The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Sorairo, Feb 20, 2019.

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  1. Alessandro Well-Known Member

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    Don't underestimate the power hate, my friend. Hate has been able to make man do some nasty things...
     
  2. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    [​IMG]
    Language map for 1888. Blueish for Italian
     
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  3. Alessandro Well-Known Member

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    OK?
     
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  4. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    Showing why Italians on the coasts would not surprise the Slovenes at all. the rest of the Dalmatian coast has many areas that were heavily influenced by Venetians and then the Italians as well, even though had been Croatian for a long time. The Coasts were not considered 'Core Territory'
     
  5. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    For the Italy of the time Dalmatia would mean making the Adriatic a 100% Italian lake. And also fulfilling the "mutilated victory" of Versailles and the treaty of London. And the Croats were all over Bosnia rather than all of Dalmatia, so both sides could be considered satisfied. About Slovenia, if ceded to Germany likely Italy could recover it later when the Reich is collapsing.

    Anyway I guess a conference between Italy, Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria will happen soon - to discuss of Romania and a potential involvement in a war with the Soviets (Greece is likely off the table unless Britain will cave over it as well, but I think not - for now). It would be interesting to see however if the Romanians - perceiving the risk - could approach the Italians to offer a deal beforehand.
     
  6. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    If Italy is not really allied with Germany, she will not to be really happy to see Moscow poaching in her supposed zone of influence and at the time there was a serious attempt to economic penetration (oil industry in particular) by italian interest in Romania. There is the strong possibility that some kind of diplomatic/political pressure over Bulgaria and Hungary to declare to not be involved in the crisis in exchange of territorial concession later, maybe even some type of direct confrontation; most probably not a war but just something to made Stalin thinking to stick to the original agreement and take only Bessarabia.
     
  7. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    The point is if Germany would manage to build the anti-Soviet coalition against the USSR... with a more foreign diplomacy free Italy, would be highly improbable. Mussolini had the advantage to contest the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and also the worry DOWing the USSR would mean DOWing the Wallies as well, so no intervention until the end of the western war. Hungary and Bulgaria may follow that path, they got what they wanted in the Balkans and may not want a war with Britain by attacking the USSR if Churchill would accept the reshape in act in the Balkans. Romania from another side, may be interested if feeling an alliance with Germany aside for regaining or gaining new territories would let feel safe from the Italian-Hungarian-Bulgarian block.

    So the Italian decision and the Romanian one would be the ones which would count more. I can guess however to appease Hitler some volunteer corp can be arranged at certain conditions.
     
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  8. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    At the moment and till Barbarossa, the URSS is seen as very German friendly and oppose her will mean get some point with Churchill (that at the moment had a lot of troops not being used...thing that will not bode well for Japan) and regarding Hungary and Bulgaria, well much depend on Germany. For now she is the biggest power on the continent, having just conquered France in a month, Britain can't do nothing to stop her (many will thing that will not last for long) and worse everybody knows it. Italy in this scenario represent a spanner in the work, but even if Benny is not allied with Germany i doubt that at this stage will try to be overtly hostile, probably just limit to accept any bribe the Wallies will give him, digest Jugoslavia (and finish to digest Abyssinia), maybe trying to extract some concession from Greece.
     
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  9. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    About Greece, was thinking of some form of pressure to get something (Ionian Islands, Epirote border lands, and then there are the Bulgarian claims) but the gamble has to be quite high to achieve it (result: Greece folds, because Britain folds; failure: Greece resists, because Britain doesn't fold, hence for Mussolini and co. back down and swallow the pill or going anyway for war to Greece and see if Britain will Dow or not). On the other side, there is not war in Africa so Britain can still call all the energies of the Empire at home (until the Japanese will attack). Maybe even attempt a liberation of Norway...

    Is true that at the moment the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact holds but if the stall on the West holds, Hitler would still go for Barbarossa. His small advantage TTL: no German troops in Africa or in the Balkans. His relevant disvantage: he is forced to attack from a smaller front, essentially only from Poland. If Hungary will stay out the Eastern front but Romania no, the Germans could face some delay in linking with the Romanians towards Ukraine.
     
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  10. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    Possible, but after the war with Jugoslavia the italian armed forces will be in a situation even worse than OTL and everyone will tell Benny that there is desperately need of a moment of R&R, frankly i think that any involvement in Romania will be basically a gigantic bluff.
    So while Mussolini will try to extract some concession, put some pressure on Athens, etc. etc., he will not risk a war against the UK...and yes Churchill will try one of his famous schemes, on the other hand without the Mediterrean front the Royal Navy will have a lot more capacity and the logistic line will be a lot less problematic
     
  11. Threadmarks: The Third Player

    Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    Hey all, I'm really pleasantly surprised with the feedback I got. I didn't expect this to get as much attention as it did (and to be honest, my history has got a little rusty in recent years, so I was scared about exposing that side of myself). However, on with the show:

    The Third Player


    Interview of Italo Balbo for the BBC’s ‘World At War’ (1973)

    Interviewer: Why did Italy not side with Germany during Operation Barbarossa?

