Armando Diaz

Armando Diaz

Armando Diaz was born in Italy in 1861. He joined the Italian Army and was a successful field commander in the Turkish War (1911-12) and was a member of the general staff under General Luigi Cadorna on the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.

Diaz was given a divisional command in May 1915 and was one of the more successful generals during the Isonzo Offensive and the victory at Gorizia in August 1916.

The Austro-German Caporetto Offensive in October 1917 was disastrous for the Italian forces. Over 300,000 men and most of its trench artillery was lost and the following month Armando Diaz replaced General Luigi Cadorna as chief of staff of the Italian Army.

Diaz managed to stabilize the front-line but was unwilling to undertake an offensive of his own. Vittorio Orlando, the Italian prime minister, was aware that he would need military victories to strengthen his negotiating position to obtain territorial demands after the war. He therefore pressurized Diaz to launch an offensive in a war that would soon be over.

On the 23rd October 1918, Armando Diaz launched an offensive at Vittorio Veneto. Diaz was able to put 57 Italian divisions in the field. These were supported by soldiers from the French Army and the British Army. After initial difficulties crossing the Piave River, the Italian Army took the town of Vittorio Veneto. The Austro-Hungarian Army collapsed and by the Armistice the Allied forces had reached Trento in the west and Tagliamento in the east. This victory guaranteed Diaz's long-term reputation as a successful general.

In 1921 Benito Mussolini appointed Diaz as his war minister. He retained the post until his promotion to field marshal and retirement in 1924. Armando Diaz died in 1928.