the Republic of Salò

1943

23 September

In Salò, a small town on the western shore of Lake Garda, in the province of Brescia, Benito Mussolini (just released from prison on the Gran Sasso) founded the fascist republican regime.

The Italian Social Republic (or Republic of Salò) includes regions of the Center-North with the exception of Trentino, Alto-Adige, the province of Belluno, Friuli and Venezia Giulia, Istria, which was in fact annexed to the Third Reich. In an attempt to win popular support, the program of RSI, exposed in the «Verona Manifesto» and approved by the congress of the Fascist Republican Party (Verona 15-16 November 1943), revives the revolutionary formulas of the first fascism and provides, inter alia, the abandonment of corporations and the creation of a National Labour Confederation, advanced forms of social legislation and the participation of workers in the profits of enterprises. The program, opposed by the Germans and by the industrial and financial circles, was not realized while, starting from the strikes of March 1944, a growing workers’ opposition to the RSI developed.

The armed units of the RSI are responsible for serious war crimes and massacres against the civilian population.