Events from the year 1944 in Italy.
|See also:||Other events of 1944|
History of Italy • Timeline • Years
From spring to autumn, several free republics are constituted by the Italian partisans (the most important is the Ossola republic), but, at the end of the year, are all fallen under the German and fascist attacks.
In the freed Italy, the first cultural magazines inspired to the antifascist beliefs appear : Aretusa, Mercurio, La nuova Europa and Rinascita (official review of the PCI). In Florence, Italia e Civiltà, voice of the more moderate fascist wing, goes out for a few month.
In spite of the tragic war situation, a fair number of new Italian movies, generally realized before the armistice, goes out in cinemas, (Sorelle Materassi, by Poggioli; The innkeeper, by Chiarini ; La donna della montagna, by Castellani). A limited film production goes on North Italy. Vivere ancora, began by Leo Longanesi in Rome the last year, is completed in Turin by Francesco de Robertis. In Venice, the authorities of the Italian Social Republic try to establish a new Cinecittà, called Cinevillaggio but the studios realize only a dozen of movies, of poor artistic value. In Rome, Vittorio De Sica directs The gates of heaven, produced by the Vatican. The processing of the movie, protracted for seven months, allows many antifascists, as De Sica himself, to wait in relative tranquility the liberation of the city.
The Battle of Ancona was a battle involving forces from Poland serving as part of the British Army and German forces that took place from 16 June–18 July 1944 during the Italian campaign in World War II. The battle was the result of an Allied plan to capture the city of Ancona in Italy in order to gain possession of a seaport closer to the fighting so that they could shorten their lines of communication. The Polish 2nd Corps was tasked with capture of the city on 16 June 1944, accomplishing the task a month later on 18 July 1944.Battle of Cisterna
The Battle of Cisterna took place during World War II, on 30 January–2 February 1944, near Cisterna, Italy, as part of the Battle of Anzio, part of the Italian Campaign. The battle was a clear German victory which also had repercussions on the employment of U.S. Army Rangers that went beyond the immediate tactical and strategic results of the battle.
During this battle, the 1st, 3rd, and 4th U.S. Army Ranger battalions, the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion, and the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, which had been brigaded as the 6615th Ranger Force (Provisional) commanded by Colonel William O. Darby, were assigned to support the renewal of an attack by Major General Lucian Truscott's 3rd Infantry Division, which had previously failed to take Cisterna from 25–27 January. The 3rd Division's attack was part of a large offensive by Major General John Lucas's U.S. VI Corps to break out of the Anzio beachhead before German reinforcements could arrive and concentrate for a counterattack.Battle of Gemmano
The Battle of Gemmano was fought between the German and Allied forces in World War II. It was part of the Allies' Operation Olive, the offensive in August 1944 on the Gothic Line, the German line of defence in the Apennines in northern Italy. It consisted of a series of four British attacks between 4 September to 15 September 1944, on the German defences in and around the village of Gemmano. The village itself was taken on 9 September during the second attack, two more actions being required to take the surrounding area. Fighting was heavy, and the Battle of Gemmano has been called the "Cassino of the Adriatic" by some historians.Bolzano Transit Camp
The Bolzano transit camp (German: Polizei- und Durchgangslager Bozen) was a Nazi concentration camp active in Bolzano between 1944 and the end of the Second World War. It was one of the largest Nazi Lager on Italian soil, along with those of Fossoli, Borgo San Dalmazzo and Trieste.Bombing of Rome in World War II
The bombing of Rome in World War II took place on several occasions in 1943 and 1944, primarily by Allied and to a smaller degree by Axis aircraft, before the city was invaded by the Allies on June 4, 1944. Pope Pius XII was initially unsuccessful in attempting to have Rome declared an open city, through negotiations with President Roosevelt via Archbishop (later Cardinal) Francis Spellman. Rome was eventually declared an open city on August 14, 1943 (a day after the last Allied bombing) by the defending forces.The bombings of the "Eternal City" were controversial for several reasons. Rome had been the capital city of Italy for around 70 years, but large parts of the city were more than 2,500 years old. The neutral Vatican City sat within