress on the
In several of these operations British artillery and British monitors had played a part.
In some Allied circles it was believed that
more help should be given the Italians,
for it was thought that perhaps they could
force their way through the mountains and
attack Vienna. The victories of the year
greatly heartened the Italians and aroused
hopes of even more sweeping victories, but
a sad disappointment was in store for the
Allies on this front.
Though peace had not yet been made,
Russia was, to all intents and purposes, practically out of it. America, a laggard at the
fray, was making great preparations, but
she was not ready to take Russia's place and
would not be for many months. The resulting situation was one of which the Teutonic
War Lords took advantage with their accustomed skill. During the next half-year, they
struck heavy blows and came near to winning the war.
The first stroke fell upon Italy. Hundreds
of thousands of Austrians and several divisions of Germans were transferred from the
Eastern Front to the Italian Front, and careful
preparations were made for a drive that was
designed to put Italy out of the conflict. By
way of preparing for the military movement,
the Germans made skillful use of propaganda.
For almost a year, the Second Italian Army
in the Piezzo-Tolmino sector had not been
changed. Opposite this army the Austrians
placed regiments largely composed of Socialists, who took advantage of the war weariness of their opponents to convince them that
the end of the fighting would come if the
soldiers on both sides would refuse to kill
each other any longer. Fraternization followed, and there were even promises made
that no more shooting should be done.
Furthermore, the Austrians showed the
credulous Italians forged copies of Italian
newspapers containing stories of uprisings in