What is the legacy?

Allied and Italian attitudes to German War Crimes in Italy after the war

In 1945 the Allies organised war crimes for some senior SS Officers who had been responsible for the German troops which had carried out the massacres in North Italy. But, as we have seen, there was no Italian equivalent to the Nuremberg Trials. At the same time  Italy was trying to recover from a civil war between partisans and fascists from 1943 to 1945.  There was a need for reconciliation.  The prosecution of German perpetrators of war crimes could not have taken place without evidence of the participation of Italian fascists being made public.


By the early 1950s the Cold War and the new international priorities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation led to a reappraisal of how best to deal with officials and lower ranks in the German SS and in the Italian Republican Army who might have been involved in war crimes. Italy and West Germany were now allies in the Cold War and, although the Brigata Stella Rossa were not politically affiliated, many partisan groups across occupied Europe had been Communists.  The United States’ foreign policy now reflected the Truman Doctrine of containing the spread of Communism across Europe.