Talk:Italian invasion of France

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funny point[edit]

the italian article claims it is an italian victory. wikipedia, the free propaganda in which everyone can take part. Cliché Online (talk) 22:33, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

That's because the Italian attack into France was basically successful. The French sued for peace and Italy annexed French territory. If that's not a victory, then what is?

AnnalesSchool (talk) 00:38, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

The Italian Army entered in France, and, in few days, occupied several forts and a city. You can't consider it a defeat only cause the French fought well and, given the difference of forces, the Italians should have done more. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:18, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
It is called a French tactical victory, because that is what the sources (English, French, and Italian) state. Mussolini ordered the attack when France was already on her knees, defeated by Germany. The Italian military, weighed down by doctrine and equipment issues, failed in their objective to penetrate the French positions and as a result had to weaken their armistice offer as the French were willing to carry on fighting. Finally, as historians have noted the Italian military did not breach the main French line and their attacks were repulsed with heavy losses. The political aftermath does not change the military situation.
The Italian article, on the subject, contains a whopping 18 inline citations. That is outnumbered by the current article's section analyzing the outcome of the attack. That does not include that, when a rewrite and expansion takes place, there are even more historians (English speaking and Italians) who further support the point that the Italian invasion was anything other than a victory. One Italian historian goes as far as to argue that the failure of this invasion was the starting point of Mussolini's downfall on a political and military level.
I know it is a late reply to the initial comment, propaganda is "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view". Stating the Italian invasion was a limited victory goes against the consensus of the historical community that call it anything but that.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:24, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Even given for true the existance of a thing called "historical community" (that's not the case) the fact that there are historians that support another point of view demonstrates that there isn't a "consensus" over this subject, unless someone think to have the right to decide who of them is a real historian (a part of the "historical community" maybe?) and who is making "propaganda". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:25, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Other than the straw man argument you have just created, you did not engage the point. You fail to grasp what consensus means.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:52, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

The questions are these: What was Mussolini's objective in invading France? The objective, as he stated, was to have a few thousand dead and be able to sit at the negotiating table. Was that achieved? Yes. Did he get all he asked for? No. Did he get important concessions from the French? Yes. Was it a great tactical victory? No. Was it a strategic victory or any sort of victory? Yes, it was but a modest one. Would Italy have achieved anything if there was no incursion into France? No. Did Italy get anything out of its military adventure in France? Yes. AnnalesSchool (talk) 14:42, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Questions missing: Why did Mussolini not get everything he asked for? (Despite the French being overrun by the Germans, they refused to back down to the Italians until they lowered their demands). Why did France give concessions anyway considering they were not defeated on the battlefield? (Due to the fact that Germany had overrun France). What was the long term effect on Italy? (According to one Italian historian, it was the beginning of the end of an independent Italy as it slipped into the clutches of Germany).
Point missed repeatedly: Is there consensus among historians that the Italian attack on France resulted in anything approaching a strategic victory, let alone just a victory? (no).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:35, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Enigma, I think the problem is that you have too narrow a focus on battles. It is quite possible to lose many battles but still win the war. Your question: why did France give concessions away considering they were not defeated on the battlefield? is a good question and one I wish you would answer for us. This is why we need to go to the Italian and French archives to find out precisely what was Mussolini's intentions and what were French intentions? What role did Hitler play behind the scenes? Battles are battles, but after the battle, politicians eventually wheel and deal and must come to an agreement. There is a theory that Mussolini attacked France to forestall any deal that the French may make with the Germans in forming their own special partnership, thus excluding Italy.

Anyway, whatever the "real reasons" the French decided to have an armistice with the Italians, the Italians gained land and concessions. It came out on top. I mean, just using logic and common sense tells one this. You don't need a barrel of historians to tell you this. AnnalesSchool (talk) 11:29, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Apparently you do. Despite the "barrel of historians" all stating the lack of military success, the political back down at the armistice table, and the long term geopolitical problems the invasion caused for Italy not to mention the numerous problems the invasion highlighted within the Italian military, you somehow can only paint a rosy picture of a successful invasion.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:20, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
"It is quite possible to lose many battles but still win the war" - yeah, but you still lost the battles. Pinkbeast (talk) 13:09, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

And who is "you" exactly? Is the "you" referring to me? This is the problem with many of the articles dealing with war - especially the first and second world wars. There is this pervasive partisanship involved, a sense of "us" against "them"; "you" against "me", which comes through strongly in the war articles and especially in the Talk Section. The articles dealing with Greece are especially partisan and lack neutrality, as the dominant contributors are Greek or strongly on the side of the Greeks. Likewise, many of the articles written by Anglo-Saxons show a strong bias as well, which is why Wiki war articles are and should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Scholars and academics are very vary of Wiki war articles because too many editors take sides, as Pinkbeast has demonstrated.

There is no "we" against "them". There is only historical truth. But even truth is a fiction. Some historians, especially the post-modern kind, would argue that history is mostly fiction and that "truth" is unattainable. So what do we have left? Not a hell of a lot. Only "perspectives" and dubious approximations of the "truth".

When a Wiki editor writes that the invasion of Greece failed, and yet two-thirds of Greece ends up occupied by Italy, I have to ask: "where's the failure?" When Wiki editors write: "The Italians retreated everywhere!" (which one did by the way), and I see a map of Yugoslavia with patches of green on it indicating Italian protectorates, I have to ask again: "Where is the failure?" And so on... .

As I wrote earlier, you can continue to write about Italian failures as much as you like, but the public will look at a map, see large chunks of Greece, Yugoslavia, Somalia, North Africa colored in green indicating Italian occupied territory, and people will draw their own conclusions from it.AnnalesSchool (talk) 17:12, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Oh, and I forgot to mention I will end this discussion here.AnnalesSchool (talk) 17:16, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

I cannot for the life of me understand how you are possibly a history teacher ... your lack of comprehension is unbelievable (you cannot understand what "you" means, in a very simple context), your oversimplification of complicated events (your ongoing strawman about occupation zones) not to mention your complete lack of understanding of how historians do their work, and your continued racism (Anglo-Saxons). Your posts are just staggering, and are completely void of constructive criticism or points. I have to say, I am glad you will end the discussion here, because I think your complete lack of respect to the editors and the public at large (their inability to grasp complicated subjects because of a map) is out of control.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:14, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I am neither Italian nor French. Insert "one" for "you" if you prefer; I didn't mean you personally, or the nation to which you belong, or anything like that; I just meant that if one loses all the battles but wins the war, the battles were still defeats, not "tactical victories". Pinkbeast (talk) 10:29, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

I wasn't going to reply but you took advantage of my ending this discussion to launch a nasty and unwarranted attack upon me as an historian and teacher of history. If I wrote what you had written, then I would have been threatened with being blocked and censured.AnnalesSchool (talk) 11:44, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

It was an Italian victory in military terms. The French had not advanced an inch and the Italians had made slight conquests when an armistice was concluded (Durant les quatre jours de combat, il n’y eut qu’une seule action offensive française. . . [mais] un nombre limité de fortifications avancées furent conquises [et l]e plus grand succès fut la prise de la petite ville de Menton, c.f. this article). On the topic of infoboxes ruin everything, it wouldn't be important to name a victor if we didn't have that infobox. Srnec (talk) 20:06, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
I am sorry, but I suggest you read Rochat's article again. He does not state the Italians won a military victory, and the French making no advances has little to do with the entire affair.
The very same paragraph you have quoted from, he calls the results of the Italian offensive "miserable" and sums the entire affair as a way of Mussolini to "get a few crumbs from the German victory". Rochat is on par with about every other historian, and is not a smoking gun as you make out.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:45, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Where did I make him out to be a smoking gun? I read the article. I know what he says in that paragraph. He also calls the French defence a "victorious resistance". Currently the infobox says "tactical victory", is that a tacit admission that it was a strategic defeat? Certainly Weinberg, p. 140, does not call it an Italian defeat. The haplessness of the Italian offensive is acknowledged by all. The terms "victory" and "defeat" are foisted upon us by the infobox. Srnec (talk) 22:47, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
If you read Rochat's article, how can you conclude the Italians were victorious on a military level? How, by acknowledging that the Italian attack failed (as highlighted on the page cited by Weinberg, and further noted in the other references used and practically every other source on the subject), is the infobox being "a tacit admission that it was a strategic defeat"? Do we have a source that suggests the Italian's achieved a strategic victory or something strategic in all this? Having looked at quite a large selections of work on this topic, I have seen none thus far. If anything, it should be clear that the French won on the battlefield, but lost in the grand scheme of things (mainly due to the fact that Germany had overrun the country).
The infobox does not force us to use simple terms such as victory or defeat, however over the past few months there have been attempts to impose "Italian victory" in the infobox: a result not supported by historians and hence the over the top use of citations to support the fact that the French military essentially defeated the invasion on military grounds.
In the interests of advancing this article in a positive direction, rather than just fighting on the talkpage, what would you suggest the infobox state?
In the long run, after the article had been padded out to provide a more in-depth look at the battle and its aftermath, I was thinking something along the lines of:
  • Italian invasion stalls/fails
  • French military undefeated
  • Political outcome resulting in the Franco-Italian Armistice
  • Italian occupation zone established in southern France
thoughts?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:02, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
"lost in the grand scheme of things" = strategic defeat
Thinking about this some more. . . if the article were titled "Battle of the Alps", I think there'd be less reason to quibble. Nothing wrong with saying that the Italians lost a battle that was part of a wider war. But to say the French were victorious opposing an invasion, when they in fact had to cede territory (some of which was taken from them in battle) is what strikes me (and AnnalesSchool, apparently) as misleading at worst, awkward at best. Unfortunately, I have no advice/opinion on the infobox. The battle section of this article needs beefing up. I'll see what I can do. Srnec (talk) 19:42, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Lost in the grand scheme of things does equate to a strategic defeat inflicted upon the French by the Italians. Germany had already defeated the French military when the Italians attacked (the German attack is the grand scheme of things). The Italian attack, other than capturing territory that had been abandoned in 1939, stalled before even hitting the main French positions. Trying to spin that into an Italian victory - of any sort - is ludicrous and not supported. As highlighted by several historians, the French were willing to carry on the fight resulting in the Italians having to back down at the peace table. Again, that is not some sort of victory. That is the undefeated French getting the best possible deal in the south while the main game was played in the north.
I have plenty of sources and notes at hand to expand the rest of the article, I just don't have the time at the precise moment. Additional input is always welcome, but if it is aiming to misuse sources (taking Rochat out of context) and turn this article into a propaganda piece unsupported by historians (an Italian strategic victory, for example) then I can see further fights taking place on the talkpage.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:08, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
The source I was planning to use—not yet cited in the article—is Emanuele Sica (2012), "June 1940: The Italian Army and the Battle of the Alps", Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d'histoire XLVII: 355–78. Do you have it, or access to it? If you do, then I won't worry about it.
I did not take Rochat out of context. I don't do propaganda. I don't misuse sources like you misuse Weinberg. I think the French won the battle. I admit my opinion on "strategic victory" is OR until I find a source for it. But I am not looking, since it does not matter. Srnec (talk) 00:32, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Misuse Weinberg! Where? He is quoted in full saying what a disaster the Italian invasion was and placed in the infobox merely as means to provide additional support to other historians who also point out that the Italians failed, due to an ongoing effort by certain editors and anon users to vandalize this article to reflect a mythical Italian victory on the ground (the word "tactical" being a left over from the back and forth edit war going on with anon editors, prior to my arrival, and left in the infobox as its removal would - before a complete overhaul of the infobox - imply an even greater victory, which I concede would be confusing for a reader). It is not like I have quoted him to come up with a different set of results ala your comment about an Italian victory due to their advance and the lack of a French one per Rochat (out of context).
I am intrigued how you call the battle "an Italian victory in military terms" yet now you comment "I think the French won the battle". The whole affair over the "strategic victory" comment is also intriguing considering it had zero effect on the overall cause of what was happening to France and failed to force France's hand at the peace table. In all the sources I have looked at thus far (by Anglo-American, French, and Italian historians), no one has stated it was any sort of a strategic victory.
As for the Canadian journal, I do not have access to it although the abstract for the article clearly supports about every other historian on the subject: the Italian military failed, due to a multitude of reasons (industrial, doctrine, equipment, etc), with their offensive "peter[ing] out after a few days, with no significant victories and few territorial gains."EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:25, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Weinberg does not call the battle a French victory on the page cited, as its use implies. Since it follows the bullet point "French tactical victory", what else could Weinberg be expected to say? What he says is quoted in the article: "the singularly inglorious record of the Italians in what little fighting they had done". This does not mean "French tactical victory". I wouldn't be too harsh about it if you weren't so insistent that I misused Rochat. What I said was, "The French had not advanced an inch and the Italians had made slight conquests when an armistice was concluded". Then I quoted Rochat—Durant les quatre jours de combat, il n’y eut qu’une seule action offensive française. . . [mais] un nombre limité de fortifications avancées furent conquises [et l]e plus grand succès fut la prise de la petite ville de Menton—which translates to "During four days of combat, there was not a single French offensive action. . . but a limited number of advanced fortifications were conquered [by the Italians] and the greatest [Italian] success was the capture of the small village of Menton". Rochat says exactly what I said, as anybody who can read French can see. I did not imply that he said it was an Italian victory because it was obvious that I was using Rochat to back up my second sentence—since I basically just restated Rochat in my own words and quoted him to prove it. Maybe this could mislead one who does not read French, but I was under the impression you could. In which case, how was it misleading to quote Rochat saying what I just said? Srnec (talk) 20:22, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Shall we call this a draw and both start a fresh, as it would seem the bickering - by both of us - has come about though miscommunication.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:39, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Don't waste your time Srnec. Enigma is clearly defensive about "his" article that he will brook no other point of view. There is a very strong historiography about Italy and its role in the war, an incredible bias that was mainly established by Anglo and German writers: Anglo in their nationalistic triumphalism and German in whitewashing their own defeats and passing the buck to their Italian "allies" which by the way, the Germans often betrayed.

