Military Review

Rapists in the mask of liberators. How French generals provoked the terror of civilians in Italy

Since the 1990s in some domestic media, publications began to appear about the “atrocities” that Soviet soldiers allegedly committed in Germany after the Red Army entered its territory during World War II. Of course, any war is not free from cruelty, and the soldiers of all the armies of the world are far from angels. But the next anti-Soviet (and anti-Russian) campaign was not inflated for the sake of restoration historical justice, and in order to support the well-known propaganda myth that the Soviet Union was no better than Nazi Germany and was guilty of numerous war crimes. At the same time, the same liberal press, “exposing” the Red Army soldiers who entered the land of the defeated aggressor country, prefers bashfully to keep silent about the atrocities of the troops of the Western Allies. Meanwhile, it was the Allied forces that “distinguished themselves” during the Second World War in looting, and in reprisals against the peaceful German population, and in mass rape. This is not surprising. Unlike the Red Army, where the moral and psychological treatment of the fighters and political training were at a very high level, it was practically absent in the Western armies (the British Commonwealth, the USA, France and others). In addition, there was another very important factor.

The armies of the Western allies included numerous formations of the colonial troops, staffed by immigrants from the Asian and African colonies of Great Britain and France. The rank and file and sergeants of these units were recruited from Africans and Asians, people of a completely different culture, with a different mentality. They had completely different, their own ideas about war, about victory, about the vanquished, and their own point of view on how to behave with the vanquished. All this has been shaped within the framework of African and Asian cultures for centuries, if not millennia.

The sad fame of the "main rapists" of the Second World War as part of the troops of the Western allies was entrenched in French colonial troops recruited from natives of North and West Africa. As you know, in the XIX century, France began to form the first units, and then the larger units, staffed by residents of the territories of modern Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania. “Senegalese shooters”, spagies, zouaves, goumeri - that’s all. The children of the sands of the Sahara, the Atlas mountains and the savannahs of the Sahel took part in many wars in France, including two world wars.

“War with women” (“guerra al femminile”) is the name given to many modern Italian sources by the entry of Moroccan units into Italy. By the time the Allies launched hostilities on Italian soil, Italy was almost out of war. Soon the regime of Mussolini fell, and the resistance to the allies continued to be provided mainly by German units located in Italy. In addition to the Anglo-American troops, units of the French army staffed by Africans also entered Italy. It was they who caused the greatest horror. But not on the enemy, but on the local civilian population. This was the second coming of the natives of the distant Maghreb on Italian soil - after the medieval landings of the “barbarian” pirates on the Mediterranean coast of Italy and France, when entire villages were emptied, and their inhabitants were taken to the slave markets of Maghreb and Turkey by the thousands.

The structure of the French Expeditionary Corps, which entered the territory of Italy, included the regiments of Moroccan Gumières. First they fought in North Africa - against the Italian and German troops in Libya, and then were transferred to Europe. Part of the Moroccan Gummere were in the operational disposal of the command of the American 1-th Infantry Division. Here it is necessary to say a little about who the Moroccan Gummies are and why they were needed by the French command.

In 1908, when French troops colonized Morocco, Brigadier General Albert Amadá, commander of the expeditionary army, proposed hiring people from the Berber tribes of the Atlas Mountains to military service. In 1911, they were given the official status of the military units of the French army. At first, the Gumier units were recruited according to the principle customary for the colonial troops - the French were appointed officers, most often transferred from the Algerian units, and Moroccans occupied the soldiers and sergeants. Most actively France used the Gumiers in the war for the establishment of a protectorate over Morocco. Over 22 thousands of Moroccans participated on the side of France in the colonization of their own homeland, 12 thousands of them died in the battles. However, there were always a lot of those wishing to enter French military service in Morocco. For young men from poor peasant families, this was a good chance to get “full board” in the form of a good salary by the Moroccan standards, food, uniforms.

In November 1943, the Gumier units were sent to mainland Italy. Using Moroccan units, the Allied Command was guided by several considerations. First, in this way, the losses of the European parts proper were reduced by attracting Africans. Secondly, the Moroccan regiments were recruited mainly from among the inhabitants of the Atlas Mountains, who were better adapted to combat in mountain conditions. Thirdly, the cruelty of the Moroccans was also a kind of psychological weapons: the glory of the “exploits” of the Gumières was far ahead of them.

