Below is a summary of the Italian campaign, followed by photos of wartime scenes in chronological order. Click on a slide to enlarge the photo and see its caption.
The Italian campaign (1943-45) After defeating German and Italian armies in North Africa, Allied troops landed in Sicily and took the island in thirty-nine days. Those events encouraged Italian leaders to depose Mussolini in July of 1943. Six weeks later, Italy withdrew from its alliance with Germany and surrendered to the Allies.
The armistice did not bring peace to Italy. German troops immediately took control of towns and cities in many regions. The Italian army disintegrated, and soon 600,000 of its soldiers were held captive by the Germans. From mid-1943 to May of 1945, two Allied armies, aided by the Italian Resistance, forced German troops toward Italy's northern border in a grueling series of battles known as the Italian campaign. During those months, many Italian civilians were killed in massacres, concentration camps, and in the crossfire between the armies.
Below are photos of wartime scenes; click on a slide to enlarge it.