The exhibition of War has been placed here, among the arts of peace, with a name, defence of the country, which testifies to the evolution accomplished in recent years in the conception of its office. War, according to its former meaning, is rapidly and imperceptibly disappearing from our heritage of ideas and ideals, as a remnant of useless barbarism, to be restricted to the social function of defending the integrity of the country.
The transformation of the ideal of warfare in the arrangement of the exhibition can also be noted. It is true that the artillery still exhibits models of cannons made by the Naples Arsenal, and projectiles from the Genoa workshop.
But the largest part is reserved for the peaceful exhibitions of the engineers, the commissariat, and subsistence, and presents us with very successful models of improvised bridges, overhead transmission lines, military uniforms, bags, and harnesses. Several reliefs show the life of the barracks and the hospital in action; there is the new covered riding school of Pignerol, the infantry barracks of Como, the military hospital of Coelius in Rome, the project, on a scale of 1:100, of the new military hospital of Turin, comprising an area of 8 hectares and a group of buildings which make it seem at first sight like the plan of a new city.
A very important part is reserved for the Red Cross, which exhibits tents, ambulances, first-aid boxes and photographs of volunteer nursing schools, often recruited from among the most noble ladies of the Italian aristocracy. The exhibition of the Red Cross is made more attractive by two dioramas, one of which shows an isolated, improvised ambulance scene, the other the Red Cross attached to military mountain manoeuvres.
The exhibition on the defence of the country ends with the work of the Military Geographical Institute of Florence, which is preparing the general revision of the topographical map of Italy at a scale of 1:100,000. We are also pleased to note the exhibition of the work of the Institution for the Daughters of Soldiers, of which the Italian military welfare system can be proud and of which Turin is proud to host it, and finally, last but not least, the exhibition of the National Institute for Soldiers' Libraries. The Institute had the ingenious idea, which quickly developed, of forming small regimental libraries of 25, 50, 75 and 100 volumes. In a little over two years, from 1908 to 1910, the Institute, which is based in Turin (Piazza Venezia), distributed about 32,000 volumes, 27,000 of which were free of charge, among 600 regiments, carabinieri stations, military hospitals, infirmaries, penal institutions, schools and various other institutions. Among the latter are the Peking legation, the on-board libraries of the ships Charles-Albert, Vettor Pisani and Volta, the garrison of the Col de Tende and the guard corps of the Royal Palace in Turin. In the first quarter of 1911 the Institute has already distributed another 4000 volumes.
©Guide Officiel de l'Exposition Internationale de Turin 1911