|Italian Civil War|
|Part of The Italian Campaign in World War II|
Italian Civil War scene. Partisan hanged by republican fascists of the Decima Flottiglia MAS . The sign says "He attempted with weapons to shoot the Decima".
|Commanders and leaders|
| Benito Mussolini |
Rodolfo Graziani (POW)
Junio Valerio Borghese
Raffaele Cadorna, Jr.
Alcide De Gasperi
Italian Co-belligerent Army:
|Casualties and losses|
(June–August 1944 only)
unknown wounded, captured, and missing
21,168 seriously wounded
|~80,506 civilians killed|
The Italian Civil War (Italian: La guerra civile) is the period between September 8, 1943 (the date of the armistice of Cassibile), and May 2, 1945 (the date of the surrender of German forces in Italy) in which the Italian Resistance and the Italian Co-Belligerent Army joined the allies fighting Axis forces including continuing Italian Fascist Italian Social Republic.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
The Armistice of Cassibile was an armistice signed on 3 September 1943 by Walter Bedell Smith and Giuseppe Castellano, and made public on 8 September, between the Kingdom of Italy and the Allies during World War II. It was signed at a conference of generals from both sides in an Allied military camp at Cassibile in Sicily, which had recently been occupied by the Allies. The armistice was approved by both King Victor Emmanuel III and Italian Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio. The armistice stipulated the surrender of Italy to the Allies.
The Surrender of Caserta of April 29, 1945 was the written agreement that formalized the surrender of German forces in Italy, ending the Italian Campaign of World War II. The document, signed at the Royal Palace of Caserta, was to become effective on May 2, 1945.
Claudio Pavone's book Una guerra civile. Saggio storico sulla moralità della Resistenza (A Civil War. Historical Essay On the Morality Of the Resistance), published in 1991, led the term Italian Civil War to become a widespread term used in Italianand international historiography. Although the term had been used before, in the early 1990s it became accepted.
Claudio Pavone was an Italian historian and archivist.
The confrontations between the factions resulted in the torture and death of many civilians. During the Italian Campaign, partisans were supplied by the Western Allies with small arms, ammunition and explosives. Allied forces and partisans cooperated on military missions, parachuting or landing personnel behind enemy lines, often including Italian-American members of OSS. Other operations were carried out exclusively by secret service personnel. Where possible, both sides avoided situations in which Italian units of opposite fronts were involved in combat episodes. In rare cases, clashes between Italians involved partisans and fascists of various armed formations.
The Italian resistance movement is an umbrella term for Italian resistance groups during World War II. It was opposed to the forces of Nazi Germany as well as their puppet state local regime, the Italian Social Republic, especially following the German military occupation of Italy between September 1943 and April 1945, though the resistance to the Fascist Italian government began even prior to World War II. The movement that rose among Italians of various social classes is also known as the Italian resistance and the Italian partisans, and the brutal conflict they took part in is referred to as the Italian Liberation War or as the Italian Civil War. The modern Italian Republic was declared to be founded on the struggle of the Resistance.
The Allies of World War II, called the "United Nations" from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a wartime intelligence agency of the United States during World War II, and a predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The OSS was formed as an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for all branches of the United States Armed Forces. Other OSS functions included the use of propaganda, subversion, and post-war planning. On December 14, 2016, the organization was collectively honored with a Congressional Gold Medal.
The first groups of partisans were formed in Boves (Piedmont) and Bosco Martese (Abruzzo). Other groups composed mainly of Slavic and communist elements sprang up in Venezia Giulia. Others grew around Allied Yugoslav and Soviet prisoners of war, released or escaped from captivity following the events of September 8. These first organized units soon dissolved because of the rapid German reaction. In Boves, Piedmont, the Nazis committed their first massacre on Italian territory.
Boves is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Turin and about 6 kilometres (4 mi) south of Cuneo. It borders the following municipalities: Borgo San Dalmazzo, Cuneo, Limone Piemonte, Peveragno, Robilante, Roccavione, and Vernante.
Piedmont is a region in northwest Italy, one of the 20 regions of the country. It borders the Liguria region to the south, the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions to the east and the Aosta Valley region to the northwest; it also borders Switzerland to the northeast and France to the west. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres (9,808 sq mi) and a population of 4,377,941 as of 30 November 2017. The capital of Piedmont is Turin.
