Liberation of Rome: Terminology (May-June 1944)

liberation of Rome
Figure 1.--Here Italian on May 5, 1944 are assisting American infantry soldiers with their equipment during the march on Rome. Unlike the other Axis countries (Germany and Japan), the Italians considered the advancing Allied soldiers as liberators. Source: .S. Army Signal Corps. Image No. NA242.

Italy was one of the three major Axis countries. Mussolini had made Italy Fascist, but unlike the NAZIs and the Japanese militarists, he was unable to drum up much animosity toward the Allies or enthusiam for the War. While the Italian people had no strong feelings one way or another toward the British, there was a broad feeling of warmth and friendship toward the Americans. Large numbers of Italians had worked in America and come back with their savings. Even more Italians had family that had emograted and stayed in America. No amountof Fascist war propaganda was able to change this wide-spread feeling. And Italians both before and during the War did not warm to Hitler and the NAZIs. And more than 2 years of War did not change Italian attitudes toward the Germans. Than came the Italian surrender and German occupation of Italy (September 1943). The Italians experienced first hand the brutality of the Germans and what Axis occupation had meant throughout Europe. The Germans interned the Italian Army and transported them to the Reich. In the process the Whermacht shot thousands of Italian soldiers and civiliabns. The German soldier saw this a betrayal on the part of their former allies and this was reflected in how the Italians were treated. The Gestapo arrested Italians known to be sympathetic to the Allies and began the roundup of Jews. Thus in a short time a generalized disapproval of the Germans turned into active loathing on the part of most Italians. Thus the Allied move on Rome is generally referred to as the 'liberation' of Rome. This is in sdharp contrast to the Soviet and American seizues of Berlin. The people of Rome jubilantly received the advaning Allied soldiers, especially the Americans, as if Italy had never been an Axis power.


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Created: 11:07 PM 8/29/2010
Last updated: 11:07 PM 8/29/2010