The History of Italy

Topics: Italy, World War II, Rome Pages: 5 (1998 words) Published: April 26, 2005
Italy is a country that has gone through many changes throughout its history. It has faced many obstacles but has remained nationalistic and eager for unification. The political history of Italy is quite extensive. The Greeks were the first to settle in Italy and established colonies in the southern part of the country and in Sicily. There was not a sense of political reality as much as there was a civilization (Windows on Italy- History). While the Greeks controlled the south the Gauls, or Celtic people, ruled the north and the Po Valley. But the most important group to settle in Italy was the Etruscans. Because of their advanced civilization, the Etruscans were the only ones to establish political and cultural ideas before the Roman Empire (Windows on Italy- History). At the end of the Etruscans rule, Rome began a unification of Italy and established Latin to be the general language (Defusco). By 6th century BC, the city of Rome came into power. During this growing power, Rome began fighting other civilizations to expand its territory. Amongst these populations was Rome's long time friend Carthage. Rome soon became greedy and made war on Carthage in the Second Punic War (Defusco). The Punic Wars lead Rome to gain territories along the Mediterranean basin. At the end of the Third Punic War, Rome defeated Carthage and became the major Mediterranean military power (Windows on Italy- History). In all of Rome's defeats, Greece was the most significant. The Romans adopted Greek customs and ideas as their own. This changed the society of Rome by developing a new culture and way of thinking. The Roman Empire was soon developed by the ideas of Augustus, leading to a more democratic way of governing. The Empire created an expansion of Roman civilization by its leaders conquering other civilizations. The Empire ruled for many years under many different Emperors. During this time there was a mixture of rule between a hereditary Emperor and a Senate. With the fall of the Empire after the death of Theodosius, Italy was then attack from neighboring civilizations in the north and west. These invasions soon lead to the rising of power in individual city-states (Defusco). The citizens of the cities abolished the ideas of feudalism and searched for their own identity. Their searching lead to violent acts amongst themselves in determining who should govern, but despite the fighting, each city contributed greatly to the economy and helped to raise the cultural energy of Rome (Defusco). By the year 1861, a unified Italy was established with the help of France and England. The Kingdom of Italy did, however have its problems. There was much concern about the growing cities in the north while the south remained to depend on its agriculture for support. These concern have not yet been resolved to this day. To gain more territories, Italy joined Germany and Austria in the Triple Alliance in 1882 to conquer Ethiopia and Turkey (Defusco). At the outbreak of World War I, Italy remained neutral until 1915, when the Allies promised Italy more territories (Defusco). At the end of the war Italy only received two of the territories it was promised, which created a strong nationalistic view and disappointment amongst its people. The war created many social and political problems throughout the country and by the election of 1919 things changed dramatically. The socialists and popular Catholic parties took over the Parliament, which lead to the ideas of a revolution among the people (Defusco). One leader of this revolution was Benito Mussolini, who founded a movement called Fascism. After four years of revolution, Mussolini took over as the dictator of Italy and eliminated civil liberties, political parties, and encouraged a totalitarian regime (Defusco). Mussolini soon joined forces with Hitler and World War II came into affect. The Fascists later turned on Mussolini and Italy joined the Allies to fight Germany. This...

Cited: CIA-World Factbook-Italy. 2001. (26 Nov. 2001).
Defusco. Italy-Culture and History. 2001. (26 Nov. 2001).
Electric Library. Columbia University Press: 2001. (26 Nov. 2001).
Embassy of Italy in the United States. Washington D.C.: 2001. (26 Nov. 2001).
U.S. Department of State. 2001. (26 Nov. 2001).
Windows on Italy-the Constitution. Italian National Research Council: 2001. (26 Nov. 2001).
Windows on Italy-the History. Italian National Research Council: 2001. (26 Nov. 2001).
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