Mussolini and the Second World War: the story rewritten by readers

(To David Rossi)
05/08/19

If you've wondered how Benito Mussolini would have ended up if he hadn't made the crockery to mimic Adolf Hitler, look at what happened to Francisco Franco and Antonio de Oliveira Salazar: born in 1892 and 1889 respectively (while the Duce was 1883) are remained in power from the 1932 to the 1968 and, in the case of the Caudillo, from the 1938 to the 1973. Both died peacefully two years after giving up the government. The Portuguese leader has even brought his country among the founding members of NATO and EFTA.

Unlike the founder of fascism, Salazar and Franco maintained their neutral country during the Second World War, despite the pressures of the German National Socialist leader and - in the Spanish case - while bordering on the Germans-occupied France.

Simple demonstration of common sense: then as today, it is a virtue that is lacking to our leaders, who behave like actors in front of the world, trying to imitate the protagonist of the moment even though they do not have the talent and lack the virile courage to deny themselves to the crowds.

Adelchi Massara: the Duce dies in his bed

The Munich conference has just ended and Mussolini feels once again that he has put Italy to the test. Von Ribbentrop courted him by promising him exclusive control of the Mediterranean in the event he sided with Germany. In Italy the consensus is at very high levels and even the protests of some circles for the pettiness of the racial laws annoy him more than a lot. He has other things to worry about. The new AOI (Italian East Africa, ed) is infested by rebels, but the Duce is convinced that the army can solve the thing. Even the intervention in Spain seems to be proceeding well, but progress is slow, even with the help of Germany.

Mussolini, with the (bland) international sanctions, begins to worry about how much these wars are costing him. He can only get angry when no one knows how to give an answer. Things do not change when he finally receives the estimates. The most cautious (or optimistic) indicate over twenty billion lire. He is not an economics expert, but Mussolini does not calm down. And while he maintains relations with the French ambassador to reach arrangements in Africa, Ciano and other members of the House of Fasces and Corporations set up a false spontaneous action extolling the unredeemed territories of Nice, Savoy and Corsica. Mussolini, who is taking advantage of the Italian-French rapprochement to negotiate, decides to have had enough of this amateurism. It obliges Ciano to apologize to the ambassador, guaranteeing that Mussolini is completely opposed to these initiatives. Then, he begins to dismiss and dismiss all those who were seen as unfit for his goals. Ciano is saved as his son-in-law, but among the excellent victims there is Achille Starace, guilty of incapacity. Involuntarily, this move brings Mussolini closer to the petty bourgeoisie's sympathies, who most of all wanted to avoid another war. Mussolini notices this. He is disturbed by the fact that the Italians are not yet the warrior people he hoped for, but he understands that once closed with Spain, Italy will have to catch its breath for some time.

At the same time, Mussolini begins to feel cheated by the reports his secretaries, assistants and minions provide him every day. Everyone painted an ideal picture of the situation, but it took so little to shatter it. A series of large-scale inspections is ordered in the administrative, economic and military fields in which nothing is left unexplored. IRI in particular is sifted from top to bottom. The checks go on for months and this only serves to make Mussolini understand how little control fascism has over Italy. He is not even heartened when reports arrive: waste, corruption and incompetence everywhere. The situation is disarming. But Mussolini feels himself a man of action and part of the attack. Makes every expert in the country scrape together and put them to work. These are not enough and strongly stimulate the opening of schools for industrial middle managers, of which Italy had a severe shortage. It also sends delegations to Germany and the United States to acquire licenses and production methods. He even hires some foreign advisers, such as Field Marshal von Blomberg, in exile in Italy. Thanks to these Mussolini understands for the first time how humiliating the backwardness of the Italian army is. On this occasion, von Blomberg spreads out that for Germany war is inevitable: the economy would not survive otherwise. The Duce feels deceived by the Führer.

It is not enough yet and, swallowing bitter, Mussolini calls to action numerous entrepreneurs linked to Italo Balbo. If this is what it takes to stay in the saddle, so be it, although it must lighten its anti-Semitic policies a lot (some of them were Jews). The Spanish civil war ends and Franco stalling on reparations to Italy, but not with Germany. Mussolini then niche about the Steel Pact, but does not hesitate to give Hitler an absurd list of supplies "necessary" to Italy to fight with Germany. Hitler satisfies a small part of it.

