World War I

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.65

     challenging words:    frostbite, bloody, successful, british, naval, jobs, lasted, conflict, beginning, government, army, danger, upper, however, probably, addition
     content words:    Great War, World War I., Central Powers, Mediterranean Sea, World War, Triple Alliance, If Italy, Italian Front, Then Germany, Versailles Peace Conference

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By Sharon Fabian

1     If you were a young man growing up in Italy in 1914, you were probably very interested in world news. Many of the other countries of Europe had already entered into the bloody conflict known as the Great War, or World War I. For the moment, Italy was neutral, but if it decided to join either the Allies or the Central Powers, its young men would soon be sent to the battlefields. So, young men from the Alps in northern Italy to the toe of Italy's boot in the Mediterranean Sea listened anxiously for any news of the war.
2     Before World War I started, Italy had been part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. At the beginning of the war, however, Italy chose to be neutral. It did not enter the war on either side, but would it stay that way?
3     Italy was interested in lands along its border with Austria. Two of these areas were named Trieste and Trentino. The Allies knew that Italy wanted these areas, and they made a secret deal with Italy. If Italy joined the Allies, and if the Allies won the war, Italy would get Trieste and Trentino. The Allies also promised additional lands in Africa, and Italy joined the war on the side of the Allies on May 23, 1915. The border between Italy and Austria became the Italian Front. It extended for 400 miles, much of it through mountains. Like soldiers all over Europe, soldiers on the Italian Front fought in trenches. These were different from the trenches in other parts of Europe, because the Italian trenches were often high in the mountains. Soldiers could not dig trenches in the soil there. Instead, they built trenches with stones, and even with snow and ice. In addition to facing danger from enemy fire, soldiers were also at risk from frostbite and avalanches.

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