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Italy and its Monarchy

Italy and its Monarchy

Copyright Date: 1989
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 413
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  • Book Info
    Italy and its Monarchy
    Book Description:

    Written by one of the world's leading historians of Italy, this provocative and highly readable book is the first major study of the Italian monarchy and its impact on Italy's history, from Unification in 1861 to the foundation of the Italian republic after the Second World War.

    "Brilliant, . . . remarkable, . . . highly entertaining. . . . Only Mack Smith could have told what is finally so shabby a story with this combination of learning and bravura."-Nicholas Richardson,Sunday Times

    "A brilliant narrative history of the political role of the kings of Italy. It is based on an immense range of sources."-Philip Mansel,Daily Telegraph

    "Mack Smith is the leading writer in English on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian history. . . . [He] has now written a study of the Italian monarchy that subjects the four kings of united Italy to [. . . a] . . . debunking treatment. He shows how indispensable the monarchy was for the working of the Italian political system, but also how it was ultimately disastrous."-James Joll,New YorkReview of Books

    "A welcome addition to libraries in the English-speaking world. . . . Denis Mack Smith shows masterful command of political and diplomatic sources and balanced historical judgment."-Clara M. Lovett,American Historical Review

    "A book to be read and enjoyed. It is urbane [and] stylish."-Richard Bosworth,International History Review

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17711-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xii)

    Italy became a united kingdom in 1861. Four kings succeeded each other in the next eighty-five years until a republican regime was chosen in 1946 by popular referendum. Each of these royal heads Italian history. But usually the extent of that influence is not easily calculated because the documentation is slanted or otherwise inadequate. Documents were sometimes withdrawn from the archives or destroyed to conceal views expressed and actions taken by successive sovereigns. There exists nothing comparable to Queen Victoria’s diary, nor to her political correspondence with ministers, nor anything as illuminating as the marginal notes made on state papers...

  5. 1 Vittorio Emanuele II

    • 1 The king and the constitution, 1861
      (pp. 3-7)

      In March 1861 Vittorio Emanuele II, at the age of 41, was proclaimed the first sovereign of a united Italy. He had been a king since 1849, but only of a small region comprising Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia. His new kingdom in 1861 included most of the Italian peninsula, though lacking Rome, Venice, Trieste, and the area round Trent south of the Alps. He had successfully deposed and replaced his relatives who ruled in Tuscany, Naples, and Sicily. He had conquered much of central Italy from the pope. By ceding Savoy to the French he had won their support in...

    • 2 An abortive march on Rome, 1862
      (pp. 7-14)

      Underlying this political division between the king and his chief minister were disagreements over foreign policy, and it was to prove a test case, since foreign affairs came particularly into the orbit of the royal prerogative. For instance, although there was general agreement that Italy should one day take the city of Rome from the pope and make it into the Italian capital, people differed over how this should be done. Ricasoli was a deeply religious man who believed that the Church needed to be radically reformed and purged from worldliness by voluntary surrender of its corrupting temporal authority. Over-optimistically...

    • 3 From Turin to Florence
      (pp. 14-23)

      At the end of 1862, to divert attention from this disaster, the king revived his plan to start a war in the Balkans. Ministers were told to prepare troops for an invasion of Greece to support the royal aspirations of his son. Austria was the main enemy he had in mind, though in moments of excitement he could also use unprintable language against the French who, by keeping troops in Rome, stopped his scoring a coveted political success. If necessary, he said, Italians would accept war against Napoleon III – in other words, against the greatest benefactor of the Italian...

    • 4 The war for Venice
      (pp. 23-32)

      Lamarmora was a bad general, an indifferent and unpractised politician, but an honest man and devoted servant of the monarch. As an army officer he had sworn an oath to obey the crown and this may have been one reason for his new appointment, in the same way as other generals had become prime minister during crises before 1860 when the king needed unquestioning obedience. Nevertheless, it must have tried Lamarmora’s loyalty almost at once to find, like his predecessor, a secret court camarilla working against him. He had no party supporting his cabinet but had to rely on a...

    • 5 Court politics, 1866–7
      (pp. 32-37)

      The small political class in Italy was, like the king himself, out of touch with the views of ordinary citizens who had other priorities than war and military victory; so out of touch indeed that the deputies applauded Crispi’s pretentious statement that the country was eager for a ‘baptism of blood’. What passed for public opinion was in fact a purely artifical construct produced by time-serving placemen and journalists who depended for their livelihood onjustifying every twist of royal or governmental policy.¹ That policy had sometimes been based on the absurdly unrealistic assumption that Italy possessed a stronger army that...

