Italy given status of co-belligerent

By Richard D. McMillan  |  October 13 1943
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ALLIED HEADQUARTERS, Algiers -- Italy declared war today on Germany, its one-time ally, and was granted the status of a co-belligerent by the United Nations.

The declaration, made in a proclamation by Premier Pietro Badoglio, came 35 days after Italy signed the armistice that removed her from the ranks of nations giving military assistance to Germany.

"Italians! There will not be peace in Italy as long as a single German remains on Italian soil," Badoglio said in his proclamation.

(In Washington it was announced that President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Josef Stalin had issued a joint statement congratulating Italy on her action. The statement said that the granting of a status of co-belligerent to Italy did not affect the terms of the armistice granted to Badoglio.)

Badoglio's proclamation contained a bitter denunciation of German "arrogance and ferocity." German troops, he said, had compelled some Italian units to disarm and had attacked others. He denounced "robbery and violence" on the part of the Germans in Catania and said the actions of the German troops in Naples "surpassed every limit of the human imagination."

"Shoulder to shoulder we must march forward with our friends of the United Nations, of Great Britain, of Russia and of all the other United Nations," Badoglio's proclamation said.

Badoglio sent a note to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allies commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, informing him of the declaration of war and saying that "all ties with the dreadful past are broken."

Formal notification of the fact that Italy has declared war on her will reach the Germans through their embassy in Madrid. Badoglio asked the Italian ambassador there to deliver the announcement to the Germans.

The Italian premier said the Italians would be free to choose their own government after the war. In the meantime, he said he planned to call into his government "the outstanding political personalities of the various parties so that it shall have a thoroughly democratic character."

Badoglio, referring to the disarming of some Italian units and the attacks made on others, said the Germans went event further than that.

"But German arrogance and ferocity did not stop there," Badoglio said. "We had already seen some examples of their behavior in the abuses of power, robbery and violence of all kings perpetrated in Catania while they were still our Allies."

Then at Naples, "the ferocity of the enemy surpassed every limit of the human imagination."

"The heroic population of that city which for weeks suffered every form of torment strongly cooperated with the Anglo-American troops in putting the hated Germans to flight," Badoglio said.

Badoglio told the people that his government soon would be completed and would constitute "a true expression of democratic government in Italy," with representatives of every political party invited to take part.

"The present arrangement will in no way impair the untrammeled right of the people of Italy to choose their own form of democratic government when peace is restored," he added.

His proclamation concluded:

"Italians! I inform you that his majesty the king has given me the task of announcing today, the 13th of October, the declaration of war against Germany."

Badoglio also sent to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a note saying:

"I take great pleasure in informing you that his majesty the king of Italy has declared war on Germany."

Badoglio asked Eisenhower to inform the United Nations of the decision. In his note to the Allied commander Badoglio made it clear that the declaration of war was being conveyed to Germany through diplomatic channels to Madrid.

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