The Second World War and the fall of Mussolini

What were the three main factors that contributed to the fall of Mussolini?
Public disillusionment with Mussolini, Emergence of anti-fascist groups, Fear of military defeat and invasion
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Who were the main individuals and groups who abandoned Mussolini?
Industrialists, Army, Monarchy, Grandi, Ciano, De Bono
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How was public opinion to enter the war in June 1940?
Divided - they did not need to be told about fascism's lack of preparedness for a prolonged war:they could see evidence around them - faith in Duce had been shattered - further fighting - ^GR control
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Food became short as grain imports fell - gov refused to introduce rationing - prices rose dramatically - introduced in 1941 but by then stocks were low
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The emergence of opposition groups
Opposition groups, from communist to catholic began to emerge. Still small and disorganised but in early 1943 shortages and anti-war sentiment led to a wave of strikes
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How did some key Fascists and major industrialists view the war by late 1942?
Inclined to make peace - realisation that Mussolini would not contemplate this, and that the allies would not negotiate with him, led them to the belief that the Duce must go-He could be a sacrifice or a scapegoat
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Allied invasion of Sicily
July 1943 - final straw for Mussolini's support
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The Grand Council meeting that voted Mussolini out
24th July 1943 - Voted 19-7 to ask the king to restore all those powers to parliament,ministers and the Grand Council that Mussolini had taken away
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How did the King react to the Grand Council vote to get rid of Mussolini?
Told Mussolini that he was 'the most hated man in Italy', he declared the war was lost and that Badoglio would take over to make peace - Duce was arrested - Fascist regime collapsed - Bloodless coup
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When did Mussolini and his mistress join a group of German soldiers fleeing to Austria?
25th April 1945
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When and where did Mussolini and his mistress get captured by the partisans?
27th April 1945, near the village of Dongo on Lake Como
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When was Mussolini executed by Communist partisans?
28th April 1945
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What happened to Mussolini after he was executed?
The bodies were taken to Milan and left in a suburban square, the Piazzale Loreto, were they hung upside down above a service station - humiliating and ignominious end for the Duce
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When did Italy enter the Second World War?
June 1940
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When did Italy invade Egypt?
September 1940
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When did Italy invade Greece?
October 1940
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When were Italian forces defeated in East Africa?
April 1941
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When did the Axis forces retreat from Egypt?
October 1942
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When was Libya abandoned by Italian forces?
January 1943
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When was Mussolini dismissed and arrested?
25 July 1943
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When did Italy sign an armistice with the allies?
8 September 1943
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When was Mussolini freed from prison by Germans?
12 September 1943
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When did Mussolini proclaim the new Fascist state: Italian Social Republic?
15 September 1943
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When was the civil war in German occupied Italy?
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The first post-war gov?
Set up June 1945 - first since 1922 - coalition gov under Ferruccio Pari, a resistance hero, and included his own Action Party, together with Socialists,Communists and Christian Democrats
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When did Christian Democrats begin to dominate post-war Italian gov?
November 1945
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The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy
Operation Grapeshot-final allied attack during the Italian campaign, The attack into the Lombardy Plain by the 15th Allied army group started on 6 April 1945, ending on 2 May 1945 with the formal surrender
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Battle of Bologna
The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy - 9-21 April - Allied forces victorious
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Battle of Argenta Gap
The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy - 12-19 April 1945
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Battle of Collecchio
The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy - 26-29 April 1945-fought 8miles from Parma - Allies defeated Axis forces who were attempting to break through to the north: 15,000 GR and IT soldiers surrendered on 29 April
