In this powerful history, Philip Morgan tells the dramatic story of Mussolini's fall from power in July 1943, illuminating both the causes and the consequences of this momentous event.
Morgan recounts how King Emanuel first ousted Mussolini and how Germany then succeeded in putting him back in place, this time as a puppet of the Nazis. The resulting chaos included fighting by anti-fascist rebel groups, retributions on all sides, and mini civil wars throughout the country. When Germany finally surrendered, Italy was in complete disarray. The book shines light on how common people responded to and coped with the extraordinary pressures of wartime living and with the invasion, occupation, and division of their country by warring foreign powers. Morgan's descriptions of little known events from Italy's war, as well as vivid eye-witness reports from people who hid Jews, fought in the resistance, and killed collaborators, clearly show how much the country suffered during this time. And it proves how crucial the experience of this period was in shaping Italy's post-war sense of nationhood and its transition to democracy.
The book also debunks the myths that arose after the war, which depicted the nation as almost entirely anti-Fascist, with the heroes of the resistance movement fighting to rid their country first of Mussolini, then of their German occupiers. In truth, the situation surrounding Mussolini's removal from power, return to power, and eventual execution was far more complicated. This book presents an accurate history of Italy during the war years, rather than what Italians imagine or want their actions to have been.
"A clear and sensitive account of a forgotten conflict. Takes readers well past the jokes and romance which demean most other interpretations of Fascist Italy's war." --Richard Bosworth, author of Mussolini