The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

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

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  1. Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    Corsica was seized by the Allies in 1942. Taking Corsica before that means war with Germany when it rules all Europe and taking it afterwards means war with the Allies. Mussolini is having more than enough trouble digesting his territories. He's not only got the Slovenians to deal with (who are by far the best organised) but dealing with the Albanian, Montenegran and Kosovan minorities (given that they are in a poorer region with a weaker sense of identity, it's not as bad). This isn't even counting the problems with keeping order in Libya after it got swamped with a quarter million Jews in a year. Or the East African colonies. Mussolini has little interest in extra Italian territory right now. He's more interested in extending his influence and making Italy a great power.

    The fighting was too sudden to get the Haganah involved. Jews in Libya also desperately petitioned to volunteer to defend their bretheren in Trieste but the ships weren't available at the time. Now that the Italians have some breathing space (and they are on suprisingly good terms with the British government) there is a chance for far more cooperation in future. The next chapter will go into goings on in Libya. But yes, given that there is almost a Jewish state in and of itself in Libya, the Zionists in the Mandate are becoming extremely active there, organising various drives.
     
  2. Adelkman Well-Known Member

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    A true man of culture, I see.

    Will we see good ol' Messe? I hope so, along with the string of bad generals (both monarchists and fascists), who were plenty in Italy.

    Also there's the problem with the internal division and lack of cooperation between Regio Esercito (army), Regia Marina (navy) and Regia Aeronautica (air force). Here we can add the discret cryptographic department of the marine, heavily plagued by those petty personal interests.

    On another topic, Italy gaining even a speckle of metropolitan France is absurd. There was a strong irredentism for Nice (birthplace of Garibaldi), but it's impossile for the Allies to cede a piece of the victorious ally to a not-so-alligned Italy. I already found strange the affair of Greece. After Poland, letting another friendly nation attacked would have maddened Great Britain. Maybe they wouldn't have declared war on Italy, but they surely would have placed a heavy embargo (Suez, raw materials, banking, oil). At most, France and UK could concede some periferical colonies, since the problem of decolonisation was already felt by these governments. Gibuti and Somaliland, maybe, and a piece of Kenya and Chad. Some economical influence over Tunisia, perhaps.
     
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  3. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    As just reminded before, Corsica was already freed, and Vichy supporters in West Africa should have been disposed earlier, I wonder if Darlan faced a different fate TTL. But I agree that Italy would look more eastwards and southwards, and if in 1944 would agree to send naval and air support on the Pacific Front in 1945, could have better chances to get what he wants, even if that support would be small.
     
  4. PatrickMtz Well-Known Member

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    I came here to laugh, not to cry! :'(:'(:'(:'(
    Amazing work! Keep up with it!
     
  5. Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    It's the same story as Finland or the Baltic states with respect to Stalin. That said, at the moment, the West does not recognise the annexations as legitimate.
     
  6. Adelkman Well-Known Member

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    I don't know. Finland was peripherical for the britons and after losing against the soviet during the Entente intervention in Russia during the 1918-1921 it's undestandable why they didn't want to get dragged in. But the Med was of foremost importance for the British Empire. While I can see Churchill desiderous to keep Italy at least neutral, leaving Greece alone would jeopardize the Royal Navy supremacy in the Mediterrean.

    Let's say it's plausible that Great Britain say nothing until the war rage on. But after the end, I can easily foresee fierce repraisals (at least, economically) against italian interference in Greece. The most obvious should be a total lock down on coal and crude import. I don't know about Ploiesti and I will not include in this prevision, but I know a couple of things. Ardito Desio already discovered oil depots in Libya in the '40 (the first bottle of crude oil still exist today). Though, if I remember right the course of "Industrial planning", you'll need at least 4-5 years to start the exploitation of the oil fields (prospecting, drilling, building of pipelines, tanks, refineries, training of new personnel for expanding the scope of extraction). Second, coal. Only large sources of coal would be the Ruhr or America, and maybe Great Britain. though, with all of the firmly in Allied hands, Italy would be coerced to relent some of its ambitions.

    I'll just wait for the developments, 'cause I really enjoing a victoriuos Italy in world war two where the italians aren't complete douchebags.

    P.S.: for past, present and future post. I'm not an anglo speaker, and I'm to lazy to carefully check how I write.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  7. Sam R. Well-Known Member

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    This will seriously impede the murder of Jews, Soviet citizens and others. As discovered in 1941 systematic murder by aktion seriously degraded the capacity of even the most elite racial police units. (“Jew hunting” as relief for front line troops from Soviet or Yugoslav forces was more popular.)

