The murder of Molinari Fabiano was Gio Batta aged 66, which took place on 5 November 1917 at Casali Malina for the following reason: having tried to make the Austrian soldier understand that it was more convenient to requisition a horse than another, already chosen by them, he was killed immediately with a shot
(Report of the Mayor of Premanacco to the Commission of Inquiry)
International law relating to war makes provisions for military occupations, with precise limitations, though these have often been ignored.
Beginning with the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the form that was implemented was that of the so-called "general governorate": a system managed by military leaders, though which also included civil bureaucratic personnel from the occupying country, and functioned through the participation of local personnel. From the military point of view, occupations served two main purposes: firstly, to ensure peace and public order in the areas behind the front, so that military operations were not hindered by espionage or franctireurs (snipers), armed bands of scattered civilians and soldiers, that were already operating during the Franco-Prussian war. The second purpose of military occupation was to ensure the normal functioning of economic, productive and commercial activities, in order to be able to supply troops at the front and to maintain acceptable living conditions for civilians. In this way the maintenance of troops and civilians in the occupied territory would place as little weight as possible on the economy of the home country. This second purpose especially acquired considerable importance during the war, due to the size of the armies. National economies were unable to maintain millions of soldiers and officers far from their homeland.
To realize these objectives, the occupying powers issued a series of provisions, ordinances and prohibitions to regulate relations with the occupied populations. In many cases care was taken to send officers and officials with adequate experience and linguistic knowledge to the occupied place. The maintenance of order was crucial for the occupiers, but also for the occupied.
This model of occupations was conditioned, in the individual instances during the conflict, by various factors: the greater or lesser economic value of an occupied territory could influence the concrete development of its occupation, as could the availability, or lack thereof, of a managerial class willing, for a wide variety of reasons, to collaborate with the occupier, and to take part in the management of daily affairs. Time was also a discriminating factor: the occupations that took place during the first phase of the war, those of Belgium and of north-eastern France, had more time to develop. In many cases, such re-articulation took the form of a lessening of repression in order to find less invasive methods. In the territories occupied in the final phase of the conflict (Friuli, eastern Veneto, and the Ukraine), there were fewer opportunities to implement a complex policy, allowing space for the urgency of supplying the occupying troops or the homeland. In general, the tendency of the military apparatuses to give way to civil systems can be seen. In any case, the political and military aims of the occupying power got the upper hand. The variable of possible war objectives must also be considered: the occupying power did not have a clear idea of how to exploit the occupied territory in every instance of occupation. An example of this can be seen in the case of Ober Ost, as well as in the Balkan territories occupied by Austria-Hungary, with a clear tendency to foster the modernization of territories considered to be backward. A significant instance of this was Albania, considered a "friendly" country, for whose modernization the Austro-Hungarian occupation authorities felt responsible. Finally, it made a difference if the territory was occupied only by one of the Central Powers or if, on the other hand, there were two, or even three, occupying powers, such as was the case in Romania. In this case conflicts of authority would arise, complicating the possibility of implementing effective forms of occupation. It is also important to remember the intertwining of occupation policies and domestic politics among the Central Powers. The worsening in the treatment of French and Belgian populations after 1917 was also linked to the need to justify cuts in the provisions of the inhabitants of the Central Powers: how could it be justified that a family in Brussels or Lille received more rations than in Berlin or in Vienna?
In general, it can be said that the ambition of the occupation apparatuses was to cover all aspects of collective life: from post offices to railways, from agricultural production to foreign trade, to the police, to culture, and to the press. This ambition, however, had to deal with cogent factors: time, the priorities dictated by the policies of the homeland (for example, the divergent German and Austro-Hungarian ambitions regarding the reconstitution of a Polish state), the need to supply the military in the occupied territory, and the urgent war needs. The forms of self-government introduced in the occupied territories, which would have saved men and resources, could be established only partially, either because the pre-existing ruling class had largely fled (in the case of Friuli and eastern Veneto), or because it was not easy to form a new one in a short time (as in Albania), or - finally - because self-government was at odds with the priority of controlling the occupied territory, as the case of Belgium demonstrates. The military authorities were faced with a dilemma. If the occupying power reacted in an excessively tolerant manner, it would undermine tranquillity, order and its status of supremacy; if, on the other hand, it reacted too harshly, the trust and benevolence of the population which it hoped to gain, were rapidly lost or even rendered unattainable. In occupation policies, therefore, the gap between expectations and achievements was great. Force often got the upper hand.
To maintain "their" order, occupiers did not refrain from harsh crackdowns: detaining hostages, collective punishment, deportations, and capital punishments.
The maintenance of order was a precious asset, both for the occupiers and the occupied. Internal order was the basis for the normal continuation of economic activities, especially as related to agriculture. It should be mentioned that, with the exception of occupied Belgium and France, the territories subjected to occupation were characterized by a predominantly rural economy. But the distribution of food resources represented a great point of friction: how much was to be taken from the civilian population to feed the armies located along the borders of the occupied territory? What was the "minimum" that had to be ensured to the civilian population so that it would not revolt? What was the necessary way to behave towards the peasant population: strength, persuasion, offering of incentives? The longer the war lasted, the more food conditions in the Central Powers worsened. As a result, the behaviour of the occupation authorities relating to the withdrawal of food products and other raw materials became increasingly severe. These extended up to even the looting policies put in place (with disastrous results) in Ukraine after the peace of Brest-Litovsk.
One final element to consider: although there are some similarities and some connections of a personal nature (for example, part of the Ober Ost personnel would go on to operate in the occupied Soviet Union), making a direct link between the First and Second World War and seeing the occupations of 1914-1918 as forerunners of those, far more brutal, of 1939-1945, seems schematic. What happened in the European territories occupied by the Central Powers in those years is a historical event in itself, which is still awaiting a comprehensive reconstruction.