Italian Prisoners Who Died During and After the First World War: A Quantitative Assessment

In: International Journal of Military History and Historiography
Alessio FornasinDepartment of Economics and Statistics, University of Udine, Udine, Italy,

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Giuliana FreniDepartment of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy,

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The number of Italian military prisoners who died in enemy hands stands, according to the Italian historiography on the First World War, at 100,000 or more. In this paper, we offer an alternative estimate of the number of deaths using both individual and aggregate data. The reconstruction distinguishes between soldiers who died in captivity and soldiers who died as a consequence of captivity during and after the war. The results demonstrate that the number 100,000 is too high. The correct number would be, for the period from 25 May 1915 to 31 December 1925, above 57,000 and probably lower than 73,000.

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