The Italian state was born in 1861 after the outcome of the Second War of Independence and after the plebiscites in different territories conquered or annexed. With the first call of the Italian Parliament on 18 February 1861 and the subsequent proclamation of March 17, Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy became the first king of Italy (1861-1878).

The population, compared to the original Kingdom of Sardinia, quintupled. Institutionally and legally, the Kingdom of Italy was taking shape as an enlargement of the Kingdom of Sardinia, it was in fact a constitutional monarchy. The beginning was quite difficult: there ware difficulties such as illiteracy and widespread poverty, as well as the lack of infrastructure.The newly born then found himself, from the earliest times, groped to solve problems of standardisation of laws, lack of resources due to the state coffers empty for war expenses, the creation of a single currency for the whole peninsula, and more in general management issues for all lands acquired suddenly.

The issues were a major issue in the early years after the unification of Italy were the dire economic situation in the South and the robbery in the southern regions (especially between 1861 and 1869), the problem became known as the “southern”. A further element of fragility for the young Italian kingdom was the hostility of the Church and of the Catholic clergy against him, that hostilities would have been strengthened after 1870 and the fall of Rome taking in this case the name “Roman Issue”.

The "Historical Right" party

The Historical Right, composed mainly by the high bourgeoisie and landowners, formed the new government, which had as its main objectives the completion of national unification, the construction of the new state (for which you chose a centralist model) and rehabilitation , financed by new taxes that produced popular discontent and accentuated the robbery, repressed by force.

In foreign policy, the historical Right maintained the traditional alliance with France, even though the two nations clashed on several issues, first of all the annexation of Veneto and the capture of Rome.

In 1876 the government was ousted for the first time not by regal authority, but by the Parliament (parliamentary revolution). Thus began the era of the historic Left, led by Agostino Depretis. It ended an era: only a few years later, Victor Emmanuel II died and was succeeded on the throne Umberto I.

The old Left party

The Left abandoned the goal of a balanced budget and launched the policy of democratisation and modernisation of the country, investing in public education and enlarging the suffrage, and starting a protectionist policy of investment in infrastructure and development by the support of the government.

With regard to foreign policy Depretis left the alliance with France, due to the conquest by the State beyond the Alps of Tunisia. Italy then entered in the Triple Alliance with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He favoured the development of Italian colonialism, first with the occupation of Massawa in Eritrea.

The time of Giolitti

From 1901 to 1914, Giovanni Giolitti led the government and strongly influenced the Italian history and politics. He as president-elect of the Council had to face, first of all, the wave of popular discontent that the policy “Crispina” had caused with rising prices. And it is with this first confrontation with the social partners pointed out that the wave of innovations that led Giolitti in the political landscape at the turn of the XIX and XX century. No more authoritarian repression, but acceptance of protests and strikes then, provided they are not violent or political, with the aim (successful) to bring the parliamentary socialists over.

In foreign policy, there was a rapprochement of Italy to the Entente of France, the UK and Russia. Was continued colonial policy in the Horn of Africa, and after the Italo-Turkish War, were occupied Libya and the Dodecanese. Giolitti failed in his attempt to control the nationalism as the Socialists had constitutionalised, and could not therefore to prevent the entry of Italy into World War I and then the rise of fascism.

The most important actions of Giolitti were social legislation and labor, universal male suffrage, the nationalisation of the railways and insurance, the reduction of state debt, infrastructure development and industry.

The colonial adventure

The beginning of the reign saw Italy also engaged in a series of wars of colonial expansion. The occupation began in November 1869 with prist Giuseppe Sapeto who started the negotiations for the purchase of the Bay of Assab. The Egyptian government objected to this acquisition and claimed possession of the bay. This was followed by a long controversy that ended only in 1882 after three attempts. The initiative was supported by the governments of the Left and Principe Amedeo by a private company headed by Raffaele Rubattino. On 10 March 1882, the Italian government bought the estate of Assab, that on 5 July of the same year officially became Italian.

Besides the acquisition of Assab by the Rubattino, the Italian government tried to occupy the port of Zeila, at that time controlled by the Egyptians, but with negative results. When the Egyptians withdrew from the Horn of Africa in 1884, Italian diplomats made a deal with Britain for the occupation of the port of Massawa to Assab, which together formed the so-called Italian possessions in the Red Sea. Since 1890 took the official name of the colony of Eritrea.

The interest for the foundation of the Italian colonies continued even during the governments of Francesco Crispi. The city of Massawa became the starting point for a project that was supposed to result in the control of the Horn of Africa. In the early eighties, this area was inhabited by Ethiopian Dancale Somali and Oromo, autonomous or subject to rulers. At the time, the lords of the area were the Egyptians (along the coasts of the Red Sea), some sultanates (the most important were the Harar, the Obbia, and Zanzibar), emirs or tribal leaders. Unlike the case of Ethiopia, then ruled by the Neghesti Negus (King of Kings, Emperor) Yohannes IV, but with the presence of a relatively autonomous state in the territories of the south, ruled by Menelik II.

Through traders and Italian scholars who frequented the area, since the sixties, Italy tried to split the two Negus in order to penetrate, before politically and then militarily, within Ethiopia. Among the projects there was the occupation of the holy city of Harar, buying Zeila by the British and the rent of the port of Kismayo, at the mouth of Juba, in Somalia. All three projects are not concluded positively. Umberto I, King of Italy from 1878 to 1900

In 1889, Italy obtained through an agreement by the Italian Consul in Aden with the Sultans who ruled the area, the protectorates of Obbia and Migiurtinia. In 1892 the Sultan of Zanzibar-leased the ports of the Benadir (including Mogadishu and Brava) to the trading company “Filonardi.” The Benadir, while operated by a private company, was exploited by the Kingdom of Italy as a starting point for expeditions to the mouth of the Juba and Omo, and to get the protectorate over the city of Lugh.

Following the defeat and death of Emperor Giovanni IV in a war against the Sudanese dervishes (1889), the Italian army occupied part of the Ethiopian plateau, including the city of Asmara, on the basis of previous agreements made with Menelik II which, with the death of his rival, he had managed to get himself recognised Negus Neghesti, meaning “King of Kings” (“Emperor”). With the treaty that followed, Menelik II accepted the presence of the Italian Ethiopian plateau and recognised in Italy in the privileged interlocutor with other European countries. This recognition was interpreted by the Italians as the acceptance of a protectorate and the following years will be a source of discord between the two countries.

