Italys Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-1945 by James HollandDuring the Second World War, the campaign in Italy was the most destructive fought in Europe -- a long, bitter and highly attritional conflict that raged up the countrys mountainous leg. For frontline troops, casualty rates at Cassino and along the notorious Gothic Line were as high as they had been on the Western Front in the First World War. There were further similarities too: blasted landscapes, rain and mud, and months on end with the front line barely moving.
And while the Allies and Germans were fighting it out through the mountains, the Italians were engaging in bitter battles too. Partisans were carrying out a crippling resistance campaign against the German troops but also battling the Fascists forces as well in what soon became a bloody civil war. Around them, innocent civilians tried to live through the carnage, terror and anarchy, while in the wake of the Allied advance, horrific numbers of impoverished and starving people were left to pick their way through the ruins of their homes and country. In the German-occupied north, there were more than 700 civilian massacres by German and Fascist troops in retaliation for Partisan activities, while in the south, many found themselves forced into making terrible and heart-rending decisions in order to survive.
Although known as a land of beauty and for the richness of its culture, Italys suffering in 1944-1945 is now largely forgotten. This is the first account of the conflict there to tell the story from all sides and to include the experiences of soldiers and civilians alike. Offering extensive original research, it weaves together the drama and tragedy of that terrible year, including new perspectives and material on some of the most debated episodes to have emerged from the Second World War.
Inside The Harsh Conditions Of Italy During WW1 - First World War EP5 - Timeline
Battle of Caporetto , also called 12th Battle of the Isonzo , October 24—December 19, , Italian military disaster during World War I in which Italian troops retreated before an Austro-German offensive on the Isonzo front in northeastern Italy , where the Italian and Austrian forces had been stalemated for two and a half years. In the wake of the successful Austrian and German advance, more than , war-weary and demoralized Italian soldiers either deserted or surrendered. In May Italian Gen.
Second Battle of the Piave River
The battle was fought between the Kingdom of Italy and the Central Powers and took place from 24 October to 19 November , near the town of Kobarid now in north-western Slovenia , then part of the Austrian Littoral. The battle was named after the Italian name of the town also known as Karfreit in German. Austro-Hungarian forces, reinforced by German units, were able to break into the Italian front line and rout the Italian forces opposing them. The battle was a demonstration of the effectiveness of the use of stormtroopers and the infiltration tactics developed in part by Oskar von Hutier. The use of poison gas by the Germans also played a key role in the collapse of the Italian Second Army. Throughout the Spring and Summer of , the Italians had launched numerous offensives on the Austro-Hungarian Lines in the Isonzo Sector, with The 11th Battle of the Isonzo being the most successful in pushing back the Austro-Hungarians.
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The Allies Target Italy: 1943
Italian Front, First World War
Just after dawn we slipped into the forest and hiked a steep trail to a limestone wall. A curious ladder of U-shaped steel rungs was fixed to the rock. To reach the battlefield we would trek several miles along this via ferrata , or iron road, pathways of cables and ladders that traverse some of the most stunning and otherwise inaccessible territory in the mountains of northern Italy. We scaled the 50 feet of steel rungs, stopping every ten feet or so to clip our safety tethers to metal cables that run alongside. A half-hour in, our faces slick with sweat, we rested on an outcropping that overlooked a valley carpeted with thick stands of pine and fir. Sheep bleated in a meadow, and a shepherd called to them. We could see the Pasubio Ossuary, a stone tower that holds the remains of 5, Italian and Austrian soldiers who fought in these mountains in World War I.
Beyond their goal of crushing Italian Axis forces, the Allies wanted to draw German troops away from the main Allied advance through Nazi-occupied northern Europe to Berlin, Germany. The Italian Campaign, from July 10, , to May 2, , was a series of Allied beach landings and land battles from Sicily and southern Italy up the Italian mainland toward Nazi Germany. The campaign seared into history the names of such places as Anzio, Salerno and Monte Cassino, as Allied armies severed the German-Italian Axis in fierce fighting and threatened the southern flank of Germany. The Allied advance through Italy produced some of the most bitter, costly fighting of the war, much of it in treacherous mountain terrain. The decision to attack Italy was not made without debate. Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had long been clamoring for the other Allies to relieve his armies fighting Germany in the east by undertaking an Allied invasion from the west, and American commanders were reluctant to divert any resources away from Normandy.
Italy's involvement in World War I is often neglected with the Western and Eastern Fronts being the focal points of remembrance, but for the Italians, their involvement in WWI caused significant loss and human suffering. Italy joined the war in April and by the end of the war, it is estimated that , Italians were dead in combat and more than a million were wounded or crippled. The Italian government spent more on the war than it had in the previous 50 years. The war debt, food shortages, bad harvests and significant inflationary increases effectively bankrupted the country, with an estimated half a million civilians dying. In addition, the territorial gains were small in comparison to the monetary cost of the war - the debt contracted to pay for the war's expenses was finally paid back in the s.