After Italy's armistice with the Allies in September 1943, the Italian army disintegrated. The country was divided between German forces holding the northern and central regions (including Rome) and Allied forces in the south. After nine months of bitter combat, Allied forces—specifically the US Fifth Army—liberated Rome in June 1944. This footage shows scenes of celebration as troops move through Rome. It ends with a prayer by Pius XII (pope, 1939–1958).
The United Nations' onslaught is smashing ahead on many fronts. Here in Rome, American General Clark, commanding the Allied victors, watched his men march into the city. In their triumphal entry into the Eternal City, United Nations troops moved pass great monuments of antiquity. The long history of the ancient city has seen few more joyous events. The liberators were acclaimed with ecstatic fervor. Rome is the first great capital to be freed from the enemy. [music and cheering] The flags of the United Nations were unfurled at once, heralding the end of four years Nazi tyranny for the people of Rome. As General Clark rode through the capital, American flags found their way into the hands of liberated Italians. General Juin, brilliant commander of the victorious French armies, went up to the familiar balcony with the American commander. Then the drama shifted to St. Peter's. His Holiness the Pope was about to speak and nearly half a million packed the historic square. [In Italian, the Pope offers a prayer for salvation amid destruction.]