The policy of gradual conquest of Ethiopia became a reality with the campaign in East Africa (1895-1896) and ended with the defeat of Adua (1 March 1896). He was one of the few successes of African resistance to European colonialism of the nineteenth century. Even after this crushing defeat colonial policy in the Horn of Africa continued with the protectorate on Somalia, declared a colony in 1905.

One of the attempts to create a colonial empire over the Horn of Africa was that of an expansion that would go from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Guinea. The project was never publicly explained, but it was clear during the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles (1919), after the First World War, which caused diplomatic friction with France. To realise this intention, having formal possession of Libya, the Italian diplomatic corps asked to have the German colony of Cameroon and tried to get as compensation for their participation in the World War, the passage of Chad from France to Italy. The project failed when Cameroon was allocated to France and Italy only got the Oltregiuba, as well as a redefinition of the boundaries between Libya and Chad, a French possession.

One of the demands during the Italian Treaty of Versailles after the first world war was to annex the French Somalia and Somaliland in exchange for the cancellation of participation in the distribution of the German colonies between the forces of the Entente. The attempt was not followed. It was the last manoeuvre of the “liberal state”, before Fascism on the penetration in the Horn of Africa.

Italian colonies

Eritrea ( 1884 - 1941 )

Ethiopia ( 1889-1913 )

The area of ​​the Red Sea was one of the areas that aroused the most interest of the governments of the Italian Left Party.

First nucleus of the future colony of Eritrea was established by the commercial area Rubattino in 1870 at the bay of Assab. Abandoned for nearly ten years, was later bought by the Italian State in the early eighties and together with the port of Massawa, occupied in 1884, he composed the Italian possessions of the Red Sea.

With the Treaty of Uccialli the Italian possessions were extended inland to the shores of the river Mareb. Consequently, on 1 January 1890 he was institutionalised possession of those territories with the creation of a colony ruled by a governor and having the capital city of Asmara (climatically more comfortable for Italians than Massawa).

The maximum expansion of its boundaries was reached in early 1896, when the Governor of the colony, Oreste Barattieri had to turn into reality the project of the Ethiopian occupation of the hinterland. In 1894 he had to occupy the city of Kassala, then possession dervish, while in 1895 during his campaign in East Africa, occupied large areas of Tigray, including the city of Axum. Following the defeat in the battle of Adua, the boundaries of the colony returned to be those established by the Treaty and remained so until the war in Ethiopia.

First non-military governor Ferdinando Martini was at that time staunch supporter of the need for the Italian State to possess colonies. A man fell the task of re-establishing peaceful contact with Ethiopia, to improve relations between Italian and indigenous peoples and to create a body of officials to carry on the administration of the colony. It was under his policy that the colony had the Ordinances Organic and colonial codes.

Somalia (1890 - 1941)

The first Italian penetration in Somalia was established in the southern African country between 1889 and 1890 as a protectorate. It was declared a colony in 1905. In June 1925 the Italian sphere of influence was extended to the territories and islands of Oltregiuba, until then part of Kenya English and sold as a reward for going to war on the Allied side during the First World War.

Tianjin, China (1901 - 1943)

In 1901, as in many other foreign powers, Italy was granted a concession business in the city of Tianjin in China. The Italian concession, of 46 acres, was one of the minor concessions granted by the Chinese Empire to the European powers. After the end of World War I the Austrian concession in the same city was incorporated into Italian. The terms of this grant were discussed again, and finally the same concession was effectively suspended, following an agreement between the Italian Social Republic and the Government of the Republic of pro-Japanese Nanjing (which incorporated the concession) in 1943. After the armistice of 8 September 1943, the Italian garrison at Tientsin fought against the Japanese, but then had to give up and pay by imprisonment in Korea. The granting of Tianjin, as well as Italian commercial districts in Shanghai, Hankow and Beijing, were formally abolished with the peace treaty of 1947.

Libya (1911 - 1943)

After a brief war against the Ottoman Empire in 1911, Italy gained control of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, gaining international recognition as a result of the agreements of the Treaty of Lausanne. The Italian sights on Libya, were supported by France, which frowned on the occupation of that territory as an anti-English. With fascism, Libya was given the title of the fourth side, when in reality for most of the twenty years was engaged in a bloody pacification of the colony (during which it made use of poison gas and mass deportations).

The Dodecanese (1912 - 1943)

Between April and August 1912, during the final phase of the war in Libya against the Ottoman Empire, Italy decided to occupy twelve islands of the Aegean domain turkish submitted to the so-called Dodecanese. Following the Lausanne Treaty, Italy was able to maintain the military occupation of the twelve islands until the turkish army had not completely abandoned the Libyan area. This process took place slowly, partly because some Ottoman officers decided to cooperate with the Libyan resistance, so the occupation of the Aegean was maintained in the facts until August 21, 1915, the day when Italy, which came in the first war world together with the Triple Alliance, resumed hostilities against the Ottoman Empire.

During the war and the Italian occupation of the island of Rhodes Antalya was the site of an important naval base for the British and French marine forces.

After the victory in World War I, the Kingdom of Italy formally intended to consolidate its presence in the area and along the Aegean coast of Turkey. Through an agreement with the government greek inside of the Treaty of Sèvres of 1919, it was determined that Rhodes became Italian also from the formal point of view, while the other eleven islands would be passed to Greece, as all of the other islands of the Aegean Sea. In return, Italy would have obtained from the State greek control of the south-west Anatolia (Italian Occupation of Antalya), which stretched from Konya to Alanya and that included the coal basin of Antalya. The defeat of the Greeks in the war against the Republic of Turkey in 1922, made ​​it impossible for the agreement and Italy remained the de facto occupation of the islands until, with the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, the administration of the archipelago not she was recognised internationally.

Saseno (1914-1920)

The Saseno island was occupied on October 30, 1914 by the Kingdom of Italy, until after the First World War, 18 September 1920, thanks to an agreement between Italy and Albania (Tirana agreement of 2 August 1920 in exchange of Italian claims of Vlora) and an agreement with Greece, became part of Italy that he wanted for his strategic position.

He made the first part of the province of Zara (1920-1941), then in 1941 became part of the province of Kotor (Dalmatia). Occupied by the Germans in September 1943 and the Albanian partisans in May 1944, the island was returned to Albania as a result of the Treaty of Paris of 10 February (1947).

Today there is a deposit on the island and a Coast Guard barracks opened in 1997 to crack down on illegal trade between Italy and Albania and remain installations (including a lighthouse and various fortifications) built during the previous Italian occupation.