Abruzzo or Abruzzi is a region of Southern Italy with an area of 10,763 square km and a population of 1.2 million. It is divided into four provinces: L'Aquila, Teramo, Pescara, and Chieti. Its western border lies 80 km (50 mi) east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Geographically, Abruzzo is divided into a mountainous area in the west, which includes the Gran Sasso d'Italia, and a coastal area in the east with beaches on the Adriatic Sea.
On September 8, hours after the radio communication of the armistice, several antifascist organizations converged on Rome. They were Ivanoe Bonomi (PDL), Scoccimarro and Amendola (PCI), De Gasperi (DC), La Malfa and Fenoaltea (PDA), Nenni and Romita (PSI), Ruini (DL), Casati (PLI). They formed the first Committee of National Liberation (CLN). Bonomi took over the presidency.
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.
Ivanoe Bonomi[iˈvaːnoe boˈnɔːmi] was an Italian statesman before and after World War II and ruled Italy as the 25th Prime Minister of Italy.
Giorgio Amendola was an Italian writer and politician.
The Italian Communist Party was anxious to take the initiative without waiting for the Allies:
The Italian Communist Party was a communist political party in Italy.
‹See Tfd› (in Italian)...è necessario agire subito ed il più ampiamente e decisamente possibile perché solo nella misura in cui il popolo italiano concorrerà attivamente alla cacciata dei tedeschi dall'Italia, alla sconfitta del nazismo e del fascismo, potrà veramente conquistarsi l'indipendenza e la libertà. Noi non possiamo e non dobbiamo attenderci passivamente la libertà dagli angloamericani. -
"... It's necessary to act immediately and as widely and decisively as possible, because only if the Italian People actively contribute to push out Germans from Italy and to defeat Nazism and Fascism, it will be really able to get independence and freedom. We can not and must not passively expect freedom from the British and the Americans."
The Allies did not believe in the guerillas' effectiveness, so General Alexander postponed their attacks against the Nazis. On 16 October the CLN issued its first important political and operational press release,which rejected the calls for reconciliation launched by Republican leaders. CLN Milan asked "the Italian people to fight against the German invaders and against their fascists lackeys".
In late November, the Communists established task forces called Distaccamenti d'assalto Garibaldi which later would become brigades and divisionswhose leadership was entrusted to Luigi Longo, under the political direction of Pietro Secchia and Giancarlo Pajetta, Chief of Staff. The first operational order dated 25 November ordered the partisans to:
Shortly after the Armistice, the Italian Communist Party,the Gruppi di Azione Patriottica ("Patriotic Action Groups") or simply GAP, established small cells whose main purpose was to unleash urban terror through bomb attacks against fascists, Germans and their supporters. They operated independently in case of arrest or betrayal of individual elements. The success of these attacks led the German and Italian police to believe they were composed of foreign intelligence agents. A public announcement from the PCI in September 1943 stated:
To the tyranny of Nazism, that claims to reduce to slavery through violence and terror, we must respond with violence and terror.— Appeal of PCI to the Italian People, September 1943
The GAP's mission was claimed to be delivering "justice" to Nazi tyranny and terror, with emphasis on the selection of targets: "the official, hierarchical collaborators, agents hired to denounce men of the Resistance and Jews, the Nazi police informants and law enforcement organizations of CSR", thus differentiating it from the Nazi terror. However, partisan memoirs discussed the "elimination of enemies especially heinous", such as torturers, spies and provocateurs. Some orders from branch command partisans insisted on protecting the innocent, instead of providing lists of categories to be hit as individuals deserving of punishment. Part of the Italian press during the war agreed that murders were carried out of most moderate Republican fascists, willing to compromise and negotiate, such as Aldo Resega, Igino Ghisellini , Eugenio Facchini and the philosopher Giovanni Gentile.
Women also participated in the resistance, mainly procuring supplies, clothing and medicines, anti-fascist propaganda, fundraising, maintenance of communications, partisan relays, participated in strikes and demonstrations against fascism. Some women actively participated in the conflict as combatants.
