Keywords: Italy; WWI; Illicit or Excessive Profits; Sharks, Post-war Crisis.
During the WWI the term «Sharks» was used to indicate the entrepreneurs who were making illicit or excessive profits through the sale of arms and ammunition. The presence of these war profits also denounced the crises that the Italian political, economic and administrative systems were facing. Using a variety of historical sources – journalistic investigations, soldiers’ letters, parliamentary reports and internal investigations conducted by the Italian army – this essay analyzes the relationship between State and private entrepreneurs between 1915 and 1919 and the wages of war that signaled the latent economic, political and moral crisis emerged after the war. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the complex and problematic Italian situation and the (vain) attempts of the State to remedy the crisis reported by the «sharks».