The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

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

  1. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2018
    How would Italian Americans be treated and viewed after the war with Italy becoming a third fascist bloc in the Cold War? Would they be forced to assimilate more like the Germans were in the US or would they create a more separate identity from Italy that is heavily anti-fascist and hates Mussolini? Many Italian Americans are from southern Italy or have mafia influences which could relate into hating the fascist regime. Or could they become accepted as otl and help America become more friendly with the Italians and their fascist bloc? Italians are a big influence in many American regions especially in the Northern cities and coast. You also have large Italian diasporas across the world in places like Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. How would Italians there be effected or changed?
    Leede and Ogrebear like this.
  2. PatrickMtz Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2016
    Now, you got my attention with this TL, looks promising!
  3. Threadmarks: “… And I’m not sure about the Universe.”

    Sorairo Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2016
    Hey guys, I'm sorry if the pace is a little long but I've really caught the writing bug and have a lot of ideas. I probably won't write this much in future, but I'm determined to write to the conclusion I had in mind. I jus hope I can continue to entertain you.

    I read every post and suggestion and intend to address as many as I can in the work itself.

    “… And I’m not sure about the Universe.”

    The Second World War – Christopher Armlong

    Everything was against the Allies going into Operation Overlord, and Churchill knew it. The Luftwaffe remained a serious threat, the Battle of the Atlantic had barely been won, the American divisions were green as grass (as were significant numbers of British divisions), getting a decent landing time was hard enough and there were some forty German divisions posted across France. The odds were formidable – but it was too late to turn back.

    On June 18th 1943, a cacophony of explosions broke the dawn over the coasts of France. American, Canadian and British troops landed and were immediately flung into the fight of their lives. At every beach, the Germans were ready, and at every beach it was as if the attackers were not. There were barely enough transports to go around and the full scale of the Atlantic Wall had not been expected by Allied commanders. Upon hearing news of the carnage on the shore, British General Bernard Montgomery would reportedly say, “Well, looks as if the War is going to end early, just not the way we intended.” Casualties were enormous on both sides, with the ground and air full of so much combat that one British soldier would recall, “It was like everyone on the planet had fallen on the beach and was trying to kill the other.”

    However, much to Hitler’s fury, the beachheads had refused to be destroyed. Though the Germans flung their weight behind it, the little beachheads refused to give. This was the environment where General Patton became such a legendary figure, as he was roundly seen as having salvaged the operation from the brink of defeat through his aggressive assaults against the German advances. His pertinacity led to the Americans holding the line. It was only at the end of the month when all the beachheads had been connected and still Western leaders knew they were going nowhere soon. Their lofty expectations of capturing Caen in the first few days now seemed totally laughable. [1]

    The Allies crept along the French coast, paying heavily for every bloody mile. At the rate they were going, they wouldn’t even be in Paris by the end of next year, let alone Berlin. The mood was grim in Allied capitals, despite the press’s declarations of the strength and bravery of the armed forces. They knew that unless something changed, they were going to be in a meatgrinder for a long time.

    Fortunately for them, Hitler had exceeded their wildest expectations.

    The Shoah by Abraham Dershowitz

    Miklós Horthy was no friend of the Jews. The Hungarian Dictator had passed multiple Anti-Semitic laws in the model of the Nazis, including forbidding Jews from the professions and intermarriage. Despite this, he was reluctant to hand over his some 800,000 strong Jewish population to the Nazis. He knew what would become of them if he gave them to the SS. Hitler had blamed Jewish subversion for the defeatist attitude permeating Hungary since the failure at Stalingrad and demanded Horthy take action to punish his population. Horthy seemed to be shaken in his resolve by the Allied landings at Normandy and the Soviet victory at Kursk. He reportedly told his staff, “Hitler’s not worth jumping into Hell for.” He wanted to get the pressure off him from Hitler, but also wanted to endear himself to the Allies to give Hungary lighter terms for the expected armistice. Then he saw something that inspired him.

    In Denmark that October, an order had been given to deport the Jewish people to camps in Central Europe, where they would be slaughtered. Instead, by some miracle, the word got out ahead of time and almost the entirety of the Danish Jewish population was able to flee to Sweden and survive the War. The incident received scant mention in Germany days after the event and seemed to pass relatively unnoticed.