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The post-war peace settlement
Italy lost empire in Africa,Fiume-Yugoslavia,Had to pay $360m to Yugo,Albania,Greece and Ethiopia,During 1948 USA provided $2b in aid to get Italian economy back on its feet
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Why did USA and UK not demand any reparations from Italy in the post-war peace settlement?
Partly in recognition of the anti-Fascist resistance and partly due to the fear that communism might grow in Italy
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What happened to Fascists after the war?
No bloodbath - however some executions of former party secretaries such as Farinacci
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When was Ferruccio Pari replaced in the post-war coalition gov and by who?
Replaced in November by Alicide De Gasperi of the Christian Democrats-this party would dominate Italian politics for the next 40 years
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The June 1946 elections for a constituent assembly
Would draw up a new constitution for Italy: Christian Democrats 35%, Socialists 21%, Communists 19%, Liberals 7%
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What happened to the Monarchy after the war?
54% of Italians voted for a republic - Members of the royal family (House of Savoy) left the country immediately
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Impact of the Second World War on Italy 1940-3?
Military defeats - Greece 1940, North Africa 1940-3, East Africa 1941. Economic problems - Food shortages, Inflation. Public disillusionment with Mussolini
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The Italian attack on British forces in Egypt September 1940
Led by Graziani - campaign was a disaster - by Dec on the verge of collapse
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How did Rommel assist in the Italian invasion of North Africa?
Arrived in Libya Feb 1941-Panzer and motorised infantry gave Italians the firepower and leadership needed
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How many of the Italian forces did Rommel command in North Africa?
100,000 Italian troops, 7,000 trucks supplying munitions - 1,000 Italian guns and 151 Italia aircraft
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How did the Italian forces in North Africa compare to the British?
1940-Italians 6:1 ratio of artillery to infantry, British 8:1, 1941 10:1 - almost doubled firepower for Rommel, which was not available to Graziani's forces in the initial invasion
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Italian submarine warfare
Italy had one of the largest submarine forces in the world-117 submarines in 1940, only 7 out of date-Patrolled Atlantic,Med,Red/Black sea,Indian Ocean,Comparable to German U boats when considering ratio of attacks to ships sunk
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Were Italian submarines effective?
Out of 173 documented attacks - sank 129 merchant ships totalling nearly 700,000 tons - 13 warships totalling nearly 25,000 tons
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Italia involvement in the Battle of Britain
Oct 1940-Mussolini sent 200 aircraft into Belgium to conduct Italy's share of bombing, Inferior quality-just 1500 pounds of bombs/aircraft,Found British radar difficult,Within 4month no aircraft cut by 25% - 54 tons of ordnance dropped,883 sorties
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Regia Aeronautica
Agile aircraft and daring pilots well respected by enemy,2nd country to test jet-powered aircraft,Possessed 1 of the best torpedo bombers produced during war - Shot down 2500 aircraft and 400 on the ground, sinking 200 merchant and 100 enemy ships
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How many aircraft was Italy able to produce between 1940-43?
Only 11,500
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Italian involvement in the Eastern Front
Entire eighth army deployed on front - Stretched too thinly to effectively resist Soviet counterattack in Dec 1942 - Outnumbered and under-equipped, most of its divisions destroyed in a few weeks
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Decima Flottiglia Mas
Unit from the royal navy-responsible for sinking or severely disabling 86,000 tons of allied warships and 130,000 tons of merchant shipping,Sinking or damaging 28 warships-HMS Queen Elizabeth,HMS Valiant, HMS York
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Why did Fascist Italy suffer defeats in WW2?
Inefficient political system to deal with war,Mussolini's over confident aims/poor decision making,Economic weaknesses,Inadequate leadership of military,Lack of military resources,Rather unsupportive base at home
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Inefficient political system to deal with war
Inefficient and corrupt-relied on elite(became anti-Mussolini),Party unable to deal with stockpiles,Civil defence and moral,Elite disillusioned by radically domestic Mussolini-army funding dropped,No debates allowed,1943 coup
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Mussolini's over confident aims/poor decision making throughout
Concentrated power in own hands-held all top positions-promoted for flattery rather than expertise,Little German help-thought they needed him,Only joined when thought allies lose,Health failing,Victim of own propaganda,Didn't have a clear plan
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Economic weaknesses
