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Old 03-27-2012, 10:20 PM   #76
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There's certainly an argument to be made that Italy was as incompetent as France, if not more so. The Italians were a liability to the Axis war effort. Their failed invasion of Greece set the German war effort back quite a bit. They had to go to the Balkans to bail Italy out, postponing their invasion of Russia. An important, but often overlooked campaign. But at least they never shot the Germans. At least not until Italy started falling apart in 1943.

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Old 03-27-2012, 10:23 PM   #77
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There's certainly an argument to be made that Italy was as incompetent as France, if not more so. The Italians were a liability to the Axis war effort. Their failed invasion of Greece set the German war effort back quite a bit. They had to go to the Balkans to bail Italy out, postponing their invasion of Russia. An important, but often overlooked campaign. But at least they never shot the Germans. At least not until Italy started falling apart in 1943.
I have no idea why Hitler was so loyal to Italy and Mussolini. He had to bail Italy out of both the Balkans and North Africa. Troops,weapons and equipment that would have served better against Russia.

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Old 03-27-2012, 10:35 PM   #78
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That's a good question. Mussolini never seemed to think much of Hitler. He mocked him behind his back, and even went out of his way to defy him a couple of times. But Hitler wanted an easy alliance with Italy, and thought that Mussolini would be easy to manipulate. And he was right. Mussolini was a simple minded thug. By 1943, Mussolini was Hitler's *****. Hitler said jump, Mussolini asked how high. Though Mussolini's incompetence was the price he had to pay, for an easily manipulated "ally".

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Old 03-27-2012, 11:45 PM   #79
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That's a good question. Mussolini never seemed to think much of Hitler. He mocked him behind his back, and even went out of his way to defy him a couple of times. But Hitler wanted an easy alliance with Italy, and thought that Mussolini would be easy to manipulate. And he was right. Mussolini was a simple minded thug. By 1943, Mussolini was Hitler's *****. Hitler said jump, Mussolini asked how high. Though Mussolini's incompetence was the price he had to pay, for an easily manipulated "ally".
No later than 1940, when Mussolini wanted to get in on the spoils of the German occupation of France but was rebuffed by Hitler, could the Italian leader have avoided seeing his role as junior partner in the Axis.

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I have no idea why Hitler was so loyal to Italy and Mussolini. He had to bail Italy out of both the Balkans and North Africa. Troops,weapons and equipment that would have served better against Russia.
Hitler admired Mussolini from the early 1920s, when the Fascists took power in Italy. The influence of Mussolini and his blackshirts on the extreme right in Germany was immediate, as it provided a model for them in their fight against the communists. The leadership cult around Hitler can be traced to his days as a beer hall agitator, when his supporters began to openly refer to him as the "German Mussolini".

So Hitler always had respect for Mussolini based on his political accomplishments, and from the history I've read it appears he genuinely liked the man. But of course, the Germans had to prevent the Allies from advancing too far into Europe through Italy as well, shoring up their southern front.

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Old 03-29-2012, 02:37 AM   #80
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I think if Hitler had won the war there would have probably been an attempt to overthrow Mussolini and to make Italy another vassal state of Germany.

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Old 03-29-2012, 02:08 PM   #81
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I think if Hitler had won the war there would have probably been an attempt to overthrow Mussolini and to make Italy another vassal state of Germany.
Mussolini's Italy basically became a German vassal state over the course of the war. This only became more acute as time went on and the Germans had to keep bailing out their Axis partner. Certainly as leader of the short-lived Italian Social Republic, Mussolini was no longer in a position to make independent demands of Hitler.

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Old 03-29-2012, 02:19 PM   #82
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The Italians did have de facto sovereignty up until 1943. They went along with Germany, but mostly to further their own imperial interests (and to avoid conflict). Italy defied Germany several times, most notably by not handing over the Italian Jews and even starting a few wars on their own accord in the Balkans against Germany's wishes. Which the Germans had to finish for them. The Italian Social Republic definitely was a German puppet state though.

Looking back, it's almost comical how much Italy must have annoyed Germany. Italy inadvertently contributed more to the Allied war effort than many Allied countries.


