The Kingdom of Italy suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of Austria-Hungary during the First Weltkrieg. In the humiliating Treaty of Rome that followed, Austria attempted to dissolve the Kingdom of Italy and replace it with the "Italian Federation", a loose federation of pre-unification states led by an Austrian leader. Italian Republicans were enraged; in Milan, they overthrew the House of Savoia and declared the Italian Republic. The Republicans revolted against Austrian occupation, and managed to push the Austrians out of Central and Northern Italy.
Despite the initial victories, ideological divisions between left-wing and right-wing Republicans soon became irreconcilable, and eventually led to direct conflict between Italian Reds and Whites. The Whites and the Austrians found a common enemy in the Reds, and began to cooperate begrudgingly; their combined forces eventually managed to halt the Red advance at the Po River in 1920, ending the Italian Civil War with a teeth-clenched ceasefire.
In the aftermath of the Italian Civil War, the terms of Austrian-White Italian cooperation were finalized; the Whites must legally remain in the Italian Federation, but they are given their own Republic, the Republic of Lombardy-Venetia, and are made the interim leaders of the Federation. By 1936, the Italian Republic is a troubling place. The Italian Federation system collapsed in 1927, leaving the Republicans with no friends but Austria. Austrian meddling in Italian politics led to Veneto's obstructive autonomy, and there are rising anti-Austrian sentiments coming from the far-right Associazione Nazionalista Italiana. The divided states of Italy would surely not last however, and a second Risorgimento is coming.
- Allohistorical Allusion: Italy led by the National Populist ANI (Legionnaire Italy) is furiously nationalist and militarist, and wants to centralize power (having ANI in power instantly shuts down any future elections), eliminate the socialists, remove foreign influence, and in the long run, possibly reclaim all Greater Italian lands and form an Italian Empire. Sounds similar to a real-life 20th century Italian state?
- Enemy Mine: Austria is an enemy to Italian nationalists, but the Republicans were forced to work with Austria in order to halt the Socialist Republic of Italy and prevent their own defeat. Similarly, while Austria can easily crush the Italian Republic, they find it useful to have it as a buffer against the Syndicalists.
- Full-Circle Revolution: Austrian pressure can force the Italian Republic to return to a monarchy, and can even crack down on Republicanism after that, effectively resetting all the efforts of the Republicans.
- Occupiers Out of Our Country: Associazione Nazionalista Italiana (Italian Nationalist Association) is fiercely nationalist, revanchist, and anti-Austrian. They will sooner or later go to war with Austria to remove them from Italian lands.
- Puppet King: Austria puppets the Republican government in all but name; when the socialists are defeated, Austria might decide to backstab Italy by restoring the divided Italian states or force an Austrian king onto the Italian throne.
- Allohistorical Allusion: Many of Legionnaire Italy's events and focuses are directly based on Fascist Italy:
- Upon coming to power, Balbo instantly ditches the Prime Minister title for "Il Duce".
- Instead of Blackshirts, Legionnaire Italy has Greenshirts, which is the exact same organization as the Blackshirts are in reality (Voluntary Militia for National Security), just founded during the Italian Civil War. The green shirts worn by the Greenshirts, like the black shirts worn by the Blackshirts, are based on the uniforms of the Arditi.
- Some of the things that Balbo forms in Italy include Opera Nazionale Balilla youth organization, Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro recreation organization, the Order of the Roman Eagle award, and National Council of Corporations, all of which were created by Benito Mussolini in Fascist Italy in reality.
- The OVRA Secret Police is created, though its name is changed from Anti-Fascism to Anti-Nationalism.
- One of Legionnaire Italy's focuses is called Four Economic Battles, based on economic policies taken by Fascist Italy in reality.
- The Purge: One of Legionnaire Italy's focuses is "Purge Red Menace", which involves removing any civil servants with socialists connections from power.
- Putting on the Reich: Legionnaire Italy recreates many of the elements of Fascist Italy in real life.
