Mussolini was one of the most unlucky dictators, always trying to impress Hitler and always failing. Excellent research and presentation of one of the most important, but least researched, parts of WWII – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Mussolini's Defeat at Hill 731, March 1941, How the Greeks Halted Italy’s Albanian Offensive FILE: R3363 AUTHOR: John Carr PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Italian Army, Greek Army, Italian invasion, Italian defeat, German assistance, Eastern Front, Balkans, Mediterranean, diversion of German military assets, Italian humiliation, Albanian Offensive, WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, World War Two ISBN: 1-52676-503-9 PAGES: 219, 8 pages of B&W images in a photo-plate section IMAGE: B3363.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/eh3dn3yb LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Mussolini was one of the most unlucky dictators, always trying to impress Hitler and always failing. Excellent research and presentation of one of the most important, but least researched, parts of WWII – Very Highly Recommended
Mussolini was a politician who created a variation on socialism. His approach shared much with the concept of Communism but was a partnership of central state control with big business that exploited existing prejudices. Hitler learned much from the Italian example as he forged the Nazi Party. In the early years, Hitler also appears to have liked and respected Mussolini but the rapid expansion of Germany soon overshadowed the Italian Fascists. Hitler’s doubts grew during the experiences of the Spanish Civil War as the two dictators supported Franco and his fascists. However, WWII soon saw the divisions increase rapidly. Mussolini was determined to create a new Roman Empire with the development of a North African domain based on Libya. After a promising start the Italians were beaten back and Hitler had to send one of his best Generals and Panzers to North Africa to prop up the Italians and beat the British back to Egypt.
A similar situation developed in the Balkans. Mussolini was advised by his Generals that the Greeks were no problem and an Italian Albanian Offensive would place him in control of the area. As the author recounts in detail, the Greeks proved a very stiff opponent and defeated Mussolini at Hill 731. Hitler once more had to shore up his ally and take over the prosecution of war against Greece and Crete. In itself, the campaign had little direct importance. North Africa did have some attraction because an Axis victory would have cut the British shipping routes and air staging with India and Australia, but Greece provided no real advantage to the Axis war effort. Where Mussolini hoped for a great victory to impress Hitler, it achieved the opposite.
In the wider importance of war objectives, the Albanian Offensive drew some of the best air and land resources of the German war machine and at Crete caused the German paratroopers so much damage, they were thereafter employed on the ground to stiffen infantry forces. More significantly, Mussolini’s adventure was to take focus away from the invasion of Russia and spread the German forces more thinly. The heroic Greek resistance was to seriously damage the German war plans and, although it may not have won the war for the Allies, it certainly played an important part in frustrating any possibility of a German victory.