The Pittsburgh Press (July 31, 1943)
Surrender deadline past, Allies inform Badoglio
Invasion of northern Italy by Serb guerrillas reported
Because of Premier Badoglio’s delay in making peace with the Allies, during which the Nazis have strengthened their hold on Italy with all “force and vigor,” the Allies today warned Rome.
At the same time, reports in London said Yugoslavian guerrillas have broken through Italian lines and have invaded northern Italy, while Cairo heard that German troops were disarming Italians in Greece.
Peace deadline over for Italy
By William B. Dickinson, United Press staff writer
London, England –
The Allies dramatically warned Italy tonight that big-scale aerial attacks will be resumed at once because the government of Premier Marshal Pietro Badoglio temporized when called upon to surrender and permitted Hitler to strengthen his hold on Italy.
The warning, which was broadcast repeatedly from North Africa to the Italian people., appeared to squash persistent rumors that Badoglio was attempting to open peace negotiations, including a report from France via Madrid that Italian emissaries had been sent by plane to meet with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Italians were warned to keep away from all military targets because the Allies were resuming their aerial offensive with force and vigor after a breathing spell in which only communications or airfields were bombed following the ouster of Benito Mussolini and Gen. Eisenhower’s call for Italy’s capitulation.
The broadcast was apparently designed to impress on the Italian people that the Badoglio government had failed to kick out the Nazis and presumably to encourage popular uprisings – such as have been reported in northern Italy – against the new regime.
London sources said that tension and disorder were mounting in Italy and it was believed that it would be only a matter of days until popular reaction forced out the Badoglio government in favor of a regime that was prepared to accept unconditional surrender.
That expected movement was encouraged by the North African broadcast warning Italians to:
…keep away from factories, barracks, railroad stations, supply depots, airfields and other military targets.
Badoglio has apparently been hoping to make peace without accepting military occupation of Italy and he may have put out feelers or even proposals to that end, but these obviously have been unsuccessful and the Allies are now going to attempt to speed up unconditional surrender by resumption of bombing.
Meanwhile, Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Ambassador to the Vatican, followed his father-in-law into retirement by resigning.
An Allied spokesman, in the warning to Italy, said:
The respite is over. The bombing of military objectives will resume. Keep away from factories, railway lines and German barracks.
Six days have passed since Mussolini’s fall. Instead of acting quickly, Badoglio’s government has played for time and thus helped the Germans. We give you a solemn warning.
A Swiss dispatch to the Exchange Telegraph Agency reported that Badoglio has drafted a four-point program to take Italy out of the war and return her to neutral status and will resign if – as even as he expects – it is rejected by either the Allies or Germany.
Strikes and peace formations, some of them led by communists, were reported continuing in Milan, Turin, Naples, Venice, Bologna and Genoa.
Some Fascists were executed in Milan, Bologna and Florence and more than 4,000 Fascist militiamen, as well as the chief of police and the president of the Fascist People’s Tribunal, were arrested in Naples, an Algiers broadcast asserted.
Holds post short time
Ciano’s disposal was disclosed in a Rome broadcast announcing that King Victor Emmanuel III had accepted his “resignation” as ambassador to the Vatican. He had been named to the post by Mussolini last Feb. 8 only a week after his removal as Italian Foreign Minister, a portfolio he held for six years.
European reports said Ciano and his wife Edda, Mussolini’s daughter, had taken refuge in Vatican City following Mussolini’s ouster last Sunday.
The report that Badoglio had drafted a peace proposal reached London as the British War Cabinet was placed on call for possible emergency weekend meetings in connection with the Italian crisis.
An Exchange Telegraph dispatch from Zürich quoted an Italian diplomatic source as reporting that the plan called for:
A request to the Allies and to Germany to consent to Italy’s return to neutral status, under control of military experts acceptable to both sides.
An Italian guarantee of immediate withdrawal of German troops from Italy and demobilization of Italian forces.
Concession of Sicily to the Allies for the duration of the war.
A pledge from both sides that the Italian mainland will not be employed for military operations.
The Italian diplomatic source who reported the proposals was quoted as saying that “it seems quite clear that Badoglio himself” did not expect the Allies to accept them and therefore probably intends to resign as chief of government.
The Stockholm Social-Demokraten said well-informed circles in Berne believed that King Victor Emmanuel would abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Umberto, and Badoglio would resign in favor of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, the Marquis of Neghelli, former Chief of the Army Staff and Governor of Libya.