Crimes against humankind

Following the killing of civilians and military, Italians in Libya and Ethiopia , during the Italian colonial rule in Africa, were committed (although to a lesser extent to what was done - for example - from the British and French ) some atrocities and crimes against humanity.



In World War I Italy initially remained neutral, and then down the side of the Allies on May 23, 1915 after the signing of the secret Treaty of London.

The agreement provided that Italy entered the war on the side of the Entente within a month, and in return he would get, in case of victory, Trentino, Tyrol up to the Brennero Pass (Alto Adige), Venezia Giulia, l 'entire Istrian peninsula, with the exception of Rijeka, part of Dalmatia.

With regard to the colonial possessions Italy would conquer the islands of the Dodecanese (busy, but not attached to the colony after the Italo-Turkish War), the base of Vlora in Albania, the coal basin of Antalya in Turkey, as well as a expansion of African colonies at the expense of Germany (Italy already had in Africa Libya, Somalia and Eritrea).

The command of the army was given to General Luigi Cadorna, which had as its objective the achievement of passing Vienna to Ljubljana. At dawn on 24 May, the Royal Army fired the first shot against the positions Austro-Hungarian barricaded in Cervignano del Friuli, a few hours later, he became the first city conquered. At the dawn of the same day the Austro-Hungarian fleet bombarded the railway station of Manfredonia, at 23:56, Ancona bombed. The same May 24 fell the first Italian soldier, Riccardo Di Giusto.

The command of the armed forces was entrusted to the Italian General Luigi Cadorna. The front was opened as a theatre from Italy in the Alps, from the Stelvio to the Adriatic Sea. The main effort to break through the front was concentrated in the region of the Isonzo valley, in the direction of Ljubljana. After an initial Italian advance, the Austro-Hungarians were ordered to dig in and resist. This led to a position similar to that war that was taking place on the western front: the only difference was that, while on the western front trenches were dug in the mud, on the Italian front were carved in rocks and glaciers of the Alps up to and beyond 3,000 meters above sea level. In the last battles of the Isonzo, fought at the end of 1915, the Italian losses amounted to more than 60,000 deaths and more than 150,000 injured, equivalent to about a quarter of the forces mobilised.

The beginning of 1916 was characterised by the Fifth Battle of the Isonzo which did not lead to any results. In further clashes the Austro-Hungarians broke in Trentino, occupying the plateau of Asiago. This offensive was stopped with difficulty by the Italian Army which responded with a counter-offensive by dismissing the enemy to the plateau of the Carso. The battle was called the battle of the Highlands.

On August 4, 1916 it was conquered Gorizia which, although not of strategic importance, was taken at a high price (20,000 dead and 50,000 wounded). Even the last three battles fought in the year does not lead to any gain strategic front, however, of 37,000 dead and 88,000 injured.

Besides the conquest of Gorizia, the only territorial gain was the face advance a few kilometres in Trentino.

The August 18, 1917 began the largest offensive in the Italian conflict, with 600 battalions and 5,200 artillery pieces (compared respectively with the 250 and 2,200 Austrians). Despite the effort the battle did not lead to any territorial acquisition nor the conquest of workstations strategies. Significant was the price paid in blood (30,000 dead, 110,000 injured and 20,000 missing or between prisoners).

In October 1917 Russia abandoned the conflict as a result of the communist revolution. The troops of the Central Powers were moved from the eastern to the western one.

Given the results of the last Italian offensive and reinforcements coming from the Eastern front, the Austro-Hungarians and Germans decided groped the advance.

On October 24, the Austro-Hungarians and Germans broke the front converging on Caporetto and surrounded the 2nd Army commanded by General Luigi Capello. The general Capello and Luigi Cadorna had long suspected a possible attack, but underestimated the news and effective offensive capability of the enemy forces. The Austrians advanced to 150 km to the south-west reaching Udine in just four days. The only army that resisted the disaster was the third, led by Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, a cousin of King Vittorio Emanuele III.

The breakup of the front of Caporetto caused the collapse of the Italian positions along the Isonzo, with the retreat of the army deployed from the Adriatic to the Valsugana, in Trentino. The 350,000 soldiers deployed along the front gave themselves up to a disorganised retreat along with 400,000 civilians fleeing from the invaded areas. Were substantial losses of war material. Initially they tried to stop the retreat bringing the new front along the river Tagliamento, with little success, then the river Piave, where, on November 11, 1917, the retreat came to an end thanks to the refusal of King Vittorio Emanuele III to the proposed back up to the Mincio.

Following the defeat, General Cadorna, the press release issued October 29, 1917, pointed out, incorrectly and instrumental “the non-resistance of the Second Army “as the motivation of the breakthrough of the front part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Following Cadorna, invited to be part of the Inter-Allied Conference at Versailles, was replaced by General Armando Diaz, on 8 November 1917, after the retreat finally settled down on the line of Monte Grappa and the Piave.

The defeat led to some consequences: Cadorna was removed from office and replaced by Marshal Armando Diaz in the role of chief of staff. In addition to Cadorna lost his job also the General Luigi Capello, held chiefly responsible for the defeat. Another effect of the defeat of the high discontent in the ranks. The riots were frequent, and many ended with summary executions.

The severe discipline, the long months in the trenches and the disaster of Caporetto had weakened the army. Then the words of Pope Benedict XV “useless slaughter” affected the more religious military. Diaz, tried to solve these problems and to achieve victory, and he changed his strategy completely. First eased the iron discipline. Secondly, being the new front easier to defend, pointed to actions aimed at the defence of the national territory, rather than a sterile but bloody counterattacks. This compaction of the troops and the nation, were prerequisite for the final victory. Already in 1917 they were called to arms the class of those born in 1899 (the so-called “Boys of '99”).

The Austro-Hungarian attacks stopped waiting for the spring of 1918, preparing to penetrate the Venetian plain.

The Austro-Hungarian offensive came June 15: The Empire army attacked with 66 divisions in the battle of June 15 to 23, 1918, the Italians resisted the attack. The Austro-Hungarians lost their hopes, as the country was now on the verge of collapse, plagued by the inability to continue to support the war effort on the economic and social level, given the inability of the state to act as guarantor of integrity of the Habsburg multinational state. With the peoples of the Habsburg Empire on the verge of revolution, Italy anticipated a year on the offensive planned for 1919 to engage the Austro-Hungarian reserves and prevent them from continuing the offensive on the French front.

Da Vittorio Veneto, 23 October went on the offensive, with bad weather conditions. Italians advanced rapidly in Veneto, Friuli and Cadore and 29 October Austria-Hungary surrendered.

