Italian social republic

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Italian Social Republic
Repubblica Sociale Italiana
War flag coat of arms
[ War flag ] [ Coat of arms ]
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) .svg navigation Flag of Italy (1861-1946) .svg
Official language Italian
Capital de jure Rome
de facto Salò (later Milan )
Seat of government Salò (1943–1944)
Milan (1944–1945)
Form of government Republic ( dictatorship )
Government system Fascist one-party system
Head of State and Government Leader and Head of State Benito Mussolini
surface approx. 167,600 km² (1943)
approx. 98,500 km² (end of 1944)
population approx. 26.6 million (1943)
approx. 17.3 million (end of 1944)
currency de jure Republican Lira
de facto Italian Lira
founding September 12, 1943
Existence period 1943-1945
National anthem Giovinezza
National holiday 23 September (state founded in 1943)
License Plate I or later also RSI
Map of the Social Republic of Italy

The Italian Social Republic (German also Social Republic of Italy , Italian Repubblica Sociale Italiana [reˈpubblika soˈtʃa: le itaˈlia: na] , RSI [ˌɛrreˌɛsseˈi] for short ), unofficially also the Republic of Salò (Italian Repubblica di Salò [reˈpubblika di saˈlɔ] ) called, was a Fascist satellite state in northern Italy under the military protection of the German Reich , whose territory was limited to the German occupied territory.

The state existed de facto between September 23, 1943 and April 25, 1945 and continued the Second World War until the end on the side of Germany and the Axis powers . The seat of government was Salò on Lake Garda (from 1944 Milan ), the head of state was the dictatorial Prime Minister of Italy, Benito Mussolini , who was deposed on July 25, 1943 . The republic, which was the second and last fascist state in Italy , ceased to exist on May 2, 1945, when the surrender of the German and Republican-Italian armed forces in the north of the country , signed on April 29 of this year, took effect.


On July 10, 1943, the Allied invasion of Sicily began with Operation Husky . On July 22nd, Palermo was captured. Thereupon, on July 25, 1943, the Grand Fascist Council (Gran Consiglio dell 'Fascismo), the highest state organ, expressed suspicion of Mussolini and practically deposed him as his leader (Il Duce) . When Mussolini passed the Italian King Victor Emanuel III. in order to submit his resignation from the office of prime minister , the latter had him arrested, took over the supreme command of the armed forces again and instructed Marshal Pietro Badoglio to form a new military government. Marshal Badoglio immediately declared the National Fascist Party ( Partito Nazionale Fascista , PNF) and all of its branches dissolved by law. With that, the fascist regime in Italy had finally collapsed. On September 8, 1943, Badoglio concluded a unilateral armistice with the Allies ( Armistice of Cassibile ) as Mussolini's successor in the office of Prime Minister . This was followed by the occupation of northern Italy and other parts of the country by the German Wehrmacht (" Fall Axis ") in order to prevent Italy from falling away from the " Axis " and not to lose the war-important industrial areas of Northern Italy.

Foundation of the RSI

Mussolini with German paratroopers shortly after his liberation

German paratroopers , accompanied by some SS men under SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto Skorzeny , succeeded on September 12, 1943 in freeing Mussolini with the company Eiche from his imprisonment on the Gran Sasso in Abruzzo .

The deposed dictator set out from Munich to reorganize the Fascist Party ( Partito Nazionale Fascista , PNF), which had meanwhile been dissolved due to past events. After Mussolini had returned to the original party program of the Fasci italiani di combattimento from 1919 and changed some elements with an affinity for republican and, to a lesser extent, socialist content, he gave notice on September 18 via the Munich broadcaster , which in a large part of northern and central Italy was well received, the impending establishment of the new fascist state.

This was proclaimed on September 23, 1943 with six daily orders . The new fascist state on Italian soil was initially only recognized by the German Empire and the Japanese Empire , and later also by the states allied with the Axis powers such as Bulgaria , Finland , Manchukuo , Romania , Slovakia and Hungary . San Marino and Switzerland were the only neutral states to recognize the new state. After a brief hesitation, the Vatican also recognized him diplomatically.

