Mussolini decides not to help Franco

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nuyt
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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by nuyt » 24 Sep 2021 10:15

Peter89 wrote:
24 Sep 2021 09:45
Now that is interesting, from whom Portugal would receive support. I think in 1938/1939 it is the British as Sid suggests, but in 1940/1941 it is the Germans or no one actually, because the Germans would not tolerate a communist Spain.
So the Brits did not come to the aid of Czechoslovakia, Finland, Baltics, Spain, but they help Portugal?

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Peter89 » 24 Sep 2021 11:32

nuyt wrote:
24 Sep 2021 10:00
Peter89 wrote:
24 Sep 2021 09:45

Also, I doubt that a communist Spain can be hand-driven by Stalin; communism always rests on weapons and Stalin was too far away.
That's why the Reps had T26 tanks and loads of other stuff delivered by or paid for by Stalin.
And that is why the Germans and Italians helped Franco; but that didn't turn out as it was intended either.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Peter89 » 24 Sep 2021 11:42

nuyt wrote:
24 Sep 2021 10:15
Peter89 wrote:
24 Sep 2021 09:45
Now that is interesting, from whom Portugal would receive support. I think in 1938/1939 it is the British as Sid suggests, but in 1940/1941 it is the Germans or no one actually, because the Germans would not tolerate a communist Spain.
So the Brits did not come to the aid of Czechoslovakia, Finland, Baltics, Spain, but they help Portugal?
I think, in case of Portugal, it is more possible to accept help from Britain than from Germany or Italy. I mean pre-war. Whether it is a realistic scenario or not, is another question. I think not really, but there is a chance.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by T. A. Gardner » 24 Sep 2021 20:02

In the case of Portugal, Britain did have a mutual defense treaty with them and would have much better access to the country so there's more chance they'd help than not. The others listed were difficult for Britain to access, with the exception of Spain.

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Sep 2021 12:07

T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Sep 2021 20:02
In the case of Portugal, Britain did have a mutual defense treaty with them and would have much better access to the country so there's more chance they'd help than not. The others listed were difficult for Britain to access, with the exception of Spain.
There was also a economic connection between the two empires. Portugal's establishment was relatively small but had many ties to British business. Loss of that was seen as a threat to a segment of Brit business leaders. That along with some conveniences for the RN using Portuguese territories kept up a British interest in Portugals fate.

Traditionally Spain was seen as a principle threat to Portugal. This had been in resurgence in the early 20th Century, both before and after the Spanish Civil War the Portuguese Army warning of Spanish plans for invading Portugal. Considering the home territory indefensible with the Army they could afford the default Portuguese strategy was to defend Lisbon as long as possible & the government move to the Azores or other overseas territory. From there they would continue to administer the empire & try to persuade their principle friends to assist in removing Spanish occupation through diplomatic and military pressure. This is not necessarily a strategy that would see immediate results, but the Portuguese were used to thinking in the long term & OTL would work out as WWII ran its course.

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by nuyt » 25 Sep 2021 19:09

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Sep 2021 12:07

There was also a economic connection between the two empires. Portugal's establishment was relatively small but had many ties to British business. Loss of that was seen as a threat to a segment of Brit business leaders. That along with some conveniences for the RN using Portuguese territories kept up a British interest in Portugals fate.
Hmm, a few port barons perhaps, but other than the Taylor's Grahams, Crofts, etc, I cannot remember any other important UK investors or holdings in PT in the 1930s. The Portuguese were just as weary to the Brits as anybody else. After all they had learnt their lesson with the infamous Ultimatum in 1892. The Brits did not want any more PT colonies because they already took what they wanted (northern Rhodesia).

Like I said, some support will come from the Brits, but not enough for the UK to become the one and only saviour of PT. Salazar will also get assistance from France before 1940 (a strong reference culture wise for the PT elites), Italy, Germany and will try to get weapons from international private suppliers like Bofors, Böhler, Brandt, and others. Paying for them will be a problem, so nations that can help with that or want to barter may come out top. IRL the Brits only supplied some WW1 vintage 4.5 inch howitzers, but the Germans supplied the 10,5cm lFH 18 and 15cm sFH and the Italians their modern 7,5cm mountain howitzer (to the chagrin of the Italian Army). Do the British send any troops? No. Do they send their latest weapons? No. All they can and want to do will be to send secondary equipment, like for instance the 50 odd Vickers Dutchman light tank sent to Greece IRL, maybe 18 pdrs and other older guns.

