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

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

  1. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    North Italy
    While civil unrest due to the irredentist/interventionist/nationalist will be severe as in OTL, frankly it will pale compared to the social unrest and consequences of the war and will die out after a little while, never reaching the level of the Biennio Rosso; said that no compensation will also mean the liberal party wrecking itself in a political civil war between neutralist and interventionist.
    No respecting of art.7, even with some colonial compensation taken by the French or British like Tunisia or Malta will basically mean an official death of the Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, sure Wien (that was already thinking of renege the proposed agreement about compensation in OTL the moment the war was over) and Berlin can thought that such alliance with Italy postwar will not be important and with a certain degree of reason; still i expect a big crisis between Italy and Austria if this happen and frankly A-h will be in a bed shape due to the war and Germany population will not surely want be involved in another war for A-h sake.

    Albania will be an enormous sore spot between A-H and Italy due to the strategic position and frankly the only way that i see Italy get along with this, expecially due to the fact that in OTL at least she controlled Vlore and surrounding in 1915 due to the collapse of the Albanian state; it's an exchange of Albania and Montenegro regarding the sphere of influence.

    The situation in Lybia can create incidents and tension between Italy, the British and the Ottoman (and Italy will still possess the Dodecanese as i don't think Rome will give them up if there is no compensation) due to the Senussi revolt; still Italy is the only fresh great power and nobody will want press to much expecially due to having more important internal problem, plus Regia Marina will be at least the second navy in the Meditterean.

    Ethiopia will not probably invaded, still i expect Rome to try very hard to increase her economic influence in the zone and reach somekind of agreement with Abyssinia regarding the Somalian border, basically this

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italo-Ethiopian_Treaty_of_1928 but 10 year earlier and if there is somekind of civil strife in Abyssinia maybe slightly more favorable to Italy (but not by much).

    Frankly i see the Entente trying to buy italian alliance or at least benevolent neutrality/support by giving them some colonial and cultural concession (basically what given in OTL plus the Italo-French treaty of 1935 ); still Italian neutrality in even the second great war will needed some concession from the CP and due to the previous behaviour the payment will need to be up front and a little more of what offered in WWI, expecially due to the fact that i don't see A-H survive much after the second great war and Italy will press greatly for concession...and honestly by this time even Berlin will be too tired to continue to support them with blank check after blanck check.


    No Benny mean also no idiotic economic management done by the fascist and the industrial groups like Ansaldo will be keep in a shorter lash, sure they will be given sweet contract...but with less blank check even due to the possible scandal and pubblic opinion reaction; plus any other goverment will have a lot less hard on over autarky. In all probability we will have the same type of tank of OTL but done with better material and with welded armour instead of riveted.
    Regarding italy focusing on type of weapon necessary to the colonial conflicts, well war with A-H will be always in the mind of any politician and military planner, relations will not be good and many in Wien will think that a 'short and victorious war' against the last big problem to the Empire will solve everything
     
  2. Historyman 14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    In the Land of the Ancients.
    Staying out one war is no issue. Staying out of both, and not being explain is.

    Pretty much. You made good points about Pius XII and him calling out the revaunchist nationalists of the UK, France, and Russia. A Alpine between Italy and France would be interesting to see.

    The 4th Shore was basically Mussolini idea of turning Libya and Tunisia into a part of Italy and to be as Italitan as Florence and Milan. (With Dalmatia, Montenegro, and Albania, was planned for Italian expansion as the Third Shore.) It also played into Mare Nostrum, Our Sea, by Italian nationalists. (Mussolini wasn't the first who wanted to revive the Roman Empire. He's the one who want all out trying to do it.)

    They have far more to win by putting Ethiopia under political and economic influence. As in OTL when Italy invaded, it lacks any draws for Italian setters (no significant mineral/petroleum deposits.) an large population, an long history of independence, and rugged terrain that would lead to problems in Italian expansion into the Highlands. It would be a waste of resources and it would be harming its international status and prestige, and its stability at home.
     
  3. Historyman 14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    In the Land of the Ancients.
    If Italy does join the Entente, and so when they are beaten, you see heavy reparations, Veneto (with Friul) independence under a new Kingdom of Venice, military limitations. It would be a heavy blow to Italian irredentism. Italy might even be force to sell Eritrea and Somaliland to Ethiopia, Germany, or even...Austria-Hungary, if only to pay off its war debts, and war reparations.