The constituent meeting of the new fascist government took place in the German embassy in Rome . Benito Mussolini, who was still in Germany and therefore not present in person (he was represented by Alessandro Pavolini ), was appointed Head of State, Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Foreign Minister. The newly founded " Republican Fascist Party " ( Partito Fascista Repubblicano , PFR) was now led by Alessandro Pavolini.

One of the first foreign policy acts (perhaps the first ever) was to declare war on the remaining Kingdom of Italy in the south of the country. The Kingdom of Italy in the south under King Victor Emanuel III. and the protection of the allies did not officially recognize the new fascist state, but reacted to the fascist declaration of war, which amounted to de facto recognition .

The first government meetings took place in the Castello di Caminate in the province of Forlì-Cesena . In the castle belonging to Mussolini, Mussolini had withdrawn in the first days after his return. Only then did he reside from Gargnano on Lake Garda, where he also met the Council of Ministers. Other ministries, authorities and fascist organizations settled on the west bank of Lake Garda, such as the Ministry of the Interior in Toscolano-Maderno . Salò is the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Popular Culture, as well as the Stefani press agency, which published the government's statements and communications. Due to the fact that the communications were introduced with the words “Salò communica” (Italian for “Salò shares with”), the unofficial name of Reppublica di Salò became established over time . After the constituent meeting of the Republican Fascist Party in November 1943 in Castelvecchio in Verona , the new fascist state officially adopted the name Repubblica Sociale Italiana on December 1, 1943 . Previously it was named Stato repubblicano d'Italia , Stato fascista repubblicano and Stato nazionale repubblicano .

The choice of Lake Garda, other ministries were in Polpenazze del Garda (defense) and in nearby Brescia (justice, finance), was due to the strategically favorable location. There were numerous arms factories in the vicinity (including Beretta in Gardone Val Trompia ) and steelworks and steel processing industries, which continued to produce for the RSI and the Germans. The proximity to Milan , an important industrial center, was also viewed as advantageous, as was the proximity to the foothills of the Alps controlled by the Germans . The area was also shielded by the arch of the Alps and was sufficiently distant from France and the Adriatic region. Salò (and also Milan) were thus in the heart of the last area in Italy that was still able to produce and trade, even if the latter was often mainly with the German Empire.

National territory

The Italian Social Republic and the German operational zones at the end of 1943

The RSI claimed the entire territory of Italy, including the Italian islands, with the northwest largely following the borders of 1940, the year the country entered the war on Germany's side.

In fact, the national territory only included the Italian peninsula as far as it was occupied by Wehrmacht troops. At the beginning the front line was south of Rome. The capital of Italy was under Mussolini's request, because of its proximity to the front no longer the seat of government , however, was de jure regarded as the capital of RSI. In the so-called operational zones within the national territory of the RSI, the administration was not carried out by the RSI authorities.

The operating zones

The areas on the main Alpine ridge had already been combined by the German military command in the operational zones of the Alpine Foreland ( South Tyrol , Trentino and Belluno ) and Adriatic Coast (Provinces of Udine , Gorizia , Trieste , Pula and Fiume ) on September 12, 1943 . They were under German military administration, but formally still belonged to the Social Republic of Italy. At their head were the Gauleiter of the neighboring "Greater German Reichsgaue" Tyrol and Carinthia, Franz Hofer and Friedrich Rainer , who were directly subordinate to Hitler. The Northwest Alps operational zone on the Swiss and French borders was added later. As a concession, special agreements had been promised for Trieste .

Rainer subordinated the prefects and mayors to German “advisors” and laid down rules for the deployment of the local Italian, Slovenian and Croatian militias, which worked under different names for the occupiers. Various units of the fascist militia were placed in the service of the SS (in this case they were given the name Regional Defense Militia instead of their name, Republican National Guard ), as well as various police units, which were used, among other things, for arrests.

Partisan areas

With the progressive advance of the Allied troops, from the end of 1944 the territory of the RSI consisted only of the northern part of Italy. In the last months of the war, the territorial sphere of power under fascist control was additionally reduced by regional activities of partisans.


