What Happened To Mussolini During The Final Days Of The War ?
Italy was led by Mussolini in 1940 during the Second World War. He professed war on the UK and France to add more territories to the Harmony Treaty. Three years later, he was imprisoned at Grand Council of Fascism provoked by Allied powers but was rescued during Gran Sasso invasion by the German Special Forces. Mussolini then commanded Italian Social Republic, but in 1945 he escaped to Switzerland for fear of defeat to be recaptured and executed by Italian partisans around Lake Como.
Early 1942 onwards, Italy’s position started weakening. They got defeated at El Alamein in 1942 and in the Tunisia Campaign, 1943 spring. There were major obstacles at the Eastern segment and so was at home front due to Allied bombings. Deficiency in raw materials, oil and oil resulted in virtual standstill of factories. Italy experienced tremendous scarcity of food and available food was sold at high prices. Further discontent came in 1943 March as important factories in Turin and Milan stopped production and secured evacuation grants for the laborers families. Around April 1943, Mussolini pleaded Hitler to march German soldiers to the western part for guarding any Allied invasion. On 19th July 1943, Mussolini’s army almost collapsed when the Allied troops landed first in Sicily and later in Rome.
Few members, including Mussolini’s son-in-law Galeazzo Ciano and close friend Dino Grandi, turned against him. At the Grand Council of Fascism held on 24th July 1943 he was sent for and later on also by King Victor Emmanual III to be informed that Marshal Pietro Badoglio was replacing him. On leaving the palace, he was detained as per the king’s orders. Mussolini was eventually directed to Campo Imperatore in Abruzzo, a resort in isolation. He later took over the Fascist Party dissolving it. A negotiation between his government and Allies was signed on 3rd September and the announcement after 5 days resulted in civil wars. Badoglio and the Roman king fled. Once Italy surrendered, the Germans began conquering the Italian Peninsula. Italy eventually declared war against Nazi Germany. The Badoglio administration held a societal truce with leftist partisans for Italy and to free the land from Nazis.
Bellini and Valerio, the communist partisans stopped Mussolini and Clara Petacci near Dongo on 27th April 1945 while they were heading to board a plane from Switzerland to Spain. Mussolini was in a German uniform while travelling. They were then executed in a small village called Giulino di Mezzegra by Colonnello Valerio or Walter Audisio. First Petacci was shot. Mussolini shouted opening his Jacket “Shoot me in the chest”. Audisio obeyed and shot the first bullet in his chest. Mussolini fell and breathed heavily. Audisio shot another bullet into his chest.
The lifeless corpses of Petacci and Mussolini along with other executed fascist leaders were moved to Milan and discarded on the grounds of Piazza Quindici Marrtiri. The bodies were shot at, kicked, spat upon and were then hung upside down from a gas station on meat hooks. Private citizens stoned the bodies to discourage fascist loyalists. On being captured, Achille Starace was taken to Piazzale Loreto to view Mussolini’s body. He saluted Mussolini before being shot.
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Wikipedia: Benito Mussolini