The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

Could we have some success for X MAS, as it would have proper logistics support this time? ;)
There weren't really many objectives to attack. On the other hand, their name is less known for the nazifascism/partisan repression/general ugliness, consequences of the state remaining fascist.
 
There weren't really many objectives to attack. On the other hand, their name is less known for the nazifascism/partisan repression/general ugliness, consequences of the state remaining fascist.

In OTL X MAS also spawned Mariassalto fighting for the Alllies. British X craft managed to do a strike on Singapore as well as to severe communication cables X Mas could operate against Japanese merchants as well as warships. Warm waters would present good opportunities for frogmen.
 
As I've stated, you have to question whether standing up for Europe's Jews makes up for basically ending Slovenian identity, carving up Yugoslavia, and brutalizing East and North Africans. Yes, he opposed the most senseless act of mass murder in history, but he did other horrible shit to Libyans, Ethiopians, Serbs, and Slovenes.

ITTL he'll be remembered as a Cromwell-type. A terrible man, who nevertheless had one moment of decency toward the most oppressed people on Earth.
You don't have to believe that standing up for the Jews makes up for all the bad things Mussolini did in order to believe that he is much more worthy of being named Man of the Year than Hitler or Stalin.
 
I am going to go ahead and predict Japan will remain united, with Stalin instead getting Korea and a much better position in China. With China's earlier fall and no South Korea buffer state; the Occppation will approach Japan's rebuilding differently. Whether that will be better or worse for Japan than OTL I can't say.
 
Honestly, I’d be very interested if China doesn’t go red with the Kuomintang winning the Chinese Civil War and the Republic of China drifting closer to the Roman Alliance ITTL.
 
Honestly, I’d be very interested if China doesn’t go red with the Kuomintang winning the Chinese Civil War and the Republic of China drifting closer to the Roman Alliance ITTL.

While that would be interesting, even without the foreshadowing that Wallace will make Potsdam the next Munich, what changes have occurred that would allow the Nationalists to defeat the Communists?

It occurs to me without Korea, and perhaps a Red Taiwan, Japan may not be demilitarized by the Western Allies and have its military reformed along some line like Western Germany. That would definitely sour views of the West further in Korea and China.

I don't think India's Independence can be stopped, but I wonder how the changes will affect India Post War.
 
While that would be interesting, even without the foreshadowing that Wallace will make Potsdam the next Munich, what changes have occurred that would allow the Nationalists to defeat the Communists?

It occurs to me without Korea, and perhaps a Red Taiwan, Japan may not be demilitarized by the Western Allies and have its military reformed along some line like Western Germany. That would definitely sour views of the West further in Korea and China.

I don't think India's Independence can be stopped, but I wonder how the changes will affect India Post War.

I could see either India or Pakistan possibly aligning with Rome over Washington or Moscow.
 
It’s strange, but I view ttl’s Mussolini as more a Noble Demon. His willingness to rescue the Jews out of a loyalty tothe man who saved his lifeis admirable, but his actions in the Balkans and Ethiopia are without question morally wrong.
 
I just realized Potsdam will happen before Japan is settled. So with Wallace's goal of bringing a major Soviet offensive in Asia, the matter will probably be what he offers Stalin to unleash the Red military fully against Japan. Some thoughts on what Wallace might concede or support that will make him infamous:

1. Korea to fall under Soviet occupation.

2. Some sort of guarantee in China. Not sure what the situation there is currently to be clear on what the Soviet goal is.

3. Abandonment of the Polish Resistance. Despite the strong showing of the Polish resistance Poland is effectively abandoned to Stalin by Wallace with a blank check to rebuild the country under occupation. This may be one of the wars in Europe referenced with Polish resistance to the Soviets.

4. Czechoslovakia: 1. Unlike the reunification, plan Stalin is allowed to keep Slovakia as a Communist state. 2. The country reunites, but Wallace allows the Soviets to occupy it prior to its elections basically letting land liberated by the West fall to the Soviets outraging the British and Zionists.

The narrative given by Wallace opponents being he betrayed his allies and recently liberated peoples to appease the communists, giving them what they had not been able to seize through arms. And as a result you see France and Britain being colder to America at least until Wallace is gone with closer cooperation with Italy. Because while they don't like Mussolini, they at least trust his dedication to opposing the communists.

