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King Victor Emmanuel III


King Victor Emmanuel III
King Victor Emmanuel III

The Allied troops liberated Florence in August 1944, but they were unable to pursue the retreating German armies over the Apennine mountains until the spring of 1945. The winter of 1944 to 1945 was a period of intense suffering, particularly in the ravaged areas left by the retreating Germans. Throughout the central provinces were burned villages, idle or flooded fields, and ruined factories, railroads, power plants, and bridges. Some 800,000 hectares (some 2 million acres) of arable land were uncultivated, and prices of necessities rose prohibitively. As a result of the widespread misery, Bonomi’s government was the target of political protests. Industrial stagnation, mass unemployment, and skyrocketing inflation continued to frustrate the government in its efforts to rehabilitate the national economy.

The final Allied offensive in Italy began in April 1945. After extremely heavy fighting, the collapse of Hitler’s regime forced the German armies to abandon northern Italy.

While trying to escape, Mussolini, his mistress, and several of his high-ranking colleagues were captured by Italian partisans at a small town near Lake Como. They were summarily tried and, on April 28, executed. In reprisal for earlier murders carried out by the Fascists and their Nazi allies, brutal vengeance was inflicted on Mussolini’s followers after the German surrender on May 2. More than 1,000 Fascists were shot in Milan alone.

Bonomi resigned after the liberation of northern Italy. A coalition government, representing the entire Committee of National Liberation, was then formed. The new government, headed by Ferruccio Parri, leader of the Action Party, proved unable to grapple effectively with the problems confronting Italy. In October, monarchists and leaders of the Liberal Party resigned.

Serious rioting took place in southern Italy against the high cost of living. The Committee of National Liberation finally offered the premiership to Alcide De Gasperi, a Christian Democrat. He took office on December 9.

The year 1946 was one of unparalleled hardship for most of the Italian people. Although the privations provoked occasional civil unrest, the general mood of the populace was apathetic during the campaign preceding the national referendum and elections for a constituent assembly in June. But in April the convention of the Christian Democratic Party voted by a ratio of 3 to 1 in favor of a republic. King Victor Emmanuel III abdicated on May 9, and his son ascended the throne as Humbert II. "Italy" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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