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The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when
King Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = House of Savoy, Savoy , father = Charles Albert of Sardinia , mother = Maria Theresa of Austria (1801–1855), Maria Theresa of Austria , religion = L ...
of
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna ; sc, Sardigna or ) is the Mediterranean islands#By area, second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, and one of the Regions of Italy, 20 regions of Italy. It is located west of the Italian Penin ...
was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946, when civil discontent led an
institutional referendum
institutional referendum
to abandon the monarchy and form the modern
Italian Republic Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest an ...

Italian Republic
. The state was founded as a result of the
Risorgimento Italian unification ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the Risorgimento (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic states of Ital ...

Risorgimento
under the influence of the
Savoy Savoy (; frp, Savouè ; french: Savoie is a cultural-historical region in the Western Alps it, Alpi occidentaligerman: Westalpen , photo=Mont Blanc from Punta Helbronner, 2010 July.JPG , photo_caption=Mont Blanc Mont Blanc (french: Mont ...
-led
Kingdom of Sardinia The Kingdom of Sardinia,The name of the state was originally Latin: , or when the kingdom was still considered to include Corsica. In Italian it is , in French , in Sardinian , and in Piedmontese . also referred to as the Kingdom of Savoy-Sar ...
, which can be considered its legal
predecessor state Predecessor may refer to: * A holy person announcing the approaching appearance of a prophet, see precursor Precursor or Precursors may refer to: *Precursor (religion), a forerunner, predecessor ** The Precursor, John the Baptist Science and tech ...
. Italy declared war on
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...
in alliance with
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...
in 1866 and received the region of
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
following their victory. Italian troops entered Rome in 1870, thereby ending more than one thousand years of Papal temporal power. Italy entered into a Triple Alliance with the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
and the
Austro-Hungarian Empire Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exer ...

Austro-Hungarian Empire
in 1882, following strong disagreements with
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...
about the respective colonial expansions. However, even if relations with
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
became very friendly, the alliance with
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
remained purely formal as the Italians were keen to acquire
Trentino Trentino ( lld, Trentin) officially the Autonomous Province of Trento, is an autonomous The federal subject in Russia">Federal subjects of Russia">federal subject in Russia, close to borders of Finland. Picture of Petrozavodsk, the capit ...
and
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and in northeastern . It is the capital city, and largest city, of the of , one of two autonomous regions which are not subdivided into . Trieste is located at the head of the , on a narrow ...

Trieste
, corners of Austria-Hungary populated by Italians. So during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, Italy accepted the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
invitation to join the Allied Powers, as the western powers promised territorial compensation (at the expense of Austria-Hungary) for participation that was more generous than Vienna's offer in exchange for Italian neutrality. Victory in the war gave Italy a permanent seat in the Council of the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
. " Fascist Italy" is the era of
National Fascist Party The National Fascist Party ( it, Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF) was an Italian political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members ...
government from 1922 to 1943 with
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
as
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presi ...
. The
fascists Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian Authoritarianism is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associat ...
imposed totalitarian rule and crushed the political and intellectual opposition, while promoting economic modernization, traditional social values and a
rapprochement In international relations, a rapprochement, which comes from the French language, French word ''rapprocher'' ("to bring together"), is a re-establishment of cordial relations between two countries. This may be done due to a mutual enemy, as was the ...
with the Roman Catholic Church. According to Payne (1996), "
he
he
Fascist government passed through several relatively distinct phases". The first phase (1923–1925) was nominally a continuation of the parliamentary system, albeit with a "legally-organized executive dictatorship". Then came the second phase, "the construction of the Fascist dictatorship proper, from 1925 to 1929". The third phase, with less activism, was 1929 to 1934. The fourth phase, 1935–1940, was characterized by an aggressive foreign policy:
war against Ethiopia
war against Ethiopia
, launched from
Italian Eritrea Italian Eritrea (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italia ...
and
Italian Somaliland Italian Somaliland ( it, Somala italiana; ar, الصومال الإيطالي, Al-Sumal Al-Italiy; so, Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaalida), was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which ...

Italian Somaliland
, which resulted in its
annexation Annexation (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...
; confrontations with the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
, leading to sanctions; growing economic
autarky Autarky is the characteristic of self-sufficiency, usually applied to societies, communities, states and their economic systems. Autarky as an ideal or method has been embraced by a wide range of political ideologies and movements, especially ...
; and the signing of the
Pact of Steel The Pact of Steel (german: Stahlpakt, it, Patto d'Acciaio), known formally as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly o ...
. The war itself (1940–1943) was the fifth phase with its disasters and defeats, while the rump
Salò Salò (; la, Salodium) is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides many of the basic ...

Salò
Government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

Government
under German control was the final stage (1943–1945). Fascist Italy was a leading member of the Axis powers in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. By 1943, the German-Italian defeat on multiple fronts and the subsequent
Allied An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
landings in Sicily led to the fall of the Fascist regime, and Mussolini was placed under arrest by order of the King
Victor Emmanuel III Victor or Viktor may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film * ''Victor'' (1951 film), a French drama film * ''Victor'' (1993 film), a French short film * ''Victor'' (2008 film), a 2008 TV film about Canadian swimmer Victor Davis * ''Victor ...

Victor Emmanuel III
. The new government signed an
armistice An armistice is a formal agreement Agreement or concord (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) happens when a word changes form depending on the other words to which it relates. It is an instance of inflection, and usually involves making ...
with the Allies on September 1943. German forces occupied northern and central Italy, setting up the
Italian Social Republic The Italian Social Republic ( it, Repubblica Sociale Italiana, ; RSI), popularly and historically known as the Republic of Salò ( it, Repubblica di Salò ), was a List of World War II puppet states#Germany, German puppet state with limited D ...

Italian Social Republic
, a collaborationist
puppet state A puppet state, puppet régime or puppet government or dummy government is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...
still led by Mussolini and his Fascist loyalists. As a consequence, the country descended into
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
, with the
Italian Co-belligerent Army The Italian Co-belligerent Army (''Esercito Cobelligerante Italiano''), or Army of the South (''Esercito del Sud'') were names applied to various division sets of the now former Royal Italian Army during the period when it fought alongside the Alli ...
and the
resistance movement A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objectives t ...
contending with the Social Republic's forces and its German allies. Shortly after the war and the liberation of the country, civil discontent led to the
institutional referendum
institutional referendum
on whether Italy would remain a monarchy or become a republic. Italians decided to abandon the monarchy and form the
Italian Republic Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest an ...

Italian Republic
, the present-day Italian state.


Overview


Territory

The Kingdom of Italy claimed all of the territory which covers present-day Italy and even more. The development of the Kingdom's territory progressed under
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...

Italian unification
until 1870. The state for a long period of time did not include
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and in northeastern . It is the capital city, and largest city, of the of , one of two autonomous regions which are not subdivided into . Trieste is located at the head of the , on a narrow ...

Trieste
or
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (, ; it, Trentino-Alto Adige ; german: Trentino-Südtirol; lld, Trentin-Südtirol) is an Autonomous regions with special statute, autonomous region of Italy, located in the Northern Italy, northern part of the countr ...
, which were annexed in 1919 and remain Italian territories today. The
Triple Entente The Triple Entente (from French ''Entente (type of alliance), entente'' meaning "friendship, understanding, agreement") describes the informal understanding between the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom of Great B ...

Triple Entente
promised to grant to Italy – if the state joined the
Allies An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
– several territories including former
Austrian Littoral The Austrian Littoral (german: Österreichisches Küstenland, it, Litorale Austriaco, hr, Austrijsko primorje, sl, Avstrijsko primorje, hu, Osztrák Partvidék) was a crown land (''Kronland'') of the Austrian Empire, established in 1849. It co ...
, western parts of former
Duchy of Carniola The Duchy of Carniola ( sl, Vojvodina Kranjska, german: Herzogtum Krain, hu, Krajna) was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire, established under House of Habsburg, Habsburg rule on the territory of the former East Frankish March of Carnio ...
, Northern
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
and notably
Zara
Zara
,
Šibenik Šibenik (, it, Sebenico) is a historic city in Croatia :* french: link=no, République de Croatie :* hu, Horvát Köztársaság :* it, Repubblica di Croazia :* rue, Републіка Хорватія :* sr, Република Хрв ...
and most of the Dalmatian islands (except
Krk Krk (; german: link=no, Vegl; la, Curicta; it, Veglia; Vegliot Dalmatian: ''Vikla''; grc, Κύρικον, ''Kyrikon'') is a Croatia :* french: link=no, République de Croatie :* hu, Horvát Köztársaság :* it, Repubblica di Croazi ...

Krk
and
Rab Rab ( dlm, Arba, la, Arba, it, Arbe, german: Arbey) is an island in Croatia located just off the northern Croatian coast in the Adriatic Sea. The island is long, has an area of and 9,328 inhabitants (2011). The main settlement on the island ...

Rab
), according to the secret
London Pact The Treaty of London ( it, Trattato di Londra), or, less correctly, the Pact of London (''Patto di Londra''), was a secret treaty between the Triple Entente and the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which e ...
of 1915. After the
compromise To compromise is to make a deal between different parties where each party gives up part of their demand. In arguments, compromise is a concept of finding agreement through communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to ...
was nullified under pressure of President
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
with the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
, Italian claims on Northern Dalmatia were voided. During World War II, the Kingdom gained additional territory: it gained
Corsica Corsica (, Upper , Southern , ; french: link=no, Corse ; lij, link=no, Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north ...

Corsica
,
Nizza
Nizza
and
Savoia
Savoia
from France after its surrender in 1940, territory in Slovenia and Dalmatia from
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...
after its breakup in 1941 and
Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque Ligurian: ''Prinçipatu de Mu̍negu''), is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The ...

Monaco
in 1942. After World War II, the borders of present-day Italy were founded and the Kingdom abandoned its land claims. The
Italian Empire The Italian colonial empire ( it, Impero coloniale italiano), known as the Italian Empire (''Impero italiano'') between 1936 and 1943, began in Africa in the 19th century and comprised the colonies In political science, a colony is a terri ...

Italian Empire
also gained territory until the end of World War II through colonies, protectorates, military occupations and puppet states. These included
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa region of East Africa, Eastern Africa, with its capital (and largest city) at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti ...
,
Italian Somaliland Italian Somaliland ( it, Somala italiana; ar, الصومال الإيطالي, Al-Sumal Al-Italiy; so, Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaalida), was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which ...

Italian Somaliland
,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...
(occupied by Italy from 1936 to 1941),
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...
,
British Somaliland British Somaliland, officially the British Somaliland Protectorate ( so, Dhulka Maxmiyada Soomaalida ee Biritishka), was a British Empire, British protectorate in present-day Somaliland. For much of its existence, the territory was bordered by ...
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
(occupied in World War II),
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11. ...
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
(Italian and German client state in World War II),
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
(occupied in World War II),
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
(occupied in World War II) and a 46-
hectare The hectare (; SI symbol: ha) is a non-SI metric unit of area Area is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms o ...

hectare
concession from
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
in
Tianjin Tianjin (; ; Mandarin: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Tientsin, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality and a coastal metropolis in North China, Northern China on the shore of the Bohai Sea. It is ...

