Alternate History

Italian Alliance (Napoleon's World)

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The Italian Alliance was a military alliance of Italian states fighting against the European Alliance during the French Civil War, composed of Lombardy, Veneto, the Papal States, Sardinia and Naples. The Italian Alliance came about as a result of the socioeconomic goals in the 1930's of a unified Italian state espoused by many leaders in the previously reluctant independent Italian countries and of a fear of Turkish encroachment upon northern Italy. While many in southern Italy had been sympathetic to the European Alliance in the early stages of the war, when Turkey entered the conflict Lombard immediately advocated a shift towards the incumbent Edmondian regime in Paris, believing that the French would support an Italian assault against the Turks to open up a new front and that a reunited Italy might include Piedmont and a forced occupation of communist Sicily.

The Italian Alliance officially was formed in the fall of 1941 after the Lombard President, Antonio Anviamoro, called upon his allies in neighboring states to support an assault into EA-occupied territory in eastern Europe. While the capture of Trieste and Laybach was successful by Italian forces, the Turks eventually launched a successful counterattack after halting the Italian advance at Maribor and occupied Venice and Padua by the fall of 1942 with heavy fighting occurring throughout Veneto and outside of Verona into the winter.

The Italian Alliance fought valiantly to defend Milan during 1943 after Verona fell in January of that year, and as many as one and a half million people are believed to have been killed during the 201-day siege of Milan. Eventually, the Turkish Army cut off the southern supply route they had tried so hard to seize and successfully defeated a beleaguered French reinforcement army at Pavia, ending the Battle of Milan shortly after the Fall of Paris.

The Italian Alliance fought sporadically throughout the fall of 1943 and into the spring of 1944, their main goal being to keep the Turkish Army out of Rome. The Turkish Navy, with Sicilian reinforcements, staged a two-pronged sea-to-land assault of Naples, capturing the capital in March. The Roman Revolution in early April ended the Holy See's participation in the conflict, and the last Italian army surrendered at Sulmona on May 7, 1944. Sardinia, the weakest member of the alliance, capitulated in June after several months of bombing and was occupied by French and Turkish forces beginning in July.

The Italian Alliance's participation in the war has been oft-criticized by later generations of Italian leaders and is cited as easily the most destructive conflict in the history of the peninsula, and a major cultural moment in the history of the Italian people. The war left northern Italy, previously the peninsula's most prosperous and populous region, devastated and destroyed, with as many as three and a half Italians dead in the conflict and its major cities ravaged. The previously independent nations of Lombard and Veneto were annexed into the French Empire as a punishment for their breach of neutrality and the Neapolitan Kingdom was dissolved and fused with the Papal States.

The French Empire invested very little energy into the reconstruction of Lombardy or Veneto, resulting in a population shift out of those two previously populous regions west into the Piedmont and France proper or south to the Papal States and, later, Republic of Italy. Milan, once one of Europe's great cities, never recovered from the devastation and is now one of the region's minor economic centers as opposed to the unscathed city of Torino. Italians, especially Franco-Italians, regard the Italian Alliance as the "great cultural tragedy" of the Italian people.

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