My advice is to let the reader decide. Italy gained important concessions from this battle and many others. Let them talk about Italian defeat and retreat and failures and fiascos to their heart's content, but at the end of the day, Italy gained territory in France, Greece, the Balkans, North Africa and elsewhere. All these gains are there for everyone to see. Italy and its ally Germany were actually winning the war, and the UK was losing it badly. When writers talk about how "bewildered" the Italians were with all their defeats, keep in mind that the country most bewildered was actually the UK in retreat everywhere. It couldn't even defeat the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean.

There is no doubt in my mind and in the mind of many historians, that Britain would have been easily finished off by the Axis powers if it weren't rescued by its American and Russian allies.AnnalesSchool (talk) 10:40, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you AnnlesScool for yet another unsupported and unconstrutive rant employing straw men and irrlevent material.
I don't own the article, I don't claim to either. However, since I am editing to improve it, I will not stand idly by while you vandlise it as you have done in the past. Finally, and once again, how about you back up your arguments rather than your nationalist border line racist attitude towards every historian who disagree with you (which includes Italian historians!).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:53, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Enigma, I accept the challenge. I wish to include in this article some revisionist historians such as Sadkovich and others who have a different view. Do I have you "permission" to proceed? AnnalesSchool (talk) 17:25, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Why throw the sarcasm in when he "challenge" was to be constructive?
I am glad that you acknowledge that Sadkovich is a revisionist (I still find it highly amusing that the only English speaking historian you don't talk about in a derogatory manner happens to be the one you agree with). There is no issue with introducing material that is controversial. The issue is giving it undue weight, as you have done in the past, to significantly alter what the histrocial consensus is on the subject.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:10, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Wasnt the Italian occupied area of France a haven for French Jews?[edit]

Belive(left out of article) that the Italian occupied area of France was a refuge for fleeing jews from Petains Vichy Frence and German Occuoied France. was this so? What happened to the refugess Jewish and non Jewish in Mussolinis Facist Occuipied France sector?JohnsonAndre'Edson (talk) 01:29, 21 October 2010 (UTC)


Re: [1]. Please discuss who won here rather than edit war. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 08:17, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Considering that anon IP is replacing referenced statements with unreferenced statements, and changing unreferenced numbers to different unreferenced numbers ( 1841 killed, 1440 prisoners), I would ask anon IP to supply the reference that states the victory is different, and to back up the new numbers. Until then, the referenced statement must stand. The unreferenced numbers smack of WP:OR, but replacing one OR with another is not a solution. If anon IP refuses to add a citation, and insists upon making the change, then perhaps this article should be WP:SEMISafety Cap (talk) 22:27, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I realise this is a somewhat dubious argument, but there's also the consideration that the other version doesn't make sense; how on Earth does one arrange to have 1000+ dead and 84 wounded (without the loss of a ship with all hands or some other specific circumstance that would kill all the men involved?) Pinkbeast (talk) 12:31, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

What is wrong with this article.[edit]

My position is simply to introduce more balance and neutrality and fair play. Many of the articles (like this one) show a bias against the Italian military involvement in nearly all spheres of combat. I have used a single source as an example, and even that one was dismissed out of hand. But there are at least a dozen others like Sadkovich I can produce at a later stage and introduce gradually, historians who are more even-handed than the earlier writers.

The problem lies with your example of Ciano. Yes, he probably made that remark, but why include it? For what purpose? To make Mussolini look bad? There was another from Roosevelt, the stab in the back quote. Why include that particular quote gratuitously, as if Hitler, or for that matter Roosevelt or Churchill themselves, have never done their own back-stabbing.

The fact is that the Italians had a small window of opportunity to invade France, and they took it. No one could foresee how quickly France would fall. So comments like: "Much of June was lost as the Italian armed forces prepared for an invasion. But, even after additional time for preparations, the hastily-prepared Italian forces were not at their prime." This sentence doesn't quite add up. If Italy declared war on France on June 10, well that's nearly half of June lost already. So what? Italy should have declared war sooner and because it didn't, it merely wasted time? And even after additional time, the Italian army was still "not a their prime"? Who's to say they weren't "at their prime?" And so the article carries on in this vein for much of the time. Nearly every paragraph takes a swipe or makes an innuendo against the Italian military, its generals and of course, that old favorite, Mussolini the "clown", the "back-stabber". And so it goes on and on , this disparaging, negative, non-impartial tone, right through it and many other articles like it.

It is also as if many of the Wiki editors who write about the Italian involvement in the war, actually dislike the Italians, or are contemptuous of them, and without even being aware of it because it is so ingrained in them, try to put the Italians in a bad light. Sure, the Ciano source is correct: that's what Ciano said! Sure, the Roosevelt quote about Mussolini being a back-stabber, is probably correct. But my question is: why did the editor include those quotes?

Finally, at the end of the day, the Italians occupied a slice of France as far as Menton. They invaded on the 20th and by the 25th, the French asked for an armistice with the Italians. In my book, that's not bad going. Did they fail because they didn't reach Paris? Nooooo! Did they want to? Noooo! If the French did not surrender when they did, then the Italians would have kept up the pressure until they did. But then you will say: "But wait a minute! It was the Germans who defeated France. Not the Italians!" But no one is claiming that. Did the Italians succeed in their limited objective? Yes, they did. Could they have done better? Possibly, but historians are not here to speculate or compare or to make assumptions. The job of the historian is simply to report the facts. And these are the facts. Italy invaded France on the 20th June. There was fighting, chaos, set-backs, etc. On the 25th June, France sues for peace. Italy is in possession of a slice of France as far as Menton. It then occupied Corsica and the Alpes-Maritmes. Voila! End of story! What Ciano said, what Roosevelt said, what the author of the article thinks should have happened, is irrelevant!

AnnalesSchool (talk) 16:12, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Please identify those sources you mention, and be specific on what they support. Your personal views and interpretations are not relevant: please see WP:V. Nick-D (talk) 10:14, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Why? You want me to identify sources here in the Talk section? I'm not sure I know what you mean. I haven't even used the sources yet, and you want me to identity them?

AnnalesSchool (talk) 11:43, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

You said that the article isn't taking into account the views of "a dozen others like Sadkovich". Who are they, and what do they say that's relevant? Vaguely waving at sources isn't terribly useful. Nick-D (talk) 10:02, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

The Unreliability of The Count Ciano Diary[edit]

The diary by Count Ciano is considered by many historians as an unreliable source. The diary was re-edited by Ciano to avoid prosecution by the Allies, to put him in a better light against Mussolini. Furthermore, there is a question about the OSS and British Intelligence having altered the diary substantially. Care must be used when quoting from it. In my opinion, it should not be used. Therefore, I believe the quote attributed to Ciano, should be removed for two reasons: its reliability and secondly, it really does not add anything to this article. AnnalesSchool (talk) 01:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

The problem with the author, William Shirer[edit]

William Shirer's work, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich was published in 1960. It has been criticized by many historians as having "four major failings": a crude understanding of German history; a lack of balance, leaving important gaps; no understanding of a modern totalitarian regime; and ignorance of current scholarship of the Nazi period" and "not sufficiently scholarly nor sufficiently well written to satisfy more academic demands".

Therefore, its utility is problematic and should be used with care. The work itself is old and out-dated. It is certainly biased and lacks an historian's balance. I recommend using more recent, up to date research. Unfortunately for many of these types of Wikipedia articles, authors like Shirer are over-used and relied upon.

In this article he has quoted Count Ciano as describing Mussolini as "the strutting Italian dictator had been quickly deflated—all the more so because of the miserable showing of the Italian army against a handful of French troops." This has a ring of falsity. I have my doubt if the Italian foreign minister at the time would have actually written this down. Therefore, I believe it should be removed from this article because a) there is a question of reliability and b) it does not add anything to the article itself, which is about the Italian incursion into France.

AnnalesSchool (talk) 01:33, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Actually, I think this whole article should be deleted. It could be beyond repairing. There is a much better one, on Wikipedia titled, The Occupation of France. [[2]] that goes into more detail and is more balanced and better sourced.

AnnalesSchool (talk) 02:04, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Shirer's book is actually only referenced twice. I agree that it's outdated, but the usage of it here doesn't seem very problematic. Nick-D (talk) 10:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I beg to differ. Shirer has used the Count Ciano diaries heavily, and these diaries are not considered all that reliable as they have been altered by Ciano himself and by others. So the "strutting dictator" quote and the "Mussolini is humiliated" quote that have been taken from Shirer and included in this article, is certainly not reliable and indeed, add nothing to this article, and therefore, should be removed. AnnalesSchool (talk) 11:32, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

I draw attention to the Wiki Verifiability Rule:

Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion See also: WP:UNDUE and WP:PAGEDECIDE While information must be verifiable in order to be included in an article, this does not mean that all verifiable information must be included in an article. Consensus may determine that certain information does not improve an article, and that it should be omitted or presented instead in a different article.

AnnalesSchool (talk) 12:19, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Discrepancies between this article and the one titled 'Italian occupation of France during World War II'[edit]

I've noticed a couple of discrepancies between this article and the Italian Occupation of France article. For example, the invasion dates are different. What should be done to harmonize the two articles? What are the guidelines here? AnnalesSchool (talk) 14:31, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Ok,if I don't hear anything to the contrary, I will go ahead and change the date from the 20th to the 10th June as the date Italy invaded or attacked France, and change the casualty figures to the ones shown in the Italian Occupation of France wiki article. AnnalesSchool (talk) 10:55, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Rebuke to the above comments, and to the changes made to the article[edit]

Ciano's comment[edit]

It has been mentioned that "Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion", however Ciano is not a random nobody making a comment. He was a member of the regime, thus warrants inclusion not exclusion. Despite the fact that the need for consensus has been noted above, his comments have been removed - again - from the article without notification or seeking concensus.

