Monte Cassino

views updated May 29 2018


MONTE CASSINO, a mountain fifty miles north of Naples topped with a famous Benedictine abbey, was the site of fierce fighting in World War II during the first five months of 1944. German troops in mountaintop gun posts observed the entire Liri Valley, the Allies' chosen route to Rome. Under the mistaken belief that Germans occupied the abbey, the Allies, on 15 February, destroyed the buildings and their artistic and cultural treasures with an air bombardment by 250 planes. Not until a powerful spring offensive broke the Gustav Line did the Allies gain entrance into the Liri Valley and, on 18 May, capture the mountain. The abbey and the town of Cassino (also bombed) were rebuilt after the war, but controversy continued about whether the destruction had been justified.


Blumenson, Martin. Salerno to Cassino. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, U. S. Army, 1969.

Graham, Dominick. Cassino. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971.

Majdalany, Fred. The Battle of Cassino. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957.

Smith, E. D. The Battles for Cassino. New York: Scribners, 1975.

MartinBlumenson/a. r.

See alsoAnzio ; Salerno ; World War II .

Monte Cassino

views updated May 29 2018

Monte Cassino a hill in central Italy near the town of Cassino, the site of the principal monastery of the Benedictines, founded by St Benedict c.529. The monastery and the town were destroyed in 1944 during bitter fighting between Allied and German forces, but have since been restored.

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Monte Cassino

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