Also I would just throw out, I think Post War Mussolini will want to eliminate Paveli. Not Croatia, but just replace the most controversial leader of the Fascist Bloc with someone more presentable.
 
Intermission-Otto
New side chapter, with usual revisions and additions from Sorairo.


A Daring Game of Thrones: Otto of Hapsburg-Lorraine by Johann Wenzer


… Otto of Hapsburg-Lorraine was different from the traditional Hapsburg “monarch”. It was not due to his pride of being member and leader of such a noble dynasty (entitled to the Imperial Throne of Austria and Royal chair of Hungary). Neither was it his loyalty towards Austria, despite the exile of his family, which many blamed for the rise of Nazism. But his difference was in his political and ideological beliefs, as Otto developed democratic sentiments, encouraged by his university life in Belgium – something a Hapsburg ruler never truly possessed before him. For this, he brought his dynasty into modern times; naturally such beliefs would be squared in the perspective of a constitutional, parliamentary monarchy, something that the Austrian-Hungarian Empire failed to fully build.

Supported by his formidable mother, Zita of Borbone-Parma, Otto tried simultaneously to complete his studies and regain the thrones of Austria or Hungary, maybe starting a process of rebuilding of the Empire. But in the 1920s and 1930s he faced several obstacles. He knew there was a certain public support both in Austria and Hungary: plus de jure the monarchy wasn’t abolished in Budapest, and whatever his true feelings towards the Hapsburg were, Horthy saw Otto as the eventual legitimate ruler. Also, despite his democratic feelings, in the end the Hapsburg’s end game was the recovery of some level of throne, so if he had to cooperate with the autocratic leaders of the Danubian countries, whether Dolfuss or Schuschnigg or Horthy, he wouldn’t discharge such option.

The Austrians were generally more conflicted over a return of Otto as their legitimate ruler than the Hungarians were (which was pretty ironic given the long history of conflicts between the House of Hapsburg and the Hungarians), especially the ones still lingering over the dreams of a Gross Deutschland which Hitler soon would achieve with the Anschluss. The flight of his family to Austria over fears of a civil war (and eventually ending like the Romanov) in 1919 didn’t help either, as it alienated many supporters. Vienna wasn’t friendly to him, but he had still favour from the Church and the countryside, as from moderates and anti-German conservatives.

However, France and Britain opposed Otto’s early attempts to return in Austria or reclaim the Hungarian throne, wanting to keep Versailles enforced to give a signal to Germany. It wasn’t due to some prolonged hate towards the Hapsburg or the Danubian countries. Interestingly for Otto, Mussolini’s Italy was more favourable to his claims and more or less willing to remove whatever veto existed. The Duce’s reasons to allow a partial (at least) Hapsburg restoration were many: to prevent unification between Austria and Germany, to support Horthy’s plans, and favouring a further reconciliation and alliance in an anti-Yugoslavian key. Not that Mussolini supported Austro-Hungarian resurgence, and given his relations with Dolfuss and Schuschnigg preferred Austria to stay a Republic. But he was aware of the strong patriotic waves a monarchy in the Danubian countries could have projected, strong enough to counter Hitler’s plans on the region. But in the end, he went along with the British and the French, essentially to not break the Stresa Front, which held even after the Abyssinian war and Chamberlain’s appeasement strategy, which brought the Anschluss, and later to the Munich conference.

Otto was conflicted about Mussolini. Certainly he appreciated the Duce’s opposition to Hitler and his support over a Hapsburg restoration. Yet he didn’t want to associate with him however in the 30s, in part to not becoming a pawn in the hands of the Italian dictator, in part his pride in refusing to accept by principle any Italian help. As Italy was a major factor over the collapse of the old Hapsburg Kingdom due to their joining the Entente, he also feared a restoration favoured by the Italians would not have been well received from the local population.

So Otto decided to wait for better times. Then the War came, and Otto and the entire Hapsburg family barely escaped out of Belgium, and then crossing the Atlantic seeking refuge in the US rather than Britain. But the family was soon in financial distress, as the Nazi seized all their accounts and properties in Europe. Thankfully, Otto didn’t lost all the connections he built in the past twenty years, and saw the chance to regain his leadership in case Germany would fall. Contacts with the British were made; Otto’s brothers volunteered in the British army; a correspondence with Roosevelt started.