The Social Republic of Italy continued to be constituted as a fascist one-party state . After the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF) was dissolved, Mussolini founded a new fascist party - the Partito Fascista Repubblicano (PFR; " Republican Fascist Party "). The highest state organ was the Council of Ministers of the Social Republic (Consiglio dei Ministri) , whereby Mussolini was head of state , head of government as well as foreign minister and practically held unlimited power.

Due to the lack of a constitution (but the same applied to the Kingdom of Italy), the state had the status of a stabilized de facto regime and was practically only governed on the basis of the executive branch . A constitution, originally requested by the German Reich, was drawn up, but neither negotiated nor passed by a representative assembly. On October 13, 1943, the imminent convocation of a constituent assembly was announced, which was to work out one in which state authority would come from the people. But after the first meeting, which took place in Verona on November 14, 1943 , the continuation of Mussolini was postponed because he had decided not to convene the same meeting again until after the war. Nevertheless, with his approval, a draft constitution was drawn up that would serve as a basis after the war or, if approved, simply be adopted.

While Italy, as a great power, was previously an equal ally of Germany who could pursue its own policy, the Republic of Salò was more of a puppet state . Some laws of the Jewish legislation of the Greater German Reich , which had not been adopted by the Italian fascist regime before 1943, have now been introduced.

Nevertheless, the Social Republic of Italy must be viewed as a state that is actually capable of acting, because inside the RSI had largely free hand. It also had the typical characteristics of a state such as B. own currency , postal system , license plates (these remained valid after 1945), radio , postage stamps , legislation , public administration and jurisdiction . However, most of the institutions were partly or completely military, such as the fire brigade ( Vigili del Fuoco , VdF; mostly called Pompieri ), which was always armed and whose staff of any rank went about their operations with a rifle on their back. There was a separate police force ( Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana , GNR) in addition to the still existing financial guard ( Guardia di Finanza , GdF) and another smaller police force called Polizia Repubblicana , PR; the latter emerged from the Pubblica Sicurezza and can be found mainly in the cities (predecessor of today's Polizia di Stato ). The RSI also had its own secret service . However, the social republic did not know the organization of the Carabinieri , because it was dissolved from the beginning on orders of Mussolini and replaced by the GNR. The police of Italian Africa ( Polizia dell'Africa Italiana , PAI) from Libya and Italian East Africa formally continued to exist, although Italy had already lost its colonies and the remnants of this institution were integrated into the GNR or other associations.

The forced state militarism showed itself not only through the frequent marches and military parades , it had an effect in practically all areas of public life. All civil servants were uniformed, and uniforms were mandatory in schools. In March 1944, during a strike by the tram and trolleybus workers of the Milan transport company ( ATM Milano ), the drivers and conductors were replaced by soldiers and black shirts in order to keep operations going. There were other similar deployments of the military in the following period, so that war production could continue despite everything.

The regime of the Italian Social Republic was in every respect more radical and uncompromising than that of fascist Italy before 1943 and was noticeable for its particularly harsh, repressive persecution of actual and / or potential political opponents and partisans . The press was severely censored and a concentration camp for opponents of the regime was set up in a former rice mill in Trieste ( Risiera di San Sabba ) . In addition, as far as one could get hold of them, those fascists were arrested who had voted against Mussolini in the Grand Fascist Council in July 1943 . They were convicted in the Verona show trial on January 8, 1944 and executed by shooting three days later (including former Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano and Marshal Emilio De Bono ). Some historians sometimes refer to the RSI regime as “radical fascist” in the face of changed facts. Among the Italian partisans , the RSI had the nickname La fascistissima Repubblica (“The most fascist republic”), alluding to it .