In the 1939 Germany invades Poland, then France. Italy, in the background, quickly invades Albania, but declares itself "non-belligerent" and does business with both sides. The same pose is assumed by Spain, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, Iraq and Iran, which begin to see Mussolini as their spokesman with the great powers. After Stalingrad, Mussolini renounces all alliance with Germany and begins to negotiate with the Allies. Hitler is furious and attacks Italy. The northern cities are bombed, but the Wehrmacht is unable to effectively conduct a mountain war. At the end of the year the Allied contingents arrive and the counterattack starts. Romania, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia are jointly employed / released. The Soviets take Berlin in March 1945. Japan surrenders in July.

Mussolini, among the big winners, dies in 1951 at 68 years. Italy is still a kingdom, powerful but authoritarian and backward. The dictatorship will soon be replaced by Balbo and Grandi by a semi-democratic and liberal regime, supporting economic growth and social reforms with Libyan oil and aligning with the West.

Samuele Rigo: the civil war in Germany and the Mussolini-Stalin friendship

It was at that moment that Mussolini looked out of the window and fainted and then recovered. Galeazzo Ciano worried jumped up from his seat and asked Mussolini: "Duce are you okay?"

Mussolini rubbed his hands over his face and replied: "Don't worry Ciano, I'm fine just thinking about Monaco."

"Duce did what needed to be done and couldn't do it better," Ciano smiled.

Mussolini then nodded: "Yes, the game of that painter with a mustache".

"Hitler Duce?" Asked Ciano stunned, but Mussolini continued the monologue: "Not to mention those two fools".

"Daladier and Chamberlain Duce?"

"Ye goddam Ciano you were or you weren't present!" The dictator thundered in one click he will say.

Ciano had gone pale but said nothing about Mussolini, who in the meantime was pressing: "Duce! Duce! At least you know what it means! Comes from the Latin Ducere, Condurre or guida! And I find myself being guided instead. But I'm not there, I can't stand being guided! Especially from a potato-eater who takes advantage of me! "

Mussolini had become purple and had begun to shake his fists like a child. "But I know what he wants there. Guerra, and he will do it, but not with my help! "

But this time Ciano replied "But Duce the Germans are strong, they have the lightning war will be over in a few months and we will win."

Mussolini snaps on the seat and look at Ciano with a glare: "Go to hell with him and his lightning war! What the Italian people want to take advantage of is the Duce of me! To use us! No. It won't happen, not until I breathe! "

Mussolini turned back to the window and with a firm voice said, "I'll fix that Hitler!"

Mussolini through secret agreements outlined after the Munich meeting succeeded in establishing a correspondence with the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, professing himself as opposed to further enlargements of the Reich that could threaten the already precarious stability of the European continent. But Neville Chamberlain did not particularly believe him by rejecting any agreement that could establish a mature alliance with Italy, continuing the appeasement policy. On the contrary, the French minister Daladier, who was very happy with this change, offered Mussolini an agreement that included: a free port in Djibouti, a control of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, a shared control of the Suez Canal and the preservation of Italian culture in Corsica as long as: it would have publicly deployed from the Allied side in case of war and that it had held the demilitarized Italian-French border.

In 16 March 1939 Hitler from the Prague castle declared Bohemia and Moravia as a German protectorate, thus concluding the pincers around Poland. The reaction of France and England was strong and this time it was also accompanied by Italy, which in the 31 March together with France and England declared itself the guarantor of the Polish state, obtaining French concessions.

Hitler began to place troops on the border with Italy between the Brenner and Treviso, indicating the Italians as "Verraders" and planning a future invasion. In the meantime, Mussolini was in great secrecy of Hans Oster's plan, a Wehrmacht general who was willing to create a coup to overthrow the Nazi regime in Germany while maintaining sovereignty as a free state. This is why the 15 in April Mussolini secretly met Hans Oster in Bern in Switzerland, establishing support for the coup.

