The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

I wouldn't be so sure the insurgents can't get backup. The soviets did manage to influence and supply several states across the world; Ethiopia is not that far inland and once India comes apart, and I do not see many reasons for there being no partition in this timeline, either Hindu india or Pakistan would likely align with the communists to some degree, thus allowing the soviets to send some supplies out via the south. The USA did also at least publicly treat declolonialisation as a major foreign policy goal, I can see the CIA (or whatever the OSS becomes after the war) meddling with Italy's more outlying possessions to some degree.

Paradoxally, I think the USSR will make an attempt for the totally opposite reason, weakening Italian power because the Soviet influence in Europe would be greatly lesser TTL. No Bulgaria and no Yugoslavia and Albania, so since the start not even an access on the Mediterranean. And Hungary and Romania would be debatable... at the same time the Soviets would have more resources to throw in Africa and third world in general. Their main problem is how to ship those. Therefore there is only a direction where the Soviet will push their power...

I won't be surprised to see a commie Saddam Hussein and the Arab element going more red in general due to anti Israel, anti Turk and anti Italian growing hate...

The Second World War – Christopher Armlong

With the aid of token Turkish reinforcement, Bulgaria seized the Ploesti oil fields more or less in one piece on January 20th. Hitler had ordered them razed but most survived the conflict. Though Bulgaria wouldn’t know it at the time, this would prove invaluable by the 1960s and 1970s as part of the Fascist Bloc’s conflict against the Soviet Union. The fall of Ploesti was ultimately the trigger for the January Coup just two days later in the besieged Bucharest. King Michael I of Romania, incensed by Antonescu’s dragging his country into an unholy alliance with Nazi Germany, staged a coup and arrested the Romanian Dictator, declaring on radio that Romania would align itself with the Allies. This was quite surprising given that Michael was considered a mere figurehead, but his actions were nonetheless carried out. The War had been effortless for Bulgaria, but the already suffering Romanian people were astonished and outraged to be drawn into a war with their fresh, concentrated neighbor to the south. Some Romanian troops were known to have marched to a warzone, and without stopping simply kept walking to the Bulgarian lines to surrender without skipping a beat. The Germans attempted to control the situation but were quickly outflanked, retreating into Transylvania. Northern Romania, including Bessarabia was still occupied by the Germans, but by the middle of February, combined Bulgarian and Romanian assaults had cleared out the region, leaving the entire country occupied by Roman Alliance forces. Days later, angry Soviet troops would line up against the border of Romania, on what had once been Soviet territory.

It was no surprise that Michael had specifically called in the Alliance troops to preserve Romania from Communism, which would mean the death of the Monarchy. For that reason, Michael is seen as having saved Romania not just from Nazism, but Communism as well. The popularity of the Romanian Monarchy remains notably high, even today, as Michael would reign as King of Romania until his death in 2017 [1]. For almost all Romanians, he was the only King they ever had. His death was commemorated around the world for his preservation of Romanian independence amidst the struggles of the Cold War, which certainly wasn’t an easy task, all things considered.

Of course, tough measures had to be accepted. The entirety of Dobruja was surrendered to Bulgaria, although Michael was guaranteed a return of Hungarian land given to Horthy to bribe him into Operation Barbarossa, as well as assurances that Bessarabia would remain in his hands. When news of this hit Moscow, Stalin was not happy.

Four’s Company: The Great Power relations in World War Two, by Steven Benford

While the tumult of the Kiev Conference was legendary for its geopolitical results (from America to the final division of Europe) the seeds were sown at the news Bessarabia was occupied by Bulgarian troops (with Mussolini’s support). While the world cheered the liberation of Paris that February, there was no mood for celebration in any of the Allied capitals. Stalin, recalled one staffer, “looked like someone had slapped his mother right in front of him” at news that the Bulgarians had taken over the area. Roosevelt likewise was incensed, angrily (though privately) demanding that Mussolini reign in Tsar Boris and tell him not only to pull his troops out of Bessarabia, but forsake any idea of annexing all of Dobruja, which would mean the Soviets would directly border Roman Alliance Bulgaria. FDR angrily demanded Churchill back him up. Churchill, pointedly, did not. Churchill would address the House of Commons and state that any such territorial and influence sphere discussions would only be held at the next Allied Conference. Of course, Churchill was thrilled at the news Romania was in neither Russian nor German hands, stating, “My only regret is that they didn’t get the Ukraine”.

