Viva Balbo! – An Alternate Duce, an Alternate Italy

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Geekhis Khan, Jun 28, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Dec 15, 2008
    The vast cubicle steppes of Delmarvastan
    Viva Balbo! – An Alternate Duce, an Alternate Italy

    Prologue: a Controversial Legend Reborn

    “My eyes wander over this land for which I had pined with such longing, and pick out the familiar spots, houses, streets, clumps of trees, the long curves of the Sacred Isle…suffused with the golden glow of the setting-sun. It is the hour of nostalgia which is the theme of so many poets, the hour when a feeling of loneliness broods over the sailor, the hour that recalls gold-tinted landscapes that were the background of our dreams. After all our wanderings over strange lands and seas, we are gazing on holy Italy, the most beautiful country in the whole world… Slipping on my tunic and cap, I step from the pilot’s cabin on to the left wing. I see the Duce in his black shirt, his face aglow. I give the Roman salute. Then I leap ashore.” – Italo Balbo, My Air Armada, 1934


    Today as of the posting of this text, June 28th, 2009, marks the 69th anniversary of a fateful day in OTL history. On this day in 1940, at the dawn of Italy’s involvement in the Second World War, a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 three-engine bomber, identification I-MANU, was shot down by friendly fire while attempting a landing at the Tobruk airbase in Italian Libya. There were no survivors. The bomber had taken off on what was to be a routine combat reconnaissance mission, scouting for British raiders out of Egypt. However, the overloaded crew of VIPs and friends of the pilot brings up real questions as to how much of the mission was recreational in nature…or pointless adventurism. The pilot was Governor of Italian Libya and Air Marshal Italo Balbo.

    Marshal Balbo was a legend in his own time, a contradiction and an enigma. A Mazzinian Republican and former Mason, he proved critical in the rise of Fascist dictatorship in Italy. A modern-day adventurer, his exploits as a pilot brought him world fame – and the suspicion of his leader and comrade Benito Mussolini. Balbo flew boldly to his death in the opening phase of a war he opposed. He proved eerily prescient when, upon Italy’s entry into the war on Nazi Germany’s behalf, he warned that there “won’t be enough lamp posts to hang us all!”

    He was an incredibly skilled organizer. He built up the Blackshirts from armed mobs into a powerful paramilitary organization. The March on Rome may have been impossible without him. He built up the Regia Aeronautica to one of the world's largest air forces despite the industrial limitations of his nation, only to hand it off to far less competent people after his promotion/exile to the colonial governorship of Libya by a jealous and frightened Mussolini. Balbo quickly turned Libya from a desolate backwater into a model colony and, given another ten years, might have successfully forged it into the planned "fourth shore" of Italy.

    A passionate Germanophobe and open friend to the Jews of Italy, he angrily and publicly opposed the alliance with Hitler, whom he considered a threat to world order, and likewise opposed the Anti-Semitic Laws of the late 30’s, which conflicted with his very nature. He foretold that the "Axis" would prove the doom of Fascist Italy. He advocated partnership with the UK and US. He was a vocal critic of many of Mussolini’s policies, though he never wavered in his duty to the "Chief" even after their falling-out. While Mussolini ran on self-doubt, fear, and paranoia, Balbo ran on a burning self-confidence, vanity, and an almost juvenile love for adventure and daring.

    However, he was not without weaknesses of his own. His vanity made him crave the public limelight that insecure Mussolini abhorred. His boldness got the better of him and led directly to his OTL friendly fire death over Tobruk (to this day conspiracy theories abound as to Mussolini's involvement, though no supporting evidence has appeared and a great deal of opposing evidence has been found). His love for show helped feed the great bluff that was the Italian military and many of his strategic plans were more adventurous than strategically sound.

