The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

Yes, but at once, there are situations that cannot be truly won by any means other than evil ones - the question then, morally speaking, is which is the least worst choice.

I am not saying that nuking the FLN was a good move, or that the destruction of Arabia was fully justified. However:

A) The Israelis hardly instructed De Gaulle to nuke the FLN - he did so of his own accord, and the responsibility of that is his.

B) Comparing an effort to prevent a genocide known to have been planned, albeit one using rather extreme means, to an active, actual genocide... I am aware that you meant to use it as an example of how hatred can sow more hatred, but I still think it is in very poor taste.

C) I did not advocate constantly choosing the lesser of two evils, and, if you look at this Israel's history, neither has it. But when your back is up against a wall and the alternative is genocide, sometimes drastic measures are necessary.

The point isn't to always choose fear-inspiring or 'bad' options, but rather that in circumstances like that, after two genocides and being threatened by a third, there can be good reasons to shy away from mercy.
 
Yes, but at once, there are situations that cannot be truly won by any means other than evil ones - the question then, morally speaking, is which is the least worst choice.

I am not saying that nuking the FLN was a good move, or that the destruction of Arabia was fully justified. However:

A) The Israelis hardly instructed De Gaulle to nuke the FLN - he did so of his own accord, and the responsibility of that is his.

B) Comparing an effort to prevent a genocide known to have been planned, albeit one using rather extreme means, to an active, actual genocide... I am aware that you meant to use it as an example of how hatred can sow more hatred, but I still think it is in very poor taste.

C) I did not advocate constantly choosing the lesser of two evils, and, if you look at this Israel's history, neither has it. But when your back is up against a wall and the alternative is genocide, sometimes drastic measures are necessary.

The point isn't to always choose fear-inspiring or 'bad' options, but rather that in circumstances like that, after two genocides and being threatened by a third, there can be good reasons to shy away from mercy.
Aflaq and his ilk were certainly NOT people who deserved mercy.

Aflaq didn't simply say "give us back our ancestral homeland" or "give us this land so the Palestinians can have a state". It was "let us do a third genocide."

Thus, it is quite easy to drop nuke on his ass. His demands went from "reasonable" to barbaric.

However, that simply is giving others precedent to do the same thing on their enemies, real or perceived. Especially those authoritarian loving fascists who, while better than Nazis or Reds, are still not very nice guys.

What would stop a fascist Italy from nuking Eithiopia? Or Portugal from doing it to Mozambique?

If you are a world leader, your choices can linger for generations to come.
 
If you are a world leader, your choices can linger for generations to come.
Precisely. But in this situation, it was the only option - continuing to fight conventionally would have shattered the government, the people's faith in it, and made a Third Holocaust easier. Yes, there will be ripples from this; but frankly, it was this or kowtowing to the Arab Nazis as they exterminated an entire country, and that was unacceptable.

Also, I honestly don't believe Portugal or Spain will do that, if only because Mozambique is unlikely to go rebellious with a high and increasing settler population and strong cultural assimilation, Franco probably wouldn't have the resources to produce more than one and would be more focused on exterior threats due to having pretty much crushed resistance and having a sympathetic monarch on the Morrocan throne. But Italy, yeah, I could see that.
 
Well, a very interesting update - and above all very enlightening. Fascism became too successful, it ended into an ideological conundrum and split. And this is entirely buoyable and credible, as for dramatic as well.

Not that democracies went better - just seeing what happened in Britain, where, to get rid to the BUF, Gaitskell pratically abided to the same democratic British principles. And losing Rhodesia and South Africa in the process. Would have lost those nations anyway, but were lost in the worse way possible. I sense a great Tory comeback in the next elections... At least not annexing Somaliland showed there was still some sense in London; annexing directly the Mediterranean territories would surely be later a thorn - especially over Cyprus. Malta and Gibraltar won't be an issue but Somaliland could have been.

Well, Italy Spain and Portugal also quite raised an high to impossible bar for the renewed colonization of their overseas territories. Probably they would have already to revise those plans at the start of the 70's...
Fascists indeed became victims of their own success and popularity. During 1940's they were liked and trusted allies among democracies, speciality right-wing and conservatives. Fascists might had thought that this honeymoon is going to last and they can remain friends until Communists are destroyed. UK and USA even allowed Fascism expand in Europe and even getting Cuba and Argentina to their sphere despite that it violated Monroe Doctrine. When Democracies noticed that they were just useful idiots it was too late.

And Gaitskell blundering with BUF was pretty foolish and it surely will pay him premiership on next election. SA an
Aflaq and his ilk were certainly NOT people who deserved mercy.

Aflaq didn't simply say "give us back our ancestral homeland" or "give us this land so the Palestinians can have a state". It was "let us do a third genocide."

Thus, it is quite easy to drop nuke on his ass. His demands went from "reasonable" to barbaric.