    Balbo: Because we were never on good terms with the Germans, even though we hated Communism. Not to mention our disagreement over the Jews. We had Jewish Blackshirts, Jewish soldiers and many others. We had no interest in going to war in a land so far away, especially since it meant a war with Britain.

    Interviewer: Did the Germans ask you to join?

    Balbo: Of course, and every time we refused. They also asked Croatia and Bulgaria, who turned it down as well. Hungary accepted, since they shared a border with the Communists and were more concerned about it than we were. The Hungarians joined the Romanians, Finns and the Slovaks into the conflict on the German side. It speaks to the wisdom of Mussolini to ask what became of them. We had more pressing matters to deal with.

    Interviewer: How was a tiny country like Greece a greater threat than your ideological nemesis of the Soviet Union?

    Balbo: (*Pause*) No matter what we did, we spared it from the fate of Communism.

    The Making of Fascist Bloc by Jodie Rutkins

    In 1942, Germany continued her march at Stalingrad while Japan stretched itself in the Pacific – the Dual Pact felt ascendant. Britain and America began the difficult discussion of where to put the pressure on Hitler, after the near effortless seizing of Corsica at the end of the Spring, bringing about the collapse of the Vichy government and full German occupation of France. By contrast, Mussolini had developed a new plan, taking all the time he desired.

    After his embarrassment in the Corfu affair, Mussolini was adamant of avenging himself against Greece and getting the whole of the Mediterranean on his side. To that end, he called up old allies. Croatia was out of the way of the fighting and Hungary was not only in the same boat but an active participant in Operation Barbarossa, so not exactly available. Bulgaria could be relied on; Tsar Boris had become a national hero for re-establishing national pride in what had once been called the ‘Prussia of the Balkans’. But Mussolini had one more trick up his sleeve. He called up Turkey, tempting them with the prospect of major gains in land and prestige. The democratic government of Turkey refused. The Turkish military and Turkish nationalists within the government were outraged that weakling politicians were holding back Turkey from re-entering the global titans. In August of 1942, Turkey’s government was replaced by an ‘interim’ military government, which would last a long time indeed. They would soon get the boost they wanted, starting the Fourth (and to date final) Balkan War.

    After faking an incident at a border crossing (based off the Nazi technique in Poland) Mussolini sent the troops in through Albania on September 12th 1942. Britain was furious but was obviously in no position to respond, as Mussolini had correctly calculated - America had no interest in such a conflict. After getting multiple reality checks during their invasion of Yugoslavia, Italy had reformed their army, much as Stalin had done since his Finnish excursion in 1940. “It terrifies me to imagine what would have befallen us if it wasn’t for Yugoslavia,” cautioned Balbo as he attempted his assault through the mountainous region. Despite all the lessons, the Greeks remained superior fighters man-for-man. Balbo's troops slogged through the Epirus until Bulgaria launched an invasion through her Macedonian conquest and Turkey sent her navy into the Aegean Sea, shelling anything that moved. Beset on all sides, the Greeks retreated further and further back. By November, the air raids on Athens were near daily and Larissa had fallen. Not wanting Athens to be pulverised like Belgrade, Metaxas’s subordinates turned on him. He was arrested and exiled while the officers tendered an unconditional surrender. Metaxas and the King would seek asylum in Britain.

    Once again, the Fascist powers (with Turkey the newest addition) took turns devouring their recent conquest. Epirus and the Ionian Islands came to Italy’s possession, erasing Mussolini’s embarrassment over Corfu. Turkey annexed Thrace, the Aegean Islands and Crete. Though Bulgaria lost its former sea access route to the Mediterranean in Thrace, it more than gained in taking the remainder of Macedonia in Greece, leaving Greece much reduced in size. Once again, a shattered country was left to rot.

    But by then, Mussolini had already done what would begin to make him a hero to millions.

    The Shoah – Abraham Dershowitz

    Jews around the world know the sort of person Mussolini was. Of course he was a bad person, of course he was a dictator, but it’s equally as obvious that hundreds of thousands of Jews today owe their life to him.

