Rome – City in Terror

The Nazi Occupation 1943–44

Rome – City in Terror cover


From the street fighting that heralded the German occupation to the Gestapo repression that followed, this is the gripping story of the German occupation of Rome from the Italian armistice in September 1943 until the Allied liberation of the city on June 5, 1944.

In September 1943, following wave upon wave of Allied bombing, Italy announced an armistice with the Allies. Shortly afterwards, the German Army disarmed Italian forces and, despite military and partisan resistance, quickly overran Rome. Rome – City in Terror is a comprehensive history of the nine-month-long German occupation of the city that followed.

The Gestapo wasted no time enforcing an iron grip on the city once the occupation was in place. They swiftly eliminated the Carabinieri, the Italian paramilitary force, rounded up thousands of Italians to build extensive defensive lines across Italy, and, at 5am one morning, arrested more than 1,000 Roman Jews and sent them to Auschwitz. Resistance, however, remained strong. To aid the thousands of Allied POWs who escaped after the dissolution of the Italian army, priests, diplomats, and escaped ex-POWs operating out of the Vatican formed a nationwide organization called the “Escape Line.” More than 4,000 Allied POWs scattered all over Italy were sheltered, clothed, and fed by these courageous Italians, whose lives were forfeit if their activities were discovered. Meanwhile, as food became scarce and the Gestapo began to raid on homes and institutions, Italian partisan fighters launched attack after attack on German military units in the city, with the threat of execution never far away.

This is the compelling story of an Eternal City brought low, of the terror and hardship of occupation, and of the disparate army of partisan fighters, displaced aristocrats, Vatican priests, Allied POWs, and ordinary citizens who battled for the liberation of Rome.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction by Joe B. Johnson, Minister – Counselor, US State Department, Retired;
Chronology; Dramatis Personae; Acronyms

Prologue; Chapter 1: Bombing the Cradle of Christianity; Chapter 2: The Frantic Effort to Leave the Axis;
Chapter 3: War in a Museum; Chapter 4: The Gestapo in Rome - Kappler, Espionage, and Sabotage;
Chapter 5: First they take the Jews; Chapter 6: The Vatican Nest of Spies; Chapter 7: Allied POWs seek Freedom; Chapter 8: Knocking on the Gates of Saint Peter's; Chapter 9: Ciao Bella, Ciao – the Partigiani;
Chapter 10: The Rome Escape Line; Chapter 11: Life under the Gestapo Boot - Raids, Roundups, Food and Art
Chapter 12: An American OSS Spy in Rome; Chapter 13: No Roman Holiday; Chapter 14: “The Order has been carried out”; Chapter 15: The Roman Spring of 1944; Chapter 16: Prelude to Liberation; Chapter 17: At Long Last, Liberation; Epilogue:

Appendix A: The Bombing of Rome; Appendix B: Italian Uniformed Services; Appendix C: Aussenkommando Rom der Sicherheitspolizei (SS-Gestapo) und des Sicherheitsdienst (SD), May/June 1944 - the AK Rom;
Appendix D: Vatican Extraterritoriality and Expropriation; Appendix E: The People of Sulmona: 1943-1944;
Appendix F: Escape Line notes; Bibliography and Resources

Product details

Published Sep 22 2020
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 496
ISBN 9781472841285
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 32pp plate section in colour and b&w
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

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