Armando Diaz, 1861-1928, Italian General
Graduate of the military colleges of Naples and Turin, Diaz joined the Italian army in 1881. Commanded a regiment during the Italo-Turkish war (1911-12). In 1914 he joined with General Luigi Cadorna to help reorganise the Italian army in preparation for the First World War. After the Italian entry into the war he served as Cadorna's chief of operations. The disastrous defeat at the battle of Caporetto (24 October-12 November 1917) led to Cadorna's removal, and on 9 November 1917 Diaz was appointed chief of staff. By this time, the front was beginning to stabilize on the Piave river, where Diaz was able to reestablish a stable front line, before devoting himself to restoring the confidence of the nearly shattered Italian army, which he had done well enough to consider the launch of a new offensive in the summer of 1918. However, he soon learnt of the planned two pronged Austrian offensive, and with this advance warning was able to organize his defenses, and repel the Austrian attack (battle of Piave, 15-23 June 1918), having kept an entire army in reserve. He then delayed the Italian offensive until it was clear that the allies were winning on the Western Front. Judging the Austrian army to be close to collapse, he launched his attack along the entire front (battle of Vittorio Veneto, 24 October-3 November 1918), which did indeed cause the collapse of Austrian arms, and forced them to sign an armistice, dictated by Diaz. After the war he served Mussolini as his minister of war (1922-1924), but was forced to retire by ill health.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (11 November 2001), Armando Diaz, 1861-1928, Italian General, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_diaz.html