    • 6 A failed revolution, 1867
      (pp. 37-42)

      Elsewhere in Europe it was remembered with alarm that Rattazzi’s previous administration in 1862 had seen royal encouragement of Garibaldi’s revolution and the disaster of Aspromonte. Foreign ambassadors reported from Florence in May 1867 that there was danger of a repeat performance since the king once again had the bit between his teeth and was pursuing an independent policy with little reference to his ministers. As he was frequently away in his Alpine hunting grounds, perhaps deliberately away in order to avoid meeting ambassadors who might have expressed their alarm, the ordinary contacts of diplomacy were difficult. One British representative...

    • 7 Personal rule
      (pp. 42-48)

      In December 1867 the British foreign secretary, Lord Clarendon, was in Florence talking to Italian politicians about what had happened, and heard the kind of criticism that was reserved for private conversation. He discovered general agreement ‘that the king was the great obstacle, that he was ignorant and false, and an intriguer whom no honest man could serve without damage to his own reputation’;

      There is universal agreement that Vittorio Emanuele is an imbecile; he is a dishonest man who tells lies to everyone; at this rate he will end by losing his crown and ruining both Italy and his...

    • 8 The conquest of Rome
      (pp. 48-54)

      The appointment of Lanza was subsequently seen as an important factor in the development of parliamentary government. But the king’s intention was to surrender no more than the outward trappings of power. Quite deliberately, and it must be said unwisely, he omitted to tell his new ministers that he had secretly pledged Italy to join another European war. Instead he continued with his private diplomacy behind the back of the foreign minister, Marquis Visconti-Venosta, having become accustomed to using private diplomatic agents backed up by a network of informers paid either by the government or out of his own pocket....

    • 9 The Left in power
      (pp. 54-59)

      Garibaldi shared with Mazzini a sense of tragedy and disillusionment with the way the risorgimento had turned out, and in particular criticised the king for subordinating patriotism to selfish dynastic objectives.¹ Both of these radical leaders had been vainly hoping for a patriotic insurrection in Rome to prove that Italian nationality was a product of democratic self-determination, not of foreign patronage or imposition from above, nor of a succession of bitter civil wars between contending Italian factions.

      Another of their hopes had been that, after reaching Rome, a national assembly would discuss and agree to radical changes in the constitution....

    • 10 Death, and retrospect
      (pp. 60-68)

      Already before Depretis was installed in office the irrepressibly bellicose Vittorio Emanuele was looking for another excuse to make war, and was heard to regret that after taking Venice and Rome there was no obvious territory left for him to conquer. In a private conversation he told Paget that he had asked the emperors of Austria and Germany to give him a free hand in solving the ‘Eastern Question’. His simple solution to this complex and baffling problem would be

      to remove the Sultan from Turkey and put him somewhere in Central Asia; after which I would tell other powers...

  6. 2 Umberto I

    • 1 The new reign
      (pp. 71-74)

      The new king lacked his father’s strength of personality and self-assurance. Nor did he inherit the homespun manners or the panache that attracted the masses. Umberto was a comparatively pallid character who, for want of a better label, was given by loyalist historians the appellation of ‘Umberto the good’ – though he was hardly a very good king, nor a particularly good man. His most admirable quality was physical courage, as he showed in the war of 1866 and when confronting a number of assassination attempts. Queen Victoria noted on meeting him that he was shy and somewhat nondescript, ‘shorter...

    • 2 The Triple Alliance
      (pp. 75-80)

      Had Crispi remained in office a few weeks longer he might have changed the direction of foreign policy by replacing the far less assertive Senator Corti as Italian representative at the important international Congress of Berlin. Luigi Corti was a professional diplomat who approved of what Minghetti and Sella had done before 1876 to restrict military expenditure and curb belligerent ambitions at court. Whereas Crispi demanded that Italy be feared abroad, Corti and Sella felt that she would not deserve even respect if foreign policy outran her economic capacity or if extravagant views were advanced about the need for national...

