TL-191: Italian Neutrality - The Pax Romana for the Kingdom of Italy (1914-1944)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Alterwright, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    ww1-a-240-italy.jpg.jpg

    For clarification, this thread is intended to generate discussion on specific time periods framed within Harry Turtledove's TL-191 "Southern Victory" series, in which the Confederate States of America win the Civil War and become their own nation.

    A rather curious and interesting case in TL-191, the Kingdom Italy declared a state of neutrality in both Great Wars during the course of the books. Despite technically being a member of the Central Powers, therefore allying itself with Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the United States, Italy's neutrality allowed it to avoid war with the Entente in 1914, sparing it from the horrors of that war. Even the Entente in this timeline could not convince Italy to join their fight against the Central Powers.

    Again, in 1941, as the world plunged itself into the Second Great War, Italy once again declared its neutrality, again sparing the nation from the blood-bath the world descended into despite its lean toward the Central Powers and possible courtship by the Entente.

    2003C13_libyan_box2_08-front201103251433.jpg

    In this timeline, as in out own, Italy also had a small colonial empire in Africa. Throwing its hat into either faction could have netted it some valuable land for it exploit - but at the potential cost of thousands of lives and the death of its small colonial empire. Perhaps it was gamble too great to take - or perhaps a gamble they were unable to go through with.

    So many questions spin around the decisions of Italy to stay neutral in both wars. The leaders of the Kingdom clearly had their reasons - the real question is why?

    85a787150279853f88f42d0d62222d4a--stock-foto-italy.jpg

    That's what this thread for TL-191 is for - Italy. Why was Italy neutral in both wars? How did they remain that way, how were they able to ensure their neutrality? How were they able to not be convinced by the Entente in both wars to join their side? Why didn't they join the Central Powers?

    But really, just talk about Italy in this timeline in general - talk about its army, its empire, its politics, its foreign policy, its culture and society. Just talk about Italy in TL-191.

    * - Idea suggested by Allochronian
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  2. Allochronian Well-Known Member

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    Ah, yes.

    I see that you decided to use one of my ideas to talk about TL-191's layers of reality. Good!

    I hold on to the probable minority opinion that it was bad cop-out for Turtledove to not have Italy be involved in any war WITHOUT TELLING US WHY AND HOW!!!

    Not even a single sentence is referenced as to what Italy is up to during that time, with the exception of some unnamed Italian politician (Mussolini) promising that if he gets elected, he will make the trains run on time.

    After reading a little bit about the diplomatic history between U.S. and Italy in OTL, I found out that they generally enjoyed a good relationship... until this happened:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_14,_1891_New_Orleans_lynchings

    If we accept the possibility that the lynching still would have occurred, more or less, in the Confederate States, then it would have been interesting to see if this caused some kind of diplomatic reevaluation with Italy.

    Maybe Italy would have grown to be more sympathetic with the United States. I would have liked to have seen Italy fight in both wars. Being neutral is just very implausible.

    Now, an interesting idea would have been if Italy actually remained part of the Central Powers. However, I also see that as being somewhat unlikely, even if it's more believable than being neutral.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Front_(World_War_I)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_London_(1915)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Alliance_(1882)

    I suppose that the least problematic choice of events would have been for Turtledove to have written Italy to do the same thing they did in OTL and have Fascist Italy be another enemy that the German Empire must fight against in the Second Great War.

    One more thing that I can think of: Going by Turtledove's choice for Italy to be neutral in both wars, does the Holy See still regain some territory in Rome? Will it still be Vatican City or Leonine City? Does the Law of Guarantees, if not some type of Lateran Treaty, become acceptable for the Holy See? Or would relations between Italy and the Holy See continue to be broken?
     
  3. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    I think the whole neutrality from an out universe turtledove wanted to do the things difference and just with italy out that put more pressure elsewhere giving CP an edge.

    In-universe the big question is why...maybe they saw the entente as not enough to beat the heavyweight of the CP(GERMANY, USA) and would not worth the headache of being next if they loss..maybe italian americans lobbies helped to keep italy out as they refused to join cp?there was something.

