Thursday, January 10, 2013

Industria, Tecnologia, Potenza: An Italy AAR Chapter 1

Guest post by Tyler “Tbguy1992” Bugg.

Alright, Christmas and the Holidays, and a trip home, is finally over. So, now that I’m back behind my computer, I can get back to the Alternate History making! In the words of the most famous Italian in history, “Letsa Go!” And enough with the exclamation marks! I mean it!

Chapter One: The Rough Road to Great Power (Jan. 1936-Sept.1938)

Benito Mussolini was not a happy little Fascist dictator at the end of September, 1938. Traveling back to Rome from Munich, and the handover of the Sudetenland by Czechoslovakia, Il Duce was silently furious at Hitler, not to mention the detestable Neville Chamberlin and the French President Albert Leburn, for handing that madman even more land!

The Anschluss of Austria only five months before was perhaps the greatest wakeup call to Mussolini that Hitler was not to be trusted. That alone had destroyed the long buildup of trust that the great Italian state had put into the Nazi’s running Germany. Italy, while still on speaking terms with Germany, was prepared to start beginning their own run for Empire, and with Hitler trying to grab every little country he could, that was going to get very dicey very quickly! However, Hitler’s attempts to influence Italy seem to have come to a halt after Anschluss, which Mussolini silently thanked God for.
Kinda funny how Prague is almost completely surrounded, huh?
On top of the failures of foreign policy that Italy had suffered, the Industria part of his three part program was grinding to a halt. Technologically, Italy was making great strides in ship design, industrial efficiency and synthetic materials, but the first factories that were started in March 1937 were as of yet still at half efficiency. And since industry wasn't advancing, Potenza wasn’t going anywhere either. While two new battleships, the Littorio, and the Vittorio Veneto have been finished, along with multiple light cruisers and submarine squadrons, two other battleships had to have been cancelled due to 24% dissent when the program was put into effect. Twenty four percent! And it took until midway through 1937 to be rid of that ball and chain.
Geeze, at this rate, Luxembourg will out build me…
However, there were some bright spots in the 33 months since that fateful January day. Ethiopia was crushed in just over a month, Italian troops marching into Addis Ababa on February 4, with annexation following suit hours later. With that under control, all efforts were focused on the economy, and that quickly backfired. The grandiose ideas put together fell apart as industry was overburdened. Military organization flowed smoothly, with the most competent generals and admirals being appointed to command, and many older officers were convinced to retire.
At last! The first step to Empire is secured! We have conquered a nation with almost nothing!
But by July, as Spain descended into conflict, Mussolini had to make the hard decision not to aid General Franco and his Nationalists. It was an unpopular move, but Italy could ill afford to send supplies and men to Spain when they were needed in Italy. And, in a surprising move, the United Kingdom aided Republican Spain, along with the Soviet Union, while Germany picked up the slack, and gave much needed supplies to Franco. But it was of little use. The Republicans and Soviets outmaneuvered the Nationalists, and now, two years later, only a section of northern Spain remains under Franco’s control, with the lines not having moved since 1937.
Franco is in trouble now…
…What the Hell is he doing? A yearlong siesta?
In January 1937, Hitler offered Mussolini and Japan a so-called “Anti-Comintern” Pact, but Italy declined reluctantly. Although Il Duce was prepared to sign it, realization that the understrength army was still using weapons from the Great War, along with lack of economic growth, forced Mussolini to decline. Anschluss a few months later destroyed all chances for a Rome-Berlin alliance… for now.
Those damn Germans! Right on our doorstep now! And those muddy jackboots!
There were a few bright spots to 1937: the efforts to build synthetic oil production began, along with the most modern agriculture techniques being introduced, making 1937 the most productive farming year in Italy’s history, and, if predictions were correct, 1938 would be even better.

On June 21, the decision was made to replace Minister of Security Guido Buffarini-Guidi with Arturo Bocchini. Although Bocchini was a frightful man, using very violent techniques, he was producing some results.
‘Prince of Terror’, eh? Well, he should terrorize me some results then!
Perhaps the best thing to happen since January 1, 1936, was the signing of the Italo-Bulgarian Alliance on January 2, 1938. The tough Bulgarians will be instrumental in future Balkan affairs, which is focused on Yugoslavia and Greece. Now, if only Hungary can only be swayed to join Italy, and not Germany, then Yugoslavia will be easy to take out. Maybe a foothold in Albania will also work…
Hey hey hey! It’s not the size that matters, but what you do with it!
Well, all in all, almost three years of work has produced some results. Italy is now united, and focusing on building a New Roman Empire. It will be a few years, most likely not until 1944 or later, until Italy is ready. Five years, though, is a long time. And many things can happen in between now and then…

Previous entry: Prologue
Next entry: TBA

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Tyler Bugg, who goes by “Tbguy1992” on the Internet, is an aspiring writer, a history student, gamer, and Canadian. You try to figure out what he likes best. His first published work, “Enigma to Paradox” can be found in the short story anthology, Substitution Cipher.

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