Italian Irredentism was a political and cultural movement . It developed between the 1870’s and the First World War. The goal was unify Italy through the acquisition of Italian territories ruled by Austria after the three wars for independence. By 1870 there were six ethnically Italian areas under the control of the Austrian government: Trentino, Trieste , Venezia Giulia (part of today's eastern Friuli) , Istria and Dalmatia . At that time, the rising small nation had no international allies. France’s expansionist ambitions into North Africa created tension, pushing Italy to seek a strong alliance . In 1882, Italy , Austria and Germany sign the Triple Alliance.
The irredentist movement was underway in Italy and in the unredeemed territories, specifically through cultural and political associations and anti – Austrian sentiment. The term " unredeemed lands " was used for the first time in 1877 by Neapolitan patriot and politician Matteo Imbriani . He swore on his father's grave that he would dedicate himself to the liberation of Italian territory subject to foreign domination. Imbriani founded the Association For The Unredeemed Italy in 1877 , bringing together politicians and intellectuals who espoused the cause of irredentism . In 1882, Guglielmo Oberdan of Trieste was hanged for plotting an to kill Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. In 1891 another Trieste native, Charles Seppenhofer , created the Italian National League . It was a forum for debate and discussion of the irredentist claims, but independence from Austrian rule soon became its prime focus. With the outbreak of the First World War in July of 195, Italy declared itself neutral.
The irredentists , led by politician and journalist Cesare Battisti Trentino , called for Italiy’s particpation in the war against Austria, joining the Triple Entente formed by France , Britain and Russia. Italy's participation in the conflict and the eventual defeat of Austria would naturally free unredeemed lands from Austrian control . In April of 1916 Italy secretly joins with the Triple Entente . In exchange for the spoils of war, including unredeemed territories, Italy agreed to go to war alongside the British – French and Russian alliance . In May of 1916, Italy declared war on Austria . Italy and its allies win the conflict. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 mandated the transfer of unredeemed lands from Austria back to Italy .