In World War II, the main participants of war were divided into two forces— the Allied powers composed of Britain, France, Russia, and the United States, versus the Axis, made up of  Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy. At the time when the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was imprisoned by his people after the Allied bombers pounded the “Eternal City” of Rome, Hitler did his part as a trusted ally and friend to come and rescue his fellow dictator from the people… or was it for a reason?

The Fall of the Dictator

Although Hitler and Mussolini were both dictators during their time, Hitler held absolute power in his hands and with it came the ability to rule with an iron fist.  This was not true with Mussolini, Italy still had a king and a council of ministers that could remove Mussolini from his office if they opted to. When Allied bombers flew over the city of Rome on July 19, 1943, and turned the city and all the working-class areas of San Lorenzo into rubble by destroying two of their airports and partially damaging the ancient Basilica of Saint Lawrence,  Mussolini’s government turned the blame on him. The Grand Council lost its confidence in “Il Duce” who had been in power twenty years and booted him out on July 24. As King Victor Emmanuel III told him,

My dear Duce, it’s no longer any good. Italy has gone to bits. The soldiers don’t want to fight any more. At this moment you are the most hated man in Italy.

Mussolini had no choice but to leave the palace that had been his home for the past 20 years. The members of the Carabinieri arrested and imprisoned him, as per the king’s order.