The Italian Resistance is part of the broader movement of opposition to Nazi-fascism that has developed in Europe, but has specific characteristics.
In the countries defeated militarily and occupied by the Nazi-fascists (eg France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania), the Resistance constitutes the main development of the war operations.
Italy is, therefore, first of all one of the powers against which the resistance of the populations subject to the Axis develops. Until 8 September 1943 the country remained the main ally of the Reich, and as such participated in the war of aggression and the often brutal occupation of the invaded territories.
The Italian Resistance therefore only developed from the summer of 1943, after the collapse of fascism and the signing of an armistice with the Anglo-Americans. The anti-fascist political forces (Communists, Socialists, Christian Democrats, shareholders, liberals, demolaburists) gave life, already on 9 September 1943, to the National Liberation Committee (CLN), which in the following 20 months will be the political and military guide of the Liberation struggle.
The Germans, on 8 September, occupy a large part of the national territory. In the days immediately following the armistice they disarm and capture, in the metropolitan and foreign territory, about 800,000 Italian soldiers, mostly left without orders and directives by King Vittorio Emanuele III, by the government of Marshal Badoglio and by the leaders of the armed forces. Some departments organize attempts at Resistance, which however end tragically. Most of the men, deported to concentration camps, will be the protagonists of the “Disarmed Resistance” of the so-called Italian military internees.
The Resistance movement is animated by heterogeneous forces, different from each other for political orientation and ideological setting, united however by the common goal of struggle against Nazi-fascism, for the liberation of the country from the foreign and internal enemy. Military and civilians participate in the struggle, people of all ages, wealth, sex, religion, geographical and political origin. The Resistance is led by prominent personalities of anti-fascism, who have opposed and fought the regime throughout the twenty years, often paying with jail, confinement, exile.
Next to them, there are the soldiers who have had direct experience of the ruinous war of the regime, young and very young people who refuse to join the ranks of the new republican fascism and who, faced with the harshness of the German occupation, choose the path of opposition and struggle. The movement is strongly unitary, while maintaining each participating force its own specificity and its own political vision. Some initial oppositions are overcome and set aside during the war, to give space, on a political and military level, to broad understandings that allow for the definition of common objectives and the development of ever more precise, effective and incisive coordination. The CLN organizes military committees that take responsibility for organizing the forces that are gathering in the city and in the mountains. It is, of course, a complex and difficult development, often fragmented; the spontaneity of many initiatives, the conditions of clandestinity and secrecy in which one must operate, the difficulties of connection, the uncertainty of contacts, the scarcity of means, the hard blows inflicted by the Nazi-Fascists, all put a strain on the commitment of the patriotic forces. From the beginning, the Nazi-Fascists unhinged political and operational centers, capturing and torturing members and leaders of the movement, and with extensive roundups attack the first armed groups and the first partisan gangs in the mountains. In spite of this, the Resistance movement consolidates and extends, gradually taking root in the territory, finding consensus and support in a large part of the population, and thus resisting the many arrests, torture, deportations to concentration camps, shootings, reprisals. on civilians.
Region by region, area by area, the presence of partisan formations in the valleys and mountains becomes, with the passing of the months, more and more massive, and from the initial bands to well-organized brigades (the “Garibaldi”, the “Giustizia and Libertà “, the” Matteotti “, the” Mazzini “, the” Autonome “, etc.