    • 3 Depretis and the transformation of parties
      (pp. 80-86)

      Though the strength of republican sentiment was much exaggerated, the arch-republican Mazzini was widely revered after his death and enjoyed a reputation of being the chief ideologue and champion of Italian patriotism. Occasional cries of ‘death to the king’ and ‘long live the republic’ could sometimes be heard in the streets, and murmurs against the dynasty reached even the chamber of deputies itself.¹ A small radical group existed on the extreme left of parliament where Agostino Bertani and Felice Cavallotti continued to remind deputies of the fundamental contribution made by republicans to the risorgimento. These two radical politicians, while they...

    • 4 Crispi, 1887–91
      (pp. 87-96)

      The new premier was a remarkable personality who dominated Italian politics for the next ten years. He had moved a long way from his early republicanism, though he continued to maintain that the republican Mazzini was the greatest Italian of the century. He also moved away from his belief in parliamentary supremacy. One reason for becoming a loyal servant of the crown was his hope that the monarchy stood for strong government at home and an expansionist policy abroad. Not that he shared Turiello’s mystical and autocratic idea of kingship. Although Crispi lacked a personal following in parliament and was...

    • 5 Two interim governments
      (pp. 96-106)

      Crispi fell because he had taken parliamentary support too much for granted, failing to realise that once an election in November 1890 had given him an overwhelming majority, individual deputies no longer immediately needed his electoral support. He had alienated the Left by what he now referred to as his conservative domestic policies. Then on 31 January 1891 he proceeded to offend the Right when in a typically bad-tempered outburst he taunted them for damaging the country’s reputation by servility to France and inadequate spending on the armed services. This remark may have been a momentary lapse, or possibly it...

    • 6 Crispi and the politics of force
      (pp. 106-113)

      The general expectation was that the palace would turn to either Di Rudinì again or else the venerable liberal, Giuseppe Saracco, but both ruled themselves out by refusing any increase in the army budget. Instead, to general surprise, the man chosen was once again Crispi, at the ripe age of 74, whose reputation as Umberto admitted had been ‘shattered’ by dark revelations of financial malpractice and whose huge personal debts were now being settled only through the king’s private generosity. Documents held at the palace made quite clear that Crispi was also known to have been involved in selling titles...

    • 7 Defeat in Africa
      (pp. 113-121)

      No doubt it was not fully recognised at court that the prime minister’s African policy was increasingly removed from realistic calculation or common sense. In the summer of 1894, with Umberto’s support but against military advice, Crispi rashly agreed to what he called the ‘defensive’ occupation of Kassala in the remote Sudan, and had no idea why this was greeted with dismay.¹ He let it be thought that he had encouragement from England for a joint Italo-British occupation of the Sudan and possibly of Egypt, although no such encouragement had been given. He already had a front of 600 kilometers...

    • 8 Umberto reasserts his authority
      (pp. 121-127)

      Crispi accepted no personal responsibility for this defeat at the hands of ‘barbarians’. His first defiant reaction was to say that he intended to continue the war, keep parliament shut, and put down opposition by force.¹ Only when his colleagues objected did he agree at least to offer his resignation. By resigning he could avoid having to confront a parliamentary debate, and the head of state would then be left with the responsibility for any decision. Crispi was sufficiently insensitive to feel sure of being invited to form a new government and said so to a foreign journalist.²

      The king...

    • 9 Two turbulent years
      (pp. 127-132)

      This division of opinion became more marked during the last tempestuous years of the century. A revived republican party was set up in 1895 which gained ground from the fact that Umberto was held responsible for failure in Africa and the heavy expense of ‘militarism’. Small in numbers, the new generation of republicans won the reputation of being realistic patriots ‘whose honesty and straightforwardness are above suspicion’, unlike other more prominent politicians.¹ Some republicans continued to enter parliament and take an oath of loyalty to the king, whether or not with mental reservations. One of these, the Sicilian Colajanni, was...

    • 10 The collapse of parliamentary government
      (pp. 132-139)

      At this point the veteran Zanardelli resigned on a point of constitutional principle, because precedent decreed that he as Speaker of the lower house should have been consulted before a new government was appointed. His successor, the colourless Luigi Chinaglia, had no such scruples, and instead of trying to be conciliatory, ruled against allowing deputies to criticise the army or even so much as hint that the constitution was being violated, and such was the uproar against this ruling that on 27 May 1899 a parliamentary session had to be suspended in the middle of a speech by the prime...