The first detachment of guerilla fighters rose up in Piedmont in mid-1944 as the Garibaldi Brigade Eusebio Giambone. Partisan forces varied by seasons, German and fascist repression and also by Italian topography, never exceeding 200,000 men actively involved, with an important support by residents of occupied territories. Nonetheless it was an important factor that immobilized a conspicuous part of German forces in Italy, and to keep German communication lines insecure.
When the Italian Resistance movement began following the armistice, with various Italian soldiers of disbanded units and many young people not willing to be conscripted into the fascist forces, Mussolini's Italian Social Republic (RSI) also began putting together an army. This was formed with what was left of the previous Regio Esercito and Regia Marina corps, fascist volunteers and drafted personnel. At first it was organized into four regular divisions (1ª Divisione Bersaglieri Italia – light infantry, 2ª Divisione Granatieri Littorio – grenadiers, 3ª Divisione fanteria di marina San Marco – marines, 4ª Divisione Alpina Monterosa – mountain troops), together with various irregular formations and the fascist militia Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana (GNR) that in 1944 were brought under the control of the regular army.
The fascist republic fought against the partisans to keep control of the territory. The Fascists claimed their armed forces numbered 780,000 men and women. This is disputed and sources indicated that there were no more than 558,000.Partisans and their active supporters numbered 82,000 in June 1944.
In addition to regular units of the Republican Army and the Black Brigades, various special units of fascists were organized, at first spontaneously and afterward from regular units that were part of Salò's armed forces. These formations, often including criminals,adopted brutal methods during counterinsurgency operations, repression and retaliation.
Among the first to form was the banda of the Federal Guido Bardi and William Pollastrini in Rome, whose methods shocked even the Germans.In Rome the Banda Koch helped dismantle the clandestine structure of the Partito d'Azione. The so-called Koch Band led by Pietro Koch, then under the protection of General Kurt Maltzer, the Rome region military commander, distinguished themselves with violent methods against anti-fascist partisans. After the fall of Rome, Koch moved to Milan. He gained the confidence of Interior Minister Guido Buffarini Guidi and continued his repressive activity in various Republican police forces. In Tuscany and Veneto operated the Banda Carità, a special unit constituted within the 92nd Legion Blackshirts, which became famous for violent repression, such as the killings of Piazza Tasso" in 1944 in Florence.
In Milan, the Squadra d'azione Ettore Muti (later Autonomous Mobile Legion Ettore Muti) operated under the orders of the former army corporal Francesco Colombo, already expelled from the PNF for embezzlement. Considering him dangerous to the public, in November 1943, the Federal (i.e., fascist provincial leader) Aldo Resega wanted to depose him, but was killed by an attack of GAP. Colombo remained at his post, despite complaints and inquiries. On August 10, 1944 Squadrists of Muti together with the GNR perpetrated the massacre of Piazzale Loreto in Milan. The victims were fifteen anti-fascist rebels, killed in retaliation for an assault against a German truck. Following the massacre, the mayor and chief of the Province of Milan, Piero Parini, resigned in an attempt to strengthen the cohesion of moderate forces, who were undermined by the heavy German repression and various militias of Social Republic.
The chain of command of the National Republican Army was composed of Marshall Graziani and his deputies Mischi and Montagna. They controlled the repression and coordinated anti-partisan actions of the regular troops, the GNR, the Black Brigades and various semi-official police, together with the Germans, who made the reprisals. The Republican Army was an operational tool also thanks to the Graziani call-up for conscription that impressed several thousand Italians. Graziani were only nominally involved in the armed forces under the apolitical CSR, by the armed forces supreme command.
