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

By Elena Agarossi, Harvey Fergusson II

Drawing on regularly unpublished records, A country Collapses revises the normal figuring out of a serious second within the historical past of worldwide warfare II: the cave in of the Italian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 prior to 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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The Failure of Italian Attempts to Reach a Separate Peace The Italian defeats in Africa and Russia in the second half of 1942 reinforced a hard line among the Allies against granting any con- 32 From a Separate Peace to Unconditional Surrender cessions to Italy. On the other hand, these defeats, especially the one at El Alamein, led to a series of timid attempts by the Italians to establish contact with the Allied forces. There is now an extensive literature on the various Italian moves to sound out Allied intentions regarding an eventual separate peace,55 so that it is not necessary to retell the history of the different Italian emissaries.

According to the British intelligence services, Badoglio attempted to establish contact with the British from May 1942 on,57 but there is no confirmation from Badoglio or other sources, even though he was considered in Italy to be the most likely successor to Mussolini in case of a military coup. The names of others who approached the British are those of Duke Aimone d'Aosta, General Enrico Caviglia and other lesser actors. A special case is that of the Princess Maria Jose, wife of Crown Prince Umberto, who turned to Salazar, Prime Minister of Portugal, as mediator.

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. Roosevelt understood it as a way to make a tabula rasa of the enemy, refusing to recognize whatever government might be in power at that moment and imposing a military administration on that part of its territory which military requirements would have made it necessary to occupy.

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