German occupation policy

German soldier controls an Italian civilian near Milan (1944).
Determination of the lire / Reichsmark exchange rate (1943)

Because of Badoglio's armistice with the anti-Hitler coalition of September 1943, the Germans still harbored great distrust of all organs of the new Italian government in the north. Their ever lower efficiency over time, which was primarily due to the economic situation, the increasing war fatigue of the population and the growing liberation movement, led the highest German military administrative authority under the General of the Infantry Rudolf Toussaint with its military commandations to increasingly Executive took over. Whenever possible, the occupied territories were exploited for the German war economy. The use of the Italian military internees (the captured Italian soldiers had received this status after the armistice of September 8, 1943) as forced laborers was of great importance , unless they had been integrated into the new armed forces of the RSI . In the summer of 1944, more than 420,000 of them were employed as forced laborers, and some were also deported to Germany to work. 50,000 Italian forced laborers were also used by the Wehrmacht and the Todt Organization for the fortress-like expansion of the 270 km long Gothic line from Viareggio on the Ligurian Sea to Pesaro on the Adriatic Sea .

Persecution of the Jews

With the invasion of the German troops, the persecution of the Jews in Italy took on a new dimension. In September 1943, the murdered 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in the massacre of Lake Maggiore Jewish families at the Lago Maggiore had fled (Maggiore). In October and November "Jewish actions" followed in several large cities; more than 1,200 people were arrested in the ghetto in Rome . The RSI did nothing to counter the persecutions. On November 14, 1943, the new Partito Fascista Repubblicano declared the Jews to be enemies in its manifesto. In doing so, they de facto lost their citizenship and the last remaining rights. Two weeks later, the new Interior Minister Guido Buffarini Guidi ordered all Jews to be sent to concentration camps and the state to confiscate their property. The Jews were now arrested by the Italian security forces, transported to camps and then handed over to the Germans, who organized their deportation . Most of the transports went to Theresienstadt , some of them to Auschwitz . Hardly any Jew returned. Many arrests were only possible because there were many informers . However, many Jews were also able to go into hiding. In Rome, more than 4,000 Jews are said to have found refuge in the Vatican and in institutions of the Catholic Church. In March 1944, on behalf of Mussolini, the General Inspectorate for Race ( Ispettorato generale per la razza ) was set up in Desenzano del Garda under the direction of the anti-Semite Giovanni Preziosi , which dealt in particular with the persecution of Jews in the RSI and until the collapse of the RSI duration.

Resistance struggle and liberation

Italian and German soldiers arrest civilians after an attack on a military unit; those arrested were later shot (1944).

The partisan movement , spurred on by the victories of the Allies in the south, gained increasing importance. At the end of 1944 it was estimated at 150,000 fighters who temporarily liberated ever larger areas from the fascists. At first they only fought in divisions, later they organized themselves into brigades and divisions. In March 1944 they fought several days of battles with the Wehrmacht and SS in Piedmont , in April in Valsesia , in May in Veneto . Through offensive operations the partisans created several liberated areas in valleys of the Alps and the Apennines , between Genoa and Piacenza , between Savona and San Remo , in the Cansiglio plateau and in Friuli . The German troops as well as those of the RSI fought the liberation movements through indiscriminate mass terror, stand and special courts. In autumn 1944, German troops carried out an operation against the Stella Rossa partisan brigade in the Apennines, murdering 1,830 people in Marzabotto , including 500 children, destroying 800 apartments, 9 churches, 5 schools, the paper factory and the rice mill. They also succeeded in taking the area of ​​the partisan republic of Ossola (Eng. Ashen Valley) and the liberated area in the Carnia . From mid-February 1945 there was a broad strike movement. First in Liguria , then in Turin and Milan . There the authorities practically collapsed. In March and April the partisan units launched a broad offensive. On April 18, 1945, the general strike began in Turin, supported by actions by the partisans. Almost all of northern Italy was hit by the uprising. Partisans liberated many places before the arrival of the Allied troops. On April 21, the German troops in Bologna were defeated by the Americans, with partisans also taking part in the fierce street fighting and later parading in the city. On April 25, the later day of liberation , the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini fled Salò from the Allies. On the same day, the German troops in Genoa surrendered to partisan brigades and insurgents. Milan was liberated by partisans the next day, and the fighting around Turin lasted until April 28th. The insurgents also triumphed in Venice on April 28th. By May 3rd, the Piave , Tarvisio and Friuli areas were liberated. Before the German troops capitulated to the Allies on April 28, 1945 ( Operation Sunrise ), many Wehrmacht divisions had already given up their arms in front of partisan units. On May 2, 1945, the surrender took effect. In the hinterland of Trieste , fighting between Italian SS troops and partisans continued until May 5, 1945.