    When that Mussolini idea maybe something similar happen or the akward prisioner in vatican is still ongoing?
     
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  4. Allochronian Well-Known Member

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    It will probably be ongoing, even though Pius XI wanted to see a solution to it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  5. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Well shit, I knew I was forgetting something. My bad, I put you for credit to the idea for this thread. I'm glad you're interested in it, because I am too.

    From the bits of Italian history that I've looked over in the 19th Century up until WWI in out time, Turtledove making the Italians neutral in both world wars in TL-191 is, to put it lightly, a huge let down. Cop-out doesn't begin to describe it, especially when you dig deeper into Italian colonial ambitions and Irredentism after Italy was unified in 1861. I'll talk about why Italy being neutral doesn't make sense in TL-191, but... since this is an alternate history story being talked about in an alternate history forum, I'll also give Turtledove some slack and indulge the idea of what Italy being neutral can change for them.

    While its understandable that the focus of the story is on the conflict between the United States and Confederate States, events outside of North America make TL-191 a fascinating world. Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and even smaller countries like Poland and Ukraine get a mention in this story and have at least enough said about them to paint a basic picture of where they stand in the world... except Italy.

    TL;DR, I'm pretty butt-hurt that Italy barely gets a mention in TL-191 and is brushed aside so casually that its relevance to the story is non-existent.

    This doesn't make sense to me since in our timeline Italy took great effort to be recognized as a major European power, but its limitations as new country and weaknesses in many sectors of its economy held it back significantly despite its best efforts. Going neutral and generally being quiet for most of the story's time flies in the face of what the Italians wanted to achieve, what they were motivated by in the grand scheme of things despite pretty much failing half the time. The fact they just drop everything... doesn't make sense. The fact that there is no explanation makes its worse.

    But that's why we have this handy-dandy thread! To talk about it!

    But, again, I don't want to just air grievances. If Italy's neutral, then fine. I'm also interested in what that neutrality means for them anyway, mostly for that affects its colonial ambitions and relations with other countries. Does a neutral Italy mean that they and Austria-Hungary are now friends? Fat chance, but hey. What about relations with the Ottomans - they did fight a war with them over Libya OTL in 1911. Does that mean the Italians can take Ethiopia without any repercussions? Does a neutral Italy mean its neutrality is ensured through being armed?

    Right, so, I don't know what you're referring to here. Can you explain a bit more? Was this something the Italians and the Vatican were trying to negotiate over in the aftermath of unification or just before the Great War? I don't personally know a lot about the details of the Vatican's relationship with the rest of Italy post unification other than the fact that the Popes weren't happy that Italy was a country for a time. What's this about regaining territory?
     
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  6. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Right, so, Pius XI. Pope from 1922 to 1939. In TL-191 that's just two years before the outbreak of the Second Great War.

    This guy looks interesting to be honest. With events changed up in TL-191 he could actually be rather intriguing character in the stories.

    So from what I can gather this pope was pretty active politically speaking. The Lateran Treaty you mention relates to the lingering hostility the Papacy and Italian Government had after the seizure of the Papal States by the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, which further unified Italy by annexing the Pope's lands and effectively taking away his status as a sovereign ruler of a state. Long story short the Papacy held an intense grudge for having its lands "stolen" and pretty much never let Italy live it down, refusing to recognize that's its lands now belonged to Italy. Subsequent popes carried on that grudge. For a state that preaches the forgiveness of enemies they really didn't live up to that!

    Pius XI wanted to negotiate a concordat essentially and Mussolini from what I can read was a major factor in the negotiations. They pretty much wanted to find a solution to their little "Roman Question" - the pope would get his sovereign status back and the Vatican would be recognized as a sovereign state again, plus get compensation for the loss of the Papal States. However, the Papacy never liked the Fascists very much for sticking their nose into Papal affairs and Pius XI pretty much vehemently criticized and railed against the Nazis, Fascists, and Communists in our time.