In the allied forces, the Gummies, perhaps, kept the palm in terms of the number of crimes against the civilian population on Italian territory. This was also not surprising. The mentality of African warriors - people of different cultures and different faiths - played a very large role. The natives of the Maghreb were there, where they were a force against the unarmed and defenseless local population. A large number of white women, for whom no one could intercede, and after all, many hummer men, except for prostitutes, and women in general, did not have anything in their lives - most of them entered the military service as single. In addition, traditionally discipline in the Gumier regiments was at a much lower level than in other parts and formations of the allied armies. The junior commanders recruited from the Moroccans, he himself had exactly the same mentality as the ordinary soldiers, and the few French officers could not fully control the situation, as they feared their own subordinates. Yes, and what to hide, many of them looked through their fingers at the atrocities of the soldiers, believing that it was necessary to be so defeated.

The Allied campaign of the taking of Monte Cassino in Central Italy, which took place in May 1944, was widely known. Italian historians claim that the taking of Monte Cassino was accompanied by a multitude of crimes against civilians. Many soldiers of the allied forces were making them, but it was the Moroccan Goumerians who particularly distinguished themselves. Historians claim that all the women and girls between the ages of 11 and 80 years of age were raped in the local villages and villages by the Hummers. Gumiera did not disdain even deep old women, often raped very young girls, as well as boys and adolescents male. Approximately 800 of Italian men who tried to protect their relatives from rape were brutally murdered by the Moroccan Humeres. Mass rape caused real epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, because the native soldiers often hurt them themselves, infected at the time from prostitutes.

Of course, the rapists themselves are to blame for the atrocities against the civilian population. History has not preserved the names of most of them, and practically all of them are no longer alive in our time. But it is impossible to relieve responsibility for the behavior of the gumiers from the Allied command, in the first place - from the leadership of the Fighting France. It was the French command that decided to use African units on European soil, perfectly aware of how Africans who came from the colonies relate to Europeans. For the gumiers and other similar units, the war in Europe was a foreign war, it was seen only as a way to earn money, as well as to rob and rape the local population with impunity. The French command knew this very well. The behavior of the hummers could not be justified by any revenge - unlike the Nazis who atrocized on Soviet soil, who killed and raped Soviet people, the Italians did not terrorize Morocco and Moroccans, they did not kill the family of hummers, and generally had nothing to do with Morocco.

Rapists in the mask of liberators. How French generals provoked the terror of civilians in Italy

Marshal of France Alphonse Juan (1888-1967). The name of this man, a veteran of the First and Second World War, is showered not only with honors, but also curses. That he is called one of the main responsible for the crimes of the colonial troops in Italy. Famous words attributed to subordinates are attributed to Marshal Juyen:

“Soldiers! You are not fighting for the freedom of your land. This time I tell you: if you win the battle, then you will have the best home, women and wine in the world. But not a single German should be left alive. I say that and keep my promise. Fifty hours after a victory you will be absolutely free in your actions. No one will punish you afterwards, no matter what you commit. ”

In fact, with these words, Alfons Juan resolved the violence and blessed the Moroccan Gumières to commit numerous crimes against the civilian population. But, unlike the illiterate inhabitants of distant African mountains and deserts, Alphonse Juan was a European, sort of a cultured person, with a higher education, a representative of the elite of French society. And the fact that he not only covered violence (this could be understood - reputation and all that), but openly called for it even before it began, testifies that the French generals were not far from their opponents - the Nazi executioners.

For three days, Monte Cassino was given to plunder Moroccan Gumeras. What happened in the vicinity, it is difficult to describe in words. The famous novel by the world famous Italian writer Alberto Moravia “Chochara” is also dedicated to the terrible events of the Italian campaign of the allies. How many human tragedies were connected with the actions of the Gumiers, now it is impossible to count.

True, we must pay tribute to the command of the allies, sometimes for the crimes committed by the Gummeras, nevertheless followed the punishment. Some French generals and officers retained human qualities and dignity and sought in every way to stop the chaos perpetrated by the soldiers of African troops. Thus, 160 initiated criminal cases on crimes against the local population, 360 military personnel became their defendants, mainly from the Moroccan Humeri regiments. There were even a few death sentences. But this is a drop in a sea of ​​blood and tears, arranged by Moroccan soldiers.

