Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Arts
In World War II, when Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, the Italian prime minister offered all that was left on Italy’s meager resources to the Allies to help fight the German forces in Italy. Three years of war, as part of the Axis, not to mention the catastrophic mismanagement of the armistice with the Allies left Italy materially exhausted. Italy was only able to equip and field one brigade, the 1st Italian Motorized Brigade Group that they increased to a corps several months later, the Corps of Italian Liberation (CIL), despite teh fact that the Italian Army had over four hundred thousand Italian soldiers eager to fight to liberate Italy of its Fascist past.
The Allied Armies in Italy, a distant second in priority to the Allied Armies destined for Normandy, were constantly in need of more troops and in the course of the following year, the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theatre, tried to obtain equipment in order to agument his strength with more Italian formations. At each attempt political and diplomatic problems and even personal vendettas prevented the Allies from rearming any more Italians formations for combat despite teh fact that the CIL was effective and excellent for Italian morale among soldiers and civilians alike.
Only in July and August 1944, did the Allies decide that military necessity overruled the political consequences of rearming a former member of the Axis. At the end of the summer, the CIL, left the front, to be broken up, retrained and re-equipped along with 40,000 more Italian soldiers, to join the Allied offensive against the Gothic Line in the last winter of the war as six combat groups.
Betts-Wilmott, Kate, "Working Italy’s Passage: The Italian Army and the Allies’ Hopes for it in the Co-belligerency, 1943–1944" (2007). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 841.