    Horthy began thinking he could do something similar. He could endear himself to the West by sparing his Jewish citizens while selling it as an ‘expulsion’ to Germany. There was only one place to go though – Italy. Mussolini had fallen even lower in Hitler’s estimations recently as ‘a greater friend of the Jews than Roosevelt himself’. This was due to Mussolini’s purchase of so many Jews the previous year and the well-known story of Mussolini’s salvation at the hands of a Jew, which Hitler now suspected was proof Mussolini was part of the Jewish conspiracy. “Perhaps there is a third wing of the Jewish chimera – Capitalism, Communism and Fascism,” Hitler mused to Von Ribbentrop.

    Horthy’s plan was simple: dump the 800,000 Hungarian Jews on Italy’s doorstep, Mussolini would probably accept and Hitler would stop pestering him on his treatment of Jews while doing little to anger the West. It seemed simple enough.

    On November 12th, Horthy met with the senior officials of his government to discuss the idea. One staffer would recall, “It was the first meeting I could remember where we left feeling like we’d actually done something. All the others felt like we were only containing damage. We actually felt great after the meeting, as if things were going in the right direction. The only thing we discussed that could stop the plan was Mussolini turning it down because, obviously, 800,000 was a lot of people. We said we’d call up the Zionists and Red Cross and they’d take care of it. We were convinced the Zionists could pay for all of European Jewry if it wanted, so that wasn’t a concern. Not once in the whole meeting did anyone seriously wonder if Hitler would have a problem with it. We assumed that since Hitler hated Jews so much, he’d be glad to see them gone, especially since he’d already agreed to send Jews to Libya before, and especially because he’d already let the Danish Jews off without a problem. The idea that he would get angry over the plan was so insane, Horthy actually said ‘I just hope this pleases Mister Hitler’, and the whole room burst into laughter. The idea that it wouldn’t was so insane no one could conceive of it. But of course, there were a lot of things people couldn’t conceive about that man.”

    Day (1990) by Elie Wiesel

    When we were all called out to the streets of Budapest on the morning of November 20th, many were terrified. We thought that this was it. That they had finally decided to send us where we all feared to go: north. To certain death and destruction. Many people, including my own mother, cried as we went to the street and lined up. Still, I noticed there were no Germans and the police didn’t seem to be particularly aggressive as they would have been if they were ready for a fight. The whole Ghetto seemed to stop breathing when the policeman stood up on a makeshift platform and delivered his address.

    “Jewish citizens, today you will be transported to the train station and then up to the Italian border.”

    I felt the intense distance between ‘station’ and ‘Italian’. The sweeping movement from hopelessness to relief had nearly knocked me off my feet. I was saved. We were saved. Mussolini had come to save us again! He had already been a savior to us, and now he was going to save even more! I knew many Jews had attempted to make a break for the Fascist bloc and got out of Nazi reach but to think we were all going there?

    “At the end of the week at midnight of November 28th, your Hungarian citizenship will officially be terminated. You will receive no protection from the Hungarian state from thereon and will be considered illegal alliens – you must have completed your immigration by that date. The trains will transport you to the Italian border. What you do from there is your own concern. That is all.”

    I don’t think Jews have ever been as happy to be told they were being expelled from the land they had grown up in all their lives. But in the face of an evil as bottomless as Nazism, a fate as horrendous as Auschwitz, anything was life by comparison. My family and I packed our belongings as quickly as possible and headed to the train. By the end of the next day, we were right on the border with Italy, as were tens of thousands more, who were on every truck and train they could find.

    Unconquerable: The Story of the Jews of Hungary, by Mel Goldberg

    On November 21st, Horthy received a telephone call from Berlin. As one staffer recalled, “when he heard who it was from, Horthy smiled and put the receiver to his ear. Hitler proceeded to scream so loudly his mere voice nearly decapitated Horthy.” Horthy was baffled and began to angrily reply that he had done nothing wrong and everything right – the Jews were gone, or going. What more was left? Why did Hitler want this group he thought were parasites inside the country, supposedly sabotaging the war effort? Especially given that the Exodus of the Danish Jews had gone without comment?

