Italy, officially the Kingdom of Italy, is a country located in Southern Europe, on the Apeninne Peninsula. During World War II, it was ruled by Benito Mussolini, and was part of the Axis Powers
before it switched sides to the Allies in 1943. Nevertheless, a German puppet state, with Mussolini as its leader, existed from 1943-1945. Italy's capital city is Rome and the national language is Italian.
Involvement in World War II
Italy's involvement in the war actually began in November 1936, with the despatch of forces to Spain, to render assistance to Franco during the Spanish Civil War, combined with Italy joining Germany and Japan in signing the Anti-Comintern Pact, which led to the creation of the Axis, as a counter to the USSR's Third Communist International. Mussolini followed this by signing a ten year alliance with Hitler, known as the Pact of Steel, in May 1939.
Mussolini declared war on the Allies on 10 June 1940, at which point Italy's armed forces consisted of 1.5 million men, 1,700 aircraft and a navy of six capital ships, nineteen cruisers, fifty-nine destroyers and 116 submarines. The following day, Italian aircraft bombed Malta, as part of it's plan to claim the Mediterranean Sea for itself. This was followed by Italian ground forces crossing the border into Southern France, despite the presence of the Alpine extension to the Maginot Line, on 20 June. Italy signed an Armistice with France on 24 June, two days after the French had signed one with Germany.
- Roberts, Andrew. The Storm of War - A new history of the Second World War. Penguin Books. ISBN 978 0 141 02928 3. (2010). Page 4
- Roberts, Andrew. Page 5
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- Roberts, Andrew. Page 70
- Willmott, H.P., Robin Cross and Charles Messenger. DK Illustrated Guide to World War II. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2012 reprint. ISBN 978 1 4093 7649 1 Page 84
- Willmott, Cross and Messenger. Page 57