But Otto started negotiations with the Hungarians and even the Italians, feeling the possibility to return in Hungary as France fell, Britain and Germany were busy so nobody in principle could contest him being finally crowned as king of Hungary. Horthy, especially after the victory against Yugoslavia was initially supportive. Mussolini and Ciano (who would entertain the bulk of the successive negotiations with Otto) were favourable because a Hapsburg Hungary would have prevented such country to ally with Germany and it would remain in Rome’s pocket. However the talks proceeded too slow due to the distance and certain opposition from British and even Hungarian elements; so when Hitler started to build his anti Soviet crusade, Horthy went for it and the negotiations collapsed. Hitler would never have allowed Otto’s return under any circumstance. However, Otto had a stable contact with the Italians now.

After this new failure, Otto directed again his attention towards the British and after Pearl Harbour, with the Americans, without evident progress. Then the end of 1943 brought him a new chance, with Germany declaring war on Italy following the SS invasion of Hungary. Realizing that the Germans couldn’t be able to win a two front war at that point, even more so a three front war, and that the Italians and their allies could eventually be able to free Austria and even Hungary before the Western Allies and the Soviets, he resumed his contacts with the Italians.

In Rome, Mussolini and Ciano started to weigh the utility of supporting Otto’s claims for good. With the help of the Hungarian Jews the SS attack was stopped at Trieste, and soon the Italian Army would be fully mobilized and could go on a full offensive, Austria and Hungary being their nearest targets. Therefore they would be able to forge the post war asset of the two Danubian countries (until being partially disabused of such projects after the Kiev conference with Hungarian independence being assured). However, such a golden occasion faced challenges and issues, and if they were going to support Otto they wanted reassurances.

The Italians asked Otto to come in Rome for talks and, after obtaining through the British an approval (in a moment where Churchill was progressively aligning with Mussolini and distancing from Roosevelt in containing Communism and punishing Germany), he arrived in Italy at the end of January of 1944, accompanied by his mother, with an Italian granted passport (Zita was after all Italian born and through her, Otto was half or technically a quarter Italian as well). Vittorio Emanuele III offered his Roman countryside villa for their accommodations and Otto and Zita in the next days had meetings with the government (mostly with Ciano), the Royal family and the Roman Church, with Pius XII. The Pope was the firm believer of a “restoration, which would clean Austria and Hungary from the horrors of the War and safeguard them from Communist threat”. Otto would join the funeral of Philip of Hesse.

In the first discussions, Otto intended to claim the Austrian Imperial throne as the primary goal, and therefore leading a provisional post war government. Mussolini while not being hostile officially to the claim, had other projects at least over who should control such government. In fact the Italians knew for sure Kurt von Schuschnigg was still alive in Germany and in captivity. Unless the SS got his hands on him, the Duce wanted to free him and restore him as rightful chancellor of Austria as before the Anschluss. A temporary occupation of Austria by Italian troops was also expected, and foreseeing economical concessions as well – albeit not considering territorial annexation - the Italians put it clear that any decision about the constitutional asset of Austria post war were not up for discussion.

Hungary was a total different thing. Otto acknowledged that even with the German invasion, the country would return to the pre war borders – not that he could do anything to prevent this. But Mussolini and Ciano, while expecting the Roman Alliance to free the country, had a worse problem than Austria to create a friendly provisional government from the moment the SS liquidated almost the entirety of the Horthy administration. But again, Hungary was still a kingdom and eventually the de jure ruler could step in. And for the Italians, Otto would be the most logical choice.

Otto was conflicted. The throne of Austria was barred still, but Hungary was this time within his grasp and while to proceed with it, Mussolini needed at least the Allied recognition, it was still a start. So, arrangements were made, for him to start working in cooperation with the only ‘legitimate’ Hungarian army available – the Hungarian Jew brigades - to eventually come together in Budapest and try to endear support among the people. Thankfully, this wasn’t as hard as some feared. Most Jews met Otto with cheers, seeing the cosmopolitan Hapsburg Empire as vastly preferable to the nightmare of aggressively nationalist states that had engulfed Central Europe after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Regular Hungarians also respected him, many looking nostalgically on the days before World War One.