    Any dictator or leader that rises after the first Great War would look at Italy's defeats (1896 against Ethiopia, the Great War against the Central Powers) and realize that Italy needs a crash course in industrialization and a far better military. So by the early 1930s they'd have a force to be reckoned with (think how Germany improved their armed forces). They could test them out in Libya and in Spain.

    XXX.

    I doubt very much A-H and the Ottomans can survive the Post Second Great War world. They days are number, and this is when Italy can act. Italy would pull it own 'peacekeeping' operations to 'help' the Dalmatian Italians when A-H goes up in flames as well as Trentino and South Tyrol, among others.
     
    lukedalton likes this.
  4. Allochronian Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    originaltimeline
    Assuming that Italy does what they did in OTL (joining the Entente Powers), the end result would be negatively severe with war reparations and land cessation. I'd imagine Mussolini would still show up and do the same thing he did in OTL, albeit with more popularity with the Italian population and with more intense plans to make Italy powerful.

    The TL-191 future of both Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire has fascinated me, since we are not given much detail on how and what they are doing. For Austria-Hungary, even if they were on the winning side, they would still realistically be experiencing inner turmoil with the different ethnic groups that made up the Dual Monarchy. I'd imagine that the proposal to federalize Austria-Hungary would be reconsidered and eventually passed by the Emperor Charles, whom in real life genuinely wanted peace from the war. I imagine that by the time of the Second Great War, the Austrian States/Greater Austria/etc. would not want to be involved and let Germany deal with its own problems. Although, I do see it having problems with a Fascist Italy...

    Now, for the Ottoman Empire, I did have an idea to talk about how it becomes a Petrostate to survive. Whether oil was discovered in OTL Iraq or OTL Saudi Arabia, this would have allowed the Ottomans to build up a greater influence in the international community, instead of being looked upon as the "Sick Man of Europe" who is about to keel off at any moment. They would still have problems with the Arabs for their desire for independence, with the international community for the (more successful) Armenian Genocide, and with some progressive younger Turks who want to get rid of the monarchy, but with all that wealth created from the oil, they Empire would stabilize and the quality of living would increase for most Ottomans, but they will become dangerously addicted to all that Black Gold.
     
  5. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    Here are some possible alternative small-arms designs for Italy in TL-191. Three of them are actually Italian, and one is Lithuanian.

    OG43SMG.jpg
    1308317839.jpg
    1308317810.jpg
    1308317877.jpg

    ^^^ --- Armaguerra OG-43/44 SMG. Experimental design that was never put into mass production. The OG-43 had a very modern design and was made out of stamped parts, while the OG-44 had a more traditional wood butt-stock design.

    ---

    tumblr_o1i7ibKMoa1tevf1do1_500.jpg
    tumblr_o1i7ibKMoa1tevf1do6_500.jpg
    tumblr_o1i7ibKMoa1tevf1do8_500.jpg

    ^^^ --- M1941/42 Sasso. Experimental design that was never put into mass production. Only a handful were produced and given to selected individuals.

    ---

    b44b663d078868fb8b93554c67f61baf.jpg

    ^^^ --- Vladas M1992 SMG. A post Cold War Lithuanian design. Although this one is not an Italian design and out of the time period being looked at here on the thread (post 1990), I just really the look and design of this gun. Has a very vintage look to it that makes it seem like it could an older gun. Perhaps machine-pistol designs can be looked at by Italy during its neutrality phase.

    ---

    1412.jpg 1412-1.jpg

    ^^^ --- Fucile Armaguerra Mod. 39. Experimental Italian semi-automatic rifle. Only a few hundred were produced during WWII and saw service with soldiers in the Italian Social Republic.
     
    pattontank12 and cortz#9 like this.
  6. cortz#9 Obrltnt of Kampfgruppe Seelöw

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Fucile Armaguerra Mod. 39. with Tromboncino Model 28 Grenade Launcher.

    Gun=Fucile Armaguerra Mod. 39. w Tromboncino Model 28 Grenade Launcher.jpg
     
    Alterwright likes this.
  7. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    Oh, nice addition here! So I imagine that this is a side-mounted rifle-grenade launcher then? Had no idea the Italians actually had rifle grenades for their guns. I always assumed that they could not afford to put them on or did not have the time to properly equip their units.

    Hell, I didn't even know they were even designing their own semi-auto rifle until recently. you learn something new everyday.
     