    In all, a Balbo Italy offers some truly interesting counterfactual what-ifs. This ATL will have the assassination of Mussolini and Ciano via anarchist bomb set up Balbo's rise to power and chronicle the Balbo reign as Il Duce. I've seen a lot of speculation, even a couple of TLs, on a "smarter Fascist Italy" that doesn't tie itself to Hitler or commit the more egregious OTL blunders. Interestingly, Balbo offers one such scenario. Many of the OTL mistakes will be avoided in this TL, but new, different ones will be made.

    Currently my primary sources include Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life by Claudio G. Segre (a detailed and balanced account; the definitive English text on Balbo from what I can find - there's a good preview on Google Books for those interested), Fascist Eagle: Italy's Air Marshal Italo Balbo by Blaine Taylor (a good primer with some great pictures, though a little too laudatory), Mussolini and his Generals: The Armed Forces and Fascist Foreign Policy, 1922-1940 (Cambridge Military Histories) by John Gooch (good and neutral scholarly overview of the Italian War Machine and strategic/diplomatic concerns), Mussolini's Intellectuals: Fascist Social and Political Thought by A. James Gregor (for the politics and philosophy of Italian Fascism), and Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945 by R. J. B. Bosworth (a good, if rather hostile and damning account of life under the regime). I have also managed to obtain via inter-library loan a rare vintage copy of Balbo’s own My Air Armada, translated by Gerald Griffin, which covers his transatlantic armada flight from Rome to Chicago and back in 1933. It’s a wonderfully poetic and adventurous insight into the thoughts and self-image of the man himself. I also appreciate any additional recommendations anyone can give.

    Balbo was a larger-than-life character. Nothing I write here could be more unbelievable than his OTL experiences. His fame and charisma were such that, after his death, he was praised openly by friend and foe alike. The British honored him post-mortem even while formally at war with his nation. America, who greeted him as a hero after the Chicago flight, celebrated him in life and death. To this day a street in Chicago bears his name – to continued controversy.

    I should make note, however, that this ATL is not intended to be an “Italo-wank”, nor is it intended to be apologist or revisionist. While the sins Fascist Italy may have paled in comparison to those of their Nazi allies or Stalinist enemies, it remains a regime of totalitarianism, secret police, anti-democratic philosophy, unabashed imperialism, and ethnic superiority.

    Dr. Segre, in his definitive English language biography of Balbo, sums my feelings up nicely: “As his contemporaries found, and as my sources, written and oral, testified, he was a likable man blessed with intelligence, charm, courage, enthusiasm, and humanity. He was also a pillar of a corrupt and cynical regime, a friend and collaborator of a demagogue who led his nation to catastrophe…the reader may at times succumb to Balbo’s charm and fascination as I did. Nevertheless, I have not forgotten the real nature of the regime that Balbo promoted and served so well – and I hope the reader does not either.”
  2. Sergio Van Lukenstein Well-Known Member

    Ooo! Your first "serious" TL. This looks like it's going to be good!
  3. Jimbrock That's Sir Jim to you

    May 16, 2009
    Centre of the Universe
    I hope that Balbo's Italy will be better than Mussolini's. Even though Mussie's Italy was not AS bad as you may portray it, I think Balbo could lead to a stronger, if still undermocratic, Italy.

    On the other hand, is it possible not to have Ciano killed too? He was a *relative* moderate compared to Mussie and would be a useful character. Also, I assume from some comments that you have read Italy 1936 and An Empire Reborn? I'm looking forward to it. Viva Balbo!

  4. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Sep 26, 2005
    This can only be good. I'm eagerly looking forward to it! :)
  5. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Dec 15, 2008
    The vast cubicle steppes of Delmarvastan
    Thanks! I'm looking forward to making it.

    Thanks for the interest!

    To address your questions, this Italy will certainly be "better" than Mussie's, for one because Balbo won't chain himself to Hitler and two because Balbo wasn't the paranoid power-fiend with an inferiority complex that Mussie was. While not exactly democratic, this Fascist party will be more hands-off as Balbo's OTL behavior was to work more with existing power structures (in Ferarra he allied himself with the land-owners and industry barons). Balbo also hated bureaucracy, which will create some difficulties with the entrenched corporative state Mussie put in. While Balbo came from a Republican background OTL he really seemed to enjoy being in charge.