As usual, a new obstacle appeared on the path of Otto to his throne: the Civil War in Germany between Wehrmacht and SS, which forced the participants of the Kiev Conference to find common ground over the contested clash between the Roman Alliance (in short Italian) and Soviet spheres of influence in Europe. While obtaining a diplomatic neutralization of Hungary, the constitutional status (monarchy or republic) would be decided through plebiscite. While the former decision was decisively favourable to Otto, the latter wasn’t, as while he was sure to be the only legitimate ruler and choice of Hungary, he still had to work for it.

But Otto was unaware of other plots over the crown of Hungary – this time from House Savoia. Vittorio Emanuele III was euphoric of the incoming Italian victory, as being the King who ruled his country through two World Wars and being on the winning side on both; this time, with Italy not risking the humiliation of a mutilated victory. Despite his complicated relations with Mussolini, in 1944 he was in very good terms with him, and the Duce felt the same. Sure, Mussolini would be deeper inside still more republican than monarchic; but he regarded monarchies at least decent enough in the prevention of Communism in other European states.. After all, in his opinion, if Otto was the Emperor of Austria or King of Hungary, neither the Anschluss nor the invasion of Hungary would have been happened. At the start of 1944 he genuinely believed Otto was the best choice for the Danubian countries.

However Vittorio Emanuele III had other projects. He felt he didn’t have long to live and he yearned for a final achievement to cement his legacy is to make the Savoia the premier European dynasty, by installing parents on vacant or newly created thrones. He did achieve an important result in making his nephew Aimone of Savoia-Aosta King of Croatia, with the name of Tomislav II. It was the price Pavelic paid to Mussolini for Croatia’s freedom and the annexation of Bosnia. This emboldened the king, who plotted to make Aimone’s older brother, Amedeo, the current viceroy of the Africa Orientale Italiana, ruler of a most prestigious government. In this project was supported by his son, Umberto, who apparently wanted Amedeo out of Italy for jealousy issues, the viceroy being much popular than him and above all being suspected to be too near to his wife Maria José. Naturally Vittorio Emanuele looked mostly to Spain – Amedeo’s great father was king for three scarce years and failed miserably, but the nephew was considered much more adept to become King. But Mussolini wasn’t interested in forcing the hand of Franco over this, both in truth preferring Juan Carlos of Bourbon, who was in Rome at the time.

Undeterred, Vittorio Emanuele looked to Hungary, especially once the general agreements on the fate of the country were clear enough. As it wasn’t decided who would be the eventual king, the Savoiard ruler believed he could eventually push the candidature of Amedeo or at least Umberto. However they both knew a vague agreement between Otto and Mussolini was proceeding and both thought how to evade it. Queen Elena suggested an alternative plan: discuss with Zita of Borbone-Parma a marriage proposal, with Otto marrying. After the war and after proper waiting, her daughter Mafalda, now dignified widow and mother, would begin working with Mussolini to give Otto the Austrian throne, while Amedeo in the meanwhile would proceed to become King of Hungary.

Naturally there were flaws in the idea, such as the unwillingness of Mafalda to marry again, at least not soon and not with an arranged marriage; or Zita’s willingness to favour this plan. Sure a wife like Mafalda would be the best match available for Otto on dynastic terms, despite her being widow and mother; and she knew between Austria and Hungary her son would prefer the former. In case the Hungarian crown would be lost, then the Austrian throne would be his last chance. It was a proposal that would bar a crown for the Hapsburg dynasty forever and she couldn’t take this decision, at least not until talking with Otto again. When she relayed the offer, Otto decided to think it over. He gave himself three days to come up with a decision. In subsequent interviews, he would state that he was quite closing the deal in his mind.