    In February 1942, just after the Wannsee Conference – though it was likely unknown to Mussolini at the time – Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, would deliver Berlin an offer from the Italian State. In return for crucial raw minerals that Italy could procure as a neutral and send northward, Mussolini asked if he could get 250,000 Jews on the condition they be settled in Libya. He was trying to improve the infrastructure of the colony and wanted more settlers than what he had. Not just any Jews either, but the most educated and economically viable. In particular, Mussolini was interested in the German and Austrian Jews, feeling they had no other national loyalty owing to the nature of their current ruler.

    The offer was discussed amongst the German leadership – Goering was quite in favour and Bormann was quite opposed. Ultimately, Ciano’s assurance that the Jews would be sent to Libya and thus off of the European Continent was enough to convince Hitler of the plan. As he told his staff, “As long as they are stranded in a lifeless desert under a Latin heel, we don’t have to worry about their conniving influence.”

    The German leadership agreed, limiting their selections of Jews to non-Polish or Soviet Jews (who made up the vast majority of European Jewry). This was explained as ‘logistics’ to the Italians (although in reality it was because Hitler had considered them lower than any form of life imaginable, on top of having the temerity to live in his Lebensraum). This would mean those chosen would disproportionally represent the professions (be it doctors and engineers) or those who were rich enough to buy their own and their family’s way out (the businessmen and aristocrats). They were disproportionally Sephardic, secular and right wing. Avowed Communists or any other persons considered too politically opposed to Fascism would be left behind to die. The immediate families were almost always brought along - otherwise they would rarely depart. These demographics would have a profound effect on the future Israeli state, and indeed Libya itself.

    By the end of 1942, the process was over. Roughly a quarter of a million Jews were camped in Libya in makeshift tents. About one hundred and fifty thousand came from Germany and Austria, with France coming up with roughly another fifty thousand. They were hungry, they were tired, but they were grateful. Even then, they had a vague idea about what was going on under Nazi rule.

    Memoirs of a Young Girl (1988), by Anne Frank

    The moment we crossed the Italian border on the train, when we were finally free of the Nazis, the whole carriage with one movement tore off their yellow stars as if they were leeches sucking them dry. Songs from every language filled the air: Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino, German, Dutch, French and so on. Margaret tried to sing in Italian to impress the guard on the train but he took no notice. We thought he treated us so kindly. In reality, he was quite indifferent to us, but it was such a change from our daily lives in Amsterdam. The fear Gentiles had if you approached them, as if they would be suspected of being sympathizers by the Gestapo. The hatred the Germans had if you dared catch a glimpse of them. That total indifference of that Italian looked to us as pure and wholesome as the love a mother would give her child by comparison.

    Father’s business credentials may have impressed the Italians enough to get us out, but business was the last thing he thought about. He talked to us about the future, and how we would come back one day from Libya. I wish I could say I was as wholesome and loving, but I was just thinking how hot Tripoli would be. It sounds silly, almost disrespectful to say such a thing, knowing how lucky I was. But that younger me, that younger Anne, I feel like I still understand her, even when she could be spoiled and childish. So many years have gone by, but the little Anne Frank lives on within me.

    Mussolini: The Twentieth Century Man by Joseph Manderlay

    The formal creation of the Roman Alliance (or the Fascist Bloc as it became more popularly known) was motivated by many factors.

    1. The desire for neutrality – which speaks to Hitler’s insanity given what happened not too soon after. The war was still a tossup by the start of 1943, or at least there was a good chance for a negotiated peace. Italy had already absorbed plenty of territory and was too scared to make a go for the French and British territories it desired, feeling that the risk was far too high. At the same time, a war with Germany would be devastating and was not desired either. The fellow nations of the bloc had received many invitations to join the war from both sides and wanted a collective insurance. If they were all tied up inside a collective security unit, it would become much more effective deterrent to pestering by foreign powers.

    2. Italy wanted to establish itself as a new power in Europe. To do that, it wanted to have its own zone of influence. The Mediterranean proved an easy choice, especially as the Adriatic had become an Italian lake. If it could be seen as influencing the trajectory of multiple nations, it would make Italy more widely considered a serious power. Likewise, many nations within the Roman Alliance wanted to be part of a bloc without the diplomatic nightmares of keeping up appearances if they were to be openly friendly with democratic countries.

    3. On a purely economic basis, Italy wanted a trade bloc to expand their export market. The remaining nations, some war-torn and battered, would gladly accept the sort of economic aid the Italians could bring.

    American newsreel report on the formation of the Roman Alliance, March 29th 1943

    “Today in Rome, a new international political organisation was formed, uniting the Mediterranean powers under one roof. With a name like ‘The Roman Alliance’, only one man could come up with a name as boastful as that and have the resources to have a stab at it. Benito Mussolini, leader of Italy, flanked by the leaders of Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Bulgaria and Turkey met together and declared their common neutrality in the European conflict, a neutrality to be guaranteed with the strength of the others. Not looking at all dissimilar to the ancient Roman glory of the past, the powers agreed to expand trade, pledged military alliances and technological exchange. Mussolini states that the Roman Alliance will lead the planet into the twenty-first century. They were bold words, but that is only to be expected of the Italian.”

