ISBN:978-1-936274-29-1 / e-ISBN 978-1-936274-30-7 • Trade Paper
Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany’s major ally as of 1936, has received far too little attention in the military history of the Axis partnership. This book fills that gap by describing Italy’s plans and efforts to build a Mediterranean empire and Balkan hegemony during World War II. Both a narrative history of Mussolini’s tragically flawed illusions, Italy’s disastrous military performance, and the heroism of Italian soldiers, sailors and airmen are recounted in detail. The brutal counterinsurgency programs of an unprepared Italian military in hostile environments also make for a chilling historical warning. Italy’s various war theaters and relations with the Axis partner are vividly described as well as the influence of Fascist ideology on the Italian military and its conduct of counterinsurgency in the occupied territories.
Behind every decision lurks the fundamentally flawed warlord, Benito Mussolini, a self styled Caesar with little or no military experience. Mussolini was the single individual most responsible for the failure to build an Italian empire during World War II and the tragic consequences of his decisions for his country.
Praise for the works of H. James Burgwyn:
“Mussolini Warlord finally gives us an incisive, comprehensive and rigorous account of the war the Duce waged to bring about the project of a fascist empire in the Balkans and the Mediterranean. A lively narrative, with insightful and balanced interpretations are H. James Burgwyn’s great strengths using a vast knowledge of the historiography and sources in a book that will become a necessary reference for historians and all readers interested in the events of the Second World War.”
Filippo Focardi -Facoltà di Scienze politiche dell'Università di Padova.
“Jim Burgwyn has given us the best, subtlest and most plausible account yet of the behavior of the Italian army as an imperial and occupying power during the Second World War…Reading his book today reminds us that trying to control a hostile country full of insurgents and “terrorists” without enough troops and a clear objective has always been a recipe for catastrophe.”
Jonathan Steinberg –University of Pennsylvania
“A magnificent work of research and scholarship. Burgwyn has revealed the hitherto unknown story of the Italian Second Army’s role as an occupying force during World War II. In so doing, he has placed Italian occupation policies in the broader context of war crimes and the treatment of civilian populations.”
Philip V. Cannistraro –CUNY Graduate Center
Most Distinguished Professor of History
“H. James Burgwyn has written the first major study of the Italian occupation of Croatia, Dalmatia and Montenegro. Empire on the Adriatic reveals the incredible ambitions, greed, stupidity and arrogance that drew Fascist Italy into increasingly brutal actions. A timely book to unravel the complexities of Balkan politics and a fascinating study of an important moment in history.”
Alexander De Grand —North Carolina State University
About the author
H. James Burgwyn is Emeritus Professor of History at West Chester University. He is the author of Empire on the Adriatic New York: Enigma Books; Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period 1918-1940 Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press 1997. The Legend of the Mutilated Victory: Italy, the Great War, and the Paris Peace Conference, 1915-1919 Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press, 1993. Il revisionismo fascista: La sfida di Mussolini alle grandi potenze nei balcani e sul danubio 1925-1933 Milan: Feltrinelli and has contributed many articles in scholarly journals in both America and Europe. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.