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No Italian entry into WWI?

MAC88

Active member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
#1
Almost finished with a book on the 1919 Paris talks, and it's brought up a wide range of AH possibilities. One of the most prominent revolves around the question "What if Italy hadn't entered WWI?" More specifically, what if the Allies hadn't succeeded in (or decided against) coaxing Italy to join the Entente through the 1915 Treaty of London, and so Italy remained neutral for the duration of the war? Without Italian participation, would the war have lasted longer (though still ending with Allied victory), or ended with Germany and Austria-Hungary still intact or at least less weakened than in OTL? Without the losses and "mutilated victory" legend that came about from Italian participation in the war, would Fascism have arisen in 1922, and provided a template for the Nazis and other authoritarian regimes in the 1920s and 1930s?
 
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#2
No italy in the war mean a very probable victory for the Central Power, probably in late 1917...the italian front was a big waste of men and material for Germany and A-H and while not big Italy is always an hole in the blockade.
And wihtout the massive human loss, the epic economic disruption and the feeling of being considered a lesser power...Benny will not succeed in taking power
 

d32123

Literal, definitional tankie
Location
Seattle
Pronouns
he/him
#3
No italy in the war mean a very probable victory for the Central Power, probably in late 1917...the italian front was a big waste of men and material for Germany and A-H and while not big Italy is always an hole in the blockade.
And wihtout the massive human loss, the epic economic disruption and the feeling of being considered a lesser power...Benny will not succeed in taking power
I don't think a late 1917 CP victory is possible. Blockade would still be on, even if Italy being neutral would make things a bit more challenging.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#4
I'm not sure if Italy staying out swings the war, but a neutral Italy with more money and a lot less dead men would have a big impact on the peace. First off, yeah, Mussolini's not got his big justification for taking power, so fascism is delayed/changed. A stronger, better-connected Italy can also get its way a lot better.
 

MAC88

Active member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
#5
I'm not sure if Italy staying out swings the war, but a neutral Italy with more money and a lot less dead men would have a big impact on the peace. First off, yeah, Mussolini's not got his big justification for taking power, so fascism is delayed/changed. A stronger, better-connected Italy can also get its way a lot better.
Regarding the peace, it would be interesting if Italy would still pursue some type of claim on Trieste, Fiume, and the Tyrol at Versailles if Austria-Hungary collapsed even absent the Italian front (an outcome that seems likely, given the pressures it faced even before WWI). Maybe the Italians would name these claims as their price for joining the League of Nations, and if refused, this might still lead to some form of Fascism arising, albeit delayed as you suggest?
 
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#6
No italy in the war mean a very probable victory for the Central Power, probably in late 1917...the italian front was a big waste of men and material for Germany and A-H and while not big Italy is always an hole in the blockade.
And wihtout the massive human loss, the epic economic disruption and the feeling of being considered a lesser power...Benny will not succeed in taking power
No Italian front mean at least 400000 less deaths for A-H, let's say that there are a lot changes

Regarding the peace, it would be interesting if Italy would still pursue some type of claim on Trieste, Fiume, and the Tyrol at Versailles if Austria-Hungary collapsed even absent the Italian front (an outcome that seems likely, given the pressures it faced even before WWI). Maybe the Italians would name these claims as their price for joining the League of Nations, and if refused, this might still lead to some form of Fascism arising, albeit delayed as you suggest?
Sure, the moment A-H collapse you see italian soldiers trying to occupy the claimed land and Italy will try to pursue them at any peace conference
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#7
And if Italy can't get all its demands, the fact nobody's been killed* and any demand is basically for free seems like it'd be harder for demagogues to make cause of. (But it'd probably piss off a bunch of other countries, especially the ones losing some land to guys who popped up at the end)

* Maybe a handful if they move in when there's still some opposition but near enough to nobody for the cheap seats
 

MAC88

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Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
#8
And if Italy can't get all its demands, the fact nobody's been killed* and any demand is basically for free seems like it'd be harder for demagogues to make cause of. (But it'd probably piss off a bunch of other countries, especially the ones losing some land to guys who popped up at the end)

* Maybe a handful if they move in when there's still some opposition but near enough to nobody for the cheap seats
It would definitely piss off the new Yugoslavia and Austria, maybe to the point of rejecting the League if the Entente (tacitly or explicitly) permitted the annexations. That in turn might push them towards some sort of ties/alliance with Germany (which might end this alternate WWI defeated, but in better shape than OTL), and in the case of Yugoslavia, maybe encourage greater national cohesion than OTL in the face of threatened Italian invasion and perceived betrayal by the West.
 

Alex Richards

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#10
It's worth remembering that historically we saw a plebiscite for Schleswig despite Denmark being neutral. I suspect that we'd have seen something similar for South Tyrol/Trentino (likely result: Trento to Italy, Südtirol to Austria), and possibly Trieste/Istria/Fiume as well, but here with respect to whether people want to join Italy or Yugoslavia.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#12
It would definitely piss off the new Yugoslavia and Austria, maybe to the point of rejecting the League if the Entente (tacitly or explicitly) permitted the annexations. That in turn might push them towards some sort of ties/alliance with Germany (which might end this alternate WWI defeated, but in better shape than OTL), and in the case of Yugoslavia, maybe encourage greater national cohesion than OTL in the face of threatened Italian invasion and perceived betrayal by the West.
That seems like it'd be a real pisser for the Nazis (whatever shape they take here and assuming they do), harder to go "those filthy Slavs are squatting on land we should have" if you have to say "except for our chums in the country that has Slav in its very name". Some rhetoric, at least, would have to change.
 

