July 17, 1944, a Nazi truck convoy was crossing a pontoon bridge over the Po River in northern Italy when Allied bombers attacked. One driver was killed, but the trucks got across. Their cargo: a priceless haul of masterpieces, including the two pictured above, from Florence's Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace.

After the Allies landed in 1943, the Germans looted northern Italy as though it were an occupied territory. The most defiant response to this looting that Mussolini (by then only the head of the remains of the Fascist Party in the north) could...

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