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When was the Pact of steel?

22nd May 1939


When/what was the Nazi-Soviet pact?

-23 August 1939
-made it clear that invasion of Poland was inevitable
-M linked fascism to militarism and so would look hollow if he avoided war
-M knew he did not have the military strength needed to join a war


What happened on the 26 August 1939?

-M asked H for 170m tonnes of goods
-H released M from pact of steel in return for psychological support


What happened on 3 September 1939?

-Br and Fr declare war on Gr
-M does not join, but declares "non-beligarance"


When did Mussolini enter the war?

-10 June 1940
-entered on side of Germany. Based on idea of parallel war'


What happened with France?

-they requested an armistice on 17 June 1940, before Italians had even attacked French territory
-M demanded various territories (e.g. Corsica and Somalia) but was not invited to the armistice signing so only got two small French towns


What happened in North Africa 1940?

-campaign launched September 1940
-Italian forces in Libya attacked the British in Egypt
-Had some early successes


What happened in North Africa 1941?

-January: 30,000 Br troops defeated almost 250,000 Italian troops
-by May they had lost Abyssinia, Somalia and Eritrea

-380,000 Italian troops surrendered and taken prisoner. Huge blow to propaganda

-Germany forced to intervene in February


What happened in North Africa 1943?

-forced to retreat after battle of El Alamein
-May 1943: surrender, and allies prepare for invasion of Italy


What happened in the Mediterranean?

-poor coordination. Italian planes bombed own ships in July 1940
-Italian navy crippled by air attack on port of Taranto in Nov 1940


what happened in Greece?

-launched attack on 28 October 1940
- did not tell Hitler
- assumed Greece only had 30,000 soldiers, so attacked with 60,000
--> Greece actually had 300,000
-air force and navy not coordinated
-weather conditions bad


what were the effects of the Greek invasion?

-Greeks invaded a quarter of Albania
-32,000 Italians killed
-100,000 wounded


how would you summarise Italian involvement in WW2?

-Mussolini said "we are incapable of doing anything"
-failed to achieve aims of parallel war
-propaganda couldn't hide truth from people


how did military unpreparedness contribute to Italian failure during WW2?

-army was small and outdated
-1,500 armored cars and light tanks, not enough for campaign in North Africa
-USA could produce more planes in a week than Italy could in year
-only had 1000 effective planes


how did leadership of the military contribute to Italian failure during WW2?

-generals steeped in defensive traditions of WW1
-language problems led to low morale
-training academies were outdated. Still trained in old tactics


how did Mussolini's leadership contribute to Italian failure during WW2?

-only prepared for a short war
-made himself minister of war, navy and air force, but did not consult experts
-promoted officers for obedience rather than merit
-spent more time learning German and with mistress than meeting generals


how did economic weakness contribute to Italian failure during WW2?

-autarky not achieved
-food production fell. Rations fell to 1000 calories/day
-economy only worked at 25% capacity during war
-raw materials were in shortage


What happened when the allies invaded Italy?

-13 May 1943: allies occupy Tunisia, giving them a route to Sicily
-19 July: M asked H to transfer troops from eastern front but he does not
--> allies bomb Rome, leaving 1500 dead
-17 August: have control of Sicily


How did ideas of peace arise?

-in late 1942, Grandi and Ciano raise idea of seeking peace with the allies
-in 1943 the Vatican and king began secret peace talks with the allies


How was Mussolini removed from power?

on 16 July 1943 M was convinced to call a grand council
-motion to remove M was passed 19 to 7
-M ignored vote
-King told him he was replaced with Badoglio


when was Mussolini taken to prison?

25th July 1943


Why did the allies invade Rome?

-3rd September: Badoglio promised to surrender and base 60,000 troops around Rome

-8th september: had not done so. Confused army surrendered


Why did Germany declare war on Italy?

-they surrender
-In Greece, 48000 Italian soldiers were shot for resisting the German army
-12th september: Italy was declared at war with Germany


Why did it take 9 months for the allies to capture Rome?

-poor weather and harsh terrain
-April 1944: 6 divisions diverted to France for D Day
-finally captured June 4th 1944


When was Mussolini rescued from Gran Sasso?

-45 days between arrest and rescue by aerial raid
-Germans took control of Rome
-Mussolini rescued 12 September 1943


What happened on the 15 September 1943?

-The Salo Republic formed
-had lost faith in M
-Partisans and the conservatives (e.g. church) posed a threat


what was it like to live in the Salo republic?

-brutal regime with fearful militia. Like Fascisms 1919 manifesto
-Verona manifesto classes all Jews as the enemy. Nearly 7000 executed
-Brutal civil war between partisans and RSI forces


What happened in the south of Italy after the war was over?

-King established the kingdom of the south (AMG)
-under control of allies but conservative elites kept their power. Moderate fascism
-Badoglio replaced by Bonomi
-50,000 forced to join the army


How did Mussolini die?

-by 1944 the RSI were clearly losing
-M was very ill, and attempted escape on 27th Dec 1944
-Arrested by Partisans
-Him and Petacci shot on 28th April 1945
-displayed outside petrol station in Milan


What happened with the Civil war in Italy once Mussolini was dead?

-civil war continues until 2nd May 1945
--> economy and infrastructure ruined
--> half a million Italians killed
-majority of fighting in North - widened divide