Saturday, January 28, 2012
The list could go on but I think the basic point is clear. Obviously, anything involving the Second World War is going to be controversial but the bravery and talent of the Royal Italian armed forces, who had nothing to do with politics and who were not responsible for the war or their involvement in it, should not be disregarded or belittled. Given the odds against them and the handicaps they suffered the Italian forces performed heroically on land, at sea and in the air throughout the conflict. They were also upright soldiers as illustrated in the close cooperation of Italian and African troops in the colonial army in East Africa, the Russian volunteers who joined their ranks to escape Soviet oppression or the gallant defense of the Greek island of Cephalonia after the armistice when the Germans moved in to occupy the place. They put politics aside and gave their lives to defend the innocent local people, regardless of the odds against them. Their skill and their courage deserve to be remembered.
Friday, January 27, 2012
|King Carlo Alberto|
|Prince Florestan of Monaco|
When the Revolutions of 1848 swept Europe, Menton and Roquebrune declared their secession from Monaco as “Free Cities” when similar uprisings were breaking out across Italy. Within two years they would be formally placed under the protection of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. However, King Carlo Alberto would not live to see that. Following his defeat at the hands of the Austrians in the First Italian War for Independence, he abdicated in favor of his son, Vittorio Emanuele II, in 1849 and died later that same year. Piedmont-Sardinia would not hold the former Monegasque towns for long though. As we know, in 1860, as part of a treaty to gain French support for the unification of Italy by the House of Savoy, the County of Nice, with Menton and Roquebrune included, were ceded to the Second French Empire after a referendum, disputed by some as being less than honest. Nonetheless, aside from a brief period during World War II, Menton and Roquebrune have remained a part of France ever since then.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Today the Carabinieri and the Curassiers wear basically the same uniform they did in the time of the monarchy, only with the symbols of the House of Savoy replaced with republican insignia.
Who knew the Italians had started their own "Tea Party" movement? I certainly didn't but, even though I think Italy should look to the example of her own history rather than that of other countries, in the fiscal context I think it's good to see. Don't think I didn't notice that Confederate ensign down there on the table either. From the photos they have posted, the Italian Tea Party doesn't look like a very large group (which is to be expected) but it does look to be a very active and motivated group and that often counts for much more than numbers. The "Tea Party Italia" page on Facebook has 5,257 members as of this writing and they have their own web presence and a flickr photos page. It seems that have had a number of meetings, some public events and the like, all aimed at promoting the "Tea Party" principles in Italy.
I would not have favored the original American Tea Party but in this day and age I am pretty much behind their calls for fiscal responsibility, less government spending, lower taxes, more accountability and government that is smaller and more efficient rather than an all-expansive state trying to care for everyone from cradle to grave. I have no doubt that the financial ruin Italy currently finds herself in is due to the decades of big-government, socialism and state-run economies. I would prefer that their tricolore have a Savoy coat of arms in the middle but there is no bar against monarchists agreeing with the economic policies of the Tea Party. There are even monarchist libertarians in a number of countries that I know of. More economic freedom and personal responsibility seems to me to be something Italy would do well to try. The country has gone so far for so long in the opposite direction that a dramatic shift would probably do some good. It might also help the cause of national unity.
I'm sure not everyone would agree with that but if the areas of the south could no longer benefit from the prosperity of the north, everyone being responsible for their own welfare, it might make the north less restive and force the south to develop and adopt some policies that have brought prosperity to others but which they have been able to shrug off. And any group that puts the flag of Texas side-by-side with the Italian colors automatically looks good to me. For all the Italian libertarians out there I would remind you of just a few facts. It was King Vittorio Emanuele III who said that the Italian people were individualists and a republic would never serve them well (I think that has been proven true). Also, if the idea of private ownership is superior to public ownership (which I agree with), why should that principle not extend to the head of state as well? The libertarian principles argue for a monarchy since a King who will be passing the crown to his son has a vested interest in the success of the nation, he will take better care of it because it is "his" crown and his country rather than just some temporary office he holds on behalf of others (such as political parties and big business money lenders). So, think about that, slap a cross and crown on those flags and I will be proud to be with you all the way. W il Re! W Italia!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
|The Iron Crown was featured on the Savoy arms|
Monday, January 16, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
-HM King Vittorio Emanuele III
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The late King Vittorio Emanuele III once said, in a time of political turmoil, “In Italy they are already speaking about a republic, but keep in mind that there is nothing less suited to Italians … The Italians are individualists and a republic will become the cause of confusion and disorder. Certainly of corruption. I have no doubt of it. When all this comes to pass who will profit from it?” Surely today the Italian people can appreciate what true and prophetic words these were. And, surely Italians today can give an answer to their late king as to “who will profit from it”; the answer is the politicians who make up the ruling class, who have turned the government of Italy into a scheme for their own enrichment rather than the administration of the country. They have made themselves an immense fortune at the expense of their people and their country, setting Italians against each other, engaging in bribery on a national scale and selling out the national interests and even the national sovereignty of Italy all in order to benefit themselves and the ruling politician-class to which they aspire to belong. They have no real connection to the Italian nation at all. They do not see individuals, as the late King did, but simply a mass of people to be manipulated, used and exploited.
