03 June 2010

Sixty-six years ago today

On June 3, 1944, a full 66 years ago, Adolf Hitler ordered German forces to withdraw to positions north of Rome, Italy. Allied entry into the Eternal City would not be contested.

The Italians had surrendered the preceding September, so at this point the German forces were all that slowed the Allied movement up the boot. They had proven very good at slowing it, and that would remain the case, German troops still occupied some of northern Italy at the time of the Third Reich's surrender in May '45.

Anyway, back to June '44. As the German Tenth Army moved north to its new defensive positions, British and US forces -- and a variety of units under U.S. command -- engaged in an unseemy dispute over who would have the honor of entering Rome first.

According to historian Todd DePastino, it was actually a unit of the Free French who won the race, who "scampered first into the deserted city center," on June 4, but it had "failed to bring along a film crew to record the event."

The following day, General Mark Clark of the Fifth Army liberated the city in proper fashion, parading in triumph through the city that had invented the triumphal parade.

But as DePastino also notes, the news from beaches in France soon cut short any opportunity he might have had to bask in the glow of the world press. The long-awaited cross-channel invasion began on the morning of the 6th.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.