The 27 April the Wehrmacht within the Reich chancellery and the main headquarters of the Nazi party arresting the party members. Hitler took his life before the capture. On the same day, I became Chancellor General Ludwig Beck who announced the liberation of Germany from the Nazi tyranny. The change provokes strong political instability bringing Germany to the civil war.

Mussolini found the situation in his favor and took the opportunity to create a favorable government in Germany as had happened in Spain.

Stalin found Europe's open doors to its expansionist aims by invading Poland 8 September 1939. Sure that England and France would not have intervened because of the civil war in Germany which now served as a barrier to an Allied intervention. On October 31 Poland surrendered.

Meanwhile Mussolini continues his territorial expansion by attacking Albania on October 7 and annexing it to the 15. France and England condemned the incident but did not take military action to avoid destabilizing Italy in favor of the Soviet union that would attack Germany.

At this point Mussolini prepared a great invasion of France by strengthening the army and taking inspiration from Hitler's former armored divisions and increasing military infrastructure. He also made secret arrangements with Stalin for a pact of belligerence over Germany. But his expansionist aims were stopped on 10 in May 1940 when by order of King Vittorio Emanuele III he was arrested as a traitor to his country in favor of the Soviet Union with the approval of France and England.

Enrico Ghisolfi: the Duce and the perfidious Albion

Thinking seriously about the responsibility to drive this season, the Duce, who had just arrived in Rome, was summoned by the King and summoned the Council of Ministers. Here is the summary: the situation marches towards war, with Germany, against France and England. It must be prepared for it: sooner or later it will burst. But far more important than war preparation is the political strategy: which must keep us equidistant from the Reich, above all to keep us free people. And, without prejudice to economic cooperation, to clarify with the ally what "parallel war" means, distinct objectives, distinct interests, distinct destinies for each. Italy will take the field but not subject to German selfishness, with its own theater of action: the Mediterranean. The people are gradually being prepared and the national production of every good must be planned.

The best divisions of the army are soon sent to Libya for training and military exercises. The same Libyan bases and those of the entire peninsula are strengthened. Alerted the navy that must soon refuel and refine tactics to accompany convoys, instruments to intercept possible enemies, organize, on a radio base, the coordination of the aeronautics.

What military goals do you set?

The Mediterranean sea, closed by entries and exits in foreign hands, must be forced. It must become "mare nostrum" once and for all. Here are the objectives: to play in advance on Suez and Malta. Not anything else! Taking these cornerstones, we will return to discuss.

What losses, if any? Italian East Africa, left to the heroism of its defenders, the possibility of being bombed on our soil, an enemy offensive in Piedmont, Liguria and perhaps an attack on the few troops deployed in Albania. To take into account the keeping of the British army, with its supplies from the Commonwealth, the desert theater, to which one is not accustomed, the distance to send the commissions, the human losses. To reinforce the issue means, worn by the African and Spanish campaigns.

At the international level the situation is increasingly delicate. Months went by, Germany set its sights on the Gdansk corridor; alliances, previously signed, jump in favor of the rule of the strongest.

The Duce is discouraged by the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact: there is something below which is not clear and is afraid for Italy. All skip the 1 September 1939. The invasion in a few months dismantles Poland. France and England are in vain opposition. This is the case for Denmark, Norway, Holland and France. It's Italy? The Duce breaks the 10 June of the 1940.

Immediately, while maintaining a defensive attitude with the French border, the army of Africa attacks the British on the border between Libya and Egypt. Thanks to the previous preparation, the fortifications carried out and the lack of preparation of the British generals, all aimed at saving the remaining army in invaded France, the Italian army enters Egypt and, despite several setbacks, manages to enter deeply into it . Meanwhile, bombings in Malta and British convoys make connections difficult. The successes in Egypt, the withdrawal from Europe of the armies of His Majesty, the impending battle of England, provoke the Italian General Staff to launch itself into the capture of Malta, already prepared for some time. We are in the spring of '41. The Duce orders the action: the Folgore division is on the island, a thorn in the side of the Mediterranean, after a long bombardment.

