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 What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?

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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Sun 30 Jun 2013, 13:33

I was pondering what the outcome would have been if Italy under Mussollini had kept out of WW2.  Not impossible as Italy did not initially enter the war and Spain under Franco, a fellow fascist power kept out of the war (apart from sending 'volunteers' to the eastern Front).
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Sun 30 Jun 2013, 15:01

Greece would have remained neutral and would not have been invaded by Italy. Italy would not have become bogged down in Albania and (in order to save Mussolini's silly arse) the Germans would not have been forced to enter into an arena that they initially had no interest in. German resources would not have been diverted into Greece, and the invasion of Russia would have been earlier and possibly would have been successful. And just possibly, the USSR would never have come into being.

Greece, aside from not being forced into a war they wanted no part of and occupation at the hands of the Italians and later the Germans, would also not have had to endure a  civil war after the withdrawal of Nazi forces.


Last edited by Islanddawn on Sun 30 Jun 2013, 17:36; edited 1 time in total
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Sun 30 Jun 2013, 16:57

Surely the USSR had already been in existence for 18 years since 1922 - and Soviet Russia had been in existence even longer than that since 1917?
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Sun 30 Jun 2013, 17:28

Yes, you are right Viz and I should have made my meaning clearer. I was talking about East Germany, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungury, Albania et al becoming Soviet satelite states at the end of WWII. Not the USSR as it existed prior to the war.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 08:48

I should also make it clear that by Italy keeping out of the warI meant the war between Germany and France and the British Empire.

Italy might still have attacked Greece independently and, if not at war with the British Empire, could have devoted more of its forces against Greece than it did when it unsuccessfully attacked Greece in autumn 1940.
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 10:02

The war between Germany, France and the British Empire? Well that is the normal Anglo/Western Europrean centricity that one comes to expect I suppose. And I don't see how you can pretend that the consequences of actions in the rest of Europe wouldn't impact on the overall outcome of a war  between 3 European countries anyway.

Fact is Italy made the major blunder that eventually cost Germany the war, by attacking Greece. And you are missing the point, it is not Greece that is important here, it was and always has been Russia. It was Russia who inflicted the first major defeat on Nazi forces, and without that Italian blunder which led to Russian victory, the outcome of the war would have been very different indeed. Or possibly France and the British Empire would still be fighting, instead of it ending when it did?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 10:21

The question originally postulated a scenario where Italy doesn't enter the war and decides to remain neutral (like Spain and Portugal).

There is no denying that Italy's failure to secure Greece - though more particularly Yugoslavia - played a crucial role in limiting Germany's effectiveness when it eventually invaded Russia, both because of the delay and of the subsequent depletion and reassignment of German resources. However removing Italy completely from the equation does not ipso facto mean that Germany would have fared better in that respect. An axis without Italy would have conceivably been forced to commit much more effort and sooner in securing the Mediterranean, a theatre of war which would have panned out quite differently too without Italy's involvement in North Africa. From a logistics point of view I imagine an Italy that attempted to remain neutral would have been coerced anyway into the axis cause, by hard persuasion or brute force if necessary. Its presence as a soft underbelly with an allied dominance in the Mediterranean would have been far more of a hindrance to German plans than the delay in the Balkans proved to be.

Ultimately Germany would have come a cropper in the USSR anyway. I just cannot conceive how they anticipated retaining control after conquest - and having read many books on the subject I don't think they'd really thought it through either.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 10:54

nordmann wrote:
The question originally postulated a scenario where Italy doesn't enter the war and decides to remain neutral (like Spain and Portugal).


 Yes exactly, if Italy is neutral then Greece remains neutral also and that leaves Germany out of the Balkans and with only two fronts, east and west. But which ever way it is wrangled, Russia still comes out as the major player in the war, not France and the British Empire. Oh, and the US, I'm not sure where they are supposed to fit into this cozy scenario.

You are right though, Germany wouldn't be able to afford to leave Italy neutral. Something would have had to be done there. Mmmmmm
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 11:51

Germany would also have required assurances from a neutral Greece that it would not interfere with its requirement to secure the Black Sea refineries and port access. It might also have decided that to do this a limited takeover of Greek territory (most likely using the Macedonia dispute as a guise) would be necessary. This would have placed Greece in a position where it would either have to cooperate or be subsumed into the axis cause (much like Norway), most probably through an ostensible internal coup.