Excluding Shirer, the same comment from Ciano is used in the following sources:

Whatever problems Shirer may have, Ciano's comments have been used by several historians on the subject. The above, a quick search just looking to quote the sentence, highlights use outside of Shirer. If the quote is so compromised and irrelevant, why does it keep cropping up on the subject without any comment - thus far found - to counter it. The claim that the quote adds nothing to the article is bias: it presents an regime' insiders take on what happened. The claim that "This has a ring of falsity. I have my doubt if the Italian foreign minister at the time would have actually written this down." is without support. It is in Ciano's diary and has been attributed to him from several sources, none of which have thus far questioned if it was a post-war fabrication. EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:56, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Change from French tactical victory to Italian tactical victory[edit]

Other than Sheir, who does not agree with an Italian tactical victory, we have:

  • Damuel Mitcham's The Rise of the Wehrmacht: Vol 2: French victory
  • J. E. Kaufmann and H. W. Kaufmann's Fortress France: The Maginot Line and FrenchDefenses in World War II - French victory
  • . E. Kaufmann and H. W. Kaufmann's Hitler's Blitzkreig Campaigns" The Invasion and Defense of Western Europe: a French victory, and on in which the French "did not have to face military defeat".
  • Paul Henry Collier's World War II: The Mediterranean 1940-1945 He calls the Italian attack into France "hapless" and the Italian contribution to victory "ignominious"
  • Jim Ring's own anyalsis and quotes from various contemporary sources do not support an Italian tactical victory, rather the opposite
  • Knox's work highlights that the German contemporary view was not of an Italian tactical success. His own anyalsis is that the Italians failed, an opinion supported by Italian general Mario Roatta. Knox also highlights that other historians, aware of the Italian military failure, talk of a more political victory by the Italians than anything else.
  • Burgwyn argues that the German victory forced the Italians to reduce their demands and the Italians were compromising with the French: not the sign of victory. Not to mention, Burqwyn highlights that 22 Italian divisions "ground to a halt" in the face of six French divisions. Again, no support for a tactical victory and he further notes that the French were prepared to keep on fighting the Italians.
  • Gerhard Wienberg, A World At Arms. He comments "The singularly inglorious record of the Italians in what little fighting they had done ... facilitated German policy" and forced Mussolini to review his armistice demands. Again, no support for a tactical victory by the Italians (p. 140).

I could keep looking, but after 30 minutes, the consensus seems pretty solid: the consensus of the historical community is that the Italians did not win a tactical victory in the Alps in 1940.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:42, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Why this continual undertone of contempt and prejudice against the Italians?[edit]

Boy, EnigmaMcmxc, you really have it in for the Italians, don't you? Look, why not give the "eyeties" a bit of a rest and flog the Hungarians, or even better, the Bulgarians! They were members of the Axis too. So how about it? Can you give those poor dago bastards a bit of a break? Please.

Actually I don't, but it is nice to see that your initial reaction is to play the race card. That highlights the lack of an argument from you from the start. Considering your supposed academic background, I am appalled.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:07, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Seriously, there are problems with what you have written. Your statement, "the consensus seems pretty solid: the consensus of the historical community is that the Italians did not win a tactical victory in the Alps in 1940."

And who exactly is the "historical community"? Nearly every author you have mentioned, is Anglo-American. Maybe a German thrown in here and there for good measure? You mentioned Knox? Here is what Sadkovich and others think of him:

Yet Knox and other Anglo-American historians have not only selectively used Italian sources, they have gleaned negative observations and racist slurs and comments from British, American, and German sources and then presented them as objective depictions of Italian political and military leaders, a game that if played in reverse would yield some interesting results regarding German, American, and British competence. (Sadkovich, James J. The Journal of Military History 58.4 (Oct 1994): 617).

In which case, I believe we have Sadkovich's blessing for the rest that have been used. Well done, thus we have established consensus since practically every source (I say practically, because the only one at the moment is the one that you have inserted that cannot be verified) calls the Italian invasion anything but a success. When reading them, they highlight the numerous political, military, economic, and industrial problems facing the Italians.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:07, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm neither particularly for the Italians, nor am I against them. You see, history is actually 10% fact and 90% interpretation and point of view. Is the glass half full, or half empty? You tell me. At the end of the day, did the Italians achieve anything from their incursion into France? You yourself have admitted and accepted the list of concessions they received from the the French. Sure, Mussolini didn't get everything he wanted, but who does in life? Italy's gains were modest. So what? But make gains, they surely did. Therefore, the incursion into France, was a success, though a limited one considering what Mussolini had hoped for.

Your interpretation, unsupported by practically every source out there on the invasion. Who note, that while the Italians may have gained something, they made limited gains because the French military outright halted the Italian invasion. There was no military gains. How Italy were forced to drop claims at the negotiation table due to their unwanted arrival, possibility of screwing up the German armistice plans, and the fact the French were willing to carry on fighting them. Am sorry, but enough sources point to the Italians stabbing the French in back - in their darkest hour - and attempting to reap the rewards, which they were force to limit. That does not speak of a military victory.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:07, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

You mention there is a "strong consensus" of historians. Of course there is for the simple reason that historians often just paraphrase and quote each other! I should know because I teach history! If you follow their footnotes, you begin to notice a curious thing. You notice the footnotes tend to do a loop, back to themselves and this community of "consensus". Historians are often sheep-like in instinct. They don't like to stand out in a crowd and often go "baah! baah! in unison.

If would like to provide details to your school, I will file a formal complaint on behalf of the student body if you wish?
I have been reading history long enough, and have academically studied the subject. I am aware of the problems. I am aware that historians will source secondary sources, and that myths can often go repeated for decades. However, I am also aware that historians will make a stand, stand out from the crowd and announce these myths to be such. Thus far, I have read several sources on the subject all of which have them providing their own analysis of the subject and not a single one is saying "hang on a minute, the Italians actually fared better in this campaign than previously thought" or "No, the Italians were not halted by the main French defensive line and unable to overcome it". So you can complain about the problems historians face, but you have yet to provide any substantial evidence that the overall interpretation of this campaign is wrong (something pointed out by several other wiki users to you, and something you failed to address).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:07, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

AnnalesSchool (talk) 11:03, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

I have read carefully your "Analysis" and it adds little to the overall article. There is a fixation on numbers and a misreading of the actual situation on the ground when you write:

Of course it doesn't add anything to the article! Although that is probably because it doesn't call the Italian advance into France a tactical, strategic, and political victory.
    • On 22 June, 50,000 Italians troops were unable to breech the French positions at Bourg St. Maurice, held by 5,500 troops.

This is a little misleading because in a defensive line like the Alpine Line, you don't need all that many defenders. That's why one has a defensive line of concrete and underground fortifications in the first place: so that a few can hold off the many. Even the Germans would have had severe difficulties confronting the Maginot Line head on, which is why they went around it! Due to the rugged, mountainous terrain, the Italians had little choice but to confront it head on! Indeed, the French Alpine Line was twice as difficult to overcome than the Maginot Line due to the narrow and few mountain passes that were available to the Italians. So your comparison of how 50,000 Italians were held back by 5500 French, is unfair, It is yet again, another example of using any statistics or "evidence" or opportunity to place the Italians in a negative light in a back-handed way.

Having read your rebuttal carefully, it adds little to your overall argument. It highlights a complete lack of understanding of what the Maginot Line was about (it was suppose to funnel the Germans into Belgium to be faced by the cream of the French Army and keep the battle of French soil) or what happened (when attacked head on, iirc in the weakest sections in the northern end of the line, the Germans walked on through due to the failing in the design of the line). Your rebuttal also completely misses about every other thing said in the section, and also misses how the same source goes on offer a reason why the Italians failed. In fact, a casual search has revealed more evidence as to why they failed including an assessment by Ciro Paoletti (an Italian historian if I am not mistaken) who goes on to lambast the Italian military (lack of planning, unprepared, doctrine failings, organization failings, equipment failings) and industry as the reasons why Italy failed and goes on to suggest that the Battle of France was the starting point in the fall of Italy from a regional power to a satellite of Germany.
So I am sorry, but contempt, prejudice, and all your other little insults are not grounded in or backed by the evidence: which points overwhelmingly to an unprepared Italian military being unable to overcome the small French force facing them (thus no Italian victory), and only gaining what they did because Germany had already defeated France (which was the strategy Mussolini had decided to employ).
I look forward to your next round of insults.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:07, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Enigma, please try to calm down. And please cease your abusive language or I will have no choice but to report you. Take a couple of asprins and try to get a good night's sleep. And please, try to refrain from highly strung paranoid statements, and remember the Wikipedia motto of assuming good will in other editors. Good night.AnnalesSchool (talk) 15:06, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
Considering your opening statement contained no good faith and was full of insults and racial comments, please by all means report me as you are on more shaky ground than I. EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:57, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Enigma, you are so wrong in so many ways, I really don't know where to begin. You have a strong, deeply felt prejudice towards the Italians and are simply regurgitating myths and falsehoods about the Italian war effort. Your prejudices have blinded you to the many success stories of the Italian military. I would say at least 80% of Anglo-American authors are simply paraphrasing and quoting themselves and as Sadkovich and others have stated, have acted more like prosecuting lawyers in building a case against the Italians, than being fair and neutral historians. You should stop this witch hunt and reflect for a moment. You are not doing Wikipedia any service. There is a growing awareness in the public that the Italian war effort was much maligned and unfairly portrayed, and this awareness is growing.

At the end of the day, the Italians achieved success by their incursion into France. While they did not receive all their grandiose desires in the Franco-Italian armistice, they achieved sufficient to make the incursion a clever and worthwhile maneuver by Mussolini. The Italians fought hard and bravely against very formidable defences and if the war had lasted another week, would have undoubtedly, overcome French resistance. AnnalesSchool (talk) 00:27, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Sigh, yet more unfounded personal attacks. I have nothing, despite your repeated assertions, against Italians (you are the only one here who has provided racial stereotypes and slurs against Italians). I have not provided my own interpretation of what the Italians have done, I have quoted what historians have said. Your own rebuttal is to repeatedly paraphrase an American historian who has been described as a revisionist (and not in the good sense) who overextends his arguments and takes them were the evidence does not fit and apparently - according to you - calls everyone else a racist.
You post yet more comments without sources to back them up. Every single historian (including Italians!) thus far (save one economic historian who you have refused to provide more detail on) call the Italian attack into France anything but a success. Contemporary Italian opinion of the time, as shown in the article, also doesn't suggest anything that could be described as a successful military venture into France.
Do you have a source that disputes the Italians did not break through the Alpine Line? Do you have a source that disputes they suffered 6,000 casualties in doing so due to be unprepared? Where are these supposed myths about this campaign?
Perhaps you should take your own advise, take a step back and reflect for a moment. All you have done is accuse people of being bias and racist, have inserted unhelpful and misleading comments into articles, twisted information to your own personal view, made erroneous edits to articles (such as removing what historians call the outcome of this battle on a military level, changing the dates of the attack, removing information you do not believe), and attempted to discredit the consensus of historians with a single source you will not quote. You are not being helpful the wiki either, by quoting a single historian as the end all on the subject as an attempt to discredit every instance of where historians have highlighted the problem of the Italian military. For example: the amazing claim the Greeks sabotaged the defense of their own country, that despite the consensus of most historians that Italian equipment was a major problem that it was on par to the Anglo-German equipment (in some respects yes, but the way you have worded it: no).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:30, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Request for verification[edit]

The Italian historian Vera Zamagni, who provides the lone dissenting voice to this article and apparently makes the claim that the Italian invasion of France as a victory, according to Google Translate is the editor of the book called "How to lose the war and win the peace", which contains six essays.

"The first essay provides an analysis of Vera Zamagni macroeconomic mica effects of the war. The analysis focuses on the economy, costs and damages of war and finally on production capacity that survived the conflict. ... The second essay, Fortunato Minniti, deals with the arms industry between 1940 and, 1943. ... The third essay, by Andrea Heal me, is the technology and models of armament ... The fourth essay, by Duccio Bigazzi, showing the situation of workers in the industry of war (1938-43). ... In the fifth essay Rolf Petri explains the technological innovations between military use and civilian market. ... In the fifth essay Rolf Petri explains the technological innovations between military use and civilian market. ... " Finally, the conclusion states these "essays contributes to persuade additional readers of the fact that Italy was in these years at a crucial stage of its process of industrialization" and that Italy was able to take advantage of the Marshal Plan, learn from its mistakes and flourish in the post-war world.

Assuming this is the correct book (Italian title put into google, matched, and then the translation tool utilized) and that the translation tool is as accurate to allow a decent translation of the intro, it raises serious questions about the quality of the source in regards to this article. It is several economic historians, who are not focusing on combat. It would seem that whatever is on page 53 needs to be verified, the actual historian mentioned, and the context of what he said and why.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:35, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Then you should have no trouble providing the name of which of the six historians you have quoted and - considering the nature of their work - a full quote showing the context of what they said and exactly what they said.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:58, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Emanuele Sica (2012), "June 1940: The Italian Army and the Battle of the Alps", Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d'histoire XLVII: 355–78[edit]

Earlier I had wrote, although it seems I edited out in error - prior to hitting save - when caught up in the bickering, was that input is welcome.

Does this source mention anything on the Italian war plans: PR 12, Operation M and Operation R?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:47, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Here is what he says on p. 368:

As early as January 1938, the P.R. 12 (Piano Radunata 12 or Staging Plan 12), as well as in its updated versions of April 1939 and March 1940, assumed the formations on the Italian western border would take a defensive stance. This prudence stemmed from the realization that the French army, at least until May 1940, could boast many more troops in the Alpine region than the Italian army, while the Alpine terrain favored attacks from French territory. (For more on the evolution of the P.R. 12, see Gallinari, Le Operazioni del giugno, pp. 22–38.)

