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This book explains why the Italian armed forces and Fascist regime were so remarkably ineffectual at an activity-war-that was central to their existence. Italy's economic fragility, Mussolini's strategic-ideological fantasies, and Hitler's failure in the wider war made Italy's ruin inevitable, but did not determine its peculiarly undignified character. Hitler's Italian Allies demonstrates the extent to which Italian military culture-a concept with applications far beyond Fascist Italy-made humiliation inescapable. It offers a striking portrait of a military and industrial establishment largely unable to imagine modern war and of a regime that failed miserably in mobilizing the nation's resources. Above all, it explains why the armed forces, despite the distinguished performance of a few elite units, dissolved prematurely and almost without resistance-in stark contrast to the grim fight to the last cartridge of Hitler's army and the fanatical faithfulness unto death of the troops of Imperial Japan.Read more
- Stresses importance of military culture (rather than economic or technological strength) to the effectiveness of a power's armed forces
- A 'good read' to anyone with an interest in Fascist Italy and/or World War II
- A careful analysis based on a wide range of little-known and infrequently used archival and printed sources in Italian, German, and English
Reviews & endorsements
"This book is important to an understanding of how and why Italy collapsed during World War II."
-Washington PostSee more reviews
"MacGregor Knox's excellent study of Italy's defeat mercilessly reveals faliure on all fronts...Knox expertly paints a depressing and,, with very few exceptions, uniform picture of faliure of the Italian army, navy, and air force."
"[A] valuable introduction to a neglected aspect of World War II."
"...thoughtful and well researched..."
"Knox tells the story clearly and concisely and his analysis of the weaknesses of the Italian military is likely to convince anyone who has witnessed the workings of Italian society...Knox's book poses interesting questions and convincingly critiques the operations of Italy's pre-war military establishment."
-International History Review
"A brief but cogent examination of Italy in World War II. Knox, whose talents were recently displayed in Common Destiny, a dual history of Germany and Italy, hones in here on the Italian side, his main field of expertise...This book is important to an understanding of how and why Italy collapsed during World War II."
-Washington Post Book World
"A necessary addition to World War II...Excellent... leaves the reader wanting more anecdotal information and first-hand accounts from officers and enlisted men."
-The Ocala Star-Banner (FL)
"This concise analytical study will be of much value to readers who are interested in the military relationship between Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany during the period when they were allies."
"...the survey of the Italian Armed Forces during World War II, manages to look deeply into its organizational, technological, doctrinal, and tactical shortcomings, as well as its leadership and cultural problems, while rebutting the wartime Allied propaganda. A very useful work for anyone interested in the Second World War."
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- Date Published: February 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521747134
- length: 224 pages
- dimensions: 227 x 152 x 10 mm
- weight: 0.31kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: defeat – and humiliation
1. Fascist Italy's last war
2. Society, politics, regime, industry
3. Men and machines: the Armed Forces and modern warfare
Conclusion: the weight of the past.
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