BIGGEST PACIFIC AIR FLEET BOMBS RABAUL; WRECKS 177 PLANES, 123 SHIPS IN SURPRISE; BADOGLIO, DECLARING WAR, RALLIES ITALY
REICH'S ACTS CITED
Italian Marshal Lists German Attacks as Cause of War
URGES PEOPLE TO FIGHT
He Tells Eisenhower That 'All Ties' With 'Dreadful Past' Are Broken--Backs Democracy
By MILTON BRACKER
By Wireless to The New York Times
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Algiers, Oct. 13--Italy declared war on Nazi Germany, her former Axis partner, at 3 P.M. today, Greenwich time [11 A.M. in New York].
Acting on orders of King Victor Emmanuel as transmitted by Marshal Pietro Badoglio, the Italian Ambassador in Madrid notified the German Ambassador there that:
"In the face of repeated and intensified acts of war committed against Italians by the armed forces of Germany, from 1500 hours Greenwich time on the thirteenth day of October Italy considers herself in a state of war with Germany."
Thus the defeated nation led into war by Benito Mussolini re-entered it against its former ally through a curt diplomatic exchange in the capital of the country in which they had first collaborated on a military basis seven years ago.
Asks People to Avenge Ferocity
Excoriating the nation that now occupies Italy's own "Eternal City" as well as the entire industrial north, Marshal Badoglio in a proclamation to the Italian people exhorted them all to avenge the inhuman ferocity of the German Army at Naples and in other areas.
And in a five-sentence note to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mussolini's successor as head of the Italian Government told the Allied Commander in Chief that all ties with the "dreadful past" were broken and that his government would be proud "to march with you to inevitable victory." He asked General Eisenhower to communicate the decision to Britain, the United States, Russia and the other United Nations with which in his proclamation he said Italy would now march forward "shoulder to shoulder" to the end.
His Government, the septuagenarian marshal asserted in his proclamation to the Italian people, will soon be completed, and to guarantee its functioning as a truly democratic administration the representatives of "every political party" will be asked to participate. Moreover, the man with whom the Allies negotiated the armistice of Sept. 3 pledged that the present arrangement would in no way impair the "untrammeled right of the people of Italy to choose their own form of democratic government when peace is restored."
There could be no such peace, Marshal Badoglio said in the proclamation, so long as a single German remained on Italian soil. He reiterated in a statement to the press issued at his headquarters in Italy that his Government had no intention of interfering with the right of the Italian people to a free choice of the government they desire "for the not less important tasks of peace and reconstruction."
Cites Ouster of Mussolini
Marshal Badoglio cited the fact that the decree dissolving the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations--which accompanied the ousting of Mussolini in July--had effectually indicated the Government's intention. It was therein provided that elections would be held four months after the end of hostilities.
"What was said then is reaffirmed now," Marshal Badoglio said. "The present Government has clearly defined the task of leading the country until peace has been won. With that its mandate will cease."
The New York Times' exclusive story on the declaration this morning took the edge off the surprise of the announcement here this afternoon, but even without that the news would not have been so much of a surprise here as the news of the armistice thirty-five days ago.
It had been known for weeks--and this correspondent among others had said--that negotiations between the Allies and Marshal Badoglio were continuing with a view to formalizing Italy's war role from now on.
A major consideration was public opinion--just how the Allies intend to cope with the obvious criticism that is sure to arise in many quarters. There will be cries of "Darlanism" and much blinking in puzzlement among many Americans and Britons who have not yet forgotten the fact that our troops were shooting at and being shot at by Italians until very recently.
But as of the moment that the decision was formalized, with the Italian Ambassador at Madrid actually handing the document of notification to the German Ambassador there, it can be assumed that Washington and London had pretty well resolved the problem. This is about the way the two governments and their military High Command are understood to feel about it.
Question of Italian Army
The Italian Army as such cannot be regarded in its present state as an important striking force because of its great losses of man and equipment, but primarily because the all-important will to fight had been observed as very low for a long time preceding the armistice. At the same time Italian hatred of the Germans unquestionably grew as the fighting spirit waned, and episodes between German and Italian soldiers and civilians before and after the armistice have shown pretty clearly a complete and incontrovertible end of all sympathy between the former Axis partners.