Tianjin
(see
Italian concession in Tianjin The Italian concession of Tianjin (, it, Concessione italiana di Tientsin) was a small territory (concession (territory), concession) in central Tianjin (formerly romanized as Tientsin), China, controlled by the Kingdom of Italy between 1901 an ...
).


Government

The Kingdom of Italy was theoretically a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
. Executive power belonged to the
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
, who exercised his power through appointed ministers. The legislative branch was a
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interac ...
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
comprising an appointive
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
and an elective
Chamber of Deputies The chamber of deputies is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apach ...
. The kingdom's
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
was the
Statuto Albertino The Statuto Albertino (English: ''Albertine Statute''), was the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organi ...
, the former governing document of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In theory, ministers were solely responsible to the king. However, by this time it was impossible for a king to appoint a government entirely of his own choosing or keep it in office, against the express will of Parliament. Members of the Chamber of Deputies were elected by
plurality voting system Plurality voting is an electoral system in which a candidate, or candidates, who poll more than any other counterpart (that is, receive a plurality (voting), plurality), are elected. In a system based on single-member districts, it elects just o ...
elections in
uninominal In a first-past-the-post (FPTP or FPP; sometimes formally called single-member plurality voting or SMP) electoral system, voters cast their vote for a candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins (irrespective ...
districts. A candidate needed the support of 50% of those voting and of 25% of all enrolled voters to be elected on the first round of balloting. If not all seats were filled on the first ballot, a runoff was held shortly afterwards for the remaining vacancies. After a brief multinominal experimentation in 1882,
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
into large, regional, multi-seat electoral constituencies was introduced after World War I.
Socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...

Socialist
s became the major party, but they were unable to form a government in a parliament split into three different factions, with Christian
populists
populists
and
classical liberals Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism that advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, ...
. Elections took place in 1919, 1921 and 1924: in this last occasion, Mussolini abolished proportional representation, replacing it with the Acerbo Law, by which the party that won the largest share of the votes got two-thirds of the seats, which gave the Fascist Party an absolute majority of the Chamber seats. Between 1925 and 1943, Italy was a quasi-''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
''
Fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particular ...
dictatorship, as the constitution formally remained in effect without alteration by the Fascists, though the monarchy also formally accepted Fascist policies and Fascist institutions. Changes in politics occurred, consisting of the establishment of the
Grand Council of Fascism The Grand Council of Fascism (, also translated "Fascist Grand Council") was the main body of Mussolini's Fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, a ...
as a government body in 1928, which took control of the government system, as well as the Chamber of Deputies being replaced with the
Chamber of Fasces and Corporations Chamber of Fasces and Corporations ( it, Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni) was the lower house of the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of soci ...

Chamber of Fasces and Corporations
as of 1939.


Monarchs

The monarchs of the
House of Savoy The House of Savoy ( it, Casa Savoia) is a royal dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the univ ...
who led Italy were: *
Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = Savoy Savoy (; frp, Savouè ; french: Savoie ; it, Savoia ; pms, Savòja ; ) is a cultural-historical region in the Western Alps. Situated on the cultural boun ...
(r. 1861–1878) – last
King of Sardinia The following is a list of rulers of , in particular, of the s of the from 1323 and then of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1479 to 1861. Early history Owing to the absence of written sources, little is known of the history of the Nuraghic civili ...
and first king of united Italy *
Umberto I Umberto I ( it, Umberto Rainerio Carlo Emanuele Giovanni Maria Ferdinando Eugenio di Savoia; 14 March 1844 – 29 July 1900), nicknamed ''the Good'' (Italian: ''il Buono''), was the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his assassination on ...

Umberto I
(r. 1878–1900) – approved the Triple Alliance with
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
and
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
, assassinated in 1900 by the anarchist
Gaetano Bresci Gaetano Bresci (; November 10, 1869May 22, 1901) was an Italian anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. Anarch ...

Gaetano Bresci
*
Victor Emmanuel III Victor or Viktor may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film * ''Victor'' (1951 film), a French drama film * ''Victor'' (1993 film), a French short film * ''Victor'' (2008 film), a 2008 TV film about Canadian swimmer Victor Davis * ''Victor ...

Victor Emmanuel III
(r. 1900–1946) – King of Italy during the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
and during the Fascist regime of
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
*
Umberto II , house = Savoy , father = Victor Emmanuel III of Italy , mother = Princess Elena of Montenegro , birth_date = , birth_place = Racconigi, Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state whi ...

Umberto II
(r. 1946) – the last King of Italy who was pressured to call a referendum on whether Italy would retain the monarchy, but Italians voted to become a republic instead of a constitutional monarchy


Military structure

*
King of Italy King of Italy ( it, links=no, Re d'Italia; la, links=no, Rex Italiae) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Ro ...

King of Italy
supreme commander of the Italian Royal Army, Navy and later Air Force from 1861 to 1938 and 1943 to 1946 *
First Marshal of the Empire First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill, ...
supreme commander of the Italian Royal Army, Air Force, Navy and the Voluntary Militia for National Security from 1938 to 1943 during the Fascist era, held by both
Victor Emmanuel III Victor or Viktor may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film * ''Victor'' (1951 film), a French drama film * ''Victor'' (1993 film), a French short film * ''Victor'' (2008 film), a 2008 TV film about Canadian swimmer Victor Davis * ''Victor ...

Victor Emmanuel III
and
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
* ''
Regio Esercito The Royal Italian Army, also known as the ''Regio Esercito'', was established during the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. During the 1800s Italy started to unify into one country and in 1861, Manfredo Fanti signed a creation decree A decre ...
'' (Royal Army) * ''
Regia Marina The ''Regia Marina'' (; ) was the navy of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed K ...
'' (Royal Navy) * ''
Regia Aeronautica The Italian Royal Air Force (''Regia Aeronautica Italiana'') was the name of the air force of the Kingdom of Italy. It was established as a service independent of the Regio Esercito, Royal Italian Army from 1923 until 1946. In 1946, the monarch ...
'' (Royal Air Force) * ''
Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale The Voluntary Militia for National Security ( it, Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, MVSN), commonly called the Blackshirts ( it, Camicie Nere, CCNN, singular: ''Camicia Nera'') or squadristi (singular: squadrista), was originally ...
'' (Voluntary Militia for National Security also known as the "Blackshirts") – militia loyal to Mussolini during the Fascist era, abolished in 1943.


History


Unification process (1848–1870)

The creation of the Kingdom of Italy was the result of concerted efforts of Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of Savoy to establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire
Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Reg ...
. After the
Revolutions of 1848 The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Springtime of the Peoples or the Springtime of Nations, were a series of political upheaval A political revolution, in the Trotskyist Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch o ...
, the apparent leader of the Italian unification movement was Italian revolutionary
Giuseppe Garibaldi Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi ( , ;In his native Ligurian language, he is known as ''Gioxeppe Gaibado. 4 July 1807 – 2 June 1882) was an Italian general, patriot, revolutionary, and republican. He contributed to the Italian unification Italia ...

Giuseppe Garibaldi
, renowned for his extremely loyal followers. Garibaldi led the Italian republican drive for unification in
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivis ...
, but the
Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical cha ...
monarchy of the House of Savoy in the
Kingdom of Sardinia The Kingdom of Sardinia,The name of the state was originally Latin: , or when the kingdom was still considered to include Corsica. In Italian it is , in French , in Sardinian , and in Piedmontese . also referred to as the Kingdom of Savoy-Sar ...
, a state with an important Italian population, whose government was led by
Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour Camillo Paolo Filippo Giulio Benso, Count of Cavour, Isolabella and Leri (10 August 1810 – 6 June 1861), generally known as Cavour ( , ), was an Italian statesman and a leading figure in the movement towards Italian unification The unif ...
, also had ambitions of establishing a united Italian state. Though the Kingdom had no physical connection to Rome (seen by all as the natural capital of Italy, but still capital of the
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus; also '), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Ital ...
), the Kingdom had successfully challenged
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...
in the
Second Italian War of Independence The second (symbol: s, abbreviation: sec) is the base unit of time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession fr ...
, liberating Lombardy-Venetia from Austrian rule. The Kingdom also had established important alliances which helped it improve the possibility of Italian unification, such as with the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
in the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which Russian Empire, Russia lost to an alliance of Second French Empire, France, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, ...
. Sardinia was dependent on French protection and in 1860 Sardinia was forced to cede territory to France to maintain relations, including Garibaldi's birthplace,
Nizza
Nizza
. Cavour moved to challenge republican unification efforts by Garibaldi by organizing popular revolts in the Papal States and used these revolts as a pretext to invade the country, even though the invasion angered the
Roman Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...
, whom he told that the invasion was an effort to protect the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
from the anti-clerical secularist nationalist republicans of Garibaldi. Only a small portion of the Papal States around Rome remained in the control of
Pope Pius IX Pope Pius IX ( it, Pio IX, ''Pio Nono''; born Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti; 13 May 1792 – 7 February 1878) was head of the Catholic Church from 1846 to 1878, the List of popes by length of reign, longest verified papal reign. He was notable ...

Pope Pius IX
. Despite their differences, Cavour agreed to include Garibaldi's Southern Italy allowing it to join the union with the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860. Subsequently, the Parliament declared the creation of the Kingdom of Italy on 18 February 1861 (officially proclaiming it on 17 March 1861) composed of both Northern Italy and Southern Italy. King
Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy Victor or Viktor may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film * ''Victor'' (1951 film), a French drama film * ''Victor'' (1993 film), a French short film * ''Victor'' (2008 film), a 2008 TV film about Canadian swimmer Victor Davis * ''Victor' ...
was then declared
King of Italy King of Italy ( it, links=no, Re d'Italia; la, links=no, Rex Italiae) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Ro ...

King of Italy
, though he did not renumber himself with the assumption of the new title. This title had been out of use since the abdication of
Napoleon I of France Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
on 6 April 1814. Following the unification of most of Italy, tensions between the royalists and republicans erupted. In April 1861, Garibaldi entered the Italian parliament and challenged Cavour's leadership of the government, accusing him of dividing Italy and spoke of the threat of civil war between the Kingdom in the North and Garibaldi's forces in the South. On 6 June 1861, the Kingdom's strongman Cavour died. During the ensuing political instability, Garibaldi and the republicans became increasingly revolutionary in tone. Garibaldi's arrest in 1862 set off worldwide controversy. In 1866,
Otto von Bismarck Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (german: Otto Fürst von Bismarck, Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen, Herzog zu Lauenburg ; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a c ...

