Although it sounds obvious, various people—from disgruntled Axis commanders to well meaning historians—have nevertheless played down Fascist Italy’s rôle in World War II and have exaggerated the Italian army’s deficiencies, portraying it as risibly incompetent. On the contrary, battling the Regio Esercito (the Italian equivalent to the Wehrmacht) was not easy:
Although the historiographic debate still rages on, the false narratives of the post war era have begun to fade away. Contemporary experts on the Second World War would intensely disagree that it was “more detrimental for Germany to have Italy as an ally than simply to have fought her as an enemy.” While clearly incapable of fighting a first class world power by herself, Italy was valuable ally to Hitler.
In Bruce Watson’s history of the North African theatre, he writes that the British had to shatter “Rommel’s Panzer Armie Afrika – and its supporting Italian divisions.” The phrasing of this statement has it backwards.
From 1940 to mid‐1943 Italy — not [the Third Reich] — was the primary Axis power in both Africa and the Balkans. Vast amounts of Anglo‐American material and hundreds of thousands of men that could have been used against [the Third Reich] instead was devoted to fighting [Fascist] Italy.
Italian assistance held up the Western powers and allowed [the Third Reich] to concentrate the majority of its strength on the Eastern Front. Even after [the Kingdom of] Italy’s surrender, the collaborationist Italian Social Republic continued the fight for the Axis.
After [the Kingdom of] Italy’s [capitulation], the Nazi régime was forced to redeploy significant forces to cover the areas once occupied by the [Regio Esercito]. This forced the [Third Reich’s] forces stationed on the [Soviet] front to be substantially reduced. By June 1944, there were 52 German divisions in Italy and the Balkans — about 18.3 per cent of [the Third Reich’s] 285 divisions.
When the [Soviets] launched their great summer offensives of 1944, there were simply not enough Germans left to stop them. Additionally, Allied troops previously held down in North Africa were redirected to Operation Overlord. Without Italian support, the German Reich’s attempt to turn back the Allied advance would prove pointless.
Anglo‐Saxon historiography not only overlooks the Italian rôle in the war, but [the Reich’s] other ‘minor’ allies as well. The Third Reich’s survival was dependent on the immense effort made by all of the nations that fought beside it. Without the combat troops, logistical support, and occupation forces provided by her allies, [the Third Reich] could not have fought for so long in as many theatres as it did.
German “arrogance, indifference, and ineptitude” concerning their allies led to horrific loss of life. Forty six non‐German divisions from [other] Axis Armies were wiped out at Stalingrad alone. Without the contributions of Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Finland, [the Third Reich’s] collapse would have come much earlier.
See also: Understanding Defeat: Reappraising Italy’s Role in World War II.
Fascism is capitalism in decay. As with anticommunism in general, the ruling class has oversimplified this phenomenon to the point of absurdity and teaches but a small fraction of its history. This is the spot for getting a serious understanding of it (from a more proletarian perspective) and collecting the facts that contemporary anticommunists are unlikely to discuss.
No capitalist apologia or other anticommunism. No bigotry, including racism, misogyny, ableism, heterosexism, or xenophobia. Be respectful. This is a safe space where all comrades should feel welcome.
For our purposes, we consider early Shōwa Japan to be capitalism in decay.
It is sad to see that fascism is taking up his ugly head not only in Germany (AfD) but also in Italy now
I just hate how Italy is seen as a meme in ww2. We committed our more than fair share of atrocities and warmongering, and the global memory of that has been ereased by spaghetti memes.
Besides, negating the contribution of the italian fascist state (and other minor allies, as you mention) helped build this image of Germany being this real aryan supernation who took on the entire allies by itself, and occasionally had to rescue the clueless italians, romanians or hungarians thanks to its muh superior german engineereing/will.
Let’s not forget the role Italians played in the Leningrad blockade
I have to admit that I am unfamiliar with that one. Can you tell me more?
I’ve read that Borghese and his frogmen were tasked with destroying bridges in Leningrad. However I now can’t seem to find any data backing it up, so feel free to dismiss it. Apologies
He tried to make a fascist coup 30 years later, fyi
Yeah, and it was painfully obvious how the americans were behind it and called it off at the last moment when they realized it was going to fail
Props for the creativity though, never thought of using the forestale to stage a coup on a then “superpower”
Edit: buon 26 maggio, sciopero generale qua nel "bel"paese
No, I appreciate you telling me this! I can’t instantly accept this as factual but I won’t dismiss it either. I made a note to myself as something that I can investigate in the future.