It is one of the bloodiest battles. The 50% of staff is halved. The saboteurs of the navy undermine the port, while the Italian battleships open fire on the fortifications. The British rescue convoy from Alexandria is engaged in a tough naval battle in which the fast Mas once again avoid the worst. The landing craft, with so much effort, land. The company arouses astonishment in the world. But after fifteen days of local water guerrilla warfare, despite the loss of an enormous number of men and vehicles, the Italian flag flies on the islet. Churchill tries to lighten the grip and pushes the Greece that will attack in Albania into the conflict, but the war runs aground in a clash between the mountains.

In Egypt, the Italian army marched and passed El Alamein, after a major arrest battle, arrived in Alexandria. A new event will help Italy: the revolt of the Muslim people, who acclaim Benito Mussolini, protector of Islam. This will disrupt the rear of the entire Middle East, threatening the British presence. Certainly East Africa has fallen with the honor of arms, but Italy on the Nile bodes well.

At the end of the 1941, the port of Alexandria is Italian, the enemy battleships are taken or sank, Malta is Italian and troops in Greece have no supplies. A violent attack is attempted by Sudan but new Italian troops block it on the director of the Nile. The revolt of the Egyptian troops confuses Great Britain. The marina reaches Suez on which the Italian flag is hoisted. The Mediterranean is Italian and you can reach the Indian Ocean in connection with the Empire of the Rising Sun.

Britain asks for peace. Italy accepts the separated peace, mourns the fallen, and undertakes to administer the new provinces. It maintains a strong line of independence from Germany. In Europe, a surreal peace is established while waiting for armies to catch their breath, while the United Kingdom is working for the United States to go to war. The Atlantic Wall is the border between Germany and Great Britain.

In the East an interested peace sees Russians and Germans looking at each other suspiciously, running to enter the Balkan powder keg. The showdown is only postponed.

Mussolini and Vittorio Emanuele III are welcomed with all the honors and greeted by the peoples as builders of peace. It is the 1943.

Sergio Pession: the German ally wanted by destiny. Or not?

I'm returning from the Munich Conference ... everyone celebrates me and cheers. I enjoy the confidence of nothing less than President Roosevelt. Even Winston Churchill, usually impervious to deception and flattery, trusts me. Pius XII celebrates me, like his predecessor after all. Hitler ... the man of the moment ... he elected me his master. And yet ... in my heart ... I know that all this is just a dream. But not one of those that comes true thanks to ardor and determination, but that stops at a rude awakening. I would like to bask in his uterine embrace, letting myself go safe and comfortable along the river of history and finally flowing into the ocean of immortality ... but what my eyes see, what touches my hands, what my ears hear, not I can and I must not ignore it. I cannot for myself, for my country, everything for the Italian people.

The deception that actually forced me to Hitler will not last. That vampire is as charming as it is greedy; a cesspool that will ruin Europe, Germany ... all. A monster worthy of a novel, but in flesh and blood that is growing, feeding on hatred and terror, to the point of engulfing and corrupting everything and everyone. I can only feel admiration for him, but following him will only bring ruin. Opposing him, too, is not wise.

The Germanic people are strong and cohesive under their Kaiser, and the war machine they dispose of will engulf and crush every opponent, including Italy. In the enchanting Kufstein, I looked into his eyes and saw the Abyss. The Abyss saw me and I felt like a hunter in the savannah, facing the lion ... a few steps away and with a shotgun. We looked at each other ... I was at his game and he was mine. Stir you to thrill to attack and hit and in this I must, in spite of myself, agree with Ciano? I couldn't wait any longer for it, but I didn't see Deladier and even less in that wreck of an embarrassing Chamberlain past, neither strength nor wisdom. France and the United Kingdom are not ready, and the German lion's hand holds me too inviting.

What to do then? To aspire to greatness once and for all and accept, or close yourself like a hedgehog, lowering the sails and waiting for the storm that is about to fall?

After Monaco I think it's clear, not to Chamberlain, but certainly to my friend / opponent Winston, that I'm just a puppet spokesman for the Nazis and this regrets and overly offends. But this I have been, despite the easy triumphalism of those who believe in peace by all means. The card of diplomacy in the future I will not be able to play it, neither with Winston, nor with Hitler, with whom I have dared too much. Italy is not ready for a new conflict as is the United Kingdom, not yet, nor the Soviet Union.

