The Context

Italy 1944: Counter-insurgency operations around the Gothic Line

Monte Sole is a large mountainous area in Northern Italy inhabited mostly by peasants. In the 1940s around 2000 people lived there in small villages and isolated houses. In 1944 it was located on the Gothic Line, the last defence line of the German army in northern Italy.


On this map the Gothic Line is represented by a broad band across the neck of the Italian peninsula. The presence of a partisan brigade in this region was used by the German High Command in Italy as a pretext for a massive military operation against the civilian population during which about 800 people were killed. The operation centred on the town and commune of Marzabotto and adjacent villages.