Resources imported from Germany,Food production fell-wheat harvest 1.5m tonnes,Lacked basic raw materials-poor trading,Agricultural prod fell 25%,Taxes^,1940-42 20% fall in steel prod
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Inadequate leadership of the military
No clear overall plan,Three services fighting virtually separate wars,Lack of German co-op,600 generals-stuck to WW1 tactics,Navy admirals reluctant to risk new ships,Poorly trained,Mussolini failed to prioritise,Officers promoted for flattery
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Lack of military resources
April 1941-200,000 poorly trained/equipped sent to Russian front,Materials imported from GR-reluctant to divert,35/80 divisions only had rifles,Only 1000 effective planes-inferior,Army outdated-June 1940 >800k men equipped with rifles dating back WW1
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A rather unsupportive base at home
Calorie intake fell by 4/5,Prices rose,Working hours lengthened,Public op divided on war entry,Reliance on GR,Opposition groups,War sentiment-industrial strikes-100k in north,Propaganda failed,1942 inclined to make peace
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Evidence that Mussolini didn't have a clear military plan during the war
Oct 1940- ordered demobilisation then attacked Greece a week later-Failed to prioritise wasted resources in Russia and Northern border-Italian forces in Libya attacked British in Egypt-At same time invade Greece even though he didn't have resources
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How did Italy compare to Britain with regard to national income spent on armed forces?
1935-8: Italy spent 11.8% of NI on armed forces as compared to 5.5% in Britain
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How much Italian equipment was lost in transit across the Med?
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British air attack on Taranto Nov 1940
Italy lost half of it's navy battle fleet
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What motivated Germans to rescue Mussolini on the 12th Sep 1943?
8 Sep 1943 news leaked that an Armistice signed between Italian gov and allied forces-within 48hours Germans toke Rome,Mussolini restored to power in Salo Republic and Italy to endure 2 years of war
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The 45 days in 1943
Mussolini's dismissal on 25th July to Italy's surrender on 8th Sep - the King and Badoglio hoped for a swift painless exit from the war-did not move quickly or decisively enough as Hitler did
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The Salo Republic
Proclaimed on 23rd Sep 1943-part of Italy under German control-Mussolini puppet leader,Anti-Monarchist,Nationalisation,Involvement of workers,Land reform,price and wage controls,Radical Fascism
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Who supported the Salo Republic?
Some old-style Fascists:General Graziani;defence minister,Guidi;interior minister,Pavolino;boss of Republican Fascist Party
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The Salo Republic's military strength by July 1944
Four divisions in the army (more than 50,000 men), Fascist police force,National guard,Various militias - Black Brigades
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Was Mussolini in control in the Salo Republic?
Powers limited-puppet ruler dependent on Germany-Fascism lost control over it's own destiny-8 NE provinces under direct German admin - Mussolini no longer dynamic and was ageing
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Was Mussolini ever successful at securing all the powers of the Head of State?
No-Monarchy backed coup,Oath of allegiance was to state not Duce,Didn't manage to create entirely loyal military elite-not taken trouble to shuffle positions to prevent plotting-even his intelligence service was defective
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How was widespread support for the Salo Republic?
Seriously limited:workers/peasants abandoned Fascism for Communism/Socialism,Industrialists saw no advantage and tried to prevent the implementation of the 1944 Decree law,Middle class resentful at living standards and craved parliamentary politics
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Partisan Composition in 1943
Communist Party - 30k fighters (best organised),Catholics - 20k fighters, Actions Party - 25k fighters, Socialists - Small proportion
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How many were involved in the Partisan movement?
August 1944 - 100k, April 1945 - 250k
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How many fighters did the Partisans lose in total?
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What was the strongest unit in the Partisans?
8th Garibaldi Brigade (Actionists) had 8,050 men
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How were the different compositions of Partisans beneficial?
Allowed wider membership
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How were the different compositions of Partisans detrimental?
Mistrust limited any real military co-op (Committee for National Liberation Jan 1944) - Parsuz Massacre - killing of partisans by communist partisans in 1945 - divisions
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Salerno Turn
Deal made between conservatives, Liberals and other anti-fascist parties to set up a government of national unity in 1944