Meanwhile what will happen to the Vickers interests in Spain? Modern 105mm howitzers were produced in Reinosa and heavy naval and coastal guns elsewhere in the country. A golden opportunity for Vickers to deal with the Soviets through Spain? No doubt Vickers will try to influence HM government, at least to safeguard its interests in Spain.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Ironmachine » 27 Sep 2021 07:41

nuyt wrote:That's why the Reps had T26 tanks and loads of other stuff delivered by or paid for by Stalin.
For what's worth, it should be noted that the T-26 tanks and the other stuff was not paid for by Stalin, but by the Spanish government, from the gold reserves that had been sent to the Soviet Union at the beginning of the war. And in many cases the prices were so above market prices (for example, because the Soviets set the exchange rate for currencies as they pleased) that it was simply a robbery. What this means about Stalin's possible interest in having a communist Spain under his control is debatable, but in any case the only possible support for a post-SCW communist Spain would have been the Soviet Union, so Stalin had a captive market from which he could abuse.

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by nuyt » 27 Sep 2021 10:26

Thanks for that clarification!

Looking back on this discussion, I think one can sooner expect the UK to support a communist Rep Spain against the Nazis, even when they are supported by Stalin (but not exactly a puppet). After all, after a late 1940 invasion by the Germans, Stalin is in no position to openly come to the aid of Rep Spain. A supply line is unthinkable and Stalin is still in a pact with Nazi Germany after occupying Poland.
So. I'd say the Brits continue to do business with communist Spain after 1938, with Vickers continuing to deliver weapons. Spain will be the British main focus in Iberia, so in that scenario, Portugal receives little aid from the Brits. Yes, saying it again, the Estado Novo pivots to the Axis.
The British also rely on a network of bribed officials in Spain and Portugal to keep things calm. Preston's latest book "A People betrayed" leaves no doubt about that. What can happen in fascist Spain, can happen in Communist Spain.

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Peter89 » 27 Sep 2021 11:19

nuyt wrote:
27 Sep 2021 10:26
Thanks for that clarification!

Looking back on this discussion, I think one can sooner expect the UK to support a communist Rep Spain against the Nazis, even when they are supported by Stalin (but not exactly a puppet). After all, after a late 1940 invasion by the Germans, Stalin is in no position to openly come to the aid of Rep Spain. A supply line is unthinkable and Stalin is still in a pact with Nazi Germany after occupying Poland.
So. I'd say the Brits continue to do business with communist Spain after 1938, with Vickers continuing to deliver weapons. Spain will be the British main focus in Iberia, so in that scenario, Portugal receives little aid from the Brits. Yes, saying it again, the Estado Novo pivots to the Axis.
The British also rely on a network of bribed officials in Spain and Portugal to keep things calm. Preston's latest book "A People betrayed" leaves no doubt about that. What can happen in fascist Spain, can happen in Communist Spain.
The Brits didn't need bribed officials in Spain; they controlled the seas and thus Spain's two important imports: foodstuffs and oil. These were things that Germany also needed; thus this control was so tangible that Spain did not commit to the Axis during the war.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by nuyt » 27 Sep 2021 11:25

I suggest you read Preston :)

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Peter89 » 27 Sep 2021 12:15

nuyt wrote:
27 Sep 2021 11:25
I suggest you read Preston :)
I have no doubt about your claim that there were British-bribed officials in Portugal and Spain. I simply say that if Franco would commit to the Axis cause in Hendaye, then the bribed officials would mean little or nothing. And he didn't commit, because Germany was unable and unwilling to meet his demands; and the cause of it was the British naval power that prevented oil and foodstuffs getting into mainland Europe.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by nuyt » 27 Sep 2021 14:57

Peter, it's not my claim :)
Anyway, point taken and this further underscores my line of thinking that it would have been Spain, not Portugal, the Brits would help prop up against the Nazis. And no doubt the French in the late 1930s would be all over the place trying to limit the damage.