Rome, and the Vatican also owned many churches and other buildings outside its territory but within Rome city limits. Many Americans were against a major destruction of Rome. However, the British War Cabinet refused to see bombing Rome as a crime against humanity. The first bombardment occurred on July 19, 1943 and was carried out by 500 American bombers which dropped 1,168 tons of bombs. The entire working class district of San Lorenzo was destroyed, and 3,000 Italian civilians were killed in the raids over five residential/railway districts. The military targets were few, the largest Stazione Termini contained a marshaling yard, railways and industries that manufactured steel, textile products and glass. Winston Churchill approved the bombardment by the words "I agree, W.S.C. 16.7.43." In the 110,000 sorties that comprised the Allied Rome air campaign, 600 aircraft were lost and 3,600 air crew members died; 60,000 tons of bombs were dropped in the 78 days before Rome was captured by the Allies on June 4, 1944.Bombing of Treviso in World War II
The bombing of Treviso took place on 7 April 1944, during World War II. 159 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress of the United States Army Air Force (escorted by Lockeed P-38 Lightning fighters) dropped over 2,000 bombs during an attack which lasted five minutes (from 1.24 PM to 1.29 PM); the target was the local marshalling yard, but the inaccuracy of the bombing caused most of the bombs to fall all over the city, destroying most of it. Out of 4,600 buildings, 700 were destroyed, 1,100 heavily damaged and 1,962 slightly damaged. A large part of the medieval parts of the city centre were destroyed; the medieval Palazzo dei Trecento, distant only 700 meters from the objective, was partly destroyed.
Between 1,000 and 1,600 civilians were killed, including 123 children.
The attackers lost one B-17, shot down by anti-aircraft guns of the nearby airport.As the bombing occurred on Good Friday, fascist propaganda called the day "passion of Christ and of Treviso".
Giuseppe Berto's novel The Sky is Red and the film with the same name are set during the bombing of Treviso and its aftermath.Capistrello massacre
The Capistrello massacre (Italian: eccidio di Capistrello) was a mass killing carried out in Capistrello, a small town in Abruzzo, Italy, on 4 June 1944 by Nazist and Fascist occupation troops during World War II. A first tragical episode occurred a few months earlier on 20 March, when a local youth was barbarically tortured and then shot. The following roundup made by Nazists and Fascists on the slopes of Mount Salviano led to the capture and torture of 33 shepherds and breeders. The shooting occurred near Capistrello railway station.Italian Social Republic
The Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italiana, pronounced [reˈpubblika soˈtʃaːle itaˈljaːna]; RSI), popularly and historically known as the Republic of Salò (Italian: Repubblica di Salò [reˈpubblika di saˈlɔ]), was a German puppet state with limited recognition that was created during the later part of World War II, existing from the beginning of German occupation of Italy in September 1943 until the surrender of German troops in Italy in May 1945.
The Italian Social Republic was the second and last incarnation of the Italian Fascist state and was led by Duce Benito Mussolini and his reformed anti-monarchist Republican Fascist Party which tried to modernise and revise fascist doctrine into a more moderate and sophisticated direction. The state declared Rome its capital, but was de facto centered on Salò (hence its colloquial name), a small town on Lake Garda, near Brescia, where Mussolini and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were headquartered. The Italian Social Republic exercised nominal sovereignty in Northern and Central Italy, but was largely dependent on German troops to maintain control.
In July 1943, after the Allies had pushed Italy out of North Africa and subsequently invaded Sicily, the Grand Fascist Council—with the support of King Victor Emmanuel III—overthrew and arrested Mussolini. The new government began secret peace negotiations with the Allied powers. When the Armistice of Cassibile was announced 8 September, Germany was prepared and quickly intervened. Germany seized control of the northern half of Italy, freed Mussolini and brought him to the German-occupied area to establish a satellite regime. The Italian Social Republic was proclaimed on 23 September 1943. Although the RSI claimed sovereignty over most of Italian territory, its de facto jurisdiction only extended to a vastly reduced portion of Italy. The RSI received diplomatic recognition from only Germany, Japan and their puppet states.
