On the following day, 25 July 1943, the Duce was summoned to the royal palace. King Victor Emmanuel told Mussolini that he had been replaced by Marshal Pietro Badoglio and Mussolini was arrested as he left. There was rejoicing in the streets of Rome.
The man who had sided with Hitler and taken Italy to war, first against Haile Selassie’s Abyssinia, then against France and Britain, then Greece, the Soviet Union and the USA, the man who had once eyed Egypt and planned to parade through Cairo in triumph, was no longer at the helm. Italian cities were being bombed. Italian workers were striking. Hitler’s promises were proving hollow and Sicily had been invaded.
To the Italians, the fall of Benito Mussolini meant peace was finally in sight.