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Hitler Balkan Aversion

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  • Hitler Balkan Aversion

    This is a new book ive been working on for some time based on one counter factual possible change that could have effected history.

    Part 1

    October 27th 1940

    Aboard the train Amerika Southern Germany .

    Ribbentrop: Mein Fuhrer word from our military attaché in Rome is that it is now practically certain that Mussolini will attack Greece early tomorrow morning.

    An agitated Hitler turns to Ribentropp.

    Hitler: The Italians will never get anywhere in the autumn rains and winter snows.
    Besides consequences of war in the Balkans are quite unpredictable.

    Ribbentrop: Mein Fuhrer you must do all you can to hold up this crazy scheme of the Duce’s.

    Hitler: we shall head to Italy at once.

    After this short meeting in which Hitler’s anger increased at the prospect of the Italian move and he criticised not only the plan of attack but the Italians and Mussolini himself the meeting was ended.
    Ribbentrop immediately put his staff to work preparing a message for Rome that criticised the intended attack in strong language.
    Within an hour the message was brought before the Fuhrer to sign.
    The Fuhrer looked at the message before him in silence.
    To Ribbentrop this pause seems like an age before the fuhrer placed his signature on the page.
    Ribbentrop rushed to have the message sent to the Duce.

    In Rome the message arrives on the desk of a grim faced Mussolini.

    Ciano: Hitler does not wish us to attack Greece.
    He has advised an immediate delay of the attack until he can meet with you personally tomorrow.

    Mussolini: Send a message to the Commando Supremo to delay the attack.

    Ciano: But Il Duce you said to me just the other day that Hitler always faces you with a fait accompli we he moves against another country and you were going to do the same to him this time.

    Mussolini looks slightly surprised to hear Ciano quote his own words back to him.

    Mussolini: We will delay the attack to hear what Hitler has to say.
    Do not worry Ciano the equilibrium will soon be restored.

    The next morning at 10am as the Amerika pulls into Bologna the Fuhrer receives pleasing news.
    A member of German liaison staff brings word that the Duce has delayed the invasion of Greece.

    Hitler: Great news we can not let Italian duplicity stand in the way of the onward march of Germany.
    I know why the Duce is attempting this it is revenge for Norway and France.
    However he shall be brought back from such crazy ideas.

    Hitler went on in an elated bout of excitement that -

    Hitler: We must bare in mind that every Italian is a potential traitor or a spy.

    His excitement calmed as he sat in his chair and began to consider things in a calmer manner.

    Hitler: Maybe im being unfair to our Italian allies.
    The Duce has mealy done this to counter our growing economic power in the Balkans.
    Im greatly disturbed by this ridiculous Italian invasion idea it could if I allow the Italians to go ahead have grave consequences.
    The British would welcome an opportunity to set up an airbase in the Balkans.

    An hour later the Amerika pulled into Florence.
    A stern faced Mussolini came to greet the Fuhrer.
    Hitler smiled and thanked the Duce in a most happy manner for the urgent opportunity to see his great ally.
    Mussolini was aloof and much less friendly than usual but smiled back.
    However after an ecstatic greeting by the crowds outside the Palazzo Pitti where the talks would take place and requests by the crowd for the two leaders to appear and re-appear on the balcony Mussolini became his usual much more jovial self.

    Soon the talks began.

    Mussolini: Perhaps we should get down to the most important issue first before you tell me of your trip the issue of Greece.

    Hitler: I understand Italian concerns with our recent moves into Romania Il Duce but I can assure you we have no claim in Italian Petroleum interests there but only warding off Soviet forces to the East who wish to seize such resources.

    Mussolini: We in Italy see the Balkans as very much our zone of influence.

    Hitler: We too understand this and thus will see the Eastern end of the Balkans protected from any Soviet invasion.
    But I must advise against an attack on Greece or Yugoslavia.
    I also wished to discuss with you a new direction for our co-operation.

    Mussolini: Ohh tell me more.

