The Armistice of Cassibile was an armistice signed on 3 September 1943 by Walter Bedell Smith and Giuseppe Castellano, and made public on 8 September, between the Kingdom of Italy and the Allies during World War II. It was signed at a conference of generals from both sides in an Allied military camp at Cassibile in Sicily, which had recently been occupied by the Allies. The armistice was approved by both King Victor Emmanuel III and Italian Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio. The armistice stipulated the surrender of Italy to the Allies.
After its publication, Germany retaliated against Italy, freeing Mussolini and attacking Italian forces in Italy, the South of France and the Balkans. Italian forces were quickly defeated and most of Italy was occupied by German troops, establishing a puppet state, the Italian Social Republic. In the meanwhile the King, the government and most of the navy reached territories occupied by the Allies.
In the spring of 1943, preoccupied by the disastrous situation of the Italian military in the war, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini removed several figures from the government whom he considered to be more loyal to King Victor Emmanuel III than to the Fascist regime. These moves by Mussolini were described as slightly hostile acts to the king, who had been growing increasingly critical of the war.
To help carry out his plan, the King asked for the assistance of Dino Grandi. Grandi was one of the leading members of the Fascist hierarchy and, in his younger years, he had been considered to be the sole credible alternative to Mussolini as leader of the National Fascist Party. The King was also motivated by the suspicion that Grandi's ideas about Fascism might be changed abruptly. Various ambassadors, including Pietro Badoglio himself, proposed to him the vague possibility of succeeding Mussolini as dictator.
The secret frondeur later involved Giuseppe Bottai, another high member of the Fascist directorate and Minister of Culture, and Galeazzo Ciano, probably the second most powerful man in the Fascist party and Mussolini's son-in-law. The conspirators devised an Order of the Day for the next reunion of the Grand Council of Fascism (Gran Consiglio del Fascismo) which contained a proposal to restore direct control of politics to the king. Following the Council, held on 25 July 1943, where the "order of the day" was adopted by majority vote, Mussolini was summoned to meet the King and dismissed as Prime Minister. Upon leaving the meeting, Mussolini was arrested by carabinieri and spirited off to the island of Ponza. Badoglio took the position of Prime Minister. This went against what had been promised to Grandi, who had been told that another general of greater personal and professional qualities (Enrico Caviglia) would have taken the place of Mussolini.
The appointment of Badoglio apparently did not change the position of Italy as Germany's ally in the war. However, many channels were being probed to seek a peace treaty with the Allies. Meanwhile, Hitler sent several divisions south of the Alps, officially to help defend Italy from allied landings but in reality to control the country.
Three Italian generals (including Giuseppe Castellano) were separately sent to Lisbon in order to contact Allied diplomats. However, to start out the proceedings the Allies had to solve a problem concerning who was the most authoritative envoy: the three generals had in fact soon started to quarrel about the question of who enjoyed the highest authority. In the end, Castellano was admitted to speak with the Allies in order to set the conditions for the surrender of Italy. Among the representatives of the Allies, there was the British ambassador to Portugal, Sir Ronald Hugh Campbell, and two generals sent by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the American Walter Bedell Smith (Eisenhower's Chief of Staff) and the British Kenneth Strong (Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence).
On 27 August Castellano returned to Italy and, three days later, briefed Badoglio about the Allied request for a meeting to be held in Sicily, which had been suggested by the British ambassador to the Vatican.
To ease communication between the Allies and the Italian Government, a captured British SOE agent, Dick Mallaby, was released from Verona prison and secretly moved to the Quirinale. It was vital that the Germans remained ignorant of any suggestion of Italian surrender and the SOE was seen as the most secure method in the circumstances.
Badoglio still considered it possible to gain favourable conditions in exchange for the surrender. He ordered Castellano to insist that any surrender of Italy be conditioned on a landing of Allied troops on the Italian mainland (the Allies at this point were holding only Sicily and some minor islands).
On 31 August General Castellano reached Termini Imerese, in Sicily, by plane and was subsequently transferred to Cassibile, a small town in the neighbourhood of Syracuse. It soon became obvious that the two sides in the negotiations had adopted rather distant positions. Castellano pressed the request that the Italian territory be defended from the inevitable reaction of the German Wehrmacht against Italy after the signing. In return, he received only vague promises, which included the launching of a Parachute division over Rome. Moreover, these actions were to be conducted contemporaneously with the signing and not preceding it, as the Italians had wanted.
