Historical Background

Anglo-American forces landed in Sicily between Licata and Augusta on July 10, 1943. This event followed the expulsion of Italian-German forces from Tunisia.

Operation Husky

The Great Council of Fascism, held during the night between July 24 and 25, 1943, voted for an agenda which substantially demonstrated no-confidence towards the "Duce" by suggesting the restoration of the Statute and the reinstatement of the command of the Armed Forces to the Sovereign. In the afternoon of the same July 25, H. M. Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Mussolini as chief of the government and ordered his arrest. Marshall Badoglio was called to preside at a Government Cabinet mainly formed by professionals.

Meanwhile, exponents of anti-fascism applied pressure for the immediate elimination of fascism, separation from Germany, and the pursuit of an armistice with the Allied governments to reach a separate peace treaty later.

These delays gave Hitler the opportunity to send new troops to Italy.

The Anglo-American request for the unconditional surrender of Italy made negotiations more difficult. It was decided that the Allies should have landed near Rome and that the armistice should have been announced around the middle of September. On September 8, 1943, the treaty was finally announced.

On September 9, King Victor Emmanuel III and Marshall Badoglio left the Capital for Pescara where they embarked towards the south. From the consequent general disbanding of the armed forces, the "partisan fight" began to take shape.

On September 12, Mussolini was set free from the jail of Campo Imperatore (Gran Sasso) by the Germans. On his arrival in Munich, Germany, Mussolini reconstituted the new Fascist Party, resuming his former republican and socialist programs while laying the blame for the defeat on betrayers and saboteurs. From this program, on September 23, the "Italian Social Republic" was formed under the German Army occupation.

Meanwhile, in the South, within the constitutional structure of the Italian Kingdom, a government led by Badoglio was constituted. This government, although having declared war upon Germany on September 13 and having been acknowledged a "co-belligerent" by the Allies, did not benefit from any autonomy.

Furthermore, it was opposed by the rising democratic parties which requested unceasingly the King's resignation and the formation of a more representative government on the basis of the new forces on the field. The recognition of the Badoglio government by the Soviet Union forced the Anglo-Americans to end the stalemate by obliging the King to declare that he would name Prince Umberto as lieutenant of the Kingdom once the Capital became free.

The advance of the Allied armies towards the North was stopped for the first time during the winter 1943-1944 on the "Gustav Line" (Garigliano, Cassino, and Ortone) and the second time during the winter 1944-1945 on the "Gothic Line" (Tosco-Emiliano Apennine and the plain of Romagna). After an adjustment phase during the first winter, the partisan fight joined with this advance and, after the Rome's liberation, became more active with the consequent formation of the National Liberation Committee and the assignment of special powers in regard to Northern Italy which was still under German occupation.

The Gothic Line

The spring of 1945 brought the renewal of the war activity on every front of the European zone; in Italy the breaking of the "Gothic Line" took place. The Allied armies, with the participation of the Italian Liberation Corps and the partisan brigades under the control of the C.L.N., broke into the Padana Valley. On April 25, the Volunteers Corps for Freedom ordered the popular rising. On May 6, 1945, Germany surrendered.

Peace Treaty

By the Peace Treaty signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, Italy lost all its colonies and its sovereignty over Albania. It surrendered to Yugoslavia the area to the east of the Gorizia-Tarvisio line, Istria, and the Dalmatian territories with the exception of the "A Zone" of the Free Territory of Trieste, which was returned to Italy in 1954. The "B Zone" was essentially given to Yugoslavia. France received some alpine territories of little size but with strategic value: Tenda, Monginevro, Valle Stretta near Bardonecchia, Moncenisio, and Piccolo San Bernardo.

The historical events have been mentioned above. Now we begin the philatelic documentation.

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