Primary Documents - Armando Diaz on the Austro-Hungarian Armistice, 4 November 1918
Following heavy defeat at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, which heralded the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Army as an effective fighting force, the Austrian government sought and negotiated an armistice; meanwhile simultaneous political turmoil completed the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Reproduced below is the reaction of Italian Army Chief of Staff Armando Diaz to news of complete victory at Vittorio Veneto and the Austro-Hungarian armistice.
Click here to read Austro-Hungarian Emperor Karl I's abdication announcement, published on 11 November 1918. Click here to read an account of the Austro-Hungarian Army's collapse by the head of the British Red Cross in Italy, G. M. Trevelyan.
Address by Italian Chief of Staff Armando Diaz, 4 November 1918
THE HIGH COMMAND, November 4th, 12 noon.
The War against Austria-Hungary which, under the high guidance of His Majesty the King, supreme Chief, the Italian Army, inferior in number and means, commenced on May 24, 1915, and with unshaken faith and tenacious valour conducted uninterruptedly and most strenuously for 41 months, is won.
The gigantic battle engaged on the 24th of October ultimo, and in which there took part 51 Italian divisions, three British, two French, one Czecho-Slovak, and one American regiment, against 73 Austro-Hungarian divisions, is finished.
A fulminating and highly daring advance by the Twenty-ninth Army Corps on Trent, by blocking the way of retreat of the enemy's armies in the Trentino, overthrown on the West by troops of the Seventh Army and on the East by those of the First, Sixth and Fourth Armies, yesterday determined the complete collapse of the adversary's front.
From the Brenta to the Torre the irresistible dash of the Twelfth and Tenth Armies and of the Cavalry divisions, is driving back further and further the fleeing foe.
In the plain H.R.H. the Duke of Aosta is advancing rapidly at the head of his invincible Third Army eager to return to the positions they already victoriously conquered and had never lost.
The Austro-Hungarian Army is annihilated; it has suffered very heavy losses in the stubborn resistance on the first few days and during the pursuit; it has lost very considerable quantities of material of all sorts and almost entire its magazines and depots.
The remains of what was one of the most powerful armies in the world are going back, in disorder and hopeless, up the valleys they had descended with proud surety.
Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923
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