    And yes, I'm very well aware that Fascist Italy was nowhere near as bad as Nazi Germany or Stalinist USSR, but it was still an oligarchic dictatorship with secret police and political prisons. ATL there will be many repercussions from some of the party's more egregious political, enthic, and imperial actions (pre- and post-POD) which will remain controversial into the "present day". I jokingly considered subtitling this TL "a kinder, gentler machinegun hand", but decided against the anachronism stew approach. :p

    As for Ciano, while certainly more moderate than his father-in-law, he also absolutely hated Balbo, saw him as a bitter threat and rival, and was probably more cunning in playing politics (as witnessed by his politically shrewd marriage to the boss' daughter!). His journal was full of venomous attacks on Balbo and his policies, and was only once semi-appreciative...the day of Balbo's death. There's a reason most of the (frankly groundless) conspiracy theories surrounding Balbo's death name Ciano as well as Mussolini. Ciano and Balbo would end up in a bitter power struggle which, at the moment of the POD (late 30's), might very well lead to the collapse of civil order at a critical time. Instead, Balbo will end up relying more on the likes of Grandi and de Bono. Besides, the nature of the assassination will be a plot point in its own right, and unfortunately it won't just be political demagogues who fall victim to the attack.

    That said, I'll give it more thought. Ciano was an interesting character in his own right and conflict is drama...assuming said conflict doesn't derail the TL, which is my fear in this case.

    I've read 1936 I believe (is that the one now on the Timelines board?) and enjoyed it, but missed Empire Reborn. Got a link? I'm always curious.
  6. Herr Frage Jesus Christ Is In Heaven

    Sep 19, 2007
    Behind a black gate and to the left of a grove
    Empire Reborn is the post Mussolini continuation of 1936. It is posted on Longvin's writing den, there is a link in my signature. Also the Extras secvtion has some IU pieces, visuals, and maps(some by the author other by forum members with author approval).
  7. DValdron Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Interesting. Balbo sounds altogether more focused and competent than Mussolini. So it will be interesting to see which way things go.
  8. statichaos Liberal Hollywood Elitist

    Jan 20, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    This looks awesome. I trust you to avoid fascistwank, and to show the good/bad balance that you promised.
  9. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Dec 15, 2008
    The vast cubicle steppes of Delmarvastan
    Thanks, all. And thanks for the link, Herr Frange.

    I'm on vacation starting Tuesday, so the next post will be in a week or so. Subject: the Balbo Legacy!
  10. Gwendolyn Ingolfsson Ordnung des Neuen Templars

    This looks to be marvelous. I am eager to see what you have to offer. I'm among those who have always felt that Balbo would have been 10x the Duce Mussolini was. At the very least, he would have avoided yoking Italy to That Austrian Freak.
  11. lothaw Texan Nationalist

    Dec 18, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    Italy during this time period has been something of a hobby of mine lately, so this timeline looks to be interesting.

    Mussolini himself was popular in America before he started cozing up to Hitler(albeit some of that was reflected glory from Balbo's hero status). This very well could be a timeline where Fascist doesn't equate to bad guys. As you said, Italy's sins did pale compared to Germany's, even if Hitler did use Mussolini's rise to power as a rolemodel.

    When did you plan on having the assassination? Certainly would make a difference. 1939 would almost seem to be too late to derail Italy from being aligned with Germany along with Balbo's diminishing influence as he was opposing the increasing relations between the two nations.

    Around 1937 would work pretty well I'd think. As for Ciano I'd say keep him around. His contempt for Balbo doesn't mean the two can't work together, and if they do butt heads, as you said, more drama.