    The game, Horthy failed to realise, had changed. Putting aside that there was a difference between the 6000 Jews of Denmark and the 800,000 Jews of Hungary, Hitler was convinced that the Fascist Bloc had been set up as a deliberately antagonistic force, as it had kept Croatia and Bulgaria out of the war and supporting his efforts in Russia. He was convinced that the Fascist Bloc was sending Jews to Libya and have them organize their own separate state. This was due to the surprising success Jewish refugees in Libya had in setting up their own state of affairs – irrigation, roads and medical facilities had suddenly built up Tripoli and Benghazi quicker than anyone was expecting. Hitler was convinced he’d been had – that far from being ‘under a Latin heel’ as he put it, that Italy had been taken over by Jews and that they had set up a base camp in Libya. From there, the Jews could organize and fight him. For that reason, he had redoubled his conviction that the Holocaust should continue and immensely regretted that he had ever let a single Jew go in 1942. Sweden was a non-player and isolated in the Baltic, but Libya? With free access to the Allied Powers and having virtually taken over the society? He was never going to allow the Jews to have that luxury, let alone allow Libya to nearly quadruple its size of Jews.

    Hitler angrily ordered Horthy to rescind the order. Horthy, by now infuriated by Hitler’s obstinacy, refused outright, assuming Wehrmacht commanders would never allow the invasion of an ally over their not being Anti-Semitic enough. In the end, he was only half-right - the SS would gladly do it.

    On November 25th, the SS invaded Hungary under the ludicrous pretext of a Communist conspiracy within the government. Hungarian soldiers were so baffled most didn’t put up a fight. The next day, Budapest was occupied. Horthy was arrested quietly executed under Hitler’s instructions, as well as half of this cabinet – German media reported Communists had killed him. The Arrow Cross Party, the Hungarian equivalent of the Nazis, was instituted as the ruling body of Hungary under Ferenc Szálasi, a ruthless Hitler worshipper. He assured Hitler that his Hungarian state would fully cooperate with any and every wish against ‘Judaism in all its wicked forms’.

    As a result of his inability to be clearly defined in terms of his support of Hitler, Horthy is a controversial figure in Hungary to this day, with some regarding him as a hero for saving his Jewish community, while also being condemned for his prior persecutions. Others believe his final act to be one of repentance for past misdeeds. He supposedly told one of his German captors before he died that he wished “the Jews ruled Hungary forever rather than let your buffoon of a leader rule it for one second.”

    Adolf Eichmann had been entrusted with rounding up the remaining Jews of Hungary. He didn’t even find a thousand Jews left across the whole country.

    Mussolini: The Twentieth Century Man by Joseph Manderlay

    Mussolini was woken in the morning of November 21st to news that hundreds of thousands of Jews had descended on the narrow Hungarian border. He was baffled as to what was going on, but as the situation became clear to him he was torn. Though he was sympathetic to Jews for obvious reasons, the estimated 800,000 Jews was not a number he could easily absorb. Nor were these the handpicked special cases as before – these were old and young, smart and stupid, Left and Right. And they were all clogged on the Italian border in the Slovenian region, a place still recovering from their annexation into Italy. This was going to be a tough decision.

    Graziani, especially as word got out of Hitler’s fury over Horthy’s decision, advised Mussolini to reject the stragglers, as it would risk war with Germany, while not doing anything would risk no harm to the Italian state. Balbo supported letting the Jews in if they would be sent to the colonies, suggesting that they could find enough Zionist organisations to foot the bill. Ciano was sympathetic to Balbo but was well aware that no one could easily pay for these 800,000 Jews, whatever the case. Ciano would, however, laugh off Graziani’s warnings of conflict. “Perhaps he’ll declare war on the Pope for good measure!” he laughed.

    As the Counsel continued discussing, a new piece of intelligence entered the room. It appeared that thousands of Jews along the border fence had begun chanting one phrase in broken Italian: “Duce! Duce! Save us!”

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

    Balbo: “When we heard that, we all slowly turned and looked at him. Mussolini seemed to look into space and his eyes went wide. He later told me that when he heard the staffer, he had actually heard voice of Isaac Carpi, who had saved him. He stood up and told us to contact every Zionist organisation they could to demand they pay their part, and to get the ships necessary to transport the Jews to Libya, or East Africa if need be.”

