If Italy Stayed Neutral During WW2

Apr 2017
1,679
U.S.A.
If Italy stayed neutral during ww2, including not invading Greece, how would the war have differed? Obviously there would not have been an African or Mediterranean campaign but would it have made a difference in the long term?
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,446
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
A number of people might suggest this as a boon to the Axis, but it is a double edged sword.

1.) No Greek expedition might allow earlier Axis preparation for Barbarossa, but would leave larger intact Empire forces in the Med.

2.) Without Italy providing the bulk of the Axis surface fleet, Britain rules unchallenged in the Med, and can transfer major naval forces to the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

3.) Britain has a much improved logistics capability, as oil and cargo routes through the Med with minimal Axis interference. The destroyers and ASW assets used in the Med Re transferred to the Atlantic, improving protection vs. u-boats.

4.) Britain is probably able to mount an invasion of Morocco, Algeria or even Corsica in the fall of 1941, more than a year early.

5.) British defence of the Far East would be improved.

6.) Allied invasion of mainland France in 1943 would be feasable
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,446
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Germany would have won the war. :)
Uhm, no.
They will still face the daunting task of invading the Soviet Union in 1941, and it's not a slam dunk..



Question for Visigoth Panzer - while the need for a German intervention of Greece is eliminated, I assume they still invade Yugoslavia in response to the pro-Allied coup in early 1941?
 
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Dec 2017
185
Germany
Fascist Italy was not Switzerland. Once Hitler had unilaterally and deliberately initiated WW2, Mussolini knew that Italy could not avoid war in the Mediterranean, belligerent or not.
The other problem that Mussolini had in 1940 was the question of how far could he really trust his neighbor, Nazi Germany, Master of all Europe, not to invade Italy should the Fascists decide to remain neutral.
This explains why in early 1940, the neutral Italians were fortifying military defences the Italian-Austrian border.
 
Dec 2017
185
Germany
A number of people might suggest this as a boon to the Axis, but it is a double edged sword.

1.) No Greek expedition might allow earlier Axis preparation for Barbarossa, but would leave larger intact Empire forces in the Med.

2.) Without Italy providing the bulk of the Axis surface fleet, Britain rules unchallenged in the Med, and can transfer major naval forces to the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

3.) Britain has a much improved logistics capability, as oil and cargo routes through the Med with minimal Axis interference. The destroyers and ASW assets used in the Med Re transferred to the Atlantic, improving protection vs. u-boats.

4.) Britain is probably able to mount an invasion of Morocco, Algeria or even Corsica in the fall of 1941, more than a year early.

5.) British defence of the Far East would be improved.

6.) Allied invasion of mainland France in 1943 would be feasable
Although in his last days, Hitler blamed Mussolini for the loss of the war owing to the postponement of Barbarossa, apart from anything else, the muddy conditions in Russia in the spring of 1941 would not have allowed any worthwhile German attack before June 1941, as Hitler no doubt knew. Mussolini was a convenient scapegoat in this case.
 
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Jun 2017
2,992
Connecticut
Third Reich probably at least survives the war and might even "win". Of course declaring war on the US in 1941 would still be very dumb but if paired with the successful conquest of the USSR, it is probably not a mortal wound. If the Third Reich is totally defeated which I see as unlikely in this scenario, it would take a great deal longer at the very least.

Italy's intervention hurt Germany a lot as it opened up fronts that took a lot of German resources that could have made the difference in the East as late as 1943 and was siphoning off troops until the very end. Third Reich collapsed under the pressure of three fronts and Mussolini not being in the war closes one of them.
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
the italians messed up thee North Africa Campaign. With only Germans, I'm not sure they would defeat the British, but it would have been more eagerly contested.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,632
Las Vegas, NV USA
Uhm, no.
They will still face the daunting task of invading the Soviet Union in 1941, and it's not a slam dunk.
I was referring mostly to Sidi Barrani and the Greek campaign. Italian officers were mostly incompetent aristocrats. I understand Rommel's Afrika Corps had many Italian soldiers who fought well under German commanders. Italian troops on the Stalingrad front took very heavy losses before giving way to Soviet forces.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sidi_Barrani
 
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deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,662
Europix
"Neutral Italy" would be before WWII, as Italy "basculated" from being on French/British side before the beginning of the war.

It's debatable if Germany would have invade Rheinland, and if yes, if French wouldn't have had reacted military. Italy becoming a "friend" of Germany is one of the very important reasons French didn't reacted military to the invasion of Rheinland by Germany.

So, maybe, the question is "would have been a WWII at all?"