On July 25, 1943, Mussolini was deposed and arrested. King Victor Emmanuel III imposed Pietro Badoglio as Prime Minister. At first, the new government supported the Axis. Demonstrations celebrating the change were violently repressed. Italy surrendered to the Allies on September 8. Victor left Rome with his Cabinet, leaving the Army without orders. Up to 600,000 Italian soldiers were taken as prisoners by the Nazis and the greatest part of them (about 95%) refused allegiance to the newly established Italian Social Republic (RSI), a fascist state with Benito Mussolini as Head of Government created on September 23. This was made possible by the German occupation of the Italian peninsula via Operation Achse, planned and led by Erwin Rommel. This period featured military and terrorist episodes along with political rivalries among the antifascists. After the armistice with Italy, British forces had two perspectives: that of liberals, who supported democratic parties attempting to overthrow the monarchy, and that of Churchill, who preferred a defeated enemy to a newly recruited ally.The parties were reconstituted after September 8. "Even in this situation over the months the life of the parties was very difficult in the South during years 1943 and 1944 and above all, they (parties) were scarcely able to break through apathy that characterized local populations". The rest of "the great majority of farmers referred to the parish structures". Resources were concentrated to push propaganda among the masses in the Liberated Areas, featuring the common denominator of ending fascist support. Prefecture reports confirmed the recruitment of former fascists in the ranks of newly constituted parties.
Fascist units disputed for territory with partisan units, often sustained by German forces. Fascists predominated in cities and plain zones, supported by heavy arms, while small partisan units predominant in mountainous areas with better cover, where large formations could not maneuver effectively.
Many violent episodes followed, sometimes pitting fascists against fascists and partisans against partisans. Well known among these is the Porzûs massacre. Communist partisans of the division Natisone (the SAP brigade 13 martiri di Feletto), attached to the Yugoslavian XI Corpus by orders of Togliatti,after reaching the command of one of the many Osoppo Brigades, massacred 20 partisans and a woman, claiming that they were German spies. Among these was commander Francesco De Gregori and brigade commissioner Gastone Valente.
The forces of the Italian Social Republic struggled to keep the insurgency under wraps, resulting in a heavy toll on the German occupation forces stationed to buttress them. Field Marshall Kesselring estimated that from June to August 1944 alone, Italian partisans inflicted a minimum of 20,000 casualties on the Germans (5,000 killed, 7,000 to 8,000 captured/missing, and the same number wounded), while suffering far lower casualties themselves.Kesselring's intelligence officer supplied a higher figure of 30,000 - 35,000 casualties from Partisan activity in those three months (which Kesselring considered too high): 5,000 killed and 25,000-30,000 missing or wounded.
Defeats at the hands of Anglo-American forces left the Germans, and by extension the Italian fascists, increasingly weaker in Italy, until by April their front was collapsing and rear lines were very lightly defended. The Italian partisans took advantage of this with a wide-scale uprising in late April, attacking the retreating Germans and RSI forces. On April 26 Genoa fell, with 14,000 Italian partisans forcing the city's surrender and taking 6,000 German soldiers as prisoners. 25,000 partisans captured Milan the same day, with Turin falling two days later on April 28. Mussolini attempted to withdraw to the mountains on April 27, but was caught by the partisans and killed.Fascist forces surrendered fully on May 2, 1945 after an agreement made with the Allies on April 30, before Germany's surrender to the Allies on May 7, 1945.
Following the civil war, many soldiers, executives and sympathizers of the fascist Repubblica Sociale were subjected to show trials and executed. Others were killed without a proper trial. Civilians were also killed. Among them were people wrongly accused of collaboration by others who wanted revenge over private grudges. Minister of Interior Mario Scelba estimated the number killed to be 732,but historians dispute this estimate. German historian Hans Woller claimed some 12,060 were killed in 1945 and 6,027 in 1946. Ferruccio Parri said the fascist casualties were as high as 30,000.
Violence decreased after the so-called Togliatti amnesty in 1946.
The participation of Italy in the Second World War was characterized by a complex framework of ideology, politics, and diplomacy, while its military actions were often heavily influenced by external factors. Italy joined the war as one of the Axis Powers in 1940, as the French surrendered, with a plan to concentrate Italian forces on a major offensive against the British Empire in Africa and the Middle East, while expecting the collapse of the UK in the European theatre. The Italians bombed Mandatory Palestine, invaded Egypt and occupied British Somaliland with initial success. However, German and Japanese actions in 1941 led to the entry of the US and the USSR in the War, thus ruining the Italian plan and postponing indefinitely the objective of forcing Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement.
In Albania, World War II began with its invasion by Italy in April 1939. Fascist Italy set up Albania as its protectorate or puppet state. The resistance was largely carried out by Communist groups against the Italian and then German occupation in Albania. At first independent, the Communist groups united in the beginning of 1942, which ultimately led to the successful liberation of the country in 1944.