    Interviewer: “What did you think when you heard that decision?”

    Balbo: “I felt proud that he was our Duce.”

    Interviewer: “Did you expect the German response?”

    Balbo: (*Smiling*) The Germans didn’t expect it, how should we have?

    Unconquerable: The Story of the Jews of Hungary, by Mel Goldberg

    “They aren’t here,” reported Adolf Eichmann to Berlin on November 28th, “but we know where they are.” His troops had turned the Ghetto upside down but it was a ghost town; the Jews had not only escaped, but they had been granted access to Italy through Slovenia. They were currently in makeshift camps in the Slovenian heartlands, and the first Navy ships were heading to Trieste to carry the Jews off to the Italian colonies and hopefully develop the land for their Italian rulers. This was unacceptable to Hitler.

    On November 29th, Hitler sent an angry telegram to Rome. It stated that the Italian government, in defiance of non-aggression treaties, had helped the Reich’s enemies and provided supplies and comfort. Mussolini was so baffled by the letter he at first thought their had been a mistranslation – they were broken civilians thankful to be alive. When the Italian government replied that no such aid to enemies of the Nazi regime had been done, the Germans quickly responded. If the Italian government did not begin the process of returning it’s Jewish refugees to the German authorities of Hungary ‘under the auspices of SS-Obersturmbannführer Eichmann”, the German government will consider the Italian government to have declared a state of war.”

    Even though such a thing had happened in Hungary, Mussolini did not believe Hitler would do something so insane. Hungary was a small, easily conquerable country with half of its troops still in Russia. Hitler knew that if he attacked Italy, he would be declaring war on Spain, Bulgaria and Croatia, and those were just the nations he and his allies bordered. How was he going to hold France (as he was doing quite successfully, all things considered) if he was suddenly going to open a gigantic front on the Pyranees? What about the Ploesti oil that would be easily attained by Bulgarian assault? And for what? So he could kill Jews? No one believed Hitler could be that stupid. What they had forgotten was, as the famous Jew Albert Einstein had said, “Only two things are infinite: the Universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the Universe.” Perhaps ‘stupidity’ isn’t the right word – perhaps it’s ‘evil’.

    On December 2nd 1943, with the German army already occupied on two fronts and slowly losing both, Hitler decided to open a third when he attacked Italy. The Luftwaffe even avoided targeting Italian military depots; they simply aimed to bomb the refugee camps around Slovenia with the Hungarian Jews still in them. No one could believe what had happened. Not the leadership in Rome, Madrid, Ankara, Sofia, Moscow, London, Washington or even Berlin for the most part. Not the citizens of Italy, Germany, Russia, Britain or America. Only one group of people knew Hitler would do this – the Jews themselves. But while others were scared or angry, they weren’t.

    This time, they weren’t running: they were fighting.

    [1] – Imagine Anzio writ large
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  4. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

    Jul 1, 2014
    Under a bridge, handing out business cards
    1. Interesting TL.
    2. Oh, Adolf...nice work shooting yourself in the foot even worse than OTL. This will be fun.
  5. CapitalistHippie Peace, love, and free markets.

    Apr 11, 2018
    I’m wondering if any German territory will become part of the fascist bloc postwR. I could see the Italians setting up a satellite state in Austria or Czechoslovakia
  6. ghilonif Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2017
    And Hitler shoots himself in the (Italian) boot even harder this time. It's 1943 and without the "problems" of OTL the Forse Armate are in a much better position... Let's say, a somewhat better officer corps, new and better tanks, the Regia Aviazione has finally got their arms on some interesting things they had the time to develop, like the P.108 and his variants, the serie 5 fighters, etc. The Regia Marina has completed I think the Littorio class and I hope the Aquila has been almost completed. On top of that they could just camp at the Brennero, with the new front in Hungary the Reich has almost no troops to spare, or not?
  7. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    There really wasn't much to the Atlantic Wall in 1943. Of the planned 15,000 bunkers on the Dutch, Belgian and French Coast, only half were built by May, 1943. By the end of 1943, it stood at 8478.

