Cover image for A nation collapses : the Italian surrender of September 1943
A nation collapses : the Italian surrender of September 1943
Aga Rossi, Elena.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Nazione allo sbando. English
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 187 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D763.I8 A537 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A Nation Collapses revises the traditional understanding of a critical moment in the history of World War II: the collapse of the Italian fascist regime and Italy's unconditional surrender in September 1943. Drawing on mostly unpublished documents, the book analyses the secret negotiations between Italy and Britain before the overthrow of Mussolini in July 1943 and finds that both parties negotiated in bad faith and with a great deal of duplicity. The Italians therefore both underestimated the extent of the Allies' strategic commitment in Italy and promised their conquerors a degree of military assistance which they were in no condition to deliver. The situation disintegrated into a civil war as the Anglo-American military government which controlled southern Italy invaded the German-occupied north. Already traumatized by unconditional surrender, Italy now endured a civil war waged by foreign powers on both sides for twenty long and brutal months.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this compact monograph Agarossi analyzes the complex political, diplomatic, and military developments in Italy between Mussolini's removal from office in July 1943 and the reluctant decision of the successor Badoglio government 45 days later to sign an armistice with the Western Allies. The author traces the interaction between often contradictory Anglo-American efforts to remove the Italians from the war, either by force or negotiation, and the hapless response of the still semi-Fascist regime seeking fearfully to extricate itself from a brutal alliance with Nazi Germany. Aside from scattered units of the Italian army that resisted German demands to disarm and so were subjected to mass executions (700,000 troops who did capitulate were promptly deported to the Reich) none of the participants in the events of September 8 emerge with much credit. Overly cautious generalship and unimaginative statesmanship on the Allied side were surpassed by the incompetence and sheer folly--indeed, duplicity and cowardice--demonstrated by Italy's own leaders. The resulting crisis of popular confidence in the traditional political class of the Italian state has not yet been overcome. A well-researched and persuasively argued study; the translation is adequate. All levels. L. D. Stokes; Dalhousie University

Table of Contents

1 The Allies and Italy: from a separate peace to unconditional surrender
2 From July 25 to September 8, 1943
3 September 8, 1943, and its consequences