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(ĭrĭden`tĭzəm), originally, the Italian nationalist movement for the annexation to Italy of territories—Italia irredenta [unredeemed Italy]—inhabited by an Italian majority but retained by Austria after 1866. These included the Trentino, Trieste, Istria, Fiume, and parts of Dalmatia. Agitation took place both inside Austria-Hungary and in Italy itself. The liberation of Italia irredenta was perhaps the strongest motive for the entry of Italy into World War I. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) satisfied most of the irredentist claims. The term irredentism has, by extension, been applied to nationalist agitation in other countries, based on historical, ethnic, and geographical reasons, for the incorporation of territories under foreign rule. Irredentism is thus closely connected with nationalismnationalism,
political or social philosophy in which the welfare of the nation-state as an entity is considered paramount. Nationalism is basically a collective state of mind or consciousness in which people believe their primary duty and loyalty is to the nation-state.
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 and with minorityminority,
in international law, population group with a characteristic culture and sense of identity occupying a subordinate political status. Religious minorities were known from ancient times, but ethnic minorities did not become an issue in European politics until the rise of
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a political and social movement in Italy at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th for annexing to Italy neighboring territory populated by Italians—Trieste, Trentino, and other areas.

Irredentist organizations included the Association of Struggle for the Liberation of Italy, as well as the organization Trentino and Trieste and the organization Dante Alighieri. Among the leaders (prominent republicans) were F. Cavallotti, M. R. Im-briani, and J. Bovio. In the beginning, irredentism was represented by forces of the democratic opposition and developed under slogans for a struggle to complete the unification of Italy and slogans against the Triple Alliance of 1882 and Italian colonialist expansion in Africa. Later, as Italy began to move toward imperialism, the imperialist bourgeoisie began to use irredentist slogans to justify broad territorial claims in the Balkans and on the Adriatic. Some of the irredentists took part in the activities of the Nationalist Association, a predecessor of Fascism, and actively supported colonial aggression in North Africa in 1911–12 and Italy’s participation in World War I (1914–18). After the war, irredentism as an independent movement disappeared, merging with Fascism.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.