Article in the Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1

The latest edition of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies contains the following interesting article on the army of the Kingdom of the South of Italy.

Mario De Prospo, ‘Reconstructing the army of a collapsed nation: the Kingdom of the South of Italy (September 1943–March 1944)’

In the wake of Italy’s surrender to the Allies on 8 September 1943, the Italian high command made efforts to reorganize the Italian armed forces located in the regions not yet occupied by the Germans and their Italian Fascist allies. But the state of co-belligerence declared lulled the king, the government and generals into a false sense of security that led them to assume that they would now be free to re-deploy their units on the battlefield alongside the Allies. In reality, the authorities of the Kingdom of the South found themselves caught between the contending pressures exerted by the Allies, who were deeply hostile to all Italians, whom they treated as a defeated nation, by the local population suffering from famine and mistrustful of all public institutions, and by the tens of thousands of disbanded soldiers who showed very little desire to fight again. The difficulties facing the First Motorized Unit (1° Raggruppamento Motorizzato) were emblematic; the calls on the first co-belligerent Italian unit to fight against the Germans and make further sacrifices on the battlefield were complicated by the social and political situation of liberated Italy.

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