    In TL-191, where Italy is neutral, its alluded to that Mussolini might or might not be in power. For me, Mussolini being in power means that Italy would not be neutral in TL-191 for the Second Great War. Mussolini really wanted to live up to the dream of reforging the Roman Empire, so its doubtful he could have done that in the way he wanted to without talking to the major powers and somehow aligning himself with a faction. So, to me, I don't think he would be in power in TL-191... which means quite a bit changes in the Inter-war Years for Italy.

    In regards to the Lateran Treaty and events of TL-191 - perhaps without Mussolini in the picture, there wouldn't be a compromise, or perhaps that compromise would not come until after the Second Great War. Without someone in the Italian government willing to make a deal with the pope in a bid to regain state sovereignty, then its possible that the "Roman Question" would not be solved in TL-191... unless there was someone else willing to solve it. Like, who would Pius XI be able to talk to? The Law of Guarantees - allowed the pope to travel freely and pretty much let him act like a sovereign of his own state - would probably never be taken seriously and the Pope would still consider himself a "Prisoner of the Vatican" well into the Second Great War, never leaving the place. What that means for Italy and the rest of Europe in TL-191 I'm not sure.

    I could be wrong on all of that, but hey, that's why this thread is here.
     
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  7. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Side note - I read up more on Pius XI and his international relations with France, Germany, and Spain. Apparently he openly criticized Action Francaise and said that it was "folly for the French Catholic Church to continue to tie its fortunes to the unlikely dream of a monarchist restoration" in France. Well, now that the monarchy is back in France in TL-191, what would Pius XI have to say about that?

    Pius XI apparently also protested against Fascists and Communists in our timeline, given that both ideologies were firmly entrenched in several countries - I think it was on the basis of how these groups treated the Church or religion in their countries. With the changes in TL-191 made there are no Nazis or Italian Fascists or Russian Communists in power - however, that doesn't mean they don't exist and didn't rise up elsewhere. France and Great Britain have their own nationalists now with distinctly fascists undertones and Communists are active the world over.

    Given Pius XI's hostility toward both groups I think he might not like the rise of revaunchist nationalists in France and Britain and would especially hate the communists still active in other parts of Europe.

    Now, I believe its when we get to North America and Russia that things start to get a bit complicated and messy for Pius XI. As a pope during the Inter-War years in TL-191, roughly from 1922-1939, he'd see the rise of Jake Featherston and the Freedom Party, The Mexican Civil War, and the on-going fight of Confederates Whites persecuting Confederate Blacks in the run up to the Population Reduction sweeps, with Confederate Blacks "turning red" as a means to fight back. He would also see the reign of Tsar Mihkail II in Russia, a man that potentially presided over the defeat of the communists in Russia, but also ordered pogroms against Jews in Russia.

    Perhaps in these countries he'd feel a bit conflicted. In our time line I think he was sympathetic to the social and racial inequality that Black Americans experienced in the US due to the efforts of Mother Katherine Drexel. He also hated communism. Perhaps his views on the Confederacy and the United States would be a bit more nuanced? Protesting against the treatment of Blacks in the Confederacy, but urging them not to turn to communism in order to fight back, unable to convince the US to do anything about it due to the two countries having an intense rivalry?

    What do you all think?

    His successor Pius XII is in the 3rd book of Settling Accounts "The Grapple". Pius XII is actually criticized for not condemning the pogroms in Russia, the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, and the Population Reductions in the Confederacy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  8. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    One thing that interests me with Italy being neutral in TL-191 is how its colonial ambitions in Africa will fare now that there is no League of Nations, but No Mussolini.

    By 1914, the Italians had carved out a small empire for themselves in Africa, probably still taking Libya from the Ottomans in 1911 and still holding on to Eritrea and Somalia. As in our timeline the Italians would still likely lose in the Battle of Adowa in 1895, failing to take Ethiopia the first time around but perhaps going for a second try come the future.

    I don't know if there was any action in Africa for the Italians in their colonies, but the Senussi Uprising in Libya does take place during WWI and was supported by the Ottomans, with the British doing a majority of the fighting. Does a neutral Italy mean that colonial authorities might take a second chance with Ethiopia earlier? What would that war look like without the Ethiopian asking for help from the European Powers? Do the Italians still take it the second time around?
     