    Of course I see this going two ways. Either Italy remains neutral, or jumps in on the allies side once the war's going down hill. I could actually see a Five power agreement with Italy occuping Austria and eventually setting up another Fascist state there.
  12. Gwendolyn Ingolfsson Ordnung des Neuen Templars

    Saayyy....wouldn''t it be nice if oil was discovered in Libya soon after Balbo takes power rather than in the 1950's as IOTL? It certainly wouldn't hurt to have the new Duce preside over a booming oil economy.
  13. lothaw Texan Nationalist

    Dec 18, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    We've been over this before... they knew it was there, they just didn't have the heavy machinery or the technology to build said machinery, to get to it.

    Only power in the world who did was the US. Even the popular Balbo, who is still by definition a dictator, landing cutting edge equipment from the US is skeptical to say the least.
  14. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Dec 15, 2008
    The vast cubicle steppes of Delmarvastan
    Thanks! Hope you enjoy it.

    The plan is 36-37. I actually have a specific OTL assassin picked out. I'm reevaluating Ciano's fate. Any other opinions on Ciano?

    As for Fascism's fate post-war...well, that's a whole plotline in and of itself. ;)

    I have a plan for the Libyan oil, and no, it won't be discovered pre-war. OTL they never seriously looked for oil until the late 30s (under Balbo, actually), and by the time exploitation could possibly have begun even best-case the war put an end to that. As for hesitation by the US to support a dictator...well, it happened plenty of times OTL. Particularly with Ike on if said dictator was anti-commie. That oil will play a BIG role eventually.
  15. Herr Frage Jesus Christ Is In Heaven

    Sep 19, 2007
    Behind a black gate and to the left of a grove
    I am in agreement on the oil, there is much money to be made; however it will be decades before the technology and funding are right to properly exploit it. In the meantime they should focus on implementing the Demographicas.

    The Yankees despite a sanctimonious front have never really been shy about supporting dictators if it served their interests. That really makes them nio different than any other powerful nation, they just act like they are different.

    Ciano dying seems to convenient for Marshal Balbo. Rather I say he sghould survibe but be incapacitated having been injured in the assassination. Limit his ability to prevent Balbo from taking power, but keep him alive to be a rival that Balbo has to tolerate, at least for a while.

    My hope is that the Savoy monarchy survives. It would be awesome for that dynasty to be able to boast a millenium of rule in the 21st Century.
  16. Germaniac Live from a Library Cubicle

    Jun 2, 2008
    Atheocracy of New Jersey
    Balbo was also EXTREMELY popular in the United States. He was vastly important to the large Italian communites in the United States. He was also slightly favored by Roosevelt
  17. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Dec 15, 2008
    The vast cubicle steppes of Delmarvastan
    The oil will be exploited sooner than OTL, but not much sooner. Mostly the result of earlier organized exploration without the post-war chaos and revolution.

    On Ciano, I was considering exactly that as an option. The nature of the attack was part of the reason why his fate was sealed in my original plans, but severe injury is an option that allows for intrigue without derailment.

    Oh, and the Monarchy is safe ITTL. Young, revolutionary Balbo would have killed it, no doubt about it. However, older Balbo the Politician was very close to the Monarchy and he became a close friend of the King OTL.

    Very much so! Still a street in Chicago named after him. In '33 after the Transatlantic flight he met with FDR and complimented him on the "Fascist" nature of his New Deal policies.

    By he way, thanks to insomnia you are all blessed with the next chapter a week early! :D
  18. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Dec 15, 2008
    The vast cubicle steppes of Delmarvastan
    Introduction: the Balbo Legacy

    “I am the first to step on the square at dawn…It is a Mediterranean dawn welling against an azure sky, and stabbing it with sharp spears of light. Then the east assumes a bright indigo hue which dissolves into bleeding tints of aquamarine, emerald green and deep crimson. It is the mystic hour of matins when from remote and lonely cloisters angelic voices greet our Lady, the Star of the Sea—the hour of heavenly dreams—the hour when little children in their sleep converse with the angels. It is a dawn which inspires us with visions of the distant land of promise towards which we are about to fly—a land from the spires of whose cities festive carillons greet us.” – Italo Balbo, My Air Armada, 1934.