What would the great figures from the history of the Italian peninsula, of the Latin race, say if they could see Italy today? How would they react to the offspring of the people who built Western Civilization, who ruled and advanced the prosperity of an empire stretching from the Pillars of Hercules to the Euphrates and Hadrian’s Wall in Britain to the cataracts in Egypt being reduced to a divided state indebted to others and ruled by an elite clique appointed from beyond her borders? The Italian Republic has proven itself a failure. It was, due to the republican plebiscite, built on fraud and injustice from the start and has failed in even its most basic duty to preserve and protect the sovereignty and independence of the Italian nation, to say nothing of allowing the Italian people to reach their greatest potential. Italians, 150 years ago, came together, united by the monarchy, to build a great nation. There is no reason they cannot do so again. It was the safeguard that the royal institution provided which prevented extremism from fracturing the country and brought the majority of both sides of the political spectrum together, on the path of moderation, to pursue the national aspirations of the Italian people.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Umberto I, "the Good" became King of Italy. Under his reign the Kingdom of Italy was consolidated, Italy joined the "Triple Alliance" with Germany and Austria and Italian power expanded beyond her shores to the first Italian colony in Eritrea.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
It was on this day, January 7, in 1797 that the XIV Parliament of the Cispadane Republic voted to make the green-white-red tricolore their official flag. Because of that, January 7 has long been celebrated as the official birthday of the modern Italian flag. The Cispadane Republic was founded in the wake of the conquests of Napoleon Bonaparte in northern Italy and was later merged with the (probably more well-known) Cisalpine Republic which adopted a modified version of the original tricolore similar to the one we know today. It was modified further when the Cisalpine Republic later became the Italian Republic and then the Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic). The green-white-red tricolore later emerged again as the flag of Italian unity and nationalism during the Risorgimento, carried by the famous Red Shirts of Giuseppe Garibaldi. In 1848 it was officially adopted as the flag of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia by King Carlo Alberto with the addition of the royal coat of arms of the House of Savoy in the center. Similar versions of the tricolore were adopted by the other regions of Italy before all came to share the same national flag, for the first time, under the Kingdom of Italy of the House of Savoy in 1861. It was retained by both Mussolini's Italian Social Republic and, of course, the modern Italian Republic with the royal Savoy arms removed from the center.
|Original flag of the Cispadane Republic|
|Flag of the Cisalpine Republic|
|Flag of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy|
|Flag of the (Savoy) Kingdom of Italy|
|Flag of the Italian Social Republic|
|Flag (ensign) of the present Italian Republic|
Monday, January 2, 2012
Meanwhile, across the Mediterranean in Spain, revolution was afoot. Ever since the accession of Queen Isabella II the country had been torn by civil war. Three factions emerged over the course of her reign; the Carlists who favored the royal line of the late King Fernando VII’s brother Don Carlos, the moderates who backed Isabella II and the revolutionaries who wanted to do away with the monarchy altogether. The Carlists were defeated in a series of civil wars and the revolutionaries were kept somewhat contented by movement to the left but Queen Isabella II eventually alienated her moderate supporters. She proved too Catholic and autocratic for their tastes (as well as having other problems) and in the end she was too liberal for the conservatives and too conservative for the liberals. In September of 1868 the Queen was deposed and sent into exile by a group of liberal officers led by General Juan Prim (who had earlier led the Spanish contingent in the punitive expedition against Mexico alongside France and Britain which ultimately resulted in the short-lived monarchy of Maximilian). General Prim began looking for a candidate for the Spanish throne but had little luck.