  9. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    Well, yes i also think that Turtledove barely mention Italy is just a bad cop out, he is not very interested in her in general and probably don't know much about her. In universe as OTL, Italy is the last of the Great Powers...but still one of the big boys and hold an important strategic position in south europe so both side.

    The reason for such neutrality, as discussed many times in other parts of the forum about OTL WWI, can be only that an agreement with the CP about remaining neutral has been reached and there will been compensation, it's simple, realistic and that's a good cop out...unfortunely the various official map of the world not only failed to show such compensation as Italy have the same pre-war border, but worse Albania (IRC) is mentioned or show as an Austrian puppet and that's a big no no for Italy even in the OTL attempted treaty Albania, due to the strategic position, has to be given to Italy or at least remain neutral.
    If at least some colonial compensation like Tunisia has been showed will have resolved such problem, still nada...seem that Italy don't exploit her position neither during or after the war to expand her influence in Europe or Africa being happy to be a wallflower and let the others going to the all you can eat buffet (art.7 of the CP treaty state that if A-H or Italy expand her influence in the balkans the other must receive compensation...but here not).

    Repeat all that for WWII, as Italy, again the only big power not involved seem, against all the political way of thinking of the time, not using the occasion to demand concession from both side.

    Mussolini obtain power without Italy partecipation at the war is not possible and the fascist will be even weakened by the absence of the URSS in this TL, as without her there is not the big boogeyman for the enstablished order or the big hope for the socialist/communist.

    Regarding the relations between the italian goverment and the Holy See, well at least in OTL there were during the pre-war period some rapprochment expecially regarding the catholic partecipation at the political life and the support for the liberal govement; if the Partito Popolare is founded even here there will be an unofficial/official catholic party; plus both side wanted resolve the situation so it's very probable that some similar agreement will have been reached even without Benny taking credit for it.

    For Italy ITTL relations well both the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary will not be good as both are not really his friend, have a lot of interest that clash and the austrian are basically italy hereditary enemy...unfortunely for them they will not be in any shape to stir trouble just after the war, expecially against someone that still fresh.
    For Lybia, well the British OTL had done the bulk of the fight against the senussi because at the time they owned the great part of the territory where the Senussi lived and while i'm sure the Ottoman will stir trouble, they will be also be cautious due to the need to not really upset Italy, plus with no involvement in the great war mean that Lybia pacification will not be stopped and troops and resources not diverted from here leaving the place under arab and senussi control in the end.
    OTL Ethiopia had a civil war in 1916, due to an idiotic ruler and german attempt to bring her on the CP side (or at least start causing problem at the entente) and the British creating trouble due to the mentioned german move...if this happen OTL it's very probable that Italy will try to expand her possession there but not a full invasion as there still the need to be prepared if the worst happen; plus as for Lybia, in OTL full pacification of Somalia has been postponed due to the war but here will continue and ironically it will mean, as in Lybia, some collaboration with the British.
     
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  10. Historyman 14 Well-Known Member

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    Let's be honest here, Italy staying out of both wars is one of TL-191's weaker points. Sure, it goes well for Italy, but its never explain, nor given Italian irredentism and 4th Shore. I talked to @Joshua Ben Ari about it, and a few things.

    1: Italy might join in with the Central Powers when it becomes clear Berlin and Vienna are going to win, make some minor gains in France (taking Savoy, Nice, and Corsica), and some benefit from joining the Central Powers.

    2: Eritrea becomes Italian majority by the 1960s. (In 1939, Italian Eritreans made up just over 10% of the population, a massive jump from the 0.5% four years earlier. Same with Italian Libyans, who made up 12% of the population in 1939.)

    3: Libya is going to become the Fourth Shore, with Rome focusing on the successful colonization there, with all that oil to help make it a great power. Eritrea and Somalia are going to take a while for full Italianization.

    4: Dodecanese continued to be under Italian rule, but without any persecution of the Greeks, like under Mario Lago. It may be Italy also try and influence Greece and buck heads over the Dodecanese.