The Italian Social Republic, popularly and historically known as the Republic of Salò, was a German puppet state with limited recognition that was created during the later part of World War II, existing from the beginning of German occupation of Italy in September 1943 until the surrender of German troops in Italy in May 1945.
The Italian campaign of World War II consisted of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945. The Joint Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre and it planned and led the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, followed in September by the invasion of the Italian mainland and the campaign in Italy until the surrender of the German Armed Forces in Italy in May 1945.
The Corpo Ausiliario delle Squadre d'azione di Camicie Nere, most widely known as the Black Brigades was one of the Fascist paramilitary groups, organized and run by the Republican Fascist Party operating in the Italian Social Republic, during the final years of World War II, and after the signing of the Italian Armistice in 1943. They were officially led by Alessandro Pavolini, former Minister of Culture (MINCULPOP) of the fascist era during the last years of the Kingdom of Italy.
Giustizia e Libertà was an Italian anti-fascist resistance movement, active from 1929 to 1945. The movement was founded by Carlo Rosselli. Ferruccio Parri – who later became Prime Minister of Italy, and Sandro Pertini – who later became President of Italy were among the movement's leaders.
Army Liguria was an army formed for the National Republican Army. The ENR was the national army of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's Italian Social Republic. Formation of this RSI army started in 1943 and the army was disbanded in 1945. Army Group Liguria included several German units and its Italian units were sometimes transferred to German formations.
The 29th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS also Legione SS Italiana was an SS formation of Nazi Germany during World War II. It was originally created in the puppet Italian Social Republic in 1943 as the Italian Legion, later renamed to a brigade. The unit was upgraded to division status on 10 February 1945.
The National Republican Army was the army of the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945 that fought on the side of Nazi Germany during World War II.
The Four days of Naples refers to the popular uprising in the Italian city of Naples between 27 and 30 September 1943 against the German forces occupying the city during World War II, immediately before the arrival of the first Allied forces in Naples on 1 October. The attacks by the townsfolk and the Italian Resistance on the occupying forces, despite limited arms and planning, disrupted German plans for mass deportations, large scale destruction and potentially resistance to Allied forces approaching the city and, for these actions, the city was awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor.
Operation Achse, originally called Operation Alaric, was the codename for the German plan to forcibly disarm the Italian armed forces after the armistice with the Allies in 1943. Several German divisions had entered Italy after the fall of Benito Mussolini in July 1943, while Italy was officially still an ally of Germany, despite the protests of the new Italian government under Pietro Badoglio.
The Battle of Garfagnana, known to the Germans as Operation Winter Storm and nicknamed the "Christmas Offensive", was an offensive of Axis forces on the western sector of the Gothic Line during World War II. It took place in December 1944 in the north Tuscan Apennines, near Massa and Lucca.
This is a list of words, terms, concepts, and slogans in the Italian language and Latin language which were specifically used in Fascist Italian monarchy and Italian Social Republic.
The Committee of National Liberation for Northern Italy was set up by partisans behind German lines in the Italian Social Republic, a Nazi German puppet state in Northern Italy. It enjoyed the loyalty of most anti-fascist groups in the region.
The Holocaust in Italy was the persecution, deportation, and murder of Jews between 1943 and 1945 in the Italian Social Republic, the part of the Kingdom of Italy occupied by Nazi Germany after the Italian surrender on September 8, 1943, during World War II.
The death of Benito Mussolini, the deposed Italian fascist dictator, occurred on 28 April 1945, in the final days of World War II in Europe, when he was summarily executed by an Italian partisan in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra in northern Italy. The generally accepted version of events is that Mussolini was shot by Walter Audisio, a communist partisan who used the nom de guerre of "Colonel Valerio". However, since the end of the war, the circumstances of Mussolini's death, and the identity of his killer, have been subjects of continuing confusion, dispute and controversy in Italy.
The Second Battle of the Alps was a military campaign fought between combined German and Italian Social Republic forces, and the re-established French Republic led by Charles de Gaulle.
Two of the three Axis powers of World War II—Nazi Germany and their Fascist Italian allies—committed war crimes in the Kingdom of Italy.
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