    The Air Armada leaves for Chicago

    They descended slowly over the city, seeming to hover like alien space ships. Twenty four aircraft flying in Vees of three. These were the legendary Savoia-Marchetti SM.55X flying boats. Their design was at once unique and iconoclastic: boomerang-like wings, twin catamaran hulls, push-pull engines in a single raised nacelle atop the wing centerline. A Norman Bel Geddes dream made solid.

    It was the evening of July 15th, 1933. The place was Chicago, Illinois, United States of America. The event was the Century of Progress fair. The origin of this otherworldly air armada was not Venus, but Rome. The lead plane, I-BALB, was at the point of the first Vee. Its pilot, the armada commander, was then Air Minister of Fascist Italy Italo Balbo.

    They flew first over the fairgrounds and navy pier and then turned into the wind. Their forty three American fighter escorts flew overhead in formation spelling out the letters "ITALY". The dirigible Macon floated slowly overhead; other planes flew in acrobatic loops and dives. The Vees of SM.55X's landed one after the other on the glass-smooth waters. It was a grand entrance, one that showed to the world the might and majesty of the up-and-coming Italian nation. While other nations wallowed in depression Italy's economy was vibrant and growing. While other nations wrestled with civil strife Italy had (apparently) attained order. While other nations fought for their identity Italy basked in Neo-Roman glory.

    Balbo was welcomed as a hero, honored with the key to the city and a ticker tape parade. He and his fellow atlantici were showered with gifts, parties, and accolades. Cheers of "Viva Italia! Viva Balbo!" erupted from the throats of the city's adoring Italian-American population, along with, to the consternation of many, a few Fascist salutes. "I was profoundly moved and waves of emotion swept over the room," Balbo said of the adulations. A street in Chicago still bears Balbo's name. Balbo was even honored by the Sioux nation with a headdress and the name "Chief Flying Eagle". Additional accolades awaited in New York. He even accepted an invitation to lunch with President Franklin Roosevelt, whose policies Balbo compared favorably to Mussolini's. Eventually, a full Roman Triumph awaited him back in the Italian Patria.

    "In the end, it is always Chicago," Balbo wrote in one of the last few chapters of his final autobiography, "That day, that culmination, was the day that stands above all others as greatest in my life." He has a point. Despite all the great achievements of his life: Blackshirt Quadrumvir, Air Minister, Libyan Governor, and finally Duce of the Fascist state, no other event was so grand and glorious, so daring and dashing, so utterly Balbo as the Century of Progress flight.

    Flight in 1933 was a new and dangerous affair. Transoceanic flight was the stuff of legends catapulting those who achieved such into instant deification in the public eye (witness Charles Lindbergh). Balbo did one better: he led a wing of two dozen aircraft not once but twice across the treacherous North Atlantic. Only two aircraft of the original 25 were lost, one in Amsterdam on the way to America and one in the Azores on the way back. Two men were killed; that such a relatively "small" price was paid for such an audacious risk is a testament to the skill and planning that went into the venture.


    The Route and Aircraft of the Second Atlantic Flight

    The second transatlantic flight almost serves as preview for Balbo as Duce and world leader. The audacity and bravado of the flights masked the months of careful planning and preparations that went into them. The vanity and pomp of Balbo's public appearances conceal the cooperation and delegation of duty to his fellow atlantici, upon whose expertise Balbo as an average pilot and navigator relied. His bombastic presence overshadows the careful, calculating mind of a natural organizer with an attention for detail. The audacity, organization, and sheer presence that made the transatlantic journeys a reality, skills which served him and the party well in the organization of the Blackshirts and the March on Rome, would continue to serve him well as Air Marshal, Colonial Governor, and Duce. The daring that led his armada through ice storm and fog would lead his nation through the war. The organizational aptitude that planned out and executed the complicated armada would help forge a modern nation out of a struggling monarchy. The cult of personality that graced the newsreel screens of the thirties would grace the icons of the post-war Fascist state.

