Numerous propaganda leaflets such as this one were dropped out of planes or balloons over enemy lines. On 9 August 1918, the writer Gabriele d’Annunzio (1863-1938) led a spectacular manoeuver.He led 11 planes out from Padua, flying over Vienna with seven of them, to drop hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets in the colours of the Italian flag, which proclaimed the social and political aims of Italy. One of these leaflets was ‘Viennese! Get to know the Italians!’, a ‘greeting of the tricolor’ and freedom. It was intended that the Viennese should think about their ‘stubborn government’ and how badly they were being treated. A continuation of the war would be suicide. The text ends with the invocation: ‘Viennese citizens! Consider what will await you and awake! Long live freedom! Long live Italy! Long live the Entente!’
D’Annunzio was an Italian writer, well known for his novels, poems and dramas in Italy, was also politically very active. In 1915, he had supported the entry of Italy into the war and was an enthusiastic soldier.
TranscriptPeople of Vienna!
Meet the Italians!
If we so wished, we could drop tons of bombs on your city, but we are simply sending you the greetings of the tricolour, the tricolour of freedom!
We Italians do not wage war against citizens, children, old men and woman. We wage war against your government, the enemy of national freedom, with your blind, obstinate and cruel government, which can give you neither bread nor peace and feeds you only on a diet of hatred and elusive hopes.
People of Vienna!
People say of you that you are intelligent, but since you have donned the Prussian uniform you have sunk to the level of a Berlin brute, and the whole world has turned against you.
Do you want to continue the war? Go ahead, if you want to commit suicide. What are you hoping for? The decisive victory that the Prussian generals have promised you?
Your decisive victory is like bread from the Ukraine: people expect it and die before it arrives.
Citizens of Vienna! Think about what awaits you and wake up!
Long live freedom!
Long live Italy!
Long live entente!