At this point I wonder if we are at least ready to resist Germany. Soon a rich portion of Czechoslovakia will end up in the jaws of the Third Reich.

In the near future it could touch Bolzano, Trento ... who would prevent Germany from retracing the borders of the peninsula a century ago? Nobody. No one is trustworthy, and no one would move to our side. Has France perhaps helped the Russian Empire? And the United Kingdom? He uses? False smiles, beautiful words, while exploiting, plotting plots and always thinking only of their own interests.

Is Hitler a powerful and evil dictator? Sure, but at least it's genuine. He loves his country and is ready to do anything to raise his head to the German People. And I'm not far behind. The Soviet Union slumbers, France basks and the United Kingdom silently sharpens the knife that at the first opportunity will slip into the liver of those who hold out its side without hesitation. No ... they will not move a finger for Italy, as in Monaco they have not moved a finger for Czechoslovakia. They will do what they have always done ... they will throw tasty baits at the Germanic lion to direct them to the east, to what their enemy always knows: Russia. They did it in the past, they are doing it again now.

I wonder, if Hitler had mentioned an Anschluss of Belgium, how would France have reacted? But who cares about Czechoslovakia? Why not? Even Prague one day? A comfortable corridor directed to the Soviet Union that diverted the Germanic appetites far from the land of Champagne. And coincidentally, Stalin was not even invited to the Conference.

It's clear. France feels safe, strong as it is of the momentary military superiority and grandeur of the border defenses. The United Kingdom is an island with the powerful United States behind it. My homeland is just an annoying European appendix stretching into the Mediterranean and populated, in their eyes, by the pathetic remains of centuries-old medieval disputes and an empire that has dominated Gaul and England.

It is thanks to Rome that those barbarians wash and walk upright. Have they forgotten it? No, how could they, otherwise how would they hold so much resentment and contempt for the Italian people?

Then, all right, let the resentment become terror and that contempt becomes respect; let us throw ourselves into the fatal embrace of the Germanic lion. Or not?

Nicholas Pecorella: the value of neutrality

Difficult to do so, missing some events that he lived, like his brother's death. That said,

1938 - the return flight from Munich is the most important moment. I stop to think about the contrast with the Royal Family, the guerrilla war in Ethiopia that does not stop while the Spanish war drags on beyond all expectations. Italy is not ready for a new European war, barely avoided now but on the way. How to prepare?

In Italy mending relations with the Savoy. Monaco changed everything, Paris and London would not accept another path. Avoid racial laws. How to challenge the British Empire by hitting the most active and cultured community in the country? Why widen the gap with the Ethiopians, help Haile Selassie and London? In Europe, for the moment, the approach to Hitler continues. The country is not ready for a new conflict, the alliance with Berlin will cover us from the British and French whims. Finally wait and wait.

1939-Relaxation with the Savoy proceeds well. The King has understood that I do not want to drag the country into the abyss and Prince Umberto is therefore isolated. In Addis Ababa the Duke of Aosta is successful in reducing the guerrilla war without the racial laws, the partisans of the Negus are aggressive but the population is falling apart. The Spanish War ended with Franco's victory, the Mediterranean is a Fascist Sea on paper. We continue with German politics even if Hitler shows that we cannot trust taking Prague. I answer by taking Albania. Finally, the war in Poland and declared Neutral Italy.

1940-The culminating moment: France is on the brink of the abyss, London asks for the mediation of Italy but I refuse. In secret, I invite London to resist, I guarantee neutrality in exchange for the end of support for the Negus and some economic concessions. Berlin is at the door but I guarantee resources: London cannot starve Germany if Italy leaves the path to the Mediterranean open.

1941-Hitler fears that London will drag the US into war and try to prevent it by attacking the USSR but will not win. He can not. Neutrality pays off when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and Roosevelt takes the field. Two years of peace have allowed us to make up for a little financially.

1942-Neutrality. The German difficulties play to my economic advantage while I wait for the American car to start grinding.

1943 up to 1945-In exchange for French Tunisia, I choose to fight with the Allies until the inevitable victory. The economic power of the United States cannot guarantee anything else.