Nothing on operations M and R. Srnec (talk) 15:18, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
I had seen references to PR12 in numerous sources, but none mentioned what it was. To find out it was just the order for a defensive posture, is a bit of a let down I have to admit. However, that will happily bolster the background section until we can dig up more info regarding the offensive plans (whatever Ops R and M are).
According to our article Fortified Sector of the Dauphiné and this website, Operations M and R were the northern and southern sectors of the offensive, named after the Maddalena Pass and the Riviera respectively, corresponding, it would seem, with France's two sectors of the Alpine Line. Srnec (talk) 20:18, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, I finally got round to reading Sica's article and if you take what he has written uncritically, you would think that the Italian Army was riddled with so many deficiencies, that it was a miracle it could even get itself to the Alpine border with France.

No army is perfect. During the Battle of France, one could easily write a 4000 word article like Sica's on the deficiencies of the German Army. Certainly, with all the deficiencies of the British Expeditionary Force in France, one could even write a book!

Indeed Sica has left no stone unturned in his quest to win his argument. He starts with the premise that the Italian Army was unprepared and woefully inadequate, down to some men not having socks and others, lacking tents! He even criticizes the uniform, which was made of wool and was prone to wear out easily.

All I can say is that he writes as an advocate for an argument, and to "win" his argument, he leaves no piece of evidence untouched, like some men were without socks, and the uniforms were made of wool, etc. To my mind, he is simply being ridiculous when he goes to such lengths.

I still haven't seen any evidence how the Italian Army failed so miserably in only 3 days of fighting! Sica himself admits the Italians took the town of Menton under fierce resistance, took some forts and advanced in several places. IN 3 DAYS!!!! In mountain conditions! During a snow-storm against an enemy that was well entrenched, highly fortified and where the lay of the land favored them! What "appalling performance" is he talking about? The author, with all due respect, is one of these arm-chair intellectual ninnies, one often encounters in the discipline of MILITARY HISTORY.

If you read his article critically and not just mindlessly accept every word of it because it was written by an "assistant professor" of an obscure military college, you can discern the cracks in much of what he writes, For example, in one paragraph he admits that even for the German Army, the mountains, the well-built fortifications, the strength of the French Army and the weather, would have hindered it, and certainly for a lot longer than 3 days. But then he contradicts himself when he writes that if one compared it to the German blitzkrieg advance in the north, the Italian gains look pretty paltry. Darh! It doesn't take a genius to work out why.

I'm sorry, but I still haven't seen evidence to convince me that the Italian attack in the Alps, was anything near a "fiasco" some are desperate to claim it as. Yes, mistakes were made. Yes, there was indecision. Yes, not all the men were given socks! Maybe some of the rifles didn't work, or some pieces of artillery didn't fire, or there weren't enough tent-pegs to go around! All this may be true. But given the odds and the difficulties involved in such a short time, I can only conclude that the Italian soldier did his duty exceptionally well. He fought bravely against the odds, and at the end of the day, (or should I say - 3 days!), territory was taken, forts were taken, advances inside enemy territory were made, Mussolini got his wish of a few thousand dead, strategic and political gains were made. AnnalesSchool (talk) 18:30, 16 September 2014 (UTC)AnnalesSchool (talk) 18:31, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Wow, you are unbelievable. So the problem, initially, was Anglo-American writers who have tarnished the Italians. Now, we have yet another Italian historian - one who has gained his PhD in studying the Italians and their "occupation of southeastern France in the Second World War" - who has issued a peer-reviewed work on the Italian attack into France and pointing out it was not all plain-sailing. Rather than, perhaps, using this as a basis to reevaluate your position, you declare him to be an "arm-chair intellectual ninn[y]" from an obscure military college with his arguments bordering on "ridiculous". Rather than being yet another historian who is highlighting there was some major problems, you declare you "still haven't seen evidence to convince me that the Italian attack in the Alps, was anything near a "fiasco" some are desperate to claim it as." The "some" people you are talking about, are pretty much every historian regardless of their ethnic or national backgrounds. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge that rather than other people having the bias outlook, it is you? History, from your arguments and comments on the wiki, does not appear to be your subject.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:04, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Zanzibari soldiers and sailors probably "fought bravely against the odds" and may well have done their duty exceptionally well in the Anglo-Zanzibar War. So presumably you would conclude that was not a defeat for Zanzibar? Pinkbeast (talk) 14:10, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

3 days of fighting in the Alps constitutes neither a victory nor a defeat for both sides. The Italians hardly got their guns in place before it was all over. It's like judging the winner from 3 rounds in a 10 round fight. Common sense tells you this.AnnalesSchool (talk) 22:20, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Glad to see that common sense now tells you it was not an Italian "strategic victory". Although it takes an astounding amount of misrepresentation for you to reach such a conclusion. The Italian border forts had French positions within range and silenced several in support of the advance. Furthermore, on 22 June Italian field artillery directly supported an Italian attempt to force a pass. In fact, most of the Italian advances - from the first day to the last - were supported by mortars, field artillery, or the artillery of the border forts (not to mention tankettes).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:54, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

I didn't say it wasn't a strategic victory; it was because it achieved a "political" result for Mussolini. Apart from the armistice terms beneficial to Italy and the taking of French forts along the alpine border and annexation of 50 kms inside France, it made Mussolini sleep better at night because believe it or not, he mistrusted both the Vichy French and his supposedly loyal ally, Germany. However, I still maintain that it was neither a tactical victory nor defeat for either side because of the very short duration of 3 days fighting which was not long enough to determine this. However, I will admit that if I had to chose, I would say that, on balance it was a tactical win for the French within the context of 3 days. If the Italian incursion had lasted 7 days or 10 days, who knows how the French defenses would have coped. The fact that the Italians got to Menton and took the town (they did not halt outside it) means they actually outflanked the French alpine defences. In other words, they got through at the weakest point. Why doesn't this article emphasis that? I mean, a quick look at Google maps tells you that Menton is behind the French defensive line, so obviously, the Italian invading force, in little over 3 days, actually got through. It was only the French hurriedly agreeing to an Armistice, that brought further Italian incursions to a speedy end.AnnalesSchool (talk) 14:05, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── AnnalesSchool - As far as I can see this source seems to fit the requirements of WP:RS. The Canadian Journal of History is a respected peer reviewed journal published by the University of Toronto and Emanuele Sica (an Italian no less) is a published author with a Laurea Quadriennale in Modern History from a university in Rome and a PhD, while the prominence (or otherwise) of RMC Canada doesn’t seem relevant (to me as the sole degree giving tertiary military institution in a major Western democracy it doesn’t seem all that obscure at all and would be the equivalent of Sandhurst, ADFA or Westpoint for instance).

So far all you have done is present your opinion as to why you believe this source isn’t reliable but haven't provided any evidence as to why. Ultimately we are limited to reporting information that is available in reliable sources, not our personal opinions. So is there any evidence that Sica is not a reliable source? Have there been any independent reviews of his work? Or of The Canadian Journal of History?

As you yourself have said the bulk of Anglo-American literature does seem to be critical of the Italian military performance in this campaign (and indeed the war in general) and from what I can see Sica seems to follow this orthodoxy so I don’t see that his work is particularly controversial. Why then wouldn’t this article be reflective of the bulk of the literature available? Of course alternative viewpoints can and should be included, but only as long as they don’t present WP:FRINGE theories, are backed up with reliable sources and do not represent WP:UNDUE weight.

Given your repeatedly stated POV and failure to provide any evidence to date this looks to me like baseless criticism of a source because you don’t like what it says. Regardless, if you genuinely feel this source is problematic I suggest you request an opinion at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Anotherclown (talk) 00:43, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

I'm currently writing an article for Comando Supremo that will spell out why I think Sica's monograph is pretty much worthless. It just reinforces the same old myths and shibboleths without adding anything new. If you go online, you will see that this paper is the only one he has published so far. He's certainly no academic heavy-weight by any stretch. I suspect he got his job at the Royal Military College of Canada on condition that he write at least one published peer-review paper, which he duly did. How or why the Canadian Journal of History let it through is beyond me. It doesn't say much for the journal if they publish articles like his. What else has this boy-wonder published? And to base much of this wiki article on what this "boy", is like walking on thin ice. A heavy-weight like Sadkovich would eat him up for breakfast! Just wait for my Comando Supremo article in a week or two and you will see why I reject Sica's puerile analysis of the battle of the Alps. I've already written two articles for this interesting and useful site: "Anglo-America bias" and "German Incompetence" which are basically reviews of Sadkovich's mongraphs.AnnalesSchool (talk) 14:05, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
1 most of this at article is not based off his work. 2 Sadkovictill ironically "anglo-american" hashas been criticized for reaching conclusions the evidence does not support. 3 publishing an article on a non-reviewed format is not evidence to the contrary to the consensus established by historians who have studied the subject without bias and are able to use evidence to support there claims and not just cherry pick. 4 I had been under the impression the cs website was slightly better than that. 5 your continued attacks are quite amusing, but highlight your lack of training in the subject: one attacks the evidence and argument, not the instituion or how they look.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:52, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

The same old problem: this article is a disaster and needs immediate attention. Very unbalanced.[edit]

Well, here we go again. This article is a disaster. It is slanted, biased and unbalanced. What was in fact, a strategic and political Italian victory, is made out to be a failure by selective cherry-picking of authors. This article follows the tradition of many others dealing with the Italian war effort, only worse.

I would like to nominate this article for an urgent review.

AnnalesSchool (talk) 22:06, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

To return to the same old argument, do you actually have evidence to the contrary? Thus far, you provided a single book that states the invasion was anything other than problematic. However, for over four months you have refused to provide quotes placing the information in context, and refused to provide the name of which of the six authors who contributed to a economic tract on Italy during and after the war. When a third party was asked to verify the information you refused to verify, they were only able to point out that you had in fact named the book wrong.
Once again you have launched a vague and general attack that fails to identify what exactly you find problematic or evidence to suggest it is in fact problematic. You have once again resorted to what is essentially the "race card", if you do not agree with it - it is part of an Italian-phoebe tradition. Do you have evidence of this? For example, if you were to highlight the section on the Italian military (section 2.2) you will find that it is largely sourced from an Italian historian. If your attack was on the Aftermath section, it has been constructed (for the moment) from several historians who have wrote extensively on the subject and includes Italian opinions. Not to mention, while they are not included at present, I have read several modern Italian historians who pretty much fully concur with the attacks on the performance of the Italian military and one went so far as to call the invasion (and later Italian actions in Greece) as the beginning of the end of Mussolini's rule. Do you have evidence that shows the invasion was a "strategic success", and do you have evidence that shows it was a "political success" (how does such a view reconcile with historians noting the French were able to force the Italians to diplomatically back down from their original and more lofty political goals?)?
So once more, and while I welcome and invite third opinions, please provide evidence of the anti-Italian views that go against the consensus of historians.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:33, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
A request as been made for a third opinion.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:42, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.png 3O Response: declined I had to remove this post at the 3O main page because of "lack of thorough discussion" per the instructions. Unless both parties present their sides properly, a 3O cannot be given. Feel free to repost this later. Sincerely, Ugog Nizdast (talk) 09:35, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

i respect your opinion, however this is basically a 4-5 month old argument that is literally repeating itself.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:36, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, I feel this article is not remotely a disaster because one user happens to find the truth distasteful. Pinkbeast (talk) 10:52, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
thank you for your opinion on the article and situation.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:36, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

War is a messy business. Things often don't go according to plan. There are reversals and successes. If you start dissecting occurrences into their necessary parts, and analyzing those parts rather than the whole, you can come up with wrong conclusions. The problem with this article is that it pretends to be very insightful and "analytic", and yet it misses the whole point.

The point being that the German conquest of France was so unexpectedly quick and successful, that it took everyone by surprise, including the Italians. The invasion of France was more a political imperative by Mussolini. He needed a few thousand dead to sit at the table, and he got a few thousand dead. The attack on France from this point of view, was a success. Strategically it was a success as well. Italy got more out of it than what she actually put in.

This article goes into fine but not very relevant detail about whether the "tankletts" were appropriate, whether the artillery was mostly obsolete, etc,. In truth, much British artillery could then be described as "obsolete" too as much of it was leftovers from the Great War.

