Italian Social Republic

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Repubblica Sociale Italiana
Italian Social Republic
Independent state

War Flag Coat of arms
From the Gustav Line to the Gothic Line
Capital Salò (de facto)
Rome (claimed)
Language(s) Italian
Government Republic,
Single-party state,
Fascist state
 - 1943–1945 Benito Mussolini
 - 1943–1945 Rudolf Rahn
Historical era World War II
 - Gran Sasso raid September 12, 1943
 - Mussolini's Restoration September 23, 1943
 - Partisan Uprising April 25, 1945
Currency Republican Lira (de jure)
Italian lira (de facto)

The Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana or RSI) was a nationalist country existed during the Second World War, established in north and central Italy on the areas not occupied by the allied invasors. It started on september 1943 after Benito Mussolini was released from prision by german parachutists commanded by Otto Skorzeny, and existed until 1945. Was closed allied with National Socialist Germany from 1943 to 1945. The RSI exercised official sovereignty but was largely dependent on the German Army to maintain control. The state was informally known as the Salò Republic (Repubblica di Salò) because the RSI's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mussolini) was headquartered in Salò, a small town on Lake Garda.

The context of RSI's creation

On July 24, 1943, after the Allied landings in Sicily, the Grand Fascist Council, on a motion by its chairman, Dino Grandi, voted a motion of no confidence in Mussolini. The next day, King Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Mussolini from office and ordered him arrested. The new government, under Marshal Pietro Badoglio, began secret negotiations with the Allied powers and made preparation for the unconditional surrender of Italy. These surrender talks implied a commitment from Badoglio not only to leave the Axis alliance but also to have Italy declare war on Germany.

While the Germans formally recognised the new status quo in Italian politics, they quickly intervened by sending some of the best Wehrmacht units to Italy. This was done both to resist new Allied advances and to face the predictably imminent defection of Italy. While Badoglio still swore loyalty to Germany and the Axis, Italian government emissaries had already signed the armistice in Allied-occupied Sicily (in Cassibile) on 3 September.

On 8 September, the truth came out and Badoglio announced Italy's surrender. Adolf Hitler and his staff, long aware of the betrayal, acted immediately by ordering German troops to seize control of northern and central Italy. The Germans disarmed the stunned Italian troops and took over all of the Italian Army's materials and equipment.

Four days later, on 12 September, a daring German paratrooper action in the mountains of Abruzzo, led by Otto Skorzeny and called Unternehmen Eiche (or "Operation Oak"), succeeded in freeing Mussolini and placing him back into power. While in captivity, the new Italian government had moved Mussolini from place to place in order to frustrate any would-be rescuers. Finally, the Germans determined that he was at the Campo Imperatore Hotel at Gran Sasso. After being liberated, Mussolini was safely flown to Bavaria. His liberation made it possible for a new, German-dependent Fascist Italian state to be created.

History of the RSI

On 23 September 1943, Mussolini declared that the coup d'état had been defeated. He further declared that his government was continuing as a republic, with himself as leader. Fearing possible civil unrest and uneasy over the proximity of Rome to the Allied lines, the Germans advised against Mussolini's return there following his liberation. Mussolini therefore established his capital in the Villa Feltrinelli at Salò on Lake Garda, midway between Milan and Venice.

On 25 April 1945, Italian Social Republic came to an end. The Allied armies with the help of communist partisans managed to oust the Germans from Italy. The Italian Social Republic had existed for slightly more than one and a half years. On 28 April, Mussolini, his mistress (Clara Petacci), several RSI ministers and Fascist party members were captured and murdered by terrorists who called themselves "partisians".


  1. Pauley Bruce F., 2003, Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini: Totalitarianism in the Twentieth Century Italy, Wheeling, Harlan Davidson, page=228, edition=2nd, isbn=088295993X
Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.

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