The third King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy was born in Naples on 11 November 1869. Son of Umberto I of Savoy and Margherita of Savoy, he will reign in Italy from 1900 to 1946, Emperor of Ethiopia from 1936 to 1943 and King of Albania from 1939 to 1943. Baptized Vittorio Emanuele Ferdinando Maria Gennaro, will be known as "King Soldier" and "King of Peschiera" for his constant and assiduous presence at the front during the First World War; is also called "Sciaboletta" for its short stature (153 cm), for which it would be necessary to forge a particularly short saber, which avoided crawling on the ground.
Thanks to many trips and stays abroad, she has the opportunity to complete her education by taking advantage of legal, political, administrative and statistical matters. Studying the problems of the sector, he founded the International Institute of Agriculture in Rome. The fields that he prefers, however, are the historical one, the paleography and the diplomacy.
Vittorio Emanuele III will also be a great collector and numismatic scholar: the "Corpus Nummorum Italicorum" (1914-1943), is a monumental work in twenty volumes on Italian mints, of which he himself is the author (he will leave the unfinished work as a gift to the Italian state).
On October 24, 1896 in Rome, he married Princess Elena, daughter of King Nicholas of Montenegro from whom he will have five children: Iolanda, Mafalda, Giovanna, Maria and Umberto.
Vittorio Emanuele III ascended the throne after the assassination of his father Umberto I (29 July 1900).
It supports the colonial initiative undertaken by Giolitti with the landing in Libya (September 29, 1911) and the annexation of the Aegean islands of the Dodecanese (May 1912, during the Italo-Turkish War). With the peace of Lausanne (October 18, 1912) the Ottoman Empire recognizes Italy's possession of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica.
In the First World War the King sustained the initially neutral position of Italy. It is much less favorable than the father for what concerns the Triple Alliance (Italy was part of it with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and is hostile to Austria; it also promotes the cause of the irredentism of Trentino and Venezia Giulia.
The advantageous offers that come from the Entente (France, Great Britain and Russia), formalized in the Pact of London, induce Vittorio Emanuele to abandon the Triple Alliance.
The hostilities on the Italian front begin on May 24, 1915, from which King Vittorio Emanuele III is constantly present and busy at the front. During the operations he entrusted the Lieutenancy of the Kingdom to his uncle Tommaso Duca di Genova.
Instead of settling in the headquarters of the headquarters of Udine, the king is staying in the nearby town of Torreano di Martignacco, at Villa Linussa (since then called Villa Italia).
It seems that every morning the King visited the front or the back in the car. In the evening, when he returned, an officer of the General Staff briefed him on the situation; the King expressed his opinions, without ever overriding the duties of the Supreme Command. After the defeat of Caporetto (fought between 23 and 24 October 1917, the defeat was so heavy that the term Caporetto entered the Italian language as a synonym of defeat), the King dismissed Luigi Cadorna, in his place posed Armando Diaz. On November 8, 1917, at the Peschiera Convention, convinced the skeptical Allied Prime Ministers - especially Lloyd George of Great Britain - that Italy's will is to resist, and that the Italian General Staff is determined to stop the enemy advance on the Piave: in fact it lays the groundwork for the victory of Vittorio Veneto in the following November.
The Italian victory leads to the reunification with Italy of Trentino and Trieste, and to the annexation of South Tyrol, Istria, Zadar and some Dalmatian islands, such as Lagosta.
After the war Italy enters an economic and political crisis with consequent social unrest that the weak liberal governments of the time are unable to control. There is a widespread fear of a communist revolution similar to the one underway in Russia; at the same time the nobility fears being overwhelmed by liberal and socialist ideas. These conditions will lead to the emergence of authoritarian and illiberal ideologies that, later supported by the monarchy, will allow the rise of fascism. In 1922 after the resignation of the president of the council Luigi Facta, Vittorio Emanuele entrusted Benito Mussolini with the task of forming a new government.
In April 1924 new elections were called, which took place between serious irregularities. The Socialist MP Giacomo Matteotti denounces these irregularities: he was killed on 10 June 1924. On 3 January 1925 Mussolini claimed responsibility for the incident, giving rise to the Fascist dictatorship. The King, who until then had retained control of the army, did nothing to oppose.
On 3 October 1935 the Italian troops in Eritrea and Somalia invade Ethiopia. Entered in Addis Ababa on May 5, 1936, on 9 May the empire of the Italian East Africa was proclaimed: Vittorio Emanuele III assumed the title of Emperor of Ethiopia.
In 1938 the King signed the racist laws of the fascist government that introduce heavy persecutory discrimination against the Jews.
In April 1939 Albania was conquered: Vittorio Emanuele III, skeptical about the opportunity of the enterprise, was proclaimed King.
Before Mussolini declares war on France and Great Britain, siding with Hitler in the Second World War, the King, aware of the Italian military unpreparedness, had expressed - along with much of the regime - his opinion against the war.
During a visit to Albania in 1941, Vittorio Emanuele escaped an attack.
The King observes with increasing concern the evolution of the military situation and the progressive enslavement of Italian forces to German interests.
Between the autumn of 1940 and the spring of 1941 various military disasters occurred. The defeat in the second battle of El Alamein of November 4, 1942 leads within a few months to the total abandonment of Africa. The Grand Council of Fascism, on July 25, 1943, voted against the support of Mussolini's politics. Vittorio Emanuele has him arrested by appointing in his place Pietro Badoglio, who on 3 September signs an armistice with the Allies (announced September 8). The army finds itself in disarray under the blows of the many German units, sent to Italy in the aftermath of the fall of Mussolini.
The King leaves Rome, embarking for Brindisi, where the seat of the government is established. Vittorio Emanuele secures the protection of the American army and on October 13 declares war on Germany. Without abdicating, he entrusts his son Umberto with the task of governing the part of the nation that is under Allied control.
On 11 September 1943 the Germans freed Mussolini, who a few days later in Salò proclaimed the Italian Social Republic, formally dividing Italy into two parts. On April 25, 1945 an allied offensive and the general insurrection proclaimed by the National Liberation Committee, led the Nazi-Fascist troops to surrender.
Declared for the support given to the fascist dictatorship, on 9 May 1946 Vittorio Emanuele III abdicated in favor of his son Umberto II of Savoy. Less than a month later, on June 2, 1946, an institutional referendum will put an end to the monarchy in favor of the republican form of the Italian state.
Vittorio Emanuele, with the title of "Conte di Pollenzo", retires to exile in Alexandria, Egypt. Here he dies on December 28, 1947.