    The Second World War – Christopher Armlong

    Stalin’s demands for a second front were intense, but there was no easy way about it. Corsica had fallen quickly, but it had no lasting effect. Norway was floated as an option but this was stranded in the middle of nowhere and wasn’t considered a decent way to exert any influence on German war efforts. Talks to put troops in Russia were flatly rejected, especially after the victory at Stalingrad. Efforts to recruit the Fascist bloc were likewise unsuccessful.

    Roosevelt and Churchill were at loggerheads about it. Churchill demanded time before going through France, while Roosevelt insisted the only option was to ‘get it over with’ and charge straight into the line of fire in France. Ultimately, Rommel’s victories against the Soviets shortly after Stalingrad - which halted the Russian advance - had convinced Churchill of the urgent need for action, regardless of the result.

    “For what I am about to do,” he told his wife, “I will go down in history. This and this alone. If I succeed, I will be second only to Saint George himself. If I fail, I will be second only to Hitler himself.”

    The die was cast. That summer in 1943, the Western Allies were landing at Normandy.
     
  12. OurSacredWar Meri of Ethiopia

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    Interesting new chapter. What's happening in Italian-occupied Ethiopia?
     
  13. stubear1012 Well-Known Member

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    This is an interesting TL

    In the original timeline, Spain sent the Blue Division to Russia as a way to pay back Hitler and as a way to get the hard core fascist out of Spain. Also I believe that Spain used the Blue Division as a way to get political prisoners out Spain. Did Spain do the same things in this timeline? Also does Mussolini do the same thing in this timeline? ie volunteer hard core fascist and political prisoners.
     
  14. Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    The fate of the volunteers will be discussed soon. Let’s just say no one was planning on Hitler being so evil and stupid at the same time.
     
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  15. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

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    Thank you very much for your work.. An Italian friend told me about how suddenly one of the Duce books disappeared from the bookshops and libraries after the alliance with the Nazis and the race laws make the Duce original views on the Jews quite inopportune. And I have always love this book (to the point of never, ever, going to see the film)
    The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...Vaw3NrLjyt1B0vVb7xzPER9f3&cshid=1550791849439
     
  16. Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    That’ll be explained in more detail soon.
     
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  17. Neptune IN BAD TASTE

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    I haven't seen an Fascist Italy-focused TL in a while. This'll be fun.
     
  18. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    The heights of glory, the depths of despair.
    The Ustashe collaborated happily with Germany, but had a hostile relationship with Italy. The Ustashe militia sometimes seized and murdered Italian officers traveling alone through Croatian-controlled territory. On the other side, the Italians secretly provided arms to the Serb-nationalist Chetnik guerrillas, who fought with the Ustashe.

    "The enemy of my enemy..."
     
  19. OurSacredWar Meri of Ethiopia

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    Ooooh boy, this is probably not gonna end well for Ethiopia but I am interested to see what you have in store for her.
     
  20. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Interesting chapter to say the least.

    I am a bit surprised that Turkey got Crete, Western Thrace was reasonable, Crete I can see why they wanted it but is going to be Cyprus X100 and I wonder what Mussolini got from the Turks to not reclaim the island for Italy. But may return later on the matter if the Turks won't be able to hold the island...

    It is interesting to note how Greece is still indipendent - for now - because I feel the Roman Alliance will invade the country soon at the first glimpse of Communist revolt, Balbo was very ominous on this. And Serbia will likely join the alliance when the avantgarde of the Red Army will stomp Hungary. I had the feeling the Hungarians would join (and paying the price later), so Romania, Croatia as noted didn't have any chance and Bulgaria salivated more over Greek lands rather than going on the anti communist crusade. But Boris survived as well so this would bring new changes in Bulgaria...

    Well Libya TTL would be destined to become majority pop Italian populate but all those Jews arriving would be a nice boon, implying part would stay and others move to Israel. Now while Mussolini OTL was (for his own convenience) sympathetic to Muslim populations in the Middle East, is possible that being more favorable to Israel TTL would force him to change his views (specifically: going more anti-Egyptian) towards the Middle East. So Turkey as well (specifically: going more anti-Syrian). Isreal won't surely sign an alliance but keeping good terms with Italy would put the Arab League later between the proverbial anvil and hammer.

    In short Italy could go towards not anti-Muslim views but likely anti-Arabian one soon when Israel would rise.
     
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