Otto von Bismarck
,
Minister President of Prussia The office of Minister President (german: Ministerpräsident), or Prime Minister, of Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state that originated in 1525 with Duchy of Prussia, ...
, offered Victor Emmanuel II an alliance with the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
in the
Austro-Prussian War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was ...
. In exchange, Prussia would allow Italy to annex Austrian-controlled
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
. King Emmanuel agreed to the alliance and the
Third Italian War of Independence The Third Italian War of Independence ( it, Terza Guerra d'Indipendenza Italiana) was a war between the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia ...
began. Italy fared poorly in the war with a badly-organized military against Austria, but Prussia's victory allowed Italy to annex Veneto. At this point, one major obstacle to Italian unity remained: Rome. In 1870, Prussia went to war with France, igniting the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire (later the Third French Republic) and the North German Confeder ...
. To keep the large
Prussian Army The Royal Prussian Army (1701–1919, german: Königlich Preußische Armee) served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power. The Prussian Army had its roots in the cor ...
at bay, France abandoned its positions in Rome – which protected the remnants of the Papal States and Pius IX – in order to fight the Prussians. Italy benefited from Prussia's victory against France by being able to take over the Papal States from French authority. Rome was captured by the Kingdom of Italy after several battles and guerrilla-like warfare by
Papal Zouaves The Papal Zouaves ( it, Zuavi Pontifici) were an infantry at the Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French ...
and official troops of the Holy See against the Italian invaders. Italian unification was completed and shortly afterward Italy's capital was moved to Rome. Economic conditions in the united Italy were poor. There were no industry or transportation facilities, extreme poverty (especially in the ''"
Mezzogiorno Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezzojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregion of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), ...

Mezzogiorno
"''), high illiteracy and only a small percent of wealthy Italians had the right to vote. The unification movement had largely been dependent on the support of foreign powers and remained so afterwards. Following the capture of Rome in 1870 from French forces of
Napoleon III Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 18089 January 1873) was the first President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is t ...

Napoleon III
, Papal troops and
Zouaves The Zouaves () were a class of light infantry Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers (infantry) throughout history, typically having lighter equipment or Weapon, armament or a more mobile or fluid function ...
, relations between Italy and the
Vatican Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Ci ...
remained sour for the next sixty years with the
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
s declaring themselves to be prisoners in the Vatican. The Roman Catholic Church frequently protested the actions of the secular and anticlerical-influenced Italian governments, refused to meet with envoys from the King and urged Roman Catholics not to vote in Italian elections. It would not be until 1929 that positive relations would be restored between the Kingdom of Italy and the Vatican after the signing of the
Lateran Pacts The Lateran Treaty ( it, Patti Lateranensi; la, Pacta Lateranensia) was one component of the Lateran Pacts of 1929, agreements between the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which existed from 1861—whe ...
.


Unifying multiple bureaucracies

A major challenge for the prime ministers of the new Kingdom of Italy was integrating the political and administrative systems of the seven different major components into a unified set of policies. The different regions were proud of their own historic patterns and could not easily be fitted into the Sardinian model. Cavour started the planning, but died before it was fully developed – indeed, the challenges of administration the various bureaucracies are thought to have hastened his death. The easiest challenge was to harmonize the administrative bureaucracies of Italy's regions. They practically all followed the Napoleonic precedent, so harmonization was straightforward. The second challenge was to develop a parliamentary system. Cavour and most liberals up and down the peninsula highly admired the British system, so it became the model for Italy to this day. Harmonizing the Army and Navy were much more complex, chiefly because the systems of recruiting soldiers and selecting and promoting officers were so different and needed to be grandfathered in over decades. The disorganization helps explain why the Italian naval performance in the 1866 war was so abysmal. The military system was slowly integrated over several decades. The multiple educational system likewise proved complicated for there were few common elements. Shortly before his death, Cavour appointed
Francesco De Sanctis Francesco de Sanctis (Morra Irpina, 28 March 1817 – Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ; grc, wikt:Νεάπολις, Νεάπολις, Neápolis), from grc, Νεάπολις, lit=new city. is the regional capital of Campania an ...
as minister of education. De Sanctis was an eminent scholar from the University of Naples who proved an able and patient administrator. The addition of Veneto in 1866 and Rome in 1870 further complicated the challenges of bureaucratic coordination.


Culture and society

Italian society after unification and throughout most of the Liberal Period was sharply divided along class, linguistic, regional and social lines. The north–south divide is still present. On 20 September 1870, the military forces of the King of Italy overthrew what little was left of the
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus; also '), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Ital ...
, capturing in particular the city of Rome. The following year, the capital was moved from Florence to Rome. For the next 59 years after 1870, the Church denied the legitimacy of the Italian King's dominion in Rome, which it claimed rightfully belonged to the Papal States. In 1929, the dispute was settled by the Lateran Treaty, in which the King recognized
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
as an independent state and paid a large sum of money to compensate the Church for the loss of the Papal States. Liberal governments generally followed a policy of limiting the role of the Roman Catholic Church and its clergy as the state confiscated church lands. Similar policies were supported by such anticlerical and secular movements as republicanism, socialism, anarchism, Freemasonry, Lazzarettism and Protestantism. Common cultural traits in Italy in this time were
social conservative Social conservatism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. ...
in nature, including a strong belief in the family as an institution and patriarchal values. In other areas, Italian culture was divided:
aristocrats Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its bro ...
and
upper middle class In sociology, the upper middle class is the social group constituted by higher status members of the middle class. This is in contrast to the term ''lower middle class'', which is used for the group at the opposite end of the middle-class stratu ...
families in Italy at this time were highly traditional in nature and they emphasized honor above all, with challenges to honor ending in duels. After unification, a number of descendants of former royal nobility became residents of Italy, comprising 7,400 noble families. Many wealthy landowners maintained a feudal-like tight control over "their" peasants. Italian society in this period remained highly divided along regional and local sub-societies which often had historical rivalries with each other. In 1860, Italy lacked a single national language: ''toscano'' (Tuscan), which is what we now know as
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
, was only used as a literary language and in
Tuscany it, Toscano (man) it, Toscana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Citizenship , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = Italian , demogra ...
, while outside other languages were dominant. Even the kingdom's first king,
Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = Savoy Savoy (; frp, Savouè ; french: Savoie ; it, Savoia ; pms, Savòja ; ) is a cultural-historical region in the Western Alps. Situated on the cultural boun ...
, was known to speak almost entirely in
Piedmontese Piedmontese (autonym: or , in it, piemontese) is a language spoken by some 700,000 people mostly in Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 ...
, even to his cabinet ministers. Illiteracy was high, with the 1871 census indicating that 61.9% of Italian men were illiterate and 75.7% of Italian women were illiterate. This illiteracy rate was far higher than that of western European countries in the same time period and also no national popular press was possible due to the multiplicity of regional languages. Italy had very few public schools upon unification, so the Italian government in the Liberal Period attempted to increase literacy by establishing state-funded schools to teach the official Italian language. Living standards were low during the Liberal Period, especially in southern Italy, due to various diseases such as
malaria Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign fo ...

malaria
and epidemics that occurred during the period. As a whole, there was initially a high death rate in 1871 at 30 people dying per 1,000 people, though this reduced to 24.2 per 1,000 by the 1890s. In addition, the mortality rate of children dying in their first year after birth in 1871 was 22.7 percent while the number of children dying before reaching their fifth birthday was very high at 50 percent. The mortality rate of children dying in their first year after birth decreased to an average of 17.6 percent in the time period of 1891 to 1900.


Economy

In terms of the entire period, Giovanni Federico has argued that Italy was not economically backward, for there was substantial development at various times between 1860 and 1940. Unlike most modern nations that relied on large corporations, industrial growth in Italy was a product of the entrepreneurial efforts of small, family-owned firms that succeeded in a local competitive environment. Political unification did not systematically bring economic integration, as Italy faced serious economic problems and economic division along political, social and regional lines. In the Liberal Period, Italy remained highly economically dependent on foreign trade and the international price of coal and grain.Clark, ''Modern Italy'' p. 27 Upon unifying, Italy had a predominantly agrarian society as 60% of the active population worked in agriculture. Advances in technology, the sale of vast Church estates, foreign competition along with export opportunities rapidly transformed the agricultural sector in Italy shortly after unification. However, these developments did not benefit all of Italy in this period, as southern Italy's agriculture suffered from hot summers and aridity damaged crops while the presence of
malaria Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign fo ...

malaria
prevented cultivation of low-lying areas along Italy's
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
coast. The overwhelming attention paid to foreign policy alienated the agricultural community in Italy which had been in decline since 1873. Both radical and conservative forces in the Italian parliament demanded that the government investigate how to improve agriculture in Italy. The investigation, which started in 1877 and was released eight years later, showed that agriculture was not improving, that landowners were earning revenue from their lands and contributing almost nothing to the development of the land. Lower class Italians were hurt by the break-up of communal lands to the benefit of landlords. Most of the workers on the agricultural lands were not
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
s, but short-term laborers (''"braccianti"'') who at best were employed for one year. Peasants without stable income were forced to live off of meager food supplies, disease was spreading rapidly and plagues were reported, including a major
cholera Cholera is an infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of tissues to the infectious agents and the s they produce. An infectious disease, also known as a transmissible disea ...

cholera
epidemic which killed at least 55,000 people. The Italian government could not deal with the situation effectively because of overspending that left Italy heavily in debt. Italy also suffered economically as a consequence of overproduction of grapes by their vineyards. In the 1870s and 1880s, France's vineyard industry was suffering from vine disease caused by insects. Italy prospered as Italian wine, the largest exporter of wine in Europe, but following the recovery of France in 1888 Southern Italy was overproducing and had to cut back, which caused greater unemployment and bankruptcies.Smith (1997), p. 139 The Italian government invested heavily in developing railways in the 1870s, more than doubling the existing length of History of railways in Italy, railway line between 1870 and 1890.


"''Il Mezzogiorno''" (Southern Italy)

Italy's population remained severely divided between wealthy elites and impoverished workers, especially in the South. An 1881 census found that over 1 million southern day-laborers were chronically under-employed and were very likely to become seasonal emigrants in order to economically sustain themselves.Clark. pp. 15 Southern peasants as well as small landowners and tenants often were in a state of conflict and revolt throughout the late 19th century. There were exceptions to the generally poor economic condition of agricultural workers of the South, as some regions near cities such as Naples and Palermo as well as along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast. From the 1870s onward, intellectuals, scholars and politicians examined the economic and social conditions of
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivis ...
(''"Il Mezzogiorno"''), a movement known as ''meridionalismo'' ("Meridionalism"). For example, the ''1910 Commission of Inquiry into the South'' indicated that the Italian government thus far had failed to ameliorate the severe economic differences and the limitation of voting rights only to those with sufficient property allowed rich landowners to exploit the poor.


Liberal era of politics (1870–1914)

After unification, Italy's politics favored liberalism: the liberal-conservative right (''destra storica'' or Historical Right) was regionally fragmented and liberal-conservative Prime Minister Marco Minghetti only held on to power by enacting revolutionary and left-leaning policies (such as the nationalization of railways) to appease the opposition.