    • 11 Retrospect
      (pp. 139-144)

      Death came to Umberto at the age of only 56, a few months earlier than to his father. Hailed by loyalists as the ‘martyr king’ and ‘Umberto the good’, he had tried to do what he took to be his duty but without much perceptiveness or talent for the job and without much enthusiasm for liberal values or the subtleties of parliamentary government.

      In retrospect, penetrating behind the myths of official propaganda, he seems curiously colourless in personality. One of his aides, the Marquis Paulucci, had been surprised to find that he had very few serious opinions of his own....

  7. 3 Vittorio Emanuele III

    • 1 A new direction in politics
      (pp. 147-155)

      Vittorio Emanuele, Umberto’s only legitimate child, became king in July 1900 at the age of 30, after which he ruled for 46 years. At the time of his accession he showed little natural inclination towards politics or government, and by his own account had half-convinced his father to let him renounce the throne in favour of his far more glamorous cousin the Duke of Aosta.¹ Caught unprepared by the tragedy at Monza he dutifully if without enthusiasm accepted his fate.

      Before 1900 the royal prince had made little impact on the public outside the small circle of his brother officers...

    • 2 Foreign policy, 1900–4
      (pp. 155-163)

      TheSecolosuffered because under the direction of Teodoro Moneta it became increasingly pacifist – Moneta was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1907 but his views met with little domestic recognition. TheCarrierein general agreed with its rival that Italy’s foreign policy should be less adventurous and more strictly proportioned to the country’s limited financial resources. Both these leading papers opposed two current and contrasting opinions: they disliked the pessimism of those who had learnt from recent events to doubt Italy’s capacity for a healthy political life,¹ while they also warred against those who were looking for another...

    • 3 The beginning of Giolittismo
      (pp. 163-172)

      Outside foreign policy and military matters the king allowed his ministers a fairly free hand. Not only were domestic problems too variegated and complex and too boring for his personal attention, but more than his father ‘he found his wings clipped by the existence of political groups and cabinets’.¹ Everyone knew that the monarchy in the 1890s had put itself in peril by taking sides too obviously in political controversy – and on the losing side. Intervention in future had better be kept in reserve for emergencies. In November 1901 he signed a decree that, as well as extending the...

    • 4 Great-power politics
      (pp. 173-182)

      Diffident and withdrawn by nature, Vittorio Emanuele became no more sure of himself as time went by. He was anxious not to appear as King Log, but, apart from appearances, was reluctant to challenge ministers by interfering too much in policy. Barrére in 1906 thought he was now becoming ‘more inclined to follow than to lead’, despite his continuing choice of mediocre foreign ministers who had no liking for the limelight or for taking responsibility.¹ The foreign office was housed immediately opposite the Quirinal in the Palazzo della Consulta. The selection of senior ambassadors still revealed a preference for Piedmontese...

    • 5 Victory in Libya
      (pp. 182-191)

      Vittorio Emanuele was known by reputation to think poorly of his fellow men and was particularly cynical about politicians. Over half the ministers during his long reign were categorised by him as second-rate or worse, and many were ‘absolute nullities’. One of the reasons he gave was that most of those who entered politics did so because of the opportunities for private gain. This was why he disliked Giolitti’s proposal to pay a salary to members of parliament, because it would encourage the already existing temptation to look on public life as a means of personal enrichment.¹

      In the first...

    • 6 Giolitti in difficulties, 1912–14
      (pp. 191-196)

      The power of the popular press was already well recognised by the government, though the king was inclined to disregard it except when journalists tried to pry into his private life.¹ Giolitti, who became prime minister for the fourth time in 1911–14, secretly tapped the telephone of theCarriere della Sera, a newspaper that criticised him and supported Luzzatti and Sonnino.² Nevertheless, Luigi Albertini, the distinguished editor of theCorriere, could sometimes be influenced to endorse official policy by making an appeal to his patriotism, and he dutifully championed the Libyan war even though he was privately worried that...

    • 7 Salandra, 1914
      (pp. 197-205)

      Giolitti, as the king noted, was ageing and his health was poor.¹ Though he could count on a majority in parliament, his doubling of the number of electors had produced a far less tractable legislature. Many socialists, scorning his advances, joined some of the republicans in boycotting the royal speech to parliament in November 1913, and shouts of ‘Down with Savoy!’, ‘Long live the republic!’ were once again heard in the chamber.² The prime minister must have been equally disturbed by other deputies who vociferously demanded a much more forceful policy in the Mediterranean, because he knew better than they...

