so the Duce blew up the plan – Libero Quotidiano


Roberto Festorazzi

The aborted Nazi invasion of the Vatican, which was planned in the summer of 1943 without ever being completed, it now comes to light in all its impressive details thanks to an unpublished yet sensational document. A paper that escaped the destruction and systematic disappearance-predation of all the political and military documents of the Third Reich. A single sheet, but heavy as a boulder, belonging to the most secret dossiers of the intelligence apparatus of the High Command of the Wehrmacht (O.K.W.).

This document shows unequivocally that the Führer wanted to occupy the Holy See with a brutal act of force and that only at the last moment, between 26 and 27 July 1943, he decided to renounce it. It is basically a map of Vatican City, containing the indication of the strategic points to conquer through a blitz. Obviously, the scale map was not made for tourism purposes, being drawn up on headed paper of the military secret services of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht.

The action in the details – The plan was drawn up, in all likelihood, in the context of Operation Alaric, i.e. the strategic plan for an invasion of Italy by the Germans, in the event of the detachment of Mussolini from the Axis war. A more than concrete prospect, the latter, which took shape between the spring and summer of 1943, and which by a whisker did not reach its crowning due to the determination of the Duce himself. The distrust voted against Mussolini by the Grand Council of Fascism on 25 July 1943, his resignation and his arrest must necessarily be entirely reread in light of the fact that the blackmail ofOperation Alaric weighed heavily on the Duce’s decision (agreed by the same dictator with King Vittorio Emanuele III) to “step aside” to prevent the brutal occupation of the Peninsula by the Germanic “allies”. This is clear: Mussolini was not “deposed” at all, but consciously chose to resign.

The new document, as well as for its explosive contents, is very interesting also for the history that concerns it. This sheet, in fact, came to us through a Milanese partisan leader, who managed to take possession of the waste material of a major photo-reproduction work of war documents that took place in Lambrate, the red stronghold of Milan, in the 1950s. The exponent of the Resistance sent the material – almost certainly from the Mussolini archives and also including a declaration of May 1945 concerning the death of the Duce – to the brother of the Missino senator Giorgio Pisanò, Paolo.

These, after careful verification, established the technical details of the photocopying operation, carried out in secret, with cutting-edge equipment, by the veterans of the partisan front. The documents, five or six in all, are certainly authentic, even if their quality is not always excellent, since they are processing waste, by definition imperfect. This is precisely the case of the Vatican map, which reveals, after almost seventy years, the details of the plan to invade the papal see. The sheet bears a registration stamp, which proves the ultimate provenance of the document: it is a protocol indication that refers to the Archives of the Italian Social Republic, the restored Mussolini government born under Hitler’s pressure in September ’43. This figure is very important, because it shows us that the Duce was very well informed on what his rival ally Hitler was doing.

Recently, the publication by the Biblioteca Editrice Goriziana of the stenographic war reports relating to the meetings that took place in the Führer headquarters, starting from 1942, illustrates that the dictator with the swastika was, in this regard too, ruthless. Hitler, during the evening relationship of 25 July 1943, with the military leaders, growled that he did not care to keep even the slightest scruple towards the reigning pontiff, Pius XII, and that he would have immediately unearthed “that herd of swine” barricaded in the territory of the Holy See.

He would have got his hands on the entire diplomatic corps represented in the Vatican, kidnapped the Holy Father and plundered the Pope’s secret archive (in Palazzo San Carlo), notoriously overflowing with confidential files. What could have happened, this “talking” map of the Germanic military secret services finally reveals it to us. The content of the map unfolds in fact like the plot of an action film. Two assault groups, one apparently led by a lieutenant who was called Lensing, or so, would have raided the territory of the Holy See, through its main passages: the entrance of Sant’Anna, that of the Scala Regia and the railway station. The occupation of the tracks would have made it possible to start the load of prisoners and materials taken from the Vatican on rails.

Once the extraterritoriality of the Papal State had been violated, the nodal points of strategic importance would have been taken up with surgical violence and demonstration of geometric power: the Palazzo del Governatorato and the Vatican broadcasting station, the radio station of the Pope. The occupation of the Holy See, according to plans, should have proceeded simultaneously with the fall of the new Visigoths in Italy. The third armored grenadier division of the Reich was supposed to proceed with the conquest of Rome and therefore of the rest of central-northern Italy, through the use of parachuted divisions. The “x” hour of Operation Alaric should have started on the night between 26 and 27 July 1943, but Hitler, at the last moment, decided to suspend the invasion, even if he did not completely renounce that crazy idea.

Probably, he judged the effort of a total military seizure of the Peninsula to be exorbitant and not proportionate to the purpose – that of “keeping the front” in Italy. Pieces of this colossal and failed operation of the Second World War however survived and were implemented later. The neo-fascist “resurrection” of the Italian Social Republic allowed Hitler to achieve its objectives behind the screen of the residual sovereignty, at a simulacral level, of the restored government (in republican form) of the Duce in the center and north of the country. A tragic fiction, for the Italians, and useful, for the Nazis. The price of this dangerous illusion was very high: a civil war that bloodied the Peninsula and whose scars are still evident today.

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