The war against Austria-Hungary, that began 24 May 1915 was won.

On November 3, at Villa Giusti, near Padua, the army of the Empire signed the armistice, the Italian soldiers entered Trento while riflemen landed in Trieste, called by the local public health committee, which, however, had requested the landing of the Alliance. The next day, while General Armando Diaz announced the victory, were occupied Rovinj, Porec, Zadar, Rijeka and Lissa. The latter though not included among the areas in which it would be sent Italian forces was occupied, as predicted by some clauses of the Armistice, following the events of 30 October 1918, when the National Council, took office in the town hall after the escape of the Hungarians, had proclaimed, based on the Wilsonian principles, the union of the city to Italy.

The Italian army, however, forced the line of the Treaty of London intending to occupy Ljubljana, but was stopped just beyond Postojna by Serb troops. The five departments of the Navy came in Pula. The next day were sent to other means in Sibenik which became the headquarters of the Military Government of Dalmatia.

The last fallen Italian was Corporal Giuseppe Pezzarossa of 19 years belonging to the 1st Section Mantova, hit by a bullet in the forehead on 30 October 1918 in the south of Udine. According to the historian Giuseppe Del Bianco, Udine then gave the first (Riccardo Di Giusto) and the last victim of the First World War.


Italy completed his national reunification acquiring the Trentino-Alto Adige, Venezia Giulia, Istria, and some territories of Friuli still unredeemed. These regions had been part of, until then, the Cisleitania part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with the exception of the city of Rijeka (Fiume), incorporated in the Kingdom of Italy in 1924 and placed in Transleitania.

In addition to the Reign of Italy were assigned some territorial compensation in Africa, such as the Oltregiuba in Somalia.

But the price was high: 651,010 soldiers, 589,000 civilians for a total of 1,240,000 deaths out of a population of only 36 million, with the highest mortality in the age group between 20 and 24 years.

The social and economic consequences were heavy: Italy with its economy based on agriculture lost a big chunk of his labor power causing the ruin of many families.

However, Italy saw no recognised land rights acquired over Dalmatia with intervention on the side of the Allies: According to the Treaty of London, with whom he had negotiated their entry into the war, Italy would have to get the North Dalmatia including city ​​of Zadar, Sibenik-Knin.

In fact, depending on the nationality principle advocated by U.S. President Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Dalmatia was annexed to the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, with the exception of Zadar (Italian majority) and the island of Lastovo, that with three other islands were annexed to Italy.

This refusal of the Allies to keep the commitments in the Pact of London created numerous tensions in Italian politics after World War I, and one of the biggest beneficiaries was Benito Mussolini with his “Fascism”.


After the Great War the Italian internal situation was precarious: the Treaty of Peace signed at Versailles had not led to any major advantage to Italy, even the most moderated requests were not accepted.

The state coffers were almost empty because the Lira (the italian currency) during the war had lost much of its value, compared with a cost of living increased by at least 450%. The industries struggled to convert military production in the production of peace and to absorb the abundant labor increased by soldiers returning from the front. The resources were low.

For these reasons, no social class was satisfied, and especially among the wealthy crept fear of a possible Communist revolution. The extreme fragility of socio-economic frequently led to riots, which in most cases were struck down with expeditious methods and bloody armed forces.

In this dissatisfied situation, between social strata increasingly frustrated and more prone to suggestion and the nationalist propaganda that, following the Treaty of Peace, ignited and fuelled the myth of the mutilated victory. Organisations of veterans emerged and in particular those who collected the ex-bold ( elite troops assault), from which, at the generalised discontent was added the resentment caused by not getting proper recognition for the sacrifices, courage and contempt of danger proven over years of hard fighting at the front.

Since Italy won the Firs World War asked, during the peace conference in Paris, to be applied the agreement (Memorandum) in London, which also provides for the annexation of Dalmatia. It was not granted because of the contrary opinion of the American President Wilson. France also does not look favourably on a Dalmatian Italian because it would have allowed Italy to control the traffic coming from the Danube. The result was that the Allies and Italy opposed a refusal recanted what was promised in 1915.

Italy was divided about what to do, and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando abandoned to protest the peace conference in Paris. The victorious powers were thus free to design the new eastern border of Italy without his presence, and applied the Treaty of London according to their judgment. Dalmatia, which also was occupied militarily by Italy since the end of World War I to the first Peace Conference of Paris, was assigned to the newborn Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Yugoslavia.

This was the context in which March 23, 1919 in Milan, Benito Mussolini founded the first beam of combat, using symbols which until then had marked the bold, as the Blackshirts and the skull.

The new movement expressed the desire to transform the italian life, if it is unavoidable, even with revolutionary methods.

The movement defines himself as the party of Order allowing it to gain the trust of the less wealthy and conservative, whom opposed to any agitation and union demands, in hope that the impact mass of “bundles of combat” could be opposed to the agitation promoted by Socialists and Catholics popular.

The baby movement initially lacked a clear-cut ideological basis and Mussolini himself had not at first sided in favour of this or that idea, but simply against all the others. Fascism was supposed to represent the “third way”.

In the movement, as well as bold, merged also futurists, nationalists, ex-combatants of every weapon but also elements of dubious morality. Just 20 days after the founding of the Fasci, new action teams clashed with the Socialists and stormed the headquarters of the socialist newspaper “Avanti!”. The signboard of the newspaper was uprooted and brought to Mussolini as a trophy. It was the beginning of the civil war.

Within a few months the fascist squads spread throughout Italy giving the movement a paramilitary force. For two years, Italy was crossed from north to south by the violence of revolutionary political movements: Fascism and Bolshevism. The two movements began to contend for the field, under the gaze of a state almost unable to react.

On November 12, 1921 the National Fascist Party (PNF) was born, turning the movement into a party and accepting some compromises and constitutional legalists with the moderate forces. At that time the PNF came to have some 300,000 members (the time of maximum expansion of the PSI had just passed the 200,000 subscribers) reinforced by the support of landowners from Emilia and Tuscany. Precisely in these regions teams led by “Ras” were more determined to hit the trade Unionists and Socialists, intimidating them with the infamous practice of the truncheon and castor oil, or even committing murders that remained in most cases go unpunished. In this climate of violence, the elections of 15 May 1921 the fascists got unexpectedly 35 seats.