    Ignoring the implemented results of operational research is normal for Hitler, so this is credible.

    The effects will be increased opfor mainline and partisan operations in the face of degraded and misdirected German capacities.
     
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  8. ghilonif Well-Known Member

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    In the Italian front there is really little space for Jew hunting, thanks to the "fantastic" rush to Trieste. Only by leaving themselves ludicrously exposed to the Italian Army they reached the city. I guess the Heer is a "bit" angry for all of this, Op. Valkyrie will have more support.
     
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  9. jonathan hanson Member

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    I'm really love this timeline so far
     
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  10. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Effectively Italy was lucky for being attacked exclusively by SS troops - which also means the regular army can't protect the Southern flank at all. Surely the Wehrmacht would be shocked by this latest turn of event - they are at war with all of Europe except Sweden and Switzerland, and totally surrounded now, and worse Germany can't get anymore supplies from outside. Probably more one than a general would realize 1918 was nothing to what would face the country TTL when defeated.

    By the way, Italian airforce held well against the Luftwaffe, but yes, certain Italian WWII fighters were good, we had a certain leverage and with Balbo more involved in the war Italian aircraft would have been pushed even better, especially as the development of the latest models won't be interrupted.
     
  11. Paul_Sussex Well-Known Member

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    I'd be interested to know where engines were sourced for the Italian fighters. OTL they used licence built DB601's and 605's. But post-war produced this beauty using a Merlin -
    upload_2019-2-25_13-2-58.png
     
  12. thekingsguard Founder of Korsgaardianism

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    If Tireste doesn't get a Sabaton song ITTL, this is officially a dystopia.

    That was one hell of an event - I look forward to seeing where you take this.
     
  13. Arlos Sad monarchist Donor

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    Well, look like Libya is going to stay Italian...forever.
    That’s going to do amazing thing to Italian economy.
     
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  14. Seandineen Member

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    Poor King Idriss.
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Intermission- The Birth of Neo-Realist cinema

    RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Hello to all, with the approval and the review of Sorairo I will post this Italian cultural (movie focused) update:

    A Musket and A Book: Italian culture under Mussolini, by Andrew Landers

    In the early 1940s, the Italian movie industry saw a period of growth, bolstered by state investments focused mostly over the construction of the Roman studios of Cinecittà, which with its 400,000 square meters was and still is today the largest studio in Europe. Cinecittà, while being built to be a major hub for the national movie industry was also part of a general project of architectural development across Rome, the most successful achievement being the 1942 Universal Exposition quarter, more known as EUR. The peculiarity of this exposition, which would be visited by almost 28 million of people (which due to the war would be regarded as a success), and with prominent features being the great “Mussolini Arch” and the “Palace of the Italian Civilization”, was to be planned as a permanent living and administrative quarter, and core of a more modern urban area at the doors of Rome, as it happened after the War.

    Returning to Cinecittà, the studios effectively revitalized the production of Italian cinema and helped to increase their overall quality. The complex even started to get interest from foreign movie producers, attracted by the appeal of the site. However it faced cold indifference from the Italian government, which at the time intentioned to use Cinecittà exclusively for Italian movies. In fact, despite Mussolini growing distant to Nazi Germany and slowly beginning rapprochement with the Western Allies, he was still unwilling to abandon autarchic principles. This meant prominent Italianization towards whatever was foreign, because it was easy to insert Party propaganda

    To lead this effort, more than the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF) was needed, as it had its own events to deal with. Those were organized by the extravagantly creative secretary Achille Starace, in a way which stimulated the irony of the Italians to no end, to the point both Mussolini and Ciano grew annoyed and removed the man, toning down such activities. Film was left to the ministry of popular culture (Ministero della Cultura Popolare, more well known as Minculpop), at the time lead by one of Ciano’s scions, Alessandro Pavolini, when the Duce reshuffled his cabinet to reduce the presence of the pro-German faction. The Minculpop was in charge of every asset of Italian culture, controlling it in order to prevent strays from the official Fascist guidelines, and the control of the movie industry was one of its top priorities. This was in part due to the will of Mussolini, notoriously attracted by the potential of mass media and in part because the Minculpop was the owner of the Istituto Luce, the company which organized all the cinejournals in Italy.