The end of the RSI

When exactly the RSI ceased to exist cannot be clearly defined in a day. Mostly - also from the official side of Italy - April 25, 1945 is mentioned, which is seen as the political end of the RSI. On that day, the state began to dissolve slowly, as Mussolini, the government powers to the Minister of Finance Domenico Pellegrini Giampietro handed and then his headquarters in Milan left to discuss the Switzerland after Germany to flee and with a final squad of black shirts and Waffen-SS in Mountains to wage a final battle that is mythical according to his ideas . On April 26, Mussolini was captured by partisans from a German convoy and shot on April 28, 1945. The Italian Social Republic formally ceased to exist when the surrender, signed in Caserta on April 29, 1945 , took effect for all armed forces subordinate to the German Commander-in-Chief Southwest on May 2, 1945 at 12:00 noon Greenwich Mean Time , which in fact also marked the end of the RSI as a state meant.

Flag of the RSI

Marines ( Xa MAS ) with the RSI war flag

The flag of the social republic was the well-known Italian tricolor , in which, however, the coat of arms of the House of Savoy was replaced by a relatively large gray eagle with outstretched wings, which held a golden bundle of lictors between its claws. This flag was used on practically all occasions, but above all as a war flag , both at barracks and in the field. The civil flag, which also formally existed (tricolor without national emblem in the middle - corresponds to the flag of the later republic from 1948 onwards) played almost no role and, on the other hand, was almost not shown in public - but with its jagged gold rim it was one of the emblems of the republican air forces ( ANR ).

Government of the RSI

head of state Benito Mussolini 1943-1945    
Foreign minister Benito Mussolini 1943-1945    
Defense Minister Marshal Rodolfo Graziani 1943-1945    
Interior minister Guido Buffarini-Guidi 1943-1945 Valerio Zerbine 1945
Minister of Justice Antonino Tringali-Casanova 1943 Pietro Pisenti 1943-1945
Finance minister Domenico Pellegrini Giampietro 1943-1945    
Industry Minister Silvio Gai 1943 Angelo Tarchi 1943-1945
Minister for Public Works Ruggero Romano 1943-1945    
Communications minister Augusto Liverani 1943-1945    
Minister of Labor Giuseppe Spinelli 1945 *)    
Minister for National Education Carlo Alberto Biggini 1943-1945    
Minister of Popular Culture Fernando Mezzasoma 1943-1945    
Leader of the PFR Alessandro Pavolini 1943-1945    
Secretary General of the PFR Achille Starace 1943-1945    
*) The Ministry of Labor was only created in 1945.

Military affairs

Mussolini with German General (1944)

The RSI was militarily largely dependent on the German Reich, but also had its own armed forces with all branches of service . Together, all of the RSI's regular armed units had a staff of around 780,000. In contrast to earlier, the military insignia on the uniforms were new , so the stars called stellette were replaced with a gladio ( gladius ) - a short double-edged sword from the time of the Roman Empire - in a laurel wreath . These armed forces, which were still closely allied with the German Reich, were referred to in German as "republican-Italian armed forces" or (mostly after the war) as "republican-fascist armed forces". In Italy itself, members of the regular armed forces in the area of ​​the RSI were referred to as militi , in southern Italy, however, they were mostly pejoratively referred to as Repubblichini . Members of the Italian SS were officially called Legionari (in German "Legionaries"). The mainly semi-military units of the RSI, often involved in the hunt for partisans together with German troops, were unofficially referred to as Nazifascisti ("Nazifascists"), albeit to a significant extent only in the post-war period .

