Italy

Full Name Kingdom of Italy
Alliance Axis - Major Member Nation
Entry into WW2 10 Jun 1940
Population in 1939 44,394,000
Military Deaths in WW2 306,400
Civilian Deaths in WW2 153,100
 - Civ Deaths from Holocaust 8,000

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Although 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.

Italy 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.

In 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.

After the war, Italy lost some territory to France and Yugoslavia. The monarchy fell in 1946 and a close national referendum established a republic.

Source: Wikipedia.

People

Badoglio, PietroCiano, GaleazzoMussolini, Benito
Borghese, Junio ValerioGeloso, CarloRiccardi, Arturo
Campioni, InigoGraziani, RodolfoVittorio Emanuele III
Cavagnari, DomenicoIachino, Angelo
Cavallero, UgoMesse, Giovanni

Events Taken Place in Italy

Treaty of Rapallo16 Apr 1922
Meeting at Brenner Pass18 Mar 1938
Attack on Taranto11 Nov 1940 - 12 Nov 1940
Battle of Pantelleria and Pelagie Islands8 Jun 1943 - 13 Jun 1943
Invasion of Sicily and Italy's Surrender10 Jul 1943 - 3 Sep 1943
Operation Avalanche3 Sep 1943 - 17 Sep 1943
Operation Eiche12 Sep 1943
Naples Uprising27 Sep 1943 - 30 Sep 1943
Advance to the Gustav Line3 Oct 1943 - 15 Jan 1944
Battle of Monte Cassino17 Jan 1944 - 18 May 1944
Battle of Anzio22 Jan 1944 - 4 Jun 1944
Advance to the Gothic Line4 Jun 1944 - 31 Jul 1944
Gothic Line Offensive25 Aug 1944 - 17 Dec 1944
Battle of Monte Castello25 Nov 1944 - 22 Feb 1945
Battle of Garfagnana26 Dec 1944 - 28 Dec 1944
Operation Grapeshot and Operation Roast9 Apr 1945 - 2 May 1945
Battles of Collecchio and Fornovo di Taro26 Apr 1945 - 29 Apr 1945

Aircraft

BR.20 CicognaCR.42 FalcoG.55 CentauroRe.2005 SagittarioSM.84
Ba.65 NibbioCa.111P.108Ro.37 LinceZ.1007 Alcione
C.200 SaettaCa.133P.111S.55Z.501 Gabbiano
C.202 FolgoreCa.309 GhibliP.119SAI.207Z.506 Airone
C.205 VeltroCa.331 RafficaRe.2000 Falco ISM.79 Sparviero
CR.25G.12Re.2001 Falco IISM.81 Pipistrello
CR.32G.50 FrecciaRe.2002 ArieteSM.82 Marsupiale

Ships

Alfredo OrianiCamicia NeraGiulio CesareOriani-classVincenzo Gioberti
AlpinoCarabiniereGoriziaPolaVittorio Alfieri
AmbraConte di CavourGranatiereRomaVittorio Veneto
ArtigliereCorazziereImperoScirčZara
AscariCorsaroIrideSoldati-classZara-class
AviereFiumeLanciereTrento
BersagliereFuciliereLegionaroTrento-class
BolzanoGeniereLittorioTrieste
BombardiereGiosuč CarducciMitraglieroVelite

Vehicles

AB 41L6/40M14/41Semovente 47/32Semovente 90/53
AS 42M11/39Semovente 105/25Semovente 75/18
L3M13/40Semovente 149/40Semovente 75/34

Weapons

102 mm Mod 38 Anti-Aircraft GunBreda Model 30 Machine GunCarcano M1938 Rifle
105 mm Mod 42 Field GunBreda Model 35 Anti-Aircraft GunFNAB-43 Submachine Gun
149 mm How Mod 20 Field GunBreda Model 35 GrenadeFiat-Revelli M1935 Machine Gun
210 mm Mod 35 Field GunBreda Model 37 Machine GunGlisenti M1910 Handgun
75 mm Mod 37 Field GunBrixia Model 35 LauncherMortaio da 81/14 Modello 35 Launcher
75 mm Mod 38 Anti-Aircraft GunCannone da 149/35 A Field GunOTO Model 35 Grenade
Beretta M1918 Submachine GunCannone da 149/40 Field GunOVP Submachine Gun
Beretta M1934 HandgunCannone da 75/46 Anti-Aircraft GunSRCM Model 35 Grenade
Beretta M1938 Submachine GunCannone da 90/53 Anti-Aircraft GunTZ-45 Submachine Gun
Bodeo M1889 HandgunCarcano M1891 Rifle

Territories, Possessions, and Nations Under the Influence of Italy

Italian EritreaItalian SomalilandLibya

Photographs

Benito Mussolini, General Diaz, Admiral de Reval, and other Italian leaders at the Tomb of the Milite Ignoto (Unknown Soldier), Rome, Italy, 1922Benito Mussolini and his family at Levanto, Italy, 1923Benito Mussolini signing a treaty with Soviet representatives at the Palazzo Chigi, Rome, Italy, 7 Feb 1924Benito Mussolini attending the inauguration ceremony of the new rail station at Busto Arsizio, Italy, 25 Oct 1924
See all 153 photographs of Italy in World War II


Italy in World War II Interactive Map




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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Gareth says:
    9 Aug 2007 12:18:56 PM