After the Congress of Naples, in which 40,000 “black shirts” marched on Rome, Mussolini gave his plans following the insurgency against the weak Italian Government: time seemed propitious, and a strong contingent of 50,000 in northern Lazio squad was assembled and conducted by four heads: Italo Balbo (one of the most famous Ras), Emilio De Bono (commander of the Militia), Cesare Maria De Vecchi (general welcome at the Quirinale) and Michele Bianchi (secretary of the party faithful to Mussolini that, instead , remained cautiously in Milan). They raised against the Capital on 26 October 1922. The Army was preparing to face the fascist coup (with Pietro Badoglio main hardliner) but King Victor Emmanuel III refused to sign the decree of the state of emergency, forcing the resignation of the Prime Minister Luigi Facta and his government. The Blackshirts marched on the capital on October 28, without resistance and also making some violent action against Communists and Socialists.

On 30 October, after the March on Rome, the king appointed Benito Mussolini to form a new government. The head of fascism left Milan for Rome, and immediately set to work. At the age of 39 Mussolini became chairman of the council, the youngest in the history of united Italy.

The new government included elements of the moderate parties of the center and right and the military, and - of course - many fascists.

Among the first steps taken by the new political course there was an attempt to “normalisation” of the fascist squads (which in many cases continued to commit violence), measures in favour of the amputees and war invalids, drastic reductions in public spending, reform the school, the signing of the Washington Naval Disarmament, and acceptance of the status quo with the kingdom of Yugoslavia about the eastern borders and the protection of the Italian minority in Dalmatia.

During the elections of 6 April 1924 Mussolini passed a new electoral law that would have given the three-fifths of the seats to the list that would had collected 40% of the vote. The election campaign was held in an atmosphere of unprecedented tension with intimidation and beatings. The list led by Mussolini gained 64.9% of the votes.

On 30 May 1924 the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti spoke to the Chamber contesting the election results. The June 10, 1924 Matteotti was kidnapped and killed.

The opposition responded to this event retreating on the Aventino (Aventine Secession), but the position of Mussolini held until on August 16 the decomposed body of Matteotti was found near Rome. Men such as Ivanoe Bonomi, Antonio Salandra Vittorio Emanuele Orlando exerted pressure on the King so that Mussolini was deposed but Vittorio Emanuele III by appealing to the Albertine Statute replied: “I am deaf and blind. My eyes and my ears are the House and Senate “and therefore did not intervene.

What exactly happened on the night of New Year's Eve of 1924 probably will not be ever found. On January 3, 1925 at the Chamber Mussolini declared himself Dictator and he recited the famous speech in which he took on responsibility for the events taking place: “I declare here, in the presence of this Assembly and in the presence of the Italian people, that I take, I alone, the political, moral, historical responsibility, about everything that has happened. If the sentences more or less crippled are enough to hang a man, out of the pole and out of the rope! If fascism was not only castor oil and truncheon, and not instead a superb passion of the best Italian youth, blame me! If fascism was a criminal, I'm the head of this conspiracy! If all of the violence was the result of a particular historical climate, political and moral, well to me the responsibility for this, because I have created this historical climate, political and moral, with a propaganda that goes from the beginning until today. »

During the period 1925-1926 were enacted law limiting freedom: they undid all parties and trade unions not fascist, was suppressed all freedom of the press, of assembly and of speech, the death penalty was restored and was created a Special Court with very broad powers, able to send to confinement with a simple administrative measure people disliked by the regime.

The first big problem that the dictatorship had to face was the heavy devaluation of the Lira. The recovery of production after the end of the First World War brought negative effects such as the shortage of raw materials due to strong demand and excessive productivity compared to the real needs of the population. In the immediate future, the first signs of the crisis were a general increase in prices, rising unemployment, falling wages and a lack of investment in Italy and in loans to the state.

To solve the problem, as in Germany, it was decided to print additional money to be able to repay the debts of war contracts with the United States and Great Britain. Obviously, this did nothing but increase the rate of inflation and to lose credibility, the italian currency was heavily devalued against the dollar and pound.

The moves to combat the crisis not long in coming: it was put on the market a type of bread with less flour, alcohol was added to gasoline, were increased working hours from 8 to 9 with no changes in wages, the tax was instituted on celibacy , were raised all possible taxes, was prohibited the construction of luxury homes, were raised the tax control, were reduced the prices of newspapers, blocked rents and reduced the prices of train tickets and stamps.


On February 11, 1929 was signed the Lateran Treaty, which established the mutual recognition between the Kingdom of Italy and the State of Vatican City.

The relationship between Church and State was previously governed by the so-called Law of Guarantees unilaterally approved by the Italian Parliament 13 May 1871 after the fall of Rome, this law was never recognised by the popes.

Between fascism and the Church there has always been a difficult relationship: Mussolini had always declared atheist, but he knew that to rule in Italy could not go against the Church and Catholics. The Church, for its part, preferred fascism then communist ideology.

On the threshold of power Mussolini stated (June 1921) that “fascism does not practice the anti-clericalism” and on the eve of the March on Rome informed the Church that would have nothing to fear from him and his men.

With the ratification of the agreed Catholicism became the state religion in Italy, was established teaching of the Catholic religion in schools and was recognised the sovereignty and independence of the Church.


At the beginning of the thirties the dictatorship had now stabilised and was based on solid roots. Children, as well as the rest of the population were classified in party organisations, all opposition was nipped in the bud, the press was deeply enslaved to fascism.

It was in this climate that were organised several aerospace companies. After the mass cruises in the Mediterranean and the first flight across the South Atlantic (1931), on 1933 Italo Balbo, organised the second and most famous flight across the North Atlantic to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the institution of Royal Air Force (28 March 1923). A board of 25 SIAI-Marchetti seaplanes S.55X from 1 July to 12 August 1933 Balbo and his men accomplished the voyage to New York and back through all of the major European nations and most of the United States. For its time it was an epic that gave the young Ferrara a reputation even higher than that of Mussolini.

On 1929, autarchy also entered in the language. They were in fact banned all foreign words from any written and oral communication: for example, became key grip wrench, cognac became Arzente, became train-ferry-boat pontoon boat. Consequently, all the cities were renamed with the name of north-western French-speaking and German-speaking name of North-East: according to the place names fascist, to make a couple of examples, Courmayeur became Cormaiore and became Kaltern Caldaro. In addition, it was discovered that she had also the use of foreign origin, so he was inaugurated a campaign for the replacement of her with you, led by the party secretary Achille Starace.