The following day Castellano was received by Badoglio and his entourage. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Baron Raffaele Guariglia declared that the Allied conditions were to be accepted. Other generals like Giacomo Carboni maintained however that the Army Corps deployed around Rome was insufficient to protect the city, due to lack of fuel and ammunition, and that the armistice had to be postponed. Badoglio did not pronounce himself in the meeting. In the afternoon he appeared before the King, who decided to accept the armistice conditions.
A confirmation telegram was sent to the Allies. The message, however, was intercepted by the German armed forces, which had long since begun to suspect that Italy was seeking a separate armistice. The Germans contacted Badoglio, who repeatedly confirmed the unwavering loyalty of Italy to its German ally. His reassurances were doubted by the Germans, and the Wehrmacht started to devise an effective plan (Operation Achse) to take control of Italy as soon as the Italian government had switched allegiance to the Allies.
On 2 September Castellano set off again to Cassibile with an order to confirm the acceptance of the Allied conditions. He had no written authorisation from the head of the Italian Government, Badoglio, who wanted to dissociate himself as much as possible from the forthcoming defeat of his country.
The signing ceremony began at 14:00 on 3 September. Castellano and Bedell Smith signed the accepted text on behalf of respectively Badoglio and Eisenhower. A bombing mission on Rome by five hundred airplanes was stopped at the last moment: it had been Eisenhower's deterrent to accelerate the procedure of the armistice. Harold Macmillan, the British government's representative minister at the Allied Staff, informed Winston Churchill that the armistice had been signed "without amendments of any kind".
Only after the signing had taken place was Castellano informed of the additional clauses that had been presented by General Campbell to another Italian general, Zanussi, who had also been in Cassibile since 31 August. Zanussi, for unclear reasons, had not informed Castellano about them. Bedell Smith, nevertheless, explained to Castellano that the further conditions were to have taken effect only if Italy had not taken on a fighting role in the war alongside the Allies.
On the afternoon of the same day, Badoglio had a briefing with the Italian Ministers of Navy, Air Forces and War, and with the King's representatives as well. However, he omitted any mention of the signing of the armistice, referring only to ongoing negotiations.
The day of entry into force of the armistice was linked to a planned landing in Central Italy and was left to Allied discretion. Castellano still understood the date intended to be 12 September and Badoglio started to move troops to Rome.
On 7 September, a small Allied delegation reached Rome to inform Badoglio that the next day would have been the day of the armistice. He was also informed about the pending arrival of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division into airports around the city. Badoglio told this delegation that his army was not ready to support this landing and that most airports in the area were under German control; he asked for a deferral of the armistice of a few days. When General Eisenhower learned of this, the landing in Rome of American troops was cancelled, but the day of the armistice was confirmed since other troops were already en route by sea to land on southern Italy.
When the armistice was announced by Allied radio, on the afternoon of 8 September, German forces immediately attacked Italian forces by executing Operation Achse; the majority of the Italian Army had not been informed about the armistice and no clear orders had been issued about the line of conduct to be taken in the face of the German armed forces. Some of the Italian divisions that should have defended Rome were still in transit from the south of France. The King, along with the royal family and Badoglio, fled Rome on the early morning of the 9th, taking shelter in Brindisi, in the south of the country. The initial intention had been to move army headquarters out of Rome together with the King and the prime minister, but few staff officers reached Brindisi. In the meanwhile the Italian troops, without instructions, collapsed and were soon overwhelmed, and some small units decided to stay loyal to the German ally. Between 8 and 12 September, German forces therefore occupied all of the Italian territory still not under Allied control except Sardinia and part of Apulia, without meeting great organized resistance. In Rome, an Italian governor, with the support of an Italian infantry division, nominally ruled the city until 23 September but in practice, the city was under German control from 11 September.
On 3 September, British and Canadian troops had crossed the Strait of Messina and begun landing in the southernmost tip of Calabria in Operation Baytown. The day after the armistice was made public, 9 September, the Allies made landings at Salerno and at Taranto.
The Allies failed to take full advantage of the Italian armistice and they were quickly checked by German troops. In terrain that favoured defence, it took 20 months for the Allied forces to reach the northern borders of Italy.