    • 8 To fight or not to fight?
      (pp. 205-214)

      As the year 1915 opened, ministers unfortunately were still unable to make up their minds on the crucial question of who was likely to win the war. The king hoped it would be the Triple Entente – Britain, France, and Russia. He now helped in secret by giving the Russians reports about Austrian troop movements. He also sent a personal promise to King George that he would never fight against Britain. And his queen was yet more partisan when she said that the British should be less ‘gentlemanly’ and more punitive in treating the Germans.¹ But personal preference aside, Austria...

  8. 4 World War I, and the Rise of Fascism

    • 1 Italy at war, 1915–17
      (pp. 217-226)

      Italy declared war on 23 May 1915 and Vittorio Emanuele moved to the frontier to assume titular command of his army. There he issued a proclamation announcing that the country would fight ‘for the defence of civilisation and the liberation of oppressed peoples’;¹ in other words, for something far removed from Salandra’s sacred egoism or Sonnino’s aim to occupy Albania and Dalmatia. But his true intention was concealed and different: to fight a separate war, not jointly with his new allies, not with their war aims or a common strategy, but a ‘parallel war’ against Austria alone and directed at...

    • 2 Defeat and triumph, 1917–18
      (pp. 226-233)

      Vittorio Emanuele was unhappy that the foreign minister’s clumsy diplomatic initiatives generated distrust among Italy’s allies and by 1917 had good reason to fear that the aim of annexing Dalmatia might have been a futile and costly mistake. His own preference was to send an Italian military expedition to the Middle East, either to Syria or to help capture Jerusalem from the Turks.¹ But instinctively he sought to avoid intervening in policy since he was so far away from Rome. Talking to foreign visitors he defended his abstention by repeating that a constitutional sovereign had very limited powers, certainly less...

    • 3 Post-war difficulties
      (pp. 233-244)

      Vittorio Emanuele was almost sorry that the armistice happened so soon. He would have liked time to invade Germany so as to win greater prestige and a stronger position at the peace table: the Germans, he thought, would be taught a salutary lesson if their country was occupied by the former ally that they affected to despise.¹ Germany was defenceless and its monarchy destroyed. Likewise the other great monarchies of Austria, Russia, and Turkey had collapsed. But by prudence, political tact, and some luck the Italian king had chosen the winning side and preserved his throne, one of the few...

    • 4 Fascism and the march on Rome
      (pp. 244-254)

      In a brave but unwise attempt to teach the socialists a lesson, Giolitti moved some way towards another would-be revolutionary who had the superficial advantage of being more of an opportunist, someone who since June 1919 had been ready to desert the extreme Left by giving his followers what he called ‘a violent shove towards the Right’.¹ Mussolini, according to the British ambassador, had already by June 1919 ‘transferred his activities from socialist to nationalist and chauvinistic objects’; he was ‘an unscrupulous politician … ready to adopt any policy which would pay‭’.² The king had briefly met him during the...

    • 5 The fascist dictatorship
      (pp. 254-267)

      Vittorio Emanuele cannot have much liked hearing himself applauded as ‘the fascist king’.¹ At first he gave the impression that Mussolini’s accession to power was not particularly irregular, and perhaps hardly realised that he was riding on the back of a revolution. As a self-confessed fatalist, he admitted only an indirect responsibility, because he had learnt from history that political events ‘were much more automatic than a result of individual action and influence’.² Mussolini’s appointment, he said, was not strictly unconstitutional, and probably the new cabinet would last no longer than previous administrations.³ In the meantime he welcomed the restoration...

    • 6 The ‘diarchy’
      (pp. 267-275)

      By 1930 Vittorio Emanuele had been edged almost entirely out of public affairs and gave little sign of being displeased. More than ever he liked to avoid ceremonial occasions because gaudy fascist festivals and uniforms were not to his taste, and anyway his presence was not much appreciated. One former minister described him as having abdicated in all but name. According to another his one remaining political concern was the survival of the dynasty. Lack of self-confidence and lack of skill at the ‘representative business’ were characteristics that he freely admitted.¹ Not only did he never try to meet opponents...