Agostino Depretis

In 1876, Minghetti was ousted and replaced by liberal Agostino Depretis, who began the long Liberal Period. The Liberal Period was marked by corruption, government instability, continued poverty in Southern Italy and use of authoritarian measures by the Italian government. Depretis began his term as Prime Minister by initiating an experimental political notion known as ''trasformismo'' ("transformism"). The theory of ''trasformismo'' was that a cabinet should select a variety of moderates and capable politicians from a non-partisan perspective. In practice, ''trasformismo'' was authoritarian and corrupt as Depretis pressured districts to vote for his candidates, if they wished to gain favourable concessions from Depretis when in power. The results of the Italian general election of 1876 resulted in only four representatives from the right being elected, allowing the government to be dominated by Depretis. Despotic and corrupt actions are believed to be the key means in which Depretis managed to keep support in Southern Italy. Depretis put through authoritarian measures, such as banning public meetings, placing "dangerous" individuals in internal exile on remote penal islands across Italy and adopting militarist policies. Depretis enacted controversial legislation for the time, such as abolishing arrest for debt, making elementary education free and compulsory while ending compulsory religious teaching in elementary schools. In 1887, Francesco Crispi became Prime Minister and began focusing government efforts on foreign policy. Crispi worked to build Italy as a great world power through increased military expenditures, advocacy of expansionism and trying to win the favor of
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
. Italy joined the Triple Alliance which included both Germany and
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
in 1882 and which remained officially intact until 1915. While helping Italy develop strategically, he continued ''trasformismo'' and became authoritarian, once suggesting the use of martial law to ban opposition parties. Despite being authoritarian, Crispi put through liberal policies such as the Public Health Act of 1888 and establishing tribunals for redress against abuses by the government.


Francesco Crispi

Francesco Crispi was Prime Minister for a total of six years, from 1887 until 1891 and again from 1893 until 1896. Historian R. J. B. Bosworth says of his foreign policy: Crispi greatly admired the United Kingdom, but was unable to get British assistance for his aggressive foreign policy and turned instead to Germany. Crispi also enlarged the army and navy and advocated expansionism as he sought Germany's favor by joining the Triple Alliance which included both Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882. It remained officially intact until 1915 and prevented hostilities between Italy and Austria, which controlled border regions that Italy claimed.


Colonialism

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Italy emulated the Great Powers in acquiring colonies, especially in the scramble to take control of Africa that took place in the 1870s. Italy was weak in military and economic resources in comparison with Britain, France and Germany, but it proved difficult due to popular resistance and it was unprofitable due to heavy military costs and the lesser economic value of spheres of influence remaining when Italy began to colonize. Britain was eager to block French influence and assisted Italy in gaining territory of the Red Sea. A number of colonial projects were undertaken by the government. These were done to gain support of Italian nationalists and imperialists, who wanted to rebuild a Roman Empire. Italy had already large settlements in Alexandria, Cairo and Tunis. Italy first attempted to gain colonies through negotiations with other world powers to make colonial concessions, but these negotiations failed. Italy also sent missionaries to uncolonized lands to investigate the potential for Italian colonization. The most promising and realistic of these were parts of Africa. Italian missionaries had already established a foothold at Massawa (in present-day Eritrea) in the 1830s and had entered deep into the Ethiopian Empire. The beginning of colonialism came in 1885, shortly after the fall of History of Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty, Egyptian rule in Khartoum, when Italy landed soldiers at Massawa in East Africa. In 1888, Italy annexed Massawa by force, creating the colony of
Italian Eritrea Italian Eritrea (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italia ...
. The Eritrean ports of Massawa and Assab handled trade with Italy and Ethiopia. The trade was promoted by the low duties paid on Italian trade. Italy exported manufactured products and imported coffee, beeswax and hides. At the same time, Italy occupied territory on the south side of the horn of Africa, forming what would become
Italian Somaliland Italian Somaliland ( it, Somala italiana; ar, الصومال الإيطالي, Al-Sumal Al-Italiy; so, Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaalida), was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which ...

Italian Somaliland
. The Treaty of Wuchale, signed in 1889, stated in the Italian language version that Ethiopia was to become an Italian protectorate, while the Ethiopian Amharic language version stated that the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia, Menelik II could go through Italy to conduct foreign affairs. This happened presumably due to the mistranslation of a verb, which formed a permissive clause in Amharic and a mandatory one in Italian. When the differences in the versions came to light, in 1895 Menelik II abrogated the treaty and abandoned the agreement to follow Italian foreign policy; Italy used this renunciation as a reason to invade Ethiopia. Ethiopia gained the help of the Russian Empire, whose own interests in East Africa led the government of Nicholas II of Russia to send large amounts of modern weaponry to the Ethiopians to First Italo-Ethiopian War, hold back an Italian invasion. In response, Britain decided to back the Italians to challenge Russian influence in Africa and declared that all of Ethiopia was within the sphere of Italian interest. On the verge of war, Italian militarism and nationalism reached a peak, with Italians flocking to the Royal Italian Army, hoping to take part in the upcoming war. The Italian army failed on the battlefield and was overwhelmed by a huge Ethiopian army at the Battle of Adwa. At that point, the Italian invasion force was forced to retreat into Eritrea. The war formally ended with the Treaty of Addis Ababa in 1896, which abrogated the Treaty of Wuchale recognizing Ethiopia as an independent country. The failed Ethiopian campaign was one of the few military victories scored by the Africans against an imperial power at this time. From 2 November 1899 to 7 September 1901, Italy participated as part of the Eight-Nation Alliance forces during the Boxer Rebellion in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. On 7 September 1901, a concession in Tianjin, Tientsin was ceded to Italy by the Qing Dynasty. On 7 June 1902, the concession was taken into Italian possession and administered by an Italian Consul (representative), consul. In 1911, Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire and Italo-Turkish War, invaded Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. These provinces together formed what became known as
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
. The war ended only one year later, but the occupation resulted in acts of discrimination against Libyans such as the forced deportation of Libyans to the Tremiti Islands in October 1911. By 1912, one third of these Libyan refugees had died from a lack of food and shelter. The annexation of Libya led nationalists to advocate Italian domination of the Mediterranean Sea by occupying Kingdom of Greece, Greece and the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
coastal region of
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
.


Giovanni Giolitti

In 1892, Giovanni Giolitti became Prime Minister of Italy for his first term. Although his first government quickly collapsed one year later, Giolitti returned in 1903 to lead Italy's government during a fragmented period that lasted until 1914. Giolitti had spent his earlier life as a civil servant and then took positions within the cabinets of Crispi. Giolitti was the first long-term Italian Prime Minister in many years because he mastered the political concept of ''trasformismo'' by manipulating, coercing and bribing officials to his side. In elections during Giolitti's government voting fraud was common and Giolitti helped improve voting only in well-off, more supportive areas, while attempting to isolate and intimidate poor areas where opposition was strong. Southern Italy was in terrible shape prior to and during Giolitti's tenure as Prime Minister: four-fifths of southern Italians were illiterate and the dire situation there ranged from problems of large numbers of absentee landlords to rebellion and even starvation. Corruption was such a large problem that Giolitti himself admitted that there were places "where the law does not operate at all". In 1911, Giolitti's government sent forces to occupy Libya. While the success of the Italian invasion of Libya, Libyan War improved the status of the nationalists, it did not help Giolitti's administration as a whole. The government attempted to discourage criticism by speaking about Italy's strategic achievements and inventiveness of their military in the war: Italy was the Giulio Gavotti, first country to use the airship for military purposes and undertook strategic bombing, aerial bombing on the Ottoman forces. The war radicalized the Italian Socialist Party, and anti-war revolutionaries called for violence to bring down the government. 1913 Italian general election, Elections were held in 1913, and Giolitti's coalition retained an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies, while the Italian Radical Party, Radical Party emerged as the largest opposition bloc. The Italian Socialist Party gained eight seats and was the largest party in Emilia-Romagna.Piergiorgio Corbetta; Maria Serena Piretti, ''Atlante storico-elettorale d'Italia'', Zanichelli, Bologna 2009. Giolitti's coalition did not endure long after the election, and he was forced to resign in March 1914. Giolitti later returned as Prime Minister only briefly in 1920, but the era of liberalism was effectively over in Italy. The 1913 Italian general election, 1913 and 1919 Italian general election, 1919 elections saw gains made by Socialist, Catholic and nationalist parties at the expense of the traditionally dominant Liberals and Italian Radical Party, Radicals, who were increasingly fractured and weakened as a result.


World War I and the failure of the liberal state (1915–1922)


Prelude to war and internal dilemma

In the lead-up to
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, the Kingdom of Italy faced a number of short-term and long-term problems in determining its allies and objectives. Italy's recent success in occupying Libya as a result of the Italo-Turkish War had sparked tension with its Triple Alliance allies, the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
and
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
, because both countries had been seeking closer relations with the Ottoman Empire. In Munich, Germans reacted to Italy's aggression by singing anti-Italian songs. Italy's relations with
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...
were also in bad shape: France felt betrayed by Italy's support of Prussia in the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire (later the Third French Republic) and the North German Confeder ...
, opening the possibility of war erupting between the two countries. Italy's relations with the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
had also been impaired by constant Italian demands for more recognition in the international stage following the occupation of Libya and its demands that other nations accept its spheres of influence in Eastern Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. In the Mediterranean Sea, Italy's relations with the Kingdom of Greece were aggravated when Italy occupied the Greek-populated Dodecanese Islands, including Rhodes, from 1912 to 1914. These islands had been formerly controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Italy and Greece were also in open rivalry over the desire to occupy Albania. King Victor Emmanuel III himself was uneasy about Italy pursuing distant colonial adventures and said that Italy should prepare to take back Italian-populated land from
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
as the "completion of the Risorgimento". This idea put Italy at odds with Austria-Hungary. A major hindrance to Italy's decision on what to do about the war was the political instability throughout Italy in 1914. After the formation of the government of Prime Minister Antonio Salandra in March 1914, the government attempted to win the support of nationalists and moved to the political right.(Clark, 1984. p.180) At the same time, the left became more repulsed by the government after the killing of three anti-militarist demonstrators in June. Many elements of the left including syndicalists, republicanism, republicans and anarchists protested against this and the Italian Socialist Party declared a general strike in Italy. The protests that ensued became known as "Red Week (Italy), Red Week" as leftists rioted and various acts of civil disobedience occurred in major cities and small towns such as seizing railway stations, cutting telephone wires and burning tax-registers. However, only two days later the strike was officially called off, though the civil strife continued. Militarist nationalists and anti-militarist leftists fought on the streets until the Italian Royal Army forcefully restored calm after having used thousands of men to put down the various protesting forces. Following the invasion of Kingdom of Serbia, Serbia by Austria-Hungary in 1914, World War I broke out. Despite Italy's official alliance to Germany and membership in the Triple Alliance, the Kingdom of Italy initially remained neutral, claiming that the Triple Alliance was only for defensive purposes. In Italy, society was divided over the war: Italian socialists generally opposed the war and supported pacifism, while nationalists militantly supported the war. Long-time nationalists Gabriele D'Annunzio and Luigi Federzoni, together with a former socialist journalist and new convert to nationalist sentiment, future Fascist dictator , demanded that Italy join the war. For nationalists, Italy had to maintain its alliance with the Central Powers in order to gain colonial territories at the expense of France. For the liberals, the war presented Italy a long-awaited opportunity to use an alliance with the Allies of World War I, Entente to gain certain Italian-populated and other territories from Austria-Hungary, which had long been part of Italian patriotic aims since unification. In 1915, relatives of Italian revolutionary and republican hero
Giuseppe Garibaldi Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi ( , ;In his native Ligurian language, he is known as ''Gioxeppe Gaibado. 4 July 1807 – 2 June 1882) was an Italian general, patriot, revolutionary, and republican. He contributed to the Italian unification Italia ...