Once the war ended, with Europe and the British Empire in ruins new prospects emerge. With Yugoslavia and Spain I look for a dialogue to create a neutral block, a sympathizer of the USA without putting me directly against the USSR.

1947-Leave the Government before the decolonialist thrusts explode and burn what I created and my image in a completely different world.

Alessadro Bedini: Dr. Stranamore speaks Italian

The war has become a matter of time and the nation is far from ready, the economic crisis has been going on for about ten years and shows no signs of improving. Germany will soon be against everyone and Italy will have to side with it. Militarily it is not ready. The stocks are not enough for even a year of war.

The lira is devalued by 80% and is offered to the Germans to use Italian factories to build their weapons. The factories will be constantly supervised by German technicians and will be built according to their projects. In exchange, part of the arsenal will remain in Italy and goods that cannot be found will be exchanged due to the embargo. In exchange, Italy gets to remain neutral should Germany enter the war.

Agip is financed to prospect in Libya and Ethiopia. White paper is given to make the colonial experience fruitful and Cyrenaica is rich in hydrocarbons. The construction of chemical plants for oil refining and the production of MTBE is financed. Germany is not self-sufficient and its stocks depend too much on the US and the USSR to be able to strike a blow against the British.

It is the 1939 the economic plan has been approved and the construction of factories and plants in Libya has begun. Enrico Fermi is given the funds to build the first Italian cyclotron based on what he could see in America. The entire group of via Panisperna is given a blank check to turn their research on particles into weapons. Although reluctantly they have understood that the discovery of fission with slow neutrons can lead to power plants that will make it useless to extract oil from Cyrenaica and potentially weapons.

In September of the '39 Germany and the USSR invade Poland, sharing it after only 3 months of fighting. Italy remains to watch, the factories are now at full capacity. The first experimental installation of Fermi in the Murge is built, if something should go wrong the area would be far enough from the main population centers. The British order the Italians to stop trading with Germany or to tighten sanctions. Mussolini sends a reply telegram to Chamberlain with the words "I'm used to the lion mix". The British do not understand.

It is the 1940, the Cirenaica and Fezzan plants are active, the Iplom refineries in Genoa and Agip in Gela supply all the petrol needed for the German machine. The Italian designers, thanks to the experience gained working alongside the Germans, begin new national experiences in the aeronautical field. National projects are being financed for the construction of aircraft and rockets, the conditions of the army are increasingly adapted to the imminent conflict.

Newspapers talk about going to war. Mussolini stalling. Italy has just recovered but decides to enter the big game. The United States is a danger, it can be the balance in the war and it must not enter the European theater. Mussolini has a plan, to encourage Lindbergh's rise to the presidency and to keep the United States engaged on the home front. Taking advantage of contacts with Italian immigrants, Lindbergh's march in New York becomes a success, his message is applauded throughout the USA. The proceeds of Italian industry are invested in the '40' election campaign, when it appears that Lindbergh can make it the Republican party proposes him the candidacy in place of Wilkie. The November elections are a success Lindbergh is president and decides to focus attention on internal problems, leaving Europe to itself.

And the 1941 the battle of England is over and Germany has begun the land invasion of the English coasts. Minister Churchill tries everything and for everything, launches a surprise attack on the Cyrenaica against Italian forces. The Italian lines were expecting it, yet the losses are substantial. The British plan is to cut off supplies to Germany to thirst for its war machine. Fermi has completed the prototype of a new bomb using a new element produced with cyclotrons and with the little uranium recovered from the Alps. It does not know how powerful it can be. It was decided to test it in the city of Tobruk, besieged and now irretrievable. Amedeo Guillet is commissioned to bring as many British forces into the city. He will not have time to take cover. "It doesn't matter" is his answer.

The roar is heard from the coasts of Sicily. There are no words to describe the scenario. The winds bring radiation to Cairo and the port of Alexandria. The marine direction exploits the chaos and terror generated to besiege Malta and to land in Alexandria. German forces are at the gates of London. A telegram is sent to the German and Italian embassies. The war is over. Great Britain is ready to treat Peace in order to save the existence of the empire.

Elio Di Croce: the EUR can wait ...