Around 25 April 1945–nineteen months after the RSI's founding–it all but collapsed. In Italy, this day is known as Liberation Day (festa della liberazione). On this day a general partisan uprising, alongside the efforts of Allied forces during their final offensive in Italy, managed to oust the Germans from Italy almost entirely. On 27 April, partisans caught Mussolini, his mistress (Clara Petacci), several RSI ministers and several other Italian Fascists while they were attempting to flee. On 28 April, the partisans shot Mussolini and most of the other captives. The RSI Minister of Defense Rodolfo Graziani surrendered what was left of the Italian Social Republic on 1 May, one day after the German forces in Italy capitulated, putting a definitive end to the Italian Social Republic.Marzabotto massacre
The Marzabotto massacre was a World War II war crime consisting in a mass murder of at least 770 civilians by Nazi troops, which took place in the territory around the small village of Marzabotto, in the mountainous area south of Bologna. It was the largest massacre of civilians committed by the Waffen SS in Western Europe during the war. It is also the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Italy.National Liberation Committee
The National Liberation Committee (Italian: Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale, CLN) was a political umbrella organization and the main representative of the Italian resistance movement fighting against the German occupation of Italy in the aftermath of the armistice of Cassibile. It was a multi-party entity, whose members were united by their anti-fascism.Operation Diadem
Operation Diadem, also referred to as the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino or, in Canada, the Battle of the Liri Valley, was an offensive operation undertaken by the Allies of World War II (U.S. Fifth Army and British Eighth Army in May 1944, as part of the Italian Campaign of World War II. Diadem was supported by air attacks called Operation Strangle. The opposing force was the German 10th Army.
The object of Diadem was to break the German defenses on the Gustav Line (the western half of the Winter Line) and open up the Liri Valley, the main route to Rome. General Sir Harold Alexander, Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Allied Armies in Italy (AAI), planned Diadem to coordinate roughly with the invasion of Normandy, so that German forces would be tied down in Italy, and could not be redeployed to France.
Four corps were employed in the attack. From right to left these were Polish II Corps and British XIII Corps, of Eighth Army, and the Free French Corps (including Moroccan Goumiers) and U.S. II Corps, of Fifth Army. Fifth Army also controlled U.S. VI Corps in the Anzio beachhead, some 60 miles northwest.
Diadem was launched at 23:00pm on 11 May 1944 by elements, composed of the British 4th Infantry Division and 8th Indian Infantry Division with supporting fire from the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade. They made a successful strongly opposed night crossing of the Garigliano and Rapido rivers. This broke into the heart of the German defenses in the Liri valley against strong opposition and drew German theater reserves reducing pressure on the Anzio beachhead. The Free French Corps pushed through the mountains to the left on 14 May, supported by U.S. II Corps along the coast. On 17 May, Polish II Corps on the right attacked Monte Cassino.
The German position collapsed, and the Germans fell back from the Gustav Line to the Hitler Line some 10 miles to their rear.
On 23 May, the four corps attacked the Hitler Line. On the same day, the U.S. VI Corps attacked out of the Anzio beachhead.
The Hitler Line was breached by 1st Canadian Infantry Division's 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards at Pontecorvo on 23 May. German Tenth Army was forced to retire northwestward. U.S. VI Corps, moving northeast from Anzio, was on the point of cutting the German line of retreat, when Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, commander of the U.S. Fifth Army, inexplicably ordered them to turn northwest and advance on Rome instead. There is much speculation that he did this so that his Fifth Army would capture Rome ahead of the Eighth Army advancing up the Liri Valley. The German 10th Army thus avoided being surrounded.