Giuseppe Garibaldi
died on the battlefield of France, where they had volunteered to fight. Federzoni used the memorial services to declare the importance of Italy joining the war and to warn the monarchy of the consequences of continued disunity in Italy if it did not: Mussolini used his new newspaper ''Il Popolo d'Italia'' and his strong oratorical skills to urge a broad political audience - ranging from right-wing nationalists to patriotic revolutionary leftists - to support Italy's entry into the war to gain back Italian populated territories from Austria-Hungary, by saying "enough of Italian North Africa, Libya, and on to Trento and
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and in northeastern . It is the capital city, and largest city, of the of , one of two autonomous regions which are not subdivided into . Trieste is located at the head of the , on a narrow ...

Trieste
".(Thayer, John A. (1964). ''Italy and the Great War.'' Madison and Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin Press. p279) Although the left was traditionally opposed to war, Mussolini claimed that this time it was in their interest to join the war to tear down the aristocratic Hohenzollern dynasty of Germany which he claimed was the enemy of all European workers. Mussolini and other nationalists warned the Italian government that Italy must join the war or face revolution and called for violence against pacifists and neutralists. With nationalist sentiment firmly on the side of reclaiming Italian territories of Austria-Hungary, Italy entered negotiations with the Triple Entente. The negotiations ended successfully in April 1915 when the
London Pact The Treaty of London ( it, Trattato di Londra), or, less correctly, the Pact of London (''Patto di Londra''), was a secret treaty between the Triple Entente and the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which e ...
was brokered with the Italian government. The pact ensured Italy the right to attain all Italian-populated lands it wanted from Austria-Hungary, as well as concessions in the Balkan Peninsula and suitable compensation for any territory gained by the United Kingdom and France from Germany in Africa. The proposal fulfilled the desires of Italian nationalists and Italian imperialism and was agreed to. Italy joined the Triple Entente in its war against Austria-Hungary. The reaction in Italy was divided: former Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti was furious over Italy's decision to go to war against its former allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary. Giolitti claimed that Italy would fail in the war, predicting high numbers of mutinies, Austro-Hungarian occupation of even more Italian territory and that the failure would produce a catastrophic rebellion that would destroy the liberal-democratic monarchy and the liberal-democratic secular institutions of the state.


Italy's war effort

The outset of the campaign against Austria-Hungary looked to initially favor Italy: Austria-Hungary's army was spread to cover its fronts with Kingdom of Serbia, Serbia and Russian Empire, Russia and Italy had a numerical superiority against the Austro-Hungarian Army. However, this advantage was never fully utilized because Italian military commander Luigi Cadorna insisted on a dangerous frontal assault against Austria-Hungary in an attempt to occupy the Slovenian plateau and Ljubljana. This assault would put the Italian army not far away from Austria-Hungary's imperial capital,
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
. After Battles of the Isonzo, eleven offensives with enormous loss of life and the final victory of the Central Powers, the Italian campaign to take Vienna collapsed. Upon entering the war, geography was also a difficulty for Italy as its border with Austria-Hungary was along mountainous terrain. In May 1915, Italian forces at 400,000 men along the border outnumbered the Austrian and Germans almost precisely four to one. However, the Austrian defenses were strong even though they were undermanned and managed to hold off the Italian offensive.Seton-Watson, p. 451. The battles with the Austro-Hungarian Army along the Alpine foothills in the trench warfare there were drawn-out, long engagements with little progress. Italian officers were poorly trained in contrast to the Austro-Hungarian and German Army (German Empire), German armies, Italian artillery was inferior to the Austrian machine guns and the Italian forces had dangerously low supply of ammunition; this shortage would continually hamper attempts to make advances into Austrian territory. This combined with the constant replacement of officers by Cadorna resulted in few officers gaining the experience necessary to lead military missions.Clark, p. 186. In the first year of the war, poor conditions on the battlefield led to outbreaks of cholera causing a significant number of Italian soldiers to die.Seton-Watson, p. 452 Despite these serious problems, Cadorna refused to back down on the strategy of offense. Naval battles occurred between the Italian Royal Navy (''
Regia Marina The ''Regia Marina'' (; ) was the navy of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed K ...
'') and the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Italy's warships were outclassed by the Austro-Hungarian fleet and the situation was made more dire for Italy in that both the French Navy and the (British) Royal Navy were not sent into the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
. Their respective governments viewed the Adriatic Sea as "far too dangerous to operate in due the concentration of the Austro-Hungarian fleet there". Morale fell among Italian soldiers who lived a tedious life when not on the front lines, as they were forbidden to enter theaters or bars, even when on leave. However, when battles were about to occur alcohol was made freely available to the soldiers in order to reduce tension before the battle. In order to escape the tedium after battles, some groups of soldiers worked to create improvized whorehouses.Clark, p. 187. In order to maintain morale, the Italian army had propaganda lectures of the importance of the war to Italy, especially in order to retrieve Trento and
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and in northeastern . It is the capital city, and largest city, of the of , one of two autonomous regions which are not subdivided into . Trieste is located at the head of the , on a narrow ...

Trieste
from Austria-Hungary. Some of these lectures were carried out by popular nationalist war proponents such as Gabriele D'Annunzio. D'Annunzio himself would participate in a number of paramilitary raids on Austrian positions along the Adriatic Sea coastline during the war and temporaly lost his sight after an air raid. Prominent pro-war advocate was prevented from giving lecture by the government, most likely because of his revolutionary socialist past. The Italian government became increasingly aggravated in 1915 with the passive nature of the Military history of Serbia, Serbian army, which had not engaged in a serious offensive against Austria-Hungary for months. The Italian government blamed Serbian military inactiveness for allowing the Austro-Hungarians to muster their armies against Italy.Seton-Watson, p. 453 Cadorna suspected that Serbia was attempting to negotiate an end to fighting with Austria-Hungary and addressed this to foreign minister Sidney Sonnino, who himself bitterly claimed that Serbia was an unreliable ally. Relations between Italy and Serbia became so cold that the other Allied nations were forced to abandon the idea of forming a united Balkan front against Austria-Hungary. In negotiations, Sonnino remained prepared to allow Bosnia (region), Bosnia to join Serbia, but refused to discuss the fate of
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
, which was claimed both by Italy and by Pan-Slavism, Pan-Slavists in Serbia. As Serbia fell to the Austro-Hungarian and German forces in 1915, Cadorna proposed sending 60,000 men to land in Thessaloniki to help the Serbs now in exile in Greece and the Principality of Albania to fight off the opposing forces, but the Italian government's bitterness to Serbia resulted in the proposal being rejected. In the spring of 1916, Austro-Hungarians counterattacked in the Altopiano of Asiago, towards Verona and Padua, Padova, in their ''Battle of Asiago, Strafexpedition'', but were defeated by the Italians. In August, after the Battle of Doberdò, the Italians also captured the town of Gorizia; after this, the front remained static for over a year. At the same time, Italy faced a shortage of warships, increased attacks by submarines, soaring freight charges threatening the ability to supply food to soldiers, lack of raw materials and equipment and Italians faced high taxes to pay for the war. Austro-Hungarian and German forces had gone deep into Northern Italian territory. Finally in November 1916, Cadorna ended offensive operations and began a defensive approach. In 1917, France, the United Kingdom and the United States offered to send troops to Italy to help it fend off the offensive of the Central Powers, but the Italian government refused as Sonnino did not want Italy to be seen as a client state of the
Allies An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
and preferred isolation as the more brave alternative. Italy also wanted to keep Kingdom of Greece, Greece out of the war as the Italian government feared that should Greece join the war on the side of the Allies, it would intend to annex Albania, which Italy claimed.Seton-Watson, p. 463. The Venizelism, Venizelist pro-war advocates in Greece failed to succeed in pressuring Constantine I of Greece to bring Italy into the conflict and Italian aims on Albania remained unthreatened. The Russian Empire collapsed in a 1917 Russian Revolution (1917), Russian Revolution, eventually resulting in the rise of the communist Bolshevik regime of Vladimir Lenin. The resulting marginalization of the Eastern Front (World War I), Eastern Front allowed for more Austro-Hungarian and German forces to arrive on the front against Italy. Internal dissent against the war grew with increasingly poor economic and social conditions in Italy due to the strain of the war. Much of the profit of the war was being made in the cities, while rural areas were losing income. The number of men available for agricultural work had fallen from 4.8 million to 2.2 million, though with the help of women, agricultural production managed to be maintained at 90% of its pre-war total during the war.Seton-Watson, p. 468. Many pacifist and internationalist Italian socialists turned to Bolshevism and advocated negotiations with the workers of Germany and Austria-Hungary to help end the war and bring about Bolshevik revolutions. ''Avanti! (Italian newspaper), Avanti!'', the newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party, declared: "Let the bourgeoisie fight its own war". Leftist women in Northern Italian cities led protests demanding action against the high cost of living and demanding an end to the war. In Milan in May 1917, communist revolutionaries organized and engaged in rioting, calling for an end to the war and managed to close down factories and stop public transportation.Seton-Watson, p. 471. The Italian Army was forced to enter Milan with tanks and machine guns to face communists and anarchists who fought violently until 23 May, when the Army gained control of the city with almost 50 people killed (three of which were Italian soldiers) and over 800 people arrested. After the disastrous Battle of Caporetto in 1917, Italian forces were forced far back into Italian territory as far as the Piave river. The humiliation led to the appointment of Vittorio Emanuele Orlando as Prime Minister, who managed to solve some of Italy's wartime problems. Orlando abandoned the previous isolationist approach to the war and increased coordination with the Allies. The convoy system was introduced to fend off submarine attacks, and allowed Italy to end food shortages from February 1918 onward. Also Italy received more raw materials from the Allies. The new Italian chief of staff, Armando Diaz, ordered the Army to defend the First Battle of Monte Grappa, Monte Grappa summit, where fortified defenses were constructed; despite numerically inferior, the Italians managed to repel the Austro-Hungarian and German Army. The year 1918 also saw the beginning of official suppression of enemy aliens. The Italian socialists were increasingly suppressed by the Italian government. At the Battle of the Piave River, the Italian Army managed to hold off the Austro-Hungarian and German armies. The opposing armies repeatedly failed afterwards in major battles such as Battle of Monte Grappa and the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. After four days the Italian Army defeated the Austro-Hungarian Army in the latter battle aided by British and French divisions and the fact that the Imperial-Royal Army started to melt away as news arrived that the constituent regions of the Dual Monarchy had declared independence. Austria-Hungary ended the fighting against Italy with the armistice on 4 November 1918 which ended World War I on this front (one week before the 11 November armistice on the Western front). The Italian government was infuriated by the Fourteen Points of
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
, the List of Presidents of the United States, President of the United States, as advocating national self-determination which meant that Italy would not gain Dalmatia as had been promised in the Treaty of London (1915), Treaty of London.Seton-Watson, p. 493 In the Parliament of Italy, nationalists condemned Wilson's fourteen points as betraying the Treaty of London, while socialists claimed that Wilson's points were valid and claimed the Treaty of London was an offense to the rights of Slavic peoples, Slavs, Greeks and Albanians. Negotiations between Italy and the Allies, particularly the new Yugoslav delegation (replacing the Serbian delegation), agreed to a trade off between Italy and the new Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was that Dalmatia, despite being claimed by Italy, would be accepted as Yugoslav, while Istria, claimed by Yugoslavia, would be accepted as Italian. During the war, the Italian Royal Army increased in size from 15,000 men in 1914 to 160,000 men in 1918, with 5 million recruits in total entering service during the war. This came at a terrible cost: by the end of the war, Italy had lost 700,000 soldiers and had a budget deficit of twelve billion lira. Italian society was divided between the majority pacifists who opposed Italian involvement in the war and the minority of pro-war nationalists who had condemned the Italian government for not having immediately gone to war with Austria-Hungary in 1914.


