A Nation Collapses: The Italian Surrender of September 1943 by Elena Agarossi, Harvey Fergusson II

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By Elena Agarossi, Harvey Fergusson II

Drawing on normally unpublished records, A kingdom Collapses revises the conventional knowing of a serious second within the background of worldwide battle II: the cave in of the Italian fascist regime and Italy's unconditional quit in September 1943. The booklet argues that, in the course of their mystery negotiations earlier than the overthrow of Mussolini in July 1943, either Italy and Britain negotiated in undesirable religion and with loads of duplicity. The ensuing misunderstandings and misjudgments ended in an without warning lengthy and brutal crusade of conquest following Italy's quit.

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Total forces: Italian, 315,000: German 90,000, making total 405,000 soldiers. Our forces: Seventh Army, 6 divisions, including airborne division; Eighth Army, 7 divisions, including airborne and armoured brigades, making Allied total 13 divisions.. It can be assumed that all Italian forces in island on July 10 have been destroyed, though a few battered units may have escaped to mainland. It is impossible yet to estimate booty and war material captured. "82 Actually, in spite of this triumphant tone, the fact that the German troops had fully succeeded in withdrawing from the island was certainly not to be considered in a positive light, because the Allies would be facing at Salerno the same troops they had not been able to stop or capture in Sicily.

64 The idea of a separate peace between Germany and the USSR continued to dominate Mussolini's plans, so much so that barely four hours before his arrest he asked Japanese Ambassador Hidaka for his government's mediation. 65 It is known that Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Giuseppe Bastianini was pressuring Mussolini first to find a way to get Italy out of the conflict, in conjunction with the Hungarians and Romanians, and later to establish contact with the Anglo-Americans. 67 Some Fascist leaders moved without Mussolini's knowledge.

In any event, the document illustrates the debate within the British government on the attempt to apply the principle of unconditional surrender. The same question was to be posed with regard to retaining the emperor when the Japanese surrender was under discussion. The most immediate issue before the American and British governments in the spring of 1943, however, was that of drafting an instrument of surrender to be imposed on Italy in case it decided to capitulate. The attention given the issue brought out the difference between the two governments' understanding of the meaning of unconditional surrender.

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