In 1917 Italy launched a plan for the “valorization” of the colonies in support of the war effort. Under the motto of “Ask the Motherland for as little as possible and give her as much as possible”, Italian colonies were asked to quickly achieve self-sufficiency in basic commodities and then come to the aid of the “Motherland”. An ambitious plan that soon encountered failure. Nevertheless, to achieve these aims there was no hesitation to impose cultivations, exploiting all the available land and forcing the farmers to work the land normally left fallow, dedicating the labor to the war effort. This essay explores the effects of this policy in each Italian colony, focusing on the reasons behind the poor results and the reactions of the farmers to these requests.
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