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Hitler and Mussolini

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    Posted: 16 Sep 2010 at 14:09
Reading William Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" for the umpteenth time is always fascinating to me. So many thoughts come to mind that i would wish to discuss. So i will start it off with these two uniquely warped personalities by asking this simple and yet perplexing question.

 After so many broken promises to everyone else in the world, why did Hitler always remain loyal to someone like Mussolini even up until the Italian dictators death?  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2010 at 14:48

I am not well versed in this subject, but I will give it a go. The simple fact that Germany could not handle a Southern front. The Western and Eastern powers were separtated by the Southern front, which Germany and Italy controlled. A fall of the Southern front would allow for direct lines of communication and invasion from both the Western and Eastern powers. Italy created a buffer zone between North Africa and the Empire of the Third Reich. Perhaps it was just easier to allow a native Italian and the vassal state to put up the main defence of southern Europe, rather than spreading German troops thinly along the Western, Eastern, and a new Southern front.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 2010 at 05:21
As far as I understand Hitler never considered Mussolini as an equal ally. Mussolini was always dissapointed that Hitler started war after war even without letting him know. Mussolini's own campaign in Albania was to some extent a response to such Hitler's behaviour. Besides, last few years, Mussolini didn't control anything in his own country. I wouldn't call it loyalty at all. As about the promises, I do not remember any broken promise given to Bulgarians, for instance. So, Mussolini was not an only example. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Sep 2010 at 12:13
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:


Italy created a buffer zone between North Africa and the Empire of the Third Reich. Perhaps it was just easier to allow a native Italian and the vassal state to put up the main defence of southern Europe, rather than spreading German troops thinly along the Western, Eastern, and a new Southern front.


Interesting points Darius and not totally unfounded for rational people to contemplate. However, given that the two mentioned personalities they were more of a lot of other things but rational, which is what and why often wonder about.

Hitler never thought much of Mussolini's ground forces, especially after the Italians embarrassing failure against the French forces along their respective borders in the south of France in the opening summer of 1940, shortly before the fall of France, that gave Hitler some cause for great concern, i believe. "Hitching his wagon to an extremely sick horse" so to speak.

In fact one could say it was a contemptible view he held forever after, that would alter his time table to invade the SU in 1941. The fact of the failed Italian Greek campaign had played a huge factor in the delay of Hitler's invasion of Russia, by sending forces to conquer Greeks nation, that probably doomed his plans for Russia once the invasion got started in late June of 1941. Even further, that the Italians had fared incredibly poorly against the British in Northern Africa, forcing Hitler yet again into sending even more resources to bolster his very weak partner, including the legendary "Afrika Korps" did nothing to bolster Mussolini in the least. Causing much resentment directed towards the clueless Hitler.

I guess we could say that Mussolini didn't provide so much of a buffer as he did an inviting target once the forces of the western allies became more organized and ready to  take advantage of his weakness, "the soft underbelly of Europe", to quote Churchill.

However as for his view of Mussolini's navy, i am not quite so sure. What i am sure about is that the British were very concerned enough about the Italian navy until the mid point of the war. My memory is not serving me well here, but perhaps Hitler at one point had a view that the Italian navy was the only effective organization within Italy's ineffective military?

Originally posted by Anton Anton wrote:


 As about the promises, I do not remember any broken promise given to Bulgarians, for instance. So, Mussolini was not an only example.


Interesting. Please feel free in elaborating further?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 08:35
Panther, the Italians were the pioneers in underwater demolitions and commando type operations. They were the first 'Frogmen". 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 11:11
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Panther, the Italians were the pioneers in underwater demolitions and commando type operations. They were the first 'Frogmen". 


Good point. But i was putting forth Hitler's views as i know them so far and not mine.

Another point worth considering that i would like to add on further to your comment, is that while not an Italian idea but still carried out first by Italy, was the first successful paratrooper drop in 1927 and the subsequent formation of two elite airborne divisions known as Folgore and Nembo, which fought with great distinction in world war 2.

One does wonder if the first world war had not ended when it did in 1918, rather stretched on into 1920, then we might have seen the US 1st infantry division being dropped behind German lines in 1919 as proposed by Major Brereton and General Mitchell.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 13:36
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:



Interesting points Darius and not totally unfounded for rational people to contemplate. However, given that the two mentioned personalities they were more of a lot of other things but rational, which is what and why often wonder about.

Hitler never thought much of Mussolini's ground forces, especially after the Italians embarrassing failure against the French forces along their respective borders in the south of France in the opening summer of 1940, shortly before the fall of France, that gave Hitler some cause for great concern, i believe. "Hitching his wagon to an extremely sick horse" so to speak.