When Stalin refused to allow Mussolini permission to land in the Soviet Union for the Kiev Conference, Churchill threatened to pull out of the Conference as well. Not wanting the public embarrassment of such open disagreement among Allied leaders, FDR convinced Stalin to relent and go ahead with the Conference. In the meantime, Stalin began to lash out where he could. Upon reaching Finland in March, Stalin refused any offers of armistice and demanded unconditional surrender. After an invading force (far stronger and more experienced than the rabble in 1940) had taken Helsinki on March 19th, Finland unconditionally surrendered. While initially, according to unearthed documents, Stalin was somewhat indifferent to the Finns, by March, he had already decided the new policy he would undertake. At the same time, he pushed on desperately ahead in Europe, eager to cement Soviet control where he could.

The liberation of Romania set up the apocalyptic clash at Kiev. The liberation of Hungary only added fuel to the fire.

Extract from Orde Wingate’s ‘Armaggedon’ Speech in Trieste, February 24th 1944

“The Germans called you ‘inferior’! The Germans called you ‘weak’! Were you ‘inferior’ when you erected mighty Kingdoms while Germany was nothing but a rabble of barbarians? Were you weak when you survived, for five thousand years, pogrom after pogrom, injustice after injustice, slaughter after slaughter? Were you weak, when Dreyfuss stood strong in the face of injustice and endured the worst imprisonment? Were you weak when you came halfway across the world, to a harsh desert, just to fulfill an ancient dream? Were you weak when you stood here in Trieste and flung back the most elite force of the so-called ‘Master-race’?

“You are not inferior! You are not weak! You are the Chosen People! God chose you for a reason! Because he knows you’re tougher than every Tyrant who ever tries to destroy you! Pharaoh tried to destroy you! Egypt was destroyed! Titus destroyed to hurt you! The Roman Empire was destroyed! And now Hitler tries to destroy you! But he shall be the last! The Jewish people have told the whole world that they will never be abused again! They will never allow another pogrom again! They will never allow another Ghetto again! You will stand tall, here, at the Battle of Armageddon and do battle for the Lord! After this accursed wandering through the wilderness is over, the Promised Land once more awaits!”

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

Wingate was not particularly experienced in war in the flat plains of Europe, but what he did have was the unrivalled enthusiasm of his troops. Wingate was almost worshipped by members of the Jewish community for his resolute devotion to the Zionist movement. After his infamous ‘Armaggedon Speech’, Anthony Eden tried to convince Churchill to dump Wingate to preserve British credibility. Churchill replied, “I would rather have Hungary than credibility.” Churchill ordered Wingate in no uncertain terms that he was to ‘save Hungary from Bolshevism’ and occupy it before Stalin could get a grasp on it. Wingate, whose Christianity led him to despise the Communists, was more than willing to meet the task.

By the end of February, supported by both the Italian and British air force as well as Croatian troops on the southern flank, the Anglo-Jewish army began its march inside Hungary, marching straight to Budapest. Given its size, it was extremely difficult to supply, but Wingate fired his troops with so much inspiration that it kept them going. Wingate’s own love of what he would conservatively call ‘testing one’s physical limits’ (which involved walking naked through the jungles of Burma) would leave the troops feeling that they too could overcome any hardships on the way.

The Germans, by contrast, were roundly despised by the Hungarian population and exhausted. The chaos that resulted from Horthy’s expulsion order and the subsequent persecutions to rat out the few remaining Jews, not to mention the murder of half of the Hungarian government, had left a bitter taste in the mouths of Hungarians. Many saw the Jews as legitimate Hungarian citizens, and saw the potential conflict between Hungarian Jewish and German forces to be one where they would root for their fellow countrymen, even if they were Jewish.

