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The Allies’ Approach

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This chapter turns to the Allied influence on liberated Italy, with the Anglo-Americans’ January 1944 arrival at Anzio, 35 miles south of the capital. For many anti-fascists these landings offered hope that Liberation was close at hand. This chapter explains how this prospect drove tensions within the anti-fascist coalition, as the parties advanced their rival visions of the next government. This is also informed by a study of the Allies’ efforts to impose order on the democratisation process in the ‘laboratory’ of the liberated South.

We must today conduct the greatest, most effective activity for the organisation and regimentation ofproletarian forces. The aim is to train and constitute the preponderant force that at the coming moment “X”, coinciding with the end and the settlement of the war, will achieve the revolutionary conquest of power by the working class, in contest with the opposing reactionary forces.

Bandiera Rossa, 29 October 1943 (‘L’Ora presente e noi’. Bandiera Rossa, 29.10.1943)

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  1. 1.

    ‘1943: Anno di svolta—1944: Anno di vittoria’. L’Unità, XX/29, 30.12.1943.

  2. 2.

    See Chap. 7.

  3. 3.

    Initially known as Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories (AMGOT), here called AMG throughout for simplicity’s sake.

  4. 4.

    National Archives (henceforth NA)/FO371/43814, 5.12.1943.

  5. 5.

    Bonomi, Ivanoe. 1947. Diario di un anno (2 giugno 1943-10 giugno 1944). Milan: Garzanti, p. 145, entry from 2.2.1944.

  6. 6.

    The best-researched history of the Movimento di Unità Proletaria (MUP) that flowed into the PSI to form the PSIUP is Amati, Fabrizio. 2005. ‘Il Movimento di unità proletaria (1943–1945)’, in Il Movimento di unità proletaria (1943–1945), Annali della Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso, Rome: Carocci. This like Neri Sereni, Simone. (ed.) 1988. Il Partito socialista nella Resistenza. I documenti e la stampa clandestina (1943–1945). Pisa: Nistri-Lischi as well as Fondazione Basso-Isocco. 1988. L’archivio Basso e l’organizzazione del partito (1943–1945). Milan: FrancoAngeli offers extensive documentation on the leftist currents within this party, as does Critica Marxista of March–April 1965.

  7. 7.


  8. 8.


  9. 9.

    ‘Riunione del Comitato romano tenuta il 6.2.1944, copy in Museo Storico della Liberazione, fondo Silverio Corvisieri (henceforth MSdL/FSC)/28/91.

  10. 10.

    ‘L’Ora presente e noi’. Bandiera Rossa, 29.10.1943.

  11. 11.

    Bonomi, Diario di un anno, p. 40.

  12. 12.

    ‘Cittadini di Roma’, dated 25.1.1944, appears in l’Unità 30.1.1944.

  13. 13.


  14. 14.


  15. 15.

    ‘ALLA BATTAGLIA DI ROMA La popolazione deve partecipare in massa’. L’Unità (unpublished), 1.2.1944. This would have followed the regular edition two days previously.

  16. 16.

    ‘Riunione del Comitato romano tenuta il 6.2.1944’. Copy in MSdL/FSC/28/91.

  17. 17.


  18. 18.


  19. 19.

    See the posters and leaflets in the Biblioteca Comunale di Follonica/Fondo Otello Terzani (henceforth BCF/FOT).

  20. 20.

    See 7.4.

  21. 21.

    Bentivegna, Rosario. 1983. Achtung Banditen, Milan: Mursia, pp. 64–68 recounts his meetings with Avico. He describes the former Arditi del Popolo fighter as ‘frankly out of the ordinary, not so much for exceptional qualities as for his “vivacity”. A little agitated, perhaps even rather boastful, he claimed to be preparing great projects for a struggle without quarter against the German and Fascist commands with the city. He never wanted to establish continuous, regular contacts with us nor to be considered a member of our organisation’.

  22. 22.

    BCF/FOT. This document is undated but likely from early March 1944.

  23. 23.

    See Le Gac, Julie. 2008. ‘From Suspicious Observation to Ambiguous Collaboration: The Allies and Italian Partisans, 1943–1944’. Journal of Strategic Studies 31/5: pp. 721–42.

  24. 24.

    Harris, Charles. 1957. Allied Administration of Italy. London: HM Stationery Office.

    p. 179.

  25. 25.

    Raganella, Libero. 2000. Senza sapere di che parte stanno. Rome: Bulzoni.