    Meanwhile the personality flaws that dogged the flight would haunt the later Empire. The vanity and bravado that drove the flights would, much like his predecessor's policies, continue to put public facade before practical accomplishment. The sometimes foolhardy daring that nearly lost the entire flight in the icy fogs over the North Atlantic nearly led the nation to disastrous war with his Soviet enemies. The fickle moodiness and select blindness that led him to conflict with his friends and rivals nearly cost him everything in the coup.

    To study Balbo is to study Fascist Italy. From a boy who dreamed of adventure sprang a pioneering aviator whose audacious Mediterranean and Atlantic flights brought international attention to Italy. From Mazzinian Republican roots sprang a Fascist revolutionary without whose organizational aptitude the March on Rome may never have succeeded. The brutal Blackshirt who helped organize the March on Rome would build the ailing Regio Aeronautica into a marvel of Fascist achievement, the violent and inhospitable Libyan desert into a model colony, and the nation of Italy itself into a regional and economic power in its own right. The republican who became a dictator who set the stage for the Italian Republic of today. The radical revolutionary who courted the reactionary powers-that-be. The organizer who ran the nation like a well-oiled but overbuilt machine, yet couldn't prevent the eventual breakdown of the corporative state. He was a man whose strengths, persona, life, and achievements embodied the grand principles and hidden shortcomings of Italian Fascism.

    In the following chapters I will explore this mythic and controversial figure, his strengths and weaknesses, his achievements and failures, and through him cast light on the mysterious and often contradictory nature of Fascist Italy itself. I will explore how a nation that inspired Hitler could end up opposing him. I will explore how a nation that created the New Colonialism could end up so central to contemporary decolonization efforts. I will explore how a nation founded on achievement and organization and unity of purpose could end up harboring so many diverse socio-political viewpoints. From its tumultuous rise to its quiet, almost nonchalant fall, through the torrents of the war, the controversies of Abyssinia and Nai Yisroyel, and a laissez faire approach to authoritarianism, we will explore the theories and realities of Fascist Italy through one of its principle and most colorful of personalities, the second Il Duce Italo Balbo.

    Introduction to Roman Eagle, the Biography of Italo Balbo by Giuseppe Bosco, PhD., Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Chicago.


    The Armada in Chicago

    Protests, Counter-protests Rock Balbo Celebration

    Patria Square, Rome, June 6, 2009 (AP News) - opposing groups of protesters disrupted this year's Balbo Day celebration, an annual and controversial ceremony sponsored by the Italian Fascist Party and celebrating the observed birthday of Italo Balbo, second "Duce" of the Italian Fascist state. Socialist political groups, Ethiopian and Rastafarian groups, Pan-Slavic organizations, anti-Balbian Jewish groups, and various ethnic minorities were among those who marched against the quasi-official celebration. Such groups have protested the event for the last few years with protests gaining size and momentum with each New Year. This year the protests reached the largest size yet and were met with an almost equally large counter-protest from Fascists, Fasci organization, nationalists, veterans' groups, pro-Balbian Jews, and conservative political groups.

    "It was terrible," said Fascist party official Mussolini Ferrara, "while we understand that there are those revisionist elements who dislike our national hero, it is utterly abhorrent the way they disturb such a solemn event. While I and the Fascist party remain instruments of peace, brotherhood and order such anarchic behavior makes one sympathetic to the heavy-handed tactics of the past."

    The protestors themselves called the event "a celebration of violence, hatred and imperialist aggression." Said one protestor who identified herself as a Libertarian Socialist, "He was a thug. A blackshirted thug who used the cudgel and the boot to oppress the worker. Yes, he fought Hitler, but so what? A thug is a thug, even one not quite blind enough to overlook the machinations of a bigger thug." Said Slovenian National Bojan Jakovljevic, "I was born Bonito Giordano. That was the name the Fascist occupiers forced upon me. My very blood they tried to take away from me!" Said Shlomo Klein of the Hebrew Youth Front, "I don't care what the Elder [Jews] say, Balbo was no friend of the Jew! You can call those camps a 'rescue' all you want. Babylon is Babylon. If anything, he was complicit in the Nazi genocide. Without Balbo there would have been no 'Final Solution'!"