However, that simply is giving others precedent to do the same thing on their enemies, real or perceived. Especially those authoritarian loving fascists who, while better than Nazis or Reds, are still not very nice guys.

What would stop a fascist Italy from nuking Eithiopia? Or Portugal from doing it to Mozambique?

If you are a world leader, your choices can linger for generations to come.
Nuking of Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad and many other cities were indeed in many ways horrible thing but what else RA could had done? Aflaq had large storage of nerve gas and Tel Aviv was good evidence that he was willingful use that. And it was already clear what he wanted to do. He only didn't want conquer Israel, he wanted destroy Jews. Another option would had been fight with conventional means but it would had lasted much longer and nerve gas strikes would had killed more Israelis. And total victory would had been unsure and even then it would had been very pyrrhic to Israel.

But it is another thing could post-war peace had been lesser harsh to Arabs.

Same question you could ask about nuking of Japanese cities in OTL and TTL. There was option but it would had been worse one.
 
Anyways, who do you think would Mussolini's successor be? Things heavily imply it would be Balbo but Sorairo can surprise us (it's certainly not Ciano, though).
 
Ohh, interesting. May I ask why?
OTL, he was among the fascists who opposed collusion with the Nazis and the implementation of anti-Semitic laws.

He was even MORE anticommunist than Mussolini, having come from an aristocratic background.

OTL, he lost favor with Mussolini and was among those who helped overthrow him in 1943. TTL, his positions have been the "right" choices, which might make him one of Mussolini's favored successors.
 
Wasn't Balbo something like 70 at this time? Altough in other hand him had yet quiet good health even in early 1970's when he was able give interview to BBC so probably he would be health enough to be PM in 1960's. And well, it is possible that Great Council of Fascists want someone whose premiership is not so long as Mussolini had.
 
That brings us to an interesting point. How many people who grew up in fascist Italy, albeit pre-WWII, would already be old enough to conceivably get into the upper echelons of the party?
 
That brings us to an interesting point. How many people who grew up in fascist Italy, albeit pre-WWII, would already be old enough to conceivably get into the upper echelons of the party?
Maybe we could see a "Dark Horse" successor to Mussolini from one of those guys?
 
Intermission - Hungary New
Hello to everyone, after Austria, today is the time of Hungary. With the contributes of Sorairo, enjoy!

Extract from ‘Miracle on the Danube: the Rebirth of the Haspburg Kingdom of Hungary’, by James Scruton

Hungary’s road to war started on August 10th of 1940, with the second Vienna Accord, where the Germans convinced Romania to cede part of Transylvania to Budapest. The conference was organized in the aftermath of the Fall of France, when the Little Balkan Entente would face collapse without the protection of the Republique; the “Kingdom without a King”, under almost 20 years of dictatorial rule from the regent Miklos Horthy, would make the second move of destabilization of the Balkans by demanding the return of Transylvania from the Romanians, already weakened by the forced cession of Bessarabia to the USSR. Until now, Hungary kept a balancing act between Italy and Germany, usually preferring the former, a World War I winner, against Yugoslavia. But after the conference of Monaco and the division of Czechoslovakia, Hungary would be granted several border territories from Slovakia from 1938 to 1939 by Germany’s will. Still, it wasn’t enough for Horthy to commit into a full alliance with Germany, as Hungary wasn’t interested in a war with Poland (or France and Britain), looking instead for southern expansionism. In this way, Italian neutrality in the new continental conflict would allow Horthy to re-approach Mussolini, against Yugoslavia. But the Duce hesitated to invade such country while France was still guaranteeing it. This indecision would force Horthy to act first, by threatening Romania. Hitler was interested in getting Romanian support to cover the southern flank of his invasion of the Soviet Union, but he needed Hungarian support as well to guarantee the supply and transit routes towards Romania. Hence, he negotiated a settlement between Romania and Hungary over the division of Transylvania. The Romanians folded afer German promises to recover Bessarabia and take more from the USSR, the Hungarians appreciated the mediation – but wanted still to have their hands free against Yugoslavia. At the end of Summer of 1940, the Kingdom of the Southern Slavs was on the verge of collapse, isolated internationally.Mussolini got from Hitler the promise to not ally with Yugoslavia or support it in any way. It would be the last meeting the two leaders would have, and despite the agreements done, the divergences between the Fuhrer and the Duce would become definitive.

