What if Italy had stayed neutral during WWII?



  • Suppose Italy remained neutral during WWII.  What do you think would have happened.  I think the early war would have played out pretty much the same.  However, without forces in the Mediterranean (and possibly the Balkans) I think it is possible the Germans might have had sufficient resources to win in Russia.  Especially if they opted to start the war a few weeks earlier (I have heard it stated that the Balkan campaign delayed the start of Barbarossa, but I doubt this was really the case).

    What do you think?



  • The big question is, had Italy stayed out of the War how would Germany’s relations with the Balkans been?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @221B:

    However, without forces in the Mediterranean (and possibly the Balkans) I think it is possible the Germans might have had sufficient resources to win in Russia.

    Not necessarily.  On the one hand, it’s true that Italian operations in the Balkans (and North Africa) drew in some significant German forces which might otherwise have been used against Russia.  What has to be considered on the other side of the scales, however, is that Italian neutrality would have made things a lot easier for the British and (later) the Americans.  Britain would not have had to fight its minor campaign in East Africa, nor its much larger two-year campaign in North Africa.  Naval control of the Mediterranean by Britain would have been easily maintained, instead of requiring a great deal of effort (such as the defense of Malta).  Furthermore, Italian neutrality and the non-existence of a Balkan campaign by Germany implies that Greece would not have been occupied by the Axis.  Greece and Britain were friendly.  The combination of an undisputed British presence in Egypt, British control of much of the Mediterranean, and the presence of a free and friendly Greece on the southern European coastline would have created an early opportunity for the Britain and/or (later in the war) the Anglo-Americans to invade continental Europe in strength by taking advantage of the fact that making an unopposed landing via a friendly/allied country (in this hypothetical case, Greece) is a lot easier than invading a hostile country (which Italy was in real life when the Allies invaded it in 1943).



  • I think that Germany would have fell quicker. What if all those allied troops in Italy had been sent to Southern France or Normandy? Plus the Italians were not a terrible fighting force. Erwin Rommel once wrought on a memorial  “The German soldier has impressed the world however the Italian Bersaglieri has impressed the German soldier.”



  • While the argument can be made that Germany was propping up Italy in 1943 and after, many of the early gains were made in North Africa with some assistance by the Italians.  I don’t think it would have kept Germany out of the Balkens as the oil fields of Romania were much too important for their war machine.  Focusing on the fact that Germany had to poor troops into Italy to keep it in the war, overlooks the fact that it kept the US/UK in Italy instead of a sooner move on France or Norway.  I think Germany moved on North Africa for the same reasons as the Balkans, for the oil.



  • Once the USA got in Germany was finished. They could never match our production and logistics. By the time they sent troops to Italy they were already on the decline. Germany needed to knock Russia out in 41 in operation typhoon. The biggest mistake the Germans made was sending valuable armour south to help army group south in 41. That armour was then delayed for it’s attack on Moscow. By the time they got there Zhukov had arrived and counterattacked leaving the Germans losing there best chance for an early knockout of Russia.



  • Italian troops were greatly important in policing the Balkans. Italy had around 200,000 troops in the Balkan States. After 1943 Germany did not have the man power for the occupational duties the Balkans required.


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