Friday, June 02, 2006

On June 2nd in world/military 1946

On June 2nd in world/military 1946. The Italian Republic is born. Before World War I, Italy was a parlimentary monarchy (like Great Britain) ruled by the kings of the House of Savoia (Savoy in English) and Sardinia. When Mussolini came to power in the 1920's, he imposed a fasicst dictatorship on the country and essentially dissolved the Italian parliment. After the war, many Italians blamed the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II for "rolling over" to Mussolini and causing Italy to be dragged into the war on the side of Germany, so a referendum was proposed where the Italian people could decide to continue to live under a monarchy or choose to live in a republic. The vote was 54.3% in favor of the republic and 45.7% against with northern Italy voting for the republic and southern Italy voting for the monarchy.

One of the stipulations of the republic was that, with the adoption of the Italian republic, the Italian constution stated that the male decendents of the House of Savoia were required to live in perpetual exile and could never return to Italy. This last requirement was lifted in 2002 after it was decided that the current male heir of the House of Savoy, Vittorio Emanuele had no desire to seize power and that nobody else in the country were longing for a return to the monarchy.

The history of the Italian Republic is much more complicated that my "Cliff's Notes" version (go here for more information), but the important part is that June 2nd is celebrated as the birth of the Italian Republic, the same as the 4th of July is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States.


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