Various units of the RSI land forces, some of which were trained in Germany, were notorious for their extremely brutal warfare. Numerous partisans fell victim to this, and it could even cause difficulties for the Allies. Most of the time, however, the RSI's land forces were involved in rather smaller operations and rarely competed against the Allies in larger formations, as the Germans did not initially fully trust them despite their obvious fanatical determination. At the suggestion of Mussolini were two Italian Waffen-SS - Divisions designed to be installed, which actually but only one, the 29th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (Italian no. 1) , was also set up. Italian SS soldiers were also to be found in some other divisions, such as B. in the 24th Waffen-Gebirgs- (Karstjäger-) Division of the SS as well as in small numbers in some others. The latter unit was mainly used against communist partisans in the hinterland of Trieste and Istria . The actions against Italian partisans degenerated into barbaric, often politically undifferentiated mass terror, primarily against the civilian population. Operations against Yugoslav partisans ( called Slavocomunisti ) resulted in extremely violent excesses with mass shootings and senseless large-scale destruction.

Regular armed forces


The Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano (ENR) under Marshal Rodolfo Graziani , whose core initially consisted of those Italian soldiers who had become prisoners of war in Germany, had a total staff of 600,000 men. These included four infantry divisions, including the Monterosa Alpini division , as well as a number of territorial security units . The RSI army was mostly used against partisans, but at times also fought against the Allies. The RSI Army experienced its baptism of fire in 1944 during the fighting in Anzio - Nettuno , where it performed surprisingly well with relatively low losses, even if it ultimately did not succeed in throwing back the Allied landings. The only really large-scale offensive operation was a counterattack by a regiment in the Apennines against US units in the winter of 1944. The RSI troops proved to be tactically adept and very aggressive, which came as a surprise to the Allies. Some of the soldiers had been trained in Germany and had German weapons as well as their own, while the vehicle fleet was mainly made in Italy.

air force

aircraft cockade

The Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) often operated independently and successfully against the allied bomber groups independently of the German Air Force . At first their equipment consisted practically only of Italian aircraft, but later it was also increasingly equipped with German fighters . Most of the ANR's bombers and transport aircraft were assigned to German air force units and also flew transport missions on the Eastern Front . Of all branches of the armed forces (as in the period before 1943) the Luftwaffe proved to be the most successful. There were now two Italian air forces in Italy, but there were no combat missions against each other because the Aviazione Cobelligerante del Sud (English abbreviation: ICBAF) and the ANR had completely different operational areas or focuses. Around the middle of 1944, due to the constant attacks by the ANR in northern Italy, the Allied bomber groups were forced to discontinue the approaches to Germany from North Africa (as well as the return flights), so that northern Italy was no longer a hub for Allied bombing attacks. Overall, the Republican Air Force was the armed force that offered the strongest resistance to the Allies. The ANR most likely had its final air battle in the early afternoon of April 28, 1945, the day on which Mussolini died. A group of five recently delivered Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4s (the last and fastest version of the Bf 109 to be deployed) attacked a group of US B-26 bombers via Bergamo and shot down several machines without losing their own.


Marine of the Battaglione Barbarigo ( Xa MAS )

The Marina Nazionale Repubblicana (MNR) - also called Marina Repubblicana (MR) for short - was, in contrast to the condition of the earlier Regia Marina , not least due to the lack of heavy units, much smaller and basically only had speedboats as well as smaller combat ships and submarines . In addition to some lighter units, the heavy cruisers Gorizia and Bolzano were being repaired in the shipyards , but they were no longer used until the end of the war. The older battleship Conte di Cavour remained in German hands for repairs (it had been declared German spoil during the occupation of Italy on September 9, 1943). The specialized units such as combat swimmers (including torpedo riders ) and the marine infantry of the Xª Flottiglia MAS , which had been expanded into a division, operated largely independently of the MNR against allied forces and against Italian and Yugoslav partisans under the leadership of Junio ​​Valerio Borghese .

Servizio Ausiliario

Another regular military organization that arose in 1944 mainly due to the difficult personnel situation was the corps of female assistants, called Servizio Ausiliario Femminile (also just Servizio Ausiliario for short ). The Ausiliarie should  serve - very similar to the German Wehrmacht helpers - to support the armed forces of all branches of service as well as anti- aircraft and air raid protection units .