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Were the Partisans a strong enough force?
Never strong enough to defeat the Germans or Mussolini - but were an extra problematic distraction
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Leader of Communist party & deputy leader 1944-45
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How well armed were the Partisans?
Seized whatever arms they could find,First weapons brought by German occupiers from the Regio Esercito inventory,Submachine guns initially scarce-automatic weapons more common as captured in combat
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How did the Allie forced provide help to the Partisans?
Additional weapons airdropped by Allies. inc supplies:explosives,clothing,food,money
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The Partisan movement played an integral part
Sig numbers,Liberated cities like Milan/Turin,Lack of HQ-difficult to destroy,Taking weapons/equipment-got stronger,Small groups-easy to disperse,Made allies take easier,Focus point of resistance,Responsible for death of Mussolini
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The Partisan movement was insignificant and made little difference
Various groups-conflicting aims,Committee for National Liberation in Jan 1944 failed,Parsuz massacre,Killed 5k GR troops suffering 10k,Initially poorly equipped,Final defeat came from allies
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How did the Partisans make the allies task easier?
Drawing attention of the Germans away - draining their resources
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Second World War in Italy 1943
Armistice ended fighting between Italian and Anglo-American forces,German forces occupied northern and central Italy,Anglo-American armies slowly fought their way northwards through Italy,facing determined German resistance
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Civil war in Italy 1943-5
Fascist Italian Social Republic set up in northern Italy,Emergence of anti-fascist groups,Fighting between Fascist militia,supported by German forces and anti-Fascist partisans
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The four main factors that led to the collapse of the Salo Republic
Mussolini's poor leadership,Strength of the Allies,Partisan Resistance, Dependency on Germany
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How did the allies contribute to the collapse of the Salo Republic?
It was the Allies, slowly pushing up from the South in late 1944, who expelled the Nazis and finally liberated Italy from Fascism
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How did the Partisan resistance contribute to the collapse of the Salo Republic?
Communists key in northern struggle,Partisans forced surrender of Nazis in key cities,Partisan army grown to 250k,Executed Duce,Killed 5k GRs and pinned down sig numbers in north who could've otherwise been fighting the allies
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How did Mussolini's poor leadership contribute to the collapse of the Salo Republic?
Dependency on Germany,Illness/victim of own propaganda,Republic was divided from start,Black Brigades ruled by cruelty-^desire to end war,Rebranding of Fascism,Controlled small region,Only aim-revenge,Mussolini never wanted to be head of RSI
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How was the Salo Republic divided from the start?
Hard right Fascists like Farinacci squabbled with the opportunists like Graziani, Militia more loyal to RAS leaders
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How did Italy's dependency on Germany contribute to the collapse of the Salo Republic?
Salo Republic lacked legitimacy-Nazi puppet-state,All decisions had to be approved by German ambassador Rahn and the ** General Wolff,After his rescue-Mussolini taken to Berlin-Said to Hitler 'I have come to receive my orders'
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'The Salo Republic was a genuine opportunity to return to original fascism'
Free from old constraints placed on Fascism-King/Parliament/old institutions,New Black Brigades,State regulation,Boards with 50% workers,Single national union,Nationalisation,Purging of 'the traitors of July'
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'The Salo Republic was a pointless post script'
Nationalising/living standards alienated key groups,Own survival,Ideological war,Class war,Patriotic war,Relied heavily on Germany,Mussolini-recluse figurehead,Fascists who followed had mixed loyalties/different reasons for supporting (opportunism)
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Industrialists, Army, Monarchy, Grandi, Ciano, De Bono


Who were the main individuals and groups who abandoned Mussolini?

Card 3


Divided - they did not need to be told about fascism's lack of preparedness for a prolonged war:they could see evidence around them - faith in Duce had been shattered - further fighting - ^GR control


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Food became short as grain imports fell - gov refused to introduce rationing - prices rose dramatically - introduced in 1941 but by then stocks were low


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Opposition groups, from communist to catholic began to emerge. Still small and disorganised but in early 1943 shortages and anti-war sentiment led to a wave of strikes


Preview of the back of card 5
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