Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Sorairo, Feb 20, 2019.
I am curious if we will see a-Somewhat diminished- Austria-Hungary make a comeback?
I don't think France and Britain would be fond of the idea. Plus, I think Italy planned on installing Schuschnigg as their puppet, and he wants to keep Austria as a Republic.
Interesting divergence here when it comes to the Civil Rights Movement in the US and the integration of America's military.
IOTL, that integration didn't happen due to any desire by Truman to be a "civil rights hero." In OTL he was nowhere near that. Instead, that integration took place out of dire necessity. The US military realized that the next world war would likely be against countries which vastly outpopulated the US - i.e. the USSR and China - and that manpower was going to be an even more pressing problem for WWIII than it had just been for WWII. And it had been getting to being a pressing problem indeed for even the US. Having "colored troops" fill out more units in the next world war wasn't seen as the problem - but finding enough white officers to man the command slots was. The only viable solution for this manpower problem was to end the racial segregation of military units. That way it wouldn't matter what color the troops were nor what color the officers were. The military could just make use of the troops it needed to send to whatever units it needed to send them to.
In this ATL, the threat posed by the USSR is not something Wallace is recognizing. Thus there'd either not be the pressure to prepare for WWIII or it would be officially suppressed by Wallace. Thus there'd be no officially expressed reason for racial integration on the manpower basis. And in OTL, I don't think even Wallace was as emphatic about the "colored question" to have bet so much of his political capital on it. In OTL, that is.
Here, it's dialing Wallace's antics up "to eleven" and then some.
By the late 40's, in OTL, Wallace actually realized how badly he'd been played by all his Communist chums during his years as Vice President and made a point of being very publicly contrite over his failures to recognize the evil around him. The Democratic Party hierarchy recognized just how badly and how deep Wallace was with "the Reds" in the run up to the '44 election so they made a point of shuffling him off the ticket in favor of someone not as compromised.
Nice touch in having Truman in place in this ATL to fulfill the same role - if just a bit late to prevent Wallace from getting the #1 slot...
H.S.T. Does establish the first commission on civil rights since 1880.
Honestly I do not think Wallace will set things back by much for civil rights timeline wise. That train was already rolling and the Southern opposition has hobbled itself in the longterm by splitting off under Thurmond. Thurmond I could see gaining notoriety and respect even into the medium term for opposing Wallace, but the Republicans will remain the go to banner for most Anti Wallace people for the time being.
That, and when Wallace falls I expect Thurmond and his cohorts will, like McCarthy, overplay their hands ad squander the capital they got from opposing Wallace.
So my guess is progression will be same or better than OTL timewise.
Maybe the Freedom Party will end up emulating the Fascists too much, they end up having stupid headquarter like this Supervillain Lair?
I could then see them being voted out of offices due to national embarrassment.
New side post about Italian antifascism in the war and the immediate aftermath, with usual additions and revisions of Sorairo, especially in the end (and when I read it I truly rejoiced let me say this): enjoy!
The Long Winter: a History of Italian Antifascism by Alessio de Martini
In the second half of the 1930’s, with the rise of Pietro Nenni to the leadership of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), almost all the various souls of Italian Socialism in exile in France managed to coalesce together under a single movement. Meanwhile, the alliance with the Communist Party of Italy (PCd’I) of Palmiro Togliatti established the unity of the Italian antifascist Left against Mussolini’s dictatorship.
The alliance would prove fruitful during the Spanish Civil War, especially when the Italian international brigades contributed to defeat Italian Fascists in the battle of Guadalajara. Even if the Nationalists won in the end, Italian Antifascism felt itself more confident of its ability, considering that despite the official claims of victory, the war apparently eroded a certain consensus around Mussolini. The Italians perceived their intervention in Spain to unnecessary and above all costly in terms of lives. And despite being prohibited to talk about it, Guadalajara was a name that became well known in Italy.