    5: Trying to invaded Ethiopia would be a major mistake, just as it was in OTL.
     
  11. Allochronian Well-Known Member

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    If Italy chose neutrality, then they would probably focus more on Ethiopia and probably successfully colonize it, compared to OTL. Relations between Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, and Italy would be polite but there would lingering tension. As long as neither country makes the first strike, then all is calm.

    Ever since the Kingdom of Italy conquered the Papal States, the Pope from Pius IX to Pius XI refused to recognize it and described themselves as "Prisoners of the Vatican". The newly formed Italian government passed the Law of Guarantees on May 13th, 1871, that gave the Pope status as a sovereign person with honors and privileges, free movement throughout all of Italy, free use of any church in Italy, an annual payment by the Italian government, and to be given control of all territory within the Leonine City in Rome. However, the law could be changed and abolished at anytime by the same government, thus not granting the Pope full independence.

    It wasn't until February 11th, 1929, that the Lateran Treaty was made by representatives of the Italian government and the Holy See that ended the conflict. The Holy See would acknowledge the Kingdom of Italy in return for the Pope to be given full independence, be given control of Vatican City and other extraterritorial buildings, be given financial compensation, and remain neutral in international relations unless requested to be a mediator by all parties.

    Mussolini did this not because he truly cared about the Church, but because it was a way to look politically attractive to the Italian Catholic population. Without Mussolini in TL-191, then the Roman Question is still not solved unless whoever is the prime minister does a similar treaty with the Holy See, with or without ulterior motives by the Italian government.

    It's not a question of forgiveness. The Popes were more than willing to forgive, but the Italian government was without remorse. It is important for the Pope to not be under control of a foreign government in order to freely function. Even to this day, the Pope is both a Secular Ruler of Vatican City (King) and a Spiritual Leader of the Holy See (Bishop of Rome).


    Pius XI would more than likely be very concerned about the successful re-installation of the Kingdom of France. Just like in OTL, he would be very critical of Fascism, even if he at first showed some sympathy at the idea of the state supporting Catholicism. Britain would be on his radar and make similar criticisms.

    On Fascism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_abbiamo_bisogno
    On Communism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadragesimo_anno & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rerum_novarum


    Your are correct in saying that he would feel more conflicted in handling both the Confederacy and the United States. Everything that you said in this quote is very plausible.

    On Racism and Anti-Semitism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_XI#Humani_generis_unitas & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humani_generis_unitas

    With all due respect to Turtledove, this line in the books really ticked me off to no end. Turtledove is a very opinionated person (Have you read his Twitter?), but he should know better as a historian. Contrary to popular belief, Pius XII did save Jews to the best of his ability. Had there been a strong public rebuke, he would have risked increasing lethal retaliation from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to both the Jews and to himself in OTL.

    I suppose that in TL-191, Pius XII does the same thing by working undercover with the laity, hierarchy, and other people in the North American continent to try and save as many Confederate Blacks as possible, while doing the same thing with the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the Jews in Russia/France/Europe, etc.

    Side note: Read up on Benedict XV and his Plan for peace during the First World War and how it may have influenced the war in TL-191. He also showed concern for the Armenians.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XV#Peace_efforts

    Another side note: Given that the Popes condemned socialism, I wonder how they viewed the Socialist Party of the United States and when Al Smith became the first Catholic U.S. President. Based on what little I've read, they were supportive of the idea of worker's rights, but not everything else.
     
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  12. Allochronian Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Photograph of Victor Emmanuel III


    [​IMG]
    Portrait of Victor Emmanuel III, 1913


    [​IMG]
    King Albert I of the Belgians (Center Left) and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (Center Right)

    [​IMG]
    Italian Royal Family
     
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  13. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Ho-ly shit! Albert I is a tall! He's a giant compared to Victor Emmanuel, I had no idea this guy was huge! That, or maybe Victor Emmanuel was a short guy? Either way, the height difference is crazy!
     
  14. FanOfHistory Banned

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  15. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    He was called "Sciaboletta" - "Little Saber" - by the Italian people apparently because of his short stature. Whether that was meant to be a compliment or an insult I guess up to anyone at this point. Next to King Albert I though, the height difference is almost comically hard not to notice.
     
