World War II

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What were the effects of the Second World War on Italy?  

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World War II had wide-reaching ramifications for Italy's political, territorial, and economic status.

Politically, World War II led to the end of the stranglehold on state power enjoyed by the National Fascist Party since the 1922 March on Rome. Perhaps more significantly, however, it ultimately brought an end to the...

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World War II had wide-reaching ramifications for Italy's political, territorial, and economic status.

Politically, World War II led to the end of the stranglehold on state power enjoyed by the National Fascist Party since the 1922 March on Rome. Perhaps more significantly, however, it ultimately brought an end to the Italian monarchy as well as the downfall of the Royal House of Savoy, which had sat on the throne of a unified Italy since 1861. The constitutional referendum of 1946 transformed Italy from a constitutional monarchy to a republic.

In terms of Italy's territory, World War II resulted in the loss of Italian Somaliland, a longtime African colony of Italy, which was ceded to the United Kingdom. It also resulted in the relinquishment of all Italian claims to Libya.

Finally, World War II resulted in a short-term economic downturn for Italy, which suffered economically until the start of a recovery in the 1950s.

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Shortly before the end of World War II, Benito was caught and shot to death by communists.  With no leader at the end of the war, the Italian people were divided about the direction of their country's government.  Some Italians wanted a republic, and others wanted a socialist or communist government.  More than half of the Italians wanted the monarchy abolished.  The Italians wanted to create a Constitution.  They held elections for an assembly, whose goal would be to create that document.  The three main political parties at that time were the Socialist Party, the Christian Socialist Party, and the Communist Party.  The Constitution was created and a formal government was established.

Despite the progress made in the Italian government, much of Italy lay in ruins.  There had been an incredible amount of destruction during the war.  Rome, Naples, and many other Italian cities were bombed, causing widespread damage.  Both Italians and non Italians had been concerned about possible damage to historically significant structures.  Despite this, bombings continued. 

The Italian economy had suffered greatly during the war years.  Many Italians were left in poverty by the time the war ended.  In the 1950s, however, the Italian economy made an amazing recovery.  The lives of most Italians improved over this time, and their economy grew.

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