Some of the Italian troops based outside of Italy, in the occupied Balkans and Greek islands, were able to stand some weeks after the armistice but without any determined support by the Allies, they were all overwhelmed by the Germans by the end of September 1943. On the island of Cephalonia, the Italian Acqui Division was massacred after resisting German forces. Only on the islands of Leros and Samos, with British reinforcements, did the resistance last until November 1943, and in Corsica Italian troops forced German troops to leave the island.
In other cases individual Italian units of various size stayed on the Axis side. Many of these units formed the nucleus of the armed forces of the Italian Social Republic.
While Italy's army and air force virtually disintegrated with the announcement of the armistice on 8 September, the Allies coveted the country's navy with 206 ships in total, including the battleships Roma, Vittorio Veneto and Italia (known as the Littorio until July 1943). There was a danger that some of the Italian Navy might fight on, be scuttled or, of more concern for the Allies, end up in German hands. As such, the truce called for Italian warships on Italy's west coast, mostly located at La Spezia and Genoa, to sail for North Africa (passing Corsica and Sardinia); and for those at Taranto, in the heel of Italy, to sail for Malta.
At 02:30, on 9 September, the three battleships Roma, Vittorio Veneto and Italia, "shoved off from La Spezia escorted by three light cruisers and eight destroyers". When German troops who had stormed into the town to prevent the defection became enraged by these ships' escape, "they rounded up and summarily shot several Italian captains who, unable to get their vessels under way, had scuttled them". That afternoon German bombers attacked the ships, sailing without air cover, off Sardinia, launching guided bombs; several ships suffered damage and Roma sank with the loss of nearly 1,400 men. Most of the remaining ships made it safely to North Africa, "while three destroyers and a cruiser which had stopped to rescue survivors, docked in Menorca." The Italian navy's turnover proceeded more smoothly in other areas of Italy. When an Allied naval force headed for the big naval base of Taranto, they watched a flotilla of Italian ships sailing out of Taranto harbour towards surrender at Malta.
An agreement between the Allies and the Italians in late September provided for some of the Italian Navy to be kept in commission, but the battleships were to be reduced to care and maintenance, effectively disarmed. Italian mercantile marine vessels were to operate under the same general conditions as those of the Allies. In all cases, the Italian vessels would retain their Italian crews and fly Italian flags.
The 50th Infantry Division Regina was an infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. The Regina Division was a regular division of the Italian Army. It was formed on 1 March 1939 in the Italian Islands of the Aegean and formally dissolved in the same place 11 September 1943, although some sub-units continued to fight until 16 November 1943.Action off Bastia
The Action off Bastia (French: bataille navale de Pietracorbara) was a naval battle fought on 9 September 1943 off Bastia in the Mediterranean Sea. It was one of the few successful Italian reactions to Operation Achse, and one of the first acts of resistance by the Italian armed forces against Nazi Germany after the armistice of Cassibile.Blackshirts
The Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (MVSN, "Voluntary Militia for National Security"), commonly called the Blackshirts (Italian: Camicie Nere, CCNN, singular: Camicia Nera) or squadristi (singular: squadrista), was originally the paramilitary wing of the National Fascist Party and, after 1923, an all-volunteer militia of the Kingdom of Italy under Fascist rule. Its members were distinguished by their black uniforms (modelled on those of the Arditi, Italy's elite troops of World War I) and their loyalty to Benito Mussolini, the Duce (leader) of Fascism, to whom they swore an oath. The founders of the paramilitary groups were nationalist intellectuals, former army officers and young landowners opposing peasants' and country labourers' unions. Their methods became harsher as Mussolini's power grew, and they used violence and intimidation against Mussolini's opponents. In 1943, following the fall of the Fascist regime, the MVSN was integrated into the Royal Italian Army and disbanded.Cassibile
Cassibile may refer to:
Cassibile (village), a village and frazione of the comune of Syracuse, Sicily
Armistice of Cassibile, armistice between Italy and the Allies of World War II
Cassibile (river), a river of the province of Syracuse, in SicilyCorpo d'Armata Motocorazzato
Corpo d'Armata Motocorazzato (English: Motorised and armoured army corps) was an Italian military unit established on 25 July 1943.