    And of that construction, Calais and the Channel Islands had most of the attention. Normandy, by contrast, had little attention until Rommel was tasked with improvements in December, after von Rundstedt damning report was sent on lack of effort during October 1943, with the existing 38 Divisions were under strength, a two to one ratio of 'Osttruppen' to German units, that were mostly youths and reservists, and that the U boat Pens had been prioritized for concrete over bunkers.
    Of the reserve forces, all six Panzer and motorized divisions were refitting after being chewed up on the Eastern Front, and two reserve infantry divisions plus two new divisions forming up with 11 more planned.

    From January to May 1944, 4600 more bunkers were built, with over 700,000 m3 of concrete poured per month, twice the rate of 1943
    the Beach Obstacles were all Rommel.

    By time of von Rundstedt's report nearly 2 million mines had been set. Rommel put 4.5 million more in.

    OTL in 1944 D-Day, 46 Divisions were in place along the Coast, with two Infantry in reserve, and 10 Panzer divisions, with four of the South.
    Ferd42 likes this.
  8. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    Also, the Moose had been working on Maginot Line in the Alps since the early '30s. Getting thru the Julian Alps will not be enjoyable
  9. ghilonif Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2017
    I think the end result is legit. The WAllies are really "green", without the experience Mussolini gently provided for in otl in Tunisia and at Anzio.
    Ferd42 likes this.
  10. Sorairo Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2016
    Remember, that there is no distraction with North Africa or Italy, and since more troops are freed up the Wall is more built up (not to mention they are suspecting an attack much more so than OTL 1943 so the buildup is more hectic). I felt that given the mutual handicaps a realistic scenario would be a slower Allied advance at a far higher cost.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  11. Sorairo Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2016
    The main assault is from Hungary into Slovenia (not that it's exclusive to that region by any stretch). This is not an assault to intelligently conquer Italy; this is an attempt to exterminate the Jews of Hungary.
  12. ghilonif Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2017
    True, we are forgetting the frontier lines were changed quite a lot. The main objective of the Italian army is to maintain the control of the Ljubjana (Liubiana?) gap, which is the door to the inner Reich.
  13. Sorairo Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2016
    Ljubljana has been renamed Lubiana to fit with it's new status as an Italian city. Needless to say, a lot of Slovenians aren't exactly fans of it and are sympathetic to the Germans as they hope to be liberated from the Italians before the latter obliterates their culture.
  14. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    That was Organization Todt limits on construction, not the Troops. There were not that many divisions in North Africa, for all of its size. Todt was doing sub pens. If pulled off from that, more U Boats get wrecked.

    All that said, it's not an unrealistic outcome for a 1943 'Sledgehammer' or 'Roundup' invasion than Overlord.
  15. OurSacredWar Meri of Ethiopia

    Jan 21, 2019
    Bete Amhara
    There are Jews being moved to AOI? Makes me wonder or not if Jews suddenly become associated with the Italians’ oppression and atrocities if and/or when Italy finally decides to abandon Ethiopia.
  16. Sorairo Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2016
    Not a single Jew has got on a boat yet. They are still stranded in Slovenia with the SS chasing after them. With the exception of the small children and those who physically can't fight, not a soul wants to leave. They know they are all dead if the Germans win, and don't intend to let that happen.
  17. ghilonif Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2017
    They are attacked by Waffen-SS, but I suppose it's not first class troops we are talking about?
  18. Sorairo Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2016
    Compared to the Italians, the SS divisions employed here are strong - indeed, they just 'conquered' Hungary. While they obviously won't march to Rome anytime soon, they won't easily be dislodged, especially with help from what's left of the Luftwaffe. That said, once the surprise element wears off, Germany is in serious trouble.
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  19. Bbone91 I have no powers but I can skip reasonably well.

    Oct 16, 2017
    Vallejo, California
    Wait, a 1943 D-day that doesn’t end in tragedy? YES!
    Ferd42 likes this.
  20. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Yeah, the Alps practically defend themselves, if you have enough manpower; that's part of the reason why Germany never invaded Switzerland, IIRC (the cost of capturing and holding Switzerland would be way too much, they realized)...
    The Undead Martyr and TimTurner like this.