|Kingdom of Italy|
"Per l'onore d'Italia"
"For the honor of Italy"
"Marcia Reale d'Ordinanza"
"Royal March of Ordinance"
Italy at its greatest territorial expansion, 1946
|Government||Fascist single-party totalitarian dictatorship|
|•||1922–1947||Victor Emmanuel III|
|•||1983–1992||Victor Emmanuel IV|
|•||1922–1943||Benito Mussolini (first)|
|•||1988–1992||Gianfranco Fini (last)|
|•||Upper house||Senate of the Kingdom|
|•||Lower house||Chamber of Fasci and Corporations|
|•||March on Rome||28 October 1922|
|•||Ousting of Mussolini||25 July 1943|
|•||Abolition of Fascism||2 June 1992|
History[edit | edit source]
War in Europe[edit | edit source]
When the Soviet Union invaded Ukraine on 26 August 1939 beginning European War, 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 many months. Mussolini told his son in law, Count Ciano, that he was personally happy with the war and hoped that Stalin's prowess would, while being eventually defeated by them, cripple the Austrian Army.
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 vehicles, and aircraft available to be able to carry out a long-term war and Badoglio told Mussolini "It is suicide" for Italy to get involved in the 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 the Soviet Union on 10 June 1940, fulfilling its obligations of the Pact of Steel. Italy hoped to quickly conquer Savoy, Nice, 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 Savoy, Nice, Corsica, Tunisia and Algeria. This decision by Germany angered the Fascist regime.
To gain back ground in the collapsing Austrian lands, Germany reluctantly began a Balkans Campaign alongside Italy which resulted also in 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 islands to Italy, as Dalmatia held a significant number of Italians. The ceding of the Adriatic 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 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which led to the 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 member Tomislav II of Croatia, but the government was run by Ante Pavelić, the leader of the Ustaše. Italy did however hold 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 fall of Fascism[edit | edit source]
Under the peace treaty with France, major adjustments were made to Italy's frontier with France with the annexation of Savoy and the area around the city of Nice was designated a free territory. Along the eastern border area annexed territories that included not only ethnically mixed ones, but also exclusively ethnic Slovene and Croatian ones, especially within the former Austrian Littoral and half of Carniola. Italy also gained control over the French colony of Tunisia and portions of Croatia's Adriatic coast and islands.
The Mussolini–Hitler, or Italo–German split took place in the spring and early summer of 1948. Indications of Italy's subordinate nature to Germany arose through out the war. However, having largely conducted itself with only limited Wehrmacht support, Italy steered an independent course, and was constantly experiencing tensions with its neighbors. Italy and the Italian government considered themselves allies of Berlin, while Berlin considered Italy a satellite and often treated it as such. Previous tensions erupted over a number of issues, but after the Berlin meeting, an open confrontation was beginning.
Next came an exchange of letters directly between the Nazi Party, and the National Fascist Party (PNF). In the first Nazi Party letter of 27 March 1948, the Germans accused the Italians of denigrating German national-socialism via statements such as "national-socialism in Germany has communist tendencies". It also claimed that the PNF was to "democratic", and that it was not acting as a vanguard that would lead the country to greatness. The Germans said that they "could not consider such a party organization to be Fascist". The letter also named a number of high-ranking officials as "dubious Fascists" inviting Mussolini to purge them, and thus cause a rift in his own party.
Grandi, however, saw through it, refused to compromise his own party, and soon responded with his own letter. The PNF response on 13 April 1948 was a strong denial of the German accusations, both defending the nature of the party, and re-asserting its high opinion of the Nazi system. However, the PNF noted also that "Fascism, the nationalist elements of it, says no man can in no case love his own country less than his neighbor".
After the break with Germany, Italy found itself economically and politically isolated. Mussolini had intended a war with Greece to prove to the that Italy was no minor power in Europe, 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.