Since the assassination of King Alexander in 1934, Yugoslavia would slowly decline into a state of growing strife and divisions – especially between the Orthodox Serbs and the Catholic Croats. However, as in March of 1941 King Peter would achieve full majority, there was the hope the end of the regency could have led into some form of stability. Mussolini wasn’t intentioned to permit that: in September, the Italian backed Croat Ustacia would rise in revolt, and Italy would commence the invasion of Yugoslavia. Soon Bulgaria and Hungary would join as well, and the Kingdom would capitulate before the end of the year. At the peace table, Hungary would obtain the region of Vodjovina, better known as Banat among Hungarians. Such region was ethnically a melting pot – between Hungarian, Serbian, Croat and even German speaking communities. Such multiethnicity and the territorial contestation of the region later would bring issues to Budapest, but in 1940, the acquisition of the Banat was quite a triumph for the Horthy regime. However, at this point Hungary appeared to have exhausted its expansionist and revanchist drive. Regions and countries which until 1918 were considered part of Hungary wouldn’t be accessible: Slovakia was a German puppet, South Transylvania remained in Romanian hands, and Croatia would become an independent country under Italian protection; the latter case in particular creating if not resentment, at least distance between Horthy and Mussolini, as the regent honestly expected to carve more territories from the same Croatia. At the same time, Hungary wasn’t interested at all in supporting the invasion of Greece, not seeing the point in supporting further Italian expansionism.

During 1941, both Italy and Germany would start to court the Balkan countries to bring them into their own alliance or sphere of influence. While Romania would turn immediately to the Germans and Bulgaria and Croatia to the Italians, Hungary was still on the fence. It didn’t help that Hungary would face a series of constant changes in its premiership, due to constant internal political infighting favoured by the same Horthy, so that the regent would remain the supreme authority in the country. However, while the general Hungarian version stated Horthy would decide in the end to join Germany in the invasion of the Soviet Union in disinterested name of anti-communism, it is often said the Regent would have received German support for a future war against Croatia. Considering the not stellar performance of the Italians in Yugoslavia, Horthy felt with the Reich’s support could have a good chance to seize the country in name of a “Greater Hungary”. But soon the war would turn for the worst, and in 1943 the German troops were on the defensive on all fronts. Horthy weighted the option to leave the war, with the hope to keep Hungary unscathed. Italy again seemed again to be a safe ally and friend that would protect the country from Soviet invasion, even guaranteeing Hungarian gains. Naturally, the dictator would believe that Hitler would be accepting of a Hungarian separate peace and disengagement, like they were fighting a conventional war – unfortunately the entire conflict was far from being conventional.

Whatever plans Horthy had for a separate peace, the German rage for the flight of the Hungarian Jews to Italy would lead to the sudden SS invasion of Hungary the 25th of November of 1943, an event remembered in national memory as a nagy árulás napja (The Day of Great Treason). it made a strain between Hungarians and Germans that still stands today. The SS would entirely destroy Horthy’s government – arriving to assassinate the dictator himself. Today, Miklos Horthy would be considered as a controversial figure in Hungary: nationalists and patriots, often the Hungarian Right in general, hailed the man as the one who saved the country from falling into Communist rabble shortly after the restored independence, stabilized it and started a path of economic development while regaining lost lands, but falling by Hitler’s sirens only to be betrayed by the same Hitler. They would downplay his anti-Semitism – after all, his decisions saved the Jews of Hungary and gave the country a chance of redemption as well. The Hungarian Left and sincere Democrats would however counter he was still a dictator and his ambitions lead Hungary to fall. Anyway, neither the crown nor the post war governments would ever dare to denounce or demote him after his death; in Israel, for his actions he would be acknowledged as “Righteous Among the Nations”, perhaps the most controversial addition to the pantheon with the exception of Mussolini himself.

The SS would install Ferenc Szalasi, leader of the Pro-Nazi Arrow Cross party, as new leader of Hungary, but when they discovered that the Hungarian Jews already evacuated to Italy, they would start the chain of events leading to the invasion of Italy and the battle of Trieste. Here, the Hungarian Jews able to fight would form the first core of what would be the later the Anglo-Jewish international brigade. Regarding Trieste, Hungarian historians would often portray it as a first stand of Hungarian reaction to the Great Treason and the seed of the liberation of their country, in addition for the restoration of democracy and monarchic restoration as well.

