The War Diary of the German Liaison Staff to Benito Mussolini, 1943-1945

Employees (IfZ):  PD Dr. Thomas Schlemmer

The fall of Benito Mussolini on 25 July 1943 did not in fact put a final end to the “Berlin-Rome Axis”. Nazi Germany and the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (RSI) that was proclaimed in late September 1943 continued to fight together for a year and a half under the swastika and fasces. This final chapter in the history of the “Axis”, coinciding with the bloody war in Italy, was marked both by increasingly hopeless efforts to stave off the defeat of the fascist alliance and by an unmistakable asymmetry in the political-military relations between the “Third Reich” and its Italian allies. At the same time, the RSI and Benito Mussolini were not indeed mere subordinate tools to Hitler’s plans but also had their own scope of action, ambitions, and adherents.

Sources from Mussolini’s immediate environs that could provide detailed insights into the day-by-day machinations of war and politics in Italy, and which allow for conclusions on the complex intertwinement of German-Italian relations, are, however, few and far between. The war diary of the German liaison staff to Mussolini is therefore of all the greater significance, and has yet to be researched to a significant degree. This critical edition is thus meant to fill a gap that other collections such as Akten zur Deutschen Auswärtigen Politik and Documenti Diplomatici Italiani have left open. This should provide new and clearer insights into  the fascist war alliance in its last phase as well as Mussolini’s biography as the head of state and government of the RSI.

© Institut für Zeitgeschichte