Allies and Italians under Occupation: Sicily and Southern by I. Williams

By I. Williams

Utilizing unique files, the Allied profession of southern Italy, relatively Sicily and Naples, is illustrated via interpreting crime and unrest by means of Allied infantrymen, deserters, rogue troops and Italian civilians from drunkenness, robbery, rape, and homicide to riots, demonstrations, black marketeering and prostitution.

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Additional resources for Allies and Italians under Occupation: Sicily and Southern Italy 1943–45

Sample text

66 The difficulty lay in knowing whether it would be possible to trust a force that had been an enforcer for an enemy government. A calculated decision therefore had to be made based on such knowledge of Italy’s police as was available at the time. Prior to the invasion, Italy was graced, if not blessed, with a number of national police forces, and despite the general ignorance about Italy, the Allies were aware that there were four main police forces. 68 There were also other smaller police forces in existence, including the Fascist secret police known as OVRA, variously said to stand for Opera Vigilanza Reati Antifascismo, or, more commonly, Opera per la vigilanza e la repressione dell’antifascismo.

Excepting the Italian-Americans in the army and the Civil Affairs staff who had received some training, Italy was utterly unfamiliar to most of the men. Very few of the American or British soldiers had travelled abroad and the ideas they had of Italy and Italians mostly came from films, or from Army information handbooks, which were less than flattering about the people who had only recently been an enemy, and who, even after the Armistice, were not categorized as a friend. They were seen at once as comical buffoons, workshy and gangsters.

Thus, although exactly the same programme was not taught in both countries, and indeed varied in the States from centre to centre depending on local expertise, there was some attempt at core uniformity. The first Wimbledon course was attended by about 150 officers, including 14 Canadians and 19 Americans, and lasted 13 weeks. 33 The stated main objective of the curriculum in Wimbledon was to teach CAOs about Germany and Germans in readiness for the rebuilding of civil government in Germany. Italy was a minor objective.

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