If the Italians attacked on the 20th June, and only crossed the border on the 21st June, and the French asked for an Armistice on the 25th June, that leaves only a paltry 4 days of fighting! One can't expect much from 4 days of fighting, and yet this article appears to castigate the Italians for their failure in not taking more land and forts! In fact, the Italians did rather well militarily from just 4 days of fighting. It wasn't a blitzkrieg- it was mountain fighting! This is something the authors of this article don't seem to understand. It cannot be compared with the German invasion in the north of the country.

Actually the Italians did very well. And if they indeed did have "inferior" this and Inferior that, and lack of training, lack of experience and so many lacks and deficinecies as the authors of this article pretend, then one can only repond with: "Wow, more glory to the Italians then !!! They seemed to lack so much, even the kitchen sink, that it's a miracle they even got as far as 1 mile into France."

(see for a much better insight into the reasons for the move against France, and what weighed heavily in Mussolini's calculations. He wasn't after all, the fool and buffoon many Anglo authors like us to believe.

Again, it is this sense of double standards that this article portrays: one rule for the Italians; another for everyone else.

Finally, I can only say that the Invasion of France was a success! Yes, success! Hard to believe, but it was a SUCCESSFUL INVASION, and in the very short time of 4 days! Now that must be a record.AnnalesSchool (talk) 12:37, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

You once claimed to be a history teacher. This makes me wonder why you cannot address the questions posed, utilize sources to reinforce your POV, and why you bring up straw men as if they hold weight.

EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:36, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Actually, I just want to correct myself in this respect. I think the word "invasion" is a misnomer. The Italians did not plan for a full-scale invasion. What they did plan for was more akin to an "incursion". So the article title should be changed to an "incursion" or "attack" rather than an invasion. Secondly, I can only repeat that if the so-called "invasion" of France had begun only on the 21st June and the armistice was asked for France on the 25th June, I observed that there was only 4 days of fighting. I will bring my estimate down to 3 or even 2 days of fighting since it would have taken the Italians at least one or even two days just to go over the mountains and prepare their artillery and put their combat troops in position. Therefore, the Italians had only 2 days, or 3 at the most, to fight the French. And they are castigated by Anglo authors for not having achieved enough! Common sense alone tells you that they are writing nonsense. Think about it. You don't need references to tell you something as basic as this! Instead of quoting authors blindly - try using a bit of the old grey matter instead.AnnalesSchool (talk) 15:31, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

That was a big song and dance to just say you have no evidence to back up your claims, not to mention further personal attacks, unfunded accusations, and unsourced opinions. Do you actually have any intention of supporting your claims? Considering you claim to be a history teacher, supporting your position is a basic concept taught in the first year of history not something that can be done away with on a whim (never mind the guidelines of the wiki).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:47, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

But what were the strategic/tactical objectives of the attack? This article doesn't explain them.[edit]

What were the strategic and tactical objectives the Italian High Command had for its incursion into France? This article is silent on the actual plan of attack and its objectives.

If it is claimed that the attack was a strategic and tactical failure, then what is that failure based on? How is it measured? Against what criteria and objectives?

In other words, exactly and precisely how did it fail? What is the yard-stick? What was planned and how far short did those plans fail?

This article fails to make clear what was in the mind of the Italian generals who devised the plan and executed it.

For example, did the invasion plan envisage that the Italian army would reach as far as Marseilles on day 3, 6 or 10??? AnnalesSchool (talk) 15:17, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

For starters, the literature on the subject call the Italian action an invasion not an incursion. They are not one and the same. Beyond that, you are correct (especially your final sentence). The article barely covers the Italian plans because the literature does not give that much detail on them (other than Mussolini's imperial ambitions and objectives), hence the request above for comments and additional information on PR 12 (pre-war defensive plan), Operation M and Operation R (the invasion).
As for the rest, you are again indulging in straw man arguments. The article does not call the invasion a strategic failure. You claimed it was a strategic victory on the talk page, but provided no sources to support that conclusion. I have provided numerous sources, none of which call it a strategic victory. The yard-stick being used to measure the strategic success of the operation? Per wiki-guidelines, published secondary sources or other reliable sources. As for the tactical failure part of your comment, I do believe this has been discussed ad nauseam: the sources state the case of the Italian military being halted or unable to breach the French defenses coupled with an extreme lob-sided casualty rate. Round about discussion every few months is not going to improve the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:27, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

This article declares that it was a French tactical victory, which implies that it was an Italian tactical defeat. The Italians had 631 killed, 616 missing , 2631 injured and/or frostbitten and 1141 prisoner (set free immediately after the armistice). The French Army reported 42 Killed, 84 injured and 150 missing. But the Italians did manage to take out two French fortified positions, by-pass another, entered French territory and took (or were about to take) the town of Menton (which lays behind the Alpine Line).

Well, what can I say? To me, the evidence doesn't support either a French or an Italian tactical victory because the fighting was stopped after only 3 days. The only support is the high casualty rate for the Italians compared to the French, but this is to be expected when confronting strong fortified positions. If the fighting had lasted for say, 10 days, then I believe it would have been long enough to declare a "winner". But as I have stated time and time again, 3 days of fighting hardly constitutes enough time to declare a clear cut tactical victory for either side. AnnalesSchool (talk) 10:37, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

We are again going in circles. Provide a RS that supports your position. If yiu give it time, since none of us have the luxary of editing full time, you will the achievement s the Italians made get mentioned although placed within context. However, you appear to still be spinning events without providing sources and now appear to be deflating casualties?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:59, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

A more improved article! Congratulations Enigma! You see, I can be positive too.

However, I still see a several flaws and Anglo-American bias in it. The various criticisms leveled against the Italian High Command seem harsh and unfair, but that is to be expected if you are referencing writers like Sica, Mack and Knox who take a largely critical and supercilious approach. Personally, I still think the article is over the top in that it was a battle (invasion??) in which the terrain, geography, weather and the heavy fortifications, favored the French by far and that therefore, being highly critical of the Italians for doing this and not doing that. is unfair. Like any battle, it has its ups and downs, its failures and successes, but at the end of the day, it was simply that: a push by the Italians along narrow mountain roads and passes in near impossible conditions against a well entrenched enemy. No need to go into detail like the officers telling the men to behave themselves with the French girls, or like Sica, stating that the horses were from southern Italy and therefore unused to the cold (southern Italy can be very cold too! I know this from experience!) AnnalesSchool (talk) 14:39, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Denis Mack Smith citation[edit]

Does anyone have access to this source? I have just attempted to double check the wording used by Smith and found that page 170 does not state what is cited. I believe - as quite some time has passed since this material was inserted - that this might be a typo and it should read page 270. Can anyone, who monitoring the talkpage, verify this? I have just attempted Google Books and was unable to access page 270. The only hits, in the online version on Google Books, for "surplus population" (and the various other points talked about) were irrelevant to the subject at hand. If no one here can, I will check with the reference desk and otherwise move on to utilizing other references that talk about the same thing. Regards EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:21, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Historians such as Denis Mack Smith partially support this viewpoint, arguing that Mussolini wanted to enter the war yet not actively partake. Is this the nonsensical phrase by Mack Smith you wanted to check? How could one enter a war and not "actively partake"? I would check this one too while you're at it. AnnalesSchool (talk) 12:42, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Seriously? I am so glad you changed your ways and attempted to help here by double checking the only source that is cited to Smith. However, the "nonsensical phrase" is a paraphrase of "For the contrary view that Mussolini planned to 'declare war but not make war'", which is supported by the inline citation.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:00, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
One should like to point out that the last 14 years have provided numerous examples of countries being part of wars, but not actively partaking ranging from providing logistical support, intelligence, or transit/base rights. Of course, while not wanting to delve into Smith's biography of Mussolini (in addition to not having access), it would seem the line of argument Smith is using is that Mussolini wanted to join the war, but not commit troops, yet still be able to gain his political and imperial ambitions. However, all of which is beyond the scope of this article.
Now, if you have access to the only work in this article that is cited to Smith, and you actually have an interest in improving the quality of article, please double check the work.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:08, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Sorry i can't help with that source, and I don't know why this pops up on my watchlist at all. But the paraphrasing usage of the word "partake" seems odd to me; it contributes to the phrase seeming nonsensical-like perhaps. I am familiar with usage of "partaking" in terms of food and drink that can be shared. Why not use participate instead....e.g. say "Historians such as Denis Mack Smith partially support this viewpoint, arguing that Mussolini wanted to enter the war yet not actively participate" ... which seems more clear. Again i don't have the source. Over and out. --doncram 15:22, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I like that suggestion, I shall implement it momentarily.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:38, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

temp storage[edit]

  • O'Hara, Vincent; Cernuschi, Enrico (2009). Dark Navy: The Italian Regia Marina and the Armistice of 8 September 1943. Nimble Books. 

During the night of 16/17 June, President Pétain proposed an armistice to the German government. On 20 June, the French government asked the Italian government for an armistice.[1]

A few things[edit]

According to Sadkovich 1994 (see references in article), p. 52, the French had three battleships, ten cruisers, forty-eight destroyers and fifty-three submarines in the Mediterranean, while Britain had seven battleships, two aircraft carriers, six cruisers and one anti-aircraft cruiser. This does not tally with the information in Note K, although I can only see a snippet of Sadkovich via Google Books and I don't have access to O'Hara, cited in the article. I wonder what's going on?

The recently cited Bertke, Kindell & Smith (not yet in the bibliography) appears to be self-published. That does not automatically disqualify it as a reliable source, but I think we should get the opinion of the Milhist project. I think they settled the question in favour of the reliability of Leo Niehorster's orbat website. (I added Nowfel Leulliot on that basis, since Niehorster links to him for his French 1940 stuff.)

A lot of information currently in the notes, like the orders of battle, should probably be incorporated into the article text eventually. Srnec (talk) 01:09, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the word of caution regarding Bertke, Kindell & Smith, I had not noticed earlier when using it (rushed for time). I completely agree with your suggestion. As for the fleet discrepancy, you can access O'Hara here:
For your convenience, he notes that the French had 2 battleships based in Oran. A further 2 old battleships in Oran and another in either Alexandria or Beirut for a total of 5. Seven heavy cruisers: 4 in Toulon and 3 in Alexandria/Beirut. Seven light cruisers, 3 in Algiers, 3 in Oran and 1 in Alexandria/Beirut. O'Hara has a mix of destroyers and large destroyers, totaling 38 (19 combined in Toulon, 9 in Algiers, 13 in Oran, and 2 in Alexandria/Beirut. As for Sloops, 15 in Toulon, 4 in Oran, and 2 in Bizerta. The submarine force is stated as being 14 in Toulon, 6 in Oran, and 20 in Bizerta. I would argue that perhaps he had included all destroyers and submarines at the French disposal, but his capital ship figure falls below that of O'Hara. Perhaps, Sadkovich has a disposition date earlier to that of O'Hara (10 June).
O'Hara gives the Royal Navy a total of 4 battleships on 10 June, all based in Alexandria. I will see if the official history has anything on the state of the Royal Navy. While it is OR, the following graphs on the Axis History Forum support only 4 (Warspite, Malaya, Royal Sovereign, and Ramillies) in June: (by the next month Valiant has arrived in Gibraltar or assigned to Force H, along with the Hood). One Battle cruiser n Gibraltar. One monitor in Malta. Two carriers split between Alexandria and Gibraltar. Thirteen light cruisers:6 in Alexandria, 1 in Gibraltar, 2 in Port Said and 4 in Red Sea/Aden. The latter could explain the discrepancy, as no breakdown is made between regular cruisers and the AA variety (the Dido iirc).
I shall see what I can dig up tomorrow. Although I would be in complete agreement if you were to argue that the British figure should be knocked down since 8 ships were technically not in the Mediterranean (my bad!).

Fleet makeup[edit]

To split off from the above discussion, in regards to the size and composition of the Allied fleets. Please see below. For the moment, a work in progress as additional sources are uncovered.