Then came the rather blunt, foreign notification that settled the question for everyone on the evening of the second day. In a correspondence shortly following Roosevelt’s death, Wallace told Mussolini that he would not accept another member of the House of Savoia on the Hungarian Throne, as he would consider it a violation of Italy’s commitment not to interfere in the internal affairs of Hungary agreed at Kiev. Mussolini resented being told what to do, but was content with his options. He was still allowed Otto’s ascension and could still gain something out of the deal. With this short-lived threat to his claim defeated, Otto began a speaking campaign up and down Hungary to rally support for the monarchy in the referendum. The referendum was agreed to take place on January 7th 1945, and would determine the future of the Magyar nation. MI6 money poured into the Monarchist side of the divide and Soviet money into the Republicans. Jewish organisations likewise supported Otto, seeing him as a way to preserve the memory of their successes in Hungary, rather than see them falling into the increasingly Anti-Semitic hands of Stalin.

While millions of Hungarians pondered the merits of placing a Hapsburg back in even ceremonial power, few realised that serious discussions were underway in other European states about their own monarchies. […]
 
GO OTTO!

Hope he gets the Hungarian throne, and can later play a role in the end of Fascism in Austria.

So prewar borders for Hungary. I take it that means Serbia is actually going to regain territory from Potsdam?

Surprised the Savoys got a Croatian throne. This lends to my thoughts on Pavelic being killed off or removed down the line.

And Amedeo while denied a throne remains a player in Italian politics.

Looks like Juan Carlos is still on track to be named Prince of Spain.

Hmm, I wonder which countries are debating monarchies?
 
GO OTTO!

Hope he gets the Hungarian throne, and can later play a role in the end of Fascism in Austria.

So prewar borders for Hungary. I take it that means Serbia is actually going to regain territory from Potsdam?

Surprised the Savoys got a Croatian throne. This lends to my thoughts on Pavelic being killed off or removed down the line.

And Amedeo while denied a throne remains a player in Italian politics.

Looks like Juan Carlos is still on track to be named Prince of Spain.

Hmm, I wonder which countries are debating monarchies?

Well just to let all of you know: I wrote this chapter before the De Gaulle one, and Sorairo added the last part and other segments in between. So I personally won't know the outcome.

Well there were plans OTL to put Aimone on the Croatian throne... TTL without German influence and the game in hand of the Italians, this would have become more reasonable to be put in effect.
 
It’s strange, but I view ttl’s Mussolini as more a Noble Demon. His willingness to rescue the Jews out of a loyalty tothe man who saved his lifeis admirable, but his actions in the Balkans and Ethiopia are without question morally wrong.

"The lesser of two evils is still evil".-Penn Jillette.

I bet ITTL there is going to be monuments built to Mussolini and Italy's fascists in Israel. I wonder if in the future, Israelis will question whether or not they should celebrate a man who caused a lot of suffering in the Balkans and North Africa.
 
"The lesser of two evils is still evil".-Penn Jillette.

I bet ITTL there is going to be monuments built to Mussolini and Italy's fascists in Israel. I wonder if in the future, Israelis will question whether or not they should celebrate a man who caused a lot of suffering in the Balkans and North Africa.

"We should never forget, that a necessary evil no matter how necessary; is still evil." -I don't remember who said this.

I think Mussolini in the mainstream ITTL will come to be regarded as a Noble Demon and a case of Even Evil Has Standards. Basically he was a tyrant who while he raised the status and power of his country did so with ruthless means. He opposed worse men like Stalin and Hitler, but he was an oppressor himself only seen in a better light because he did not sink as low on such a sale as they did. He had a sense of personal honor best seen in his lifelong gratitude to the Jewish people saving many of them, opposing many Antisemitic regimes, and supporting a Jewish state. And yet he had no qualms about using horrific tactics against colonial subjects and carrying out ethnic cleansing against the Slovenes.

So while some demonize him, and others exalt him, I think in the longer term most will view him as a very flawed man, who deserves credit for being better than many of his contemporary dictators and did the world a service with his aid against them. But at the end a tyrant who still did many terrible things and prioritized his own ideals and power over the well being of his own people and the rights of humanity in general.

Whether or not the world was better off with him than without will probably be a recurring argument with no satisfactory answer ever reached.

And we will have to see how his reign continues to go. For instance will he rein the situation in Croatia in? What colonial policy going forward? What affect will he have on the Fascist Bloc nations as his legacy? The story of Mussolini ITTL is still unfinished.
 
I hope we save the savoyiads.

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