Thursday, December 4, 2014

Benito Mussolini and Wilhelm Keitel

Il Duce Benito Mussolini speaking with Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) at Feltre airfield (Northern Italy) before Keitel leaves for Berlin. The picture was made by Walter Frentz in the evening of 19 July 1943. Only a couple of days later (24 July 1943), the Italian dictator would be defeated in the vote at the Grand Council of Fascism, and the King Victor Emmanuel had him arrested the following day. On 12 September 1943, Mussolini was rescued from prison in the Gran Sasso raid by German special forces led by the daring Otto Skorzeny. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north, only to be quickly captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan where it was hung upside down at a service station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise. In this picture Keitel holding his Interimstab (baton), while in his uniform we can see his Italian Grand Cross of the Military Order of Savoy, awarded to him by King Victor Emmanuel on 24 April 1942, along with Großadmiral Erich Raeder


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