    Interestingly enough, the Minculpop, being so omnipresent towards whatever was identified as cultural, had its authority slipping towards the EIAR, which was the monopolistic radio editor of the country. The EIAR in fact was owned by the Ministry of the Postal Service and Communications, which while obviously adhering to the lines of the Minculpop, remained protective of its service. The autonomy of the EIAR towards the Minculpop started to become more prominent when the company started its early experimental television transmissions to a very selected and small audience in 1939, limiting the influence of the ministry over the programmation. Despite the War slowing those experimentations, EIAR would steadily improve and develop its television service and, after the reorganization law of 1944 which changed its name to (Radio Audizioni Italiane), would start its official television programming in 1946.

    Returning to the Italian movie industry of the 1940’s, the slow thaw towards the West allowed a renewal of imported movies from Britain, France and the US, albeit the Minculpop severely restricted this import, by approving or refusing certain movies, cutting scenes from others, and generally imposing a dominant Italianized translation, especially over the naming of the characters but also over certain foreign elements to Italian culture, sometimes even imposing revised scenes. Such nationalistic setting would start partly to change when in 1942, during the Exposition, after a long negotiation with the American producer Selznik, was finally released Gone with the Wind (Via col Vento) in Italy, despite the various doubts of the Minculpop. Giving the peculiar subject of the movie, the ministry only limited to change some names in the Italian version, the most noticeable being the main female protagonist Scarlett O'Hara becoming “Rossella” O'Hara, and without particular cuts (the only censured scene being the one where Scarlett/Rossella would shot to the renegade Yankee soldier, with Melania removing her nightgown to clean the pool of blood left by the dead man – the scene would be restored decades later in the first televisive rehearsal of the movie); released with an unusual more costly ticket to the Italian theaters it became the most viewed movie in Italy for 1942, even Mussolini arriving to admit privately to have seen a masterpiece: more than being displeased by this American cultural success, the Duce revealed to Ciano he was more determined to promote the creation of an Italian answer able to stand on par with it. Gone with the Wind received even a special award at the Movie festival of Venice of that year.

    Aside from Gone with the Wind, for the rest of 1942 and for 1943, the Minculpop still refused to accept all American or British movies while imposed censorships or modified them heavily during the translation and revision phase. Also, in a single occasion the entire Italian government arrived to protest vehemently and called to the scandal: it was over Pinocchio of Walt Disney. Encouraged by the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Disney decided to make his second animation movie based on the tale of Carlo Collodi, but instead of writing a plot adherent to the original story, the pool of writers appointed created a story going far off the original. Naturally, when the Minculpop examinated the movie, there were plenty of reasons to immediately ban it without appeal. Articles started to appear in Italian newspapers against Disney and the movie, criticizing the story in every detail: the setting being a Swiss or Austrian alpine village, Pinocchio dressed like a Tyrolese boy, the turquoise fairy becoming a blonde woman with wings and indecent trasparent clothes, how Pinocchio came to life, Mangiafuoco becoming a full villain, the role of Jimminy Cricket, and so on. The attacks were surely nasty, and arrived in America, with the Italian ambassador complaining to several journals, especially about Disney refusing to even consider to contact Italian experts of Pinocchio’s tale, creating a total different story from Collodi’s one, damaging the image of the book and the legacy of the author. Disney defended himself claiming the right to adopt free artistic freedom, and in the end it all came on Disney being sued in an American tribunal by Collodi’s nephew, Paolo Lorenzini, supported by the Italian embassy, with both sides agreeing to the end over a compromise asked by the same producer (Disney feared the jury would have acknowledged Lorenzini’s claim over the unasked production rights to him over the movie and pay therefore a relevant sum, in a moment the company wasn’t in good waters because the war stunted the potential profits of Pinocchio). Disney would agree on public excuses towards the Lorenzini family and the Italian people, put a revised overture specifically stating the movie was “freely inspired by the book of Carlo Collodi”, paying yearly royalties to Paolo Lorenzini, but could release the movie in Europe whenever would be accepted. When Pinocchio, slightly revised, would be redistributed in Europe after the war, it would get more success and allow the Company to float again financially, but Italy denied distribution for decades still and managed to impose this decision to its allies as well. However Disney was able to distribute his next movies, Dumbo, Bambi and Fantasia in the Roman Alliance countries without excessive issues, and at the time of Cinderella the past attrition with the Italian Government was finally at their back.