The German troops, some SS and some Wehrmacht, were doubly hated but were on edge, particularly given that Italy was already invading the main portion of Germany. By March 10th, Graz fell to Mussolini, the first major German city (albeit in Austria) to fall to the Allied forces. Many Germans wondered what they were doing defending Hungary when their homeland was under siege. Furthermore, though no one dared admit it, they were scared of the Jews. They were scared because the Jews had defeated them at Trieste, despite Goebbels’s attempts to call it a ‘strategic withdrawl’. They were certain that they were going to be trapped between Jewish and Russian soldiers in Hungary – certain death. Many wanted simply to retreat and surrender to the Italians, or better yet the Anglo-Americans. At the risk of getting totally cut off, German troops had already forsaken Transylvania to Bulgarian and Romanian forces, leaving the bulk of Hungary at the mercy of the Anglo-Jewish forces.

On February 29th, the invasion of Hungary fully began, overwhelming the SS defenders on the border not just with quantity, but qualitative superiority. Many of the leaders of the Jewish forces had served in Palestine and knew how to fight, while most SS leaders expected to be fighting what consisted of a mishmash of pretentious partisans. On the same day, the Croatians advanced too, taking Pecs in two days. Wehrmact troops broke rank in the thousands and ran to the Croatian lines to surrender before the Jews could get their hands on them. Jews marched along the same railroad lines that had guided them to the border to save themselves, only now they were coming back to save their country itself. On March 10th, they were greeted by the news that Romanian and Bulgarian troops had invaded the Great Hungarian Plain, and were sealing off the border to the Soviets as best they could.

By March 20th, the advance parties of Jewish soldiers faced the first line of defence in Budapest. Szálasi had promised Hitler that his country would, “be Jewry’s graveyard”, but it wasn’t to be. Faced with overwhelming numbers of Jews and the might of the RAF and Regia Aeronautica, not to mention Croatian, Bulgarian and Romanian assistance stretching the lines thin, Budapest had no chance. This was confirmed doubly so when the Hungarian Resistance launched an uprising in the city on March 26th. On April 13th, days before the Kiev Conference, General Wingate messaged Churchill to state that ‘Hungary has survived Nazism and will never know Communism’. The meaning was obvious: Budapest had fallen and Hungary was safe.

The performance of the Jewish army impressed the Allied commanders, notably General Patton, who characteristically described the force as, “the toughest sons of bitches God ever blessed.” He would give the highest praise to Wingate, describing him as “almost as crazy as me”. While some feared Jewish forces would run rampant and commit wholesale acts of slaughter in vengeance, the force was surprisingly disciplined. Indeed, Jewish forces captured Szálasi while he attempted to escape with retreating Germans; he wasn’t shot, but safely escorted into custody. The Hungarian Dictator would be tried for war crimes the following year and hanged. With Hungary’s leadership now completely lost, Mussolini and Churchill had their own ideas of what to do when they landed in Kiev.

It just so happened that the day the Conference began, Germany itself would be plunged into chaos. Or more accurately, more chaos than it was already in.

“We Weren’t All Like Him”: The German Resistance, by Peter Kahn

Losing a war was one thing. Losing a war on two fronts was another. Losing a three front war, completely surrounding yourself with hostile powers, losing almost all imports, all your oil supply, getting bombed day and night, the front disintegrating in every direction, respected members of society getting persecuted and the imminent dread of the utter destruction of your nation for no other reason than rabid conspiracy theory mongering over Jews was a third still.

The invasion of Italy mortified the Wehrmacht. The most optimistic dreamed that they could bleed the Allies out in France, get a separate peace and then get a solid conclusion to the Russia situation. To then pointlessly go to war with the most powerful neutral bloc on Earth, who would expand the battlefield to immeasurable size when the Wehrmacht was stretched thin as it already was infuriated High Command. Some historians wonder that if it wasn’t for Operation Visigoth primarily being an SS operation, that Operation Valkyrie wouldn’t have been declared on the spot.