Therefore, it seemed reasonable to take advantage of the Italians' willingness, even eagerness, to pin their hopes of a better role in the peace settlement to the status of co-belligerency now. As co-belligerents, which the Italians now become by virtue of the documents published today, even though the Allies have not said so in so many words, the Italians will be able to help the Allies in a great many ways, even if not as fellow- soldiers in the front lines.
Although nothing has been said officially as to exactly how the Italians will be employed in the rest of the war, it is almost universally believed that a lingering feeling between them and their recent enemies would militate against their efficiently joining in the actual battlefront.
At the same time, there is obviously an enormous amount of behind-the-lines work, particularly in their own country, where the Italians can be of enormous use. In all matters of supply, in furnishing guards over military property, as a collective liaison agency between advancing Allies and the liberated Italian people, there is no doubt that the Italians can contribute a major service to the Allied cause.
Italy's Position in War
This can be understood better when viewed negatively. If the Allies had turned down Italy's plea to be accepted as a co-belligerent, she would naturally have remained a defeated enemy. As such much Allied military strength would have had to be diverted to administering her disbanded army and her liberated but not militarily controlled territory.
As this correspondent wrote several times, the new status of Italy means a new and minimized role for the Allied Military Government, but at the same time it means giving the Italians more faith in those who defeated them, pride in having a share in the cleansing of their own territory of the hated Germans, and an opportunity actually to play an important role in ultimate victory.
Another highly important consideration behind the decision of the Allies to permit the Italian declaration was the probable effect on the populations of the occupied parts of Italy. Even with the status as it was up to this afternoon, the Allies had reason to be hopeful that the great laboring populations of Milan, Turin and Genoa would turn against the Germans in the same way the French and other European victims of Hitler had turned against the occupying forces.
Now, it may be argued, many persons north of the present Allied front will see in the advancing forces not only foreign armies considerably less odious than those they are driving out but Italian forces themselves. And no matter how limited is the extent to which the Italian troops are employed, that will nevertheless be true to some degree.
The question of who will figure in marshal Badoglio's completed government has been bruited about ever since the armistice. So far the only names released as officially connected with the Italian marshal are those of his military, naval and air aides who accompanied him on the visit to General Eisenhower Sept. 29. These also included Count Aquarone, Minister of Finance.
But it is uniformly agreed that outsiders will have to be brought in and, of course, Count Carlo Sforza's name has cropped up most often. He is now en route here.
But Count Sforza has said he will not actually be part of the Badoglio Government, although he will lend his influence and aid to the general project of kicking the Germans out. As Marshal Badoglio has said, the single objective is to free the country of Germans, and on that basis, it ought to be possible to unite many Italian leaders who otherwise are separated by vast political differences. Another hitch is that so many potential candidates are in German hands.
Attitude of the French
The attitude of the French Committee of National Liberation here remains generally calm, although there is still no love between the French and the Italians as the simple fact of newsreels showing Italians proves. But with Rene Massigli to direct its foreign relations and both Gen. Charles de Gaulle and Henri-Honore Giraud thoroughly aware of the primary military nature of the new arrangement, it is very unlikely that the French will make a formal protest.
At the time of the armistice they were most piqued, not by the armistice of course, but by the fact that it had been negotiated without their participation.
The establishment of the Politico-Military Commission, with France sharing membership with Russia, the United States and Britain, has helped to bring the committee into the swiftly enlarging Mediterranean picture and will undoubtedly help to alleviate any sting that the recognition of Italy as a co-belligerent might otherwise have provoked.
A member of the Committee of National Liberation said tonight that the Italian matter would undoubtedly be discussed at a regular meeting tomorrow morning, but he doubted that any formal comment would be issued. It was this man's opinion that many persons in France, particularly southeastern France, would be interested in the development. He said it was obvious from the background of French-Italian relations since 1938 that acceptance of the Italians as co-belligerents could hardly be seriously stomached by these French.
Many will never forget the circumstances of the Italian declaration of war against France. But the French spokesman also was sure the committee had come too far since those days to be seriously piqued by what is plainly a military step. Moreover, he cited a guarantee in the Allied leader's declaration that nothing growing out of the new status of Italy would be permitted to constitute inconsistence with the armistice terms. Beyond that he thought the French were prepared to await eventualities.
There may be a problem in Corsica, where 80,000 Italians have retained an army, which the patriots who figured in the liberation there would very much like to take over, as well as all of its transport.
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