|Full Name||Â||7 Kingdom of Italy|
|Alliance||Â||Axis - Major Member Nation|
|Entry into WW2||Â||10 Jun 1940|
|Population in 1939||Â||44,394,000|
|Military Deaths in WW2||Â||306,400|
|Civilian Deaths in WW2||Â||153,100|
|Â -Â Civ Deaths from Holocaust||Â||8,000|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAlthough Italy emerged victorious from World War 1 and gain territories from the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the country paid a heavy price. Over 600,000 were killed, and the economy and political environments remained unstable. In 1922, Benito Mussolini seized power with the support of King Vittorio Emannuelle III, who feared a revolution. From 1925 on, Mussolini slowly gained more and more power until Italy became a totalitarian state enforced by a secret police organization. His dictatorship influenced fascist leaders who came on the scene later such as Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco. In 1929, Mussolini gained favors with the Vatican by granting it the status of an independent state.
ww2dbaseItaly invaded Abyssinia. The League of Nations imposed totally useless sanctions on Italy as a punishment, depriving Italy items such as aluminum (which was among Italy's chief exports), camels, and mules which she did not need. Britain attempted to threaten Italy with military action, but Mussolini correctly guessed that Britain was not ready for war, and called the bluff. Italy also got away lucky after Britain failed to realize by denying the Italians access to the Suez Canal the Abyssinian campaign could have been made difficult for the Italians, if not ending it. On 9 May 1936, Mussolini declared King Vittorio Emannuelle III the Emperor of Abyssinia.
ww2dbaseIn 1936, Italy and Germany entered into the Pact of Steel. The two nations grew closer together, with Italy supporting Germany's expansion into Central Europe and both nations supporting Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. In Apr 1939, Italy occupied Albania. In Sep 1939, in a move that surprised Hitler slightly, Italy refused to enter the European War due to Italy's ill-preparedness for major military action. Mussolini did, however, declare war on the Western Allies in Jun 1940 after France had essentially fallen to the Germans. In Oct 1940, Italy invaded Greece but her army performed poorly and had to be bailed out by German intervention. Although Germany originally had no plans of an excursion into the Balkans, Hitler thought securing Yugoslavia and the Balkans would protect Axis Romania's oil fields, plus it would secure the southern flank of the upcoming campaign against Russia. Italy's war in North Africa, too, did not go as well as Mussolini had hoped. Once again, Germany had to reinforce Italian forces, most notably with Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps. The Axis forces in North Africa were eventually defeated by the Allies, and from there an invasion of Sicily was launched. The fall of Sicily was so devastating to Italian morale that Mussolini's regime was toppled in Sep 1943. Italy surrendered in Sep 1943. Germany immediately invaded Italy and established a puppet state under Mussolini in the northern part of the country while the Allies invaded and took control of the southern and central parts. Italy remained a bitter battlefield until Apr 1945.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Italy lost some territory to France and Yugoslavia. The monarchy fell in 1946 and a close national referendum established a republic.
Last Major Update: Apr 2007
|AB 41||Semovente 105/25|
|AS 42||Semovente 149/40|
|Territories, Possessions, and Nations Under the Influence of Italy|
|Italian Eritrea||Italian Somaliland||Libya|
|Foggia Airfield Complex||Airfield|
Italy in World War II Interactive Map
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945