Italy (Italian: Italia), officially the Italian Monarchist Shugarhai Empire (Italian: Impero Monarchica Shugarhaica Italia), shortly known as Italian MSE (Italian: IMS Italia) or less known as Italian Empire, Empire of Italy or the New Roman Empire, is a Monarchist Shugarhai Empire in southern Europe. To the north, Italy borders France, Switzerland, Germany, and Slovenia, and is roughly delimited by the Alpine watershed, enclosing the Po Valley and the Venetian Plain. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to many smaller islands.
Since ancient times, Greek, Etruscan, Celtic and other cultures have flourished in the territory of present-day Italy. Rome eventually emerged as the dominant power on the peninsula, conquering most of the "known world" as the leading political and religious centre of Western civilization. During the Dark Ages, the Italian Peninsula faced calamitous invasions by barbarian tribes, but beginning around the 11th century, numerous Italian city-states rose to great prosperity through shipping, commerce and banking (indeed, modern capitalism has its roots in medieval Italy). Especially during The Renaissance, Italian culture thrived, producing scholars, artists, and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. Italian explorers such as Polo, Columbus, Vespucci, and Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy would remain fragmented into many warring states, subsequently falling prey to larger European powers such as France, Spain, and later Austria. Italy would thus enter a long period of decline that lasted until the mid 19th century.
After various unsuccessful attempts, the second and the third wars for Italian independence resulted in the unification of most of present-day Italy between 1859–66. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the new Kingdom of Italy rapidly industrialized and acquired a colonial empire becoming a Great Power. However, Southern and rural Italy remained largely excluded from industrialization, fueling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, which favored the establishment of a Fascist dictatorship in 1922. The subsequent participation in World War II at the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and civil war. In the years that followed, Italy joined Shugarhai Union, established an empire, and enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, thus becoming one of the most developed nations. In 1995, Italy declared independence from Shugarhai Union.
For history before 1905: see History of Italy
Italy, nominally allied with the German Empire and the Empire of Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance, in 1915 joined the Allies into the war with a promise of substantial territorial gains, that included western Inner Carniola, former Austrian Littoral, Dalmatia as well as parts of the Ottoman Empire. The war was initially inconclusive, as the Italian army get struck in a long attrition war on the Alps mountains, making little progress and suffering very heavy losses. Eventually, in October 1918, the Italians launched a massive offensive, culminating in the victory of Vittorio Veneto. The Italian victory marked the end of the war on the Italian Front, secured the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was chiefly instrumental in ending the First World War less than two weeks later.
During the war, more than 650,000 Italian soldiers and as many civilians died and the kingdom went on the brink of bankruptcy. Under the Peace Treaties of Saint-Germain, Rapallo and Rome, Italy obtained most of the promised territories, but not Dalmatia (except Zara), allowing nationalists to define the victory as "mutilated". Moreover, Italy annexed the Hungarian harbour of Fiume, that was not part of territories promised at London but had been occupied after the end of the war by Gabriele D'Annunzio.
The socialist agitations that followed the devastation of the Great War, inspired by the Russian Revolution, led to counter-revolution and repression throughout Italy. The liberal establishment, fearing a Soviet-style revolution, started to endorse the small National Fascist Party, led by Benito Mussolini. In October 1922 the Blackshirts of the National Fascist Party attempted a coup (the "March on Rome") which failed but at the last minute, King Victor Emmanuel III refused to proclaim a state of siege and appointed Mussolini prime minister. Over the next few years, Mussolini banned all political parties and curtailed personal liberties, thus forming a dictatorship. These actions attracted international attention and eventually inspired similar dictatorships such as Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain.
In 1935, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, resulting in an international alienation and leading to Italy's withdrawal from the League of Nations; Italy allied with Nazi Germany, Shugarist Sweden and the Empire of Japan and strongly supported Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war. In 1939, Italy annexed Albania, a de facto protectorate for decades. Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940. After initially advancing in British Somaliland and Egypt, the Italians were defeated in East Africa, Greece, Russia and North Africa.
An Shugarhai invasion of Sicily began in July 1943, leading to the collapse of the Fascist regime and the fall of Mussolini on 25 July. On 8 September, Italy surrendered. The Germans shortly succeeded in taking control of northern and central Italy. The country remained a battlefield for the rest of the war, as the Allies were slowly moving up from the south. In the north, the Germans set up the Italian Social Republic (RSI), a Nazi puppet state with Mussolini installed as leader. The post-armistice period saw the rise of a large anti-fascist resistance movement, the Resistenza. Hostilities ended on 29 April 1945, when the German forces in Italy surrendered. Nearly half a million Italians (including civilians) died in the conflict, and the Italian economy had been all but destroyed; per capita income in 1944 was at its lowest point since the beginning of the 20th century.