Gerhard Schreiber has described the German conquest, occupation, and exploitation of Italy in 1943 as the Wehrmacht's "last victory" of the Second World War. His description is correct in that the German seizure of Fascist Italy produced a substantial economic windfall that materially assisted Germany in continuing the Second World War until the economic collapse of Hitler's Reich. Italy, even after the bitter war years from 1940-1943, remained a prize worth winning. The German conquest and subsequent economic exploitation of Italy raise a variety of important questions, inspired in part by Peter Lieberman's book, Does Conquest Pay? Why did a society as nationalistic and modern as Italy cooperate with the German occupation? What factors allowed the Germans to extract a significant material advantage from their occupation? Did this exploitation of Italy inspire resistance or were other factors more important in the thinking of Italians who chose to fight the German occupation? Does the Italian experience during World War II have any current relevance to potential conflicts around the globe?
Saxon, Timothy, "Hidden Treasure: The Italian war economy's contribution to the German war effort (1943-1945)" (2004). Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 2.