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Home Leaders & Commanders Italian High Command

Italian High Command

Benito Mussolini 1883 - 1945

Fascist Dictator of Italy since 1924. Entered Italy into the war in 1940 even though his military power was not sufficient at the time. His armies met with humiliating defeats in North Africa and Greece. The African conflict against the British Army resulted in the loss of a large part of his total army. Mussolini then became the subservient partner in the Rome-Berlin Axis. Following the Allied invasion of Sicily, Mussolini was deposed by the Fascist Grand Council in July 1943 and imprisoned. Two months later he was freed from prison by a German commando raid and installed as the head of a puppet government in Northern Italy. As this part of Italy began to fall to the Allies in April 1945, he was captured by partisans and executed. Despite being a partner to Hitler in the Axis, Mussolini never stooped to the evil ways of the Nazis, for example, whilst he was dictator of Italy he never allowed the deportation of Jews to Hitler's extermination camps.

Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio 1871 - 1956

Chief of Staff of the Italian Army from the beginning of the war until December 1940, when he resigned after the failure to conquer Greece. Subsequently he plotted against Mussolini and after the dictator's downfall in July 1943, became the first Prime Minister of the new non-Fascist government.

Count Galeazzo Ciano 1903 - 1944

Italian Foreign Minister and son-in-law of Mussolini. Ciano had been Foreign Minister since 1936 but during the war he lost respect for Mussolini and resigned from his post in February 1943. Ciano, however, remained a member of the Fascist Grand Council and voted to remove Mussolini in July 1943. In August of the same year he was tricked into being captured by the Germans and executed with the approval of his father-in-law.

Marshal Ugo Cavallero 1880 - 1943

Cavallero succeeded Badoglio as Chief of Staff of the Italian Army in December 1940. Considered to have been pro-German, Cavallero attempted to modernize the Army along the lines of the German Army. However, he was dismissed after the fall of Tripoli in January 1943.

General Vittorio Ambrosio 1879 - 1950

Ambrosio became Chief of Staff to Mussolini in January 1943 following the dismissal of Cavallero. He attempted to persuade Mussolini to sign an armistice with the Allies and subsequently assisted in the overthrow of the dictator and negotiations with the Allies. Cavallero, however was not trusted by the Allies and was not appointed as Chief of Staff in the new non-Fascist government.




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