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The Independent State of Croatia (Croatian: Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, NDH) was a puppet state of Nazi Germany. It was established on April 10, 1941, after the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was attacked by the Axis forces. It was technically a monarchy and Italian protectorate under its Italian-born King Aimone, Duke of Aosta ("Tomislav II") from the signing of the Rome agreements on May 19, 1941 up until the Italian capitulation on September 8, 1943, but the state was controlled by the governing fascist Ustaše movement which in turn was under significant German influence. Italy exercised significant influence in areas under Italian military forces, including central Dalmatia which was made an Italian territory according to irredentist claims and Italy forbade the country from building any significant navy as a means to promote the Italian Fascist agenda of Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) that would ensure Italian naval supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea. Italian influence collapsed in 1943, with the ousting of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

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