The Hungarian liberation would be relatively fast: the SS military presence, weakened already by having lost at Trieste, would soon be overstretched. To avoid getting trapped and encircled between the Soviet hammer and the Roman Alliance anvil, they would evacuate Hungary, thus leaving Szalasi on his own. The dictator practically counted only on the Cross Arrow’s paramilitary forces, because he was hated in the eyes of almost every Hungarian, Any actual Hungarian soldier surrendered at the first sight of an Anglo-Jewish or Soviet soldier. In March, Hungary was essentially free, with Szalasi captured and killed and the Cross Arrow entirely dissolved. However, now Hungary was in a power vacuum since the Allies, essentially Britain and Italy, were uncertain about who to put at the helm of a provisional government to lead Hungary for the time being. The country was essentially a Roman Alliance occupied zone – the Croatians in the West, the Anglo-Jewish in Budapest and the Bulgarians with Romanian contribution in the East. Because the Anglo-Jewish army would soon depart to Bohemia, it was decided initially to temporally put Hungary under a Roman Alliance trust, with a joint Italian, Croat and Bulgarian military administration. Such trust, established wouldn’t last long, being already contested by the USSR at Kiev, as Stalin reclaimed the occupation of such country to be handled by the Soviets. Shortly after the Fall of Budapest, in the city came, accompanied by the Hungarian Jewish brigades, Otto of Hapsburg. There he rallied in front of the Parliament a wide crowd, stating that he finally returned to the nation as the Allies would finally remove their veto over him acceding in Hungary, offering his services to the kingdom “according to my duties and my rights.” In fact, with the preliminary Anglo-Italian negotiations at the start of 1944, Britain initially acknowledged Hungary falling under Italian sphere and protection, agreeing to restore Hapsburg rule as asset of stability for such country. As Mussolini plotted to give Otto the crown of Hungary to bar him from reclaiming the Austrian one, and believing he would have been a docile Italian ally in the country, he encountered Churchill’s blessing, twisting the French and American arms and asking to not contest such decision. De Gaulle wasn’t in a position to refuse, acknowledging that without Yugoslavia, France didn’t have anymore influence in the Balkans. The Americans, who had the occasion to briefly have contacts with Otto when he was on their side of the Atlantic, begrudgingly agreed.

It was soon clear that Otto was intentioned to reclaim the title of King of Hungary – for Stalin and for the Soviet point, it was quite an insult as Hungary and Romania, German accomplices in the invasion of the USSR, had to fall under their judgement. At Kiev, the Soviets fought hard to prevent Hungary and Romania falling into Italian sphere and only after the general cooling down after the news of Hitler’s death negotiations would lead to a compromise over the neutralization of Hungary, and for Romania as well. Therefore, a Hungarian provisional government had to be appointed soon as possible. There was also the fact the Hungarian monarchy wasn’t abolished – not even during Szalasi’s short reign – but now there was the need to appoint a new regency as well. The Soviets wanted to abolish the monarchy, the Italians to restore the legitimate King immediately, but in the end it was agreed that the Hungarians would vote to decide if staying a Kingdom or becoming a Republic. The Italians obtained that the choice would be over the official claimant on the throne, Otto of Haspburg. Otto wouldn’t have a role in the provisional government, but obtained full permission to stay in Hungary.

The Roman Alliance, was still the effective occupant of the country, meaning it would still have its own leverage in the immediate day-to-day administrative decisions. It would manage to impose as temporal first minister Bela Miklos, one of the few remnant Hungarian high military officers around and former later aide of Horthy, who managed to barely escape the SS purges seeking refuge in Croatia. The same Miklos would agree to create a provisional government of national unity with the reforming political parties, including the Communists. Now, the latter appeared to have an important presence in the provisional government, and open Soviet support, but it got scarce support among the Hungarians in general. The nation was still definitely on the Right, and even if rejecting the extremism of the former Arrow Cross it maintained a strong anti-communist imprint. At Potsdam, Miklos would sign the peace treaty with the Allies on four main points: 1) Cession of Slovakian and Romanian territories annexed in the last years. 2) Declaration of diplomatic international neutrality 3) War reparations essentially to the USSR 4) Military restrictions, guaranteeing Hungary the right to retain an army with limited capacities and no permission to have mass destruction weapons. About Banat, due to the on-going civil war in Serbia (who were not even attending the conference) it was decided to postpone the decision and to be discussed into the UN. The Soviets didn’t want such a region to be given to Croatia, as the Italians were initially oriented to propose, to prevent Serbia to be encircled in the case the Communists would have won there. But the Italians weren’t so inclined to return the region in Serbian hands to trigger an ulterior revanchism in the nation against them or its Balkan allies, neither to really empower Croatia too much, as Pavelic started to be too unreliable for Mussolini to be kept in line. At the same time, guaranteeing Banat for Hungary may have preserved at a correct tone Italian-Hungarian relations.

In fact, Mussolini and Ciano after Potsdam started to make their own calculations, knowing that, if Otto would win the monarchy plebiscite, and the Right won in Hungary, such a country would be obliged in one way or another to deal with Italy and the Roman Alliance, despite their official neutrality. It was a mere geographic assessment – with Slovakia in Soviet hands, Austria in Italian ones, Croatia aligned with Rome especially after Operation Brutus, Romania landlocked and a Red Serbia to be landlocked as well, Hungarian traffic would be necessarily to pass its own goods or the imported ones through Italy or its allies (and Romania as well). The post-war Hungarian economy in fact would be in relevant part interdependent from Italian and Roman Alliance ones, and became a periodic issue in the Hungarian electoral campaigns.