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Old 03-29-2012, 03:11 PM   #83
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Italy was a German vassal state by the end of 1943. When Skorzeny rescued Mussolini from prison, he was only in charge of Northern Italy, and the only reason he had that much was because the Germans hadn't been driven out of it yet.

He was propped up and protected by German military strength. Hitler essentially ordered him to execute Galeazzo Ciano, for which Mussolini's own daughter disowned him.

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Old 03-29-2012, 03:14 PM   #84
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It's nice to know that he at least got what was coming to him. Too many tyrants get away these days.

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Old 03-29-2012, 03:23 PM   #85
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He and Hitler died within 2 days of each other. Honestly, I would have liked to see Hitler strung up and spit on by angry rebels/Russian soldiers/whoever like Mussolini was instead of getting to take his own way out and probably being dead before he hit the floor.

Stalin, who murdered far more people than Mussolini and more even than Hitler, got to die in bed.

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Old 03-29-2012, 03:37 PM   #86
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He and Hitler died within 2 days of each other. Honestly, I would have liked to see Hitler strung up and spit on by angry rebels/Russian soldiers/whoever like Mussolini was instead of getting to take his own way out and probably being dead before he hit the floor.

Stalin, who murdered far more people than Mussolini and more even than Hitler, got to die in bed.
What's nice though is how they were destroyed when they died. To clarify, you can kill a man without destroying them. Mussolini at the end of his life realized what a fool he was, and that he would go down in history as a worthless moron. Hitler realized that his dreams were shattered, that his empire was finished, everything he loved was gone, and that Germany would fall to the "lesser races".

I know I'm guilty of schadenfreude here, but we are talking about Hitler.

Too bad about Stalin though.

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Old 03-29-2012, 03:51 PM   #87
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Oh, absolutely.

Hitler and Mussolini died broken shells of their former arrogant swaggering invincible selves.

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Old 03-29-2012, 05:03 PM   #88
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Stalin, who murdered far more people than Mussolini and more even than Hitler, got to die in bed.
There is actually some speculation among historians that Stalin was poisoned.

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Old 03-29-2012, 05:08 PM   #89
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Stalin is a strange historical figure. He is nowhere near as caricature-ized as some of his fellow tyrants. If you asked the average person about Stalin, they'd know very little about him or his personality.

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Old 03-29-2012, 06:20 PM   #90
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I think part of it is he was our "ally" during WWII, and part of it is he didn't act as ridiculous or make himself as easy to caricature as Hitler and Mussolini. He wasn't really overtly crazy, he wasn't known for throwing wild tantrums or anything, he was just kind of cold and ruthless and didn't really go out in public swaggering around the way Hitler and Mussolini did. Stalin was more the type to just hole up in the Kremlin or his dacha signing orders, twirling his villainous mustache, and planning purges.

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:01 PM   #91
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What we have with Stalin is a personality cult built around a guy who didn't have much of a personality.

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:05 PM   #92
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Right. Hitler and Mussolini were colorful and charismatic dictators who reveled in creating epic spectacles around themselves.

Stalin was just this short, chubby guy with a mustache who rarely appeared in public or gave speeches.

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:10 PM   #93
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To the propagandists' credit, most people think he was a big, strong guy. Really he was a about Kim Jong-il's height. And his real name was Dzhugashvili. Though I can understand why he changed that. Dzhugashviligrad doesn't quite have that ring to it.

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:23 PM   #94
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Well Hitler's real last name was Schicklgruber.

"Heil Schicklgruber" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

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Old 03-30-2012, 01:35 AM   #95
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Many people think that an atomic bomb being used on Germany during the war would have ended it. But what if the Germans retaliated with a just as powerful weapon against their captive civilian populations or against Britain itself? A dirty bomb inside of a V-2 rocket or dropped from a lucky plane on London could have killed tens of thousands of people and have been as traumatic as an atomic bomb was.

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Old 03-30-2012, 01:55 AM   #96
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Stalin was a bureaucrat by nature. He built his power base through his influence over administrative affairs in the party.