Naturally there were still divergences and differences between PSI and PCd’I. Aside from the ideological diversity, there was a decisive difference in logistics; the PSI had her leadership and affiliates near-exclusively in France, while the PCd’I leadership and members were divided between France and the Soviet Union, while having a stronger network of sleeping agents in Italy. Adding the fact Togliatti was also the secretary of the Cominterm (the union of the Communist Parties), a position where he could interact with the upper echelons of the Soviets, the PCd’I reclaimed a position of strength in the alliance with the Socialists. Nenni and the rest of the PSI leadership weren’t happy of the ambitions of ‘Il Migliore’, as Togliatti purged his party of more moderate members (more willing to work with the PSI) and Trotskyites. However, they had to go with it, especially after the failure of Leon Blum’s Socialist led government in France took away the Italian Socialist hope of a friendly (to them) French government supporting them against the influence of Moscow.
But then Europe plunged into war, and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact caused the first wedge between PSI and PCd’I, the former abhorring the deal and the second mostly defending it. Also news from Italy weren’t good– Mussolini’s declaration of neutrality looked to be rather popular in the country. Togliatti proposed to take the chance to promote an insurrection in the peninsula while the rest of Europe was in flames, but the PSI was against it – support for France in the war took the priority for them.
Then France was invaded, and in the chaos the path of the two parties diverged considerably. Togliatti was safe in the Soviet Union as well as so of the PCd’I. Nenni, along with most of the remainder of the Socialist leadership decided to remain in France, albeit the PSI was divided between who wanted to support the French resistance, and those who wanted to support Petain’s regime in the false hope he would eventually restore democracy. In the end, the support to French resistance won out and the PSI organized itself to go into hiding. It wasn’t too difficult to initially hide, because they were Italians and still officiously enjoyed Italian neutrality while the Germans had other targets to look in France at the time.
Still there were cases of Socialists agreeing to cooperate with the Petain regime, notably Angelo Tasca, who was briefly one of the regents of the PSI when Nenni resigned after the break of the antifascist unity following the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. He managed, after the liberation of France, to get acquitted from the accusation of cooperation with the Germans proving he helped certain resistance factions. He later tried to carve a role again in the antifascist leadership during the debate in the PCd’I following the Togliatti Trial.
Nenni returned to the leadership of the PSI in hiding, but in February 1943 was arrested by Gestapo agents. When news of his capture leaked to Italy, Mussolini tried to get his extradition, but with Italian-German relations so poor Hitler rejected the request. Nenni would go to the prison of Fresnes, tortured but still refusing to betray his comrades. He was later brought to Dachau Concentration camp, unfortunately taken by the SS shortly after the Valkirie uprising, and according to several accounts was killed shortly after for being merely Italian. The PSI wouldn’t get news of Nenni until the early months of 1945, one of their principal sources being Leon Blum shortly after returning to France. Blum, despite captivity, managed to get information about certain Socialist prisoners, one of them being Nenni. He relayed that information to the Italian secret police, the OVRA, when was freed by Italian soldiers in Austria in mid 1944.
At the time Giuseppe Saragat was the new leader of the PSI. Ideological rival and yet friend of Nenni, he was politically more moderate, being the political disciple of Filippo Turati and therefore less inclined to give ear to the whims of Togliatti’s PCd’I. But he would reaffirm a renewed alliance between Socialists and Communists when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. Saragat wasn’t friendly towards Togliatti, considering he escaped to the Soviet Union while Nenni faced capture and death and the remnant Italian Communists in France were on constant threat as well.
However both the PSI and the PCd’I were stunned with the declaration of war on Italy. Whatever their feelings towards Mussolini and Fascism were at the time, the reality was that a treacherous (and ideologically repulsive) enemy invaded the motherland. Antifascist sympathizers in the hiding in Italy started to rally around Duce and King, even more when news of the Slovenian lynching over Italians in Lubiana arrived and Trieste was under siege. In a series of underground meetings between December of 1943 and January of 1944, the PSI decided to approve a new political line. They announced they would do all they could “in supporting Italy against Nazi German aggression”, which was an invite to whatever Socialist supporters in the nation to fight alongside the Fascists. Regardless of ideology, Italy was under threat and the historical aim of the restoration of democracy and such was put aside for the first time.
However, the PCd’I was divided about the Socialist decision – in part for intransigence to assist Italian Fascism before Italy (there were those who hoped a Nazi victory – Togliatti being one of them - would allow the Soviets to liberate the peninsula), but mostly because of the distance between the French and the Soviet segments of the party hampered communication. But the line of the party for most of the year was total denouncement over the Socialist line: Stalin was certainly concerned of Italian involvement in the conflict and didn’t want to help Mussolini in any way. Thus, Togliatti rejected the Socialist proposal, badly weakening the already loathed Party’s reputation in Italy.
