UGO CAVALLERO Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Ugo Cavallero (September 20, 1880 ? September 13 1943) was a prominent Italian military commander before and during World War II.


Born in Piemonte, Italy, Cavallero had a privileged childhood as a member of the Italian nobility. After attending military school, Cavallero was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1900. Cavallero later attended college and graduated in 1911, earning a degree in mathematics. Still in the army, Cavallero fought in Libya in 1913 and was awarded a Bronze Medal for Military Valor.


In 1915 Cavallero was transferred to the Supreme Italian Command. A brilliant organizer and tactician, Cavallero became a brigadier general and Chief of the Operations Office for the Army General Staff in 1918. In this capacity, Cavallero was instrumental in forming plans that led to Italian victories at Paive and Vittorio Veneto during World War I. Cavallero retired from the army in 1919 but later rejoined in 1925, at which time he became Benito Mussolini?s Undersecretary of War. A committed fascist, Cavallero was made a major general in 1926 and in 1927 became a senator. After leaving the army for a second time, Cavallero became involved in business and diplomatic enterprises throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s.


Cavallero rejoined the army for the third and final time in 1937. Promoted to lieutenant general, he became Commander of the Combined Italian Forces in East Africa in 1938 and was made a full general in 1940. After Italy entered World War II in 1940, Cavallero was made Chief of the Italian Supreme Command, commander of the Italian forces fighting in Greece, and Commander in Chief of the Italian Army Group in Albania. As Chief of the Italian Supreme Command, Cavallero worked closely with German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring and often asked for Kesselring?s advice on military matters. Cavallero also opposed Field Marshal Erwin Rommel?s invasion of Egypt and campaigned for Rommel?s dismissal in 1942, but he was ignored by both Hitler and Mussolini. Under Cavallero?s leadership, Italy?s military forces performed poorly during the war, but he was nonetheless promoted to Marshal of Italy (field marshal) in 1942. After several serious Italian setbacks in 1943, however, (such as the Allies? capture of Libya) Cavallero was dismissed as Chief of the Supreme Command. After Mussolini?s government was toppled in 1943, Cavallero was arrested by Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio for his fascist and pro-German views.


Cavallero wrote a letter to Badoglio falsely claiming he despised Mussolini and fascism, but the prime minister did not believe him. When Badoglio?s government surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, the Germans invaded Rome and rescued Cavallero. Planning to make him a commander of Italian military forces still loyal to fascist ideals, they found his anti-fascist letter in Badoglio?s office and believed him to be a traitor. Now hated by both the Germans and forces loyal to Badoglio, Cavallero committed suicide on September 13, 1943, although whether he did so willingly is still a matter of debate.