On 11 October 1935 Italy was sanctioned for the invasion of Ethiopia. The sanctions in force since November 18, consisted of:

  • Embargo on arms and ammunition
  • Prohibition of giving loans or open credit in Italy
  • Prohibition of import goods Italian
  • Export ban in Italy goods or raw materials essential to the

In reality it was only Great Britain to observe the rules imposed by the sanctions. Hitler's Germany as well as the United States were the first two countries to take sides openly to Italy, providing the opportunity to purchase any good. Russia refurnished naphtha Italian Army for the duration of the conflict, and also Poland proved quite open.

During this period, the whole of Italy clenched around Mussolini. Britain was labeled with the term of perfidious Albione, and the other powers were labeled as enemies because Italy prevented the achievement of the renewal. He came back in vogue patriotism and political propaganda pushed so that you consume only Italian products. It was basically the birth of autarchy, according to which everything had to be produced and consumed within the state. Anything that could not be produced due to lack of raw materials was replaced: tea with hibiscus, coal with lignite, wool with lanital (wool casein), gasoline with the national fuel (gasoline with l ' 85% alcohol) while coffee was abolished because harmful to health and replaced with “coffee” barley.


On 18 July 1936 the civil war broke out in Spain between the left of the Popular Front, in power after the elections of 1936, and the Falange, a force ideologically comparable to fascism that thanks to the support of the Spanish Catholic Church, the military contribution of Germany and Italy took power in the hands of Francisco Franco.

At the outbreak of hostilities over 60,000 volunteers from 53 nations rushed to the aid of the Republicans while Mussolini and Hitler off the record they provided support for the Falange. In this context, not infrequently Italian fighters in the two sides clashed in a real fratricidal struggle. Italians who came to fight for the Second Spanish Republic were among the most numerous, by nationality exceeded only by Germans and French.


On 14 July 1938, the fascism wrote one of the most shameful pages of Italian history on that day was in fact the major national newspapers published the “Manifesto of the race.” In this sort of table drawn up by five professors (Arturo Donaggio, Franco Savorgnan, Edward Zavattari, Nicola Pende Visco and Saturday) and five assistant professors (Leo Franci, Lino Businco, Lidio Cipriani, Guido Landra and Marcello Ricci) was set to “position of fascism on the issues of race. ”

The ten were categorical imperatives:

  • The human races exist
  • There are large breeds and small breeds
  • The concept of race is a purely biological
  • The population of Italy today is in the majority and its civilisation is Aryan
  • It's a legend, the contribution of large masses of men in historical times
  • There is now a pure “Italian race”
  • It is time that the Italians proclaim frankly racist
  • You must make a clear distinction between the Mediterraneans of Europe (West) on one side and Orientals and Africans on the other
  • The Jews do not belong to the Italian race
  • The characters of the physical and psychological pure European Italians must not be altered in any way

This manifesto gave life to a process that led to the promulgation of racial laws.


Since 1938 Europe began to breathe the air of War: Hitler had already annexed Austria and the Sudetenland and the subsequent conference in Monaco he was given a pass for the annexation of all of Czechoslovakia, while Mussolini was looking for new prey.

The victim was found in Albania. In only two days (7-8 April 1939) with the aid of 22,000 men and 140 tanks Tirana was conquered.

On 22 May between Germany and Italy was signed the Pact of Steel. This agreement assumed that war was imminent, and tied Italy in close alliance with Germany. Some members of the Italian government objected, and the same Galeazzo Ciano, who signed for Italy, called the deal a “real dynamite”.

From 1926-27 Albania gradually came under the influence of Italy, but only in April 1939 it was occupied militarily by this country who imposed as King Vittorio Emanuele III.


In 1928, moreover, the Italians began to penetrate in Ethiopia, which has become the main interest of fascism. Consequently the Ethiopians attacked the Italian territory in Eritrea. The incident most important, however, took place in Ual Ual, in 1934, and Mussolini used it later to justify his war against the Ethiopian state.

Mussolini, then, in January 1935 made ​​an agreement with the Minister of Foreigners French, Pierre Laval to make diplomatic support against Ethiopia. A few months later the League of Nations recognised the good faith of both countries, but Ethiopia, which appealed in March of the same year, and Italy, were not satisfied.

On 2 October 1935, then Mussolini declared war on Ethiopia (War of Ethiopia) and the next day they began operations, with a double attack: from Italian bases Eritrea, under the command of De Bono, that from Somali under the guidance of Graziani. At the same time the League of Nations decided to sanction Italy for attacking a Member State, with serious repercussions on the Italian economy. In a short time Italians moved forward and repeatedly defeated the Abyssinian troops. In November Pietro Badoglio replaced De Bono. On May 7, 1936 Ethiopia was defeated and became part of the Kingdom of Italy, which has become Empire. Vittorio Emanuele III took in fact the title of “Emperor of Ethiopia”.

Fascism tried first of all to present themselves in a different way with regard to Ethiopia trying to implement a treaty of friendship with the management of the Regent Haile Selassie. This agreement became a reality in 1928. At this stage the colony of Eritrea, under the administration of Governor Jacopo Gasparini tried to get a protectorate on Yemen and create a basis for a colonial empire on the Arabian Peninsula, but Mussolini did not want to alienate Britain and stopped the project.

Following the complete conquest of Libya, which took place at the end of the twenties, Mussolini expressed a wish to give an empire to Italy and the only territory remained free from foreign interference was Abyssinia, despite being a member of the League of Nations. The project began in the aftermath of invasion of the conclusion of agreements on friendship treaty and ended with the arrival of the Italian army in Addis Ababa on May 5, 1936. Four days later he was proclaimed the birth of the Empire and Italian Vittorio Emanuele III's coronation as Emperor of Ethiopia (with the title of Qesar, rather than that of Negus Neghesti).

With the conquest of a large part of Ethiopia they proceeded to a restructuring of the colonies in the Horn of Africa. Somalia, Eritrea and Abyssinia were combined in the viceroyalty of Italian East Africa (AOI). The project ended with the colonial British occupation of the territories subject to the Italian rule in 1941.

ETHIOPIA (1936 - 1941)

Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) was conquered by Italian troops, commanded by General Pietro Badoglio after the war of 1935-1936. The victory was announced May 9, 1936, the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III assumed the title of Emperor of Ethiopia, Mussolini to the Founder of the Empire and Badoglio was granted the title of Duke of Addis Ababa.

With the conquest of Ethiopia, the Italian possessions in East Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea) were amalgamated under the name of Italian East Africa AO I., and placed under the government of a viceroy.