But the Anglo-French interest will have a dilemma: what to do with the remnants of the Franco movement? I do not see the Reps conquer the Canary Islands, nor Spanish Morocco. So will these places remain in opposition, like some sort of Spanish speaking Taiwan, or will they fall to foreign (Anglo-French) intervention? I'd say the latter, cause it will be hard to deal with two Spanish govts - a fascist one and a communist one - not to mention the need to suppress any Axis advances to the Canary Islands and Ceuta...

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Peter89 » 27 Sep 2021 16:14

nuyt wrote:
27 Sep 2021 14:57
Peter, it's not my claim :)
Anyway, point taken and this further underscores my line of thinking that it would have been Spain, not Portugal, the Brits would help prop up against the Nazis. And no doubt the French in the late 1930s would be all over the place trying to limit the damage.

But the Anglo-French interest will have a dilemma: what to do with the remnants of the Franco movement? I do not see the Reps conquer the Canary Islands, nor Spanish Morocco. So will these places remain in opposition, like some sort of Spanish speaking Taiwan, or will they fall to foreign (Anglo-French) intervention? I'd say the latter, cause it will be hard to deal with two Spanish govts - a fascist one and a communist one - not to mention the need to suppress any Axis advances to the Canary Islands and Ceuta...
Sadly, my knowledge is very limited in these matters, because I did not read Portuguese or Spanish sources, only what others have written about their foreign policies and inclinations; and even of those, much less than necessary to pass judgement on the probability of delicate scenarios. Spain and Portugal is a field of study on its own right, and has little to no connection to the other young nations of Europe from Finland to Greece, which I know better.

For me, the British foreign policy regarding mainland Europe was the most reasonable one, given the circumstance that the power balance in Europe was wrecked after WW1. Iberian nations have been in a steady decline on the world stage since the 1810's, so there was little need to check their power; the spread of communism was halted by the right-wing leadership of Central Europe; thus, a durable communist Spain could not be a major concern to Britain; they could strangle that regime with little to no effort; the same was true to Portugal.

As for your question, I think that if Portugal fell to communists (IMO a very unlikely scenario), the nationalist government would relocate to the Azores, if Spain fell to the republicans, the nationalist government would relocate to the Canaries.

But... when Hungary fell to the communists, Admiral Horthy relocated to Portugal. So I guess the options were wide open in the reverse route as well - who knows, what would have happened. In the late 1930's, Europe was full of ambitious, little, nationalist states, which would welcome a government-in-exile from either Portugal or from Spain.
Last edited by Peter89 on 27 Sep 2021 21:10, edited 1 time in total.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Ironmachine
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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by Ironmachine » 27 Sep 2021 20:17

nuyt wrote:The British also rely on a network of bribed officials in Spain and Portugal to keep things calm. Preston's latest book "A People betrayed" leaves no doubt about that.
I have not read Preston's book, but the issue of the bribed Spanish generals have been touched in a number of Spanish books and, unless Preston has some new and shocking evidence, the matter of whether that money reached the Spanish generals is far from clear. AFAIK, there is no real evidence that they received the money, and some circumstantial evidences appear to indicate that they didn't. Which is not really strange with people such as Juan March was involved in the operation. On the other hand, it is questionable that those supposedly "bribed" generals had any relevance in Franco's decision to not enter the war. I have to agree with Peter89 that the decisive factor was the state of the Spanish armed forces (and the country) and Germany's inability to fullfil the Spanish needs.

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Re: Mussolini decides not to help Franco

Post by nuyt » 28 Sep 2021 10:16

I never said that British bribery of Spanish generals was the one and only reason Spain staid neutral. Of course it was fuel, food and the might of the RN. But British intelligence was actively involved with several factions in Franco's establishment and tried to influence it, undermining pro-Axis officials.
Preston has been accused of a left wing bias, but his book is still well researched.
Page 353 is enlightening. Eden thought the Spanish leadership was "a corrupt gang of generals" and the book elsewhere is full of corruption in Franco's regime, right up to the very top. So much for a disciplined, ideologically driven movement.
But these stories must be hard to swallow both for Spaniards and Brits, I agree.
Preston states on the same page that between 270 and 899 million pounds was spent on generals and such. The Brits (and that´s what matters here) believed the money did arrive in the hands of the generals through March and they believed the money came from him.

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