Diaz, Armando

(1861–1928)
   Born in Naples, Diaz can fairly be called modern Italy’s most successful soldier since Giuseppe Garibaldi, though it must be said that competition for this title is not fierce. After initial training in artillery, in 1910 Diaz was appointed colonel and in May 1912, as commander of the 93rd Regiment, took part in the colonial war against Libya, in which he was wounded. He became a major general attached to the general staff under General Luigi Cadorna, whom he would later replace as commander-inchief. When World War I broke out, Diaz sought a military command and became general in charge of the 49th Division. He distinguished himself both for his tenacity as a commander and for his bravery in battle (he was wounded in July 1917 and won the silver medal for valor). After the disaster of Caporettoin November 1917, King VictorEmmanuel III made Diaz commander of the Italian army, promoting him over the head of more widely esteemed generals such as Pietro Badoglio. Diaz announced his assumption of command with a oneline communique to his troops: “I am taking over as Chief of General Staff and I count upon the goodwill and self-sacrifice of everybody.” Diaz obtained the moral effort he asked for. The Italian army held fast through the winter of 1917–1918 on the Piave River, blocking access to the valley of the river Po and to Venice, and then in October 1918 broke the Austrian army at the battle of Vittorio Veneto. Diaz became senator of the realm in February 1918 and after victory was awarded a dukedom and several other military and civil honors. He strongly supported Fascism and accepted a post as minister of war in Benito Mussolini’s first government. In November 1924, he became a field marshal. He died in Romein February 1928.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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