Brenner


In Tyrol, on the border between Austria and Italy, this small border town is located at an altitude of about 1400 meters. Throughout history, the city has been an important thoroughfare as it is one of the few roads that lead through the Alps. The area also became an important issue when Germany occupied Austria in March 1938. Mussolini and Italy also had major political interests in the area and therefore the German presence in the multilingual area was extremely sensitive. Germany and Italy were still too friendly to render in a conflict, but Hitler was to blame Mussolini. The two dictators met on three occasions at the train station in the Brenner Pass. The first time was in March 1940 when Hitler wanted to discuss the upcoming campaign against Western Europe with Mussolini. Hitler thus hoped to improve relations with his ally.

The second time was in October of that year just before Hitler was to meet with Spanish dictator Franco. Franco, after the German victorious campaign in Western Europe, had certain territorial demands and Hitler certainly wanted to discuss these with Mussolini first. The third and last time the two dictators met in the Brenner Pass was in early June 1941, but it is difficult to determine exactly what the meeting was about. This was only a few weeks before Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Hitler chose to keep Mussolini at a distance and therefore the upcoming attack on the Soviet Union was not discussed. Historian Ian Kershaw believes that it could be a tactical political manoeuvre on the part of Hitler to turn his gaze away from the Soviet Union. After the war, the Brenner Pass also became an important escape route for many Nazis who fled justice.

Current status: Preserved (2008).

Location: 47°0'12 N, 11°30'27 E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

There is nothing that informs about the three meetings between these two leaders, however, there is a commercialism around them both. For about five euros (2008) you can buy a bottle of wine with Hitler (or Mussolini) on the label virtually any store in the city. Business owners have realized that Hitler is selling and have probably just replaced the original label with a picture of Hitler. In addition to Hitler and Mussolini, bottles of other Nazi leaders are sold on the label. This is something that is perfectly legal in Italy and nothing that is considered remarkable.

Follow up in books: Kershaw, Ian: Hitler – A biography (2008).