The unit was led by general Giacomo Carboni.Felice Platone
Felice Platone (born 11 January 1896 in Rignano Flaminio, Italy, d. October 8, 1962 in Asti, Italy) was an Italian politician, partisan and lawyer. He earned a laurea di giurisprudenza (equivalent to an LL.B.) at the University of Turin Department of Law.
Mobilized during both World War I and World War II, Platone, known by his nom de guerre “Gamba” during and after the Second World War Italian resistance movement, was discharged with the rank of major of artillery. During the 18-year Mussolini dictatorship, the legal profession did not hinder Platone from performing clandestine anti-fascist activities. Not surprisingly, immediately after the 1943 Armistice of Cassibile, “Gamba” was among the organizers of the Asti Resistance.A member of the anti-fascist National Liberation Committee, Platone served as mayor of Asti (1945–1951) after Italian liberation. He was a Communist (PCI) member of the Constituent Assembly of Italy from 25 June 1946 to 31 January 1948, and from 8 May 1948 until 24 June 1953, he was a member of the Italian Senate.Platone was credited with implementing a coherent plan for the city's postwar reorganization and enhancement of its cultural traditions through public works programs and improving conditions for the lower classes in health care, welfare, education and the supply of basic necessities. After a September 1948 flood and subsequent storm in the Piedmont region, he led an immediate emergency response and secured city council approval of a recovery plan for the most hard-hit neighbourhoods. Platone also supported cultural institutions and arranged a 1949 celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Italian poet and dramatist Vittorio Alfieri, who had been a native of Asti.Filippo Illuminato
Filippo Illuminato (21 August 1930 – 28 September 1943) was an Italian partisan who died attacking Nazi German troops during the Four days of Naples towards the end of World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valour, Italy's highest award for gallantry.
On 3 September 1943, the Allies and the Kingdom of Italy signed the Armistice of Cassibile. On 8 September, it became publicly known, and Nazi Germany reacted by attacking Italy, their former Axis ally. On 13 September, the Nazi military governor of Naples ordered disarmament, and a curfew, and threatened savage retaliation for any attack on his men. On 26 September, the city rose in insurrection (the Four days of Naples). When the Allies entered Naples on 1 October, the Nazis had gone.
Illuminato came from a poor Neapolitan family. After finishing elementary school, he took a job as an apprentice mechanic in a vehicle repair shop. His Gold Medal citation reads:Combattente tredicenne nella insurrezione di Napoli contro l'invasione tedesca, solo e con sublime ardimento, mentre gli uomini fatti cercavano riparo, muoveva incontro ad un'autoblinda che dalla piazza Trieste e Trento stava per imboccare via Roma. Lanciata una prima bomba a mano, continuava ad avanzare sotto il fuoco nemico e lanciava ancora un'altra bomba prima di cadere crivellato di colpi. Suprema, nobile temerarietà che solleva il ragazzo tredicenne fra gli eroi della Patria e che viene additata con fierezza al ricordo di Napoli e dell’Italia tutta. — Napoli, Piazza Trieste e Trento, 28 settembre 1943.
An English translation:A thirteen-year-old fighter in the insurrection of Naples against the German invasion, alone and with sublime boldness, while the men sought shelter, he attacked an armoured car that was about to enter Via Roma from Piazza Trieste and Trento. After throwing one hand grenade, he advanced under enemy fire, and threw a second grenade before falling riddled with bullets. Such supreme, noble recklessness elevates this thirteen-year-old boy to a place among the heroes of the Fatherland, and he is to be acknowledged with pride in the memory of Naples and of all Italy. - Naples, Piazza Trieste e Trento, 28 September 1943.
His name is commemorated in a street in Naples, Via Filippo Illuminato, and in a high school in Mugnano di Napoli, Scuola Filippo Illuminato.Fourth Army (Italy)
The Italian Fourth Army was an Italian army formation, in World War I, facing Austro-Hungarian and German forces, and in World War II, occupying Southern France.French destroyer Trombe
Trombe was a Bourrasque-class destroyer (torpilleur d'escadre) built for the French Navy during the 1920s.
