The Defeat of Austria as Seen by the Seventh Division

One of the latest acquisition of our museum is a rare book from a UK book seller. The title is The Defeat of Austria as Seen by the Seventh Division. The author was the senior Chaplain of the British Seventh Division, the Rev. E.C. Crosse. What we read and appreciate today is a detailed memoir about his division, after it left the Asiago Plateau for the last conclusive battles in Italy (Maserada sul Piave, Papadopoli Island and Vittorio Veneto, the ending battles of the Eastern front). We won't get tired of stressing that Italy, along with the Balkan region, is one of the "forgotten fronts" of the war. With the abundance of books and studies about the most popular Western front, now it is time to recognize and highlight the importance of this region of the Great War and all what brings new knowledge. Maybe the Eastern front misses the boost of his E.M. Remarque, even if there was a Red Cross volunteer serving in the Italian army called Ernst Hemingway who spent some time in the Venice area and wrote a book titled A Farewell to Arms, perhaps you also heard about that... The trait of this book is in the author's capacity of sharing the feelings of the common soldiers. Rev. E.C. Crosse is particularly keen in doing that and he fills the pages with a lot of precious details and information for those who would like to go deep today into the knowledge of the final phases of the Great War in Italy (maps, battle preparations in the area of the Papadopoli Island, Vazzola and Vittorio Veneto).

This book represents an extremely important piece of story of the Eastern front. Furthermore, we live through the pages the last weeks of war in Italy, from August 1918 to the 4th of November (Armistice Day), not only in terms of war operations but also in terms of what the men at war felt, dreaded, thought. Historians should take this into consideration: the war was not only a matter of maps, generals, battalions and machine guns. It may seem a paradox, but we should recover the human side of this inhuman war.