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Vold i Salò-republikken

Følgende er hentet fra Peter Nevilles Mussolini-biografi.

 

 In one sense at least, the Social Republic was strongly reminiscent of the period between 1919 and 1922. For just as the PNF had relied on extra-parliamentary violence to intimidate its opponents before Mussolini came to power, the Social Republic was characterised by the existence of gangs of paramilitary thugs who were, if anything, even more out of control than the squadristi had been in the early 1920s. At the same time, familiar tensions existed between Ricci’s party militia (Guardia NazionaleRepubblicana; GNR) and the Republic of Salò’s regular army under Graziani who wanted a single national army. Eventually, in August 1944, the GNR was amalgamated with the army proper. But this amalgamation meant little while Party Secretary Pavolini had licence to encourage the so-called Black Brigades (Brigate Nere) to create even worse mayhem than the squadristi. The context, of course, was different as a bitter civil war raged in Italy in 1944-45 between these Fascist gangsters and Communist and other Leftist partisans. Atrocities were committed by both sides, none worse than those perpetrated by the Decima Mas of Prince Valerio Borghese, whose exploits tarnished a distinguished Italian name. Borghese, like the radical squadristi leaders twenty years before, even dared to question the Duce’s authority and suggest that he had gone soft in his old age. So concerned indeed was Mussolini about Borghese’s activities, and the danger of a coup d’etat, that he tried to neutralise him early in 1945 by offering him the sinecure of Chief of Staff of the Salò Navy (it had no navy). Other brutish groups included the so-called ‘Italian SS’.

 

 Mussolini’s role in all this did him little credit. He was concerned about threats to his personal power base, as has been seen, but he also condoned the atrocities committed by the Black Brigades. These were committed under government auspices when villages were destroyed because their men evaded the draft, or simply because inhabitants were suspected of sympathising with the Partisans. In parallel with Fascist atrocities went German ones, one example being the killing of over 300 men in the Ardeantine Caves (including dozens of Jews) in response to a Partisan bombing in Rome in March 1944. Mussolini did remonstrate about some German excesses (such as the displaying of bodies in public in northern cities) but to no effect. The excesses of his own supporters weakened the impact of such protests, even supposing that the German commanders in Italy were disposed to listen to their enfeebled ally.

 

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