Two World Wars and a dramatically declining mortality rate during the 20th century have conspired to create An Italian Tale.
Somewhere between 1,052,400 & 1,243,400 Italians died in World War One.
Italy, nominally allied with the German Empire and the Empire of Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance, in 1915 joined the Allies into World War I with a promise of substantial territorial gains, that included western Inner Carniola, former Austrian Littoral, Dalmatia as well as parts of the Ottoman Empire.
The country gave a fundamental contribution to the victory of the conflict as one of the “Big Four” top Allied powers.
The war was initially inconclusive, as the Italian army got stuck in a long attrition war in the Alps, making little progress and suffering very heavy losses.
However, the reorganization of the army and the conscription of the so-called ’99 Boys (Ragazzi del ’99, all males born in 1899 who were turning 18) led to more effective Italian victories in major battles, such as on Monte Grappa and in a series of battles on the Piave river.
Eventually, in October 1918, the Italians launched a massive offensive, culminating in the victory of Vittorio Veneto.
The Italian victorymarked the end of the war on the Italian Front, secured the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was chiefly instrumental in ending the First World War less than two weeks later.
Somewhere between 492,400 & 514,000 Italians died in World War Two.
In 1935, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and founded the Italian East Africa, resulting in an international alienation and leading to Italy’s withdrawal from the League of Nations; Italy allied with Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan and strongly supported Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war.
In 1939, Italy annexed Albania, a de facto protectorate for decades.
Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940.
After each World War there was a Baby Boom.
Sandwiched between the World War is a ten year period of relative peace in Italy [1920-30] that’s associated with the rise to power of Benito Mussolini.
Following the March on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest Italian Prime Minister up to that date.
After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes, Mussolini and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship.
Within five years, Mussolini had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means and aspired to create a totalitarian state.
In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the Vatican, ending decades of struggle between the Italian state and the Papacy, and recognized the independence of Vatican City.
Italians born around 1930 were too young to fight in the Second World World.
And it’s these Italian Baby Boomers born between 1920 and 1930 that especially contributed to the extraordinary increase in Italian senior citizens between 2000 and 2010.
The Italian Baby Boomers born after the First and Second World Wars had plenty of opportunities to inhale industrial dust particles and develop pneumoconiosis [like silicosis] during their long working lives after the Second World War.
After Italian unification the capital was moved from Turin to Rome and the administrative and institutional importance of Northern Italy was deeply reduced. However, from the late 19th century and especially with the economic boom of the 1950s–1960s, Northern Italy and especially the cities of Turin, Genoa, and Milan was the most important region in the Italian industrialization and sharpened its status of richest and most industrialized part of Italy.
In September 1939, Britain imposed a selective blockade of Italy.
Coal from Germany, which was shipped out of Rotterdam, was declared contraband.
The Germans promised to keep up shipments by train, over the Alps, and Britain offered to supply all of Italy’s needs in exchange for Italian armaments.
The Italians could not agree to the latter terms without shattering their alliance with Germany.
On 2 February 1940, however, Mussolini approved a draft contract with the Royal Air Force to provide 400 Caproni aircraft; yet he scrapped the deal on 8 February.
Germany supplied Italy with about one million tons of coal a month beginning in the spring of 1940, an amount that even exceeded Mussolini’s demand of August 1939 that Italy receive six million tons of coal for its first twelve months of war.
Pneumoconiosis is the general term for a class of interstitial lung diseases where inhalation of dust has caused interstitial fibrosis.
Therefore, it’s no surprise to discover that this remarkably large population of Italian Baby Boomers [with pre-existing conditions that include silicosis and outlier old-age] is being ravaged by the corona virus in 2020.
There were two Baby Booms.
There was a Baby Boom after the First World War.
There was a Baby Boom after the Second World War.
Every Baby Boom is followed by a Boomer Bust.
Such is life
Such is death.
Update 1st April 2020
It’s suddenly dawned upon the experts that Italy’s “mild flu season” has created a large “victim pool” that COVID-19 can attack.
Overall, deaths in the 65+ age-group [up to 21 March 2020] are still well below 2016-2017 levels.
The promulgated Pandemic Panic looks increasingly irresponsible with each passing day.
And each passing day reinforces the view that Pandemic Panic is closely associated with Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Fingers crossed April Fools Day marks the high-point of Pandemic Panic.