Italy's territorial settlements and the reaction

As the war came to an end, Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando met with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of France Georges Clemenceau and President of the United States, United States President
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
in Palace of Versailles, Versailles to discuss how the borders of Europe should be redefined to help avoid a future European war. The talks provided little territorial gain to Italy because during the peace talks Wilson promised freedom to all European nationalities to form their own nation states. As a result, the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
did not assign Dalmatia and Albania to Italy as had been promised in the Treaty of London (1915), Treaty of London. Furthermore, the British and French decided to divide the German overseas colonies into mandates of their own, with Italy receiving none of them. Italy also gained no territory from the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, despite a proposal being issued to Italy by the United Kingdom and France during the war, only to see these nations carve up the Ottoman Empire between themselves (also exploiting the forces of the Arab Revolt). Despite this, Orlando agreed to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which caused uproar against his government. Civil unrest erupted in Italy between nationalists who supported the war effort and opposed the "mutilated victory" (as nationalists referred to it) and leftists who were opposed to the war. Furious over the peace settlement, the Italian nationalist poet Gabriele D'Annunzio led disaffected war veterans and nationalists to form the Free State of Fiume in September 1919. His popularity among nationalists led him to be called ''Il Duce'' ("The Leader") and he used blackshirted paramilitary in his assault on Fiume. The leadership title of ''Duce'' and the blackshirt paramilitary uniform would later be adopted by the
Fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particular ...
movement of . The demand for the Italian annexation of Fiume spread to all sides of the political spectrum, including Mussolini's Fascists. D'Annunzio's stirring speeches drew Croat nationalists to his side and also kept contact with the Irish Republican Army and Egyptian nationalists. Italy annexed territories that included not only ethnically-mixed places, but also exclusively ethnic Slovenes, Slovene and Croats, Croat places, especially within the former
Austrian Littoral The Austrian Littoral (german: Österreichisches Küstenland, it, Litorale Austriaco, hr, Austrijsko primorje, sl, Avstrijsko primorje, hu, Osztrák Partvidék) was a crown land (''Kronland'') of the Austrian Empire, established in 1849. It co ...
and the former
Duchy of Carniola The Duchy of Carniola ( sl, Vojvodina Kranjska, german: Herzogtum Krain, hu, Krajna) was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire, established under House of Habsburg, Habsburg rule on the territory of the former East Frankish March of Carnio ...
. They included one-third of the entire territory inhabited by Slovenes at the time and one-quarter of the entire Slovene population,Cresciani, Gianfranco (2004
Clash of civilisations
''Italian Historical Society Journal'', Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 4
who was during the 20 years long period of Italian Fascism (1922–1943) subjected to forced Italianization alongside 25,000 ethnic Germans. According to author Paul N. Hehn, "the treaty left half a million Slavs inside Italy, while only a few hundred Italians in the fledgling Yugoslav (''i.e.'' Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes renamed Yugoslavia in 1929) state".Hehn, Paul N. (2005
A Low Dishonest Decade: Italy, the Powers and Eastern Europe, 1918–1939.
, Chapter 2, ''Mussolini, Prisoner of the Mediterranean''


Fascist regime (1922–1943)


Mussolini in war and postwar

In 1914, was forced out of the Italian Socialist Party after calling for Italian intervention in the war against
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
. Prior to World War I, Mussolini had opposed military conscription, protested against Italy's occupation of Libya and was the editor of the Socialist Party's official newspaper, ''Avanti! (Italian newspaper), Avanti!'', but over time he simply called for revolution without mentioning class struggle.Smith (1997), p. 284. In 1914, Mussolini's nationalism enabled him to raise funds from Italian Ansaldo company, Ansaldo (an armaments firm) and other companies to create his own newspaper, ''Il Popolo d'Italia'', which at first attempted to convince socialists and revolutionaries to support the war. The Allied Powers, eager to draw Italy to the war, helped finance the newspaper. Later, after the war, this publication would become the official newspaper of the Fascist movement. During the war, Mussolini served in the Army and was wounded once. Following the end of the war and the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
in 1919, Mussolini created the ''Fasci di Combattimento'' or Combat League. It was originally dominated by patriotic socialist and syndicalist veterans who opposed the pacifist policies of the Italian Socialist Party. This early Fascist movement had a platform more inclined to the left, promising social revolution, proportional representation in elections, women's suffrage (partly realized in 1925) and dividing agrarian private property held by estates. They also differed from later Fascism by opposing censorship, militarism and dictatorship. Mussolini claimed that "we are libertarians above all, loving liberty for everyone, even for our enemies", and said that freedom of thought and speech were among the "highest expressions of human civilization." On 15 April 1919, the Fascists made their debut in political violence, when a group of members from the ''Fasci di Combattimento'' attacked the offices of ''Avanti!''. But they found little public support, and in the 1919 Italian general election, elections of November 1919 the Fascists suffered a heavy defeat, accompanied by a rapid loss of membership. In response, Mussolini moved the organization away from the left and turned the revolutionary movement into an electoral movement in 1921 named the ''Partito Nazionale Fascista'' (
National Fascist Party The National Fascist Party ( it, Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF) was an Italian political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members ...
). The party echoed the nationalist themes of D'Annunzio and rejected parliamentary democracy while still operating within it in order to destroy it. Mussolini changed his original revolutionary policies, such as moving away from anti-clericalism to supporting the Roman Catholic Church and abandoned his public opposition to the monarchy.Smith (1997), p. 298. Support for the Fascists began to grow in 1921 and pro-Fascist army officers began taking arms and vehicles from the army to use in counter-revolutionary attacks on socialists. In 1920, Giolitti had come back as Prime Minister in an attempt to solve the deadlock. One year later, Giolitti's government had already become unstable and a growing socialist opposition further endangered his government. Giolitti believed that the Fascists could be toned down and used to protect the state from the socialists. He decided to include Fascists on his electoral list for the 1921 elections. In the elections, the Fascists did not make large gains, but Giolitti's government failed to gather a large enough coalition to govern and offered the Fascists placements in his government. The Fascists rejected Giolitti's offers, forcing him to resign as his coalition no longer had enough support in parliament. A number of descendants of those who had served Garibaldi's revolutionaries during unification were won over to Mussolini's nationalist revolutionary ideals.Smith (1997), p. 312. His advocacy of corporatism and futurism had attracted advocates of the "third way", but most importantly he had won over politicians like Facta and Giolitti who did not condemn him for his Blackshirts' mistreatment of socialists.


March on Rome and the Fascist government

In October 1922, Mussolini took advantage of a general strike by workers and announced his demands to the government to give the Fascist Party political power or face a coup. With no immediate response, a small number of Fascists began a long trek across Italy to Rome which was known as the "March on Rome", claiming to Italians that Fascists were intending to restore law and order. Mussolini himself did not participate until the very end of the march, with D'Annunzio being hailed as leader of the march until it was learned that he had been pushed out of a window and severely wounded in a failed assassination attempt, depriving him of the possibility of leading an actual coup d'état orchestrated by an organization founded by himself. Under the leadership of Mussolini, the Fascists demanded Prime Minister Luigi Facta's resignation and that Mussolini be named Prime Minister. Although the Italian Army was far better armed than the Fascist paramilitaries, the Italian government under King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Vittorio Emmanuele III faced a political crisis. The King was forced to decide which of the two rival movements in Italy would form the new government: Mussolini's Fascists or the anti-royalist Italian Socialist Party, ultimately deciding to endorse the Fascists. On 28 October 1922, the King invited Mussolini to become Prime Minister, allowing Mussolini and the Fascist Party to pursue their political ambitions as long as they supported the monarchy and its interests. At 39, Mussolini was young compared to other Italian and European leaders. His supporters named him ''"Il Duce"'' ("The Leader"). A personality cult was developed that portrayed him as the nation's saviour which was aided by the personal popularity he held with Italians already, which would remain strong until Italy faced continuous military defeats in World War II. Upon taking power, Mussolini formed a legislative coalition with nationalists, liberals and populists. However, goodwill by the Fascists towards parliamentary democracy faded quickly: Mussolini's coalition passed the electoral Acerbo Law of 1923, which gave two-thirds of the seats in parliament to the party or coalition that achieved 25% of the vote. The Fascist Party used violence and intimidation to achieve the 25% threshold in the 1924 election and became the ruling political party of Italy. Following the election, Socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti was assassinated after calling for an annulment of the elections because of the irregularities. Following the assassination, the Socialists walked out of parliament, allowing Mussolini to pass more authoritarian laws. In 1925, Mussolini accepted responsibility for the Fascist violence in 1924 and promised that dissenters would be dealt with harshly. Before the speech, Blackshirts smashed opposition presses and beat up several of Mussolini's opponents. This event is considered the onset of undisguised Fascist dictatorship in Italy, though it would be 1928 before the Fascist Party was formally declared the only legal party in the country. Over the next four years, Mussolini eliminated nearly all checks and balances on his power. In 1926, Mussolini passed a law that declared he was responsible only to the King and made him the sole person able to determine Parliament's agenda. The fact that Mussolini had to pass such a law underscored how firmly the convention of parliamentary rule had been established; as mentioned above, the letter of the ''Statuto'' made ministers solely responsible to the King. Local autonomy was swept away; appointed podestas replaced communal mayors and councils. Soon after all other parties were banned in 1928, parliamentary elections were replaced by plebiscites in which the Grand Council nominated a single list of candidates. Mussolini wielded enormous political powers as the effective ruler of Italy. The King was a figurehead and handled ceremonial roles. However, he retained the power to dismiss the Prime Minister on the advice of the Grand Council, on paper the only check on Mussolini's power – which is what happened in 1943.