What is known for sure was that the invasion of Italy was so monumentally stupid that even those who had long since surrendered their will to the Führerprinzip had changed their minds. The most notable was Erwin Rommel. Having been stationed in Russia, he had fought as much over the inclusion of the Einsatzruppen behind the lines as he did with the Soviets in front back in 1941. Rommel was so disgusted that he demanded re-assignment, no matter where. Despite the press initially trumpeting his victories across Russia, he was unceremoniously kicked to monitor the Atlantic Wall in December that year. Historians believe that his leadership managed to revitalize and fortify the Atlantic Wall into one that made the Allies bleed in Normandy. When the Soviets broke out after Stalingrad, he was called back to save Germany from catastrophe, which he did, routing the Soviets in early 1943 and getting the War back on track. He had initially been approached by members of the German Resistance but had pushed them away, explaining that he still had to be loyal to his leader. This seemed to be a constant feeling … until December that year. The invasion of Italy was so shocking to Rommel in its stupidity that he infamously told his wife, “Hitler will declare war on Santa Claus next!” Finally, he had to give himself an out: Hitler was ‘already dead’ inside his brain, and that he was released from his oath.

Rommel’s inclusion was enough to convince multiple hold-outs, including: Wilhelm Canaris, Günther Von Kluge, Gerd Von Rundstedt and Erich Von Manstein. The combination of the Italian invasion, attacks on the German nobility with connections to the Savoia family and the fear of Soviet invasion of Berlin would finally galvanize the plotters to action. That Rommel, who was still the most exalted general in Germany despite the Nazi attempt to downplay his significance (which is ironic considering what the West did after the war), could have finally decided enough was enough was a game-changing decision. They wanted to get in, surrender to the West and leave with Germany in one piece.

The plan was as follows: on April 15th, there would be a meeting in the Bunker to discuss strategies. The Soviets had already advanced so far after the chaotic retreats that had characterised the Germans from Italy’s arrival into the war that the Wolf’s Lair was considered too risky. Rommel would lead from the front and ‘miss the meeting’. Indeed, all those in on the conspiracy would ‘miss it’. Meanwhile, Claus Von Stauffenberg, the head of the reserve army, would leave a bomb behind and detonate it. This should have killed everyone there. Then Stauffenberg would call in the reserves to arrest the leading Nazi officials and Rommel would become the interim leader of the government. With that, Rommel would sue for peace and save Germany from total annihilation.

It was a plan. And the only thing plans have in common is that they never go perfectly. April 15th 1944 may go down in history as one of the most important days in human history.

[1] Yes, he really lived that long
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hmm, this will give sweden a land border with the soviet union *shudders*.. Wonder if we will be forced to align with a bloc for protecion..
At this pace, FDR maybe won't go for a fourth term even if the war with Japan would proceed. But likely won't be neither especially if he insists to go too soft with the Soviets. The Italian immigrants will start to see him a second Wilson. The Hebrews may be conflicted, either, and so Balkan immigrant population. New York would likely flip blue in '44 and likely most of the North, and the 3 million voters gap may be drastically reduced as well...

Well, Romania avoided a nasty bullet TTL and could afford to lose Dobrudja. I guess it won't be difficult to guess why in 1960-70's the Ploiesti oil will be vital for the Roman Alliance. But for Stalin's dream to rule the Balkans being vanquished, Finland would pay for such loss sadly for them. Hungary and Bessarabia however seem to be very sore spots...
So, two observations:

1. The jewish people have had such a central role, but it appears that no-one even cares about the other minorities and groups that, among other things, comprised around two thirds of the Holocaust.
2. I can already predict that the Palestinian people are... well, they're ****ed. Even worse than in OTL. Far worse.


2. I can already predict that the Palestinian people are... well, they're ****ed. Even worse than in OTL. Far worse.

Show your work.

It's less likely that Israel will be attacked in 1948. Without a War, you won't get the Palestinians leaving for 'temporary' refugee camps in nearby Arab States, but will stay in place.