Italy Surrender on September 8th, 1943:
The 1970 movie Patton shows the American and British forces campaign in
Sicily in July and August of 1943, with the island being fully conquered by
mid-August. This led to the surrender of all Italian forces in the war, which
was announced by Eisenhower on September 8th, 1943, the date of the above letter.
Unfortunately for the allies, the German command recognized that leaving the
southern access to Europe open to invasion was not a tenable position, and
quickly mounted actions to move significant German forces into Italy.
As an aside, Churchill lobbied Roosevelt hard to attack Germany through Italy,
which he referred to as the "Soft Underbelly of Europe." He had a similar description
of Turkey in World War I, leading to the 1915 debacle known as Gallipoli. Fortunately,
the Italian campaign fared better than the Turkish one, though it was quite long and
Fierce battles at places such as Anzio, Salerno, and Monte Cassino would soon
take place, and the stage was set for a long, slow drive up the Italian
peninsula that wasn't completed until the end of the European war in May of 1945.
- Jim Jr.