after the march on Rome in October 1922 Benito Mussolini became the youngest Italian Prime Minister up to that date he removed the political opposition through his secret police and outlying labor strikes in fact that was an attack on the Italian state Mussolini and his followers consolidated their power through a series of methods and laws that transformed Italy into a one-party dictatorship in the next years a dictatorial authority was established and a new totalitarian state was created in Europe the Italian dictator was aware that Italy was not ready for a long conflict based on its resources and its pre World War two smaller military interventions.
in Ethiopia Albania and Spain Mussolini accepted to enter in the war and to continue the campaign as long as the Imperial non-realistic ambitions of its regime are in progress and supported by his biggest ally he aspired to restore a form of the ancient Roman Empire in the Mediterranean these goals were partially met by late 1942 at that point Italian influence extended.
throughout the Mediterranean basin and the axis were at their peak on all fronts Albania parts of Slovenia coastal Dalmatia and Montenegro had been directly annexed into the Italian state most of Greece had been occupied by Italy following the Greco Italian war and battle of Greece on the 28th of October Mussolini issued an ultimatum to Greece demanding the session of Greek territory the Italian army invaded Greece on the 28th of October.
before the ultimatum had expired the ineffectiveness of the Italian army was visible thus the invasion was truly a disaster a hundred and forty thousand troops encountering a well determined enemy the fight was mainly on mountainous terrain on the albanian Greek border what was expected as a pretty quick success was instead of failure by mid-november the Greeks had stopped the Italian invasion and after that pushed away the enemy back to Albania.
finally its hello German forces had achieved victories against Greece and Yugoslavia and had occupied parts of British held Egypt on their push to El Alamein after their victory at Gazala however Italy’s conquests were heavily contested even if Yugoslavia and Greece were defeated large partisan movements existed here and created large difficulties for Axis forces after the struggle in North Africa mussolini requested help from his German ally by May 1943.
the Allies managed to defeat the Axis forces in North Africa and new plans were to be made even before their victory a disagreement among the Allies existed especially on the further strategies the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill focused on the naval power of Britain and his plan was to create well pointed small operations in order to weaken.
the enemy the United States with the larger US Army wanted a more brute and direct strategy of fighting the ability to launch such a campaign depended on first winning the Battle of the Atlantic their staff believed that a full-scale invasion of France at the earliest possible time was needed to end the war in Europe the British instead argued that the presence of large numbers of troops trained for amphibious landings.
in the Mediterranean made a limited scale invasion possible and more useful eventually the US and British political leadership reached a compromise in which both would commit most of their forces to an invasion of France in early 1944 but also launched a relatively small-scale Italian campaign Franklin D Roosevelt desired to keep US troops active in the European theater during 1943 and his attraction to the idea of eliminating Italy from the war made him like this idea knowing Italian internal problems and their former military campaigns.
it was hoped that the invasion might knock Italy out of the conflict the elimination of Italy would enable Allied naval forces principally the Royal Navy to dominate the Mediterranean Sea and possibly create a bigger southern front Italian divisions on occupation and coastal defence duties in the Balkans and France would be withdrawn to defend Italy while the Germans would have to transfer troops from the Eastern Front to defend Italy and the entire southern coast of France thus aiding the Soviets.
a combined Allied invasion of Sicily began on the 10th of July 1943 with both amphibious and airborne landings the land forces involved there were the US 7th army under Lieutenant General George S Patton and the British Eighth Army under the general Bernard Montgomery the defending German and Italian forces were unable to prevent the Allies capture of the island but they succeeded in evacuating most of their troops to the mainland forces of the British Eighth Army still under Montgomery landed in the toe of Italy on the 3rd of September 1943.
in operation Baytown the day the Italian government agreed to an armistice with the Allies the Armistice was publicly announced on September 8th by two broadcasts first by General Eisenhower and then by a proclamation by marshal Ben dog Leo although the German forces prepared to defend without Italian assistance there had been hope that with the surrender of the Italian government the Germans would withdraw to the north on October 13th 1943 one month after Italy surrendered to Allied forces it declared war on Germany.
its one-time access powers partner Italy was led into the war by Benito Mussolini the prime minister who had formed an alliance with Germany in 1936 in the summer of 1943 as Allied forces landed in Sicily public support for the war and for Mussolini diminished Mussolini was ousted on July 25th and his replacement general Pietro Badoglio sought peace with the allies and reached an armistice on September 3rd Germany which had drupe stationed throughout Italy proceeded with an occupation of the country and seized strongholds from a disorganized Italian military knowing that just a small part of Italy was occupied.
why did they switch sides so easily as it was presented even if Italy could have been a potential great power it had many shortcomings and not only in the military having a fragmented society after the first world war the political arena was shocked by some instabilities and it ended with a guy who promoted war and some sort of fanatism at its helm Italian logistical deficiencies were seen in their campaigns and this was mainly due to the lack of proper equipment.
which was based on other factors the army wasn’t just poorly equipped with outdated or insufficient weapons but in some cases poorly trained many army officers prepared the army for classical situations it was a failure to adapt on the new type of war that plus the fact that some of the generals were chosen more for their loyalty than their capacities although could be considered the main German ally the country wasn’t ready for a large-scale conflict their industrial sector was small the preparedness and training of the soldiers was limited large industries were vital.
in such campaigns Germany placed a special emphasis on arming and creating industries for tanks artillery warplanes and so on the Italian army on the other hand was poorly equipped for a war against Great Britain or the United States Italian industries were out produced in terms of quantity and quality compared to those of its enemies the situation can be seen even worse if we look at it from a geographical perspective the country is a peninsula.
a large one with huge coasts to guard having an enemy capable of doing amphibious and paratrooper landings in a sea which became less and less dominated by your ships is not a good sign to continual war the Navy did its part in the war and was successful in securing its coasts and large parts of the sea but again having the lack of proper warplanes in terms of numbers and technology to support the Navy campaigns was a big drawback.
North Africa could have been seen as a shield between continental Italy and the Allies the unsuccessful campaign there created the situation for British and American landings in Sicily and afterwards in the toe of Italy for much of the political class it was clear that the Italian forces are dealing with a more powerful enemy and now the war isn’t outside their borders but with him as the Allies advanced they encountered increasingly difficult terrain Allied forces advanced slowly north through the Italian peninsula before finally defeating Axis forces in May 1945.
Mussolini who was rescued by the Germans from an Italian prison and made the leader of a puppet state the Italian social Republic and parts of Italy not occupied by Allied forces was captured and executed by members of the Italian partisan resistance.
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