In Tyrol, on the border between Austria and Italy, lies the border town Brenner 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 topic 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. But Germany and Italy were on friendly terms and settled things out, but at the cost that Hitler came to be in debt to 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 would probably have some territorial demands if he was going to enter the war on Germany’s side. Hitler knew that he had to discuss this with Mussolini before meeting with Franco. The third and last time the two dictators met at Brenner 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 had not discussed the the upcoming attack on the Soviet Union with Mussolini and it was not discussed at this meeting either. 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, 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 at 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 also sold. 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).