Secrets of the Fascist Era: How Uncle Sam Obtained Some of the Top-Level Documents of Mussolini's Period

Synopsis

This account of the capture and validation of Italian-Fascist state papers during World War II, some of which only recently have been declassified, is the stuff of high-level intelligence and counterespionage. Inan account that reads like a detective story Howard Smyth reveals fully for the first time how the United States obtained the Fascist documents. As an OSS and State Department officer during the war, Smyth was intimately involved in the validation of the papers, and as a professional historian was uniquely qualified to evaluate their importance. Among the documents Smyth describes are the Lisbon Papers, documents which emanated from the office of Count Ciano as Italian Foreign Minister and which the Italian Government attempted to hide from the Allies; the Ciano Papers: Rose Garden, the German translations of Italian State Papers which Ciano himself set aside to accompany his diary and for which Edda, his wife and Mussolini's daughter, tried to barter her husband's life; and Mussolini's Private Papers, said once to have comprised over 100,000 files, some of which were found in his villa, others on his person during his final flight to avoid capture. Though Dr. Smyth focuses on the problems of the authenticity of the collections, his account of their acquisition weaves an exciting story of high adventure and human drama. Obviously of utmost importance to scholars, the work will be of special interest also to general readers and World War II history buffs.