A French woman who had a baby with a German soldier has her head shaved, as a sign of humiliation. Her mother suffered the same treatment. (August 18th, 1944).

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> Italy and Germany were allies in that war.

It’s more complicated than that. Yes, Italy and Germany went into the war in 1939 as allies, but from the very start Mussolini’s hold on Italy was much more tenuous that Hitler’s on Germany. Italy’s National Fascist Party was never able to exert control on Italians like Germany’s NSDAP, and as a result, the Italian population was far less unified behind their dictator than Germany.

Italy’s frankly terrible military campaigns didn’t help them any. As losses piled on (from even before 1939 with Italy’s disastrous wars against Ethiopia) Mussolini’s control over Italy weakened further and further until in 1943, following the Allied invasion of Sicily which brought the war to Italian soil for the first time, Mussolini was dismissed by his own party councils and command of the armed forces passed to the puppet king of Italy Victor Emmanuel III and his new Prime Minister General Pietro Badoglio. At that stage it was apparent to pretty much everyone that if the status quo was maintained, Italy would sue for peace and either remain neutral for the rest of the war, or worse, join the Allies.

This was unacceptable to Germany, of course. With the eastern campaign in tatters after the disasters of Stalingrad and Kursk, and Britain and America already preparing for an invasion of continental Europe, the last thing Germany needed was a third front to the south. Even as Italian forces were surrendering to British marines landing in mainland Italy and Victor Emmanuel III was in secret talks with General Eisenhower, seven divisions of German forces streamed into Italy from Austria and France, taking control of important cities like Milan and Turin and vital infrastructure along the way. By September 1943 it was already too late, the industrial heartland of Italy was under German control and the dream of peaceful surrender was dead. But the Germans continued onwards toward Rome. Victor Emmanuel II and his government fled into exile, the Germans created the Italian Socialist Republic (which, as the joke goes, was not Italian, not socialist, and not a republic) against the wishes of Italian people, and put our old friend Benny Mussolini back in power.

For the remainder of the war, Germans in Italy, already looked at with some suspicion, were now seen as enemy aggressors and not allies. An Italian associating with them would have been seen as a traitor, just like any of the allies.

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