Treaty of Rapallo (1920)

The Treaty of Rapallo was a treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929) that was signed to solve the dispute over some territories in the former Austrian Littoral, which was in the northern Adriatic, as well as in Dalmatia.

Treaty of Rapallo
Litorale 1.png
Changes to the Italian eastern border from 1920 to 1975.
  The Austrian Littoral, later renamed Venezia Giulia, which was assigned to Italy in 1920 with the Treaty of Rapallo (with adjustments of its border in 1924 after the Treaty of Rome) and was then ceded to Yugoslavia in 1947 with the Treaty of Paris
  Areas annexed to Italy in 1920 and remained Italian even after 1947
  Areas annexed to Italy in 1920, passed to the Free Territory of Trieste in 1947 with the Paris treaties and definitively assigned to Italy in 1975 with the Treaty of Osimo
  Areas annexed to Italy in 1920, passed to the Free Territory of Trieste in 1947 with the Treaties of Paris and definitively assigned to Yugoslavia in 1975 with the Treaty of Osimo
TypePeace Treaty
ContextFirst World War
Signed12 November 1920 (1920-11-12)[1][2]
LocationRapallo, Italy[1]
ConditionArrangement of the border in Venezia Giulia and Free State of Fiume
Signatories Giovanni Giolitti
Milenko Vesnić
Parties Italy
 Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
LanguageItalian, Serbo-Croatian[1]

The treaty was signed on 12 November 1920[3] in Rapallo, near Genoa, Italy. The signing was preceded by Italo-Yugoslavian negotiations at Villa Spinola, which were led notably by Ivanoe Bonomi and Francesco Salata.[4]


Tension between Italy and Yugoslavia arose at the end of the First World War, when the Austria-Hungary dissolved, and Italy claimed the territories assigned to it by the secret Treaty of London. According to the treaty signed in London on 26 April 1915 by the Kingdom of Italy and Triple Entente, in case of victory at the end of the war, Italy was to obtain several territorial gains including former Austrian Littoral, northern Dalmatia and notably Zadar (Italian: Zara), Šibenik (Italian: Sebenico), and most of the Dalmatian islands (except Krk and Rab).

The territories had an ethnically-mixed population, with Slovenes and Croats being over the half of the population of the region. The treaty was therefore nullified with the Treaty of Versailles under the pressure of US President Woodrow Wilson, which voided Italian claims on northern Dalmatia. The objective of the Treaty of Rapallo was to find a compromise after the void created by the nonapplication of the Treaty of London.


Map of the Italian territory of Zara, 1920-1947
Events leading to World War II
  1. Treaty of Versailles 1919
  2. Polish–Soviet War 1919
  3. Treaty of Trianon 1920
  4. Treaty of Rapallo 1920
  5. Franco-Polish alliance 1921
  6. March on Rome 1922
  7. Corfu incident 1923
  8. Occupation of the Ruhr 1923–1925
  9. Mein Kampf 1925
  10. Second Italo-Senussi War 1923–1932
  11. Dawes Plan 1924
  12. Locarno Treaties 1925
  13. Young Plan 1929
  14. Japanese invasion of Manchuria 1931
  15. Pacification of Manchukuo 1931–1942
  16. January 28 incident 1932
  17. Geneva Conference 1932–1934
  18. Defense of the Great Wall 1933
  19. Battle of Rehe 1933
  20. Nazis' rise to power in Germany 1933
  21. Tanggu Truce 1933
  22. Italo-Soviet Pact 1933
  23. Inner Mongolian Campaign 1933–1936
  24. German–Polish declaration of non-aggression 1934
  25. Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance 1935
  26. Soviet–Czechoslovakia Treaty of Mutual Assistance 1935
  27. He–Umezu Agreement 1935
  28. Anglo-German Naval Agreement 1935
  29. December 9th Movement
  30. Second Italo-Ethiopian War 1935–1936
  31. Remilitarization of the Rhineland 1936
  32. Spanish Civil War 1936–1939
  33. Italo-German "Axis" protocol 1936
  34. Anti-Comintern Pact 1936
  35. Suiyuan campaign 1936
  36. Xi'an Incident 1936
  37. Second Sino-Japanese War 1937–1945
  38. USS Panay incident 1937
  39. Anschluss Mar. 1938
  40. May Crisis May 1938
  41. Battle of Lake Khasan July–Aug. 1938
  42. Bled Agreement Aug. 1938
  43. Undeclared German–Czechoslovak War Sep. 1938
  44. Munich Agreement Sep. 1938
  45. First Vienna Award Nov. 1938
  46. German occupation of Czechoslovakia Mar. 1939
  47. Hungarian invasion of Carpatho-Ukraine Mar. 1939
  48. German ultimatum to Lithuania Mar. 1939
  49. Slovak–Hungarian War Mar. 1939
  50. Final offensive of the Spanish Civil War Mar.–Apr. 1939
  51. Danzig Crisis Mar.–Aug. 1939
  52. British guarantee to Poland Mar. 1939
  53. Italian invasion of Albania Apr. 1939
  54. Soviet–British–French Moscow negotiations Apr.–Aug. 1939
  55. Pact of Steel May 1939
  56. Battles of Khalkhin Gol May–Sep. 1939
  57. Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact Aug. 1939
  58. Invasion of Poland Sep. 1939

At the conclusions of the discussions, the following territories were annexed to Italy:

According to the treaty, the city of Rijeka (Italian: Fiume) would become the independent Free State of Fiume,[5] which ended the military occupation of Gabriele d'Annunzio's troops that had begun by the Impresa di Fiume and was known as the Italian Regency of Carnaro. That part of the treaty was revoked in 1924, when Italy and Yugoslavia signed the Treaty of Rome, which gave Fiume to Italy and the adjacent port of Sušak to Yugoslavia.

The treaty left a large number of Slovenes and Croats in Italy. According to author Paul N. Hehn, "the treaty left half a million Slavs inside Italy while only a few hundred Italians in the fledgling Yugoslav state".[6] Indeed, based on the numbers recorded in the 1910 Austrian census, 480,000 South Slavs (Slovenes and Croats) became citizens of the Kingdom of Italy, and around 15,000 Italians became citizens of the new Yugoslav state (around 13,000 in Dalmatia and the rest in the island of Krk). According to the same census, around 25,000 ethnic Germans and 3,000 Hungarians also lived in the regions annexed to Italy with the treaty, and the number of Italians living in the region was between 350,000 and 390,000.


  1. ^ a b c "Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes signed at Rapallo, 12 November 1920" (PDF). League of Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 18. League of Nations. 1923. pp. 397–403. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Rapalski ugovor". Hrvatska enciklopedija (Croatian encyclopedia) (in Croatian). Miroslav Krleža Institute in Zagreb. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  3. ^ A Low Dishonest Decade by Paul N. Hehn; Chapter 2, Italy the Powers and Eastern Europe, 1918-1939. Mussolini, Prisoner of the Mediterranean
  4. ^ D'Alessio, Vanni. "Salata, Francesco". Enciclopedia Italiana. Archived from the original on 10 March 2021. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  5. ^ Foreign Policies of the Great Powers by Cedric James Lowe, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, F. Marzari, p.177-78
  6. ^ A Low Dishonest Decade by Paul N. Hehn; Chapter 2, Italy the Powers and Eastern Europe, 1918-1939. Mussolini, Prisoner of the Mediterranean

External linksEdit