After orders were refused among his military units, Italy’s Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna realised that the soldiers needed a break. Yet his measures gave the impression after the eleventh Isonzo battle (mid-August to mid-September 1917) that he would soon go back on the offensive. Adequate defence positions were dispensed with. All guns remained on the foremost front line.
In the course of the First World War between 7 and 8.5 million soldiers are estimated to have been held prisoner. The prisoners of war, according to the Hague Land War Convention, were under special protection. In general they possessed the right to be treated with ‘humanity’. Yet despite a series of coded prohibitions and regulations, hundreds of thousands of them perished. The chances of surviving captivity varied considerably in the various countries concerned.