Victor Emmanuel III 1845
- Born: 11 Nov 1869, Naples, Campania, Italy 1845,1854
- Marriage: Elena Petrovic-Njegos Princess of Montenegro on 24 Oct 1896 in Rome, Lazio, Italy 1845,1854
- Died: 28 Dec 1947 at age 78 1845
Another name for Victor was Vittorio Emanuele III.1845
Victor Emmanuel III of Italy , Vittorio Emanuele III in italian (11 November 1869 - 28 December 1947), was the King of Italy (29 July 1900 - 9 May 1946), Emperor of Ethiopia (1936 - 1943) and King of Albania (1939 - 1943). He was also mockingly nicknamed Sciaboletta, or "little saber", allegedly because his short stature required his uniform to be equipped with a saber shorter than the ordinary.
Victor Emmanuel III's position as Emperor of Ethiopia was not universally accepted, as Italy had overthrown the native Emperor, Haile Selassie. The United Kingdom, among many others, refused to recognize Victor Emmanuel's new title (as indeed did many to his claim to be King of Albania) with King George VI as King of the United Kingdom on the advice of the British government accrediting ambassadors to Victor Emmanuel as merely "King of Italy". (In contrast in his role as King of Ireland, and on the advice of the Irish Government, King George accredited Irish Ambassadors to Victor Emmanuel as both king of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia.) King Victor Emmanuel III renounced his titles of Emperor of Ethiopia and King of Albania in 1943.
Achievements and Failures
During his life, Victor Emmanuel III saw two world wars and the birth of Fascism. He remains Italy's most controversial monarch. His early reign showed evidence that, at least by the standards of the Savoyard monarchy, he was a man committed to a form of democracy. Yet, in his decision in 1922 to appoint Benito Mussolini prime minister (having refused formal government advice to fight the Fascist March on Rome, an act which provoked that government of Luigi Facta's resignation), and in particular his failure, in the face of mounting evidence, to act against Mussolini's regime's abuses of power (including as early as the 1924, the notorious assassination of Giacomo Matteotti and other opposition MPs), he lost for the Italian throne the little popularity it had earned earlier in his reign.
Defenders of Victor Emmanuel have suggested that his decision not to oppose Mussolini's rise to power was based on the consideration of the economic damages caused by the constant collapse of earlier governments, with Mussolini offering a stability that seemed necessary for the Italian Kingdom. The King suggested that his armed forces could not have defended Rome against the fascist march on the city, though then military leaders and surviving military records challenge his claim. Mussolini's camice nere (black shirts) were around Rome waiting for instructions, while the Duce had already entered it and was in a hotel in via Boncompagni, making the acquaintance of Roberto Rossellini's father. The commander in chief of the defending forces for the Capital town was finally ordered by the king, it is said, to remove the blocks and let them pass.
Critics argued that Victor Emmanuel's decisions showed constant poor judgment and undemocratic sentiments. What is not in doubt, however, is that fascism offered a political stability and the opposition to the left-wing politic that appealed to a broad mass of Italian life, not least the Roman Catholic Church. In many ways the events of the 1920s to 1940s showed each side, the monarchy, the church, the political elite and the voters, for different reasons, felt Mussolini and his regime offered an option that, after years of political instability and infighting, seemed more appealing than what they perceived as the alternative.
The Italian monarchy did enjoy popular support at the time. Foreigners noted how even in the early 1940s newsreel images of King Victor Emmanuel and Queen Elena, when shown in cinemas, provoked applause, sometimes cheering, in contrast to the hostile silence shown toward fascist leaders. Two of Victor Emmanuel's decisions, however, proved fatal to the monarchy. His decision to flee Rome in 1943, though perhaps necessary for his safety, shocked many, including foreign observers, who contrasted it with the behaviour of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who refused to leave London during the Blitz, or Pope Pius XII, who mixed with Rome's crowds and prayed with them after the popular Roman quartiere of San Lorenzo was bombed and destroyed. His silence in 1938, when the Fascist government issued racial purity laws, was astonishing for the Italian people, and this lack of protection for part of the nation soon created a moral barrier between the Crown and the nation. However, it has been concived that he left Rome after being informed that the feared Gestapho was sent to kill him, and thus he went North to fight the Nazis as a common resistence man. It has not been proven if this is true or not, though it is possible as Victor Emmanuel was very much Pro- Democracy and had been under suspicion of passing information to the Western Allies. If this is true, it is not knowen if he did the same with the Comintrin. However, It is undecided if this is true, and is hotly debated. Many Jewish officers committed suicide, so to die in the uniform before being dismissed, and this caused the army to lose the special loyalty to the Quirinale.
Victor Emmanuel III yielded the power to his son Umberto II in 1944, when Umberto was appointed as Lieutenant General of the Realm, and finally abdicated in 1946.
If the history of monarchy in Europe from the 1940s was made up of strong images like those of King George and Queen Elizabeth in the 1940s, Michael of Romania's role in overthrowing his own country's fascism, (it should be noted that Romania was in the war on the side of Germany until Russian troops crossed the border in 1944) or Spain's King Juan Carlos's defence of democracy in the face of a threatened coup d'etat in the 1980s, Victor Emmanuel, acording to his detractors, showed no such leadership skills. However, if he did fight the Germans in North Italy, and this is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, it is almost certain he will join the ranks of brave monarchs. In the meantime, he is not percieved well. His abdication on the eve of the referendum on the future of the monarchy achieved little, being too little far too late. At worst, it simply reminded undecided voters of the role of the monarchy and of he himself in the Fascist period, at a time when monarchists hoped voters would have been focusing on the positive impressions made by Crown Prince Umberto and Princess Maria Josť as the effective monarchs of Italy since 1943. By what are perceived by some historians as mis-timed actions (appointing Mussolini, fleeing Rome) and mis-timed inactions (failure to support his government's plan to suppress the 1922 March on Rome, his failure to abdicate in 1943), Victor Emmanuel III weighed down the Italian monarchy with his mistakes, a weight which the 'May' king and queen, King Umberto II and Queen Maria Josť were unable to shift in their short but impressive month-long reign. Victor Emmanuel went to exile to Egypt and died there in 1947. Others instead do underline that also the pragmatical tradition of the House of Savoy, of taking a decision only when unavoidable, a sort of political irresolution, was one of the reasons for their defeat. The birth of the Italian Republic is more evident indeed than the defeat of Italian monarchy, and was justified by many reasons, also because at a certain time the Church stopped supporting the Royal House (which Vatican always considered as an invader) and left them alone. 1845
1. Acceded: King of Italy, 29 Jul 1900-9 May 1946. 1845
2. Acceded: Emperor of Ethiopia, 9 May 1936-5 May 1941. 1845
3. Acceded: King of Albania, 1939-1943. 1845
Victor married Elena Petrovic-Njegos Princess of Montenegro on 24 Oct 1896 in Rome, Lazio, Italy 1845.,1854 (Elena Petrovic-Njegos Princess of Montenegro was born on 27 Dec 1872 in Cetinje, Crna Gora, Yugoslavia 1845,1854 and died on 28 Nov 1952 in Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 1845,1854.)