Operation Gladio (Italian: Operazione Gladio) is the codename for a clandestine NATO "stay-behind" operation in Europe during the Cold War.
Its purpose was to continue anti-communist actions in the event of a Soviet invasion and conquest. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all stay-behind organizations, sometimes called "Super NATO".
The name Gladio is the Italian form of gladius, a type of Roman shortsword.( Collapse )