    Hello, I am looking for help on south african soldiers who fought at El Alamein and in Italy. I am looking for any information regarding my grandfather who won a despatch for bravery from King George V at El Alamein for rescuing coloured soldiers after a retreat from the germans. Also a commendation received in Italy, which it is unknown why he received this award... My grandfather was a Sapper. Please, please help
  2. Anonymous says:
    17 Feb 2009 02:16:40 PM

    Italy should have stayed neutral, that would have been a pain for the allies. Italy was not ready to fight ww2. But Mussolini draged his nation to ruin. And we all know what happened to mussolini. The u.s.Government even asked the "mob" for help, but that's another story.
  3. Anonymous says:
    17 Feb 2009 02:33:12 PM

    Every ww2 movie always show the german's, or the japanese, what happened to the italians?only afew movies did I ever see the italians one was "what did you do in the war daddy" and the italians were at a party, next was Von Ryain's Express, the italians were in charge of the p.o.w. camp, and then taken prisoner by the german's, and las Iron Eagle once again the german in his bf-109 and the japanese in his zero. WHERE WAS THE ITALIAN! one last movie titled "a walk in the sun" the italians were surrendering. All for Italia! say they were the first to say "make love not war"
  4. Anonymous says:
    17 Feb 2009 02:47:10 PM

    I never met an Italian Soldier,I met NATO soldier's they were: W.German,Dutch,English and from Canada all I remember we would drink together and just wanted to go home, I guess the commies just wanted to do the same. Then I met Korean, Australian and Vietnamese. That was a long time ago, when I was younger, much younger.
  5. Anonymous says:
    25 Feb 2009 11:59:20 AM

    If you want to know about italian soldier, go to this link: http://www.navynews.co.uk/articles/2004/0409/0004092401.asp.
    One man sunk a english battleship!! And not like japanese with kamikaze, the italian sailor survived at this action.
    We have fought a war against the people, and we was disorganized.
    Search on google the name "folgore" at el alamein and understand like a few italians soldiers leaves your life in battlefield, with honour and proud.
    but we have fought on the wrong side of the history: nazism and fascism was the absolute devil!!
  6. Anonymous says:
    17 Mar 2009 09:02:37 AM

    um thanks for letting use this for my history report
  7. Anonymous says:
    25 May 2009 04:38:16 PM

    Hey i need to know about canada's contribution in italy druing world war 2 can you help?
  8. James Upton says:
    23 Feb 2010 08:53:55 AM

    Afriend of mine has an Italian dog tag he found several years ago where the battle of El Alamein took place and would like to return this to either the soldier who lost it or to his family members. The dog tag reads as follows:

    1916
    56177(43)C
    Metelli Valen
    Tino Di Giro
    Lamo Di Murat
    Ti Maria
    Passirano
    Brescia

    Can anyone help and who/where do we contact?

    My direct e-mail is glock31sf@yahoo.com
    Jim Upton
  9. Anonymous says:
    19 Apr 2010 08:57:05 AM

    Hi, well i am doing a project for college about world war 2 in Italy, France, Japan and Russia and it has to be in for next friday which is the 30th April 2010. I am finding it hard to find websites and i dont have a library card for my local library so i really need some good websites which tell me about every litte detail about these countries. If you helped me, it would be really good. I am stressing so much about this and i am worrying. Could you please help me, Thanks.
  10. Anonymous says:
    9 Feb 2011 08:51:52 AM

    Does anyone know where I can find out what a specific Italian soldier's role was during WWII. All I have is his name.
  11. nicky bachmann says:
    27 May 2011 07:08:59 AM

    i love this website
  12. Anonymous says:
    3 Dec 2012 12:23:14 PM

    did the italians play a mojor role in ww2?
  13. Pieter says:
    16 Jan 2013 07:04:43 AM

    Gareth, you left a comment in 2007, but I would like to get in contact with you , my Grandfather aslo fought in North Africa and Italy he was a South African soldier but I need some info about a person in Italy he met and had a child with.

    Please let me know at pieterr4@gmail.com

    Regards
  14. Joseph Downs says:
    16 Jun 2013 01:23:30 AM

    the italians did well in ww2.1942 was the best year of italian victories over the brtish in the central meditreanean sea.the conovoy battles of mid june.
  15. Anonymous says:
    4 Sep 2013 04:43:52 PM

    Does anyone remember being on Capri at the Air Corps rest camp in 1944? My mother, now deceased, was a hostess there from May-October 1944. I'd like to know more about what it was like. Thank you.
  16. Anonymous says:
    9 Sep 2013 08:14:15 PM

    For those of you who did not live through it, if you want to capture the flavor of wartime Italy and the immediate aftermath, check out these classic Italian films made right after the war (have been dubbed into English):
    "Open City"
    "The Bicycle Thief"
    "General della Rovere"
    "Two Women" - Sophia Loren in the most powerful role she ever played (and to some extent lived)
    For a real sleeper, but which shows Naples a mere 15 years after almost being bombed into oblivion by BOTH Germans and Allies, and which includes many, many accurate observations: believe it or not, "It Happened in Naples" with Sophia Loren and Clark Gable and an incredible child actor, Marietto. One of my all-time favorite films.
  17. Anthony Pellicone says:
    19 Nov 2013 11:45:58 PM

    Can someone please lead me to a website that will list my uncle's name , he was lost in the battle of Stalingrad Dec. 1942, served in the Italian army.

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Italy in World War II Photo Gallery
Benito Mussolini, General Diaz, Admiral de Reval, and other Italian leaders at the Tomb of the Milite Ignoto (Unknown Soldier), Rome, Italy, 1922
See all 153 photographs of Italy in World War II



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"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

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