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The Kingdom of Italy (Italian: Regno d'Italia, pronounced [ˈreɲɲo diˈtaːlja]) was a state that existed from 17 March 1861, when Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy, until 12 June 1946, when the monarchy was abolished, following civil discontent that led to an institutional referendum on 2 June 1946 which resulted in a modern Italian Republic. The kingdom was established through the unification of several states over a decades-long process, called the Risorgimento. That process was influenced by the Savoy-led Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered Italy's legal predecessor state. In 1866, Italy declared war on Austria in alliance with Prussia and, upon its victory, received the region of Veneto. Italian troops entered Rome in 1870, ending more than one thousand years of Papal temporal power. In 1882 Italy entered into a Triple Alliance with the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, following strong disagreements with France about their respective colonial expansions. Although relations with Berlin became very friendly, the alliance with Vienna remained purely formal, due in part to Italy's desire to acquire Trentino and Trieste from Austria-Hungary. As a result, Italy accepted the British invitation to join the Allied Powers during World War I, as the western powers promised territorial compensation (at the expense of Austria-Hungary) for participation that was more generous than Vienna's offer in exchange for Italian neutrality. Victory in the war gave Italy a permanent seat in the Council of the League of Nations. In 1922, Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy, ushering in an era of National Fascist Party government known as "Fascist Italy". The Italian Fascists imposed totalitarian rule and crushed the political and intellectual opposition. They promoted economic modernization and traditional social values. They delivered a rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church through the Lateran Treaties which created the Vatican City as a sovereign state. In the late 1930s, the Fascist government began a more aggressive foreign policy. This included war against Ethiopia, launched from Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, which resulted in its annexation; confrontations with the League of Nations, leading to sanctions; growing economic autarky; and the signing of the Pact of Steel. Fascist Italy became a member of the Axis powers in World War II. By 1943, the German-Italian defeat on multiple fronts and the subsequent Allied landings in Sicily led to the fall of the Fascist regime. Mussolini was placed under arrest by order of the King Victor Emmanuel III. The new government signed an armistice with the Allies on September 1943. German forces occupied northern and central Italy, setting up the Italian Social Republic, a collaborationist puppet state still led by Mussolini and his Fascist loyalists. As a consequence, the country descended into civil war, with the Italian Co-belligerent Army and the resistance movement contending with the Social Republic's forces and its German allies. Shortly after the war and the country's liberation, civil discontent led to the institutional referendum which decided the present-day Italian state. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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