In Italy after World War 1 the economy and political environment became unstable. Mussolini had solidified his power across all of Italy through murder, blackmail, and slander campaigns against Italy’s press, politicians, and leftists. From 1925 on, Mussolini slowly gained more and more power until Italy became a totalitarian state enforced by a secret police organization. His dictatorship influenced fascist leaders who came on the scene later such as Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco. In Apr 1939, Italy occupied Albania. In Sep 1939, in a move that surprised Hitler slightly, Italy refused to enter the European War due to Italy's ill-preparedness for major military action. Mussolini did, however, declare war on the Western Allies in Jun 1940 after France had essentially fallen to the Germans. In Oct 1940, Italy invaded Greece but his army performed poorly and had to be bailed out by German intervention. Italy's war in North Africa, too, did not go as well as Mussolini had hoped. Once again, Germany had to reinforce Italian forces The Axis forces in North Africa were eventually defeated by the Allies, and from there an invasion of Sicily was launched. The fall of Sicily was so devastating to Italian morale that Mussolini's regime was toppled in Sep 1943. Italy surrendered in Sep 1943. Germany immediately invaded Italy and established a puppet state under Mussolini in the northern part of the country while the Allies invaded and took control of the southern and central parts. Italy remained a bitter battlefield until Apr 1945. After the war, Italy lost some territory to France and Yugoslavia. The monarchy fell in 1946 and a close national referendum established a republic.
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