- Retcon: Prior to KR4 0.9.3, the Italian National Populists are initially led by Italian proto-fascist Gabriele D'Annunzio, and becomes Il Duce for Legionnaire Italy for the first few years into the game, before he dies of a stroke and Balbo succeeds him. In 0.9.3, Balbo now leads the ANI from the start.
- Secret Police: Legionnaire Italy creates the OVRA to arrest any dissidents and ensure supremacy of the national populist government.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: After being elected as the Prime Minister, Balbo shuts down the democracy and ushers in a new age of radical nationalism.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Veneto will always rebel if the ANI comes to power.
The Socialist Republic of Italy is the largest and most powerful of the several states that occupies the divided Italian Peninsula, and controls its northern and northwestern parts. The SRI came about during the Italian Civil War, when the united republican forces of Italy collapsed; the left-wing socialists declared the SRI in Torino, and initially made huge gains in their offensive against the Austrians and the Whites. Stopped at the Po River by combined White-Austrian forces, and with Two Sicilies pushing on from the South, the SRI was forced into a difficult situation and signed an uneasy peace. Now the SRI had joined the Internationale, and is preparing for the next war for control of the peninsula.
- Book Burning: During the Cultural Revolution, a large bonfire is lit in Florence, where people burn reactionary books and historical culture.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In previous versions, Mussolini and most of the Italian Totalists die in a plane crash by 1949. If they were in power, a new government will be chosen after that. The plane crash is an allusion to the historical Superga air disaster of 1949, which killed the Torino football team.
- The Gulag: Mussolini's SRI can establish work camps for enemies of the state.
- Illegal Religion: Mussolini's SRI will institute State Atheism, and churches are actively destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: During the Cultural Revolution, Mussolini's Ministry of Public Security will not prosecute revolutionary violence against reactionaries during the revolution, leading to a wave of violence across Italy.
- The Political Officer: One of the focuses in Mussolini's SRI allows for the creation of Commissars to further his control.
- Secret Police: Mussolini creates the Ministry of Public Security to root out reactionaries and counterrevolutionaries.
- Allohistorical Allusion:
- Mussolini forms the Guardia Rosse (Red Guards) as a major component of the army, which have the same name as the Red Guards of Communist China in reality. They have the in-universe explanation of being based on Giuseppe Garibaldi's redshirts during Risorgimento.
- If Italy is unified under his rule and he consolidates power, then he will outright be able to initiate a ''Grande Rivoluzione Culturale Proletaria'' in a similar fashion to Mao to destroy perceived "decadent capitalist culture" and Mussolini even publishes a book of quotes like the Little Red Book.
- If the SRI is defeated by Republican Italy, after reunification, Mussolini will be sentenced to death as a traitor in the Verona Trials. In reality, the Verona Trial is a trial by Fascist Italy against members of the Grand Council of Fascism who voted to remove Mussolini from power in 1943.
- Overall, as a national syndicalist wanting to initiate a cultural revolution to destroy Italy's past in favor of Futurist Italian Nationalism, he's basically Mao meets his OTL counterpart.
- Artistic License History: While Mussolini was a socialist before WWI, he was expelled by the Italian Socialist Party and turned to right wing revolutionary nationalism just after WWI began. As these events happened before the KR point of divergence, it would take an astounding amount of contrived historical developments for Mussolini to somehow go back to being a socialist and getting accepted by the socialists again.
- Commie Nazis: As a Totalist ("National-Syndicalist"), his ideology blends his OTL fascism with Stalinist-esque policies.
- Cult of Personality: Mussolini builds a huge cult of personality around himself as chairman.
- Poke the Poodle: During the Cultural Revolution, Mussolini publishes a book of "futurist cooking" where he condemns pasta as causing "lassitude, pessimism and lack of passion". This was actually endorsed by the real futurist cooking.
- The Purge: During the Cultural Revolution, Mussolini will purge party moderates, accusing them of being reactionaries.
