Mario Roatta
Mario Roatta was an Italian general, Mussolini's
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 Chief-of-Staff, and head of the military secret service.


From 1934 to 1936, Roatta headed up the Italian Military Intelligence Service (Servizio Informazioni Militari
Servizio Informazioni Militari
The Italian Military Intelligence Service was the military intelligence organization for the Royal Army of the Kingdom of Italy from 1900 until 1946, and of the Republic of Italy until 1949...

, or SIM).


In December 1936, Roatta was made the Commander-in-Chief of the Corps of Volunteer Troops (Corpo Truppe Volontarie
Corpo Truppe Volontarie
The Corps of Volunteer Troops was an Italian expeditionary force which was sent to Spain to support General Francisco Franco and the Spanish Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War...

, or CTV), the Italian expeditionary force that fought alongside Franco's
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 forces in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. Luigi Frusci
Luigi Frusci
Luigi Frusci was an officer in the Italian Royal Army during World War II.Frusci fought on the southern front for General Rodolfo Graziani during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War...

 became his Deputy Commander.

In early 1937, Roatta led Italian forces in the Battle of Málaga
Battle of Málaga
The Battle of Málaga was the culmination of an offensive in early 1937 by the combined Nationalist and Italian forces to eliminate Republican control of the province of Málaga during the Spanish Civil War...

, a decisive Nationalist victory. However, he later played a leading role in the planning for the Battle of Guadalajara
Battle of Guadalajara
The Battle of Guadalajara saw the Republican People's Army defeat Italian and Nationalist forces attempting to encircle Madrid during the Spanish Civil War...

, a decisive Republican victory and Italian defeat.

By 1938, Roatta was replaced as Commander-in-Chief of the CTV by Ettore Bastico
Ettore Bastico
Ettore Bastico was an Italian military officer before and during World War II. He held high commands during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War , the Spanish Civil War, and the North African Campaign....

 and, instead, commanded the Flechas Division
Flechas Division
Flechas Division was created from the Flechas Negras Brigade expanded into a Division sized unit. It served in the Aragon Offensive and the March to the Sea, in 1938, during the Spanish Civil War...



During the Second World War Roatta was commander of the 2nd Italian Army in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 and to suppress the mounting resistance led by the Partisans he adopted tactics of "summary executions, hostage-taking, reprisals, internments and the burning of houses and villages" , for which after the war the Yugoslav government sought unsuccessfully to have him extradited for war crimes. He was, however, credited with saving the lives of large numbers of Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 in his command area , regarding discrimination against the Jews as "incompatible with the honour of the Italian army" . It is said that he even went so far as to refuse to evict Jews from their homes to make room for the TODT organisation
Organisation Todt
The Todt Organisation, was a Third Reich civil and military engineering group in Germany named after its founder, Fritz Todt, an engineer and senior Nazi figure...



As head of the army's general staff, Roatta was in charge of the defence of Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 from the Germans after the armistice in September 1943, and escaped a German attempt to capture him at his headquarters at Monterotondo
-History:According to some historians, Monterotondo is the heir of ancient Sabine town of Eretum, although the modern settlement appeared in the 10th-11th centuries in a different location...

, fleeing to Brindisi
Brindisi is a city in the Apulia region of Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, off the coast of the Adriatic Sea.Historically, the city has played an important role in commerce and culture, due to its position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port on the Adriatic Sea. The city...


Trial and death

In early 1945, Roatta was tried for his Fascist connection, for abandoning the defence of Rome, and for his involvement in the murders of brothers Carlo
Carlo Rosselli
Carlo Rosselli was an Italian political leader, journalist, historian and anti-fascist activist, first in Italy then abroad...

 and Nello Rosselli
Nello Rosselli
Nello Rosselli was an Italian Socialist leader and historian.Rosselli was born in Rome to a prominent Jewish family, and was the brother of Carlo Rosselli. Nello was a member of the reformist Partito Socialista Unitario of Filippo Turati, Giacomo Matteotti and Claudio Treves, which had split from...

and sentenced to life imprisonment, but this was overturned in 1948.

Roatta died in Rome in 1968.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.