As general elections would be planned for the Spring of 1945, Otto of Haspburg would progressively find contacts and support with the Centre-Right political forces, in particular the Independent Smallholders, Agrarian Workers and Civic Party (FKgP). Its charismatic leader, Zoldan Tildy, after a series of meetings with Otto, would agree to support the Hapsburg Restoration. He acknowled the restored monarchy as a matter of internal stability, passing over the lingering concerns in part of the same party and of Hungary too to favour the Austrian born, legitimated claimant to the crown of Saint Stephen rather than electing a native noble. But the same Hungarian nobility was rather favourable to Otto, also because a contested claim would have only favoured the republicans and therefore the Communists; also, when it was clear that Austria would remain a republic, Otto would have no choice to act as king of Hungary only, and with the fact he was still unmarried, his potential future heirs could have been properly “Magyarized”. Considering that Otto gave proper reassurances to not be an “Austrian” ruler for Hungary, with the support of the Hungarian Jews, many returning in their country, and the Catholic Church, in the elections of the 18th of March the Pro-Monarchists would secure victory, and the FKgP securing a overwhelming victory as well with almost the 60%. The Communists wouldn’t’ even reach 15% of the votes; the Socialdemocrats (MSZDP) wouldn’t fare much better, and the left agrarianists and the liberals would divide the remnant 10% of the votes.

So, the first Hungarian Diet proclaimed Otto of Haspburg-Lorraine King of Hungary, crowned solemnly in Budapest the 1st April, Easter day, while Tildy will become first minister of a now democratic Kingdom of Hungary, while starting the political hegemony of the FKgP on the country. Acknowledged by the West and the Italians, and by the Soviets as well, the new King and his first minister would soon sign the final peace provisions, which would enable the Roman Alliance retreat from all Hungarian territory – included Banat. However as part of the provisions, Banat would initially declared demilitarized because of the uncertain status of Serbia and the fate of the region had yet to be decided. Tildy’s government would take its first steps in rebuilding the country, and to reconcile it – above all, between the Hungarian Jews and the rest of the Hungarians. Laws against anti-Semitism would be implemented, Otto would praise the courage of the Hungarian Jews, financial compensations would be established. Effectively, the general Hungarian mindset would turn more favourable to the Jewish community, as after the nagy árulás napja and Trieste their act of resistance was welcomed as an act of national pride almost as much in Budapest as Tel Aviv. Besides, the community would remain a significant demographic force in Hungary, with nowhere near as much emigration as characterised other Jewish communities. Indeed the number of Jews in modern Hungary is actually higher than in 1946, with new additions from the dispersed Austrian community and those escaped from the USSR. Up to today, Budapest has the second largest amount of Jews of any Eastern European city, the first being the Ladino speaking Solun. Tildy and Otto had other reasons to keep good relations with the Hungarian Jews – the national army was mostly destroyed in the insane war with the USSR, Germans, and its remnants swept by the Roman Alliance. The government would therefore rely on the Hungarian divisions of the Anglo-Jewish army and an important amount of the high officers of the Hungarian Royal Army would be Jews. This would allow later a profitable military exchange between Hungary and Israel, and mutual cooperation on successive crisis such as the Arabian wars.

Diplomatically, Hungary would start to make its first treaties with Austria and Romania. An agreement with Vienna was necessary as most of Hungarian traffic would necessarily pass through the Alpine country. Pushed by Italian intermediation with Rome interested in commercial Balkan movements to drag them towards Italy rather than Germany, still Austria and Hungary would see each other with a certain degree of suspicion because of a Hapsburg official claiming the Austrian throne currently sitting on the Hungarian one. The issue created some anxiety in certain Viennese circles, because if the idea of an Austro-Hungarian unification wasn’t totally abandoned, a reversed unification (with Hungary as the major partner of such union) was essentially abhorred. There was also a contention over certain Austrian properties the Hapsburg would have tried to reclaim, such as minor castles or the family tomb in the Capuchin monastery in Vienna (the Hofburg and Schonbrunn were cautiously left unclaimed) which would last for decades, while Otto managed to achieve an agreement with Italy over the return of the castle of Miramare in Trieste to his family in exchange of a generous contribute to the reconstruction of the city.

With the return of the monarchy in Hungary, the rather vivacious nobility returned in the country, becoming supportive of their new king. The ones who managed to make fortune or preserve it in Paris or in America or else, or married with the local bourgesoise, would bring important financial contributes and foreign investments which would boost the economic situation of the kingdom. There was also the silent hope that Otto, still unmarried, may marry a Hungarian to strengthen his position among his new subjects, despite his mother Zita having other ambitious plans. Excited to see her son regaining at least one of his legitimate crowns, the new Queen Mother of Hungary wanted a spouse with a proper degree – and Otto was certainly the most sought bachelor in the eyes of European nobilty at the time.