Max Weber identified three ideal types of legitimate political leadership -
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  1. charismatic authority (familial and religious),
  2. traditional authority (patriarchs, patrimonalism, feudalism) and
  3. legal authority (modern law and state, bureaucracy).
[Wikipedia]
Legal authority alone does not mean a government will be popular, so leaders often rely on elements of the other two types. Hitler and Mussolini built mass movements around their charismatic authority, with support from powerful segments of society, to arrive at legal authority.

Stalin, on the other hand, gained power based on legal authority, but the material weakness of the Soviet Union in the 1920s and the state's still-contested legitimacy compelled the bureaucracy to construct a personality cult around Stalin to justify his leadership to the Soviet masses. Interestingly enough, I think that was based less on charisma (Stalin had none) and more on a weird variation of traditional authority.

In essence, Stalin became a "red tsar" for the peasants, still the overwhelming majority of the Russian population. He became the personification of the new regime, by using the methods of the old one, presenting himself as a benevolent father figure to the nation.

That was partly a reflection of the conservative elements that filled the Communist Party after the devastation of the Russian Civil War, which had led to both the bureaucratic degeneration of the USSR and the rise of Stalin as a representative of the new bureaucratic caste.

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Many people think that an atomic bomb being used on Germany during the war would have ended it. But what if the Germans retaliated with a just as powerful weapon against their captive civilian populations or against Britain itself? A dirty bomb inside of a V-2 rocket or dropped from a lucky plane on London could have killed tens of thousands of people and have been as traumatic as an atomic bomb was.
I don't know what the state of the Nazi atomic bomb project was at the time, or whether their scientists even recognized the concept of a dirty bomb.

I wonder if German scientists would have even realized the possibility of gathering up radioactive material to put around a V2. At the same time, it's unlikely and impractical they could have systematically gathered up enough radioactive material to make a dirty bomb.

Still, very interesting counterfactual history.

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Old 03-30-2012, 01:57 AM   #97
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That wouldn't have happened anyway. The bombs weren't ready until the summer of 1945. The war in Germany was over by then.

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Old 03-30-2012, 10:10 AM   #98
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Dirty Bomb - The Nazi's Plan to Bomb New York City With A "Dirty" Bomb - How They Planned To Do It

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Old 03-31-2012, 10:03 PM   #99
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I think that looking back if the United States did not intervent in the European front during World War II, it would have ended in exhaustion just like if they hadn't interferred in the first one. By 1944, Germany is pushed out of East Europe with the Soviet Union bearing down on the territory and Hitler can't defeat the Royal Air Force or hope to invade Britain. The defense of the Mediterranean is not possible while the Russians are on their tail. I think there would have been an armistice to end the war with France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway under fascist control with puppet governments to ally with Germany. Like the British Empire, Germany is in financial ruin after the end of the war and has a poor economy and few raw materials for reconstruction. The Holocaust is completed and the Jews living in the new annexed territories of Germany are all killed off anyway. The reconstruction and resettlement after the war ends is extremely expensive and hard to make up for. In order to keep the peace, Germany has to engaged in an arms race with the British Empire, Soviet Union, and maybe even Italian Empire if the two were not friendly towards each other. This most likely would have included nuclear weapons with paranoia of an atomic holocaust engulfing Europe. If the British and Russians fund sabatoge and terrorism in Germany through supporting popular resistance say in France, Belgium, and The Netherlands and the Russians on the eastern front, you can imagine Germany does not have long to live financially. After starting the war, don't think any nation except maybe Italy would trade with Germany. With two to three decades the German economy would have stagnated and the Nazi Party's time in office would have been limited as most Germans would want to return to some sort of democracy like what was in Berlin before 1933, even if he was the leader. It may even be possible a war with the Soviet Union would break out and engulf the continent because relations between the two would never be friendly.

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Old 03-31-2012, 10:22 PM   #100
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I can't see a German Empire lasting. Not if the Russians were able to plow into Germany. After all, Hitler's Germany was crumbling from the inside as the Russians were at the gates. Italy collapsed in 1943. Even without Operation Torch, things weren't exactly going well. If the Russians were fast approaching Berlin, the Germans would have to drop everything in Western Europe and the Balkans. Which would have enabled resistance movements in the occupied territories to rise up.

Britain and the Free French Forces wouldn't have missed that opportunity.

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