World War II and the fall of fascism

When Germany Invasion of Poland, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 beginning
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Mussolini publicly declared on 24 September 1939 that Italy had the choice of entering the war or to remain neutral which would cause the country to lose its national dignity. Nevertheless, despite his aggressive posture, Mussolini kept Italy out of the conflict for several months. Mussolini told his son in law Count Ciano that he was personally jealous over Hitler's accomplishments and hoped that Hitler's prowess would be slowed down by Allied counterattack.Smith, 1997. p. 402. Mussolini went so far as to lessen Germany's successes in Europe by giving advanced notice to Belgium and the Netherlands of an imminent German invasion, of which Germany had informed Italy. In drawing out war plans, Mussolini and the Fascist regime decided that Italy would aim to annex large portions of Africa and the Middle East to be included in its colonial empire. Hesitance remained from the King and military commander Pietro Badoglio, who warned Mussolini that Italy had too few tanks, Armoured fighting vehicle, armoured vehicles and aircraft available to be able to carry out a long-term war; Badoglio told Mussolini "It is suicide" for Italy to get involved in the European Theater of World War II, European conflict. Mussolini and the Fascist regime took the advice to a degree and waited as France was invaded by Germany before deciding to get involved. As France collapsed under the German Blitzkrieg, Italy declared war on France and Britain on 10 June 1940, fulfilling its obligations of the Pact of Steel. Italy hoped to quickly conquer , ,
Corsica Corsica (, Upper , Southern , ; french: link=no, Corse ; lij, link=no, Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north ...

Corsica
and the African colonies of Tunisia and Algeria from the French, but this was quickly stopped when Germany signed an armistice with the French commander Philippe Petain who established Vichy France which retained control over these territories. This decision by Nazi Germany angered Mussolini's Fascist regime. The one Italian strength that concerned the Allies was the Italian Royal Navy (''
Regia Marina The ''Regia Marina'' (; ) was the navy of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed K ...
''), the fourth-largest navy in the world at the time. In November 1940, the British Royal Navy launched a surprise air attack on the Italian fleet at Battle of Taranto, Taranto which crippled Italy's major warships. Although the Italian fleet did not inflict serious damage as was feared, it did keep significant Commonwealth of Nations, British Commonwealth naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea. This fleet needed to fight the Italian fleet to keep British Commonwealth forces in Egypt and the Middle East from being cut off from Britain. In 1941 on the Italian-controlled island of Kastelorizo, off of the coast of Turkey, Italian forces succeeded in repelling British and Australian forces attempting to occupy the island during Operation Abstention. In December 1941, a covert attack by Italian forces took place in Alexandria, Egypt, in which Italian divers attached explosives to British warships resulting in two British battleships being severely damaged. This was known as the Raid on Alexandria (1941), Raid on Alexandria. In 1942, the Italian navy inflicted a serious blow to a British convoy fleet attempting to reach Malta during Operation Harpoon (1942), Operation Harpoon, sinking multiple British vessels. Over time, the Allied navies inflicted serious damage to the Italian fleet, and ruined Italy's one advantage to Germany. Continuing indications of Italy's subordinate nature to Germany arose during the Greco-Italian War; the British air force prevented the Italian invasion and allowed the Greeks to push the Italians back to Albania. Mussolini had intended the war with Greece to prove to Germany that Italy was no minor power in the alliance, but a capable empire which could hold its own weight. Mussolini boasted to his government that he would even resign from being Italian if anyone found fighting the Greeks to be difficult. Hitler and the German government were frustrated with Italy's failing campaigns, but so was Mussolini. Mussolini in private angrily accused Italians on the battlefield of becoming "overcome with a crisis of artistic sentimentalism and throwing in the towel". To gain back ground in Greece, Germany reluctantly began a Balkans Campaign (World War II), Balkans Campaign alongside Italy which resulted also in the destruction of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941 and the ceding of Dalmatia to Italy. Mussolini and Hitler compensated Croatian nationalists by endorsing the creation of the Independent State of Croatia under the extreme nationalist Ustaše. In order to receive the support of Italy, the Ustaše agreed to concede the main central portion of Dalmatia as well as various Adriatic Sea islands to Italy, as Dalmatia held a significant number of Italians. The ceding of the Adriatic Sea islands was considered by the Independent State of Croatia to be a minimal loss, as in exchange for those cessions they were allowed to annex all of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, which led to the World War II persecution of Serbs, persecution of the Serb population there. Officially, the Independent State of Croatia was a kingdom and an Italian protectorate, ruled by Italian
House of Savoy The House of Savoy ( it, Casa Savoia) is a royal dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the univ ...
member Tomislav II of Croatia, but he never personally set foot on Croatian soil and the government was run by Ante Pavelić, the leader of the Ustaše. However, Italy did hold Italian occupation zone of the Independent State of Croatia, military control across all of Croatia's coast, which combined with Italian control of Albania and Montenegro gave Italy complete control of the Adriatic Sea, thus completing a key part of the ''Mare Nostrum'' policy of the Fascists. The Ustaše movement proved valuable to Italy and Germany as a means to counter Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, Royalist Chetnik guerrillas (although they did work with them because they did not really like the Ustaše movement whom they left up to the Germans) and the communist Yugoslav Partisans under Josip Broz Tito who opposed the occupation of Yugoslavia. Under Italian army commander Mario Roatta's watch, the violence against the Slovenes, Slovene civil population in the Province of Ljubljana easily matched that of the Germans with summary executions, hostage-taking and hostage killing, reprisals, internments to Rab concentration camp, Rab and Gonars concentration camps and the burning of houses and whole villages. Roatta issued additional special instructions stating that the repression orders must be "carried out most energetically and without any false compassion". According to historians James WalstonJames Walston (1997
History and Memory of the Italian Concentration Camps
, ''Historical Journal'', 40.
and Carlo Spartaco Capogeco,Cresciani, Gianfranco (2004
Clash of civilisations
''Italian Historical Society Journal'', Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 7
the annual mortality rate in the Italian concentration camps was higher than the average mortality rate in Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald (which was 15%), at least 18%. On 5 August 1943, Monsignor Joze Srebnic, Bishop of Veglia (
Krk Krk (; german: link=no, Vegl; la, Curicta; it, Veglia; Vegliot Dalmatian: ''Vikla''; grc, Κύρικον, ''Kyrikon'') is a Croatia :* french: link=no, République de Croatie :* hu, Horvát Köztársaság :* it, Repubblica di Croazi ...

Krk
island), reported to Pope Pius XII that "witnesses, who took part in the burials, state unequivocally that the number of the dead totals at least 3,500". Yugoslav Partisans perpetrated their own crimes against the local ethnic Italian population (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians) during and after the war, including the foibe massacres. After the war, Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia, Greece and Ethiopia requested the extradition of 1,200 Italian war crimes, Italian war criminals for trial, but they never saw anything like the Nuremberg trials because the British government with the beginning of the Cold War saw in Pietro Badoglio a guarantee of an anti-communist post-war Italy. The repression of memory led to historical revisionism in Italy about the country's actions during the war. In 1963, anthology "Notte sul'Europa", a photograph of an internee from Rab concentration camp, was included while claiming to be a photograph of an internee from a German Nazi camp when in fact the internee was a Slovenes, Slovene Janez Mihelčič, born 1885 in Babna Gorica and died at Rab in 1943. In 2003, the Italian media published Silvio Berlusconi's statement that Mussolini merely "used to send people on vacation".''Survivors of war camp lament Italy's amnesia''
2003, ''International Herald Tribune''
In 1940, Italy invaded Kingdom of Egypt, Egypt and was soon driven far back into Libya by British Commonwealth forces. The German army sent a detachment to join the Italian army in Libya to save the colony from the British advance. German army units in the Afrika Korps under General Erwin Rommel were the mainstay in the campaign to push the British out of Libya and into central Egypt in 1941 to 1942. The victories in Egypt were almost entirely credited to Rommel's strategic brilliance. The Italian forces received little media attention in North Africa because of their dependence on the superior weaponry and experience of Rommel's forces. For a time in 1942, Italy from an official standpoint controlled large amounts of territory along the Mediterranean Sea. With the collapse of Vichy France, Italy gained control of
Corsica Corsica (, Upper , Southern , ; french: link=no, Corse ; lij, link=no, Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north ...

Corsica
, Nizza, Savoia and other portions of southwestern France. Italy also oversaw a military occupation over significant sections of southern France, but despite the official territorial achievements, the so-called "Italian Empire" was a paper tiger by 1942: it was faltering as its economy failed to adapt to the conditions of war and Italian cities were being bombed by the Allies. Also despite Rommel's advances in 1941 and early 1942, the campaign in Northern Africa began to collapse in late 1942. Complete collapse came in 1943 when German and Italian forces fled Northern Africa to Sicily. By 1943, Italy was failing on every front, by January of the year, half of the Italian forces serving on the Eastern Front had been destroyed,Smith, 1997. p. 412. the African campaign had collapsed, the Balkans remained unstable and demoralised Italians wanted an end to the war. King Victor Emmanuel III urged Count Ciano to overstep Mussolini to try to begin talks with the Allies. In mid-1943, the Allies of World War II, Allies commenced an Allied invasion of Sicily, invasion of Sicily in an effort to knock Italy out of the war and establish a foothold in Europe. Allied troops landed in Sicily with little initial opposition from Italian forces. The situation changed as the Allies ran into German forces, who held out for some time before Sicily was taken over by the Allies. The invasion made Mussolini dependent on the German Armed Forces (''Wehrmacht'') to protect his regime. The Allies steadily advanced through Italy with little opposition from demoralized Italian soldiers, while facing serious opposition from German forces.


Civil war (1943–1945)

By 1943, Mussolini had lost the support of the Italian population for having led a disastrous war effort. To the world, Mussolini was viewed as a "sawdust caesar" for having led his country to war with ill-equipped and poorly trained armed forces that failed in battle. The embarrassment of Mussolini to Italy led Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel III and even members of the Fascist Party to desire Mussolini's removal. The first stage of his ousting took place when the Fascist Party's Grand Council, under the direction of Dino Grandi, voted to ask Victor Emmanuel to resume his constitutional powers–in effect, a vote of no confidence in Mussolini. Days later on 26 July 1943, Victor Emmanuel officially sacked Mussolini as Prime Minister and replaced him with Marshal Pietro Badoglio. Mussolini was immediately arrested upon his removal. When the radio brought the unexpected news, Italians assumed the war was practically over. The Fascist organizations that had for two decades pledged their loyalty to ''Il Duce'' were silent – no effort was made by any of them to protest. The new Badoglio government stripped away the final elements of Fascist government by banning the Fascist Party. The Fascists had never controlled the army, but they did have a separately armed militia, which was merged into the army. The main Fascist organs including the Grand Council, the Special Tribunal for the Defense of the State and the Chambers were all disbanded. All local Fascist formations clubs and meetings were shut down. Slowly, the most outspoken Fascists were purged from office. Italy then signed an Armistice of Cassibile, armistice in Cassibile, ending its war with the Allies. However, Mussolini's reign in Italy was not over as a German commando unit, led by Otto Skorzeny, Gran Sasso raid, rescued Mussolini from the mountain hotel where he was being held under arrest. Hitler instructed Mussolini to establish the
Italian Social Republic The Italian Social Republic ( it, Repubblica Sociale Italiana, ; RSI), popularly and historically known as the Republic of Salò ( it, Repubblica di Salò ), was a List of World War II puppet states#Germany, German puppet state with limited D ...