However, the search of a proper bride would prove quite difficult: she would have to been Catholic and of Royal blood, at least in the eyes of Zita, but above all from a country which wouldn’t have been seen hostile by the Hungarians, or avoid suspicions to favour a certain nation rather than other. A German choice was excluded almost immediately, because with a sitting king of German Austrian descent, it was already enough for the Hungarians - besides anti-German sentiments were too strong in the country. Dismissing the option of Mafalda di Savoia, the Soviets barred it since an Italian candidature could form eventual Italian influence. A Bourbon choice, offered issues as well. The Spanish branches were indeceisive because while Franco proclaimed the restoration of the monarchy, he didn’t declare who would be the restored king – while officiously it was supposed to be Juan Carlos, the Caudillo didn’t make a final declaration, as he considered other eventual claimants to the title to see who could be the most malleable to his will. And, for such claimants, an eventual union with a liberal democratic King was seen more as a liability than an asset. As for the French branches, it didn’t help them that De Gaulle, since it was debated if the French monarchy would be restored just like the German, stated that France would never repudiate its republican values - even in a Europe where monarchism was returning in vogue almost everywhere and where monarchies would essentially surround France. The General’s reaffirmation of Republican France was necessary to not concede ground to the leftist opposition over a subject that was more felt than expected in the Transalpine country. As De Gaulle was often accused of overextending his authority over the executive during his first presidency, especially in foreign and colonial matters in a way often accused to being “Cesarist” or even “Bonapartist”, insinuations over his real and future intentions were a recurrent motif on the Left, especially the communists. De Gaulle had to reaffirm his republican loyalty and democratic commitment against the leftist coalition, but also he had the need to trounce the Right’s lingering French monarchic sentiments. Even if Action Francaise was disbanded and its leader Maurras kept under arrest till 1951 (dying not much later), the monarchists attempted to reorganize, but were too divided and discredited by the past anti-Semitic stance. De Gaulle wasn’t interested to the bridal choice of Otto – but a marriage within the French branch of the Bourbons was certainly seen with some irritation in Paris, and the General made sure to let know such possible irritation to Budapest.

Attempts to find a proper Hungarian bride were made as well, but for the times, the choices were thin. The most notable attempt, and also the more desperate, was contacting count Mihaly Karloyi, of the highest Hungarian noble breed, who had two daughters in marriageable age, but with a relevant past as socialist supporter (he was the first president of the Hungarian People’s republic). In exile since the beginning of the Horthy regime, he was approached with an offer – full honours restored and a return to Hungary without issues, in exchange for the hand of one of his daughters to Otto, but Karloyi refused publicly. With the Hungarian Communists hailing his stern refusal, at least the court would be able to assuage Hungarian nobility and most of the public opinion over the impossibility to make a local match, hence removing lingering obstacles to a foreign Queen, at least for the current generation.

In the end, an adequate choice was found – Infanta Maria Adelaide of Braganza, youngest half-sister of Nino Duarte, restored king of Portugal. In 1944, she was in Austria, where she was a nurse who sympathized with local antagonists of the regime; the Gestapo planned her arrest, prevented in extremis by the Valkyrie coup. When the Italians occupied Austria, her brother brought her to Switzerland. Shortly after the conference of Kiev, Duarte Nino was contacted by Portuguese diplomats, as Salazar believed the time for a monarchic restoration in the country was coming, at least after the passing or the resignation of President Carmona. The Duke of Braganza accepted immediately the offer of the dictator, travelling to Lisbon with his wife Francisca and with Maria Adelaide, as soon the exile laws were repealed and Salazar forced the hand of Carmona in accepting the return of the Royal family, then his resignation in 1949, opening the path to the coronation of Duarte Nino. The new king convinced her sister, who in Austria had a relation with a Dutch doctor, to break free and accept a proposal arrived from the Royal court in Hungary. Being half German by mother’s side, and speaking German, she was surely a proper match for Otto; her history of underground opposition to the Nazis making her sufficiently acceptable in the Kingdom while coming from a Fascist monarchic nation. Portugal was considered the more innocuous member of the Roman Alliance, hence it was a match which didn’t antagonize the Soviets to a sufficiently terrible degree. The union was celebrated in Budapest in 1951, the Kingdom being in a cheerful mood, seeing stability and recovery after the past turbulent years. The Royal couple would have five children: Marie Therese (1952), crown prince Karoly (1954), Elizabeth (1956), Zita (1957) and Istvan (1961). While the Hapsburg monarchy rebuilt itself in Budapest, and Tildy governed the country, the Leftist opposition, led by the communists who were led themselves by the determined and charismatic Matyas Rakosi. Rakosi, defeated in 1945 but undeterred to let the Communists succeed in Hungary, was intentioned to reorganize the MKP for future elections, biding his time. However, the Communist victory in Serbia and the Croatian-Serbian war, which would affect Hungary, would mark the beginning of the end of the Hungarian Communists. When Tito proclaimed the birth of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, in Budapest many believed with such a ‘stabilization’, the issue of Banat may be coming to a head. It was a decision that certainly divided the Hungarian politics; the FKgP was oriented to preserve the control of the region, despite not having many cards at their disposal, whereas the Communists were more favourable. Though not stating it publicly, several aides of Rakosi would later report that with Tito’s victory and Soviet support, the revolution might have been exported in Hungary without the Roman Alliance doing anything. Rakosi didn’t expect that while the Roman Alliance wouldn’t intervene, Croatia would do so alone, triggering the Croat-Serbian War. The chaos erupting in former Yugoslavia would directly affect Banat, already pressured by Serbian refugees escaping from the Communist regime, and then facing a South Slavic migration crisis, especially from Bosniacs – regardless of their culture, many prefered to cross the Danube and the Drava to stay in a region that turned hostile on them, between the Croatian Ustacias and the Serbian Communists.