British Fleet[edit]

Playfair, Med and ME, Vol I, (Eastern Med only and for end of May), p. 91 4 0 1 0 8 20 12 (in total)
Robert Jackson The Royal Navy in World War II (10 June 1940), p. 43 5 0 1 4 10 31 12
Vincent O'Hara Jackson Struggle for the Middle Sea (10 June 1940), p. 8 4 1 2 0 9 32 12
David Brown The Royal Navy and the Mediterranean: Vol.I (late June/After fall of France) p. 19 6 1 2 0 10 38 n/a
James Sadkovich The Italian Navy in World War II (June, no specifics), p. 19 7 0 2 0 7 n/a n/a
Brian R. Sullivan A Fleet in Being: The Rise and Fall of Italian Sea Power, 1861-1943(*), p. 19 5 0 2 0 10 35 12

(*) Does not really specify a period

Playfair does not comment, on the above cited page, the composition of British forces elsewhere in the Med. Force H (based in Gibraltar) is mentioned in several other sections although without specifying the entire force. In June, Playfair notes that Force H was built around a battlecruiser and a carrier (Playfair, vol I, p. 126). Whereas in July, it was comprised of two battleships, one battlecruiser, one carrier, three cruisers (does not specify heavy or light), and ten destroyers (Playfair, vol I, p. 155). I would presume that War at Sea 1939-1945 Volume I The Defensive would have the answers as that is the official naval history. In addition, Brown's work states it contains a complete composition of British forces in the Med on a table on page 22 and in Appendix F, neither of which can be viewed on Google Books.

I have at least been able to identify the discrepancy in battleship numbers. It is coming from the Valiant, Hood, and Resolution. These ships arrived during the latter part of June (along with Ark Royal). Resolution, after the attack on the French, redeployed to the Atlantic. Several sources, as can be seen from the above table, are mislabeling the Hood as a battleship rather than a battle cruiser.

French Fleet[edit]

Playfair, Med and ME, Vol I (end of May), p. 91 5 0 0 7 7 38 46
Robert Jackson (10 June 1940), p. 43 5 0 0 3 7 38 42
Vincent O'Hara Jackson (10 June 1940), p. 7 5 0 0 7 7 38 40
David Brown (10 June 1940) p. 26 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 46
James Sadkovich (June, no specifics), p. 19 3 0 0 0 10 48 53

I believe Jackson's claim of 4 heavy cruisers being part of the British fleet is a lapse in his wording, and that they should be on the French list. Doing so would make his cruiser figures match up with the others sources on the French fleet.

Additional sources on the French fleet as I look them up. But that is all for this evening.

Try this for the fleet disposition on 21 June. Srnec (talk) 00:57, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

Italian decision to go to war[edit]

This section currently reads as if Britain pushed the Italians to war due to a blockade and is somewhat divorced from the earlier section on Italy's imperial ambitions.

As the two sections read, it appears that Mussolini only called Italy's position a prison after the British blockade. Alan Cassels notes that in Feb 1939, Mussolini addressed the Fascist Grand Council stating a state's freedom is "proportional to its maritime position". Cassels' states he "went on to voice the familiar lament that Italy was a 'prisoner in the Mediterranean'" (Martel, p. 67). Overall, Cassels argument is that Italy went to war over long held imperial ambitions (as a partial result of the lack of conviction by the British and French over Ethiopia (Martel, p. 64)).

While I have not read Brian Sullivan's essay in full, he makes a very similar point and concludes: "...Mussolini's decision was carefully and consciously made; British and French policies had not forced him on to Hitler's side. Instead, in a manner no one then realized, the Ethiopian crisis had exposed vulnerabilities and created opportunities that he seized to realize his imperial vision. He had long believed Italy could gain world-power status through conquest of an empire stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Strait of Hormuz. In June 1940 he acted on that faith and in the hope that he had nurtured for two decades. ..." (Martel, p. 198)

Bell highlights that the Italian invasion of Albania breached the Anglo-Italian Agreements of 1938. In response, the British and French started to issue guarantees of protection to various states around the Med and in Eastern Europe (Bell, p. 289). In addition, the Italians signed the anti-Anglo-French Pact of Steel that historians such as Bell note was not a defensive pact (Bell, pp. 190-91).

As for naval actions, Playfair comments that the stopping and searching of ships -starting after the outbreak of war with Germany - was to prevent cargo arriving in Germany via neutral countries including Italy. He also insinuates that that the aircraft deal with the Italians was to buy Italian neutrality (Playfair, p. 45). From 1939 onwards, it was not necessarily a blockade of Italy. Salerno also highlights that the Italians, French, and British all engaged in various economic activity during the Phoney War. The allies in an effort to buy neutrality, the Italians to buy raw materials that would become cut off when they finally went to war (Salerno, p. 161 ff.). He further notes that during October and November, the allies started to relax the searching of ships. As for 1940 blockade, there is more to it than British vindictiveness: "... the Allies realized that Germany was using the Italian port of Trieste extensively to import raw materials and resources from the Danube basin, and that the Allies were powerless to stop it without offending "Italian susceptibilities". According to the French, the Allies could stem the majority of German's coal exports to Italy and thus solve the problems caused by the Allies's unwillingness to bribe Italy into a status of Friendly neutrality, the Italians refusal to accept any import rationing, and the Allies' inability to interdict German traffic in the Adriatic. ... more than two-thirds of the German coal arrived by sea ... , after the outbreak of war, from neutral Rotterdam. If Britain could provide Italy with coal instead, the Germans would lose the advantage Italy had provided them; the blockade would be strengthened; ..." (Salerno, p. 165). Salerno does go on to talk about Italy, but page 166 is not visible.

Currently, after some research although not exhaustive, it appears that the Anglo-French moves were in reactions to Italian actions. The section in the article insinuates that the Italians possibly went to war over a British economic blockade, the sources suggest that the Anglo-French attempted to bribe the Italians to stay idle, and Mussolini wanted war regardless due to long held imperial ambitions. I would argue, although not suggesting malicious intent, that the section is misrepresenting the situation somewhat. Although, perhaps more importantly, is it actually necessary for this article in light of - for example - Sullivan's argument (that Anglo-French policy did not impact Italian decision making in regards to war)?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:32, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

You're referencing Sullivan without citing him. I'm not sure what you're referring to. As for the term "prisoner in the Mediterranean". I have tried to clarify who uttered it when. If you have a source saying Mussolini himself said it earlier, please rephrase the article. This is a work in progress. I have mostly neglected the "Background" section and it needs work to be comprehensive and consistent. The article also needs a lede. Srnec (talk) 21:01, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
Cassals and Sullivan have essays in Martel's Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered (cited in the article I do believe). The most important sentence, imo, from Sullivan's essay in regards to this article is "British and French policies had not forced [Mussolini] on to Hitler's side". I feel that the article may imply something other than that. However, as you have said, it is work in progress.
In regards to the coal issue, I do not see the impact it made on the decision to go to war, in general, or the Italian attack on France. Perhaps, it would be better suited (along with additional information on the economic activity of both sides) in the only article that appears to cover Italy's role in the war, in general: Military history of Italy during World War II?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:32, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
The article cites Martel, but it should cite the individual essays by their authors.
In any case, why should we take Sullivan's position to be correct? Of course, Mussolini was on Hitler's side to begin with—he just wasn't a belligerent. Cassels, in a review of Knox's Mussolini Unleashed (which I have), notes that Knox's view of Mussolini as bellicose warmonger is at odds with both Mack Smith's view of him as boastful opportunist and Rochat's as a bluffer. It is certainly at odds with the portrayal of Mussolini's greatest biographer, Renzo De Felice. And Cassels, intrigued, is unconvinced. Furthermore, the author I cited on the coal issue, Cliadakis, certainly seems to connect it pretty strongly with the declaration of war, since the paragraph that ends with 10 June 1940 begins with 1 March. In short, I have no idea why Italy went to war when she did, and it appears that section of our article will need more work. Srnec (talk) 00:16, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
As I noted, it was not an exhaustive search of sources. I am not suggesting that Sullivan overrides all other viewpoints, merely that at least one historian disputes what it seems like the article is suggesting. The majority of sources I have read or skimmed on the issue seem to agree with the basic premise of the decision to go to war boils down to long term imperial ambitions.
I agree that why Italy went to war could be improved. Although, perhaps this is an area (including the various points discussed) that could be improved in the article mentioned above, with a summary here and a tag at the top of the section?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:28, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
Why beef up the section on Italy's imperial ambitions with information and photos from before 1939, while slimming down the section on the decision to go to war, which dealt with post-1939 developments? This doesn't make much sense to me. Also, while Burgwyn is a welcome addition, World War II in Europe: An Encyclopedia seems out of place. Do we need that for an article on the Battle of the Alps? Srnec (talk) 23:23, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
The material removed from the decision to go to war section was, while important to the overall story of Italy's role in the war, as far as I have been able to tell from numerous sources: not relevant and moved to the overall article on the Italian war effort. The other part was historians who are in agreement with the consensus of why Italy went to war, coupled with a handful of those who opposed. Imo it seemed better in a note. As for images, I am currently looking for one of Mussolini.
While a weak secondary source, such as an encyclopedia, is not necessarily the best way to go, the one used does provide an overview of the Italian invasion of Albania and the reasoning behind it. For a small summary, it seemed worth it.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:56, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
An image from 10 June was not available, although after much searching I have been able to find an upload an appropriate one. Having now read Mussolini's speech, I know he talked about more than just maritime issues - although that is a key theme. As soon as I can get some sources together, I aim to provide a few extra sentences on his justification (essentially a rehash of earlier sections about expansion, maritime issues, the prison, etc). EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:39, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
I see things almost exactly reversed. It is the imperial ambitions that belong mainly in the general article on Italy's war effort, and the specifics of Sept. 1939 to June 1940, including (but hardly limited to) the blockade, that should dominate the background section to this article. Srnec (talk) 03:48, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
While I agree that the imperial ambitions need to be in the general article (I copy and pasted it over yesterday), I think it is highly relevant to here. It shows that for several years the Italian regime had designs on France and wanted to expand their Mediterranean Empire, ultimately making moves in such a direction. Focusing on the partial blockade, as the article did, implies that the Italians were pushed into war - which they were not - as it removes their ambitions and previous actions from the context.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:27, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
I disagree that it implies they were pushed in. I did not remove any material on their imperial ambitions when I added information on the blockade. Knox, in Mussolini Unleashed, discusses the blockade extensively. For example, on p. 96, he quotes Mussolini telling Fascist labour and management leaders on 21 April 1940, that "for eight long months, I have felt a secret torment which makes me suffer physically—though from my appearance you would not know it—eight long months during which not one, I repeat, not one ship of ours has escaped the Allied controls." It is important that our explanation of Mussolini's decision to go to war explain why he went to war when he did and against whom he did. Why, for example, did he not just attack Yugoslavia or Greece, as he would within a few months? His imperial ambitions were certainly wide-ranging enough. I am not suggesting that the blockade explains all this, either. But why suppress its mention? Srnec (talk) 15:07, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Did the Italians really fare poorly????[edit]

The overwhelming historical consensus is that the Italian military fared poorly during the invasion.Bold text[dubious ]

I tagged this statement as "dubious" because there is no solid definition or explanation given of "overwhelming historical consensus". This is a term that has no basis in fact. Indeed, there is evidence to the contrary that the Italian army did not do so badly in hindsight.

According to authors like Corvaja (Corvaja, Santi (2001). Hitler and Mussolini: The Secret Meetings. New York: Enigma. Translation of Mussolini nella tana del lupo (Milan: Dall'Oglio, 1983) by Robert L. Miller.) the Battle of the Alps lasted 3 to 4 days and so it could hardly be said to be a battle at all - it was really just two armies making contact and thus "it is not possible to speak in terms of victory or defeat."

The so-called "overwhelming evidence" really comes from Anglo historians who are hell bent on portraying anything the Italians have done, as a failure. In the battle, a very short battle, and hardly worthy of the name "battle", the Italians took several forts, made progress in some areas and stalled at others. Hardly what one would call a failure.

Given a few more days or another week, the Italians would have broken through in more places. I'm sorry, but there are just as many authors like Corvaja who consider it ludicrous to believe that a few days fighting can be deemed either a victory or a defeat. There is no "overwhelming consensus" here.AnnalesSchool (talk) 20:06, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Let's drop all the rhetoric, name calling, racism, bias, opinons, misrepresentation, and deal in simple facts. Provide more than one book that says something other than the Italians feared poorly (due to a variety of reasons) and you will have a much more solid case to say there is no consensus. As it stands, every historian cited (Ameican, British, and Italian) and a hoast of others not yet used or fully utilized contradict your opinions and thus far the one source that you have provided.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:18, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Don't you _ever_ give it a rest? Pinkbeast (talk) 01:07, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

"did not bat an eyelid", as Ciano recorded in his diary[edit]

I just want to query this sentence:

When Ciano presented the declaration, the French ambassador, André François-Poncet, was alarmed, while his British counterpart Percy Loraine, who received it at 1645 hours,[48] "did not bat an eyelid", as Ciano recorded in his diary.[49]

As we know that the Ciano Diaries are unreliable as they have been re-written by Ciano himself and interfered with by British Intelliegnce, this expression "did not bat an eye-lid" sounds dubious. An Italian would not write such an idiomatic expression. Indeed, the meaning of it would make no sense in Italian if it were translated.