    Counter-protestors held opposite views. "Yes, regrettably Marshal Balbo and his compatriots had to resort to some...strong means to save the nation from Marxism and Anarchism," said Fascist Minister Italo Cabrini, "but to ignore the great deeds he did for our nation in war and in peace is to deny the very soul of the [Italian] Patria!"

    "Complicit in the Holocaust?" said Rabbi Israel Samet of the Zion Defense Council, there by invite of the Fascist party, "What is wrong with these kids? Balbo saved the Jewish people from utter annihilation! Have they not read Hitler's book? Read the Nazi files? Hitler would have killed us all like he killed so many were it not for Niew Yisroyel!" He then revealed a number tattooed on his inner wrist, adding: "Babylon? These kids have no concept of what Babylon truly is!"

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was more reticent: "Yes, Marshal Balbo had some regrettable past actions, but in total we the Italian people cannot forget his courage and fortitude in the face of the great threats to this nation. He was a product of his times but also ahead of his times. He and the Fascist Party not only rescued our nation from disunity and poverty but elevated us to international power status and brought our nation the recognition and honor it now holds. In the end Balbo Day is about the heroics and honor and pride of the Commonwealth's people, and any Italian, Libyan, Jew, Somali, or indeed Berber should take pride in that."


    The Air Armada on their way to Cartwright, Labrador, from Reykjavik, during the longest (1500 mi) leg of the 1933 flight to Chicago.

    Thread Title: WI Mussolini Survives?

    redmon43: I read once how that guy that killed Mussolini nearly got caught at the airport, or something. WI Mussolini survived assassination? I heard he wanted to form an alliance with Hitler.

    Ednaht: Great, this again! :rolleyes:

    BalboBoyBlue: Actually quite possible. There were elements even after Mussolini’s death that favored siding with the Germans, Farinacci in particular.

    Benito333: Easy: Mussolini joins the war. While Hitler’s panzers swoop out of the Ardennes the Italian army sweeps across southern France all the way to Bordeaux. Balbo, whose still governor of Libya, sweeps across Egypt and takes the Suez. Since they outnumber the UK forces like ten to one at that point it’s a swirlie. After Dunkirk and Suez Englands forced to sue for peace. Eventually Russia gets invaded, but maybe with the extra manpower from Italy they take Moscow. This could change the whole war!

    redmon 43: so, Hitler-splooj?

    Quadrumvir: To Ben333: um, no. Sorry, but that won’t happen. First Italy doesn’t have the tanks or logistics for that. They’ll get bogged down in the mountains of Savoy and run out of fuel and water before they reach Alexandria, none the less Suez. Don’t confuse the RE of 1940 with that of 1944.

    Benito333: Compadre, seriously! Ten to frugin one! Besides, Balbo knew desert logistics. He set up the Via Balbia, right?

    Quadrumvir: That was a relatively small group of workers who never moved more than a few miles a day. In an invasion you’re talking thousands of men, hundreds of vehicles, all coordinated, all needing to use a handful of inadequate roads. Sure, they’d cause some problems for the Brits until reinforcements could arrive, but in the end the Brits overrun Libya. Besides, once the RN secures the Med it’s game-over supply-wise.

    kriegsmariniac: what about the italien navy? they were like bigger then frances and they would be able to hold back the RN long enough right?

    Torah Torah Torah: What, a few out-of-date Battleships? They’d be a pain, but send the Ark Royal and it’s kaput-time for the RM. And no, they were never as big as France’s navy.

