Victor Emmanuel III

Victor Emmanuel III, 1869–1947, king of Italy (1900–1946), emperor of Ethiopia (1936–43), king of Albania (1939–43), son and successor of Humbert I. In 1896 he married Princess Helena of Montenegro. Though involved with Germany and Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance, he sought cordial relations with France and Great Britain. He favored the war of 1911–12 against Turkey, thus acquiring Libya. Though first advocating neutrality, he finally joined (1915) the Allies in World War I. He was unable to handle the confused internal situation of Italy after the war, refused to oppose the Fascist march on Rome, and asked (1922) Mussolini to form a government. Under the Fascist regime he was king in name only, but Mussolini's conquests added to his list of titles. During World War II, when the Fascist grand council voted (1943) against continued support of Mussolini, the king dismissed the dictator, placed him under arrest, and named Pietro Badoglio premier. German troops occupied Rome after Italy surrendered to the Allies, and Victor Emmanuel fled to S Italy. Unpopular because of his long association with Mussolini, he was obliged to transmit (1944) his royal prerogatives to his son, Humbert II, in whose favor he abdicated in 1946. He died in exile in Egypt.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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