  8. cortz#9 Obrltnt of Kampfgruppe Seelöw

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    My understanding is that they didn't get all the bugs out of it before Italy was invaded but yeah its a pretty impressive weapon, especially for Italy.
     
    Alterwright likes this.
  9. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    Seems to be the running theme with Italy - those "oh that's a good idea, too bad it never saw action" weapons and equipment.
     
    cortz#9 likes this.
  10. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    Here are a few more Italian sub-machineguns. I won't be including the Beretta Model 1938 here though.

    FNAB-43 Submachine-gun: vvv

    Expensive to produce due to the manufacturing process involved to make the parts, only around 1,000 were produced and were distributed to German and RSI Italian units during WWII. It could accommodate a 10,20, or 40 round magazine.

    6b3e90af0614f56aa4ebab0534867507.jpg
    FNAB_Mod1943-1024x353.jpg

    Variara Submachine-gun: vvv

    A unique weapon produced entirely by Italian partisans, its internal design was copied from the Sten Gun and had a 30-round magazine. It is not known how many were produced during WWII.

    image.jpg

    These are two of the guns I found interesting, especially the last one.

    However, I think a discussion about the weapons used by Italy indirectly relates to other topics as well, such as its capacity to produce such weapons and the materials available to produce them.

    Which kinda begs the question - Can a neutral Italy in TL-191 produce the weapons it needs to protect its neutrality? How far was Italy off in being prepared to go to war? Without a war, does this mean Italy is able to outfit its armies sufficiently, or are we looking at problems that will still continue to plague the army? Who would the Italians expect to fight if war was to break out?
     
    cortz#9 likes this.
  11. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    North Italy
    Italian production will much depend on his access to resouces and in TL-191 even the continental North America is engulfed in the war, this mean having only access to the South american market and other tidbits (like Swiss, Spain and whatever A-H and Germany can barter)...so while thinks will not be bleak, there will not be much to spare. OTL Italy was totally unprepared for the war due to the fact that had already spent a lot of resources in Spain and Ethiopia and she was not a rich nation with much to spare
    The big change in Italy is no fascism, so we will have 20 years of total different economical, cultural and political evolution and we are talking of an Italy that had not lost more than a million man in the war and indebted herself till the 70's to do it, plus idiotic adventures like partecipation in the spanish civil war and the invasion (and pacification) of Abyssinia will be butterflyed away...even if in case of Ethiopia i can see a limited conflict due to previous tension.
    All that mean that Italy will have more money for the armed forces and less incentive to give giveaway contracts to various industrialist to make them happy to support the regime, plus there will be no reason to exacerbate the interservice rivalry to avoid creating alliance against the Duce or promote only yes man and all the little thousands things that are usefull only to keep the armed forces to coup you.
    Not that there will not be problem, in all probability there will be the same problem of OTL, just not so exacerbated by the fascist for various internal and ideological reason and with a more realistic approach about Italy military capacity.
    Basically the italian army ITTL will be a little smaller (no horrible binary division reform) and with a slighlty better officers corps, somewhat better equipped (at least better version of OTL equipment or/and built with better material) and with slightly lesser problems between services.
    Biggest changes will be for Regia Marina, with the Caracciolo class battleships built and probably an aircraft carrier.


    The enemy depend on the evolution of the relationships of Italy with the rest of the world and in TL-191 there is litteraly nothing about that, IMHO the primary target will remain A-H (and the Ottoman Empire) with France as a second expecilly if an authoritarian and aggressive goverment take control of her; at this we must add the very high probability that Italy will try to snatch some territory at the last minute from the loser (or a very tired and troubled winner)
     
    Alterwright likes this.
  12. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    Yes, and its that same concern over resources that has me questioning how Italy can survive being neutral in two world wars without going through a few social and political upheavals. In our timeline in WWI, even the Dutch were feeling the severe crisis that neutrality brought them, dealing with refugees and food shortages due to the warring nations fighting in the waters off its coast, its cargo ships being sunk in the process. Italy may go through the same crisis when it comes to shortages of food and materials during the Great War of 1914-1917, especially since at the time it cannot produce some of the goods its needs - it has to import. Question is of course who would trade with them when the world is engulf in war in TL-191? I agree that perhaps they situation may not be that bad, though question for me is who they would be trading with consistently and willingly. As a Central Powers aligned nation, who in South America would have time to trade with them?

