Foreign relations / History of Italy

The Italian conspiracy theories on the Mussolini-Churchill papers

For the fifty anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill, we will report on the Italian conspiracy theories about his connection with Mussolini and his death, which are perhaps little known to the foreign readers.

Benito Mussolini was executed by the Italian Resistance acting on orders of the National Liberation Committee and contrary to the directives of the Italian Government which – at least officially – wanted Mussolini alive.

According to some sources, members of the British intelligence monitored Mussolini’s arrest and execution. Nothing strange in this, it was simply their job. But here is where the conspiracy theories begin.

In his last days, Mussolini was always keeping with him a handbag which was not found after his death. According to the conspiracy theorists, in the handbag there were secret letters between Mussolini and Churchill which were so embarrassing for the United Kingdom that the British intelligence services took possession of the handbag and made sure that Mussolini was shot rather than delivered alive to the Authorities.

What was the dark secret of those papers? According to one theory, they were the proof that Churchill asked Mussolini to declare war to the United Kingdom in order to have a softer participant to the peace negotiations after a German victory which in 1940 looked imminent.

Sir Churchill himself unwillingly offered some material to these conspiracy theories by spending a holiday on the Garda Lake in 1949. The lake is in the area where Mussolini spent his last weeks, and therefore the holiday was quickly labeled as an undercover mission in which Sir Churchill was assisted by other “British agents” (his security detail).

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