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

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,977
SoCal
#21
The Libyans lost their first war against Italy but only after a tough struggle. They had their hero and I think he is still a hero today - Omar Muktar. Finally cornered in in 1931 and despatched Italian style - thrown out of an aircraft. The main street in Benghazi was and I believe still is Omar Muktar Street.

Libya was much more backward than Algeria in the 1950s, almost feudal and I have the impression that the Italians had done much less than the French in Algeria to improve education and employment for the indigenous population. The place (Benghazi at least) was still run by a mixture of Egyptians and Italians - a surprising large number were left over from WW2).

They would certainly have rebelled like the Algerians and again it would be the Senussi of Cyrenaica, tough desert tribe and very strict Muslims, who would take the lead.

They would certainly need outside help and it would be logistically much easier for the Egyptians to assist than was the case in Algeria. Just how effective this aid would be is open to question. The Algerians alleged that they only got hot air from Cairo and had to fight with weapons taken from the French.

Logistics for the Italians would be very difficult. There is no rail link between Tripoli and Benghazi and only one road (built by the Italians). Strangely enough although it has huge coast line there are very few decent harbours. Benghazi was minute and Tripoli not much better. The problems suffered by the Afrika Corps would again be in evidence - keeping even a small force supplied in such a huge, empty area is very difficult, very costly and wide open to ambushes. Effective use of air power would be key for the Italians.

Anyway, assuming we have Nasser in power and the sort of independence scenario in the 1950/60s and given a reasonable supply of Egyptian equipment then I think Libyan rebels would have managed to make it so unattractive that eventually the cost of holding the place would simply not be worth the expenditure of Italian blood and money.
Didn't the Algerians get some help from Tunisia and Morocco, though? (I'm thinking of supplies, weapons, et cetera.)

Also, might Libya's oil make the Italians more determined to hold onto it?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,609
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#22
Corsica was French for a couple of centuries, though. Also, no government strongly objected when France purchased Corsica from Genoa. (Some members of the British Parliament did strongly object, but they were in the opposition during this time.)



Why can't Italian Fascists go back to their old principles after Hitler is overthrown by the Allies, though?
Let's say that remaining neutral, Fascists could have avoided to follow Hitler with his Aryan mania. This was possible. Mussolini had in mind the idea [less or more crazy] to rebuild the Roman Empire. If he applied that model totally ... the late Roman Empire gave the Roman citizenship to all the adults who lived within its borders, so ... if disengaged from Nazi Germany, Italy could have conceded the Italian citizenship to Libyans.

About Corsica ... even the United Kingdom intervened against the French occupation of the isle. But to be historically correct, despite recent petitions in favor of an Italian future, after the disengagement from Genoa Corsica tried and be independent [it was the Army of Corsica, not of Genoa, to face the French invasion].
 
Likes: Futurist
Mar 2015
1,427
Yorkshire
#23
Didn't the Algerians get some help from Tunisia and Morocco, though? (I'm thinking of supplies, weapons, et cetera.)

Also, might Libya's oil make the Italians more determined to hold onto it?
I would have to check on Tunisia and Morocco but I doubt it was much. Egypt is much better known and despite all the promises very small quantities of anything came from Nasser. So even the madcap plan of the French to neutralise him with the Suez Affair (thought up in Paris despite Eden taking the major blame) was a futile - there was no major flow of arms.

All Libya's oil was imported in the 1950s and I think the first oil was discovered in 1959 and first flowed in the early 1960s. Nobody realised then just how much there was.
 
Likes: Futurist

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,710
Sydney
#24
the FLN used mostly Morocco as a safe base , there were some well equipped units there who simply stood
the French had established a barrier on the Morrocco and Tunisian , the Maurice line made of two rows of barbed wire with mined ground in between ,
a road behind was patrolled constantly , any breach would see troops closing in on the guerilla
this successfully prevented the passage into Algeria of large units
meanwhile the urban guerillas had been brutally crushed , those in the countryside hunted down to a man

While the military situation was a success , at home , the population was in a state of revulsion by the routine use of torture ,
the brutalization of the conscripts was decried
the crushing cost and a strong anti-colonial movement destabilized a dysfunctional government which turned to De Gaulle
He dissolved the constitution after a referendum and , recognizing the futility of the war ,
turned against his supporters by granting independence to Algeria
the irate military officers , organized a coup , which failed due to the conscripts mass disobedience
there were a succesion of attempts on De Gaulle life , as told in "the day of the Jackal "
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,977
SoCal
#25
the FLN used mostly Morocco as a safe base , there were some well equipped units there who simply stood
the French had established a barrier on the Morrocco and Tunisian , the Maurice line made of two rows of barbed wire with mined ground in between ,
a road behind was patrolled constantly , any breach would see troops closing in on the guerilla
this successfully prevented the passage into Algeria of large units
meanwhile the urban guerillas had been brutally crushed , those in the countryside hunted down to a man

While the military situation was a success , at home , the population was in a state of revulsion by the routine use of torture ,
the brutalization of the conscripts was decried
the crushing cost and a strong anti-colonial movement destabilized a dysfunctional government which turned to De Gaulle
He dissolved the constitution after a referendum and , recognizing the futility of the war ,
turned against his supporters by granting independence to Algeria
the irate military officers , organized a coup , which failed due to the conscripts mass disobedience
there were a succesion of attempts on De Gaulle life , as told in "the day of the Jackal "
Thanks for this information!

Also, let me guess--hardcore right-wing opponents of De Gaulle subsequently joined the National Front, correct?
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,710
Sydney
#26
Yes and no , at the origin le Pen ( father ) was essentially a populist
the youngest elected member of parliament under the very populist "Poujadist" wave ,
he resigned his mandate to go fight in Algeria as a volunteer , where he lost one eye

He split from the "Occident" movement , he thought it was too old fashioned Nazi
created the National front to draw more from the middle ground
as more people were disquieted by the massive immigration , his message got across
especially in the old communists working class suburbs , where most migrants congregate
he also always had the European refugees from Algeria and the far right Jewish groups like the Betar

His daughter ditched him to break further with the old discredited far right .
She now has established the renamed party ( National Rally ) on the modern populist base
 
Likes: Futurist