Hitler & Mussolini

Discussion in 'General' started by chipm, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    What time frame.?
    I guess maybe 1935 to 1943.5

    Not in terms of military might, but just in a Pragmatic/Political sense. Were these two kind of on equal ground, or was Italy always a bit of a "Junior Partner" to Germany.

    Did Hitler tend to Value/Respect his partnership with Mussolini.?

    Thank You
  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    I think the Yugoslavian problem 1939/40 illustrates the true relationship. Hitler wanted to keep Yugoslavia as a friendly neutral that would supply Germany with vital alloys. Mussolini had ambitions to incorporate Yugoslavia or at least a good part of it into the Italian empire and made plans to invade. If he could have done so without telling Hitler first he would have done but the Italian army would have to cross a bit of Austria. When he found out Hitler blew a gasket and a heated phone call was made in which Mussolini was told in no uncertain tones to back off and stay out of the Balkans
  3. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    Very interesting..... Thank You
  4. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    During much of the prewar period, Italy was the senior partner.
    Hitler’s foreign policy - WJEC - Revision 3 - GCSE History - BBC Bitesize
    During 1934 when the Nazis tried to create a coup to take over Austria, Italy, which had a treaty with Austria to protect Austria's territorial integrity, moved troops to the border to warn the Germans to back off which they did.

    Things changed with the Spanish Civil War and the 1936 agreement between Italy and Germany.

    While much is made of the Condor Legion, Italy provided more support to Franco's forces including ground troops, a fact often overlooked.

    The balance of power shifted slowly after the Civil War, then Anschluss and then the annexation of Czechoslovakia. While there was a Pact of Steel signed between Italy and Germany in 1939, the Italians were kept out of the loop on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the invasion of Poland and the invasion of France, being forced to react to the actions rather than participate. Mussolini's decision to invade France in 1940 and declare war on the UK was a catch up method and a sign that Italy was now the junior partner.

    Hitler always seemed to have an affection for Mussolini personally even when he had a dislike of Italy and its military performance in general. This is the main reason why the rescue of Mussolini took place, Hitler's personal relationship with the man. It's an interesting feature to study as Hitler had few contemporaries he shared that kind of connection with.
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  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Italy's support to the Spanish Nationalists was greatly exaggerated.The ground troops provided were of generally poor quality and did not perform well. Some were recruited from low level criminals. The Italian armour was in general thinly armoured tankettes. Only in the air did the Italians provide any real quality assistance. Germany's real assistance was in the form of arms and equipment for which Spain ended up paying well over the odds. But then Stalin also ripped off the Republicans. However, the poor Italian performance was noted by the Germans who adjusted their respect levels accordingly.

    "Hitler always seemed to have an affection for Mussolini" - the operative word is seemed however actions speak louder than words. Mussolini was useful to Hitler - hence the rescue. Ciano's diaries suggest that Hitler kept Mussolini in the dark most of the time - there was certainly no sharing of detailed plans at the strategic level or even at the operational level. There was coordination at the tactical but only on a local and ad hoc basis
  6. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    I would disagree with the statements about the quality and behaviour of the Italian ground troops as well as the comments that Italy's support was "greatly exaggerated" . I'd be curious to know the sources for this claim as it doesn't match up with the research I've done.
    Unfortunately much of information is not available in English, the last major study being Coverdale's book pubished in 1976.

    A good recent albeit short study in English can be found here:
    Italo-German Collaboration and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

    From page 5 of the paper:
    Also see here from the same paper regarding actual numbers of personnel:
    It makes plain that the Italians were the leaders in supporting Franco and that the Germans understood and supported this policy.
    I would also note this passage from the conclusion:
    . Franco downplayed foreign help as much as possible following his victory but less so against the Germans due to their superior showing in WW2. I'd note that much of the English language SCW history does the same thing, overblowing German involvement and underplaying Italian involvement, again perhaps due to the respective nation's performances in the Second World War and preceived abilties.

    Military historians are slowly starting to update the research in the area, mostly in the Italian and German language. However English speaking historians like Coverdale and Michael Alpert are re-examining and reviewing the Italian contribution. Brian Sullivan's article " Fascist Italy's Military Involvement in the Spanish Civil War": begins with the following" Fascist Italy contributed mightily to the Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War. A good argument can be made that the Nationalists probably would not have prevailed without such assistance" (Journal of Military History, vol 59 issue 4 p 697). Hopefully a good up to date English study on the CTV will appear as a small counterpoint to the more widely available histories of the Condor Legion.
  7. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Well if I don't know what this research is and your other sources how can anyone?
  8. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    I provided some sources (Sullivan and Stone) in my post as well as asking you what your sources were for your claims.
    As I stated, your claim that "Italian support to the Spanish Nationalists was greatly exaggerated" doesn't seem to match what I've read so I wondered what your sources are for this statement.

    Some of my other English language sources include the works of Helen Graham, Paul Preston, Michael Alpert, and Stanley Payne.
    Payne's article Fascist Italy and Spain, 1922–45 is available for free here: https://m.tau.ac.il/humanities/cmc/mhr/132mhr06.pdf . It looks at the evolving relationship between the two countries.

    In Italian the two volume set La Partecipazione Italiana Alla Guerra Civile Spagnola is to be recommended.

    Many faults can be laid at the door of Fascist Italy and its military but failing to support Nationalist Spain to a great degree, more than the better known Condor Legion, isn't one of them.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  9. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    I am certainly not any type of historian. WW2 is just a (very interesting) hobby for me, but i did not even know Italy sent Aid/Troops to the The Spanish CW.
    Thanks for making me aware of that fact. :)
  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Yes Chip some very good people on the forum with a great depth of experience
    chipm and timuk like this.

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