Friday 24 February 2023

Hitler's alliance with Mussolini


Albert Speer recalled after the war that President von Hindenburg asked Adolf Hitler never to enter into an alliance with Italy. 

The old man was right, of course. The alliance with Italy cost the Germans dear. Having to intervene to rescue the Italians after they invaded Greece delayed the invasion of the USSR and may have lost Germany the war.

Italy soon came to regret going to war with the Allies in 1940 (taking Nice and Savoy was the motive). 

Mussolini ended up dismissed in 1943 and shot in 1945. Had he remained non-belligerent he'd probably have been in power till his death, like Franco, and Italy would have been spared a calamitous invasion. 

(Fascists would add that she would have been spared Americanisation, but Italy has not really been Americanised.)

For Romania the consequences of Italian entry into the war were as calamitous. Had Italy stayed out, England and America might well have invaded the continent via the Balkans (Yugoslavia, to be exact) and Romania and Bulgaria might have been spared Communism.

Hitler up to 1937 wanted England as an ally, but that was impossible because of ideological differences, on England's side, and because (according to Richard Overy) we were not prepared to give Germany a free hand in the east. 

Baldwin in 1936, on the other hand, was in favour of letting Germany attack the Soviet union and so was his successor Neville Chamberlain. Somehow this was lost sight of and Chamberlain ended up committed to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania. 

To use an analogy from the game of rugby, Chamberlain and the Foreign Secretary the Earl of Halifax fumbled the ball.

Hitler also hoped up to 31 March 1939, when England gave her fateful guarantee to Poland, for an alliance with Poland. That, surprisingly, would have made sense. Had it happened the German and Polish armies might have marched in a victory parade in Moscow. Instead, both countries were devastated.  

Germany would have invaded the Soviet Union at some point in any likely scenario, so long as Hitler remained in power.


  1. Adolf Hitler suffered from racial obsessions (that were not uncommon among German intellectuals - going all the way back to Fichte) and also from mental illness made worse by drug abuse (drugs given him by his quack doctor). It was not possible to really make deals with such a person. Mussolini appears to have been sane (although a brutal dictator) - but the regime he headed to did not really capture the population as Hitler's did. Perhaps the difference is that Mussolini stressed "the State" (clearly himself and his close associates), whereas Hitler stressed "the Race" which ordinary Germans could identify with - vast numbers of Germans were prepared to fight to the death (lay down their lives) for the Racial Socialism of National Socialism - most Italians were not prepared to give their lives for Fascism.

    1. Mussoloni could not say 'L'état, c'est moi' because of the King, who in 1943 dismissed him. The King had been just as much committed to the war as Musso and like him rejoiced when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on America, but monarchies are very useful. Had the German monarchy not been overthrown and better had the Kingdom of Bavaria become an independent country, Hitler might never have come to power.

    2. I agree. For example the restoration of an independent Kingdom of Bavaria, under the Wittelsbach dynasty, would have been much better. As for Mr Hitler's Declaration of War on the United States - it was one of his most stupid moves, had he (however insincerely) denounced the Japanese attack, President Roosevelt's hands would have been tied. In our "time-line" the United States concentrates on fighting Germany in World War II (for example the massive American supplies to the Soviet Union) - with the Pacific theatre being treated as a side show (much to the anger of American commanders there), But in a "time line" where Mr Hitler (again however insincerely) denounces the Japanese attack, the political situation is quite different - leading to a different military situation.

    3. It was an insane mistake. Only we and France were insane enough to declare war on Germany.