Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The Crown Passes to Umberto II
However, the Allied powers were not receptive to the efforts of King Umberto II to encourage friendship and closer cooperation. He supported Italy becoming a fully independent member of the western alliance, already envisioned at that time because of the growing communist force in the east and hoped that by showing good faith the Kingdom of Italy would be allowed to keep her colonies (gained before the Fascists came to power) and be given a fair and just frontier with Yugoslavia. All of these efforts were blocked, partly because of the attitudes of the Allies themselves and partly because of pressure brought on them by their Soviet partners. They refused to permit the printing of monarchist newspapers and when the King asked British Prime Minister Churchill for a message of support for the Italian Crown he was met only with silence. The other powers proved unwilling to grant the slightest favor to the side which had turned Italy from an enemy into an ally, even though previously great promises had been made to Mussolini if he would only have done the same. It is ironic that what had been offered to the Duce by his enemies would not be granted to the King who had always opposed him. Whereas Mussolini had been offered the restoration of all pre-war Italian territory and even territorial gains in the Balkans if he would abandon the Axis, after the King did just this, Italy was to gain nothing, maintain nothing and lose everything.