This phrase appears to have been intentionally inserted to reinforce British stereotypes of themselves; you know, the "stiff upper lip" nonsense, and is an attempt to make the ambassador look good when compared to his French counterpart.

Can we get more corroborating evidence that such a strange remark coming from an Italian, is actually genuine?AnnalesSchool (talk) 10:44, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Annales, per your comments on the Milhist talkpage, I thought you were going to attempt to change hour approach? You have again inferred that Ciano is unreliable without evidence, expressed OR (Italians would not use such a phrase etc), undertook unhelpful stereotypes coupled with insults.
A quick check of GoogleBooks shows the description is used by numerous historians, none of whom - that I noticed - raised any objection as you have. For your reference: link.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:59, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

The analysis section appears incoherent and over done.[edit]

Is it just me or does anyone feel that the Analysis Section requires a bit of analysis too? It lacks coherence and comes across as overly critical, niggardly, even mentioning the lack of pots and pans. Does such minutiae need to be included, as every army in the world can be accused of lacking this or that? In war, there are always going to be setbacks and logistical difficulties.The analysis does appear over-kill to the poor Italians who are often accused and castigated for all sorts of failings, much of which reveals more about the accusers than the accused.

I think Corvaja's final analysis is a good one, and comprehensive and complete in itself. It wasn't a "battle" as much as a preliminary action, making "contact" with the enemy and thus, to speak of victory or defeat is superfluous.

Can anything be done to trim and revise it? (talk) 11:31, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

Welcome back Annales.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:24, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Who???? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:02, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
The same dude who has trolled this page for a while, on and off. Key features: anything critical is incoherent, and lobsided praise from a non-notable regimental commander should be the general tone for the much larger offensive.
As always, we follow the guidelines of the wiki and report what the sources say. The sources describe the Italian's actions as an invasion and a battle, which did not go their way for a myriad of reasons as discussed in the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:08, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I think you have the wrong guy here. OK then I will edit in my own reliable sources that may differ and provide another view. Hope you don't mind me doing that. (talk) 17:15, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
As long as the edits remain within wiki guidelines (NPOV, no undue weight, no fringe theories, balance, and from RS etc.), I don't see anyone disagreeing with further input into the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:05, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. I hope to add some information according to wiki guidelines that will show to the reader that the Italians didn't do as badly as first thought. In fact, I hope to show how much they did achieve in just 3 or 4 days of actual combat. (talk) 14:44, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

I don't think even Sadkovich goes that far. All sources, which I have read, show that the Italians didn't breach the Alpine Line nor make any real advance into France or capture anything worthwhile. So what do these apparent RS state that is to the contrary?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:57, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Hi Enigma, I don't have time to research it properly. But hopefully, I'll have something in 6 weeks. I will need to find the sources, which I have misplaced or read long ago. So it's not going to happen any time soon. But I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the Italians didn't do such a bad job getting as far as they did. (talk) 19:06, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Third Opinion declined[edit]

A third opinion has been requested concerning the deletion of some material. I am declining and removing the request because it appears that there are two registered editors and at least one unregistered editor, and third opinion is for disputes between two editors only. You might try the dispute resolution noticeboard or WP:WikiProject Military History. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:51, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Latest change[edit]

I removed the underline text from the following passage and brought all the stuff about fortifications together in a single section with the map. I think the underlined text was just too much detail about pre-war preparations regarding a different theatre of action.

During the 1930s, the French had constructed a series of fortifications—the Maginot Line—along their border with Germany. This line had been designed to deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border and funnel an attack into Belgium, which could then be met by the best divisions of the French Army. Thus, any future war would take place outside of French territory avoiding a repeat of the First World War.[2][3] The main section of the Maginot Line ran from the Swiss border and ended at Longwy. The area immediately to the north, was covered by the heavily wooded Ardennes region.[4] French General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken. If so, he believed that any enemy force emerging from the forest would be vulnerable to a pincer attack and destroyed. The French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin, likewise believed the area to be of a limited threat, noting that it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, with the scenario of a German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the military with the impression that the region was still largely impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area and thus counter such an attack.[5] With this in mind, the area was left lightly defended.[2] German strategy sought to advance through the Ardennes with a large concentration of armoured forces, who would then push towards the English Channel encircling the Allied armies in Belgium cutting them off from any reinforcements from France.[6]


  1. ^ Piekalkiewicz 1987, p. 83.
  2. ^ a b Jackson 2003, p. 33.
  3. ^ Roth 2010, p. 6.
  4. ^ Kaufmann & Kaufmann 2007, p. 23.
  5. ^ Jackson 2003, p. 32.
  6. ^ Roth 2010, p. 7.

I also re-added some text I originally added to this article, about German coal and the Allied blockade, but which was removed to another. I found that the sources had not been moved with it but were still here. Hopefully I can expand the fortifications section with info from a recently published article, "La construction de la Ligne Maginot alpine et son emploi en 1940 : un système défensif novateur et efficace". Srnec (talk) 01:18, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Likewise, information on Italian possible contracts with the RAF, and a British blockade on coal has no bearing on the long standing Italian plans, their decision to go to war, or the invasion of France.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 08:40, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Third opinion again[edit]

A third opinion has again been requested. This time the Third Opinion request refers to a previous discussion in December 2014, which is not recent, and to a lack of discussion in October 2015. It actually appears that multiple changes are being made and reverted with little discussion. As a result, I am not prepared to give concise third opinions. I am leaving the new Third Opinion request standing in case some other editor is able to read between the lines to see and answer concise questions. However, in view of the length of time that this dispute has apparently been going on, and the number of changes, I would suggest requesting additional editors at WP:WikiProject Military History, one of our most active projects, or requesting formal mediation. If some other editor can read between the lines to see concise questions, please answer them. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:10, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

The request apparently concerns the following block of text and image. I originally added it almost a year ago. The requesting editor removed it to Military history of Italy during World War II. We discussed it, but I didn't restore it at the time. I recently realized that the references had not been moved with it to the other article. So I added it back here (where the sources were already listed) while I was making other changes as well. I mentioned it on the talk page (prec. section) and the requesting editor responded. That's where the dispute stands. Currently the text is in this article. It is as follows (incl. image):
German coal entering Italy through the Brenner Pass. The issue of Italian coal was prominent in diplomatic circles in the spring of 1940.
In September 1939, Britain imposed a selective blockade of Italy. Coal from Germany, which was shipped out of Rotterdam, was declared contraband. The Germans promised to keep up shipments by train, over the Alps, and Britain offered to supply all of Italy's needs in exchange for Italian armaments. The Italians could not agree to the latter terms without shattering their alliance with Germany.[1] On 2 February 1940, however, Mussolini approved a draft contract with the Royal Air Force to provide 400 Caproni aircraft; yet he scrapped the deal on 8 February. The British intelligence officer, Francis Rodd, believed that Mussolini was convinced to reverse policy by German pressure in the week of 2–8 February, a view shared by the British ambassador in Rome, Percy Loraine.[2] On 1 March, the British announced that they would block all coal exports from Rotterdam to Italy.[1][2] Italian coal was one of the most discussed issues in diplomatic circles in the spring of 1940. In April Britain began strengthening their Mediterranean Fleet to enforce the blockade. Despite French misgivings, Britain rejected concessions to Italy so as not to "create an impression of weakness".[3] Germany supplied Italy with about one million tons of coal a month beginning in the spring of 1940, an amount that even exceeded Mussolini's demand of August 1939 that Italy receive six million tons of coal for its first twelve months of war.[4]


  1. ^ a b Cliadakis 1974, p. 178–80.
  2. ^ a b Mallett 1997, p. 158.
  3. ^ Sadkovich 1989, p. 30.
  4. ^ Jensen 1968, p. 550.
As far as I can tell, the accuracy of the text is not in dispute. The requesting editor disputes its relevance to this article. I suppose my lack of response in the preceding section is the basis for the charge of "lack of discussion". Srnec (talk) 21:58, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Regarding the above block: Assuming the description is accurate: Conceptually, the move seems like a good idea. Shouldn't the requesting editor, EnigmaMcmxc, simply be strongly urged fix the move (e.g. so the references are moved too), and apologize for the oversight of a partial move, rather than requesting a 30? (I don't disagree with Robert.)--Elvey(tc) 19:45, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I would consider looking at the diff. The whole block, including inline refs, was cut out and worked into the article on the Italian war effort.
A 3O was requested because the relevance was questioned a year ago. If books were left in the reference section, that has little bearing on the discussion.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 13:27, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I removed this entry from 3O because it was listed for longer than six days. Erpert blah, blah, blah... 00:51, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

As an uninvolved editor led here by 3O, why is this postulated as irrelevant to the article? I believe it touches on aspects which could reasonably affect a country's path to war. FoCuS contribs; talk to me! 17:15, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, as you have not only looked at the material but also reached the heart of the matter. As you conclude, the material suggests a legitimate casus belli for Italy's actions (the blockade; not the attempted RAF sales to Italy, which I would assume you would agree are irrelevant to this article as it was a British attempt to buy Italian neutrality).
I concede that Srnec noted that "the author I cited on the coal issue, Cliadakis, certainly seems to connect it pretty strongly with the declaration of war, since the paragraph that ends with 10 June 1940 begins with 1 March. In short, I have no idea why Italy went to war when she did, and it appears that section of our article will need more work. Srnec (talk) 00:16, 11 November 2014 (UTC)". What we have is a well sourced paragraph detailing a historical event, but material that leads to a conclusion that is not claimed by the author. A breach of WP: SYN.
I hate to throw it out there, but to devote as much text on the situation with the impression that it leaves, is promoting a fringe theory. Other than the above hinting at it, the only source that I have seen promote such a thought is Vincent O'Hara who states Italy did hold "other grievances against both France and Great Britain. Britain's power to strange Italy's economy justified war..." To note, British action's may have forced Italy's hand in regards to the British (other sources highlight Italian-French trade practically up to the point of hostilities; other sources also argue that Anglo-French actions did not force Mussolini to go to war). However, O'Hara stresses "War was always an objective of Mussolini's regime; the only questions were when and with whom." He also notes that the historical consensus is on the side of historians believing that Mussolini's actions were "jackal snapping".
The vast majority of sources argue that Mussolini declared war when he did in an attempt to seize an opportunity, and one that would further his long-held imperial ambitions. Historians already named in the article suggesting such: Alan Cassels, MacGregor Knox, Ray Moseley, Circo Paoletti, Giorgio Rochat, Gerhard Schreiber, Brian Sullivan, Denis Mack Smith, and Gerhard Weinberg, in addition to contemporary Italian politicians Dino Alfieri and Filippo Anfuso. Outside of the article, Philip S. Jowett, and Craig Stockings (previously cited diff) also argue the same. If more is needed, please do tell.
Other sources suggest a myriad of reasons: Donatella Spinelli Coleman, who agrees with the above consensus, argues that Mussolini was unable to justify his declaration of war, and brought up naval actions as a weak excuse. Roger Abaslom argues it was revert the opinion held of Italy. Dino Alfieri, Virginio Gayda, and Circo Paoletti all see the declaration of war - in part - as part of a long-term policy aimed towards German aggression.
Furthermore, the paragraph negates that the French and Italians continued to engage in trade despite the British blockade (stopping and searching of ships), which was aimed at attempting to curb the Italian's aiding the Germans. A blockade that laxed as time went by, and the moves by the British - during the same time period - to attempt to sway Italy either on to the Brit's side of into neutrality by supplanting the Germans as their main trading partner (Playfair, Official History; Reynolds Salerno, Vital Crossroads: Mediterranean Origins of the Second World War, 1935-1940.
The sources point to a different conclusion, and hence the question of the relevancy of the material in this article and it's current location. I argue that it should remain in the Military history of Italy during World War II within its correct context (which may need to be fleshed out), and that mention of the blockade should be carefully used - per O'Hara's comments - and placed within the note that currently holds the fringe views of Italy's decision to go to war leaving the main body with the consensus that it was an opportunistic move to achieve long term goals. Regards EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:51, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

RFC: Should the article include information on the British blockade of Italy and British/German trade deals with Italy?[edit]

Question: Should the below material be included in the Italian invasion of France article?