Excerpt from: "my diary - BM"

1938

.... I came back from Monaco a few days ago. Yesterday Grandi came to me. He was furious even if he didn't show it in the frantic discussion, which is better not to let people know, not even in Galeazzo; I told myself that I made a mistake in giving in to the Germans, reminding me of what happened in Austria. Today I received a cable from Balbo in perfect Romagna style: "TSI UN PATACA - STOP". My certainties, so far granitic, falter. ... ..

... I decided not to promulgate the planned racial laws. Margherita will be pleased. ....

1939

.... Everything happened in a few months. After the war in Spain, Germany and the Bolsheviks divided Poland into a war so short that France and England did not have time to react. Hitler and Stalin are clearly in cahoots and it is clear that the pact between them was not just "non-aggression". The developed firepower is impressive. The Church is in alarm; Balbo and Grandi insist that they do not tie the fate of fascism to the "Nazi-Communists" (Balbo's phrase). ... ..

1940

... ... France has fallen, England is on the ropes. ... you could go to war now. They point out to me that it would be a vile gesture, unworthy of the Roman world. Reports coming from various offices report that the country would not be able to fight before the 1942. ... I will not go to war. ...

1941

.... England has passed a critical moment. Churchill made me contact via Grandi. He wants to know if we continue to remain neutral. I replied in the affirmative. ... .. Germany has already invaded the Soviet Union, its ally; and then they speak of German honor. ....

1942

... Japan is at war with the United States. Balbo says they will be razed ... The AGIP technicians announce that they have found oil in Libya ... Balbo is enthusiastic and has prepared for the construction of the extraction wells ... The Germans got stuck in front of Stalingrad and now they press for our entry into the war in the name of the steel pact. Grandi suggests not to do this. We remain neutral, but I decided to accelerate rearmament.

1943

... Japan and Germany are in obvious difficulty. The Americans send huge supplies to the Allies. ... .. The German pressures for our belligerence become insistent: our duty is to block the Mediterranean and therefore the communications between England and the eastern regions of its empire. ... The Germans enter southern France. … Austrian informers, adherents of the old government, say that they are amassing troops and aircraft in Tyrol and north of Carnia. In agreement with His Majesty, I order a defensive deployment to the borders with Austria and France ... ... Balbo contacts the Americans. ....

July 1943

The German government accuses us of treason and warns that if we do not close the Mediterranean to the English, they will do it. Never: the "mare nostrum" must remain such ... .. The Germans claim that we want to shelter the British king George VI, after they have landed in England and conquered London. It is a pretext; the situation precipitates. ... ..

... 25 July 1943: based on the "Big Agenda" the war is declared to Germany. The first fights have already begun; we hold on to the Brenner, in Carnia and in France ... The Americans are coming. ... ...

1944

.... The Italian-American troops have beaten the Germans and now they enter the south of France ...

1945

.... The war is over, in Rome it's time to complete the EUR. ....

Nicola Francesco Pellegrino: stay away from Hitler!

According to my humble thought, descending into the shoes of Mussolini, I would have made the most of this role of leader exercised at the Munich Conference and I would have summed up to avoid compromising with Hitler, trying with skill and diplomacy to strengthen the already good relations with Great Britain (see already the existing correspondence with Churchill) thus avoiding the Steel Pact signed by the 22 May 1939 in Germany between Ciano and Von Ribbentrop that would later drag me to participate in the Second World War.

Knowing the expansionist aims and the pure madness of Hitler you had to play in advance creating the situation of never entering the conflict !! Let us remember that "The Attila painter or fierce clown", as D'Annunzio Hitler called it, after the Pact of Steel stipulated with Russia the Treaty of non-aggression (Molotov -Von Ribbentrop) the 23 agoso of 1939, a few months after the pact with Italy without Mussolini being consulted and the invasion of Poland of the 1 in September 1939 caused a sensation as the Duce was not aware of it.

Mussolini had to think exclusively of the good of the Italian people who, after years of suffering and oblivion, were rediscovering the pride of being "Italian". Mussolini did many good things for the Nation and there are historical proofs that prove it again, but he committed 2 serious errors: the alliance with Hitler and the racial laws.