After France surrendered to Germany in June 1940 during World War II, Trombe served with the navy of Vichy France. She was among the ships of the French fleet scuttled at Toulon, France, on 27 November 1942. She later was salvaged and repaired by the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy), who christened the ship FR 31. When the Armistice of Cassibile was signed, the repairs were still underway and Free France requested the return of the vessel upon completion of the work. On October 28 1943, the Trombe moved to Bizerte, once again under French command.
On April 16, 1945, off the coast of Liguria, the Trombe came under attack by a MT explosive motorboat and MTSM motor torpedo boat of the Marina Nazionale Repubblicana. MTM 548 struck the Trombe starboard, killing 20 men and causing severe damage. She was successfully towed to Toulon, where the damaged was ruled irreparable. The Trombe was stricken and scrapped in 1950.German occupied territory of Montenegro
The German occupied territory of Montenegro was the area of the Italian governorate of Montenegro occupied by German forces in September 1943, after the Armistice of Cassibile; in which the Kingdom of Italy capitulated and joined the Allies. Italian forces retreated from the governorate, and from neighbouring Albania. German forces occupied Montenegro, along with Albania, and the territory remained under German occupation until December 1944, during which the Germans and their local collaborators fought against the Yugoslav Partisans. After the Germans withdrew from Montenegro, the fascist leader Sekula Drljević, attempted to create a government-in-exile in the neighbouring Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which was a German quasi-protectorate. Drljević also created the Montenegrin People's Army, a military force set up by him and the Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelić. However, his government-in-exile, the Montenegrin State Council, was dissolved after the fall of the NDH government. Montenegro was later taken over by the Yugoslav Partisans of Josip Tito, and became part of the new Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.Hotel Campo Imperatore
The Hotel Campo Imperatore, also known as Albergo di Campo Imperatore, is a hotel on top of Campo Imperatore at 2,130 metres (6,990 ft) altitude on the slopes of Monte Portella, in the massif of Gran Sasso d'Italia, within the municipality of L'Aquila.
It was designed in the 1930s by Italian engineer Vittorio Bonadè Bottino.
The structure is famous for having been Benito Mussolini's prison between August 28 until September 12, 1943, following the armistice of Cassibile, until his liberation by the German paratroopers as part the Gran Sasso raid. Today, it is the main resort of a ski resort of the same name, and a starting point for hiking on the western side of the Gran Sasso.Italian Civil War
The Italian Civil War (Italian: La guerra civile) is the period between September 8, 1943 (the date of the armistice of Cassibile), and May 2, 1945 (the date of the surrender of German forces in Italy) in which the Italian Resistance and the Italian Co-Belligerent Army joined the allies fighting Axis forces including continuing Italian Fascist Italian Social Republic.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.List of World War II puppet states
During World War II a number of countries were conquered and controlled. Some of these countries were then given new names, and assigned new governmental leaders which were loyal to the conquering country. These countries are known as puppet states. Germany and Japan were the two countries with the most puppet states. Italy also had several puppet states. Most of the Allies (with the exception of the Soviet Union) did not have many puppet states.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.Semovente da 75/34
The Semovente da 75/34 was an Italian self-propelled gun developed and used during World War II. It was a 75 mm L/34 gun mounted on a M15/42 tank chassis. It saw action during the defence of Rome in 1943 and later served with the Germans in Northern Italy and the Balkans. 141 were produced during the war (60 before the Armistice of Cassibile in September 1943, 81 later under German control).Seventh Army (Italy)
The Italian Seventh Army was an Italian Army which was formed in World War I and World War II.Teresio Vittorio Martinoli
Teresio Vittorio Martinoli, MOVM, (26 March 1917 – 25 August 1944) was an Italian World War II fighter pilot in the Regia Aeronautica and in the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force (ICBAF).
During the war, he fought over Libya and Tunisia, in North Africa, on Malta, and was involved in the defence of the Italian mainland. Martinoli has been credited with 22 air victories and 14 shared destroyed in 276 sorties. Flying the Fiat C.R.42 biplane and Macchi C.202 and C.205 monoplanes, he shot down: a Gloster Gladiator, Bristol Blenheims, Hawker Hurricanes, Curtiss P-40s, Spitfires, and a Junkers Ju 52, the last after the Armistice of Cassibile.
He lost his life in a flying accident on 25 August 1944, while converting from the C.205 to the P-39 Airacobra.
Invasion of Sicily