Halted by the bad weather, the Allies’ advance northwards did not significantly restart until the spring of 1945, when the British 8th Army advanced up the east coast towards Argenta, which they captured on 17 April. Joined by the 5th Army they then took Bologna and Modena, forcing the Germans back across the River Po defensive line. On 26 April Italian partisans killed the fascist leader Mussolini and his mistress in a hideout on Lake Como and publicly displayed their bodies in Milan. On the same day, Hitler committed suicide. Realizing that their situation was hopeless, the German Generals defied their Führer’s orders to continue fighting and collectively surrendered on 2 May. The victorious Allies took the remaining cities of northern Italy virtually unopposed, and at the Brenner Pass they linked up with the American 7th Army, which was advancing from the north.
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