Mussolini enjoyed esteem both over Ocean (see USA) and in Great Britain. I would have left here, gradually moving away from Hitler and silently weaving agreements with the United States and Great Britain, avoiding participating in the Second World War.

We were not prepared for a war and we came from the one conducted in Abyssinia and from the intervention in Spain. We had to take care only of safeguarding our land and sea borders and our colonies (first of all Libya, AOI and the Dodecanese).

Mussolini would have ruled for as many years as Francisco Franco did in Spain. Personally, although not easy, I would have found a solution to avoid going into a conflict that led to the loss of millions of Italian lives, destruction and rubble. I would defend my interests and my colonies.

Antonio Stia: Italy and oil

I came back from the conference and I was getting shouting and cheering crowds for my return. My policy would be the same as the previous one, expansion in Africa, I would change my military advisors and buy modern weapons from the German ally, I would send national factories to churn out new and innovative ideas to re-equip my troops of which I saw the inadequacy.

In foreign policy, I would fear entry into the war alongside the Nazis to have sanctions lifted. If this were successful, I would strengthen my presence in Africa, remaining as neutral as Spain and collaborating on request and for a fee. No war will be started on the European continent, I am aware of the millions of deaths of the First World War.

My regime would last as long as Franco's Spanish one. Italy would be rich in oil and the generations would never have seen war. Nowadays we would be a political and military power like France.

Signed Benito the magnificent

Emanuele Caldarone: Mussolini plays cat and mouse ...

The Honorable Mussolini realizes that the economic downturn that his nation is experiencing is the result of the political will of two / three nations (France and England, with pro forma support from the USA) to punish him. This epiphany leads him to more gentle advice and together with the Austrian's unusual unscrupulousness leads him to a more prudent conduct: although Germany seems unstoppable, Mussolini realizes that it is economically and from the point of view of raw materials, totally isolated. At this point the solution could be to approach the Western Powers, arriving in a state of "vigilant neutrality" at the outbreak of war.

The outcome of the Second World War would probably be the same, except for Russia, which would probably suffer a setback (Barbarossa could manage to reach Moscow and Stalingrad), while Italy, thanks to a shrewd carrot policy and stick with the Allies, it may be able to "carve out" its sphere of influence in the Balkans.

Depending on the progress of the war Mussolini out of pure political opportunism could even go to war against Germany, perhaps asking for a free hand over Austria, Hungary and / or "war compensations" such as Malta or portions of North Africa.

Furthermore, entering the war could also get an industrial and scientific boost by taking advantage of American lend / leases (which would not go to Russia, contributing to the Soviet debacle).

Morakz: more analysis than prophecy ...

Before fantasizing about what I would have done as BENITO Andrea Mussolini, I would like to draw the attention of the kind audience to my personal observation.

General George Armstrong Custer, that of the seventh cavalry for instance, with his regiment is annihilated by a clearly superior Indian force. Here we could write infinite tomes but the synthesis that interests us are the post battle evaluations: unconscious and stupid in facing an enemy so superior? Bold to whom fate has turned its back on? Big Samurai that does not count enemies does it only matter to defend the homeland?

As you can see, these are points of view evaluated according to the fashions and experiences of those who judge but you will never have a complete view of the moment. Mussolini can be judged in any way, positive or negative; the fact is that he was the last truly independent Italian government and that only in that position could one know the facts on which to make the decisions, right or wrong.

I hypothesize, think: and if Hitler, a friend of Stalin's communist, had told Mussolini that within two years the Germans would have the operational atomic bomb? Which side would you have been on?

If I had been Benito Mussolini I certainly would have acted differently, not being of socialist extraction and not having had the experience of the front. Surely I would have been much more like Franco: consolidating the kingdom and forming the future ruling classes; I would have given productive support on a voluntary basis to our German allies, starting from the fact that to go to war you need an army and this must be formed before starting a conflict and not in itinere, considering that a war requires a people I do not say warrior but not peaceful like the Italian one.

If you have a medium-sized population you will hardly win a basketball. A leader must understand his "chickens" and not think that if the others have fighting cockerels you can send the chicken with the golden eggs against it; the hen produces gold does not fight !!!

In summary: consolidating, administering and trying to survive the chaotic period; Franco lasted a long time !!

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