Badoglio was said to have committed himself to continuing the war to such an extent that his present would prejudice peace negotiations, while Graziani might better obtain for Italy as “peace with honor.”
Duce, Ciano reported held
Another Swiss report asserted that Mussolini, Fascist Secretary Carlo Scorza, Ciano and other Fascist leaders were being held incommunicado at Palazzo Venezia, Mussolini’s former office building in the center of Rome. Mussolini has not been permitted to receive Hitler’s birthday present to him, a set of books, it was said.
In Milan, scene of bloody anti-Fascist and peace demonstrations, a long procession, mostly of women, marched through the streets, Zürich said. Many of the women carried placards demanding peace and shouted:
We want peace! We want our sons back!
Serious dilemma cited
The London Daily Mirror bannered, “Italy May Be Out Tomorrow,” and other newspapers, though not so optimistic, reported that the situation was developing rapidly with indications that Italy’s future course would be clarified within the next few days.
One Rome broadcast acknowledged that Italy was in a serious dilemma and was considering Allied peace terms with “great understanding,” but other Italian broadcasts reiterated that the country intended to fight on, presumably on the side of the Axis.
A London broadcast heard by NBC quoted Badoglio as saying that Italy could quit the war “safely and honestly” only through the exercise of “great freedom and cunning,” which required time.
Earlier Swiss reports, some of them relayed by Stockholm, said that a general strike was continuing in Milan with pickets stationed around the important Breda, Pirelli, Marelli and Bianchi war factories.
Crowds attacked military patrols in Milan and military transports in the suburbs were riddled with machine-gun fire, the Nazi-controlled Scandinavian Telegraph Bureau reported from the Swiss border town of Chiasso.
Bloodshed was also reported by the STB to have occurred at Genoa, Italy’s second biggest port, where harbor workers struck and communist demonstrators waved red flags and sang the Internationale.
Duce’s birth town seized
The BBC said that Fascists seized the central Italian town of Forli, where Benito Mussolini was born, but surrendered when regular army troops arrived.
The Badoglio government, seeking to remove Fascists from any vestige of authority, ordered all federal secretaries and other local Fascist leaders into the Italian Armed Forces and took over former Fascist youth organizations.
Subsidies paid to families of Italian workmen in military service were increased in a move to bolster army morale.
Stays at desk
Prime Minister Churchill was known to be remaining at his desk over the weekend. Heads of the fighting services with outside engagements were told to keep in touch with him by telephone.
There was still no confirmation of numerous reports of German troop movements in Italy. The latest broadcast by an Italian underground station calling itself Livorno Chiama – Leghorn Calling – said that Nazi forces in the Foggia, Barletta and San Severo areas of southern Italy had begun moving northward.
Nazi disarm Italian troops
By John A. Parris, United Press staff writer
London, England –
A Yugoslav spokesman reported today that guerrilla brigades have broken through Italian lines in a push into northern Italy and reached the Udine district.
According to the Yugoslav reports, the 5th and 6th Brigades of Slovene guerillas were operating in the Udine sector north of Trieste, where the Germans had been reported planning to make a last stand in northern Italy if the Rome regime capitulates.
The guerrillas in the Udine area, adjacent to the Yugoslav frontier, have been gaining strength rapidly as a result of the Italian crisis, it was stated.
A United Press dispatch from Cairo said that the German troops in Greece had begun disarming Italian occupation troops, which Rome was reported to have recalled to Italy.
Stockholm dispatches reported “endless columns” of Nazi tanks moving into the Balkans to meet an expected Allied invasion.
The reported German action in disarming Italian troops was interpreted as a sign the Germans are convinced Italy is already out of the war and a sign of open recognition of disaffection among the 30-40 Italian divisions occupying the Balkans.
The Germans had already wholly or largely replaced Italian garrisons in the Dodecanese, Cyclades, Rhodes, Karpathos and Euboea Islands in the Aegean. Crete has a German military governor.
Nazis man coasts
The Nazis have also been manning the western coasts of the Peloponnesus and the Grecian mainland.
Berlin radio today quoted a Romanian press dispatch on the arrival of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in Salonika as saying that the Allied intention to invade the Balkans will be frustrated because:
Axis troops together with Southeast European troops have taken all measures, political, military and economic… to be prepared for all eventualities.
The broadcast asserted that “endless numbers of soldiers experienced in the Balkans and the Eastern Front” have been moved to the Balkans.