In fact one could say it was a contemptible view he held forever after, that would alter his time table to invade the SU in 1941. The fact of the failed Italian Greek campaign had played a huge factor in the delay of Hitler's invasion of Russia, by sending forces to conquer Greeks nation, that probably doomed his plans for Russia once the invasion got started in late June of 1941. Even further, that the Italians had fared incredibly poorly against the British in Northern Africa, forcing Hitler yet again into sending even more resources to bolster his very weak partner, including the legendary "Afrika Korps" did nothing to bolster Mussolini in the least. Causing much resentment directed towards the clueless Hitler.

I guess we could say that Mussolini didn't provide so much of a buffer as he did an inviting target once the forces of the western allies became more organized and ready to  take advantage of his weakness, "the soft underbelly of Europe", to quote Churchill.

However as for his view of Mussolini's navy, i am not quite so sure. What i am sure about is that the British were very concerned enough about the Italian navy until the mid point of the war. My memory is not serving me well here, but perhaps Hitler at one point had a view that the Italian navy was the only effective organization within Italy's ineffective military?

 
 I do not believe the Italian forces were as completely useless to Hitler as had been noted by the masses. The Italians did score several victories against the British and African troops, and ruptured British strategical planning out of their African colonies. The Italians were noted for their ferocity and bravery in battle, such as in the Battles at El Alamein.
 
Regardless, the Italians served a purpose even if the Italian fighting force was ineffective, as it may have seemed to the Fuhrer, in June 1940. Even if the Italians could not halt enemy advances into central Europe, they could slow the enemy down. Additionally, Hitler did not want a Southern adversary (Italy) openly allowing Allied troops, and supply trains into Italy. An Allied base in Italy would be difficult for Hitler to cope with, if not impossible over a long duration.
 
 
"I am moved to pity, when I think of the brevity of human life, seeing that of all this host of men not one will still be alive in a hundred years time."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 14:33
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa Darius of Parsa wrote:

 
 I do not believe the Italian forces were as completely useless to Hitler as had been noted by the masses. The Italians did score several victories against the British and African troops, and ruptured British strategical planning out of their African colonies. The Italians were noted for their ferocity and bravery in battle, such as in the Battles at El Alamein.
 


Yes, the Italian military fought just fine if they were properly led politically and militarily and were properly supplied with modern weapons and resources. But over all, they were not a well taken care of force under Mussolini's dictatorship. The mere fact that a German general such as Rommel, could make the Italian forces do what Mussolini's generals could not, was just another sticking point for Il Duce's German-phobia.

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Additionally, Hitler did not want a Southern adversary (Italy) openly allowing Allied troops, and supply trains into Italy. An Allied base in Italy would be difficult for Hitler to cope with, if not impossible over a long duration.
 


Ironically, that is exactly what happened by the middle of 1943. Now instead of two fronts nightmare scenario to worry about, he had three!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 19:16
Because Hitler was an expert in creating new and unnecessary difficulties for himself.
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darknony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2011 at 02:13
The way I see it, there's this balance. Someone has to be crazy to try and take over the world but someone crazy would never successfully do that. As much as Hitler and Mussolini had strong armies, they made some big stupid mistakes. For example, Hitlers 'not one step back' strategy that disabled flexibility needed to win or his obsession in taking Stalingrad only because of its name.

Edit: btw, the way I see it, if Hitler would have invaded USSR, USSR would have invaded him instead.
I remember something about an historian who said USSR was going to invade soon because of the chains on the tanks that fitted roads, not fields (as in would be fine in Germany but not in Russia).


Edited by darknony - 25 Jan 2011 at 02:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2011 at 03:28
The USSR was in very bad shape militarily. It was never good at producing anything, and Stalin had been busy killing any military officer of any worth and capable engineers and administrators through its purges. Stalin, ever paranoid, thought that Hitler was going to attack USSR, so its pact with him was a way to gain time while somehow they could replace all of the human capital that his purges had destroy, and rev up production of weapons.

Had Hitler not invaded USSR, USSR may have stayed out of it for a long time, maybe only joining if Germany was ready to fall down.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darknony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2011 at 04:48
USSR had that one guy, forget his name... The one that masterminded the victory in Stalingrad. He was known to piss off Stalin real bad. But as bloody as Stalin was, its noteworthy to mention he brought USSR to modern production and by the end of ww2, the Russians had more troops and tanks then anyone else.
Stalin was obviously paranoid but you never know, maybe those chains on the tank really mean something. I mean how stupid can he get? He saw the anti Slavic ideology, the Nazis were practically screaming how they want to invade him and if not now then later.


Edited by darknony - 25 Jan 2011 at 04:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2011 at 04:52
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Had Hitler not invaded USSR, USSR may have stayed out of it for a long time, maybe only joining if Germany was ready to fall down.
 
