|Nuovo Impero Romana della Nazione Italiana/Italian Empire|
Head of State
Partito Nazionale Fascista (from 1922)
Head of Government
Under Fascist Party rule from 1922. It was the aim of Benito Mussolini to fully resurrect a Roman Empire in the twentieth century. The actual gains of Italy during and immediately after the war were limited. Some long-standing disputes with France, over Tunisia, Corsica, Nice and Monaco, were resolved. However Italian ambitions in the Balkans and the Levant were effectively vetoed by Germany. An invasion of Greece was nixed, as Berlin wanted the country to join the Axis independently. The entry of Greece into the Axis eventually compelled Turkey to do the same, ending Italian designs on Anatolia and Cyprus, while German support for Arab independence movements ensured that Italy would have only a limited role in the region.
Italian influence however grew toward the end of the war, with small European states looking to Rome as a moderating influence on Germany. Italy had acted as the defender of the Danube prior to 1938, but had subsequently done little or nothing to resist German policies. The support for Romanian independence against Russian hostility was contrasted with the early indifference of Germany, though no Italian volunteers would have reached Romania without the express permission of Berlin. Rumours of Italy’s championing of Polish independence were also greatly exaggerated, while the supposed mildness of Italian rule in the Balkans did nothing to ameliorate the situation of Serbs and other minorities living under the control of the Italian-backed Ustasa.
Italy was viewed most favourably where it had supported local nationalist and irredentist claims against Great Britain, France and Russia. Romania was especially grateful to Italy for the support against Russia, and in Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, the Italians were seen as the lesser of two evils when contrasted with the German treatment of other Slavic nations to the north.
The dynamic of Italian influence was changed by the events of 1957. Certainly the Italian decision not to collaborate with Great Britain, France and Lebanon in their attack on Egypt helped to maintain a degree of pro-Italy sentiment in the Arab world. However it was the constitutional crisis in Hungary which was of greater import. After the death of the regent, Miklos von Horthy, the question of succession caused a major schism within the Hungarian elite. With Berlin’s attention on repercussions of the Anglo-French disaster at Suez, the Italians moved into Hungary to support its nominees, crushing an attempted coup by Arrow Cross and Scythe Cross extremists.
The deepening ties between Italy and Romania’s traditional enemy Hungary further weakened the influence of Italy in Romania. The Italo-Romanian military pact of 1940 had been developed after the war into an economic pact, and a commitment to full political integration between the two states. However, as in Hungary, pro-German factions had subsequently grown in power within Romania’s elite, forcing many of the ‘Roman faction’ from positions of influence.
By 1958 Italian troops and advisors had been tactfully ordered out of Romania. In 1965 Romania effectively abandoned its commitment to union with Italy, declaring itself an Empire in its own right. The Italians meanwhile toyed with the idea of installing Carol Lambrino, the illegitimate son of King Carol II, as a more pliant king of Romania.
For the first time since the Austro-German Anschluss a genuine schism developed between Italy and Germany. Albania, Croatia, Greece and Lebanon followed Romania in adopting a more pro-German stance, while Italy enjoyed improved relations with France, Great Britain and the Arab world. Much of the Latin world, previously aligned to Italy’s fascist model, also began to gravitate toward a German-style National Socialism.
The replacement of Mussolini as Duce by the Anglophile Italo Balbo in 1964, marked a further decline in Italo-German relations. Balbo’s rule coincided with that of the Italophile Oswald Mosley in Great Britain. Rapprochement between Italy and Germany would only come after the assumption of the Roman throne by a new Emperor, Vittorio Emanuele IV in 1969 along with a new, more pro-German Duce, Prince Junio Valerio Borghese (in the so-called 'Borghese Coup').
List of current and former Italian possessionsEdit
- Italian East Africa: from 1886, as colony, de jure an Imperial Province. Expanded 1936 with annexation of the Empire of Abyssinia. Subdivided into Governorates of Amara, Harar, Somalia, Eritrea, Sidama, Dancalia and Scioa
- Italian North Africa: from 1912, as colony, de jure four Provinces of metropolitan Italy from 1939: Tripoli, Misurata, Bengasi and Derna
- San Marino: from 1861, the formation of the modern unified Italy, under full Italian protection from 1944
- Vatican City State: from 1929 as an independent state, separate from Italy under the terms of the Lateran Treaty
- Dodecanese: occupied 1912-1942, Italo-Greek Condominion 1942-1961 as reward for Greek cooperation, subsequently restored to Greece
- Bande d'Aozou: from 1935, from French Equatorial Africa
- Majorca: 1936-1939, subsequently restored to Spain
- Albania: protectorate 1936-1939, personal union with Italy 1939-1947, subsequently an independent regency and kingdom allied to Italy
- Egypt-Sudan: partially occupied 1941-1947 (Sudan administered as part of Italian East Africa 1941-1943)
- Croatia: Italo-German Condominion 1941-1947
- Dalmatia: occupied 1941-1947, restored to Croatia by agreement between the Croatia king and Italian emperor
- Montenegro: protectorate 1941-1947, not annexed due to the influence of the Emperor Vittorio Emanuele's wife, the Empress Elena, daughter of the former Montenegrin king
- Tunisia: Franco-Italian Condominion 1941-1949, Italian protectorate from 1949, enlarged to include the Military Territory of the South or Fezzan
- Syria-Lebanon: Franco-Italian Condominion 1941-1949
- Palestine: Italo-British Condominion 1946-1949
- Malta: from 1941 as a fully integrated Principality and Province
- Cyprus: Italo-Greek Condominion 1942-1961, subsequently restored to Greece
- Constantine: occupied 1942, to Tunisia 1949, formerly part of French Algeria
- Corsica: from 1942, as a fully integrated Principality and Province
- Mentone: from 1942, from France
- Brianzone: from 1942, from France, capital of the Alpi Occientali Province
- Savoy: occupied 1942, annexed 1950 as a fully integrated County or Contea and Province, from France
- Nice: occupied 1942, from France, to Monaco 1949
- Monaco: occupied 1942-1949, protectorate from 1949
- Switzerland: the Romand or French-speaking cantons, protectorate from 1950
- Ticino: fully integrated Canton or Cantone and Province, 1950
- Grigioni: fully integrated Cantone or Chantun and Province, 1950