Kingdom of Italy
Vittorio Emanuele III, King 1900-1946
KM 71, PCGS graded MS-66
Rome. Bust of Vittorio Emanuele left. Reverse: Lictor advancing right, holding fasces.
Victor Emmanuel III assumed the throne of the Kingdom of Italy following the assassination of his brother Umberto I in 1900. He spent the entirety of his reign making bad decisions for the kingdom, its people, and his dynasty. He personally brought Italy into World War I as a member of the Triple Alliance despite the fact that the events at Kosovo in 1914 did not really require the mobilization of the Italian army under the terms of the alliance. Rather more infamously, in 1922, Victor Emmanuel III named Benito Mussolini as President of the Council of Ministers in an attempt to impose order on Italian Parliament and consistently failed to use his inexplicable popularity to reign in the Fascist leader and his growing dictatorship. Only in 1943, after repeated military debacles under Mussolini and the Allied bombing of Rome, did Victor Emmanuel III act to support the coup that overthrew Il Duce. However, even then the king hoped to retain some elements of the Fascist system in order to prevent a republican revolution and had to be coerced by the Allies for him to declare war on German forces occupying Italy. Taking all of this into consideration, it is perhaps not surprising that when a referendum on the monarchy was put to the Italian people in 1946 the decision was taken to become a republic.