    In both wars I'd say Italy was totally unprepared, but it seems in our time line the Italian Army in WWI manage to sort out a sufficient number of its problems to more effectively fight the Austrians - this is probably due to the fact that they were fighting closer to home and better managed their production to produce weapons of proven reliability and ease of manufacturing. Whatever happen in the WWII, Italy was in a far worse state to fight than it was in WWI I believe...

    Without Mussolini and Fascists running the show, the number of foreign wars they become involved in shrinks for sure, which means that they can save the precious amount of resources they do have and use it for something else. I still stand by the idea of Italy being a nation that enforces "armed neutrality" in TL-191, massing troops on the border with France... and with Austria-Hungary (just in case).
     
    Historyman 14 likes this.
  13. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    North Italy
    Oh even during the period of neutrality there have been strike and riots and even during the war due to the scarcity of food and coal for civilian use, but honestly all paled to what happened after the war; basically i expect political violence but it will remain in the manageable side without the war even because without a lot of men in the army the food production while not covering all the national necessity will not decrease in a catastrophic manner and coal internal production greatly increase during the war to at least support importat.

    In South America the more willing to commerce with Italy, at least for food and other not war related material will be probably Argentine, Brazil and Uruguay...with their massive italian presence refusing to sell food will cause political problem and frankly being part of the big boys mean also having little more leeway than nation like Norway and Netherlands regardings imported quantity, expecially if neither side want to bring her in the other side; plus it's probable that Spain will try to form some neutral block with Italy (tried in OTL but the italian goverment was already in discussion with the Entente about entering the war) and possible Greece (if she not enter the war or something like OTL happen)
     
    Alterwright likes this.
  14. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    North Italy
    Well things for Italy in TL-191 can have gone in this manner:

    - during the first great war Italy and A-H with German support come to an agreement about italian compensation for a benevolent neutrality for the CP
    - at the end of the war Wien found excuse to not respect the treaty and even take control of Albania (probably except Vlore that was, at least in OTl, under italian control due to the collapse of the national albanian goverment), no compensation at the expense of the defeated Entente either...war almost start but Germany still step up for A-H (even if not entirely happy).
    -Italy officially end the membership in the CP and relations with A-H and Germany become cold but alone can do nothing, on the other side A-H have not the strengh to launch a war against Italy and Berlin will not help in this case as it's already annoyed to have been involved in this situation in this manner.
    - This developement end the Liberal age in the italian politics with the liberal party greatly seen as too weak to protect italian interest; the socialist and the christian popular are the new dominant party, with the far left of Gramsci and the far right of Mussolini being powerfull but not enough to create a goverment alone and more or less in par with the remnants of the liberal party
    - Lybia is finished to be pacified in the immediate years after the Great War as no involvement mean having time and resources to end the colonial conflict.
    - In the interwar period, both France and UK try to bring Italy on their side with some colonial 'gift'...basically OTL concession (border changes at the Algerian and Tunisian border with Lybia, the rest of Cyrenaica, the strip of Azouzu, Jubaland, minor border rettification of the Eritrean-Djbouti border, cultural right for the italian in Malta, a share of the Djbouti-Adis Abeba railway, favorable rate for the passage of ships on the Suez canal). This effort are moderately succesfull with Italy seeing more and more as a potential new member of the Entente.
    - At the start of the second Great War there is a socialist goverment in Italy, at the moment a little uneased at the thought of a formal alliance with the Kingdom of France and Mosley's Great Britain...so when Germany and a very reluctant A-H offer a deal to keep neutrality they decide to accept, but only if the transfer is immediate and some more territory is obtained from the original agreement in 1915 (Monfalcone, the island of Lagosta and a more favorable border in Trentino)
     
    Alterwright and Historyman 14 like this.
  15. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    @Allochronian - I'm just putting this here, since I feel its also relevant to this thread as well. In a way I feel like the popes, as both spiritual leaders of the Catholic Church and as Italians they would have something to say about whats going on in the US and CS.

    Thank you for doing the research on this one. Its been fascinating to read.

    You know after reading a little about the popes from this time period and speculating on how they would react to a Confederate States of America throughout the years, I'm actually quite fascinated by it. Its as if these popes could be their own character in a Turtledove novel in this timeline. They would basically act as commentator on the Confederacy and the Untied States in a way, an outside view of how the US and CS are doing morally in the eyes of a spiritual leader of an entire faith. Really fascinating stuff.

