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The Italian premier, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, was a member of the Big Four at the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War I. The Italians anticipated establishing their northern border at the Brenner Pass and adding lands on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea.Later, Italian demands were levied upon the city of Fiume (later Rijeka), which was inhabited largely by Croats.Orlando’s effort to extend Italian control over non-Italians ran counter to Woodrow Wilson’s principle of national self-determination. Wilson, who had earlier been greeted as an international savior in Rome, became the object of ridicule.Wilson reluctantly agreed to the northward Italian expansion, overlooking the fact that the area was home to more than 200,000 German-speaking people. Italian delegates protested Wilson's stance by walking out of the negotiations and remaining absent for two weeks. Wilson was unmoved and Fiume continued as a source of bitterness between the two nations.
See also Wilson's Search for Peace.