Togliatti’s position in the USSR however was slowly but obviously fading. To appease the Allies, Stalin dismantled the Cominterm and hence the Italian was sacked from its position of secretary. At the same time, with Stalin’s growing distrust towards Mussolini and Italians, Togliatti was progressively brought out of the Soviet establishment. But ‘Il Migliore’ apparently still kept an undying loyalty towards Stalin, which would prove totally displaced.
Saragat, once it became clear that France would be liberated, tried to organize a meeting with Togliatti to review the Antifascist alliance. But the Communist secretary would delay a trip to France, for unclear reasons. It is often said, the Soviets denied him permit to leave to keep him under strict surveillance; but certain documents found from the KBG archives stated Togliatti did have still a certain freedom of movement down to leaving the USSR. From the tale of an Italian aide who was sent in a Gulag after Togliatti’s demise, the PCd'I secretary was essentially disillusioned in trying to win Stalin’s trust and didn’t trust Saragat as a political ally at all, especially after their ‘endorsement’ of Mussolini by ordering Socialists to join the fight against the Nazis. According to this aide, Togliatti was also for the Soviet invasion of the Balkans, then ruled by Italy, and was sure he could bring Stalin into this plan.
The Socialists fumed over Togliatti’s stubbornness, but nonetheless would finally manage to set up a meeting in Lyon at the end of 1945 where all Antifascist forces would discuss a postwar line of action. The Communists, especially after the treaties of Potsdam, reluctantly agreed and prepared to organize their delegation, but then all of sudden came the news of the arrest, trial and execution of Togliatti in the Soviet Union. The PCd’I in France was shell shocked – they lost their leader without warning, he was declared to the world to be a spy of Mussolini and countless comrades in Russia were sent to the Gulags. They didn’t know what to do, made all the worse by radio silence from Moscow. Stalin didn’t even think of placing someone at the helm of the PCI, which would be even barely of his liking. He just didn’t care or considered the PCd'I so infested with Fascist agents that it wasn’t worth saving. The Dictator was, of course, preparing the way for his worst purges and atrocities in the coming years.
The PSI reacted harshly to the news. Saragat, conceding Togliatti wasn’t a spy of Mussolini, was disgusted by the Soviet behavior and decided Stalin was not to be trusted. The Socialists sent an ultimatum to the French segment of the PCd’I, which despite everything was essentially still on Togliatti’s political positions, hence Stalinist: either break with Moscow or the alliance will cease immediately. The smaller Antifascist movements, from the Liberals to “Giustizia e Libertà” sided with the PSI on the ultimatum.
The PCd’I was in utter chaos – considering they needed to elect a new secretary, their problems were only beginning. In principle, the French division of the party was, until the invasion of 1940, under the supervision of Giuseppe Berti, who escaped to America and left without a clear leadership replacement. Thus, the role returned to Togliatti. There were those who suggested returning to him the role of secretary to restore a sort of legitimated leadership. Others however looked towards the group of men infiltrated in Italy between 1940 and 1943 to reestablish the national segment of the party with the approval of Togliatti in hiding. It was, however, discovered and dismantled by the OVRA. Some of them, like Luigi Longo, were arrested and others managed to escape to France.
Among this group, there was Giorgio Amendola who wanted to restore Berti to secretary. But many others, essentially diehard Stalinists, believed that Berti was too moderate, as in previous decades he was in cahoots with Angelo Tasca. Tasca was previously in the Communist Party, as leader of the right wing, until being tossed out by Togliatti. In 1945, he wanted to reclaim the party now that he felt his political line was vindicated. Not only his either - multiple Trotskyists reclaimed to take over the party as well.
