World War II

Mussolini's war effort met with setbacks and defeats on all fronts. In July 1943 the Allies invaded Sicily. The Fascist leadership turned against Mussolini, and the king forced him to resign. Rescued by German paratroopers, Mussolini escaped to Salo in northern Italy, where he established a puppet government (the Italian Social Republic) under German protection. In the south, the king and his new prime minister, Pietro Badoglio, surrendered to the Allies in September and then joined in the war against Germany. A fierce and heroic anti-Fascist resistance movement fought in the German-occupied north for two years while underground political leaders organized the anti-Fascists into the Committee of National Liberation (CLN). The Allies pushed the German armies out of Italy with great difficulty, and in April 1945 the partisans captured and executed Mussolini.
Created: November 1996
Updated: 04/07/01
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