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