The three major Axis powers — Germany, Japan, and Italy — committed a host of catastrophic errors during the war. But some of these miscalculations were considerably worse than others. Here are the most significant blunders made by the Axis during WWII.
Above: German soldiers fighting in Russia.
Late last year we told you about the 8 worst mistakes made by the Allies during the war. Time now to turn our attention to the most serious mistakes made by Axis planners. The list, which is ordered (somewhat) chronologically, addresses planning and strategic errors rather than operational ones.
In the photo at the link you see Berlusconi sitting right in front of Lega Nord’s Leader.
Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi praised Benito Mussolini for “having done good” despite the Fascist dictator’s anti-Jewish laws, immediately sparking expressions of outrage as Europe on Sunday held Holocaust remembrances.
Berlusconi also defended Mussolini for allying himself with Hitler, saying he likely reasoned that it would be better to be on the winning side.
The media mogul, whose conservative forces are polling second in voter surveys ahead of next month’s election, spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Milan to commemorate the Holocaust.
In 1938, before the outbreak of World War II, Mussolini’s regime passed the so-called “racial laws,” barring Jews from Italy’s universities and many professions, among other bans. When Germany’s Nazi regime occupied Italy during the war, thousands from the tiny Italian Jewish community were deported to death camps.
“It is difficult now to put oneself in the shoes of who was making decisions back then,” Berlusconi said of Mussolini’s support for Hitler. “Certainly the (Italian) government then, fearing that German power would turn into a general victory, preferred to be allied with Hitler’s Germany rather that oppose it.”
Every year, thousands of people in Italy hang a fresh calendar of images depicting Benito Mussolini on their wall, just one of many indications that the cult of “Il Duce” is alive and well in the country. Many still consider the fascist dictator to have been an honorable man, and it is a weakness that politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi have been able to exploit.
Decked out in army fatigues, his hand raised in fascist salute, he emblazons newsstands, lies ready in bookshops and is splashed across countless websites: Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator and founder of fascism known simply as “Il Duce”, enjoys massive popularity in Italy as a calendar pin-up. One month he’s in a steel helmet, his chin jutting sharply forward, the next he’s clutching a Roman short sword, the famous chin still at attention. His valiant, steel-helmeted soldiers also march on annually, in color or black and white, accompanied by fascist symbols like the swastika.
Foreign tourists, especially Germans, are shocked when they see these openly flaunted calendars. Yet even in 2013, the former Italian dictator has a loyal fan base at home. And they’re not just buying calendars.
The full extent of the Mussolini cult — a phenomenon many foreigners find difficult to understand — can be seen in Predappio, a small town in the Emilia-Romagna region with barely 7,000 inhabitants. As a tourist destination, Predappio is not really worth the trip. But it was here on July 29, 1883 that Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, the son of a blacksmith and a village school teacher, began a life that would lead to his coronation as “Il Duce,” the architect of fascism who was the precursor and in many respects a model for Adolf Hitler.
The dress code was rigorously black. The chants nostalgic, a medley of Fascist truisms peppered with clipped bursts of “Duce, Duce, Duce” that was sharply shushed when the straggly parade entered the cemetery in this central Italian town late last month to arrive at its mecca: the tomb of the former Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini.
“Why, why do you come here, who is this man Mussolini?” asked the celebrant, Giulio Tam, a traditionalist Catholic priest.
“We come to thank this man for the most European, most Mediterranean, most original of ideas,” answered Father Tam, a familiar figure in right-wing circles, before he began reciting the rosary.
So it goes in Predappio, three times a year, to commemorate the day of Mussolini’s birth (on July 29, 1883, in a house not far from the cemetery), his death (at the hands of partisans on April, 28, 1945) and the so-called March on Rome, which brought Mussolini’s party to power in Italy in October 1922.
“I’ve been coming here, at least once or twice a year, since Aug. 31, 1957, the day they brought the corpse of the Duce here,” said Marcello, a personable 85-year-old veteran who asked that his last name not be used. “My faith in him has remained intact.”