- Historical In-Joke: It's stated that Mussolini by the start of the game is a minister of transportation in the Republic. His job is to make trains run on time.
- In Spite of a Nail: Averted, while he can still come to power, the situation surrounding his ascent to power is far different than the events leading to the emergence of Fascism in Europe in real life.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Mussolini taking power will dismantle SRI's democracy and concentrate power to himself. Then he will launch the Cultural Revolution, causing all hell to break loose as he attempts to wipe out the past culture of Italy.
- Warhawk: Like in real life, Mussolini is a huge militarist, and justifies his positions not only with nationalistic rhetoric, but also with the purpose of defence of the revolution. In the game itself, Mussolini has a "Warmonger" trait.
- Wicked Cultured: Mussolini and his faction are patrons of Futurism, like in real life.
The Papal States, territories in Central Italy under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, existed from the 8th century until the 19th century, when it was completely conquered by the Kingdom of Italy during Italian unification. Following the First Weltkrieg, the Kingdom of Italy collapsed, and the Treaty of Rome restored the Papal States' existence. However, the ensuing Italian Civil War and the wave of revolutionary Syndicalism threatened to overwhelm Rome and the Vatican. King Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies, not wanting to see the heart of Catholicism fall to Syndicalism, led an expedition to secure Rome, putting the Papal State under Sicilian protection.
By 1936, the Papal State is confined to Lazio, and remain at peace under Sicilian protection. Pope Pius XI is an old man with ailing health, and a successor would have to be chosen should Pius XI pass away, who would lead the Papal State in a new era of instability.
- Allohistorical Allusion: Pope Pius XI issues the encyclical Quadragesimo quinto anno ("In the 45th Year") in 1936, an allusion to Quadragesimo anno Pius XI issued in 1931 in real life. The contents of the encyclical are identical, except that communism is replaced with syndicalism.
- Church Militant: The Papal State has a small army in the form of the Palatine Honour Guard, as well as a navy in 1936. They can develop an air force too and become a respectable force on Italy.
- Red Scare: Pius XII and Julius IV can issue an encyclical to condemn syndicalism through the focus "Condemn Mob Rule".
- The Theocracy: Rather obviously, the Catholic Pope serves as the leader of the Papal State. Under Stephen X or John XXIII it can be downplayed, as they can cede most temporal power to an elected assembly and associated secular institutions, but they still maintain their authority over the church and position as head of state over the Papal State.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Pius XI will inevitably die when Black Monday hits, leading to a need to select a new Pope.
Elia Dalla Costa is the Archbishop of Padua, papal name Stephen X. He is revered for his faith and respected for his humanitarian services during the Weltkrieg.
- Cincinnatus: Pope Stephen X can relinquish his civic powers and reform the Papal State into a constitutional monarchy, transforming the powers to the people of Rome.
- We Help the Helpless: Stephen X has several focuses where he helps out poor starving people and refugees.
Achille Liénart is the the Archbishop of Lille, papal name John XXIII. He is a social reformer, and supports trade unionism and the Worker-Priest movement.
- Allohistorical Allusion: There was an actual OTL pope using this name; they're not the same person (OTL's John XXIII was an Italian prelate named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who reigned from 1958 to 1963).
- Cincinnatus: Like Stephen X, John XXIII can cede his civil powers to the people of Rome.
- Internal Reformist: Liénart is politically a moderate socialist, and he can create christian trade unions to reform the system without creating a revolution.
Eugenio Pacelli is the Archbishop of Sardes, papal name Pius XII. He is known for his traditionalism and wishes to maintain the order in Rome, his home city.
- Good Old Ways: Pius XII is a traditionalist, and wants to keep the Papal State safe and stable.
- In Spite of a Nail: In OTL, he's the historical pope elected in the late Thirties, with the same papal name (OTL's Pius XII papacy lasted from 1939 to 1958).
Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster is the Archbishop of Milan, papal name Julius IV. He is a stern militarist, and believes in an eleventh crusade against the threat of syndicalism.
