Remembering Rome's Liberation

Jun 03, 2019 440

BY: Gregory Sumner

Amid the justifiable hoopla this week surrounding the launch of the D-Day invasion, it is important to note, too, the anniversary of an event that unfolded just two days earlier, on June 4, 1944--the Allied liberation of Rome. Despite Churchill's promises of quick victory in the 'soft underbelly” of Hitler's Fortress Europe, the prize was hard-won, indeed—Italy proved a “tough, old gut,” in the words of the GI's master chronicler Ernie Pyle.

The Germans were intent on fighting for every inch of their southern flank. It began in summer '43 with Sicily, a campaign famous for the race that developed between General George Patton and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, his British rival, to be the first into the stepping-stone to the Italian mainland, Messina. Things got no easier after Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was arrested and Italy dropped out of the war. 

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