    Corvette454: I herd once that the RN planned to sink the Italien fleet in port at Taranto. Could they have done that?

    kreigsmariniac: no way the italiens would see that coming. their not gonna be asleep at the wheel like the americans were.

    Benito333: To Quad: look, I think you underestimate Balbo. We’re talking a major advantage in numbers. And I agree with Krieg: the RM would hold the sealanes long enough. While the Italian Tanks were fewer and smaller than the Matildas and all, there were enough of them. Remember, the Yanks did well enough with shitloads of Shermans.

    TankGrrl: guys, we’re forgetting the post-Balbo build-up. Maybe Mussolini builds up the RN and the Libyan forces the same way, but if we follow the same patter pre-37 there might be even fewer tanks and men in Libya. They might also be mostly the old Tankettes. Remember: the general feeling was that Will triumphed over Equipment in the end. The IJA thought the same way and see where it got them.

    BalboBoyBlue: Good point TankGrrl. The IJN comment brings up another point. What if Italy does join on the German side? How does this affect the Pacific? Would the UK pull a bunch of ships and troops from Malaysia? If so, what happens in 41 when the Japanese attack?

    Torah Torah Torah: Either way, it can’t be good for us Jews. Seriously, does a pro-Hitler Italy do squat for us?

    Benito333: Maybe in that case you’d see the Madagascar plan.

    Torah Torah Torah: Or the gas chambers three years earlier!

    kriegsmariniac: please that was a desperation move caused by the war was going bad. never happens otherwise.

    Adminiac: Alright people, don’t start the Final Solution arguments again or I’ll shut this one down too. Stay on topic. Watch it, Torah, Krieg. That’s Warning 1 and 2, respectively.

    BalboBoyBlue: Seriously, what about Southeast Asia? Do the Japanese take Singapore?

    VOC: Sure, right after they invade Maui, CAQL!

    Corvette454: Oh hell, there goes this thread.

    Endaht: Danger! Danger! Pinnipeds in the Channel! Pinnipeds in the Channel!

    JAGOFFicer: FAYLE!!

    redmon43: Hey, no! I liked my thread. :(

    JAGOFFicer: welcome to the boards, virg, caql.

    From the message boards

    Explosions Rock Tripoli

    Tripoli, Libya, Italy April 14, 2007 (New York Times) – The streets of Tripoli, capital of the Italian province of Libya, were shaken today by a series of coordinated terrorist attacks. 14 were killed and at least dozens more injured when at least four attacks by car bombs and suicide bombers shook the city during the lunch hour. No group has yet claimed responsibility, though Italian authorities have blamed Arab-Berber terrorist group Ikhwān al-Aghlabid, who have been responsible for several such bombings over the past decades. Past attacks have targeted Italian police and military personnel, the oil pipeline and the civilian population.


    The Armada in Flight

    Certainly [Balbo] was born at the wrong time and yet at the exact right time. He was a man of the past, a knight errant, a wild hussar, a Columbus, a Garibaldi, and yet it was always to the future he looked. For my uncle life was always to be an adventure, ever forward, damn the torpedoes, boldly into the unknown! Of course he made mistakes, dreadful mistakes, ones that nearly cost us both our lives. But if fortune favors the bold then it was certainly Her wings that carried him through life.

    He loved life, loved his family, and loved his people. Perhaps most, he loved Italy. Not merely the land and the culture, but the people, the very idea of Italy. And that was what kept him going forth.

    There are those who will call him a tyrant, an imperialist, an oppressor, but they do not know him as I knew him! They know not how he fretted over the fate of the lowliest farmer or factory worker. They do not know the sacrifices he made for Italy and the world. Would the world be a better place without Italo Balbo? I think not!

    From The Last Duce by Nello Quilici, 1984
  19. Gwendolyn Ingolfsson Ordnung des Neuen Templars

    Nice. Ooh, looks like the next part has been posted already! *readreadread*
  20. Tobit Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2008
    Those are really great pictures! I also like the alternate version of

    The question is will anyone take a barnstormer seriously?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.