Victor Emmanuel III

1869-1947, king of Italy 1900-46.

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Italian Vittorio Emanuele

born Nov. 11, 1869, Naples, Italy
died Dec. 28, 1947, Alexandria, Egypt

King of Italy (1900–46).

Son of Umberto I, he came suddenly to the throne on his father's assassination (1900). He accepted a Liberal cabinet and readily agreed to Italy's war against Turkey (1911–12) and entry into World War I. After the war, he failed to prevent the rise of Benito Mussolini and the fascist seizure of power, which turned him into a figurehead sovereign. In 1943, after disastrous Italian military losses and the Allied invasion of Sicily, he had Mussolini arrested and replaced by Pietro Badoglio as premier. In 1944 he relinquished power to his son Umberto and, in an unsuccessful attempt to preserve the monarchy, abdicated in Umberto's favour in 1946 (see Umberto II). When the Italian republic was declared in 1946, father and son went into exile.

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▪ king of Italy

born Nov. 11, 1869, Naples
died Dec. 28, 1947, Alexandria
 king of Italy whose reign brought the end of the Italian monarchy.

      After a mainly military education, he came suddenly to the throne in 1900 on the assassination of his father, King Umberto I. A tractable constitutional monarch, he accepted a Liberal cabinet and readily acquiesced in Italy's war against Turkey in 1911 and entrance into World War I in 1915.

      When the strains put on the parliamentary system by the war brought Mussolini to the fore, Victor Emmanuel failed to prevent the Fascist seizure of power, though it apparently lay in his hands to do so merely by signing the decree of martial law proposed by the cabinet. He was quickly reduced to a figurehead or less by the Mussolini dictatorship, but in 1943, following disastrous Italian military reverses in World War II, capped by the Allied invasion of Sicily, Victor Emmanuel surprised the world by having Mussolini (Mussolini, Benito) arrested and installing Marshal Pietro Badoglio as premier. The move failed to extricate Italy from the war or the King from his difficult position, and finally, on June 5, 1944, the day after the Allied liberation of Rome, he named his son Crown Prince Umberto lieutenant general of the realm, relinquishing all power for himself but retaining his title of king.

      In 1946 public opinion forced a plebiscite to decide between the monarchy and a republican form of government. In an effort to influence the vote in favour of the dynasty, Victor Emmanuel abdicated in favour of Umberto (May 9, 1946), but the plebiscite resulted in a victory for the republic, and both Victor Emmanuel and Umberto went into exile.

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Universalium. 2010.

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