War and Resistance

  • Borden W. PainterJr.
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


The construction boom in Rome and the surrounding Agro Pontino slowed and then came to a halt after Italy’s entrance into the war on June 10, 1940. Italy had signed its Pact of Steel with Germany in May 1939, which completed the diplomatic and military alliance of the Axis powers. Mussolini had boasted throughout the 1930s of Italy’s growing military strength and the “eight million bayonets” that represented the armed strength of the nation. In fact, Italy had nowhere near that number of men in the armed services, and the military rhetoric of the Duce far exceeded his limited military resources.’ In an unusual admission, Mussolini told Hitler in 1939 that he would need three years to prepare Italy for war. Hitler had other plans and would not wait for his Italian partner. Following his August agreement with Stalin, Hitler had a free hand to invade Poland on September 1, 1939. Mussolini remained on the sidelines and declared Italy a “non-belligerent.”


Historic Center German Occupation Italian Citizen Military Strength Armed Resistance 
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© Borden Painter 2005

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  • Borden W. PainterJr.

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