Ethiopia was the Italian colony, Eritrea together, more affected by the construction of new roads, major infrastructure (bridges, etc..) And also the arrangement of the city, especially in the capital Addis Ababa according to a predetermined plan (new districts, a new railway). The short Italian presence of only 5 years, and the difficulties of peace in the area, did not permit the total accommodation of the city, which was to be the flagship of Italian colonialism. However, as a member of the League of Nations, Italy received international condemnation for the occupation of Ethiopia, who was a Member State.

In the early months of 1941 the British troops defeated Italians and occupied Ethiopia, although some outbreaks of Italian resistance is kept active in Gondar until the autumn of 1941. In addition, there was also an Italian guerrilla war lasted until 1943. The British resettled the deposed Negus Haile Selassie, exactly five years after his ouster.

ALBANIA (1939 - 1943)

Albania was under the Italian sphere of influence in the twenties, and the island of Saseno front of Vlora was an integral part of the Kingdom of Italy from the time of the Peace of Paris (1919). After ups and downs, Albania was occupied militarily by Italian troops in 1939. The basis of this decision, there was an attempt to Mussolini to counterbalance the alliance with the increasingly powerful Hitler's Nazi Germany, after the occupation of Austria and Czechoslovakia. The invasion of Albania, which began April 7, 1939 was completed in five days. The King Zog fled to London.

Vittorio Emanuele III obtained the crown of Albania and was installed a fascist government led by Shefqet Verlaci. The Albanian army forces were incorporated into the Italian.

In 1941 they were united to Albania Kosovo, some small areas of Montenegro and part of Macedonia (Yugoslav territories already).

The resistance against the Italian occupation began in the summer 1942, became more violent and organised in 1943. During the summer of 1943, the interior mountains were in fact under the direct control of the Albanian resistance led by Enver Hoxha. In September 1943, after the fall of Mussolini, control over Albania was taken by Nazi Germany.


During Fascism Eritrea was the subject of an ambitious modernisation project, commissioned by Governor Jacopo Gasparini, who tried to turn it into an important center for the marketing of products and raw materials. The colony of Eritrea was incorporated into Italian East Africa in 1936, becoming one of six governments that had divided the viceroyalty. In 1941 the colony was occupied, along with the rest of Italian East Africa, by British troops.

At the beginning of World War II, in May 1940 the Italian troops occupied the British Somalia (Somaliland), which was administratively incorporated into Italian Somalia. In the early months of 1941, British troops occupied the whole of Italian Somalia and the Somaliland was recaptured also. After the invasion by Allied troops in World War II Italian Somalia was handed over to Italy in trust decade in 1950.

In 1934, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were combined to form the colony of Libya, a name used 1500 years before by Diocletian to indicate those territories. Italy lost control on Libya, when the Italo-German forces retreated in Tunisia in 1943. After the end of the war, Libya was temporarily administered by Great Britain until the final attainment of independence in 1951.

In the twenties and thirties, the administration of the Dodecanese one hand led the modernisation, such as the construction of hospitals and aqueducts. It tried to italianize with various measures the twelve islands, whose inhabitants were Greek-speaking majority , with the presence of a Turkish minority and Jewish. In September 1943, after the Armistice of Cassibile, the soldiers of the Third Reich occupied the islands. On 8 May 1945 the British forces took possession of the island of Rhodes and the Dodecanese transmuted into a protectorate. With the Treaty of Paris (1947), agreements between Greece and Italy established the formal possession of the islands by the State greek, who assumed full administrative control only in 1948.

During the fascist regime was expanded colonial possessions: Eritrea, Somalia, Libya, Dodecanese,the granting of Tianjin, Ethiopia, and Albania.


In 1940, Italy was allied with Nazi Germany in the Second World War against France and the United Kingdom, in 1941 by declaring war on the Soviet Union and the Empire of Japan to the United States of America. Mussolini thought he was in a blitzkrieg in favour of Hitler's Germany from which they can benefit as an ally. On 10 June 1940, Italy entered the war then. The first clashes took place on June 21 in the Alps, against France, now attacked by the Germans with the tactics of blitzkrieg, which led to the Italian fascist state the only conquest of a small strip in the south of the country, returning to the borders before 1850 , with the exclusion of Nice. Between August and September began operations in Africa. On August 3, was attacked British Somaliland, which was captured on August 19.

At the same time, to the north, troops commanded by General Rodolfo Graziani attacked the British stationed in Egypt and went so far as to Sidi Barrani. At the same time the Military Staff fascist concentrated his expansionist ambitions in Greece. Repeatedly blocked by Germany during the summer in October 1940 Italians began to move towards the peninsula. Thinking of not finding any resistance Italian troops moved forward, but between November and December, the Greeks, aided by the British, they passed on the action and forced the Italians to retreat into Albania. Even the Italian fleet suffered losses among men and the partial sinking of the battleship Cavour and damaging two other ships due to an English aviation attack at the port of Taranto. Meanwhile, the situation worsened in Africa.

The failures in Greece led then, on December 4 to resign from the role of Chief of Staff Pietro Badoglio, who was replaced by General Ugo Cavallero. A few days later, between 10 and 16 December the British began an offensive in North Africa, defeating the Italian troops and recovering Sidi Barrani and Sollum Bay.

In February 1941, the British defeated again Italians, Egypt also penetrating in the region of Cyrenaica in Libya. At the same time we also recorded the first failures in the colonies in the Horn of Africa, culminating on May 20 with the surrender of the Duke of Aosta after the battle sull'Amba Alagi. On this occasion, the Italian army was given the honours of war by the British.

In March then resumed operations in Greece, but despite the efforts made by Cavallero, the Italian army was again defeated and this fact caused the end of the Parallel War, so called by Mussolini. In April, then the military efforts Italians made their way to Yugoslavia in order to anticipate the Nazis, without getting great results. On April 11, the Germans took possession of the Balkan area, allowing the state to put fascist nominally at the head of the Croatian state a representative of the House of Savoy. The Italian influence is confined only to the coastal areas and, on the basis of agreements with the head of the government of Croatia Ante Pavelic, Italy would have had for 25 years, the domain of the coast of Croatia.

The German intervention in the Balkans had to postpone the campaign in Russia, as the Nazis had an interest in protecting the satellite states from British. In June 1941, however, the military campaign was undertaken, with Operation Barbarossa. The Italian government was broad participation of its troops, fearing to have an increasingly marginal role in the war, sending action in the CSIR under the command of General Giovanni Messe. At the same time the arrival of Erwin Rommel in Libya gave a marked improvement in the situation, but with each passing month the shortage of supplies due to the sinking of these allocated by the British in Malta did move back again to the front. In Russia, the CSIR won some battles, but, as of October, the winter caused many problems for the Italian soldiers are not provided with sufficient protection against the cold.

