Hitler's Raid to Save Mussolini: The Most Infamous Commando Raid of World War II

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The Allied invasion of Italy pressed on through the summer of 1943, the strutting dictator, Mussolini, was overthrown and imprisoned by his own people in a remote mountaintop resort. Furious at the turn of events, Adolf Hitler, Il Duce's sworn ally, promised to rescue Mussolini and restore the Rome-Berlin Axis. On September 12, a small convoy of glider aircraft suddenly began crash-landing near the hotel-prison where Mussolini was held and German commandos poured out of the half-wrecked planes. The soldiers ...

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Overview

The Allied invasion of Italy pressed on through the summer of 1943, the strutting dictator, Mussolini, was overthrown and imprisoned by his own people in a remote mountaintop resort. Furious at the turn of events, Adolf Hitler, Il Duce's sworn ally, promised to rescue Mussolini and restore the Rome-Berlin Axis. On September 12, a small convoy of glider aircraft suddenly began crash-landing near the hotel-prison where Mussolini was held and German commandos poured out of the half-wrecked planes. The soldiers quickly overwhelmed the hotel and seized Mussolini, who had watched the drama unfold from a second-story window. "I knew my friend Adolf Hitler would not abandon me," said a grinning Mussolini to his rescuers. Hitler's rescue of Mussolini was one of the most famous commando operations of the twentieth century and shocked a war-weary world. It was also the dramatic culmination of the bizarre relationship between Hitler and Mussolini-a relationship that had disastrous consequences for the globe. In this vivid and lively narrative filled with drama, intrigue, action, and some of history's most notorious characters, author Greg Annussek recounts the dramatic story of Germany's secret six-week operation to find and rescue the prisoner Mussolini and restore him to power.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306813962
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 8/22/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Annussek is the author of several books and a lifelong student of history. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Prologue: Mussolini Falls from Power 1
Chapter 1 Into the Wolf's Lair 9
Chapter 2 Treason in the Air 21
Chapter 3 An Early Friendship 37
Chapter 4 A Dangerous Game 59
Chapter 5 Tonight No Sleep for Anybody 81
Chapter 6 The Odyssey of Benito Mussolini 99
Chapter 7 Hitler Takes Control 109
Chapter 8 The Raid on Santo Stefano 123
Chapter 9 The Mystery of Maddalena Island 137
Chapter 10 The Badoglio Shuffle 155
Chapter 11 The Highest Prison in the World 169
Chapter 12 The Double Cross 183
Chapter 13 A Simple Plan 199
Chapter 14 Freeing Mussolini 213
Epilogue: The Aftermath 237
The Story of Operation Oak 261
Notes 265
Bibliography 307
Index 315
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