  16. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    It's a slap in the face considering that a lot of the major players in TL-191 get a good mention here and there, fleshing out the world of TL-191 even more besides just focusing on the United States and the Confederate States. Brushing aside what's going on in Italy was a very, very questionable (if not an outright dumb) move on Turtledove's part, especially considering Italy's involvement in both wars. While it is definitely the lesser of the great european powers and its performance in both world wars was not that spectacular compared to other major players (which is weird considering Austria-Hungary handled itself poorly as well during WWI), the experience of Italy in the 20th Century is still worth discussion - by extension its experience in TL-191 is also worth discussing.

    Yes, I agree, if Italy was to remain neutral in the Great War in 1915 and in the Second Great War in 1941, there would have been massive diplomatic efforts to ensure some kind of compensation for its neutrality - "What's in it for me? What do I get out of this agreement if I stay neutral?"

    Triple_Alliance_Lustige_Blatter.jpg

    Italy joined the Central Powers as a way to guarantee support in case of foreign aggression - this turned the Austro-German Alliance into the Triple Alliance (which would eventually turn into the Central Powers Alliance), which compelled any signatory country to support the other parties if two other countries attacked. Most notably though it joined this alliance as a way to gain support for colonial ambitions in Africa - Italy also wanted to set up colonies and build up an overseas empire. And rake in that money, baby. It seems other notable reasons for joining this alliance can also traced back to the Congress of Berlin in 1878 after the end of the Russo-Turkish War that same year, when the Ottoman Empire was dismembered in the Balkans and where France was given the opportunity to incorporate Tunisia in the future in 1881, to the irritation of the Italians, who felt that Tunisia was a good candidate for a colony. Libya was offered as an alternative. The Italians protested regardless, but did not risk war, so the incorporation of Tunisia by the French went through. This was a contributing factor in Italy's decision to join the Germans and Austrians in their alliance.

    But this is where its alliance to Germany, Austria, and Ottomans starts to get complicated and tense - and this is where the idea of continued Italian neutrality in the Great War from 1914-1917 in TL-191 can be severely tested.

    If Italy was to remain neutral, the Central Powers would have had to guarantee the Italians some land as compensation - the problem is that I don't see the Germans, the Austrians, or even the Ottomans honoring that agreement, not for what Italy wanted in return for its neutrality. In fact, despite the Central Powers winning the war in TL-191 and potentially dismembering the French Colonial Empire, its very likely that Italy would not get much out of the negotiations...

    But if what you say about Article 7 for the alliance is true, then the most likely candidate for compensation for Italy would have to be Tunisia. Albania is under Austro-Hungarian rule in TL-191, or at the very least under its sphere of influence in the Balkans. If Italy doesn't get anything, then it has no obligation to continue the alliance with Austria, the Ottomans, and Germany... which would mean the Entente would try like hell to court Italy to join their side during the war.

    But this doesn't happen in TL-191. So, to me, something is missing from the picture here to make Italy convince itself that alliance with anyone is a bad idea - either because the Britain, France, and Russia are losing badly... or because Italy may be wracked by civil unrest because of the decision to stay neutral.



    ^^^ --- I believe this video by mister Niedel is very insightful for a brief overview into Italy's decision to join the war in our timeline. He brings up an interesting point that riots broke out over the decisions to stay neutral, especially since some Italians felt that it was an opportunity to get land back from Austria - all this relating back to the idea of Irredentism.
     
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  17. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Oh for sure, the relationship between the Italians, Austrians, and Ottomans, will be... difficult, to put it lightly even in TL-191.

    It can't be ignored, even in this timeline, that the Italians and the Austrians are historical enemies. The Austrians were the main enemy to Italian Unification, the big boogeyman that stood in the way of Piedmont-Sardinia's ambitions to unite the Italian Peninsula. And you're right - the Italians collectively fought 3 wars against the Austrians for the unification of Italy, fighting old regimes that in one way or another were under Vienna's influence. The fact that the Trentino and Trieste are still under Austrian control even in TL-191 would be a major thorn in everyone's side regarding neutrality negotiations. And I don't think the Austrians are going to give those territories up to the Italians.