The fact that Greece also, as a potential British target for traditional and strategic reasons, would represent a considerable security risk would also only have hastened this process.

But that's the problem with "what ifs" - the ramifications of the hypothesis so quickly diverge from the actual data upon which further hypothesis can be reached that the speculation becomes meaningless.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 12:08

Quote :

 Fact is Italy made the major blunder that eventually cost Germany the war, by attacking Greece.


It is not fact, it is a possible suggestion. 

I have read that the USSR actually twice offered Germany (1941 and 1942) very generous peace terms through Bulgaria (which was not at war with the uSSR) despite Germany getting sucked into the Balkans.

Germany may still have failed to defeat the USSR even if it had not got sucked into the balkans.

Quote :

And I don't see how you can pretend that the consequences of actions in the rest of Europe wouldn't impact on the overall outcome of a war  between 3 European countries anyway.

I was not saying that it would not, just that it might not.  Italy attacked Albania in 1939 without any other power becoming involved.  The USSR attacked Poland in 1939 without Britian and France declaring war on the USSR.

The USSR also attacked Finland without that attack resulting in it immediately getting itself into a war with either GB, France, Germany or Sweden for that matter.  GB and France may have rather stupidly offered Finland help, but it did not in fact materialise.  

If Italy had attacked Greece, when not already at war with GB, then it is by no means certain that GB would have felt itself in a position to help Greece knowing that that would have drawn itself a war with Italy when it was already in a war with Germany.  When the British Empire did in fact help Greece it was already at war with Italy.  That help, while not preventing Greece being overrun by the Germans and its allies badly weakened the British Empire forces in North Africa.  If it had not been sent then the Axis may have been driven out of North Africa in 1941.
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 12:11

There is the also the impact on the far east if the British Empire had not been involved in a war in North Africa and the med with the Axis powers, it might have been in a position to send more forces there.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Tue 02 Jul 2013, 15:48

Except if Germany/Italy had not engaged so heavily with Greece and the Balkans a British expeditionary force of some size would have been sucked into that area by default, I would have thought. Bad and all as the North African campaign turned out to be in terms of attrition and casualties on both sides, had they engaged in the Balkans it would have become very bloody indeed - and with long lasting implications too. Had a Tito failed to emerge as he did from the German occupation, and had Greece not suffered the same fate so was more wont to engage in introspective bloodbath after the war had ended rather than belligerence against its neighbours, then I would imagine the ethnic and religious fractures that became evident in the 1990s - and to such devastating effect on so many lives - would have erupted into conflict all the sooner, and would have included even more of the Balkans than the Yugoslavian disintegration entailed.

A war could easily have emerged from that region pitting Britain and her allies against the USSR once the common cause of defeating Hitler was achieved - and it wouldn't have been a "cold" war either, not in that part of the world.

In that sense Hitler's occupation of Greece - even if it was belatedly after an Italian cock-up - was a relative boon to peace in the region! Though such is only evident in hindsight, and still came at a terrific cost.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Mon 08 Jul 2013, 15:22

If Italy had not entered the war against France and the British Empire then they may have been able to attack Greece with sufficient forces to have won.  I do not think that GB would have intervened against Italy.  As to what the reaction in Yugoslavia would have been in these circumstances I am not certain.
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Tue 09 Jul 2013, 10:29

Quote :
But that's the problem with "what ifs" - the ramifications of the hypothesis so quickly diverge from the actual data upon which further hypothesis can be reached that the speculation becomes meaningless.


Could not the same be said, to a degree about never ending debates on certain topics that, in the absence of new evidence, are never likely to be resolved at either a website or academic level.


For example who killed the Princes in the Tower on this site and the location of the battle  of Brunanburh on the English history site.  The same may apply to the existance of Jesus at the website level, but it certainlydoes not apply at an academic level where there is an overwhelming concensus.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Tue 09 Jul 2013, 10:53

There is a fundamental difference between extrapolating hypothesis based on previous hypothesis (the starting point of any "what if") and the use of hypothesis in analysing factual data where not all the desired data is to hand.

Two different rhetorical and academic disciplines.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?   Fri 12 Jul 2013, 08:58

Quote :
Two different rhetorical and academic disciplines.


In theory yes but in practice on sites like this one often seems to stray into the other.  
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What if Italy had stayed out of WW2?

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