The magnificent national monument of Monte Cassino was pulverized in a series of heavy air-raids due to the mistaken belief it was a German stronghold. In fact the Abbey was being used as a refuge from the battle by the women and children of nearby Cassino. The Abbey was rebuilt after the war, financed by the Italian State.
The archives, besides a vast number of doucments relating the the history of the Abbey, contained some 1400 irreplaceable manuscript codices, chiefly patristic and historical. They also contained the collections of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome which had been sent to the Abbey for safety in December of 1942. By the great foresight of two German officers these were all transferred to the Vatican at the beginning of the battle.