    The Ottomans are also a potential sore-spot if the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912 still occurs in this timeline. Since Libya is assumed to be under Italian control, this war likely still happened. What complicates the situation for Italy if they stay neutral in TL-191 is the the number of Senussi tribes that refused to submit to Italian authority in Libya. It is likely the Italians will spend a great deal of their effort clamping down on uprisings in Libya in TL-191 for the duration of the war while dealing with potential internal strife over the decision to stay neutral. Without British support the fight will be tough against the Senussi, but perhaps without Ottoman support the Senussi in Libya might be a somewhat easier fight. "Easier" should be in quotations though. Perhaps the interior of Libya beyond the coast will remain an tamable frontier for the Italians.

    Actually the fighting with the Senussi could have the potential to bleed over into Egypt, right? That could create a very complicated situation for the British, Ottomans, and Italians.

    I will have to read up more on the East African situation in WWI for the Italians and for Ethiopia as well, so I can't really say anything on the subject for that at this time.
     
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  18. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Yes, given Italian Irredentism it would be hard for Italy to stay neutral, especially when its seems like its population in 1915 actually wanted to go to war. And given that same driving force it almost seems likely that Italy would go to war with Austria, like in our timeline. But this was not the case in TL-191.

    You make an interesting point here on joining the Great War late and trying to get land from France. Given that Savoy and Nice were originally part of the old Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia it could satisfy Italian Irredentism a bit. This would however put them in the cross-hairs of France's revaunchist movement down the line, when the Monarchy is reestablished. This would in tern technically put them on the side of the Central Powers. Not saying that all this is a bad thing though, its a hell of a lot more interesting that just sitting on the sidelines being neutral in this story apparently.

    You mention this idea of a "4th Shore". Can you elaborate on that more, what do you mean by it? It seems to imply a measure of Italian colonialism for a particular place.

    Your 5th point is very interesting, but a bit vague to me. Can you elaborate more? Is this implying the Italians would still try to invade Ethiopia as they did in out timeline? The 1895 invasion was of course a disaster for Italy and huge mistake on their part that caused them great humiliation. Are you suggesting that they would not try to invade again or are you suggesting that a second invasion sometime after the Great War would be equally disastrous?
     
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  19. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    And on building and maintaining their colonial empire I imagine. This means suppressing revolts in Libya perhaps, since the Sensussi would probably take up arms against them still in this timeline, potentially spilling over into Egypt.

    That is if the Italians can get their domestic unrest under control, if there is unrest in the country. I say this because apparently in the lead up to Italy's declaration of war in 1915, there were riots and demonstrations advocating for war, stirred by the Irredentist supporters. Continued Italian neutrality in TL-191 could potentially stir up more unrest and agitation at home, putting pressure on the government to take some kind of action.

    The issue of Ethiopia is, to me, tied to the games of empire the Europeans played against each other before the Great War. Even in TL-191 I think these "games" for Africa would still occur as they did in our timeline, with some variations here and there. Italian colonial interests for the conquest of Ethiopia would still tempt them, especially since the British encouraged it to keep the French out of the Red Sea. By the 1880's Italy was staunchly anti-French and colonial adventures into Africa would hopefully, at least in the eyes of the Italian Government, distract the public from their troubles at home post-unification.

    Like in our timeline, I believe the Battle of Adowa occurs in 1895, but the butterfly effects after the Great War will really start to sink in for this area of the world. Perhaps we are looking at a second Ethiopian war even without Mussolini and the Fascists advocating for it. Unsure really.

     
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  20. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    Hey, maybe a neutral Italy might be able to produce some decent tank! Okay maybe not, considering their industrial base and their economy even in TL-191, but a man can dream, right?

    But in all honesty, if Italy remains neutral, I think we're seeing a focus toward colonial type conflicts perhaps, in which vehicles and equipment are geared toward that kind of thing. Armored cars and specific kinds of tanks.

    ar27.jpg
     
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