The Germans fought a series of delaying actions, retired to the Trasimene Line, and then to the Gothic Line (identified on German maps as the "Green" Line), north of the Arno River.Operation Maple (Italy)
Operation Maple was a series of World War II operations in Italy in support of the Anzio landings. It comprised operations by the British Special Air Service (2 SAS), starting on 7 January 1944. Thistledown was successful but Driftwood failed and its objective had to be destroyed later by Operation Baobab. None of the members of the first two parties returned safely, either being captured or going missing.To support the Anzio landings, it was required to cut rail links north of Rome and elsewhere on the east coast. Rail lines around Terni and Orvieto were to be attacked by four men of Operation Thistledown but all the team was captured. Driftwood consisted of two four man teams to cut the lines between Urbino and Fabriano and Ancona and Rimini. Their fate is unknown but they are thought to have drowned or been captured and executed. A reinforcement party (Baobab) was landed by sea on 30 January and destroyed a bridge between Pesaro and Fano.Operation Partridge
Operation Partridge was a British Commando raid during the Second World War. It was carried out during the Italian Campaign by No. 9 Commando as a diversionary raid behind the German lines, to cover the withdrawal of the X Corps in preparation for its proposed assault across the Garigliano river.
No. 9 Commando were landed on the north shore of the estuary by the Royal Navy during the night of 29/30 December 1943. They were 95 minutes late and 1,000 yards (910 m) away from their correct landing beach. The commando attacked several German positions before withdrawing across the river in DUKWs, apart from No.4 and No.6 troops who had to cross 2,700 yards (2,500 m) upriver by using ropes and swimming. The operation cost the commando nine killed but they did capture 29 prisoners.Operational Zone of the Alpine Foothills
The Operational Zone of the Alpine Foothills (German: Operationszone Alpenvorland (OZAV); Italian: Zona d'operazione Prealpi) was a Nazi German district in the sub-Alpine area created in Italian territory during World War II.Piazza Tasso massacre
The Piazza Tasso massacre (Italian: Eccidio in Piazza Tasso) was a massacre that occurred on July 17, 1944, at Piazza Tasso in Florence, Tuscany, Italy.Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre
The Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre was a Nazi German war crime committed in the hill village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema in Tuscany, Italy, in the course of an operation against the Italian resistance movement during the Italian Campaign of World War II. On 12 August 1944 the Waffen-SS, with the help of the Brigate Nere, murdered about 560 local villagers and refugees, including more than hundred children, and burned their bodies. These crimes have been defined as voluntary and organized acts of terrorism by the Military Tribunal of La Spezia and the highest Italian court of appeal.Tenerani
Tenerani (foaled April 14, 1944 in Italy) was a Champion Thoroughbred racehorse who raced in Italy and in England. Bred by Lydia & Federico Tesio, he was named for the Italian sculptor, Pietro Tenerani. His dam was Tofanella, a foundation broodmare for the Tesio's Dormello Stud in Dormelletto, Italy. Damsire Apelle, owned and bred by Tesio, was one of the first horses from Italy to meet with success in racing outside the county. Tenerani's sire, Bellini, was also bred and raced by Federico Tesio and whose wins included the 1940 Derby Italiano.
Trained by Federico Tesio, Tenerani was winner at age two in 1946, and in 1947 the Italian 3-Yr-Old Champion Colt. Sent to compete in England in 1948, he won the Goodwood Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a precursor of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Tenerani raced and won in Italy at age five in 1949 before being retired to stud duty. In 1951 he was sent to stand at stud in England where he most notably sired Ribot, widely regarded as one of the great horses in the history of Thoroughbred racing.Winter Line
The Winter Line was a series of German and Italian military fortifications in Italy, constructed during World War II by Organisation Todt and commanded by Albert Kesselring. The series of 3 lines was designed to defend a western section of Italy, focused around the town of Monte Cassino, through which ran the important Highway 6 which led uninterrupted to Rome. The primary Gustav Line ran across Italy from just north of where the Garigliano River flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, through the Apennine Mountains to the mouth of the Sangro River on the Adriatic coast in the east. The two subsidiary lines, the Bernhardt Line and the Hitler Line ran much shorter distances from the Tyrrehnian sea to just North East of Cassino where they would merge into the Gustav Line. Relative to the Gustav Line, the Hitler Line stood to the North-West and the Bernhardt Line to the South-East of the primary defenses.
The Gustav Line, though ultimately broken, effectively slowed the Allied advance for months between December 1943 and June 1944. Major battles in the assault on the Winter Line at Monte Cassino and Anzio alone resulted in 98,000 Allied casualties and 60,000 Axis casualties.
1944 in Europe
and other territories