Semi-military combat units

Benito Mussolini in conversation with a " black shirt " (1944)

In addition to the regular armed forces, there were a few other smaller armed paramilitary combat units, some of which had a rather low military value, but were more politically oriented. Only the Black Brigades were used as combat troops.

Black brigades

The Brigate Nere emerged from an idea by Alessandro Pavolini , who wanted to create a “fascist army” of the party with a strong political influence. These associations were formed by a decree of June 30, 1944 to replace the so-called black shirts and were considerably strengthened after the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944 , which affected Mussolini personally. They were more or less the last “creation” of armed combat units in the republic. They not only fought against the Allies and against Italian partisans, but also persecuted and murdered actual and supposed political opponents as well as civilians whose commitment to fascism appeared to them in doubt. Their brutality was also legendary, the Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana recorded numerous cases of looting, theft, robbery, illegal arrests and violence against people and property, but could rarely do anything about it. The black brigades often wore a black top with their Italian army uniform and a skull on their badges. Their workforce was around 78,000.

Legione Autonoma Ettore Muti

The Autonomous Legion Ettore Muti , named after the PNF secretary and famous bomber pilot of the Regia Aeronautica Ettore Muti , who was murdered in 1943 , was a smaller task force stationed in Milan , which was mainly deployed against resistance fighters and partisans of the Resistancea in the Milan area and the surrounding area.

Black shirts

Soldier of the Battaglioni M (M for Mussolini), an elite unit of the MVSN (1943)

The organization of the Black Shirts , which was actually dissolved in September 1943 , formerly also known as the Fascist Militia or in the official Italian abbreviation MVSN ( Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale ), emerged on a small scale shortly before the end of the RSI, but was now one more politically as a military combat unit, which was also used for various work assignments (primarily to neutralize the effects of strikes).

Fiamme Bianche

The fascist youth organization White Flames was roughly comparable to the German Hitler Youth , even if it was oriented more militarily than ideologically. However, little is known about possible combat missions by the Fiamme Bianche.

See also


  • Wolfgang Schumann, Federal Archives (Ed.): Europe under the swastika . The occupation policy of German fascism in Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Italy and Hungary (1941–1945). tape 6 . Hüthig, Berlin / Heidelberg 1992, ISBN 3-8226-1892-6 .
  • Renzo De Felice : Mussolini l'alleato. Vol. III: La guerra civile 1943-1945. Edited by Emilio Gentile , Luigi Goglia, Mario Missori, Einaudi, Turin 1997, ISBN 978-88-06-11806-8 (Collana Biblioteca di cultura storica; unfinished and published posthumously, with a foreword by Livia De Felice).
  • Lutz Klinkhammer : Between the alliance and the occupation. National Socialist Germany and the Republic of Salò 1943–1945. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1993, ISBN 3-484-82075-6 .
  • Ettore Vernier: Repubblica Sociale Italiana RSI. On the problem of a third way. Series: Young Forum, 1st German-European Study Society, Verlag Deutsch-Europäische Studien, Hamburg 1977.

Web links

Commons : Italian Social Republic  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Conrad F. Latour: South Tyrol and the axis Berlin - Rome 1938–1945 , p. 118 ( online ).
  2. ^ Gianluca Falanga: Mussolini's outpost in Hitler's empire: Italy's Politics in Berlin 1933–1945 , p. 229 ( online ).
  3. ^ Giorgio Candeloro : Storia dell'Italia moderna. La seconda guerra mondiale - Il crollo del fascismo - La resistenza 1939-1945 . Volume 10, Feltrinelli, Milan 2002, ISBN 88-07-80805-6 , p. 243.
  4. Silvano Vinceti (ed.) Salò capitale: breve storia fotografica della RSI . Armando Editore, Rome 2003, ISBN 88-8358-464-3 , p. 30.
  5. Thomas Schlemmer , Hans Woller: The Italian Fascism and the Jews 1922 to 1945. Quarterly Issues for Contemporary History , Munich 2005, pp. 164–201. Can also be read online .
  6. Vernier and Verlag represent so-called ethnopluralism and belong to the New Right . Book: Bibliography, Verona program and timetable as an appendix.