To make worse the situation, the Soviets would establish, with the help of the MKP, a supply line through Hungary, to the chagrin of the Italians, who started to press the Tildy government to put a halt or at least restrictions over such traffic. But the First Minister hesitated: not because he supported the Serbians, but because of the tricky implications of the peace treaty and the Hungarian neutrality; could Hungary stop Soviet supplies going through its territory and could Moscow take it out on them? Also, the government’s military and police were still partially understaffed and weakened - also divided between keeping order in Banat and watch the Slovakian border. Considering that the Communists used the war to cause further social tension, Tildy couldn’t afford to take false steps. Otto I would manage through his authority and decision to tour his Kingdom to keep up the pretence of quiet and order, but failed in reaching some form of understanding with Rakosi, who would remain hostile to the Crown. Fortunately for Tildy, the successful Italian intervention against Pavelic, the call of the truce in the Serbian-Croat War, and peace negotiations would allow him to get a seat for Hungary in such talks, and barter a suitable adjustment over Banat. Because the Soviets obtained the right to protect Serbia with its own divisions, albeit limited in number, such troops would necessarily have to pass through Hungary or Romania. Because the Romanians would not offer to allow transit of Soviet troops on their lands, the Hungarians would openly allow it in exchange for reassurances over their own safety and the definitive status of Banat. Despite Serbian chagrin, the USSR would acknowledge administration of Banat to Hungary, as long Hungarian neutrality would allow Soviet controlled transit rights to Serbia and vice-versa, with a proper trade and supply agreement as well. Tildy also obtained, at least at words, the Soviet promise to not meddle further in Hungarian internal affairs through the MKP. The agreements weren’t the best ones possible, because it would force the Hungarian military and police to keep constant track of the Soviet movements in their country, but Tildy would claim now to have preserved Hungarian ownership of Banat and gained more safety from Soviet threats, and more international respect as well. The Hungarian people would also generally appreciate the deal, as the 1947 Spring administrative elections would comfortably the Smallholders on the top, even if registered a small increase of support towards the Left.

Rakosi, even if the end of the Serbian-Croat Crisis gave Hungary a more placid internal situation, believed he had a serious chance to win against the FKgP, trying to build up a coalition with the Socialdemocrats and the Left Agranianists to be able to defeat the Smallholders party. He might have managed to succeed in the long term, as the FKgP was far from being compact under Tildy’s leadership, but the nuclear massacre of Warsaw created indignation in Hungary not less than in other nations. To make things worse, Rakosi, as loyal supporter of Stalin, would arrive to defend the Soviet operation in Poland to the faithful, and his handlers. Sensing the chance to give a deadly blow to the Communists, Tildy would call for snap elections for the Spring of 1948, which ended in a triumph for the FKgP which gained a supermajority in the Diet, while the combined Left wouldn’t even pass the 25% mark - hence together going worse than in 1945. This would end further alliances between all the Hungarian left, with the Socialdemocrats breaking up with the Communists.

As the Socialdemocrats would soon reposition themselves on more traditional Socialist ideologies, the Communists would soon enter into crisis, as Rakosi’s Stalinist line started to be contested in the party. Rakosi would retain control of the party for the early 1950’s, until word of the Soviet Holocaust hit the world. Rakosi initially refused to believe it, condemning it as a great falsehood – a statement that had some weight as Rakosi was of Jewish heritage. On November 1st 1952, he was found hanged in his office with a suicide note detailing his internal torture at the knowledge of what was happening in Russia- though conspiracy theories exist implicating Stalin or Mussolini or the Mossad, evidence indicates it really was due to the revelations of what was happening in Russia. With Rakosi died what little was left of Hungarian Communism. Members moved towards the Social Democrats, the left Agranians, or creating their own movement; the most significant case being Imre Nagy, promoter of a more liberal policy. Nagy would abandon the party in protest with Rakosi, to then joining the Socialdemocrats, placing within the liberal center of it. As the Socialdemocrats tried to find a fitting leadership, Nagy would be able to take control of the party and reform it, opening it to more liberal democratic principles and also on a more conciliatory stance towards the crown. His progressive yet more liberal political agenda, would manage to bring gains for the Socialdemocrats in the elections of 1956, where they became the major opposition party, and the FKgP for the first time would not achieve the absolute majority in terms of total votes, albeit retaining the parliamentary majority in the Diet.