The Cortes voted, by a considerable margin, that a monarchy was preferable to a republic but finding the right king proved difficult. Marshal Francisco Serrano was chosen as regent while General Prim cast about for someone to accept the crown of Spain. Dom Fernando, former King of Portugal, turned down the offer. Marshal Espartero, former Prime Minister, likewise turned down the throne and when the 15-year-old Duke of Genoa was approached with the offer his mother rejected it on his behalf on the grounds that Spain was too dangerous. It was not exactly an enticing prospect considering the many civil wars Spain had gone through, how bitterly divided against each other the Spanish people were and few royals would be eager to settle on a country that had just driven out their last monarch. The Prussian Prince Leopold von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was next approached and not only were the Prussians not interested, the French objected to the very idea of a Prussian on the throne of Spain and the offer helped set off the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Finally, someone suggested Prince Amadeus, Duke of Aosta, second son of the King of Italy.
|The King pays his respects to General Prim|
Some disliked him simply because he was an Italian, a foreigner, while others had less nationalistic but more political reasons. The Carlists, naturally, would never support him as they would support no one but their own pretender to the throne and the revolutionaries, just as naturally, would never support him either as they would never support any monarch at all. His only base of support were the moderate progressives and even they were becoming more and more divided. King Amadeo did his best to come to an understanding of his new country, rising at six every morning to read the papers, including Carlist and republican periodicals, never spending more than an hour at meals, no matter how prominent the dinner guests and endeavoring to be as frugal as possible while still being generous to those in need. He paid the pensions of the household of the deposed Isabella II (which surprised many) and gave an average of $17,500 per month to charity. His tours around the country, in the past always a state expense, were always paid from his private funds.
In 1872 bitterness between the progressive factions reached a zenith and the foundation of the new Spanish Savoy monarchy began to crumble from beneath the feet of Amadeo I. In Basque and Catalan the Carlists rose up again in another rebellion and revolutionary republicans began to take to the streets in cities across Spain, starting out as protests but quickly turning into violent riots. The army proved to be as divided as the other segments of society and when the artillery corps went on strike, at such a critical time, the suddenly alarmed government demanded that King Amadeo do something about it. With two-thirds of the country against him, members of the remaining third were calling on him to start shooting down his adopted people. King Amadeo finally determined that he had had enough. He had not come to Spain for this. In the chance that it would do some good he ordered the artillery to return to duty and then, on February 11, 1873 turned in his formal abdication to the government. In his parting speech before the Cortes an exasperated ex-King Amadeo famously declared the Spanish people to be ungovernable and walked out. Later that night the First Spanish Republic was formally declared.
A thoroughly disgusted Amadeus was relieved to return to his native Italy and become Duke of Aosta again. If the Spanish were glad to see him go, they were probably still not so glad as he was to leave. He probably felt somewhat betrayed and he had reason to. His last Prime Minister later became one of the most ardent and troublesome republicans in Spain, which would suggest that he was less than fully committed to his sovereign. He was told he had been brought to Spain to lead a free and liberal constitutional monarchy, yet many of his supposed supporters turned against him when he refused to grant them dictatorial powers to deal with their enemies. The impossibility of the situation he faced comes into even clearer focus considering that the First Spanish Republic that replaced him lasted less than a year and was torn by three simultaneous civil wars and a revolution in Cuba. In the end, a ‘compromise monarchy’ was restored in the person of King Alfonso XII, son of the still disliked Isabella II. Prince Amadeus, Duke of Aosta, former King of Spain, contented himself with a much more peaceful life in Turin.
The Bonaparte family was happy enough with the marriage as it put their name on the front page of every newspaper in Europe and marked the first time since 1859 that a Bonaparte had married a member of a reigning Royal Family. Interest in the late French Empire resurged in France and some news sheets commented that a restoration of the Napoleonic government might have been possible. This was certainly not the first time such royal relatives married, and his second marriage is not something most remember about former King Amadeo I, but regardless of how many strange royal unions one may know about -it’s just rather creepy. However, for the Duke of Aosta, his life as a newly remarried man was not to last long. Less than two years after his wedding, at the age of only 44, he died in Turin on January 18, 1890 at the Royal Palace. His descendants would go on to great fame in several instances, and of course they are still around today but the first Duke of Aosta will probably always be most remembered for his brief stint as the one and only Savoy King of Spain.