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On 10 July 1943, the Anglo-American forces landed in Sicily in order to bring the final blow to a Reich in increasing difficulty. The fascist reg… Read More
On 10 July 1943, the Anglo-American forces landed in Sicily in order to bring the final blow to a Reich in increasing difficulty. The fascist regime, already in crisis for some months because of the many defeats suffered, was filed by those who, although not the only architects of its success, had however allowed its official establishment. The king, with the support of all moderate components of the regime (industrialists, military chiefs, hierarchs of the monarchical-conservative wing) and some members of the pre-fascist political world, trying to carry Italy out from an almost lost war and to save his institutional role, after a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council, held between 24 and 25 July 1943, when the party substantially decided the end of the political power of the Duce, convened, on July 25, Mussolini and, after invited him to submit formal resignation, arrested him. At the head of government was appointed the former army commander, Marshal Pietro Badoglio. The jubilation with which people greeted the news is not found, however, reflected in subsequent events. Italy was still formally at war with the Allies, even though in secret it was preparing to negotiate the surrender, actually signed on 3 September 1943, but announced only on 8. What followed was chaos. The king, claiming ridiculous reasons such as to preserve Rome from attacks by allies, fled to Brindisi, putting himself under the protection of the Anglo-Americans just arrived in Puglia; the army, without orders from Badoglio, was confronted as enemies with the old Germans allies, meanwhile came down numerous to occupy the peninsula. Many soldiers were killed and about six hundred thousand were made prisoners. On 12 September a German commandos freed Mussolini from his prison on the Gran Sasso Mountain. After few days the recently deposed Duce re-founded the Fascist Party, establishing the "Italian Social Republic", with its capital at Salò on Lake Garda, allied with the Germans. With the Anglo-American blocked along the German defensive line, named Gustav, intersecting the peninsula from Gaeta , in southern Lazio, to the mouth of the river Sangro, in Abruzzo, northern-center Italy plunged into one the toughest stages of the war. Already from 8 September in these areas had come to creating a movement of armed resistance against the occupying Germans troops, under pressure from illegal units related with parties declared illegal under fascism. The rows of these formations, not yet organized in any way, included anti-fascists of the first hour as people believe that liberation from the Germans were coming, as young gone into hiding to escape the leverage imposed by the Social Republic. The formalization of the movement, under the auspices of the National Liberation Committee (formed by the Communist Party, the Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity, from newborns Christian Democrats, Liberal Democrats and Labour Democracy, by the newly formed Action Party), formed during the days after the armistice, not immediately gave the groups holed up in the mountains the organization that they needed. The limited availability of weapons, but also the lack of adequate logistical support provided by an organized network of contacts with the population, as it developed later, made the winter of 1943 particularly hard for those who had decided to pursue the partisan's struggle. The subsequent organization into brigades, named according to the preponderance of political orientation in them, and the arrival in some areas of good field commanders (in the case of Aligi Barducci, nicknamed "Potente", on the mountains around Florence) led to an increase in the military weight of the partisan, engaged in a war against Nazi occupation forces and in real civil war against troops loyal to Mussolini, whose main task was precisely to hunt down and fight partisans. In continuing to the Allied advance to the north, 24 April 1944, on the initiative of the Communist Party secretary Palmiro Togliatti, convinced of the priority of the liberation of Italy by the Germans against the need to set aside the monarchy in favor of the republic, was formed the first government of national unity, deployed alongside the Anglo-Americans, formed by the CLN and chaired by Badoglio. At the same time the King Vittorio Emanuele III undertook, once freed Rome, to surrender his powers to his son Umberto. In June 1944, with the liberation of Rome, the Lieutenant-General of the kingdom was taken over by Umberto II, while General Badoglio resigns as head of government, in favour of a new national unity government, a direct offshoot of the National Liberation Committee, chaired by Ivanoe Bonomi. Past the hard winter between 1943 and 1944, the partisan's groups assumed ever greater weight in the fight against the occupying Germans, subsequently to the achievement of a greater internal organization and logistics, and the enlargment of their ranks with the arrival in the mountains of an increasing number of draft dodgers in escape from the numerous calls of the army of Salo. With the advance of the allied front brigades guerrilla attacks against Nazi troops led to more and more decisive, arriving to deal with the Anglo-Americans to enter for first and free major cities like Florence. After the liberation of the Tuscan capital (August 11, 1944) the local partisan brigades disbanded, their effects still eager to fight against the nazi-fascists, and not prevented by the immediate need to go get food for theriselves and their family, came together in the newborn Italian army under the command of CLN, sided with allies on the difficult front of the Gothic Line, a series of fortifications and troop concentrations located along the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic Sea. The loss of importance of the southern front in the advance towards Germany, combined with the difficulty of breaking the German defensive line, brought a halt along the Gothic Line. Meanwhile, the partisan groups of northern Italy continued their incessant action of attrition against the fascists and Nazis, despite the latter's bloody reprisals against the local population. Emblematic the case of Marzabotto town in the Bolognese Appenins, where, between September 29 and October 5, 1944, the Germans killed in retaliation 1836 people. The breaching of the Gothic Line on river Sarno, near Rimini, and along the way that leads to Bologna, finally opened the field to the advancing of the Italian and allies' armies; in the spring of 1945, the partisan groups, survived numerous raids and attacks by Germans and fascists during the harsh winter '44-'45, formed by about two hundred thousand headcount, proclaimed the general insurrection that lead to the liberation of Milan April 25, 1945, with the final withdrawal of the German contingent and the defeat of fascists of Salò. Read Less
Portraits of Italian Partisans who fought against nazist - fascist troops during the Second World War.
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