"In September 1939, Britain imposed a selective blockade of Italy. Coal from Germany, which was shipped out of Rotterdam, was declared contraband. The Germans promised to keep up shipments by train, over the Alps, and Britain offered to supply all of Italy's needs in exchange for Italian armaments. The Italians could not agree to the latter terms without shattering their alliance with Germany.[28] On 2 February 1940, however, Mussolini approved a draft contract with the Royal Air Force to provide 400 Caproni aircraft; yet he scrapped the deal on 8 February. The British intelligence officer, Francis Rodd, believed that Mussolini was convinced to reverse policy by German pressure in the week of 2–8 February, a view shared by the British ambassador in Rome, Percy Loraine.[29] On 1 March, the British announced that they would block all coal exports from Rotterdam to Italy.[28][29] Italian coal was one of the most discussed issues in diplomatic circles in the spring of 1940. In April Britain began strengthening their Mediterranean Fleet to enforce the blockade. Despite French misgivings, Britain rejected concessions to Italy so as not to "create an impression of weakness".[30] Germany supplied Italy with about one million tons of coal a month beginning in the spring of 1940, an amount that even exceeded Mussolini's demand of August 1939 that Italy receive six million tons of coal for its first twelve months of war.[31]"

Option 1: Yes, leave the material in the article as it is and maintain the status quo
Option 2: Yes, but move a condensed version of it to note 'D'
Option 3: Remove the material from this article (It is currently reproduced on the Military history of Italy during World War II article)
Option 4: Other recommendations

21:23, 22 November 2015 (UTC)


I acknowledge that the above is well sourced and covers an often overlooked period of the build-up to war with Italy, and it is for this reason why it was copied over to the article dealing with the Italian war effort. My position is that the the latter article (and probably the ones covering the British military history of the war) is the best place for this information, where it can be put into the correct context; without context it can, as highlighted by an un-involved editor in the above section, be mistaken for either Italy being pushed/forced into the war or having a legitimate reason to go to war.

Thus far, I have seen only one source that actually makes this argument but even then it comes with the disclaimer that Mussolini wanted war regardless. The vast majority of sources that I have read describe Mussolini's declaration of war on the Allied powers (and France in particular) as being part of a long-term imperial policy aimed at carving out a larger empire for Italy, and the timing of such a move being tied to the fact France was largely occupied with the German onslaught. The article does state that clearly (with the exception of this paragraph) and details other fringe theories in note D (where I would concede at least some mention of this could be made). Sources can be reproduced, but can be seen on this page in the sections "Italian decision to go to war" and "Third opinion again".EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:23, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

  • I don't think the text is a problem in the wider context of the article, where readers can see other aspects of Mussolini's expansionist foreign policy. If you wanted to shorten the paragraph or re-word it I think that'd be fine. -Darouet (talk) 00:18, 20 December 2015 (UTC)


While the Italian and French forces in the area were respectively 300,000 and 175,000, the infobox puts the number of the French troops at 85,000, because only 85,000 were deployed on the frontline, while the number of the Italian troops is still mentioned as 300,000. This seems to me a little arbitrary - if it's true that only 85,000 of the 175,000 French troops in the area were involved in the actual battle, it is also true that only a part of the 300,000 Italian soldiers massed for the attack had actually taken part in it. So, one should either define the actual number of Italian troops involved in the attack, and replace the 300,000-figure with it, or replace the 85,000-French figure with the 175,000 one (I point out that this is what has been done in the other wikis, including the French one).-- (talk) 09:31, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

The difference is that whereas all the Italian troops in theatre were "in play" against the French, the Army of the Alps in fact had to contend with the German advance as well. Why should we count, e.g., the Groupement Cartier amongst the forces arrayed against the Italians? Finding the number of Italian troops who participated in offensive operations would be best, but I have never seen a number. Srnec (talk) 14:29, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
Maybe two notes? One next to the 85,000 French figure, "Part of 175,000 deployed in the area. Another part was deployed against German forces or kept in reserve", and one next to the 300,000 Italian figure, "Part of which took part in the actual offensive".-- (talk) 12:14, 19 December 2015 (UTC)

French Tactical Victory???[edit]

I'm a little confused by this. The Italians engaged the French defenses over 3 or 4 days. They managed to break thru in several points, and held back at others. The "French Tactical Victory" is hard to understand when one reads this by General Faldella in Corvaja 2004:

At the front, near the border, the mission of the French forts was to delay the Italian army from reaching the line of defense, made up of steel and concrete fortifications. . . Our infantry had to advance in the open against well-protected troops through a field under French artillery fire. . . And all this was to happen in three to four days. In these conditions, greater Italian manpower has no advantage. . . It would be a mistake to say that a battle was fought in the western Alps; what took place were only preliminary actions, technically called 'making contact'. It is not possible to speak in terms of victory or defeat.

Can we remove this misleading term "French tactical victory" or along side it, so as not to confuse and for the benefit of the reader, include" "Strategic Italian Victory"? After all, one cannot say the Italians lost the Battle of the Alps. Gains, no matter how modest, were made. Territory and concessions were, at the end of the day, given by the French to the Italians. A surrender document or armistice document was signed for the benefit of the Italians, and not the other way round.

So if the French had a "tactical victory", how then should we describe the Italians? (talk) 20:25, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Seems our old friend is back. As always, please provide a source to support the term "Italian Strategic Victory". Thus far, no source has been found that has described the battle as such. Not to mention, I believe Corvaja's work is given to much weight by being at the end of the article; after all, it quotes the the opinion of one regimental commander out of a whole host who took part in the battle that can be taken out of context per the above.
At any rate, an attempt was made to improve the infobox to avoid this never-ending discussion, but as can be seen by anon edits ... that did not work out too well. At any rate, welcome back.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:37, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Not sure who you are referring to, but I am entitled as anyone else to give my opinion. It seems there are parallels with the problem faced by the Greco-Italian article : how to describe the result in the Result Box. Win? Lose? Draw? Tactical/Strategic defeat/victory, etc,..??? This is the problem. It seems the articles dealing with the Italians just don't quite know where they fit? Did they win the battle/war, but didn't really win because the Germans helped them? But they didn't lose either??? Ummmh???? What to do with the Italians? We are reluctant to say they "won" or use the word "victory" but neither it seems can we use the words "defeat/lost" since gains were made of sorts. They are a bit like football players who kinda dribble the ball past the goal posts. Not really spectacular or praise-worthy, but nevertheless, it's a goal. (talk) 22:00, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

That is all nice and dandy, but do you have a source to back up your opinions? I refer you to Wikipedia:No original research, and Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:16, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

There seems to be no supporting statement within the article itself about a "French Tactical Victory"? I could not find it stated in the Analysis section. Nor could I find it in Weinberg. Can you please provide the evidence where it is stated? I looked in Collier as well, and couldn't find where he states that it was a "French Tactical Victory"? Collier himself appears to be more a populist writer than an historian. Don't know about Kaufmann and Kaufmann or Mitcham. Would you be able to scan and provide me with the relevant quote from the sources mentioning the French tactical victory and their reasoning behind such? (talk) 11:31, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

As noted further up the talkpage, and seen in the article's edit summaries, the current footnotes (until there removal today) were an attempt to halt the back and forth edit war between Italian and French tactical victories.
Weinberg does not state "tactical victory" per se, but does describe an Italian offensive that flounder on French defensive lines (from memory!). You will have to wait for quotes from the other sources, as I currently do not have access to them until later. Although practically every source I have read on the fighting all make the same basic points: the Italians did not breach the French positions, the French repulsed the Italian attacks, the Italian attack floundered, and essentially that the French won on the battlefield but lost due to the fact their country had been overrun by the Germans and were essentially forced to the peace table with the Italians due to that fact (and once there, were able to get the Italians to scale back there demands).
Srnec has currently removed the term from the article (due to your edits), although it was only recently reinserted as a compromise to other anon edits. I am in favor of removing all points from the infobox and linking to the analysis section (akin to the Greco-Italian War article), were such simplistic terms can be described in full.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:06, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

True, but the final outcome, was a strategic advantage to the Italians in that they were able to demilitarize that strip and hence, gain more depth of defence along their north-western border. Also the Toulon Naval base was neutralized as well, as other concession. While the gains were small, they were nevertheless gains. This has to be made clear to the reader. Mussolini called it "a good document" in hand. So if we are going to leave "French Tactical Victory", we should in all fairness, write: "Italian Strategic Victory" OR simply delete both. (talk) 17:18, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Yet no single source calls the invasion a strategic victory, whereas numerous sources describe what is essentially a French victory on the battlefield.
At any rate, I am amenable to just linking to the analysis section. Srnec, do you have any input?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:07, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
I am on the fence. There are definitely sources which call this a French victory. And I've never seen a source that calls it an Italian victory. But the term "tactical victory" seems a bit OR. (Do we have a source for that term?) Likewise for the term "strategic victory". I do think changing the infobox from "French tactical victory" to just "French victory" would produce confusion, since it already says "Italian occupation zone". How'd they get that losing? I rather dislike just linking to the analysis section, because it seems like an abdication of responsibility as editors: but I think our OR policy and the complexity of the actual situation probably leave it as our best option. I don't think readers will like it, though. Srnec (talk) 00:13, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
In regards to the sources, it would seem the Kaufmann one should at least read p. 175 ff. He notes throughout the chapter the various Italian attacks that stalled and were repulsed etc. As for a summary, on p. 180, he comments "Throughout this campaign ... the French forces remained firmly in control of the battlefield." and "General Olry held his positions until the Armistice went into effect." He concludes "The victory on the Alpine front did not change the course of the war". While the term "tactical" is not used, it has been favored a lot by both sides (largely ad hoc anon users), I would argue that Kaufmann pretty much describes one.
I am unable to locate a copy of Collier that I can access. On the other hand, Mitchem describes the battles as thus: "Mussolini ... launch[ed] an immediate offensive in the Alps. ... met [by] the Army of the Alps, which had been reduced to three Series B divisions during the campaign. To the surprise and delight of many .... Olry held off 32 Italian divisions for five days and inflicted severe casualties ..."
The above is another source that does not use the term "tactical", but essentially describes one.
I agree that the simplified infobox could lead to confusion for some, but I do not think that we should underestimate the readers. History is littered with countless examples of win/loss not being the full picture. The current status quo, the simplified version of events and the link to a more detailed discussion seems the best of a "bad" situation?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:52, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

This is similar to the problem with the Greco-Italian war article. They could not claim it a Greek victory because obviously, the Italians came to occupy two thirds of the country. This would have simply confused the readers. Then they tried "Greek tactical victory" but in the end, it satisfied no one and so they simply put it down to "See Aftermath" and described the situation there, allowing the reader to decide what's what. So the question then begs itself: if they can, why can't we do the same for this article? I think the difficult lay in the aims of war: many editors hold the view that decisions are made on the battle-field. However, war is a political tool as well, which Mussolini understood. When he said he just needed a few hundred dead, he was really saying: look, if we don't get involved, we can't sit at the negotiating table. For the Italians, though they wanted more, and got less, and failed to break through the French Alpine Wall, it doesn't mean they "lost" the war. It simply means that for the effort and the input they put in, these are the political and territorial results they can expect to receive. It times to stop think of wars in the 19th century Clausiwtiz sense of "win/losing" but in a bigger context that includes the political/strategic settlement afterwards. Just my thoughts. (talk) 12:42, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

Stalemate? Limited/Phyrric Italian advance?-- (talk) 23:40, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Again, terms which are not supported. Do you have sources that describe the battle as so?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:15, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Why did the Italians invade France?[edit]

The Battle of France was almost over. Surely it would have made more sense to invade Malta in June 1940? ( (talk) 13:22, 13 October 2016 (UTC))

The most simple answer would be (and I believe this is either hinted or directly stated in the article): to achieve part of Mussolini's long term imperial goal.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:27, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
But surely taking Malta would have been more useful for building an Italian empire in North Africa and the Mediterranean? ( (talk) 16:16, 13 October 2016 (UTC))
An interesting question, alas the talkpage are not forums. The non-political Axis History Forum may be more appropriate.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:11, 13 October 2016 (UTC)


Are we sure "Italian invasion of France" is an accurate title? Both belligerents involved usually call it "Battle of the Alps" or "Battle of the Western Alps".--Olonia (talk) 07:56, 18 April 2017 (UTC)