Pact of Steel

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Amsel, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Texas
    I was just wanting to gather some thoughts on Mussolini's and Hitler's odd relationship. Both dictators seem like each other in ways but so much different in others. Mussolini seemed to be the clearer thinking senior to Hitler but was, or seemed absolutely hypnotized by Hitlers military power. Il Duce obviosly did not believe in Hitlers insane racial policies, nor was he ready for a continent wide war in the late thirties but signed the blood pact anyways, in my opinion an insane gesture.

    Any thoughts why the men maintained something of a friendship?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Germany, Italy and Japan were anti-communist during a time period when most of the world was sympathetic to communism. That's a pretty strong tie. This relationship was reinforced when Germany and Italy worked together to prevent a Comintern take over of Spain.
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    The main reason they maintained such a "friendship" was because of their view towards communism.

    I can only think though Hitler grew tired of wasting German resources bailing out Mussollini on so many occasions. Italy was even more ill prepared for the war than Germany was.
     
  4. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Texas
    I think that that has alot to do with it. The funny thing about Mussolini is he started his career as a socialist. From what I understand of it is Hitler looked up to Il Duce in the early years due to his beating of the communists. A strange situation because Hitler knew that the Italians were probably going to be more of a liability then help. Mussolini considered Hitler to be quite mad but was more and more liable to help Hitler and not confront him or argue with him. Some say he was awed by all the troops, stukas, and panzers.
     
  5. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Barnsley, S. Yorks, UK
    Mussolini also dreamed of re-creating the Roman Empire - hanging on to Hitler's coat tails must have seemed a good way to do this in early 1940 when, as one historian memorably out it, Italy 'rushed to the aid of the victor', and joined in the success of Blitzkrieg.
     
  6. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Texas
    As well as Hitler. One of the things each dictator had in common. Another thing was the very strong cult of personality each man had. Hitler claimed that Mussolini was the only man that he could consider his friend as an equal and it seems that Il Duce may have considered Hitler like a friend. When during Operation Oak Skorzeny approached Mussolini and told him that he was rescuing him Mussolini said that he always knew his friend Hitler would rescue him. Hitler considered Mussolini to be a modern day Ceasar.
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    4,441
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    MGR
    Location:
    Phila, Pa
    As Dave Barry said about the Italian war effort:

    (Paraphrasing)- "In June of 1940, the Italians declared war on France and invaded. It ended after 100 yards when their truck broke down."
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,676
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    Hitler did not view Italy as a liability until the war revealed the full extent of italian weakness. He had viewed the moribund Austro-Hungarian empire as a liability to Imperial germany in WWI, but in the thirties had viewed Italy as one of the new order states likley to overtake the weak (as he saw it) western democracies, which he also despised.

    Mussolini viewed Hitler as the junior partner to fascism and had planned to conduct a "parrallel war" with Germany, each with its own spheres of influence.....Italy had assumed like everybody else that the British could not survive and had hoped to exploit this expected capitulation by a series of easy victories. The stinging defeats of the early months of the war were all the result of that miscalculation, and an overestimation of Italys strength.

    One of the worst defeats was in Greece, which could have turned out far better, except for the bombastic claims by the local commander that he could defeat the greek army with the local forces on hand, and in the late autumn. Throughout the summer of 1940, as Mussolini had railed to attack the Greeks, the italians actually did nothing. The Italian army had kept recommending a massive reinforcement to about 24 Divisions, and an attack in late August, instead of late October, with only 9 Divs. If they had attacked according to the Army's requirements they would have won that campaign.

    Against the British, the Italians put up a credible defense in Abyssinnia, and a hopeless offensive in western desert. To be fair to the italians, they used formations in the desert in these early campaigns that were completely devoid of any support services, particulalry AA and AT. Graziani had surmised that Tanks could not operate effectively in the desert (which they could not in the full desert, beyond the coastal plain...in the depths of the libyan sand seas, the sands were too deep to operate tanks effectively). The formations crushed by the British in December were literally just hordes of bad Infantry.

    By contrast, General Friulis defense at Keren was masterly. Using inferior (even by Italian standards) colonial Infantry, backed up by elite Italian grenadiers (just a single regiment) the outnumbered Italians used the terrain to hold up the far superior forces for months.

    After the massive defeats in 1940, Italy was reduced to the status of being a vassal to Nazi germany. The Italians realized that they were no longer equals to the Germans, and that the germans viewed them with considerable disdain. The Italians did show that they could fight with distinction after those defeats, but they never achieved strategic victories in the way that the Germans did. Examples of italian success include the operations of the Ariete armoured div in the desert, the operations of the 10th Light flotilla in sinking two battleships in Alexandria, and more than 250000 tons of shipping elsewhere, the operations of the torpedo squadrons, the sinking of more than 1 million tons of allied shipping in the Atlantic. There were quite impressive victories in Russia as well. None of these erased the shame they had managed to draw from their early defeats, and the disdain they were treated to by the Germans. The Germans routinely lied to and overlooked their allies, which generated a sullen resentment, that eventually contributed to the italians decision to surrender, and then change sides in 1943.

    Things could have been different, but Italy had to fight a different war to the one they assumed they would be fighting in 1940
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Mussolini badly overextended Italy by his foolish land combat operations in North Africa and the Balkans. He should have concentrated on controlling the central Medittranean using naval and air power. Perhaps he could also interdict British shipping in the Red Sea from naval and air bases in Eritrea.
     
  10. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Barnsley, S. Yorks, UK
    And I have to say that this is a folly on a par with the French-bashing some of your compatriots indulge in. While the Italians were doubtless opportunistic in joining the war, and are best remembered for changing their allegiance half-way through, they in fact fought hard, and in a number of cases, fought well. The Regia Marina and Regia Aeronautica were both powerful and well-equipped forces (albeit poorly-led), and the British were very far from having it all their own way in the opening phases of the Mediterranean conflict. It is, however, the misfortune of the Italians to have suffered a number of crushing defeats (Matapan, Taranto etc.) which are now all that popular history ever remembers them for...
     
  11. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    4,441
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    MGR
    Location:
    Phila, Pa
    Dude, it's a joke. Relax. Dave Barry is a satirical writer and is pretty funny. Wrote one of the funniest pieces I've ever read about New York City. Got him a Pulitzer. It is a stitch. Here's a link:

    Dave Barry Official Website

    As for the Italians, everyone who's read any history knows they got short shaft all the way through the war. Their industry wasn't up to a war, their military was prepared to fight a war and the populace could've generally cared less about fighting anyone. They did a decent job with what they had delivered to them but ended up getting beaten by the Greeks, the British, the Americans and finally, the Germans. They had a really bad war.

    Life would've been much better if they'd just sat it out like the Spanish.
     
  12. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Barnsley, S. Yorks, UK
    It wasn't aimed at you personally Tim, more at the sentiment of the quote. I wasn't fully aware of Barry's background, but as a historian I get peeved by the endless tide of abuse directed towards Italy and France's war records. They both did as well as the might under very difficult circumstances.
     
  13. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Messages:
    4,441
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    MGR
    Location:
    Phila, Pa
    No worries Bomb.

    BTW- Did you read the Dave Barry article? It's a stitch. The only satirical article I've ever heard of getting a Pulitzer. And the funny thing is, with exception to the prices for everything which are much higher now, the article is still accurate about NYC.

    The place is a dump.
     
  14. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,857
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Texas
    Funny piece.
     
Loading...

Share This Page