In 2011, the president of the National Association of Victims of marocchinate (namely, the Italians call those events) Emiliano Siotti shed light on the scale of the tragedy of the war years. The only reported cases of violence, he said, were about 20 thousands. However, according to current estimates, at least 60 of thousands of Italian women were raped. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the rape was group-based, they involved human 2-3-4, but there were also rape of 100 women and even 300 soldiers. The murders of rape victims were not uncommon. For example, 27 May 1944, in Valecorse, was raped by several 17-year-old Gummeres, after which she was shot. There were a lot of such cases.

Pope Pius XII, aware of the horrors that were taking place, personally addressed General Charles de Gaulle, but the leader of the Fighting France did not deign the Pontiff with his reply. The American command offered the French generals their own method of dealing with rape - to get regimental prostitutes, but this proposal was not accepted. When the war was over, the French command quickly brought the Moroccan regiments from Italy, apparently fearing wide publicity and trying to hide the traces of most of the crimes committed.

1 August 1947, two years after the end of World War II, Italy sent an official note of protest to the French government. However, the French leadership did not take serious measures to punish the guilty and confined to duty phrases. There was no proper reaction to the repeated appeals of Italy in 1951 and 1993. Although the crimes were committed directly by the Gumeras, who came from Morocco, France is still responsible for them. It was the French marshals and generals, including not only Alphonse Juan who, in all fairness, had to answer for this before the court, but also Charles de Gaulle, released the genie from the bottle.

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  1. corporal
    corporal 28 August 2017 07: 09
    Unsightly pages of any war. And how did the Italian expeditionary forces behave in the occupied territories, in gentleman's terms?
    1. Weyland
      Weyland 28 August 2017 21: 26
      Quote: Corporal
      And how did the Italian expeditionary forces behave in the occupied territories, in gentlemanly terms?

      That's just about the Italians from our population who remained under occupation, there were almost no negative reviews!
      1. Gunxnumx
        Gunxnumx 1 August 2018 09: 50
        Romanians say, and especially Hungarians atrocities
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 28 August 2017 07: 56
    In the first photo are the gumiers? ... Something is not similar ... They look more like a Basmachi ... By the way, the French colonial units were freed .. if I may say so ..
    1. hohol95
      hohol95 28 August 2017 08: 52

      Do not hesitate - THEY.
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 28 August 2017 09: 49
        Oh how! .. Represented a little differently ..
        1. hohol95
          hohol95 28 August 2017 09: 59

          But you are right from the BASMACHES it is difficult to distinguish them - the specifics of national clothing and areas of residence!
          Here is another GUMIER! In the helmet of Hadrian.
    2. Warrior with machine gun
      Warrior with machine gun 28 August 2017 14: 30
      so in fact they are not much different (gumyery and basmachi)
  3. Basil50
    Basil50 28 August 2017 08: 33
    Well, this is the true essence of European nobility. Always on hand is the one who does the dirty work and on whom everything can be blamed. At the same time * all in white *. De Gaulle fought so fiercely for power in England that, according to the British, more than five thousand officers disappeared into the basements of his residence.
    The British and Americans also differed in both violence and robbery. Stolen rarities are still surfacing in the United States. The true size of the loot is still classified.
    1. urman
      urman 19 September 2017 19: 36
      Quote: Vasily50
      Stolen rarities still pop up in the US

      Well, these are the champions !!!!!! His story with gulkin nose !!!! Well, how to rob and at the expense of this join the universal cultural heritage, here they are the first!
      The museums of Iraq and the cultural values ​​of Syria are an example!
      Well, what to take from the descendants of the common European hapota?
    2. Akuzenka
      Akuzenka 24 October 2017 11: 10
      But, unlike the illiterate inhabitants of distant African mountains and deserts, Alfons Juan was a European, sort of like a cultured person, with a higher education, a representative of the elite of French society.

      This is the essence of the Western mentality. Those. they are driven by instincts and nothing more. No matter how educated the West European is, his main trait is following his instincts, and this is usually the blood of the defenseless. Hence all their aggressiveness and ruthlessness.
  4. baudolino
    baudolino 28 August 2017 09: 02
    Here, literally today, such information appeared:
    ... According to the Time magazine dated September 17, 1945, the government supplied soldiers with approximately 50 million condoms per month with picturesque illustrations of their use. *
    * Austin Appa. “Rape of women of conquered Europe”
  5. hohol95
    hohol95 28 August 2017 09: 53
    I wonder how many watched this movie.

