Italy, a southern European peninsula notable for its boot-like shape, has been a nation-state since 1861 when it was united under King Victor Emmanuel II. During World War II its government, at the time under a Fascist dictatorship, aligned itself with Nazi Germany. In 1943 Italy declared the Italian Social Republic, under complete Command of Nazi Germany. At this time Rome was liberated by the Allies. It is now a democratic republic and is a member of the European Union.