     
    President Earl Warren likes this.
  16. Allochronian Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    originaltimeline
    Thank you, Alterwright.

    I am actually very passionate about Papal history and everything related to it.

    Turtledove, unfortunately, has not really portrayed the popes in a fair light, much less in a positive manner. The only probable exception would be in "Through Darkest Europe", but that's a different story for a different time. I decided to actually do something about it and add plausible (more accurate) details about how the popes would act and react in TL-191.
     
  17. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    I foresee this as playing out similarly to what happened in the Netherlands (Holland) in WWI - in Italy's case, given the volatile nature of the groups involved plus the tension between the various factions, it will probably play out violently either way.

    Neutrality for Holland in WWI sent the country into chaos, its economy taking a dive, food supplies running low, riots breaking out in the streets for more food, and refugees pouring in from Belgium to seek safety.

    You make a valid point in saying that Italy might fair a lot better politically and economically speaking if its leaders do not decide to go to war - granted this will still be a consequential decision in the short run as the government would have to crack down on nationalist and socialist factions all clamoring for a war or for some kind of change. Given the mood in Italy in WWI from what I've read, I'd say the decision to stay neutral would be an unpopular one still, through and through. The situation can be alleviated of course in TL-191 through trade with other neutral nations or Central Powers aligned nations in South America, but the U-boat campaigns in the Atlantic, plus the fighting between the US, British, French, German, and Brazilian navies might make commerce on the seas vulnerable to attack, thus putting pressure on Italy still.

    Again, in the long run the decision to stay neutral may be good for Italy, but it has its major consequences as well.
     
  18. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    Interesting points here. So, you think that Italy choosing to stay neutral would sour relationships between it and Austria-Hungary in particular, plus upsetting the Germans as well. After the war, possibly in the early 1920s, Austria decides that Italy did not honor the spirit of the Alliance and felt no need to honor its part in the agreement, taking land in Albania while Italy gets nothing as compensation since it did not fight along side them, further souring relations between the two countries.

    As a result Italy leaves the Central Powers Alliance.

    I think either way to see it, the Italians and Austrians are never going to see eye-to-eye. Italy would covet lands that the Austrians still possess and Austria would be damned if its going to give it up - creating a possible flashpoint for a future war that Germany would be keen to keep an eye on.
     
  19. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2018
    Location:
    California, USA
    You know its interesting that you brought up James Longstreet as being a secret Catholic in that post since 1877. I had no idea. In our timeline he converted after encouragement from a southern Catholic friar named Abram J. Ryan apparently. Its interesting. Perhaps his circumstances for converting were different in TL-191. He'd certainly have to keep it a secret though, especially in a country as anti-catholic as the Confederacy. Perhaps if his choice of reading material got out in the public it would cause a scandal in the Confederacy, labeling Longstreet as a "papal puppet".

    I quite liked that bit. It implies a certain level of diplomacy and intrigue between the Papacy and the Confederacy under Longstreet, gray as it all was. I think if anyone was willing to talk diplomatically as president of the Confederacy though, it would be Longstreet. Even implying a personal conflict and him being relieved that Blacks in the Confederacy were no longer slaves (but still unfortunately second class citizens) was pretty interesting read too. No doubt Leo XIII would make every effort to press for more change under Longstreet's administration.
     
    Whiteshore likes this.
  20. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    North Italy
    Speaking of OTL, relations between Italy and A-H were hardly good and by any pratical mean the alliance was dead...plus A-H never had the intention to honor the proposed agreement, that was about mantain a benevolent neutrality towards the CP and ITTL will be very probable the same, as private documents of the foreign minister showed.
    The only reason that war will not start will be the fact that Italy will fight alone against A-H and Germany and they know they can't win; Berlin will try to mediate but Wien will never bulge as their foreign politics can be summed in: demand everything and give up nothing. In the end Berlin will side with A-H but it will put strain in their relationship, the Kaiser will have put his assurance over the treaty and again A-H had almost bring her in another war.


    Not really, neutrality was the position favored by the greatest part of the population, it was just that the interventionist were very very loud and aggressive in their campaign and have the support of the president of the council of minister of the time. Sure that Italy will suffer but probably much less than OTL...we were on the verge of famine, with controlled blackout to save coal and energy, etc. etc.
     
    Alterwright likes this.