Hitler's Italian Allies by MacGregor Knox
Royal Armed Forces, Fascist Regime, and the War of 1940-1943

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Synopsis

This book explains why the Italian armed forces and Fascist regime were so remarkably ineffectual at an activity-war-that was central to their existence. Italy's economic fragility, Mussolini's strategic-ideological fantasies, and Hitler's failure in the wider war made Italy's ruin inevitable, but did not determine its peculiarly undignified character. Hitler's Italian Allies demonstrates the extent to which Italian military culture-a concept with applications far beyond Fascist Italy-made humiliation inescapable. It offers a striking portrait of a military and industrial establishment largely unable to imagine modern war and of a regime that failed miserably in mobilizing the nation's resources. Above all, it explains why the armed forces, despite the distinguished performance of a few elite units, dissolved prematurely and almost without resistance-in stark contrast to the grim fight to the last cartridge of Hitler's army and the fanatical faithfulness unto death of the troops of Imperial Japan.
 

About MacGregor Knox

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MacGregor Knox has served as Stevenson Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science since 1994. He was educated at Harvard College (BA, 1967) and Yale University (PhD in History, 1977), and has also taught at the University of Rochester (USA). His writings deal with the wars and dictatorships of the savage first half of the twentieth century and with contemporary international and strategic history, and include Mussolini Unleashed, 1939-1941 (1982); The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War (ed., with Williamson Murray and Alvin Bernstein) (1994); Common Destiny: Dictatorship, Foreign Policy, and War in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany (2000); The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050 (ed., with Williamson Murray) (2001); and To the Threshold of Power: Origins and Dynamics of the Fascist and National Socialist Dictatorships (2007). Between his undergraduate and graduate studies he spent three years in the U.S. Army, and served in the Republic of Vietnam (1969) as rifle platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
 
Published October 30, 2000 by Cambridge University Press. 214 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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This ""academic novella,"" as Knox calls his narrative study, is strongly committed to the ""argument from stupidity"": the assertion that ineffective or unsuccessful war efforts reflect not merely institutional weaknesses but culpable and comprehensive incompetence.

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