  26. 26.

    She wrote widely for both Il Partigiano and the PWB’s own l’Italia combatte. Her archive is kept at Yad Vashem and the Unione Femminile Nazionale.

  27. 27.

    Recounted in ‘Grotta Rossa’, in MCd’I. 1944. I nostri martiri. Rome: Bandiera Rossa. ‘Relazione del compagno Otello Di Diego, capo del concentramento “Grotta rossa”’, MSdL/FSC/28/61, speaks of extensive such contacts as well as specifying the aid provided to Allied airmen.

  28. 28.

    ‘Riunione del Comitato romano tenuta il 13.2.1944’, copy in MSdL/FSC/28/91.

  29. 29.

    ‘Il nostro fronte’. Disposizioni Rivoluzionarie, 23.4.1944; ‘Commentario’, Idem. 7.5.1944; ‘La voce dell’operaio’. Bandiera Rossa, 14.11.1943, p. 2.

  30. 30.

    ‘Il comunismo e Mosca’. Bandiera Rossa, 14.11.1943.

  31. 31.


  32. 32.

    ‘Riunione del Comitato romano tenuta il 13.2.1944’, copy in MSdL/FSC/28/91.

  33. 33.

    Churchill, Winston. 1951. Closing the Ring: The Second World War, Vol. V. New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 499.

  34. 34.


  35. 35.


  36. 36.

    See documentation in War Office (henceforth WO)/207/2167. The history of the CGL in Naples is extensively covered in Giliani, Francesco. 2014. Fedeli alla classe, Naples which offers a detailed reconstruction of the role of AFL-CIO officials brought into the Italian labour movement from the US.

  37. 37.

    See ‘Translation of “resolution” adopted at 12 March Naples meeting’ in WO207/2167.

  38. 38.

    De Feo 1973, p. 85.

  39. 39.

    NA/W5089/64083, General Wilson to USFOR, AGWAR, Hall PWB, 13.4.1944.

  40. 40.

    Far stronger was the tone adopted by Pietro Secchia in ‘Risposta a Churchill’, La Nostra Lotta, March 1944, describing the success of the strike against the Occupier on 1 March as an action ‘in which the Italian popular forces, the working class in the lead, struck Nazi-Fascism hard, said no to Badoglio, and gave an eloquent response to Churchill’.

  41. 41.

    The Duke of Acquerone—Badoglio’s Minister of Court—noted as early as 5 December 1943 that the representatives of the Rome CLN parties were aware of the monarch’s plan to resign when this moment came. NA/FO371/43814/96.

  42. 42.

    ‘La battaglia di Roma sarà vinta dal popolo di Roma’. L’Avanti, 7.2.1944.

  43. 43.


  44. 44.

    ‘La situazione politica in Italia’. Il Partigiano, 23.1.1944.

  45. 45.

    Bonomi, Diario di un anno, p. 143, 25.1.1944 entry. Bonomi grouped Andreoni together with unnamed others who wanted the CLN to seize the ‘vital points in Rome’ to the exclusion of the Royal Army.

  46. 46.

    Bonomi, Diario di un anno, pp. 143–44, 25.1.1944; in his entry on 31.1.1944 (p. 145) he noted that the left-wing parties had admitted the need to avoid armed clashes.

  47. 47.

    Bonomi, Diario di un anno, 23.3.1944.

  48. 48.

    ‘Coscienza della responsibilità’. L’Unità, XXI/8, 30.3.1944.

  49. 49.

    ‘La Comune di Parigi’. Disposizioni Rivoluzionarie, 29.3.1944,

  50. 50.

    Bentivegna , Achtung Banditen, p. 133, describes the Germans as absent from Centocelle for ‘more than a month’, and Pepe, I tigrotti di Bandiera Rossa (unpublished manuscript at IRSIFAR), similarly portrays the Wehrmacht as too afraid to enter this district. This allowed the GAP to hold a public meeting in the Piazza dei Mirti. The Occupier nonetheless remained a headquarters on the Via dei Glicini.

  51. 51.

    Chilanti, Gloria. 1998. Bandiera rossa e borsa nera. La Resistenza di una adolescente. Milan: Mursia. p. 115, 1.2.1944.

  52. 52.

    He is listed in ‘MSdL/FSC/28/55, ‘Banda Prenestino’.

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Broder, D. (2021). The Allies’ Approach. In: The Rebirth of Italian Communism, 1943–44. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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