- Retcon: Julius IV (the national populist choice for the Pope) was originally Theodor Innitzer, Archbishop of Vienna who collaborated with Austrian fascists in real life. He was replaced by Alfredo Schuster in the Garibaldi's Nightmare update.
- Warhawk: Julius IV is by far the most pro-war Pope, and has news events where he declares a crusade on the Syndicalists.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Julius IV has good intentions of trying to preserve Catholic order when it's under existential threat from the Syndicalists. However, he is very aggressive about it.
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies occupies the Southern regions of Italy, termed Mezzogiorno. Its predecessor was ruled by the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, and existed from 1815 until 1860, when Garibaldi conquered the kingdom and made it part of the Kingdom of Italy. Under the House of Savoy, poverty was rampant in Mezzogiorno. With the Savoy's collapse and Austria's attempt to dismantle Italy, the Bourbons were restored in Mezzogiorno, an act that saw little resistance due to bad memories of Savoyard rule and the coming red tide.
Initially wholly supportive of the Italian Federation system, Two Sicilies (along with Sardinia) left the Federation in 1927 (after long dissatisfaction with the pro-Milan stance of the Federation leadership), when Austria withdrew their protecctive garrisons to deal with their internal issues, amidst rising fears of a socialist invasion due to the recent British Revolution. By 1936, Two Sicilies is in a much better shape than its Civil War-stricken brethren to the North. The Syndicalists remain a threat however, and Two Sicilies may have to prepare itself for another major war on the Italian soil.
- The Empire: If the Two Sicilies defeats all of their enemies on Italy, they can reform Italy into the Italian Empire. Although if this was preceded by a consolidation of Two Sicilies democracy, this is closer to a federation, it just calls itself an Empire because the monarch holds the title of Emperor.
- The Federation: If the Two Sicilies defeats all of their enemies on Italy, they can reform Italy into the Italian Confederation, a government so loose it is represented by the members of the Confederation being puppets.
Sardinia is an island kingdom in the Meditereannean Sea, west of the Italian Peninsula and formerly a part of the Italian Federation. In 1861 the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont, under the House of Savoy, lead the unification of Italy. The defeat of the Kingdom of Italy in the Weltkrieg saw the downfall of the House of Savoy, with their powers crippled by the harsh treaty terms. The House of Savoy were seen by the Italian people as traitors for accepting the treaty and had to go into exile on the island of Sardinia, while the Civil War raged on the Italian peninsula.
The many exiles, royalists and refugees arriving in the island were met with curiosity and suspicion, but fear of a Syndicalist naval invasion loomed hard. Thus, a treaty of protection was signed with France, and since then Sardinia is a member of the Entente. French arms and supplies keep the small kingdom afloat, while political tensions haven't bubbled to surface due to fear of syndicalist threats and a good economic decade, thanks to the island's vast coal reserves.
- Deadly Euphemism: One focus for Sardinia is "Disappear Our Rivals", in which the King approves for all members of the opposition to be given a "Mediterranean Cruise".
- Rightful King Returns: Their goal is to restore the rule of the Savoys either to Piedmont or Italy as a whole.
- The Starscream: If Germany takes over Piedmont, they have the option to offer it to Sardinia in exchange for them leaving the Entente and joining Reichspakt, making them only one of two starting members of the Entente able to betray their allies without having their original government be overthrown before hand, with National France getting the same pitch from Germany. Needless to say, the rest of the Entente don't take kindly to this.
- Vestigial Empire: While true for the entirety of the starting members of the Entente, it is especially true for them. Sardinia is the sole remaining possession of the House of Savoia, who ruled Sardina-Piedmont and then Italy. While civil war engulfed the peninsula immediately after Italian capitulation, Savoia was able to establish a court here outside the reach of the Austrians and the Syndicalist rebels. Sardinia's addition to the game and to the Entente in 0.6 cemented the Entente's fan nickname of "The Empires in Exile Club."