Peace Treaty of 1947
- On 29 September 1943, an “instrument of surrender” was signed in Malta by General Pietro Badoglio, then prime minister of the Kingdom of Italy, and General Eisenhower for the Allies. It provided for the unconditional surrender of Italian air, sea, and land forces. Italy was to be occupied by Allied armies. All organizations of the Partito Nazionale Fascista/National Fascist Party (PNF) were to be immediately disbanded. All Italian laws that provided for discrimination on grounds of race, creed, or opinion were to be rescinded under the supervision of an Allied Control Commission.King Victor Emmanuel III declared war on Germany in October 1943 and thus Italy became a “cobelligerent.” Opinion on the left, certainly, expected cobelligerent status to entitle Italy to favored treatment in the final peace treaty. But the treaty signed in Paris on 10 February 1947, obliged Italy to cede the Italian border cities of Tenda and Briga to France after a plebiscite. Under pressure from the USSR, Italy had to cede Fiume, Zara, Pola, and most of Venezia Giulia to Yugoslavia. Even Trieste and its hinterland, fruit of the sacrifices made as allies of the Entente powers between 1915 and 1918, were to be turned over to the Allies as a free territory. Italy’s colonial losses included some areas acquired not only before World War II and Fascism, but even before World War I. For example, the Dodecanese Islands were assigned to Greece, and Italy’s African colonies—not only Ethiopia but Eritrea and Italian Somaliland— were turned over to the United Nations (UN). Finally, Italy was effectively disarmed and was to pay reparations to Albania, Ethiopia, Greece, Great Britain, the United States, the USSR, and Yugoslavia. The United States and Britain renounced their shares. The Soviet Union received $100 million; the others divided a total of $260 million among them. Italy was also debarred from joining the UN. The terms of the peace treaties were regarded as extremely harsh in Italy and caused temporary political difficulty for the government of Alcide De Gasperi. On 26 September 1951, Britain, France, and the United States made a joint declaration of moral rehabilitation stating that Italy had shown that it was a fully fledged democracy and that there was therefore no justification for excluding it from the UN. At a meeting of the Atlantic Council in December 1951, this position was supported by 10 other signatories of the 1947 Paris Treaty, although the USSR and its allies remained opposed. Italy was finally admitted into the UN in December 1955 and took its seat the following year.
Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. Mark F. Gilbert & K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
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