    He is one of those few in which the actions of the colonial units in the Second World War are shown!
    1. verner1967
      verner1967 29 August 2017 08: 50
      Quote: hohol95
      I wonder how many watched this movie.

      I looked, I liked it, without this Hollywood pathos, they say we are all stronger
  6. hohol95
    hohol95 28 August 2017 10: 02

    Here is a figurine of a glorious Moroccan warrior.
  7. Monarchist
    Monarchist 28 August 2017 14: 12
    Quote: Corporal
    Unsightly pages of any war. And how did the Italian expeditionary forces behave in the occupied territories, in gentleman's terms?

    They were "good." I heard from the deceased grandmother: “It’s good to sleep and it’s good to go stick” (the good ones are still sleeping, but don’t come without a stick)
  8. Monarchist
    Monarchist 28 August 2017 15: 11
    As a child, I was not interested in this side of the war (at that time I knew many veterans, but I was little interested in their stories, but now I regret it), but in the late eighties I became interested. I remember three stories: 1. At the end of May 1945 in Berlin, our officer "came off in full"; some German woman complained to Zhukov and that officer was shot in the presence of a large crowd. 2. allegedly this episode is even in the correspondence of Stalin and Cherchel that ours in some town behaved inappropriately, but this is a retelling of the retelling.
    3. The old man said: before entering Bulgaria they were warned: Bulgarian sisters and if ... shooting.
    To summarize, I’ll say: anything happens in a war, but many factors must be taken into account: 1 Russian cultural and national mentality (Moroccans and Europeans) were distinguished by some delicacy. 2 it all depends on the officers ("what hegumen is such and the brethren" Dahl)
    3. Ideological orientation
  9. LeonidL
    LeonidL 29 August 2017 05: 19
    There is even a movie with Sophia Loren where this episode is presented. Everyone knew everything, everyone remembered everything, but as always, it’s to blame ... rightly, Russia. European complacent hypocrisy and pharisaism! By the way, German women themselves in memoirs tell that they were given to the Russians for food, for protection and so on. And many are just like that, because almost the entire male population of Germany either lay in the ground, or sat in prisoner of war camps. During the battles in Germany, Vlasovites and Ukrainians from the SS were used for provocations under the guise of Red Army soldiers. In addition, a lot of crimes against civilians were committed by former eastern workers from Poland, many allies were also created by the allies released from captivity. So to write off everything on the Red Army is simply dishonest.
  10. Altona
    Altona 29 August 2017 15: 42
    Well, the French "resistance" is known just as they valiantly took revenge on women who cohabited with the Germans. They shaved baldly, publicly humiliated them, stripped them on the street, doused them with paint, tar, and rolled them in fluff and feathers after that, sometimes they killed them. Italians had the same thing.
    PS It is difficult to condemn a woman if she slept with the occupier because of a material condition, roughly speaking for food.
    1. rumatam
      rumatam 31 August 2017 08: 43
      Quote: Altona
      It is difficult to condemn a woman if she slept with the occupier because of a material condition, roughly speaking for food.

      Well, in your opinion, traitors must be justified by Vlasov and other camarilla. Surrendered survived .. life and soul are more expensive in your opinion.
  11. Altona
    Altona 29 August 2017 15: 45
    Quote: Monarchist
    The old man said: before entering Bulgaria they were warned: Bulgarian sisters and if ... shooting.

    The most severe warning was before entering Austria. Austria was not part of our post-war zone of responsibility.
    1. Sergej1972
      Sergej1972 30 August 2017 15: 04
      But our troops were in Austria until 1955.
  12. Altona
    Altona 30 August 2017 15: 05
    Quote: Sergej1972
    But our troops were in Austria until 1955.

    Was the task to establish a communist regime in Austria?
    1. Sergej1972
      Sergej1972 31 August 2017 00: 50
      Rather, create the prerequisites for the finalization of a neutral status.
  13. would
    would 26 September 2017 16: 25
    The article does not contain any links to the source, so I checked. Well, what if it's a fake? And at least such a phenomenon was exactly what the article on the Italian Wikipedia says

    There are articles in the Italian press and not anyhow where, but in La Stampa, one of the most famous and bought daily newspapers in Italy.
    hNlHtQjfyLL / pagina.html