    • 7 Alliance with Germany
      (pp. 275-284)

      Vittorio Emanuele was quoted as saying that, while fascist domestic policy might be acceptable, its foreign policy was increasingly amateurish,¹ and what chiefly worried him was the gradual drift into another alliance with Germany. Mussolini in September 1937 unexpectedly announced his ‘unshakable’ support of Hitler in marching together towards the fascist domination of Europe.² To soften the blow he sent a note to tell the king that these fierce words should not be taken too seriously. But the palace was informed in this same note that the government supported the Japanese conquest of China, and equally frightening was its simple-minded...

  9. 5 The End of the Monarchy

    • 1 Italy drifts into war
      (pp. 287-294)

      Italy remained neutral or, rather, non-belligerent for eight months until June 1940, during which critical period the king was his usual reticent and enigmatic self except with a chosen few. A senior general received the impression that he was anti-German, anti-British, anti-French, even anti-Italian, but was clinging to a desperate belief in Mussolini as an expert politician who would find the correct course of action.¹ Of his opposition to Germany he made no concealment in conversation with the foreign minister, Count Ciano, who fully shared his distrust and hostility. Queen Elena, when talking to her Spanish friends, spoke more in...

    • 2 The regime disintegrates
      (pp. 294-300)

      In the spring of 1941, after the Germans moved unwillingly into the Balkans to restore Italy’s position, the king was permitted to visit his soldiers at the front, once in Jugoslavia, once in Albania where he survived another assassination attempt.¹ He was dismayed by what he saw of his government’s brutal imperialism in Dalmatia, Slovenia, and Montenegro, because he had the sense to recognise that this would impose impossible burdens on Italy and gratuitously create new enemies. Before long a quarter of the Italian army was needed to quell a popular insurrection in this huge area at a time when...

    • 3 Mussolini is dismissed
      (pp. 300-306)

      Other senior officials who were appointed in the spring of 1943 were equally unreliable and disobedient, because no one with the requisite ability for office could fail to see the need for change. General Chierici, an eminent fascist, was chosen to succeed Senise as chief of police, only to turn against his master almost at once. The new commander of thecarabinieri, General Hazon, had long since distanced himself from the regime and began to make plans in the expectation that the king might at some point order Mussolini’s arrest. The successor to Cavallero as chief of general staff was...

    • 4 The armistice
      (pp. 306-316)

      With the disappearance of Mussolini the king was truly in command for the first time in his reign. He rejected his new prime minister’s request that the cabinet be given emergency powers to legislate on its own, and once again vetoed the appointment of Bonomi, Soleri, Einaudi, and other spectres from the distant liberal past.¹ He wanted no politicians, especially not those who might call the monarchy into question. Instead he insisted on choosing ministers from among non-political ‘technicians’ who had served in the fascist bureaucracy, some of whom were impenitent about their previous association with Mussolini. Dozens of senior...

    • 5 The flight from Rome
      (pp. 316-323)

      In the early hours of 9 September, since General Taylor’s attack had been cancelled, Vittorio Emanuele hurriedly withdrew from Rome. Yet again he left only verbal orders that were so ambiguous as to be unintelligible, appointing no one with dear authority to act in his stead. A large army of a million men was thus abandoned to choose between desertion or captivity. His prisoner Mussolini was also left behind to be liberated by German troops who took control over most of Italy. The two German divisions near Rome had until the very last minute been expecting to withdraw to the...

    • 6 The monarchy under attack
      (pp. 323-330)

      By general consent, if sometimes tacit or grudging, the ‘institutional question’ was postponed in the expectation that the Germans would soon be driven out of Rome, when a more representative government could be formed. But in January 1944, since this deliverance still seemed far off, an earlier decision was demanded by the six anti-fascist parties whose existence was now permitted. There seems to have been little popular enthusiasm for the king personally, something that for some reason he blamed partly on British hostility.¹ On right and left he was said to be ‘utterly discredited’ by his support of Mussolini until...

    • 7 Umberto II
      (pp. 330-342)

      Umberto was head of state for barely two years, first with the title ofluogotenenteor lieutenant, then for thirty-four days as king in name and deed. During this short time he had little chance to make his mark. In personality less astute and intelligent than his father, much less strong a character but also less obstinate, he was far more open, affable and ready to learn. Like all his predecessors his mind and tastes had been conditioned by an essentially military education which hardly equipped him for his new position. Under constitutional monarchy, people have to be convinced rather...

  10. Abbreviations used in the notes
    (pp. 343-344)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 345-390)
  12. List of prime ministers of Italy
    (pp. 391-392)
  13. Index
    (pp. 393-402)