1956 would be an important year for Hungary as well economically, because it would register for the first time a yearly economic growth index beyond the 6%, in line with the Western European economic growth, keeping it till 1960, when would dip down around 5% but keeping a constant growth. With Hungarian industry benefitting of the 1950’s conflicts, and internal stability achieved, the country would proceed to enter into a period of prosperity and better spread social welfare and wealth, inaugurating the period known as “Hungarian Spring”. This incipient prosperity will also lead to newfound successes in sportive endeavours, and a more vivacious cultural development across the country, with Budapest becoming the centre of such activities.

With the release of the first “Sissi” movie in Hungary still in 1956 - and above all the second the next year, more focused on the Hungarian situation –the kingdom would soon have a nostalgic sentiment towards those times of a “Hungaria Felix” during Haspburg rule. Soon came books, movies, theatre plays, paintings and other artistic forms based on that age, which would take the name of Neo-Mitteleuropeanism, which would see its golden age in the 1955-65 decade. Such influence would extend to Austria, Croatia, Czechia, and even Communist Slovakia and the Italian North-East, especially in Slovenia and Trieste – practically the former Haspburg Empire itself. Of course, such kind of “nostaliay” was rejected by the Italian establishment, especially by the Minculpop, refusing any potential triggers of unification through federation of sort of the Danubian basin – an idea which wasn’t totally rejected in certain circles of Budapest and Prague. To add to the gaiety, Hungary’s Magnificent Magyar football team would win the 1958 World Cup, defeating Brazil 3-1.

Not all was good in Hungary: the economic growth wouldn’t bring benefit to all the nation equally, as Banat would remain a more underdeveloped region due to periodic tension with Serbia, Tito arrived to nationalize every kind of river boat built, and established a motorcade patrol (pompously called the “Serbian People’s Navy”) around Belgrade, and with that arriving to bar navigation on the Danube from both Serbian sides, with not so infrequent gunfights and incidents. Serbia wouldn’t acknowledge the Hungarian occupation of Banat nor made diplomatic moves to search for an agreement with Hungary. Nonetheless, ten years after the end of WW2, Hungary found a new balance in its fresh democratic institutions with the Haspburg monarchy restored. Despite all odds, its neutrality would prove to be a source of refound strength and prestige, as well as being the seat of several diplomatic conferences…”
 

Zagan

Donor
@RyuDrago
@Sorairo
The latest update has the following issues:
1. Vojvodina was never called Banat by anyone, not by the Hungarians, not by the Serbs, not by the Croats and not by the Romanians.
2. Vojvodina is composed of Western Banat (~40%), Southern Backa (~30%), Southern Baranya (~15%) and Syrmia (~15%). Now, in TTL, Syrmia is part of Croatia so you can ignore it but even so, the Banat is still less than 50% of the area and even less in terms of population and importance.
3. Vojvodina is a Slavic name. It was usually called Backa, Baranya and Banat and never, under any circumstances, only Banat. The Hungarians usually used Délvidék.
4. Moreover, only less than one third of Banat is in Vojvodina (its western part). A little more than two thirds of Banat is (both in OTL and in TTL, both during WW2 and after it) part of Romania, which would be very unnerved by an apparent territorial demand upon its territory.
5. When you listed the ethnicities of Vojvodina, you missed the Romanians who were more numerous than the Croats (with Syrmia not part of Vojvodina but of Croatia proper in TTL) and also more numerous than the Germans (if most of the local German had been expelled after the war like in OTL).

In conclusion:
I. I understand that Backa, Baranya and Banat is long and unwieldy but you can use the Hungarian common name for that area, the Délvidék.
II. You really should mention the Romanians in any listing of the region's ethnicities.
 
Sorry i must have missed this part, but when did Portugal restore his monarchy?
Salazar in OTL thought about restoring the monarchy but didn't, presumably because a) he wasn't reflexively monarchist b) he couldn't personally control a king like the puppet presidents.

In this timeline monarchy is viewed as introducing stable governance in the fact of communist expansion. The butterflies mean Salazar is more open to the idea.
 
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Nice look at Eastern Europe there @RyuDrago.

Hungary certainly seems better off than OTL in this period, but I can see the pending fall of the USSR causing much trouble esp if there is a 'N. Korean' Serbia as a neighbour.
 
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