The defeats both on the African front than on the Russian caused several strikes in Italy and a decline of consensus towards Fascism and Mussolini. Meanwhile, in Africa, the Resistance of the Italian troops continued while in Russia retreat proceeded. In May it was taken Tunis, the last bastion Italian Royal Army and a few weeks later the islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria, starting in Operation Husky.

The military difficulties also affected Mussolini. On July 24, met the Grand Council of Fascism and the next morning the Duce was discouraged. Vittorio Emanuele III decided to replace it at the head of the government with Pietro Badoglio. Even as he was speaking with the king, Mussolini was arrested: the monarch had made to the police surround the building, and the leader w as brought in Ponza, in prison. Later he was transferred to La Maddalena and on on the Gran Sasso. Meanwhile, the new head of the Badoglio government announced the continued war on the side of the Germans, but at the same time it was negotiating an armistice with the Allies, which was signed on 3 September and made public on the 8th.

The next day the king and Badoglio fled from Rome, going in Puglia, under the protection of British and American. The Italian troops, who had no strict orders (and in the popular consciousness on September 8 is commemorated as the day of “Tutti a casa” that means everyone at home) were captured by German soldiers and many members of the army ended up prisoners.

On September 12, a special German department freed Mussolini, who was commissioned to form a new kingdom in northern Italy.

The country found itself divided into two: the Southern Kingdom alongside the Allies against Germany and the Italian Social Republic, formed by veterans fascists. In fact, they were both two puppet states, respectively, of the Anglo-Americans and the Germans. In this dramatic picture, however, were born the first partisan groups, which especially in the north-central core of Italy gave birth to the first free, all formations lined up against the fascists, responsible for the war, but not all against the monarchy. The same partisan split, thus initiating the Italian civil war.

Birth of the partisans

The partisans of the Italian resistance is divided into three major groups:

  • the blue partisans
  • the red partisans
  • the green partisans

The other smaller groups were White Brigate and the Brigate Matteotti.

All partisan recognized in the diversity of their ideals, the objective was to force out from the Peninsula Mussolini and fascism, considered responsible for the disaster that struck the nation.

With a country broken into two, occupied by different armies engaged in a struggle to the death, Italians found themselves in a very difficult position.

In the South, the situation was slightly better because the Anglo-Americans left a minimum of freedom to the people, though continually quarreling about the actions to be taken against the country after the war.

In the North, the situation was difficult and tangled: on one side there was a puppet state of Nazi Germany (the Italian Social Republic), that freedom does not let even Mussolini, on the other partisans, that beyond the ideologies, fighting for the common goal that was the end of fascism and war before then. But when they found themselves fighting against other Italians, sent by Mussolini alongside the Germans, a real civil war was born. It had strong aftermath even many years after the war ended.

Surely, there is no doubt that those who fought in the ranks of the Italian Social Republic was on the side of the Nazis, but remember that, of those young people, many had not simply “adhered” to fascism but they were “born” inside. They had never known anything else that the fascist regime, and found, as well, shaped by the black propaganda, and therefore no choice. It is in this light that we speak of “Civil War”.


On January 11, 1944 were shot in Verona, after a dramatic public trial some of the former fascist: Galeazzo Ciano, Emilio De Bono, Luciano Gottardi, Giovanni Marinelli, Carluccio Pareschi, following the death sentence that the court decreed.

On 22 January 1944 the Anglo-Americans landed in Central Italy, in the area between Anzio and Nettuno. The attack, commanded by Major General John P. Lucas, was intended to circumvent the German forces declared on the Gustav Line and liberate Rome. The long battle that ensued is commonly known as the Battle of Anzio.

On March 24, the nazis committed the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine. It was a massacre, made in Rome at the expense of 335 Italian civilians, as an act of retaliation for an attack executed by partisans against the Germanic troops that took place the day before in via Rasella. For his cruelty, the high number of casualties, and the tragic circumstances that led to its completion, the event has become a symbol of the Nazi reprisal during the period of occupation. The “Ardeatine” ancient quarries are close to the Via Ardeatina, they have become a monument in memory of the facts and they can be visited today.

In May 1944, increases the subjugation of the Italian Social Republic against Nazi Germany. The Trentino-Alto Adige, the province of Belluno and Tarvisio are annexed to the Third Reich.

On June 5, 1944, the day after the liberation of Rome, Victor Emmanuel III appointed his son Lieutenant General of the Kingdom in accordance with agreements between the various political forces forming the National Liberation Committee. They planed to “freeze” the institutional question until the end of the conflict. Umberto, therefore, actually performs the powers of the sovereign without possessing the dignity of the king, who remains in Vittorio Emanuele III, remained on the sidelines in Salerno.


Thanks to supplies made ​​in the winter of 1944 and spring 1945 the Allies were able to launch an offensive against the German army breaking through the Gothic Line in several places leading allies in the liberation April 21, 1945 in Bologna. The arrival of the Allies in Milan was anticipated by the partisan insurrection by the CLN proclaimed April 25, this date will then be chosen as a national holiday to commemorate the liberation.

The Nazi-Fascist troops capitulated April 29, 1945, and May 2 the German command in Caserta signed the surrender of his troops in Italy, and also gives the formal surrender of the departments of CSR.

In April 1945, the Nazi-fascist forces were defeated even with the substantial contribution of the partisan forces, formed by ex-military disbanded after the armistice but also by women, children and the elderly, and with a strong support of the people, which cost often serious massacres in retaliation by the occupying forces.

The end of the war saw Italy in critical condition: the fighting up the peninsula and the air strikes had reduced many cities and towns to rubble, the main routes were disrupted, the territory was occupied by the Anglo-American troops, with the exception of the Trieste which was quickly occupied by Tito partisans for a period of six months, retreating only after an ultimatum ally. During this period the Yugoslavs partisans massacred ethnic minorities and Italian present in Istria, to hide the crime, they threw the bodies in countless karst sinkholes.

The number of Italians who died because of the war was very high, estimated at between 415,000 (of which 330,000 soldiers and 85,000 civilians) and 443,000 deaths, estimating that the Italian population at the beginning of the conflict was of 43,800,000 people, count reaches about one victim every 100 Italians.

Since the end of the war until the fifties, the Istrian exodus happened during which about most of the population of the Italian language (in quantities estimated to be between a minimum and a maximum 200,000 - 350,000 persons ), abandoned the territories Istria and Dalmatia, occupied by the Yugoslavs, taking refuge in Italy.

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