    Hitler: I see the Island of Malta as a serious problem to us both in our future dealings with the English and that it rightly should be part of Italy.
    Now I understand your forces are engaged in Libya and Egypt so we would be willing to offer two Panzer divisions and what ever air units you consider necessary in being needed to capture Malta and invasion of Egypt.

    Mussolini: If we choose to change our attack from Greece we could manage to take Malta alone.
    In fact we could take both without cancelling the attack on Greece.

    Hitler: Even if the might of Italy can manage such a feet I think is important we begin to work together on these issues.
    After my recent trip to see Franco and Petain I was not assured we could gain allies of any note and thus we may have to ensure the Balkans brings forth some minor allies to our join banner.

    Mussolini: Ahh as I said Petain and the French are not to be trusted and are no friends of the Axis.

    Hitler pauses for a moment thinking over his disappointing talks with Petain and Lavel and the even more torturous one with Franco and his disappointment as not gaining new allies.
    He now decides to offer Mussolini some thing more solid to bring him round to his way of thinking.
    Hitler: You may be right my friend hence the reason ive rushed to see you today.
    I wished to make you a secret guarantee today that on the end of fighting with the English, Italy shall gain possession Of certain French territories.
    Nice, Savoy, Tunisia, Corsica and Djibout spring to mind as potential additions to the Italian Empire.

    It is now Mussolini who thinks hard.
    He remembers his initial request for these areas in the summer from the armistice proposals that he so quickly withdrew through fear of being thought to be reaching for the scraps from Germany's table.
    He thinks how he so wanted to send another request to get what wanted but feared looking the fool were he to ask for a second time.
    Thus he had let them slip from his grasp but now the gods had presented him with another chance.
    It was as if fate was on his side.
    He began his response.

    Mussolini: I now understand and appreciate your visit so much more, you have come to seek Italy’s co-operation in our future endeavours.
    I will cancel our intended plans for Greece and any we may have had for Yugoslavia and consider your generous but militarily unneeded offer of troops.

    Hitler: A most wise decision.
    I can see within a year Italy shall have carved out a large Empire in North Africa and will have turned the Mediterranean into an Italian lake.

    After much further talk on more minor issues and further details of Hitler’s talks with the Spanish and the French the meeting was closed.
    Mussolini leaves in an elated mood proud in his mind of having gained a great diplomatic victory through the land he has gained without a shot being fired.
    A military and strategic genius he thinks to himself.
    Hitler leaves in a much more sombre mood knowing if loose Italian lips from Mussolini’s entourage like Ciano open their mouths on the deal to foreign ears his good relations with France and even the glimmer of an alliance with them would be over for good.
    But at the back of his mind he knew he had averted any serious future problems in the Balkans.

    End of part 1.

    What actually happened is that Hitler refused to sign the message to Mussolini presented to him by his foreign office on October 27th 1940.
    Some thing he not only regretted very shortly after wards but it became one of his greatest regrets of the war.

    ‘But for the difficulties created for us by the Italians and their idiotic campaign in Greece,’ he commented in mid-February 1945, ‘I should have attacked Russia a few weeks earlier.’ He believed that the delay in launching ‘Barbarossa’ had cost him victory in the Soviet Union. Days later, along similar lines, he lamented that the ‘pointless campaign in Greece’, launched without warning to Germany of Italian intentions, ‘compelled us, contrary to all our plans, to intervene in the Balkans, and that in its turn led to a catastrophic delay in the launching of our attack on Russia. We were compelled to expend some of our best divisions there. And as a net result we were then forced to occupy vast territories in which, but for this stupid show, the presence of our troops would have been quite unnecessary.’ ‘We have no luck with the Latin races,’ he bemoaned afterwards. The one friend among the Latins, Mussolini, took advantage of his preoccupation with Spain and France ‘to set in motion his disastrous campaign against Greece.

    Kershaw 2007, p. 178.
    Last edited by Philip F; 26 Oct 13, 13:01.

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