Had Italy kept Libya after WWII, would Libya have subsequently experienced a brutal war of independence like Algeria did?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,743
SoCal
#1
Had Italy kept Libya after WWII (for instance, by remaining neutral in WWII instead of entering the war in 1940), would Libya have subsequently experienced a brutal war of independence like Algeria did in real life?

Just like Algeria was directly annexed to France, Libya was directly annexed to Italy in 1939. Thus, giving up Libya would have meant giving up a part of Italy as opposed to giving up a colony. Also, just like Algeria, Libya had a large European settler population--albeit one who didn't live in Libya as long as the pieds-noirs had lived in Algeria. In turn, this raises the question of whether the Italians would have fought just as hard, aggressively, and brutally--if not even more so--in order to keep Libya Italian as the French did in order to keep Algeria French.

What are your thoughts on this? Also, what do you think would have been the ultimate end game of a brutal Libyan war of independence in this scenario? Would Italy have opted for full assimilation of the Libyans (which would have been easier to do than in Algeria since there were much less Libyans than Algerians) or would Italy have eventually give Libya its independence just like France did with Algeria?

Any thoughts on this?
 
Likes: Swamp Booger
Mar 2016
1,116
Australia
#2
Almost certainly. If the (relatively) liberal France would fight so aggressively to hold onto Algeria, I don't see why the most fascistic, ruthless regime of Mussolini would do anything less. I'd say it'd be a safe bet to imagine they'd go even further than the French. Didn't they use gas in Ethiopia in the 1930s?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,743
SoCal
#4
Almost certainly. If the (relatively) liberal France would fight so aggressively to hold onto Algeria, I don't see why the most fascistic, ruthless regime of Mussolini would do anything less. I'd say it'd be a safe bet to imagine they'd go even further than the French. Didn't they use gas in Ethiopia in the 1930s?
Yep, Italy did use poison gas in Ethiopia in the 1930s.

Also, I do wonder if the Italian reaction would have been milder had Italy successfully transitioned to a democracy by that point in time.

Nope , not enough population
also Libyans are riven with tribal enmities
So, Libya's small population will make it much easier for Italy to crush any Libyan rebellion in comparison to France and Algeria?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,421
#5
No, not really.

As said the population disparity was tenfold between Algeria and Libya. The proportions seem to have been about the same though: 100 000 Italians of a total pop of 1 million vs 1 million European French citizens of total population of 10 million (the rest being slated as indigenous Muslim "French nationals").

Also, for all the complexities of it – because of those complexities – Algeria had an extremely long and complex gradual process of formally becoming a part of France proper, while Libya was an Italian colony same as Tunisia and Morocco were French colonies.

Effectively in the colonies there was still vestigal forms of government and a defunct former political elite that the keys could be handed over to when the colonial power went home, in Libya's case in 1951 and in Tunisia and Moroccos in 1956. By comparison the French without any great soul-searching could just release Morocco and Tunisia in 1956 with the stroke of a pen. Over Algeria France otoh effectively tore itself apart. Algeria was clearly special for France, not in a good way perhaps, but still and exception.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,743
SoCal
#6
No, not really.

As said the population disparity was tenfold between Algeria and Libya. The proportions seem to have been about the same though: 100 000 Italians of a total pop of 1 million vs 1 million European French citizens of total population of 10 million (the rest being slated as indigenous Muslim "French nationals").

Also, for all the complexities of it – because of those complexities – Algeria had an extremely long and complex gradual process of formally becoming a part of France proper, while Libya was an Italian colony same as Tunisia and Morocco were French colonies.

Effectively in the colonies there was still vestigal forms of government and a defunct former political elite that the keys could be handed over to when the colonial power went home, in Libya's case in 1951 and in Tunisia and Moroccos in 1956. By comparison the French without any great soul-searching could just release Morocco and Tunisia in 1956 with the stroke of a pen. Over Algeria France otoh effectively tore itself apart. Algeria was clearly special for France, not in a good way perhaps, but still and exception.
Actually, Italy was outright annexed by Italy in 1939--as I already said in my opening post here.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,516
Sydney
#8
OIL , the big difference
and yes , a smaller population make city guerilla harder to sustain and any country partisan activity easier to crush
Algeria had the "Bled" Libya has pretty open ground with a herder occupation
for memory Italy was the first country to use airplane in a military role to crush a Libyan insurrection in 1911
it was mostly from the Senussi tribesmen seen by most coastal Libyans as pirates and raiders of oasis

Italo-Turkish War - Wikipedia

Senussi Campaign - Wikipedia
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,516
Sydney
#9
The French won the guerilla battle in the cities , also called "the battle of Algier"
by introducing new technique in counter-guerilla warfare
they had learned a lot while starved and indoctrinated in viet minh captivity and the teaching of mao tse tung were not lost on them
General Massu introduced the concept that intelligence had to be fresh
he developed the conveyor chain torture , massive amount in the thousands , extremely intense , to collect intel which was acted upon in minutes
while the ratio of useful stuff was small , quantity made up for it
the FLN cells were crushed , one after the others
the mayor of Algiers complained about the number of dead bodies floating back on the beaches after being dumped at sea
 
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AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
26,234
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#10
I would add a demographic consideration: Italians in the 30's were doing in Libya what they had done in Tunisia in the previous centuries [annoying France ...]: Italian settlers migrated to Libya in remarkable numbers. In 1939 the 13% of the population of Libya was made by Italian settlers.

Since Italy is just on the other side of a not wide sector of the Mediterranean Sea, Italians would have kept on moving to Libya [like they did with Tunisia]. Neutrality in WWII, with the control of a treasure of oil, would have made Italy [even with Mussolini] an interesting potential "partner".

If Mussolini was smart [he wasn't, but let's concede he was ...] he would have sold oil to the fighting powers obtaining even a bit of extra protection by the Royal Navy. In such a context, the Italian population in Libya would have grown more and more. Overall in the region of Tripoli. The only doubt is ... and after the defeat of Germany? Would have the allied powers considered Mussolini tolerable like Franco? This is the pivotal question.

If US, UK and USSR tolerated the Fascist state, it's not exaggerated [think to the tiny population of Libya] to estimate that within 1950 a good 25% of the Libyan population would have been Italian. But, as said concentrated in the Western region of the country and along the coast.

So I can even think that someone like Haftar would have started a kind of liberation war from Benghasi in the 60's. In the period of the fall of the colonial Empires, it would have been a tough war to fight [and not politically correct].

And again, the existence or not of a Fascist regime at Rome in the 60's would have changed a lot the outcome of the conflict.
 
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