    At the end of 1943, however, the Minculpop’s ideological orientations received a shakeup. The Hungarian Jewish Exodus arrived in Slovenia, then the SS invaded Slovenia with the aid of the locals. In the urgent meetings of the Great Council, despite the united determination to get back at the Slovenians, the policy of extreme Italianization fell under review. The Minculpop got several critics over the handling of such policy, and this caused the political downfall of Pavolini from the ministry. While Mussolini didn’t arrive to openly criticize the work of the Minculpop, forced Italianization suddenly wasn’t perceived as a top priority, and certainly even lower after the siege of Trieste. A more moderate wing started to emerge in the ministry, which looked with more favour to Balbo and his more open aptitude towards Anglo-American culture rather than Ciano (Pavolini was one of his supporters he managed to settle in a moment the cabinet and prominent positions in the party were mostly suggested by the son-in-law of the Duce; to the point the government of the time was ironically called by some Italians to be “the Ciano government”). Restrictions towards Hollywood movies progressively became less severe, translations more faithful to the original versions, and now the Minculpop was less hostile to the idea to open Cinecittà to foreign producers.

    The political shift in the Minculpop, especially in time of war, modified the needs of the ministry towards the Italian private movie companies. Naturally, war-themed and patriotic movies along with historical ones where Italians would always win became a top priority; but the Minculpop’s would now be less restrictive towards comedies, dramas, love stories and generally towards subjects considered distracting – as long as they kept within certain limits, of course. This would gradually allow to a rising generation of Italian movie directors and writers to be more experimental in their work, without worrying much of extreme reactions from the Minculpop – forms of “avant-gardism” were much more tolerated in Fascist society, if looking towards new modern and innovative ideas. The same Mussolini, charmed by futurist ideas in his youth, would have been supportive of the direction the Italian movie industry would soon take, if nothing else because he began noticing the people's fond response to it.

    Perhaps one of the most important films of the era was Roberto Rossellini’s “Trieste città aperta”, made in 1945 in the same city which at that date was still mostly in ruins, considered as a perfect stage for the narrative of the same story. The movie took place at the end of 1943, when Trieste started was besieged by the SS and the Hungarian Jews prepared their defenses. An Italian veteran officer of the Balkan wars remained in the city to organize a group of Italian partisans, avoiding capture from a SS patrol by seeking refuge with a typograph, who was planning to marry his lover, a widow with a child. The Catholic priest who should have celebrated the wedding helped to hide Jewish partisans and was their courier, avoiding the SS inspections. However after a new raid the officer managed to escape while the typograph was captured, and while loaded on a truck, his fiance ran towards him only to be gunned down by the Germans in front of her child and the priest. Barely escaping, the typograph and the officer sought refuge with the widow’s sister, who was a dancer who performed for the invaders, along with her roommate who was a former lover of the officer. Consumed by hatred, the woman would denounce the officer to the SS in exchange of a pouch of drug, leading to the capture of the officer and the priest while they were meeting. The priest would be shot while the officer died under torture refusing to surrender information for the SS. The movie would end with the typograph and the widow’s son joining the Jewish resistance to continue the fight for their city.

    The movie would receive great success in Italy and outside of it, for the story but also for the way it was filmed “in the place”. 'Trieste Città Aperta' would mark the start of the period known as “neorealism” in the Italian movie industry.
     
  16. Sorairo Well-Known Member

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    Aug 9, 2016
    I just wanted to thank RyuDrago for his post. I’m a film buff and would have loved to talk about film in this story but I just had so many ideas related to battles and politics that I can never get myself to write about them. I hope these sorts of posts add some detail and life to my story.
     
  17. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    You are welcome, I was very inspired by your TL so far, I am sure there would be time and ways to talk about movies.
     
  18. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    First...thanks to have saved neorealism, even if under Fascist 'supervision' and second, yeah Minculpop will be petty enough to make an epical show for the depiction of Pinocchio
     
  19. RyuDrago Italian? Yes, but also Roman

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    Well the battle of Trieste TTL offered a good opportunity for this possibility, despite you are right, there would be more limitations, and definitely Pinocchio would have been the most opposed early Disney movie even if the Minculpop would have been less restrictive. It just couldn't have fit in a fascist Italy which didn't have to embargo American movies but would have to censor the more inopportune ones. And Pinocchio would have been, because viewed as a mockery of an Italian symbol. And worse, portrayed as a German boy (essentially).
     
  20. Bbone91 I have no powers but I can skip reasonably well.

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    I love it when a timeline dives into the arts and culture of an alternate history.
     
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