Friday, March 23, 2012
The Allied Offer to Italy in 1940
Once again, after World War II began, the Allies approached Italy with big promises if she would abandon Germany and switch sides to join the Allies. They promised that when the war was over and Germany destroyed that Italy would be ceded the Tyrol, all of Austria, parts of southern Bavaria and that they would make good on the territorial promises which were made to Italy during the First World War but which were never delivered. We can assume roughly that this meant the Litoral region and Dalmatia at least. However, as we know, Mussolini did not accept the offer saying, "The Italy of 1940 is not the Italy of 1914. We've heard that story before, much to our regret. Why should we believe you now?" This was obviously a reference to what had happened in the First World War when Italy, previously allied to Germany and Austria, was persuaded by the Allies to come into the war on their side against the Austro-Germans with promises of extensive territories in the Tyrol, the Adriatic coast and a share of captured German colonies in Africa. After years of hard fighting and the loss of hundreds of thousands of men only a small portion of these grand promises were actually kept. As such, Italy took the attitude that, 'fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me'.