Italian Social Republic
, a German
puppet state A puppet state, puppet régime or puppet government or dummy government is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...
in the portion of northern and central Italy held by the Wehrmacht. As result, the country descended into
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
; the new Royalist government of Victor Emmanuel III and Marshal Badoglio raised an
Italian Co-belligerent Army The Italian Co-belligerent Army (''Esercito Cobelligerante Italiano''), or Army of the South (''Esercito del Sud'') were names applied to various division sets of the now former Royal Italian Army during the period when it fought alongside the Alli ...
, Italian Co-belligerent Navy, Navy and Italian Co-belligerent Air Force, Air Force, which fought alongside the Allies for the rest of the war, while other Italian troops, loyal to Mussolini and his new Fascist state, continued to fight alongside the Germans in the National Republican Army. Also, a large anti-fascist Italian resistance movement fought a guerrilla war against the German and RSI forces. The RSI armed forces were a combination of Mussolini loyalist Fascists and German armed forces, although Mussolini had little power. Hitler and the German armed forces led the campaign against the Allies and saw little interest in preserving Italy as more than a buffer zone against an Allied invasion of Germany. The Badoglio government attempted to establish a non-partisan administration and a number of political parties were allowed to exist again after years of being banned under Fascism. These ranged from liberal to communist parties which all were part of the government. Italians celebrated the fall of Mussolini, and as more Italian territory was taken by the Allies, the Allies were welcomed as liberators by Italians who opposed the German occupation. Life for Italians under German occupation was hard, especially in Rome. Rome's citizens by 1943 had grown tired of the war and upon Italy signing an armistice with the Allies on 8 September 1943, Rome's citizens took to the streets chanting "''Viva la pace''!" ("Long live the peace!), but within hours German forces raided the city and attacked anti-Fascists, royalists and Jews. Roman citizens were harassed by German soldiers to provide them food and fuel and German authorities would arrest all opposition and many were sent into forced labor.Wallace, 1979. p. 36. Rome's citizens upon being liberated reported that during the first week of German occupation of Rome, crimes against Italian citizens took place as German soldiers looted stores and robbed Roman citizens at gunpoint. Martial law was imposed on Rome by German authorities requiring all citizens to obey a curfew forbidding people to be out on the street after 9 p.m. During winter of 1943, Rome's citizens were denied access to sufficient food, firewood and coal which was taken by German authorities to be given to German soldiers housed in occupied hotels. These actions left Rome's citizens to live in the harsh cold and on the verge of starvation. German authorities began arresting able-bodied Roman men to be conscripted into forced labour. On 4 June 1944, the German occupation of Rome came to an end as German forces retreated as the Allies advanced. Mussolini was captured on 27 April 1945 by Italian Communist Party, Communist Italian partisans near the Switzerland, Swiss border as he tried to escape Italy. On the next day, he was executed for high treason as sentenced in absentia by a tribunal of the National Liberation Committee. Afterwards, the bodies of Mussolini, his mistress and about fifteen other Fascists were taken to Milan, where they were displayed to the public. Days later on 2 May 1945, the German forces in Italy surrendered. The government of Badoglio remained in being for some nine months. On 9 June 1944, he was replaced as Prime Minister by the 70-year-old anti-fascist leader Ivanoe Bonomi. In June 1945, Bonomi was in turn replaced by Ferruccio Parri, who in turn gave way to Alcide de Gasperi on 4 December 1945. It was De Gasperi who supervised the transition to a republic following the abdication of Vittorio Emanuele III on 9 May 1946. He briefly became acting Head of State as well as Prime Minister on 18 June 1946, but ceded the former role to Provisional President Enrico De Nicola ten days later.


End of the Kingdom of Italy


Italian constitutional referendum (1946)

Much like Japan and Germany, the aftermath of World War II left Italy with a destroyed economy, a divided society, and anger against the monarchy for its endorsement of the Fascist regime for the previous twenty years. Even prior to the rise of the Fascists, the monarchy was seen to have performed poorly, with society extremely divided between the wealthy North and poor South. World War I resulted in Italy making few gains and was seen as what fostered the rise of Fascism. These frustrations compacted into a revival of the Italian republican movement. By the spring of 1944, it was obvious Victor Emmanuel was too tainted by his previous support for Mussolini to have any further role. He transferred his constitutional powers to Crown Prince Umberto, whom he named Luogotenente, Lieutenant General of the Realm and de facto regent. Victor Emmanuel III nominally remained King until shortly before a 1946 referendum on whether to remain a monarchy or become a republic. On 9 May 1946, he abdicated in favour of the Crown Prince, who then ascended as King
Umberto II , house = Savoy , father = Victor Emmanuel III of Italy , mother = Princess Elena of Montenegro , birth_date = , birth_place = Racconigi, Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state whi ...

Umberto II
. However, on 2 June 1946, the republican side won 54% of the vote and Italy officially became a republic. The table of results shows some relevant differences in the different parts of Italy. The peninsula seemed to be drastically cut into two, as if there were two different, respectively homogeneous countries: the North for the republic (with 66.2%); the South for the monarchy (with 63.8%). Some monarchist groups claimed that there was manipulation by northern republicans, socialists and communists. Others argued that Italy was still too chaotic in 1946 to have an accurate referendum. Regardless, to prevent civil war Umberto II accepted the results, and the Birth of the Italian Republic, new republic was born on June 12, with bitter resentment by the new government against the
House of Savoy The House of Savoy ( it, Casa Savoia) is a royal dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the univ ...
. All male members of the House of Savoy were barred from entering Italy in 1948, which was only repealed in 2002. Under the Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947, Istria, Kvarner Gulf, Kvarner, most of the Julian March as well as the
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
n city of was annexed by Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia causing the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus, which led to the emigration of between 230,000 and 350,000 local ethnic Italians (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians), the others being ethnic Slovenians, ethnic Croatians, and ethnic Istro-Romanians, choosing to maintain Italian citizenship. Later, the Free Territory of Trieste was divided between the two states. Italy also lost all of its colonial possessions, formally ending the
Italian Empire The Italian colonial empire ( it, Impero coloniale italiano), known as the Italian Empire (''Impero italiano'') between 1936 and 1943, began in Africa in the 19th century and comprised the colonies In political science, a colony is a terri ...

Italian Empire
. The Italian border that applies today has existed since 1975, when
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and in northeastern . It is the capital city, and largest city, of the of , one of two autonomous regions which are not subdivided into . Trieste is located at the head of the , on a narrow ...

Trieste
was formally re-annexed to Italy.


See also

* History of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) * Law of Guarantees * List of Prime Ministers of Italy * Military history of Italy during World War II * Roman Question


Notes


References


Further reading

* Ashley, Susan A. ''Making Liberalism Work: The Italian Experience, 1860–1914'' (2003
excerpt and text search
* Baran'ski, Zygmunt G. & Rebecca J. West (2001).
The Cambridge companion to modern Italian culture
', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, . * Barclay, Glen St. J. 1973. ''The Rise and Fall of the New Roman Empire''. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. * Bosworth, Richard J. B. 1983. ''Italy and the Approach of the First World War''. London: The Macmillan * Bosworth, Richard J. B. 2007. ''Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915–1945'
excerpt and text search
* Clark, Martin. 1996. ''Modern Italy: 1871–1995''. (2nd ed. Longman) * Coppa, Frank J. (1970). "Economic and Ethical Liberalism in Conflict: The extraordinary liberalism of Giovanni Giolitti", ''Journal of Modern History'' (1970) 42#2 pp 191–215 * Coppa, Frank J. (1971) ''Planning, Protectionism, and Politics in Liberal Italy: Economics and Politics in the Giolittian Age'
online edition
* Davis, John A., ed. 2000, ''Italy in the Nineteenth Century: 1796–1900'' Oxford University Press
online edition
* de Grazia, Victoria. 1981. ''The Culture of Consent: Mass Organizations of Leisure in Fascist Italy.'' * de Grazia, Victoria. 1993. ''How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922–1945'
excerpt and text search
* De Grand, Alexander J. (2001). ''The hunchback's tailor: Giovanni Giolitti and liberal Italy from the challenge of mass politics to the rise of fascism, 1882–1922'', Greenwood
online editionexcerpt and text search
* Duggan, Christopher (2008). ''The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796'', Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
text search
* Gentile, Emilio. 2003. ''The Struggle For Modernity: Nationalism, Futurism and Fascism.'' Westport, CT: Praeger. * Gilmour, David. 2011. ''The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples'
excerpt and text search
* Hughes, Robert. 2011. ''Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History'' * * Killinger, Charles L. (2002). ''The history of Italy'', Westport (CT): Greenwood Press
text search
* Manenti, Luca G. (2013), ''«Evviva Umberto, Margherita, l'Italia, Roma!». L'irredentismo triestino e Casa Savoia'', in Diacronie. Studi di Storia Contemporanea, n. 16
8/ «Evviva Umberto, Margherita, l’Italia, Roma!». L’irredentismo triestino e Casa Savoia
* Pauley, Bruce F. 2003. ''Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini: Totalitarianism in the Twentieth Century''. Wheeling: Harlan Davidson * Pollard, John F. 1985. ''The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929–32''. Cambridge, USA: Cambridge University Press. * Salomone, A. William. 1945. ''Italy in the Giolittian Era: Italian Democracy in the Making, 1900–1914'' * Sarti, Roland (2004). ''Italy: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present'', New York: Facts on Fil
text search
* Sarti, Roland. 1974. ''The Ax Within: Italian Fascism in Action.'' New York: New Viewpoints. * Seton-Watson, Christopher (1967). ''Italy from Liberalism to Fascism, 1870–1925'', New York: Taylor & Francis
text search
* Smith, Denis Mack. 1997. ''Modern Italy; A Political History''. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. * Thayer, John A. 1964. ''Italy and the Great War''. Madison and Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin Press.


Historiography

* Albanese, Giulia. "Reconsidering the March on Rome," ''European History Quarterly'' (2012) 42#3 pp 403–421. * Ferrari, Paolo. "The Memory And Historiography Of The First World War In Italy" ''Comillas Journal of International Relations'' (2015) #2 pp 117–126 * Keserich, Charles. "The Fiftieth Year of the" March on Rome": Recent Interpretations of Fascism." ''History Teacher'' (1972) 6#1 pp: 135–142 . * Pergher, Roberta. "An Italian War? War and Nation in the Italian Historiography of the First World War" ''Journal of Modern History'' (Dec 2018) 90#4 * Renzi, William A. ''In the Shadow of the Sword: Italy's Neutrality and Entrance Into the Great War, 1914–1915'' (1987).


Primary sources

* Mussolini, Benito. 1935. ''The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions''. Rome: Ardita Publishers.


External links

*
Axis History Factbook– Italy

Mussolini's War Statement – Declaration of War against USA, 11 December 1941

Declaration of War on France and The United Kingdom, 10 June 1940
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