You could say the same about the US. The really dangerous scenario in 1941 was that Hitler might not declare war against the US or invade the Soviet Union.
 
Granted the war in the west had stalemated by then, it still would have mean Britain continuing to stand alone and that could have lasted a very long time.
 
In re the nava situation in the Mediterranean, Italy did have a reasonably impressive navy, including the very brave midget submariners someone already mentioned. However it never really recovered from the battle of Mataplan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cape_Matapan where the kill ratio in personnel was Britain/Australia three dead, Italy 2,300.
 
Incidentally I referred earlier to Matapan marking a definitive change in naval tactics. That was my mistake, I meant Taranto, the first air-launched  torpedo attack on a high seas fleet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2011 at 06:02
True, Gcle. He could have have gain a lot more had either country were kept out of the war.

darknony,

Troops with no weapons is the same as no troops. And those chains could have just been a threat to try to keep Hitler away. Stalin was pretty good at pretending.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote banna32 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2013 at 15:09
 Italy loves there rulers TIBERIVS ,caligula,GALBA,  VITELLIVS ,DOMITIANVS ,COMMODVS,PERTINAX,Didius Julianus,Caracalla,GETA ,
DIADUMENIANVS,MACRINVS,Elagabalus,SEVERVS ALEXANDERand more and now last Mussolini.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VALKO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2014 at 04:48
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

Because Hitler was an expert in creating new and unnecessary difficulties for himself.


U R 100% correct, Regimund, but I believe this was part of a much bigger picture.  Hitler was neither a qualified military planner nor leader. In fact he listened much more to his General Staff than many are willing to admit.  Remember: Hitlers political activity began as a payed spy for the Reichswehr, (and greater German military industrial complex).

 It was the Old General Staff that laid the plans for the invasion of France through the Ardenne, Hitler only joyously aproved of them. Germanys top generals placed too much confidence in their air-campaign over Britain, and  vastly underestimated the fighting strength of the USSR. In both cases it was them, not Hitler who, at the onset,  called the shots.

It was only logical to have Italy as an ally. Only 20 years before, Italian forces had caused much grief to Austrian forces.  This time things would be different.

 The unfortunate and wasteful deployment of German troops and materials to North Africa, Greece and Yugoslavia, in bail-out action, were costly to Germany both in time, material and manpower.  The entire fiasco forced Germany do dely its planned invasion of the USSR by several fateful weeks.

In truth, Hitler had few real friends.  Musolini served his purpose for a time. Remember: Once Italy came under attack from Allied forces, Musolini had to be rescued by German forces, (Il Duce, nearly had a heat-attack when German paratroopers suddenly showed up to rescue him). After that,  Hitler wasted no time in declaring a South Tyrol "reunification" with the Reich....




Edited by VALKO - 19 Jan 2014 at 06:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2014 at 05:23
Hitler may have been a little carried away by first getting his way with Poland without serious intervention, and then obtaining a surprisingly quick victory over France.

These events didn't really reflect Germany's true strategic picture however, and grief was bound to come, at least it was without some adept diplomacy and careful thinking. These two skills were in scarce supply though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VALKO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2014 at 06:41
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Hitler may have been a little carried away by first getting his way with Poland without serious intervention, and then obtaining a surprisingly quick victory over France.

These events didn't really reflect Germany's true strategic picture however, and grief was bound to come, at least it was without some adept diplomacy and careful thinking. These two skills were in scarce supply though.

And how right U R, Captain.  Almost none of Germanys military experts, at the time, had any idea how strong the Soviet Union was under Stalin. Quite the contrary: They were convinced that Bolshevism had made Russia only much weaker and more vulnerable; a "house of cards" just waiting to be blown over.

  And as far as the USA; they were confident that their secrete plan, (Karl Haushofer),  to provoke that "second rate power" into a full blown war with Imperial Japan in the far away South Pacific, would keep it from being a major interviener in Europe this time around.  And how far off they were on that assumption!

 Germanys old Generals and behind-the-scenes movers, were all confident that German science and industry would not let them down. After all:  Was not Germany at the forefront of cutting edge technology?  Did not Germany have the best education system in the world?  Providence would surely not let them down. They all believed that a new "Wonder-Weapon" would soon emmerge and quickly change the outcome of the war.  They were right of course; but little did they imagine that new "Wonder-Weapon" would come from the buble-gum shewing, "semi-literate" Americans. It was just lucky they lost the war in May 1945, because the Yanks were building the Atom Bomb with Adolf Hitler, and Berlin, in mind . . . . .


Edited by VALKO - 19 Jan 2014 at 06:49
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