Mussolini in the company of his legitimate family, 1929.

Mussolini in the company of his legitimate family, 1929.

Pain behind the Pleasure: the Italian Social Republic

Salò was Mussolini’s German-backed experiment in ‘real Fascism’ and fine living. Italians find it hard to come to terms with its legacy.

The armistice between the Allies and Italy was made public on September 8th, 1943, five days after it was signed. It had a disastrous impact on Italians. Vengeful German forces, many already stationed in the peninsula, took over the northern two thirds of the country. At 5.10am on the 9th, Victor Emmanuel III, his son Umberto, other members of the Savoy dynasty, Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio and subordinate military ministers cravenly fled east from Rome to Pescara. Caring for their persons but not the people, they had ample funds (the king at least 13 million lire, Badoglio ten).  

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