The Sicily Landings
The British prime minister, Winston Churchill, was convinced that Mussolini’s regime was the weakest link of the Axis powers, he pressured the ally commands to attack German-occupied Europe starting with the Italian peninsular. The American Armed Forces, engaged in the preparation of the Normandy landings, agreed to the operations in North Africa and then in Sicily.
On July 10, 1943, 160,000 men, thousands of trucks, jeeps, cannons and artillery were landed on the coast of Gela and Licata from American ships.
The Fall of Fascism
On July 25, 1943, at a meeting of the Grand Council, Mussolini was outvoted. He was arrested by order of the king and replaced by Marshal Badoglio, meanwhile, the war continued, flanking the Germans. The following September 8 the armistice was signed between the Allies and the Italian Government and made public by General Eisenhower. The king and Badoglio fled to the already liberated south leaving the country and the army to their sad fate.
More than 650,000 soldiers and officers scattered on the front lines of war in Greece, Albania and France were interned in Germany. The army, with no directives, broke up and surrendered to the Germans occupying Italy. The anti-fascist parties formed the National Liberation Committee (CLN) giving birth to the fight for freedom with the first units of the Nazi-Fascist resistance.
Mussolini, prisoner on the Gran Sasso, was freed by the Germans on 12 September and placed at the head of a subservient government to the Germans, the Italian Social Republic (RSI).