Comisario

Hello Tony, I am 1952
Published by SLP
Location
London
#13
Have worked a bit on this scenario before and always found the political settlement difficult to consider, but I might offer some points:
  • The Liberal Union is going to stay put for a good while. No war is easier than a massive war on one’s doorstep, obviously. This also means Giolitti doesn’t resign in 1914, likely has more comebacks during the period of the war and after, and therefore the Giolittian era lasts until his death (or thereabouts).
  • The Italian Nationalist Association (ANI) will likely be the main driver of *fascism in Italy, placing Corradini and his Blueshirts among the main beneficiaries of whatever crises emerge out of this prolonged peacetime period.
  • The PSI will either expel the pro-war Maximalists or they will leave of their own accord. Mussolini and his lot will leave the faction to the more compliant Serrati and Balabanoff, which probably ushers in a Turatisti takeover.
 

MAC88

Active member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
#14
Have worked a bit on this scenario before and always found the political settlement difficult to consider, but I might offer some points:
  • The Liberal Union is going to stay put for a good while. No war is easier than a massive war on one’s doorstep, obviously. This also means Giolitti doesn’t resign in 1914, likely has more comebacks during the period of the war and after, and therefore the Giolittian era lasts until his death (or thereabouts).
  • The Italian Nationalist Association (ANI) will likely be the main driver of *fascism in Italy, placing Corradini and his Blueshirts among the main beneficiaries of whatever crises emerge out of this prolonged peacetime period.
  • The PSI will either expel the pro-war Maximalists or they will leave of their own accord. Mussolini and his lot will leave the faction to the more compliant Serrati and Balabanoff, which probably ushers in a Turatisti takeover.
In OTL, Mussolini drew on the tactics and style of D'Annunzio (esp. the occupation of Fiume) in the creation and direction of his Fascist movement. Assuming no Italian role in WWI, where would D'Annunzio likely end up in the postwar political and/or military arena, and would Mussolini still look to him as an example?
 

Comisario

Hello Tony, I am 1952
Published by SLP
Location
London
#15
In OTL, Mussolini drew on the tactics and style of D'Annunzio (esp. the occupation of Fiume) in the creation and direction of his Fascist movement. Assuming no Italian role in WWI, where would D'Annunzio likely end up in the postwar political and/or military arena, and would Mussolini still look to him as an example?
D’Annunzio probably never has the impetus to go all-out on Fiume and Mussolini never really has anything to look up to in that regard, but D’Annunzio already had a hell of an influence on the militarist tendency of the PSI. After all, he grouped with the Socialist parliamentarians at the turn of the century. He probably would promote irredentism and try to provoke war, but an Italy that’s survived on the periphery of a Europe at war won’t be rushing into major conflicts... even if a mad wannabe warrior-poet wants it.

Without the specific conditions brought about by the war economy and the experience of military service, Mussolini night found his own “national socialist” party and try to engage in some low-level extra-parliamentary violence. It probably wouldn’t be to the same extent as the OTL Blackshirts, but he could form his own street-fighting group to complement Corradini’s Blueshirts.
 
#16
It's worth remembering that historically we saw a plebiscite for Schleswig despite Denmark being neutral. I suspect that we'd have seen something similar for South Tyrol/Trentino (likely result: Trento to Italy, Südtirol to Austria), and possibly Trieste/Istria/Fiume as well, but here with respect to whether people want to join Italy or Yugoslavia.
Didn't a sizable number of Carinthian Slovenes vote in favor of union with Austria over joining Yugoslavia after WWI in our TL, though? Ditto for almost all Masurian Poles and for a sizable number of Silesian Poles. So, there might be a possibility that a sizable number of Austrian Italians would prefer Austrian rule to Italian rule. It's worth noting that in the 1946 Italian monarchy referendum in our TL, Trentino was one of the most pro-republican Italian regions--presumably because they didn't have much love for the House of Savoy, who didn't rule over them for all that long in comparison to the Hapsburgs.
 
#17
Didn't a sizable number of Carinthian Slovenes vote in favor of union with Austria over joining Yugoslavia after WWI in our TL, though? Ditto for almost all Masurian Poles and for a sizable number of Silesian Poles. So, there might be a possibility that a sizable number of Austrian Italians would prefer Austrian rule to Italian rule. It's worth noting that in the 1946 Italian monarchy referendum in our TL, Trentino was one of the most pro-republican Italian regions--presumably because they didn't have much love for the House of Savoy, who didn't rule over them for all that long in comparison to the Hapsburgs.
Much depend in what condition is A-H after the war, even in a CP victory scenario the Empire can be in extremely bad shape and with a lot of ethnic strife, especially if the war last till 1917
 
#18
Much depend in what condition is A-H after the war, even in a CP victory scenario the Empire can be in extremely bad shape and with a lot of ethnic strife, especially if the war last till 1917
That's certainly very true. That said, though, it's worth noting that Austria in its 1920 borders might not have been perceived as being very attractive (due to it being cut off from most of its former empire) and yet it still apparently received a sizable amount of support from Carinthian Slovenes in real life--and this was with the Central Powers losing WWI. If the Central Powers actually win WWI, then their reputation should be even higher, no?