855: Italy’s Foreign and Colonial Policy

by Gerard


855: Italy’s Foreign and Colonial Policy: A Selection from the Speeches Delivered in the Italian Parliament by the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Tommaso Tittoni During His Six Years In Office (1903-1909). Translated by Baron Bernardo Quaranta di San Severino. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1914. 323 p.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 850: Literatures of Italian, Sardinian, Dalmatian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic languages
  • 855: Italian speeches

Right off the bat, I feel I need to warn readers of this book. It’s a book of speeches given by a middlingly important government official to members of his country’s parliament. These are not remarks given on the world stage or by anyone that a majority of people have even heard of. Tommaso Tittoni was the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1903 to 1909, then again in 1919. He served a small stint as the Acting Prime Minister for 17 days in March 1905. He worked in various capacities for the Italian government for the majority of his life and as such became familiar with the ins and outs of world politics. The speeches collected in Italy’s Foreign and Colonial Policy show just how intertwined the world was at the turn of the 20th century.

Tittoni’s speeches are grouped into three major categories: foreign policy, immigration, and colonial proceedings. These thirty-four speeches, while confined to the arena of foreign affairs, still show how varied and political the purview of his office of Foreign Affairs Minister was. He has to worry about economic compensation, agricultural tariffs, negotiating existing treaties and agreements, and even the internal workings of other countries. One speech in particular expounds upon a case before the United States Supreme Court about social legislation and insurance laws. The nation of Italy was only just cobbled together not even fifty years before Tittoni’s tenure in office, so their relation to the rest of the world has to be established tenuously and judiciously.

I can’t say that I derived a great amount of pleasure from reading this book, but every once in a while, a snippet would pique my interest. Those moments, however, are few and far between. The inner dialogues of the Italian government during the 1900’s isn’t nearly as exciting as one would think. If you’re a scholar of political history or Italian government, then here’s a book for you. If not, move on.