Courtesy Reuters

ON THE evening of November 4, 1917, the unhappy and anxious leaders of Britain, France and Italy were arriving at the little town of Rapallo on the Italian Riviera to discuss the situation created by the crushing defeat of the Italian armies in the battle of Caporetto, and the position in which, as a consequence of this and other disasters, the Allied Powers found themselves as the long year 1917 drew to its close. They had every reason to view their situation with the gravest anxiety. Allied fortunes were at their lowest ebb since the German advance on Paris in the summer of 1914.

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