In the end, the PCd’I collapsed – the Stalinist wing was too prominent within the party and resorted to elect Umberto Massola, who was in charge of the party propaganda machine, while refusing a compromise candidate in Mario Scoccimarro. But the internal debate was nasty and furious with the party ending up split in three. Those who went with Tasca built a movement on the right, the Trotskists going on their own for good with the rest of the PCd’I becoming marginalized in the background of the Antifascist alliance. Others would move towards the PSI in the successive years, such as Giorgio Amendola, disgusted by the inability of the PCd’I to even make a proper self criticism or of Stalin, trying in vain to return under his grace. the Communists so fragmented, their own network in Italy totally collapsed, while instead the Socialists started to reorganize in the peninsula due to more relaxed restrictions of the regime in the late 1940's (public demonstration was still impossible).
The collapse of the PCd’I would put the party into total irrelevance, while the PSI took control of the Italian Antifascist movement for good. But in 1946, Saragat knew Mussolini and Fascism were unassailable inside and outside the boot: it was necessary adopt new strategies, a new political view, and above all, new allies. He started right at the heart of the party, trying to find fresh blood to lead Italy into a new world. He settled on a promising young specimen who had only recently joined the Socialists. His name was Enrico Berlinguer.
Man, it really, really sucks to be an Italian leftist:
You're greatest ally, the Soviet Russia, is run by a quasi-imperialist, mass-murdering, sickly paranoid.
The Italian Duce, the very antithesis of what you believe, has become a valuable enemy against fascism.
One of the your principal leaders, Togliatti, has become a sock puppet of the sickly paranoid, and is willing to damn himself to death.
I can only pray that Berlinguer can revive Italian socialism. But he's facing a bit of an uphill battle: Mussolini's post-war popularity, the most powerful capitalist nations allied with him, a world now more paranoid about socialism as Stalin indulges in even more paranoid lunacy.
Mussolini upon hearing the collapse of the PCd’I:
Well Berlinguer as the new secretary of the PSI (hell yeah), it's a very good news, at least someone of competent and charisma and probably is initial biggest job will be distance the socialist from the communist and denouncing Stalin and the URSS activities.
On the motherland, well with De Gasperi and co. being allowed more freedom and a certain level of (very) moderate criticism towards the regime (but not Mussolini) permitted plus some economic reform, it's very probable that the PSI will have the opportunities to create a network and create contact; frankly i expect that the post-war italian fascism will be more or less like the Gulash communist of Hungary (basically, anyone that's not against us is for us attitude) that while still a dictatorships can built an infrastructure strong enough that will resist the fall of the fascism
He only question is when will fascism fall in Italy?
Benny death will be a severe strike for the PFI and the goverment will be 'forced' to rely on the (monarchist) army and hope to co-opt other forces willing to collaborate with them
Again, they have a glorious victory against a horrendous dictatorship under their belt.
Italo Balbo can defend Mussolini's actions well into the 1970s.
It is likely that fascism will persist in Italy for a few more generations, until a postwar generation of people with no memory of World War II rises up demanding democracy.
My guess is that the Resistence picks up speed in the 60s, what with Vatican 2 coming along depriving the Facists of Church Support,horrible quagmire in Ethiopia and a counter culture movment sweeping the youth. the italian goverment fights back and manages to retain power right up into the late 70s though...
Hey, if it spares us the likes of The Crucible and all those other weepy self-indulgent retrospectives from Hollywood and Broadway, I arguably call that a win.
I wonder if instead of developing into Democratic nation could Italy evolve into something similiar to this TL PRC? Authoritarian one party state that have relatively loyal population(most of my main land chinese friend is very pro communist government so my perspective might be skewed).
I think having it become democratic is a bit too easy of an ending.
I was thinking of the same possibility, is pretty probable if else because OTL Italy is still a country weighting on the right, even today, hence able to holding the fascist system - maybe under the facade of an authoritarian democracy (see: Russia), without the need to pass through traumatic passages.
The way this timeline is going, I have a feeling it will not fall, but rather decline into just being one of Italy's conservative parties, probably retaining the support of at minimum many bourgeois catholic men well into the 21st century. There may be room for a small monarchist 'Don Camillo' party and a 'free-trade and equal-rights-for-women' liberal party on the right as well, but the fascists will probably be in a position to win elections decades after Benny kicks the bucket.
Democracy with Fascist characteristic!
In TTL I'd be willing to bet good money, that not neccessarily in Italy itself but other countries you'll be finding politicians who openly call themselves "Democratic Fascists" who'll not be considered Hitlers reincarted, but akin to Sanders et al in OTL.
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